Tuesday, 20 November 2012

THE GIANT OCTOPUS

After a live album in 2007 and some personnel changes, in 2010 Areknamés released “In Case Of Loss...”, their third studio album on Black Widow Records, with a line up featuring Michele Epifani (keyboards, vocals), Antonio Catalano (guitars), Simone Pacelli (bass) and Luca Falsetti (drums). During the recording sessions they were helped by some guest musicians as Carmine Ianieri (sax), Sara Gentile (cello), Pierluigi Mencattini (violin) and Cristiano Pomante (vibraphone) who provided more colours to the musical fabric. The result is excellent, the overall sound is richer and even more personal than in the past, less indebted to Van Der Graaf Generator and in some way jazzier.


The art work features two pictures shot on a beach near St. Agustine, Florida in 1896. They testify the finding of a mysterious whale carcass that was initially supposed to be a giant octopus and that was called the St. Augustine Monster. The opener “Beached” is linked to the art cover, pulsing bass lines and light keyboards waves set a surreal atmosphere. You feel like a giant octopus, a strange creature carried ashore by the tide, lost, dying. People are staring at you in awe on the beach, under a grey, wintry sky... “Why am I dreaming of you? / Scanning through my memories / I can't see anything but that blue vastness...”. The instrumental coda features a nice mix of jazz and psychedelia.


“Alone” features a nice middle section with a good interaction between sax and organ. It's a melancholic piece oscillating between joy and anguish like a “hanged man”. The music drives you to the edge of time and then let you fall down in the blackest sea. Then comes “Dateless Diary”, a calm, reflective track about the need to face reality since painful changes can have positive effects. “Don't Move” begins softly, the atmosphere is dark and dreamy, the music is characterized by some strings passages... If you're of getting lost, don't move!


“A New Song” is one of my favourite tracks on this album. It's about a difficult creative process. At the beginning you're almost lost, trapped by a lack of inspiration, you think that a new song deserves much more... “Energy, thoughts and dreams have to reach someone / Before they fade away amongst white dwarves, stellar remnants and black holes...”. Then tension and rhythm rise with a sudden burst of energy and some fiery organ whirls... “Yesterday I received a new song / Guess who the sender was... Look right here...”. The ethereal “Where” is about the sense of loss that you can experience when you can't find your own way. The truth lies in dark, tangled streets under the moonlight and a sort of grey veil covers your eyes... “I can't figure exactly where I am / If ahead or behind the beat of the Earth...”.


The long, complex suite “The Very Last Number” concludes the album. It describes a momentary escape from reality, a long inner journey through dreams and past memories. The lyrics invite to join the dream but beware!Maybe you could see more than you want to see while clinging ship bells evoke the past... “I was trapped in the ruins of my dreams... In the river of regrets the more you move the more you sink...”. The music features some very interesting passages with a jazz rock touch while in other moments you can perceive strong classical inspirations. Some parts remind me of Arti e Mestieri but it would be unfair compare this excellent track with anything else: all you have to do is close your eyes and listen to it!

Areknamés: In Case Of Loss... (2010). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: "In Case of Loss" is one of 2010's finest prog-rock albums and a must-have for those who love a dark/heavy sound that somehow sounds both modern and retro. It moves Areknames to a new level in my book as one of the bands I will be most excited to follow, to see what else they have in their bag of tricks. I do hope there is more! Bravo to the eight musicians who brought this work to life... (read the complete review HERE).

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