Tuesday, 12 May 2015

AND THE MUSIC GOES...

Posto Blocco 19 (the name means Check-point 19) began life in the province of Parma in 1972 under the name Collettivo Musicale Collecchiese on the initiative of a group of friends in love with the music of bands such as Premiata Forneria Marconi, Santana or Deep Purple. The band had been active until 1983 but during their early days they never had the chance to release an album and their only record was a single released in 1981, when progressive rock was considered a genre completely out of fashion. After a long hiatus the band came back to life in 2005 but it wasn't until 2014 that they could release a first full length album on the independent label Lizard Records. It's titled "Motivi di sempre" and collects the band's most significant pieces re-arranged and some new tracks recorded with a renewed line up featuring along with founder members Raimondo Fantuzzi (guitar, vocals) and Vittorio Salvi (drums) also Francesca Campagna (vocals), Massimo Casaro (bass), Stefano Savi (percussion) and Graziano De Palma (keyboards). The result of their efforts is excellent and the beautiful art work taken from some paintings by Teo De Palma (father of the keyboardist) in some way reflects the music and lyrics with its soft colours and dreamy mood.


The opener "A un passo dal cielo (suite 1)" (One step to the sky) is a brilliant instrumental track that recalls the best tradition of Italian Progressive Rock and takes you back in time with its positive energy, its warm organ waves and the soaring electric guitar solos...


The following "E la musica va" (And the music goes) was originally released in 1981 and here is dressed up in new colours and revitalized by the new line up. It's a song about racism and multi-ethnic conflicts and some melodic lines remind me of an Italian band called I Nomadi. The lyrics conjure up the images of shooting men, soldiers in an unwanted war who are nothing but pawns in the game of mischievous, unscrupulous politicians. Blacks and poor people do not fear to get killed, they're just blood and tears, love and death... Try to imagine the corpse of one of these men lying in the dust. He was just a tramp, a poet, a free spirit who used to fly high on the wings of love. The evocative music and the soaring vocals tell about hate and nostalgia mixing the colours of a scared painter...


Next comes the dreamy "All'alba del giorno dopo" (At dawn on the day after) that invites you to stop running after this crazy, busy world and to enjoy your life seizing every fleeting moment. The visionary lyrics tell that you can let your dreams drive... The past is gone but you can ride on new horizons towards crystal lakes, you can travel through far deserts and clear skies until you'll find in a legendary treasure box the ancient fairy tales that will make you lord of the castle of triumph allowing you to tame new planets on the course of your flying ships...


"Scandendo il tempo" (Beating time) was originally released in 2011 on the Musea-Colossus compilation "Decameron Part 1". This piece was re-recorded in 2014 by the new line up and the vocalist Francesca Campagna here brings new energies and freshness. It starts softly, the mood is dreamy and the music is calm while the poetical lyrics deal with the relativity of time and space. Try to imagine the wind riding raging sea waves in the dark while the borders between reality and imagination get blurred... Then image some flocks of birds on the wires: they are like notes coming from deep throats while they're looking at falling stars and distant planets, sparks in an abstract universe... 

Then comes the beautiful instrumental "A un passo dal cielo (suite 2)" that in some way closes the circle of your daydreams and takes you back to Earth with its delicate Mediterranean flavours and Latin rhythms.


The last piece, "L'ultima acqua" (The last water), is credited as a bonus track and was originally released in 2010 on another Musea-Colossus compilation, "The Divine Comedy Part III - Dante's Paradiso". It was remastered in 2014 and features Bernardo Lanzetti (vocals) and Giancarlo Di Bella (keyboards). The band here interpret with heartfelt passion and personality the spirit of the immortal lines by the sommo poeta... "On the edge of the last water seize the hope / At the right time many will return...". A great track!

On the whole, I think that this is a really good album. Every now and again the music could recall bands such as Premiata Fornaria Marconi, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso or Il Castello di Atlante but Posto Blocco 19 are not just emulators playing by rote and they do not sound derivative. I'm sure that this album will be an excellent addition to any Italianprog collection!


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