Monday, 30 September 2013

MIRRORS AND VISIONS

Labirinto di Specchi (the name means maze of mirrors) came to life in Chiusi, in the province of Siena, in 2005 with the ambitious aim to blend progressive rock with other forms of art such as poetry, painting and philosophy. After some years of hard work, in 2009 the band started the recording sessions of their début album, “Hanblecheya”, with a line up featuring Raffaele Crezzini (drums, percussion), Gabriele Marroni (guitars), Filippo Menconi (bass), Andrea Valerio (piano, lead synth) and Diego Samo (keyboards, synth) plus two special guests: former Pholas Dactylus' front-man Paolo Carelli (vocals) and Michele Sanchini (cello). The album was released in 2010 on the independent label Lizard Records and the result is an interesting mix of vintage sounds, post rock and psychedelia. According to the band, the title “Hanblecheya” is taken from a Native American language and means “crying the vision”. As you can guess, this is a conceptual work where the music and lyrics try to conjure up powerful, evocative visions. While listening to the music you can see flowers of light and hidden shadows as in a dream while forgotten thoughts and free emotions come back from your unconscious.


The opener “Eclissi Pt. 1 – L’occhio e la maschera” (Eclipse Pt.1 – The eye and the mask) sets a mystic atmosphere and Paolo Carelli's narrative vocals draw the image of a mysterious mask that slowly begins to hide the sun and the moon unchaining a timeless madness without any logic. Phenomena triggered by an uncontrollable reality begin to take shape... On the following “La maschera della visione” (The mask of vision) whipping synth waves announce a change and your mind, filled with desire, starts to run towards the unknown and tries to seize it... “The conscience is silent and soars / The visionary mask becomes alive / The hidden truth unfolds...”.


Fantasia” (Imagination) is a long, spectacular ride into the unknown where you could find yourself wandering in beautiful, hidden places and getting lost in wonderful dreams. Next comes the dark, disquieting “Nel nulla etereo soggiogato dall’ignoto la mente si espande” (In the ethereal void, subjugated by the unknown, the mind spreads out) where dreams seem to turn into nightmares. The narrative vocals and the obstinate percussive patterns evoke an ancestral spirituality and American Western plains and fights between the native people and the blue soldiers... “I've walked, I've seen, I've run... I've heard sounds that no one had ever heard before... I've seen enormous butterflies and spiders dancing with snakes and cormorants... I've seen my body lying in the dust just before entering into the hut of sweat...”.


On the tense, nervous “Purpurea” (Purple) deep red colours prevail while the music and lyrics conjure up a subtle sense of fear. Then the chains of conscience melt and you can perceive the energy of life, you are filled with this energy and you miss it in the same time. Then comes the long, complex “Foll(i)a” (Madness/Crowd) where the tight rope of equilibrium is shaken and madness spreads all around. Threatening, ever changing clouds run across the sky, you can feel that everything is trembling around you and everything gets blurred while strange sounds strike hidden keys in your mind.

Labrinto di Specchi 2010

The conclusive “Eclissi Pt. 2 – La genesi” (Eclipse Pt. 2 – The genesis) closes the circle. There's a new burst of energy then the spiritual, cathartic experience comes to an end and slowly the sun rise again from behind the mask of vision. Well, on the whole I think that this is a really good album and that it's worth listening to!

Labirinto di Specchi: Hanblecheya (2010). Other opinions:
Raffaella Benvenuto-Berry: Firmly anchored to the Italian progressive tradition by its keen sense of melody and the rivetingly dramatic tone of Paolo Carelli’s narration, yet unafraid to experiment with more radical musical directions, and skilled in combining the acoustic, the electric and the electronic component (though at times the slashing, whistling presence of synths can become a tad overwhelming), Labirinto Di Specchi are a band that adventurous listeners would do well to check out... (read the complete review HERE)
Olav Martin Bjørnsen: As tantalizing and intriguing as Labirinto Di Specchi's exploits are, they won't appeal to everyone. If you have a taste for electronic and acoustic instrument interactions you will have an advantage, but apart from that, those who generally appreciate ambient, dream-laden music just as much as textured post rock excursions and futuristic-sounding psychedelic music should all have a fairly good chance of enjoying this album. Progressive rock for an eclectic mind of a rather particular nature, one might say... (read the complete review HERE)

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