Germinale were formed in Pisa in 1991 and their name was inspired by an Emile Zola novel. After an interesting but still immature eponymous debut album in 1994 and some line-up changes, in 1996 they released on the independent label Mellow Records what is reputed their best work so far and one of the best Italian prog records of the nineties, “...e ancora il suo respiro agita le onde...” (And his breath is still moving the waves). The line-up here features Salvo Lazzara (electric guitar, devices, vocals), Marco Masoni (vocals, bass, classical and acoustic guitars, mellotron), Andrea Moretti (piano, Hammond, moog, synthesizers), Alessandro Toniolo (flute, sax, vocals) and David Vecchioni (drums, percussion). The overall sound is rich and inspired, in the best tradition of Italian prog rock while the beautiful art cover by Marta Bibbiani tries to capture the explosion of colours which the music expresses...
The short opener “Il già sentito e il non ancora” (The already heard and the not yet) is introduced by the sound of sea waves and seagull calls. Then, from a delicate acoustic guitar pattern soars a particular invocation... “We forgive you, Euterpe, for bringing us up here / Goddess of music, lyric poetry and the flute / We ask you now to let us use your regenerating pathos...”.
Next comes the long, complex “1° maggio” (May Day), subtitled “dialogue between a worker and a warrior”. It was inspired by an essay written in 1934 by the French philosopher Simone Weil about the reasons for freedom and social oppression, “Réflexions sur les causes de la liberté et de l’oppression sociale”. Dreamy, reflective passages alternate with aggressive and dynamic parts underlying the contrast between the dreams of freedom and equality of the worker and the angry, disdainful reaction of the warrior, symbol of power... “My resistance compels you to think about equality / I’ve always had to work but I want to do so with dignity... I know the revolt of the oppressed / It explodes only occasionally but it’s always bubbling / And it increases your pain if it forces me to use my power...”. A wonderful track!
“D’ombra, vapori e sabbia” (About shadows, steam and sand) is an excellent instrumental in three parts. The first is dominated by keyboards, the second features swirling flute passages soaring from a drum solo pattern while the last is driven by an ethereal guitar solo. It could be a perfect soundtrack for an adventure in the desert...
“Eleonora” is a nice instrumental featuring delicate acoustic guitar patterns. It leads to “Le onde, il respiro del mare” (The waves, the sea breathing), a complex, dramatic piece in two parts. The lyrics are freely taken from “Alkestis”, a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke inspired by ancient Greek mythology. The atmosphere is dark, narrative vocals tell a dark story... A diabolic messenger appears as an uninvited guest at a nuptial banquet announcing that the groom has to die, on the spot! The unlucky man implores, asks for mercy, asks for more time, a year, a day, even just one more night! No way, the task of the messenger is clear... Sometimes the music is powerful and flows like a raging river, every now and again it stops and gives way to disquieting dreams while the groom is carried away by the river of despair. Every effort to grip the rocks is vain, the poor man is swallowed by the obscure sea of predestination. Eventually... “The messenger got up and walked into the water / He sank himself in victory / And his breath is still moving the waves...”.
“Diòniso inquieto” (Restless Dionysus) is a melancholic track describing in words and music how time is spent in youth. “Another exciting suicide to rejoice boring dusks...”. The lyrics tell of nights wasted in fake happiness during parties and bike rides but also of nights spent in a more bucolic, pensive way, stretched out on a lawn watching the stars, tasting the pleasures of mother nature...
“Malcreanza” (Bad behaviour) is a nervous track featuring many influences (from Jethro Tull to jazz, from bossa nova to Jean Michel Jarre). The visionary lyrics depict a smoking heart thrown to the winds and a desperate wandering under the stars... “I’m still losing myself / I do not talk very much / I never ask for explanations / I discuss to understand / The sea around us where we have to swim towards cliffs of sand helps us to ride the tiger of life...”.
|Germinale, picture taken from their Myspace profile|
“D’io” (Of me) begins softly, just a guitar arpeggio and a voice taken from a radio broadcast... Then recitative vocals begin to declaim a long list of useless things as heavy drugs, light words, football matches, obsequious waiters, complete scores, human flies, counted hours... All things that you can do without!
“Avànt – grado” is an excellent long, complex track. The music begins calmly with a swirling flute and a dreamy atmosphere. The lyrics were inspired by the character of Peter I “The Great” Romanov. The title is a mix between the French word “avant-garde” and Leningrad, the Soviet name of Saint Petersburg. There is no judgement about the “modernist despotism” of Peter I but a reflection about “a revolution from above”, directed by the Tsar of Russia... “It’s the energy of desire for concreteness... The vanguard and the complete renovation of customs...”.
“In Aeternam Veritas” (The truth in the eternal) is a short, dreamy guitar instrumental that concludes a beautiful album. The re-release on CD features also as a bonus track the cover of “Meurglys III (The songwriter’s guild)”, originally recorded for a tribute album to Van Der Graaf Generator released by Mellow Records.
You can listen to the complete album HERE