Tuesday, 27 September 2011

LAZIO (part 2)

Rome was also where Perigeo formed. Perigeo, the most famous Italian prog jazz band, recently reunited for some live performances. Another very famous and influential prog band from Rome are Goblin / Cherry Five, two names for the same band! The success of the band is bound to their soundtracks for Dario Argento’s films. Four of the original members reunited in 2005 and recorded a new album under the name Back To The Goblin (Official Website) while founder member, keyboardist and composer Claudio Simonetti started another project called Daemonia (MySpace) performing old Goblin pieces with new arrangements. Another former member of the band, Maurizio Guarini, is now based in Canada where he has formed another project to perform Goblin’s repertoire, Orco Muto (MySpace).

Well, in 2010 Claudio Simonetti joined with Massimo Morante and Maurizio Guarini again for a new project under the name New Goblin (Official Website). The new line-up is completed by Bruno Previtali and Titta Tani from Daemonia. Well, the never ending story of Goblin continues...

The most famous prog rock band from Rome is Banco del Mutuo Soccorso (Official Website), who started their career in the seventies and are still active today. To be more exact they come from a small town in the surroundings of Rome, Marino, best known for its “Sagra dell’uva”. Some members of the band as Vittorio Nocenzi, Gianni Nocenzi (MySpace), Francesco Di Giacomo and Rodolfo Maltese (MySpace) have released some interesting solo albums as well. Banco del Mutuo Soccorso members Rodolfo Maltese and Pierluigi Calderoni were also involved in a side project featuring a strong Mediterranean flavour called Indaco. Another Indaco founder member, Mario Pio Mancini, recently reformed this band under the name Nu Indaco (MySpace). The current line-up of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso features on sax Alessandro Papotto who plays also with another prog band, Periferia del Mondo (MySpace).

By the way, Marino is also home to a project called Embrione and a very promising band called Senza Nome. Embrione (MySpace) are mainly the brainchild of Emanuele Correani. In 2008 they released a debut album for the independent label Terre Sommerse featuring a good “prog cantautorale”. Senza Nome (MySpace) were formed in 2003 and after an intense live activity featuring a particular theatrical approach, in 2008 they released a very interesting eponymous self-produced debut album. Their main influences are the Italian prog masters of the early seventies that they blend with an original touch and poetical lyrics. Worth to mention is also a psychedelic band from this town called Dei Delle Zone Infette (Facebook)

The current Roman prog scene is very rich and features a wide range of bands. Arpia (MySpace) have been active since 1984 although they are not very prolific. In 2009 they released their third album, Racconto d’inverno, conceived as a long acoustic suite. The rhythm section is never invasive, acoustic guitars are omnipresent, there are not spectacular solos but the music perfectly fits the mood of the lyrics and flows away describing in notes what Arpia’s leader Leonardo Bonetti described in words. In fact Racconto d’inverno was released along with a book, a novel by Leonardo Bonetti of the same title, and they’re like two sides of the same coin.

Dunwich (MySpace) are another band formed in the eighties. The current line-up was assembled in 2004 on the initiative of keyboardist and composer Claudio Nigris after three albums released in the nineties and a long hiatus. For their last studio album, Heilagmanoth, they were helped by a large number of guest musicians (including a choir and a string quartet) who provided an extremely rich musical texture. The result is a very interesting blend of dark metal, classical music, Celtic and Medieval influences that every now and again might recall Rhapsody (Of Fire).

Vu Meters (MySpace) are a kind of super group formed by three experienced musicians who played in other bands such as Ezra Winston and Divae. “Dark City”, their debut album, was released in 2007 and it’s the result of long “jam sessions”. It’s a completely instrumental work where the music flows like magma from volcano slopes, blending delicate beautiful melodies with fiery and raw passages. The mood is dark and disquieting like the art cover painted by drummer Ugo Vantini. Lovers of the Canterbury sound will probably appreciate a band called Grey Lagoon (MySpace). Their influences range from Canterbury to psychedelia and space rock and in 2006 they released a first self produced work, Syncretic. Their last work is an album dedicated to the memory of Hugh Hopper, Valentine Days. It was released in 2010 and features collaborations with Daevid Allen and Niels Van Hoorn.

Other bands from Rome that have been active for many years and are really worth listening to are Mad Crayon (Facebook), Greenwall (Facebook), Taproban (Facebook), Nodo Gordiano (Facebook), Doracor (MySpace), the jazz influenced Fonderia (Facebook) and Nosound (MySpace). By the way, Nosound’s guitarist Paolo Vigliarolo before joining the project led by Giancarlo Erra played with a band called Il Bacio di Giuda and it’s a real pity that this experience came to an end. Now Paolo Vigliarolo is involved in another project called ArsNota (Reverbnation) while Il Bacio di Giuda’s former vocalist Marco Tesoriero (MySpace) follows a solo project of music and poetry, anyway, never say never. Recently two other prog bands from the past have reformed, Leviathan (Official Website) and Arcadelt (MySpace).