Outside Nowhere is the second album by Roman band Taproban and was released in 2003 on the independent label Mellow Records. The line up is the same as on its predecessor, Ogni pensiero vola, and features Gianluca De Rossi (keyboards, organ, Minimoog, vocals), Guglielmo Mariotti (bass, 12-string acoustic guitar, Moog, vocals) and Davide Guidoni (drums, percussion) but here the overall sound is enhanced by the special guest Alessandro Papotto (sax - from Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Periferia del Mondo) who took part to the recording sessions. If you like bands such as Le Orme, Emerson Lake & Palmer or Quatermass I'm sure you will not be disappointed by this interesting work where the music flows steadily taking you across the space. In fact, this is a concept album dedicated to the memory of Russian cosmonaut Komarov and to all the other space-flights pioneers...
The short instrumental opener “At the Fifteenth Orbit” sets the atmosphere. As you can read in the beautiful booklet, Komarov, aboard of the Soyuz 1, returned to Earth after fifteen orbits around the planet and this track tries to capture the feelings of the cosmonaut before his return trip...
The following “Outside Nowhere” is a long instrumental suite divided into six parts. The first part, “The Mission”, features a dark atmosphere and a haunting marching beat that develops in a kind of strange bolero. It takes you back in time as a flashback, when everything started and the space mission was planned. The following section, “The Last Goodbye”, is warmer and lightened by the sound of Alessandro Papotto's sax that evokes the strong emotions of the departure. On the third section, “The launch”, you can hear the countdown while the rhythm takes off like a glider: here the music reminds me of some counterpoints by Le Orme... Next comes “Outside Nowhere”, the fourth section which describes in some way the feelings that an astronaut can experience during his long flight... Komarov: oh, what a Lucky Man he was! The last two sections, “Return To...” and “...A New World”, take us on the way back with new perspectives and a strong sense of hope.
“Broken Shell” is a short acoustic ballad sung in English that tells about the sense of solitude and restless inquietude that seizes the astronaut when he thinks of his ex-sweetheart... “Now my life is a broken shell / I need a place to go far away... But there’s no place that is safe from you / And in spite of my strong will / You will be anywhere, forever with me...”.
“Il difficile equilibrio tra sorgenti d’energia” (The difficult balance between sources of energy) is a beautiful track featuring Italian vocals that evokes infinite spheres clashing one against each other, ruled by mysterious laws that, sooner or later, will make them melt in a black void... “Long is the fighting between sources of energy / One against each other / One against each other...”.
“veS ml’ tagHach” (Klingon War Dance) is track full of obscure energy. It features some martial passages, some exotic touches and fiery keyboards rides. The title refers to a fictional extraterrestrial warrior species in the 1960s television series Star trek...
The following “Pieces Left Behind” reminds me of some Pink Floyd's atmospheres and features some vocal parts in English drenched with nostalgia. Feeling alone and lost in the space, our astronaut is looking forward to the return trip because he has realized that the world leaves a mark on you and you can't really escape from it... “In this place is it always day-time? / Is it always night-time? / I really don’t know / World, I’m coming back...”.
“In The Deep” is a short track full of tension that describes the dive of the space ship towards the Earth. The mood is dark and in some way you can feel an impending sense of tragedy in the air. It leads to the final track, “Nexus” that recalls the early works of Franco Battiato. It features some beautiful sax lines and filtered vocals in Italian... “I sent signals as I was moving between sound waves / Visualizing my dream among dark interferences...”. According to the booklet the voice that you can hear in the background is really the voice of Komanov, but you can't hear the final explosion. As you probably know, the Soyuz 1 crushed on the ground...
On the whole, an interesting work with a nice art-work by Davide Guidoni that maybe describes its atmospheres and content better than all my words.
You can listen in streaming to the complete album HERE
Taproban: Outside Nowhere (2004). Other opinions:
Dave Sissons: While this is unlikely to top anyone’s “best of year” lists, it is a pleasing work with much to offer the old school prog fan. It manages to steer clear of the bombastic overkill employed by Japanese proponents of similar music (Ars Nova, Gerard) and also avoids the overt metal influences that are currently in vogue with many Neo-Prog groups (Star One, Aryeon). All in all, this is an agreeable album for all fans of keyboard prog... (read the complete review HERE)