Friday, 20 February 2015

ALTERED STATES

Posidonian Fields is the third album by Taproban, a band from Rome formed in 1996. It was released in 2006 on the independent label Mellow Records with a line up featuring Gianluca De Rossi (keyboards), Guglielmo Mariotti (bass, guitars, vocals) and Davide Guidoni (drums, percussion). It's a concept album containing three long suites that tell about a journey through an imaginary submarine abyss, a metaphorical one way trip in the subconscious. The lyrics by Davide Guidoni are loosely based on Altered States, a 1980 American science fiction-horror film directed by Ken Russell and are based on a novel by the same name by playwright and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky about a sensory deprivation research conducted in isolation tanks under the influence of psychoactive drugs. Davide Guidoni took also charge of the art work that in some way depicts the content of the album... Anyway here words, images and notes are like touches of colour used to stir your imagination and you have to fill the gaps. As for the music, every now and again the overall sound could recall bands such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Le Orme, with the use of a wide range of vintage instruments such as Hammond C3 organ or Minimoog, but the song-writing is brilliant the final result perfectly fits the storyline.


The first suite, "Chapter One: Immersion", is divided into three parts and begins softly, with the narrative vocals in Greek and the mysterious atmosphere of "EvapZis". The second part, "Immersion", begins by a dreamy acoustic guitar arpeggio and floating vocals to bid farewell to reality... The one way journey to the unknown begins while colourful psychedelic images appear and melt during the long dive into the submarine kingdom of Poseidon... On the third part, "Caronte’s Ship Imponderability", the rhythm rises while frenzied keyboards waves and rough, nervous bass lines take you across the Styx to a kind of blue hell...


The second suite, "Chapter Two: Suspension", is divided into four parts and begins by the surreal calm of "Riding in Posidonian Fields" that depicts in music and lyrics the meeting with a strange creature. A strummed acoustic guitar pattern reminds you that the ocean is like a desert with its life underground where you can find nameless seahorses and other creatures riding into the blue... The second part is the instrumental "Entwinings" that conjures up the image of a mysterious dance into the deep and fades into "Suspension" where you can hear the echoes of a choir of submerged voices coming from a world that you can't reach. Then you relax, you get lost in your dreams, among corals and fishes you become someone or something else in a kind of new Genesis... The fourth part, "Octopus!", suggest what could be the result of this metamorphosis...


The last suite, "Chapter Three: Oblivion", is divided into three parts and begins by the dark, nightmarish "Uncontrolled Dreams", where you risk to get trapped behind a series of doors corroded by time... The rhythm is frenzied and the tension is higher and higher while you seem unable to climb out from the abyss... Well, an altered state of consciousness is a condition which is significantly different from a normal waking beta wave state and the expression describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary... But beware! Sometimes there's no way out and the following part "No Return" marks a new awareness while you realize that you can't turn back and that it's too late to escape from the fog of your subconscious. The mystical final part, "Farewell (including Rebirth)", marks the beginning of a new journey towards the eternal mystery of the afterlife while your soul spreads beyond the infinite...

On the whole, an interesting concept and a very nice album, although I think that's a pity that the band did not exploit their mother language for the lyrics as in their previous works.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

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