Sunday, 15 January 2012

WAVES AND DREAMS

Alex Carpani was born in Switzerland in 1970 of an Italian father and a French mother. Later he moved to Italy and graduated in Musicology at the University of Bologna. As a composer and musician his activities and interests range from soundtracks for cinema and theatre to electronic and progressive rock. From 1990 to 2007 he self-produced many works with little success, then he met Le Orme’s singer Aldo Tagliapietra and his career suddenly changed direction with the release of his first prog album, “Waterline”, a conceptual work dedicated to the thin line dividing the world which emerged from the water (the familiar one) from the submerged world (the unknown one). Originally conceived as an instrumental project, it became an album with lyrics and vocals thanks to Aldo Tagliapietra. It was composed and recorded as a demo in three weeks by Alex Carpani in his home-studio, then Alex sent it to Aldo Tagliapietra, who liked the project and put him in touch with the American independent prog label Cypher Arts. Alex Carpani met Cypher Arts’ director Dan Shapiro in Los Angeles and the album was finally refined and released in 2007 with the help of many musicians from the American prog scene and an art cover by Paul Whitehead. The result is excellent and if you like the works of bands such as Le Orme, BMS, early Genesis and ELP I’m sure you’ll like this work too.


The opener “The Siren And The Mariner” should be a true delight for symphonic prog lovers. It starts with a tasteful classical intro that leads to a duet between the voice of the mariner Aldo Tagliapietra, who sings in Italian, and the voice of the siren, the guest singer Beatrice Casagrande, who answers in English... “Your voice shines like the sun on the sea... Come to me and hear me sing / Leave behind your hopes and fears...”. Then, after an instrumental break featuring an electric guitar solo, Aldo Tagliapietra concludes... “I’m losing myself in the light / Following your voice... I’m feeling like a leaf lost in the sea”.

“The Levees’ Break” is a beautiful, dreamy instrumental featuring delicate flute passages and shifting tempos. Next comes the darker “In The Rocks” that tries to depict in music and words the feelings of the survivors sheltered on the rocks after the wreckage of their ship, in the mist...


The solemn “Reclaimed” is another beautiful instrumental track that leads to quiet sailing on the clear waters of “Agua Claro”... “A new direction covers the past / Take the white wave / Ride towards the sun...”. “Starcurrents” is more dramatic and mystical. Here we sail to a path of stars without a frame, a metaphysical journey into space...

The calm instrumental “Song Of The Pond” features a delicate acoustic guitar arpeggio and dreamy flute passages leading to a final joyful section... “A Gathering Storm” is more aggressive, with the sax in the forefront and a tasteful jazzy feeling while the following “The Waterfall” begins with a cascade of notes played by piano then joined by the other instruments for another musical ride...


On “Catch The Wave” the saxophone leads the dance until an acoustic break, then the vocals soar... “With no more fears / I ride the wave towards the open sea / In harmony with this sea / I can’t fall / I can’t fail...”. An interesting arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Prelude In C Min.” concludes the album.

The vocals of Aldo Tagliapietra and the art cover by Paul Whitehead do not necessarily make the difference between a very good album and a masterpiece. In this work in some passages Aldo’s vocals seem almost “unnatural”, as if he had tried to make an effort to sing in a different way and at a lower pitch than on Le Orme’s works. Nonetheless I enjoyed the music...

From the book Rock Progressivo Italiano: An introduction to Italian Progressive Rock

Alex Carpani: Waterline (2007). Other opinions
Ryan Sparks: Waterline is a very promising debut and Alex Carpani has assembled a great supporting cast of musicians to help him carry out his vision. You can hear the ghosts of many different bands from the glory days of progressive rock all over Waterline, so Carpani has certainly done his homework. It's what he did with those influences, and how well he incorporated them into his own original compositions to create something new, that makes Waterline such a joy to listen to... (read the complete review HERE).
Olav Martin Bjørnsen: Like many other artists it’s the symphonic side of the progressive rock universe that has fascinated Carpani, and whilst there’s certainly a distinct vintage sound to this first venture of his in this stylistic expression he’s to be given credit for finding a sound that doesn’t immediately make you think of other artists... (read the complete review HERE).

Read the interview with Alex Carpani at Progarchives. Click HERE

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