Wednesday, 26 October 2011

BLACK AND WHITE MEMORIES


Il Ruscello is an Italian prog band based in London and formed by three musicians from Milan, Silvio Cavallo (vocals, acoustic guitar, drums), his brother Giampaolo Cavallo (bass) and Luca Herb (guitars, synthesizers, piano). After some experiences in local pop rock bands they decided to focus on a project inspired by the halcyon days of Italian progressive rock. Their goal was to record something new but featuring the same sound and spirit of the early seventies and their main influences range from PFM to Le Orme.

Il Ruscello 2009

Their debut album, “Paesaggio solare (estate 1972)” was conceived as if it was directly coming from past recording sessions, featuring vintage atmospheres and sounds. The album was recorded in London between January 2008 and March 2009 and was released on the Italian independent label BTF in September 2009 with a beautiful artwork and a booklet that recalls the early days of the RPI scene. Well, in my opinion the result is not completely convincing...

On the long opener “Il cielo in un ruscello” (The sky in a stream) the blending of the different “sources of inspiration” is a little bit clumsy, especially when they skip from a passage in “PFM style” to what to my ears sounds like an appalling parody of Le Orme’s “Frutto acerbo” from “Contrappunti”. Lyrics are naives, to say the least. A gaze towards to horizon permits to discover a strange landscape featuring walking flowers, boars biting the grass and whispering butterflies while concrete buildings reflect themselves in a quiet stream... Bah!


“La grande città” (The big city) is a little bit better. It’s a suite in two parts -  “La notte di una città” (The night of a city) and “Il risveglio di una città” (The awakening of a city) - that tries to describe in music and words the nightlife of a metropolis, from dusk till dawn. The vocals and lyrics are not the strength of this band but at least here you can find some really well crafted instrumental passages.

“La quiete” is a beautiful short, dreamy instrumental track featuring piano and acoustic guitar that leads to the title track, “Paesaggio solare (estate 1972)” (Solar landscape – summer 1972). Well, in my opinion it’s originality here is missing, in fact here you can find some melodic lines that seem to be picked out from “Maggio”, while some keyboards patterns remind me of “La fabbricante d’angeli” both songs by Le Orme from their 1974 album “Contrappunti”. The lyrics describe a pastoral landscape featuring two shining fireflies, a screaming heart of carnation flower and other amenities...


The long and complex final track “Orizzonti” (Horizons) is by far my favourite one on this work. Almost twelve minutes of good vintage prog rock featuring well balanced changes in rhythm and atmosphere. The lyrics here seem just touches of colour and not linguistic tools used in the attempt to tell something but the effect is good...

On the whole this album is not completely bad but it’s very far from essential in a prog collection. I think that Il Ruscello is a band with a good potential but in my opinion their qualities are still unexpressed...


Il Ruscello: Paesaggio solare (estate 1972) (2009). Other opinons:
Jim Russell: Il Ruscello is one of the most exciting RPI debuts in some time as it comes from a band aiming squarely to produce an album of equal beauty to the greatest Italian albums. That's right, this is not the usual bit of retro flavor being used by guys wanting to capture the modern prog/prog-metal fans. These guys sound to me like they are literally trying to recreate the Summer of 1972 for you---as in, let's go back in time and give the music fan the chance to hear a classic RPI album hot off the press... They possess the talent and the love of the classic composition to have a real shot at it. The tendency of many recent Italian retro bands has been to embrace the very heavy edge, throw in some metal riffing, or some angular Crimson/Deus Ex Machina edge on top of a classic Italian symphonic influence. Il Ruscello is not looking for that. They are trying to capture the sunshine of the pure, overblown Italian symphonic gem without reservation... (read the complete review HERE).
Assaf Vestin: I find this a compelling album; the music is too good to not listen to... They take simple melodies and make them more interesting and special and build up on them to create an appealing piece with their craftsmanship. Worth getting! (read the complete review HERE)

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