Tuesday, 18 December 2012


After the release of “Waterline” Alex Carpani recruited some experienced musicians to perform his music on stage and in 2010 released a sophomore album titled “The Sanctuary” on Cypher Arts and Ma.Ra,Cash Records. Here the line up features along with Alex Carpani (piano, Hammond organ, Mellotron, Moog, pads, lead and back vocals) also Gigi Cavalli Cocchi (drums, percussion), Ettore Salati (electric and acoustic guitars, dulcimer) and Fabiano Spiga (bass). “The Sanctuary” is a conceptual work built up on the idea of an imaginary, invisible shield protecting a man from the stress of the real life and the beautiful, surreal art work by Paul Whitehead gives this idea a shape. The overall sound draws unashamedly on the prog masters of the seventies, especially Genesis and Emerson Lake & Palmer, but the result is not too derivative and every track of the album seems almost timeless, suspended between past and present as in a dream.

The instrumental opener “Burning Braziers” sets the atmosphere. It starts softly, the mood is dreamy but you have to walk cautiously on your way to your sacred shelter. Then the rhythm rises, so hurry up! The dark shadows of the real life are following you...

“Spirit Of Decadence” recalls the music of Genesis. Crumbs of life emerge from a glorious past while as a bold archaeologist you look for the reminiscences of a powerful king and of his court, lost in time... “Opulence and well being, holiness and favour / Warriors on the path and guards protect the treasure...”.

“The Dance Of The Sacred Elves” is a lively instrumental track that recalls ELP. There’s a turntable hidden somewhere, echoes from the past come back from an old vinyl and magical creatures start to dance. If you pay attention you can even hear the needle of the turntable scraping the record...

“Entering The Sanctuary” begins with a solemn organ passage. You are now entering in a cathedral with walls and roof of glass, your personal sanctuary where you can listen to vintage sounds from an enormous turntable which lies in the place of the altar. Once you have found the way rush in and close the door behind you! “Inside this sanctuary I repent all my life sins / Drunk with harmony, enclosed in a cage where I’m safe and free... Deaf, I can hear / Dumb, I can speak...”.

The instrumental “Knights And Clergymen” and the following “Templars Dream” evoke dreamy rides on the wings of time while the vintage sounds conjure images floating through the waves of a sea of light...

“Memories Of A Wedding” begins with a romantic piano solo passage, then electric guitar riffs break in and the rhythm rises. You have to fight hard against the interferences of the outside world... “Now the elves are scurrying away, the pageant comes to an end / A wide frame grows on the wall, the scene appears like a dream... Now and then alien forces break that dream and desire / Folding hearts and resistance...”.

On the hypnotic instrumental “Master Of Ceremonies” the battle rages on and dreamy passages alternates with more aggressive, disquieting parts. A short flamenco guitar pattern leads to the following track, “Moonlight Through The Ruins”. An acoustic guitar arpeggio and soaring vocals seem to evoke ancient spirits wondering under the moon, through the ruins of your broken dreams... “I can make out the stones and vaults... Now the ruins are loving arms to embrace and... I can make out the people’s smile / No roof on my head, the stars...”.

It’s time to come back to reality but the healing effects of the time passed in harmony and peace remain. The amazing instrumental track “Leaving The Sanctuary” drives you in the real world with a new awareness and a feeling of self confidence concluding an excellent album...

Alex Carpani: The Sanctuary (2010). Other opinions:
Olav Martin Bjørnsen: The Sanctuary is a good example of an album that should have a strong appeal among fans of 70's progressive rock of the symphonic variety. In sound and expression those familiar with the giants of the genre will find many recognizable details, while the overall sound and arrangements also incorporate elements of a more contemporary nature... (read the complete review HERE).

Read the interview with Alex Carpani at progarchives. Click HERE

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