Sunday, 25 September 2011


Turin is not the only city in Piemonte which can boast interesting prog bands. The birthplace of Italian writer Umberto Eco, ALESSANDRIA, about 90 km south-west from Turin, saw the formation of a band called Quo Modo Vitae (MySpace) in the seventies. They never had the chance to record an album then and it’s a pity but recently some of the old members joined up again to play live and to work on new and old pieces and, well, I think it would be high time for a debut album!

In Alessandria we can also listen to the excellent Imagin’Aria (MySpace), to the projects of guitarist Cristiano Mussi (MySpace) and to some emerging bands such as the melodic Roccaforte (MySpace), the heavier Anziana Regina (MySpace) and the psychedelic Cosa Rara (MySpace). In the nearby town of Casale Monferrato we can listen to a melodic prog band called Abaco (MySpace) while Acqui Terme is home to another melodic prog band, Plenilunio (MySpace). Another town in the province of Alessandria, Tortona, in the early seventies gave us a band called I Leoni while now it’s the time of the heavy and dark Ufomammut (MySpace).

And now to ASTI, about 55 km south-east of Turin which in the seventies gave us Locanda delle Fate (Official Website). After an ephemeral reunion in the late nineties the band is now back with a renewed line-up and in summer 2010 they played their first concert since the late seventies. Former Locanda delle Fate keyboardist and composer Michele Conta (MySpace) has not taken part in the reunion and is working on a solo project.

 Asti was also home to Archensiel, an interesting prog-folk band that in 1989 released a beautiful album, Piöva, re-released by Akarma in 2004. Archensiel guitarist Massimo Brignolo is now in the new line of Locanda delle Fate. The prog scene from Asti can also boast the emerging Fata dell’Ombra (MySpace) and the interesting Cantina Sociale (MySpace) that in 2009 released an excellent album entitled Cum Lux. Cantina Sociale’s singer Iano Nicolò (MySpace) is also the singer in the new line-up of Arti e Mestieri.


Well, almost every city in Piemonte gave birth to at least one prog band that is worth listening to. In CUNEO we find the folk-jazz Falafel Project (MySpace), the math prog Lamalora (MySpace) and Pandora (Official Website) that after an amazing debut album for BTF in 2011 released a sophomore album entitled Sempre e ovunque oltre il sogno.

From Bra, a town  50 km south of Turin and 50 km north-east of Cuneo, there comes Colster (MySpace), an emerging band influenced by psychedelic sounds while Mondovì is home to an instrumental project called Athene Noctua (MySpace). BIELLA in the seventies gave us Odissea while today it is home to a folk-jazz project called Abnoba (MySpace), the emerging LeMura (Facebook) and an interesting band called The Mellon (MySpace), inspired by esoteric and dark atmospheres.


Then, from VERCELLI come the veterans Il Castello di Atlante (Official Website), formed in the seventies and still in perfect shape. Another local band of great experience is the neo-prog Arcansiel (MySpace) whose roots go back to the eighties. Arcansiel’s leader, Paolo Baltaro (MySpace), in 2009 released a solo album on Musea Records. The province of Vercelli, to be more exact an area called Valsesia, is also home to an emerging band called Coma Berenices (MySpace).

From NOVARA come Consorzio Acqua Potabile (Official Website), a band formed in 1971 and still active today, and Psichedalia (Reverbnation) while from Domodossola, a town in the province of VERBANO-CUSIO-OSSOLA comes the psychedelic King Suffy Generator (MySpace). By the way, Domodossola is also the birth place of Alberto Fortis, a famous Italian singer songwriter whose first two albums might be of some interest to prog lovers.

To conclude our visit through far North-West Italy, we go to AOSTA, the capital of the autonomous region VALLE D'AOSTA. Here during the seventies Paradiso a Basso Prezzo were based. Their drummer, Guido Gressani, is still active and plays jazz with his Guido Gressani Quintet (Facebook). Now the city is home to I Treni all’Alba (MySpace) that were formed between Aosta and Turin in 2002. All the members of the band are experienced musicians with different influences and in 2008 they released their first full length album, Folk Destroyers, on the independent label Smartz Records.

Each track is illustrated in the beautiful booklet with a drawing by the painter Domenico Sorrenti and the music flows away  as in a long suite where quiet acoustic and folky passages melt into fiery percussion rides and vice versa. The name of the band, I Treni All’Alba, means “the trains at dawn...”.

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