Tuesday, 30 November 2021

VOICES IN THE HEAD

Mad Fellaz III is the third album by Mad Fellaz and was self-released in 2019 with a renewed line up featuring Paolo Busatto (electric and acoustic guitar), Marco Busatto (drums), Ruggero Burigo (electric guitar, electric sitar), Carlo Passuello (bass), Enrico Brunelli (electric and acoustic piano, synthesizers, Hammond organ, Mellotron), Rudy Zilio (flute, sax, synthesizers, backing vocals), Lorenzo Todesco (percussion) and Luca Brighi (lead and backing vocals) plus some guests such as Luca Ardini (sax), Davide Baratto (12 string acoustic guitar), Jacopo Mazzarolo (oboe), Mattia Marangon (French horn), Sergio Orso (violin), Louise Antonello (violin), Elena Ceccato (viola) and Rolando Moro (cello). During the recording sessions they were helped by producer Fabio Trentini (Moonbound, Le Orme) and the result is a rich, colourful and refined sound that emphasizes the skills of the musicians. In some way this work can be considered a concept album telling the story of a man who tries to fight against his madness. All the pieces follow a thread and the artwork by Marco Tosin could give a clue of its musical and lyrical content... 
 

The opener “Es / Frozen Side” starts by a frenzied instrumental section, then the mood becomes dark as the music and lyrics evoke the inner voices haunting the protagonist, invasive ghosts tormenting him, sneaking into his dreams in the frozen side of his brain. He can’t stand it any more, he tries to escape but there’s no way out, his inner demons want to take control of him and surround his consciousness suggesting to surrender with soothing words... All in all, madness is a friend!
 

The melancholic “Leaf” describes the protagonist wandering around like a leaf lost in the wind, a broken man waiting for his chance but with no master plan to escape... Then the following “Liquid Bliss” with its Latin rock influences and an electric guitar solo that could recall Santana conjures up subtle, diabolical temptations... Have a drink and relax! But alcohol addiction or the use of other chemical substances can’t save the protagonist from his inner ghosts...



Next comes “Fumes From The Ruins”, an excellent short instrumental track with a melancholic, dreamy atmosphere that leads to the folksy “Under These Clouds”, a beautiful piece that begins by a soft acoustic guitar arpeggio, then soaring vocals and a good flute work depict a growing inner emptiness that makes the protagonist cry and feel terribly bad... He’s stuck under grey clouds of sadness, his world seems nasty, he left behind his memories, he lost everything, and now there’s no one that can rescue him... 
 
The dramatic “Frost” begins with a mysterious mood and an Oriental flavour, then the pace accelerates as anger blurs the sight... The protagonist wants to escape but he can’t. A softer, dreamy middle section follows but the dream soon turns into nightmare and the rhythm rises again, faster and faster, he’s falling down, breaking down. When the rhythm calms down he realizes that we’re all passengers on a train that somebody calls life. Now he feels cold, he can’t tell anguish from happiness, all the bridges have been burnt and now he’s alone and cries his eyes out because he doesn’t want to die...
 
Mad Fellaz on stage, 2019

Sweet Silent Oblivion” starts by acoustic guitar and flute. The mood is dreamy, memories fade away. The protagonist got out of control, his mind opened to the evil waves and he was dragged down... Then the rhythm rises announcing a last desperate struggling to survive but a spectral marching beat leads to a finale where you can guess who the winner is... “Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win...” (quote from Stephen King, The Shining).
 
On the whole, a very good work!
 
You can listen to the complete album HERE

Mad Fellaz: Mad Fellaz III (2019). Other opinions:

Owen Davies: Whilst there is great variation on display in III, and many of the tunes have gratifying elements, the decision to combine exhilarating instrumental sections full of genre busting complexity, within what are essentially relatively straightforward vocal tunes does not always work fully. There were times when I felt that the vocal sections and melodies, which accompanied these sections, sounded unremarkable and in essence had traits, which identified them as just another prog band... (Read the complete review HERE)
 
More info:
 

Monday, 29 November 2021

IN THE COURT OF THE YELLOW KING

Jana Draka began life in Cosenza in 2014 on the initiative of Valerio Magli, inspired by bands such as Dream Theater, Tool, Gentle Giant, PFM, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Pink Floyd, Steven Wilson, Haken, King Crimson or Goblin. The first line up featured along with Valerio Magli (guitar) also Luigi Conte (drums), Lorenzo Cecchetti (bass) and Danilo Pantusa (guitar) later joined by Francesco Straface (piano, keyboards). They soon started to play live on the local scene and in 2016 recorded a demo EP entitled Introspection. Unfortunately, this first line up didn’t last long and in 2018 the only two remaining members, Vincenzo Magli and Danilo Pantusa, left their home city and decided to relocate in Rome recruiting new musicians to give form to their musical ideas. In 2019 the new line up featuring Valerio Magli (lead vocals, bass), Danilo Pantusa (guitar, backing vocals), Giorgio Belluscio (keyboards, backing vocals), Federico Aramini (piano, organ, keyboards) and Valentina D'Angelo (drums, percussion) digitally self-released an interesting full length debut album entitled Where The Journey Begins where all the musicians involved give their contribute with competence and passion.


 
The short opener, “Overture”, is a beautiful, classical inspired instrumental track for piano solo that leads to the introspective “Coming Home” that depicts a strange dream where the protagonist, following the call of his consciousness, begins an endless journey towards another dimension, beyond time and space, where the concept of reality crumbles leaving room to fading memories and distorted visions...

Next comes the disquieting “Salem”, a piece that was inspired by the stories of H.P. Lovecraft and by a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. It’s divided into two parts. In the first one we can hear the voice of a haughty, exalted bishop exorcising a witch and condemning her to the stake. Then it’s the turn of the witch (interpreted by the guest vocalist Sara Mun) who sings of ancient, unknown gods and of damned men that had the misfortune to read the Necronomicon... 
 

 
“The Outsider” is another dark track and was inspired by a H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name about a man who has been living alone in a castle for as long as he can remember and decides to break free in search of human contact and light. The music blends Gothic atmospheres and Pink Floyd echoes while the lyrics evoke cold and loneliness describing the walls of the castle and its empty rooms, a prison of solitude and sorrow...

The melancholic “A Gem’s Last Moment”, divided into two parts, is a heartfelt elegy for a brother who passed away too soon and a sad reflection about the force of destiny. Too often life can depend on the face of a coin tossed in the air... It leads to “Carcosa”, a piece inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ literary work, a piece that begins by narrative vocals reciting the "Cassilda's Song" from The King in Yellow, Act 1, Scene 2. Then the rhythm rises leading you into the storm, towards the mysterious city where satyrs dance and the Yellow King rules under a black tower...

Jana Draka, 2020
 
The long, complex “Limbo” is divided into three parts and starts by a delicate piano solo passage and soaring vocals that draw melancholic atmospheres filled with fading memories and painful regrets. Then, as the rhythm rises memories and regrets turn into a raging sense of sin and guilt for a broken relationship and its heavy burden of betrayed dreams...

The ethereal “Daydream” is an acoustic piece that deals with the spell of a charming song that leaves you speechless. Captured by its notes your mind takes off towards unknown, unearthly places where you can experience heavenly sensations and a deep feeling of inner peace...

The mysterious “Awaken” is another piece with a dark, epic atmosphere that seems coming out from the pages of H.P. Lovecraft. It evokes the advent of a new era that will break the seal of the illusionary sleep enveloping the humankind and let old terrible gods rise again and storm into our world through the crimson gates of a nightmare... Then the more reassuring notes of the piano solo “Notturno” end the album.


On the whole, a very interesting album although, in my opinion, it’s a real pity that the band did not exploit the resources of their native language for the lyrics. When they were still looking for a drummer they posted a video in memory of Francesco Di Giacomo with a BMS cover that really impressed me... Maybe next time!

You can listen to the complete album HERE

More info:
https://www.facebook.com/JanaDraka/




Sunday, 28 November 2021

THE FACTORY OF DREAMS

In 2005 Sergio Lattuada tried to reform Maxophone gathering his old bandmates. His effort led to the release of a CD plus DVD documenting the history of the band but it wasn’t until 2008 that Maxophone really came back to life thanks to the contribute of some new musicians that joined the old creative core of the band. The new course led to new compositions and in 2017 the band released an excellent album entitled La fabbrica delle nuvole on the independent label AMS Records with a line up featuring along with founder members Sergio Lattuada (piano, keyboards, vocals) and Alberto Ravasini (guitars, keyboards, lead vocals) the new entries Marco Tomasini (electric guitar, vocals), Marco Croci (bass, vocals) and Carlo Monti (drums, percussion, violin). For the lyrics, the band collaborated with the Bolognese poet Roberto Roversi, best known for his works with singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla in the seventies. Unfortunately, Roberto Roversi passed away in 2012, well before the album was completed... Anyway, the beautiful artwork, elaborated by Eugenio Crippa developing an idea of Alberto Ravasini, tries to depict musical and poetical content of this impressionistic work... 



The opener “Un ciclone sul Pacifico” (A typhoon on the Pacific) starts by a classical inspired first part, decadent and melodic, where an emotional typhoon begins to build up from a sea of dissatisfaction and disenchantment. Then words turn into water and wind, the rhythm rises and the music becomes more complex and frenzied. When the rage storms out, nobody can say what’s true any more, nobody can say what can break the wall... Nonetheless, those raging, forbidden words are the words of the future!

Next comes “Perdo il colore blu” (I’m loosing the blue colour) that every now and again reminds me of PFM. It begins with a frenzied rhythm and describes the feelings of a man who dives into a busy life as an antidote to the poisonous consequences of a broken relationship, a man who works to forget...


 
“Il passo delle ore” (The pace of hours) is a melodic piece that underlines the importance of finding the right partner to share your time and your decisions. Those who have the bad chance to be lonely like stones are condemned to climb an endless stairway to the moon...

Then it’s the turn of “La fabbrica delle nuvole” (The factory of the clouds), a magnificent instrumental track that starts with the pace of a gentle giant in a glass house. Try to imagine a factory producing dreams and expectations through words and notes and listen to the sound of its cogs and wheels...

“La luna e la lepre” (The moon and the hare) is a beautiful track with a medieval atmosphere and excellent harmony vocals. It tells the story of a hare that was charged by the moon to bring a message to humanity... Unfortunately, the hare forgot the words of the moon and delivered a wrong message provoking sadness, shadows and ice...


 
The bitter-sweet “Estate ‘41” (Summer ‘41) evokes the image of two lives on the border. Dreams falls down and a magma of memories throws stones into a fragile heart... And yet, there’s still time to listen to strange sounds, the beating of the drums seems like the voice of screaming giants. The war is raging outside, it’s a difficult time for two lovers but their kisses are able sweep off all the words and the sense of distress...

The following “Nel fiume dei giorni i tuoi capelli” (In the river of days your hair) opens softly. It’s as if the arms of a clock would start to go back in time seeking for the memories of lost summer days, as in a hypnotic trance. Then the music becomes bolder and Gentle Giant could come to mind again while the notes begin to play hide and seek over a sea of a thousand words...

Maxophone, 2011

 
“Il matto e l’aquilone” (The madman and the kite) starts by a classical guitar intro, then the music goes through many changes in mood and rhythm while the lyrics conjure up the image of a madman in love who lives inside his desires and dreams to take off like a kite in the midst of a thousand colours and powerful sounds of thunders and bells. For him, life is just a flight beyond the sun, in total freedom...

The closer “Le parole che non vi ho detto” (The words I haven’t told you) is a melancholic song led by piano and violin where regrets pour down like rain on a man who’s thinking of the words he would say to his parents if he could meet them again...

On the whole, an excellent blend of poetry and challenging music and a great album that grows spin after spin.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

Maxophone: La fabbrica delle nuvole (2017). Other opinions:
Michael “Aussie-Byrd-Brother”: While it can't possibly live up to the status that the popular 1975 debut enjoys, `La Fabbrica delle Nuvole's strength lies in the fact that it's a real grower that impresses more and more with every listen. It's an eclectic, colourful and tastefully performed comeback with plenty to recommend about it, and another example that no country delivers better and more rewarding modern prog albums from older acts than Italy. Lovers of Maxophone and Italian prog fans in general should end up having a terrific time with this unexpectedly vital, highly surprising and greatly inspired work... (Read the complete review HERE)

More info:

Saturday, 27 November 2021

FROM THE VAULTS

Maxophone's From Cocoon To Butterfly is a special deluxe box set including a CD with 10 vintage tracks recovered from out-takes and alternate demo material from 1973-1976 plus a DVD with live footage from a 1976 concert at the RAI studios in Turin. The booklet is very rich and includes old pictures of the band, a complete biography and detailed information about the content of the CD and DVD (in Italian and English). 
 


All the recordings on the CD have been carefully remastered but even a good remastering can't perform miracles when the sources are demos or home-made recordings... Nonetheless you can find here four very interesting tracks never appeared before. Particularly good are the opening track "Kaleidophonia", a long instrumental where the band showcase their great musicianship blending classical influences and jazz, and "Dadaida". Both tracks had been composed for a second album that was never completed and, although they're just demos, the recording quality is good. "L'isola" and "Il lago delle ninfee" are two good tracks that didn't find room on their 1975 eponymous album and it's a pity that the sound quality of the original tapes was so poor... The other six tracks are just alternative versions (sung in English) of material originally released on their aforementioned 1975 eponynous album.
 


The DVD footage was professionally filmed by Italian TV in 1976 and there’s also a bonus video track of the re-formed Maxophone in 2005, playing one live track at Radio Popolare studios in Milano, an instrumental version of "Mercanti di pazzie". The DVD also includes bonus features such as interviews with all the members of the band (an English translation is available). The quality of the video is really good. Maxophone were one of the most interesting "one shot bands" of the Italian progressive scene in the Seventies. As you can read on the booklet, "Maxophone's first and only album matured over the years like a bottle of expensive wine, becoming exquisite in taste and has gradually gained prestige". This work is complementary to that album and its aim is to give you a full overview of the band's activity... If you like Maxophone this could be an excellent addition to your prog collection.

Friday, 26 November 2021

NOCTURNAL FIREFILIES

 After Locanda delle Fate’s split up in 1980, the band’s keyboardist Michele Conta completed his medical studies and focused his energies on his career of physician. Anyway, his passion for music didn’t die and after a long time he pulled out of the drawer some of the pieces he composed during the years and gave a definite shape to his sketches with the help of sound engineer and arranger Simone Lampedone and guitarist Ermanno Brignolo. After a long, passionate work in 2019 he finally released a solo album, entitled Endless Nights, on the independent label AMS Records. Along with Michele Conta (piano, keyboards) and Ermanno Brignolo (guitars, vocals) the recording sessions involved many guest musicians such as Max Arminchiardi (guitar), Gianni Branca (drums), Gavin Harrison (drums), Lele Melotti (drums), Segio Pescara (drums), Gianni Cicogna (bass), Effe Quartet (strings) and Leonard Plumbini (cello). The result is absolutely worth listening to...
 

The instrumental opener “E’ nell’aria” (It’s in the air) begins by the sound of a storm in the background and a dynamic piano solo passage, then the other instruments come in bringing a change in rhythm and atmosphere. It’s an excellent piece that mixes frenzied, heavy electric guitar riffs with calmer, dreamy sections dominated by piano and keyboards and that could recall the old pieces of Locanda delle Fate with an updated sound...


With You On The Walk Of My Life” is a calm, romantic track featuring English lyrics about the importance of a long lasting relationship and the good luck you have finding someone who can help you in times of trouble, support your dreams or simply hug you when you come back home. It’s another track that recalls Locanda delle Fate but the vocals in my opinion are not completely up to the task... Then it’s the turn of the dreamy “Notte infinita” (Endless night), another excellent instrumental track that alternates delicate, relaxed atmospheres with more livelier moments and soaring keyboards flights... 
 

The following “Growin’ Up” takes us back to the times of Locanda delle Fate. In fact, this is a new version of an old track of the band, “Crescendo”, that was not included in the 1977 album Forse le lucciole non si amano più and was not officially recorded in studio until 2012. The lyrics deal with the passion for rock music and the experience of being part of a band... In a rehearsal room the notes of the instruments are like atoms moving in a perfect chaos that match, crash and collide providing an incredible energy. Unfortunately, again the vocal parts sung in English are not up to the beauty of the music and I miss Leonardo Sasso’s operatic exuberance.


The reflective, melodic “In riva al mondo” (On the shore of the world) starts by a sound of church bells, the nocturnal atmosphere is calm. The music and lyrics (in Italian) evoke visions and memories inspired by the view of a sleepy city from the window of a room, in the middle of the night... 
 
Michele Conta, 2019

Fiori nascosti” (Hidden flowers) ends the album alternating a first part characterized by a soft, mellow mood with a more varied second part where there are sudden surges of rhythm and joyful flights of notes. The short vocal part (in English) invites you to look around and start searching for the beautiful things that are so close to you but the hectic rhythm of live can hide from your sight... You’d better find them before it’s too late!


On the whole, a good work with a strong nostalgic vein.

 

You can listen to the complete album HERE

 
Michele Conta: Endless Nights (2019). Other opinions:
Nick Hudson: Conta has given us a lush, symphonic album deliciously reminiscent of the classic days of ‘70s Italian prog, without sounding stale or dated, and allows the other players on his album room and space to elevate this beyond the stereotypical keyboard album... (Read the complete review HERE)

More info:

 

Thursday, 25 November 2021

FIREFLIES FOREVER

 Lucciole per sempre, along with The Missing Fireflies from 2012, is a good complement to the band’s 1977 masterpiece Forse le lucciole non si amano più and could be considered a celebration of their career. In fact, this CD plus DVD features two brand new tracks recorded in studio by the last line up, five tracks taken from a 1977 live show recorded in the studios of the Italian National TV and four tracks taken from a 1974 concert (the DVD includes only the videos shot for the two unreleased pieces and the complete video from the TV show). The album was released on the independent label AMS Records in three different versions: the first option is the standard edition, consisting of a tri-panel gate-fold support containing a CD, a DVD and a 64-page booklet full of vintage pictures and excerpts from Luciano Boero’s book Prati di lucciole per sempre (with an English translation); the second option is a super-limited deluxe edition that, in a vinyl-size box, contains the standard CD plus DVD and booklet set, a white-coloured gatefold cover LP, a certificate of authenticity and an exclusive signed copy of the original promotional 1977 poster with the photograph here used on the cover and originally appeared in the 1977 LP sleeve; the third option consists in a simple gate-fold cover LP edition, on black 180gr. vinyl.



The album opens with the new compositions. The first one, “Mediterraneo”, is a beautiful track with some ethnic flavours inspired by the Mediterranean sea and by the efforts that men have to endure to overcome the raging force of the waves when the weather is bad and by the peace that its beauty could give when the weather is calm. The second one, “Intro - Lettera di un viaggiatore” (Letter from a traveller) is another excellent track, this time inspired by the character of Cristoforo Colombo. Here the band imagined a love letter sent by the famous explorer to the Queen of Spain...
 

Then it’s the turn of the historic pieces taken from the 1977 TV broadcast. The sound quality is good enough and we have the chance to watch and listen to the heartfelt live versions of “Forse le lucciole non si amano più”, “Profumo di colla bianca”, “Sogno di Estunno”, “Non chiudere a chiave le stelle” and “La giostra” (the last one not included in the 1977 album and officially released only in 2012 on the album The Missing Fireflies)

 

The last four tracks were poorly recorded in 1974 and, in my opinion, can be appreciated only for their historical relevance. The first one, “Ti penserò con tenerezza” is a cover of Gentle Giant’s “Think Of Me With Kindness” but with Italian lyrics. Then other three covers follow, “Nothing At All” (Gentle Giant), “Appena un po’” (PFM) and “Bambina sbagliata” (Formula Tre).

On the whole, a perfect item for Italianprog collectors with a wonderful packaging and a lot of great music.

 
You can listen to the complete album HERE
 
More info:


Wednesday, 24 November 2021

REFLUX

 Quinto Stato is the third studio album by Arti e Mestieri and was released in 1979 on the independent label Cramps Records with a renewed line up featuring Furio Chirico (drums), Marco Gallesi (bass), Marco Cimino (piano, synth, clavinet, Moog - former member of bands such as Errata Corrige and Esagono), Claudio Monafia (guitar, flute, vocals) plus the contribute of the guests Gigi Venegoni (guitar), Rudy Passuello (lead vocals, bassoon), Arturo Vitale (sax), Gigi Fregapane (vocals), Gino Torni (vocals) and Flavio Boltro (trumpet). The overall sound is more straightforward than in the past blending jazz-rock and committed lyrics and every now and again this work could recall the seventies albums released on the Cramps label by artists such as Eugenio Finardi or Alberto Camerini...
 

The caustic opener “Quinto Stato (emarginato)” (Fifth State – Outcast) tells the misadventures of a musician falling into marginalisation in a time of ideological crisis, called in Italy riflusso, characterized by the betrayal of the ideals of the seventies, swept up by problems such as drug addiction, unemployment, corruption or criminality... The title refers to a famous tableau by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, made in 1901 and representing the Fourth State assuming class awareness and marching together, a well-known symbol for progressive and socialist causes. In this sense, the Fifth State of the title is located on a lower level and the protagonist feels like an outcast without hope...

Next comes “Vicolo” (Alley), a nice instrumental track featuring slapping bass lines and soaring synth melodies that leads to the following “Arterio (sclerosi)”, a venomous ranting against the Italian political class of the time, here described as an incompetent gerontocracy clinging on power and crowded with hunchbacks and dwarves...

Next comes “Torino nella mente” (Turin in the mind) that closes the first side of the LP. It’s a calm piece that could recall Perigeo with a good flute work that contrasts with the pulsing rhythm section. It paints with its notes the hazy urban landscape of an industrial, busy city that is not without charm and beauty...

 


Side B opens with “Mercato” (Market), a beautiful track with a vein of suffused melancholy and a pinch of exoticism. Here vocals are used just as an instrument and the relaxed atmosphere could be the perfect background for some scenes from a seventies film shot in the streets of an Italian city...

Then it’s the turn of “D’essay”, an ironic track that tells of a police raid in an art-house cinema... A genial film about alienation and social crises, ten spectators in all for the premiere. When the police arrive all of them are searched, one hides a joint and complains... Well, it’s just another ordinary evening of urban commitment!

Then the short, dynamic “Arti” (Arts) leads to the last track, “Sui tetti” (On the roofs). Here vocals are used as an instrument again to give colour to a relaxed jazzy piece where melancholic sax notes seem flying over a sleeping city that wants to dream on...

On the whole, a good album performed by a skilled group of musicians but not an outstanding one.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

Arti e Mestieri: Quinto Stato (1979). Other opinions:
Peter Thelen: Chirico is still there, but original keyboardist Beppe Crovella and violinist Giovanni Vigliar are nowhere to be found, and original guitarist Venegoni only guests on a couple tracks. As a result, their sound morphed into a more streamlined and funky jazz-fusion style, losing some of its early delicacy. In addition, new singer Rudy Passuello has a far more aggressive delivery and dominates the music on the tracks where he sings. Four of the album's eight tracks are purely instrumental, and on those the band still shines brilliantly, even though it's in the new style. In short, this isn't a bad album, but it doesn't live up to the standard set by their first two... (Read the complete review HERE)


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

TOMORROW WALTZ

After a good live activity, supporting bands like PFM and even Gentle Giant, in 1975 Arti & Mestieri released their second album “Giro di valzer per domani”. The line-up, along with founder members Furio Chirico (drums), Beppe Crovella (keyboards, piano, mellotron, Hammond), Gigi Venegoni (guitar), Giovanni Vigliar (violin, percussion, vocals), Marco Gallesi (bass) and Arturo Vitale (sax, clarinet, vibraphone), here features a new member, vocalist Gianfranco Gaza, from another band from Turin, Procession. Despite the presence of a lead singer the weight of instrumental tracks prevails over committed lyrics and vocal parts. The music is in the same vein as the previous album, delivering an original, perfectly balanced twining of jazz, rock, classical music and folk.

 

The opener “Valzer per domani” (Waltz for tomorrow) is a light, joyful instrumental. Furio Chirico’s drumming is brilliant while the melodic lines played by the violin seem to bring some gusts of optimism.

Mirafiori” is more complex. It begins softly with delicate melodic lines, then the rhythm takes off backing a following frenzied violin solo. Changes in rhythm and frenetic solos seem to depict a very busy place... Mirafiori is the name of the Turin district where there is the most important car factory in Italy, Fiat Mirafiori, a symbol of the industrialization of the whole country.

On “Saper sentire” (Knowing how to feel) you can listen for the first time on this album to Gianfranco Gaza’s voice. It’s a nervous, introspective track inviting you to avoid the venomous spells of consumerism and trust your feelings... “Why are you crying if I’m here with you? / If you look for me / You will find me inside you... Just a few people know what a man is now / But there are many people who can easily feel it...”.

 


Nove lune prima” (Nine moons before), “Mescal”, “Mescalero” and “Nove lune dopo” (Nine moons after) are closely linked together and form an exciting instrumental suite featuring sudden changes in mood and rhythm. The titles could suggest a spaghetti western setting, featuring Indians and cowboys and the cavalry charging... Well the music here is very different from an Ennio Morricone soundtrack but the band showcase great personality and musicianship, so you can imagine what you want while listening to this wonderful flow of notes!

Dimensione Terra” (Dimension Earth) is a short instrumental featuring tense drumming and catchy sax patterns that leads to the committed “Aria pesante” (Heavy air) where the desire to change the world and rage shape a dreamy atmosphere turning into a nightmare... “Yesterday you were dreaming to set the city on fire and hang all the inhabitants / Today you wake up and, you know / It’s sad when you realize that you have no fire and that they have put a rope around your neck...”. The heavy air of the years of lead!

Three short instrumentals follow, forming an evocative, dreamy suite, the ethereal, nocturnal “Consapevolezza parte 1” (Awareness part 1), the joyful, wild “Sagra” (Feast) and “Consapevolezza parte 2” (Awareness part 2), a short reprise of part one. 

 
The bitter-sweet “Rinuncia” (Renouncement), is piece about the generation gap that is structured as a dialog between parents and son. The vocals feature Eugenio Finardi (albeit not credited) who in 1975 released his debut album on Cramps Records, the same label as Arti & Mestieri and Area. “The dreams that were born some years ago are now like trees broken by the weather / Time slipped out from us and we are not children but fathers now...”.

Next comes “Marilyn” an instrumental that begins with a delicate piano pattern, then sax and drums help stir the flow of the music. The last track “Terminal” is another excellent short instrumental where violin and vibraphone perfectly interact with the other instruments. On the whole an excellent album...

 
 
You can listen to the complete album HERE


Arti e Mestieri: Giro di valzer per domani (1975). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: For me personally the music is at times too busy and this is why I give a higher rating to something like Esagono, who may not have quite the chops of this band but arguably provide more emotionally satisfying music. "Giro" can be a simply exhausting listen that rarely gives the listener a chance for a breather - of course I realize this is a plus for many of you... (Read the complete review HERE)


Monday, 22 November 2021

LAST MIRAGE

Mad Crayon began life in the mid eighties in Genzano, a town near Rome. They took inspiration by the progressive rock of the seventies and recorded a first demo with original compositions in 1992. In 1994 the band recorded and managed to release on the independent label Cygnus Records their debut album, Ultimo miraggio, with a line up featuring Daniele Agostinelli (keyboards), Luca Cleri (guitar), Alessandro Di Benedetti (piano, synthesizers), Stefano Fabiani (drums) and Daniele Vitalone (bass). It’s a concept album revolving around the problematic love story between the daughter of the moon and the son of the sun and where the main musical influences come from Genesis or neo-prog bands such as Marillion. The beautiful, oneiric art work by Walter Mac Mazzieri (best known for his art covers for Le Orme) in some way depicts the subject matter...
 

The opener “Lost In Years” sets the atmosphere. In a world not very far from here lived two lovers... The music and words depict a world where love and friendship are forbidden and where, because of the feelings that the two lovers have for each other, she is condemned by the mighty, cruel king to go back in time and to come to life again to purify her sin while he has to raise her as her father and to get old prematurely...

The following “Dance Of Puppets” starts by a frenzied passage describing the lively dance of two puppets on stage. Then the rhythm slackens, the puppets get tired to dance and a veil of melancholy falls down. For them it’s time to run away, far from the crowd and the city lights... But when the rhythm rises we know that tomorrow the dance of the puppets will start again and that the marionettes will play their role once more time.

The short, dreamy “Fiore di Luna” (Moonflower) is a delicate lullaby sung (in Italian) by the son of the sun to the daughter of the moon that now is sleeping and taking off on a ship directed up to the sky, under sun... He can’t forget her!


 
The sparkling “Running Child” is an instrumental track that begins with a spacey intro and then goes on mixing the energy of rock with classical influences ranging from Bach to Mozart’s Turkish March. It leads to the following “Rapids To The Distant Sea” that tells in music and words (again in English) of a desperate, metaphorical fight against the sea and of a breathless run against the tide...

Next comes “I giardini di Zoe” (Zoe’s gardens) where after a classical guitar incipit the music and lyrics (this time in Italian) conjure up the image of the peaceful, hidden enchanted garden where the lovers used to meet each other defying the authority...

The long, complex “Ultimo miraggio” (Last mirage) starts softly, with a melancholic mood, while the music and words (in Italian) deliver a heartfelt complaint against an adverse destiny. The night is like a shield for the silence and everything freezes in the heart of a man who’s longing for a paradise where his dreams would turn into reality. His lover is just a mirage now... Then “Persa nel tempo” (Lost in time) closes the album with a reprise of the first track (with a different arrangement and this time sung in Italian), painting with vivid strokes of colour a dream that is now imprisoned in a beautiful tableau...

On the whole, a good album although the vocal parts are not always up to the task and the idea of switching the lyrics from English to Italian and vice versa could make it difficult to follow the storyline.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

Mad Crayon: Ultimo miraggio (1994). Other opinions:
Mike McLatchey: At times, I find it to be too lyrically overloaded, yet I'm sure would be more effective with more of a balance. It’s their instrumental capability that takes these guys over the edge. At times they are breathtaking, with classical melodies played at a frenetic pace - harmonically complex and emotionally moving. In all truth, this is a very good debut... (Read the complete review HERE)

More info:

Sunday, 21 November 2021

AN INFERNAL METAMORPHOSIS

Metamorfosi’s second album was a “concept” inspired by the first part of the famous Dante Alighieri’s poem “La Divina Commedia” that describes an imaginary journey of the poet through Hell where he meets the best known sinners of his time. It was released in 1973 with a line-up featuring Davide “Jimmy” Spitaleri (lead vocals, flute), Enrico Olivieri (keyboards, flute, vocals), Roberto Turbitosi (bass, vocals) and Gianluca Herygers (drums, percussion). Well, on their album “Inferno” (Hell) Metamorfosi do not try to merely transpose the poetry of Dante Alighieri in music. They rather try to tell their own imaginary journey through hell describing in music and lyrics the pains of “modern sinners” like drug pushers, Mafiosi, exploiters, members of KKK etc...


On the opener “Introduzione” the sound of organ and the inspired vocals of Davide “Jimmy” Spitaleri draw a gloomy landscape... “Flowers without colour grow on the ruins of ancient cities / Sad trees stretch to the sky branches corroded by time...”. Then a keyboard-driven “infernal tarantella” (that every now and again reminds me slightly of PFM’s “E’ festa”) leads through a “Selva oscura” (Dark forest) to “Porta dell’Inferno” (Hell’s Gate) where organ and vocals warn you: “Leave all hopes, you who enter / Damned souls, you will suffer in heat and freeze!”.

Then the rhythm rises again for the meeting with the wicked “Caronte” (Charon), the demon with “eyes of fire in the dark”, and with the first damned, a drug pusher (“Spacciatore di droga”) haunted by his victims... “Now that you swear out of anger and pain / You, drug pusher, are going to cry / You will serve time in the hardest darkness / Where you can’t have the illusions that you used to give... Spent eyes are looking for you in the void / Junkies of a world without reality / How many times they had suffered because of your greed! / But now it is not with money that you have to pay...”. Dramatic moods in all the tracks, bound together with great energy (though on this album there’s little room for guitars) and remarkable musicianship...


After the break of “Terremoto” (Earthquake), the rhythm calms down for the passage in “Limbo”, just before the meeting with the “lovers of vice and pleasure”, the “Lussuriosi” (Lusters). This track, that closes side A, seems more ironic than dramatic and in my opinion this is the weakest point of the album.

Side B begins with “Avari” (Misers), a short track about the meeting with a miser and greedy damned soul that slightly recalls musically PFM’s “Impressioni di settembre” with keyboards leading the instrumental refrain... “I have never prayed / Money was my God / And I will have to pay here... How many times did you take pleasure seeing people fall down? / You were blind and you must pay...”.

The following, more complex “Violenti” (Violent souls) is about the meeting with a murderer in a “Mafia vendetta”. “Red the blood flows among the paths where life is fragile / It was a scorching sunny day in August when his life vanished / He fell, shot down because he had betrayed you / He was found with a stone in his mouth in that field of orange trees / After two days the whole village followed the funeral / A crowd walks slowly following an altar of death / A woman cries, left to fight alone in silence / Black is the veil on her face, covering two tears of pain...”. One of the best moments of the album that melts into the dark landscape of “Malebolge”, the “Black jails of crying”...


After the meeting with the “Sfruttatori” (Exploiters), condemned to sink in a sea of sweat because they took away the harvest of the peasants with the arms of the law, there’s the meeting with the “Razzisti” (Racists), members of the Ku Klux Klan... “You have despised a man to make him your slave / In the cotton fields more bent is his back / Work nigger! Sweat! Cry! Die!... Masked men, sect of damned / Pinned to these crosses now you burn!”. The music is powerful with many changes in rhythm, theatrical vocals and no room for boredom...

In the instrumental “Fossa dei Giganti” there is a little break when on a simple line of bass the keyboards just suggest the anthems of the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. When the album was released it was the time of the “Cold war” and of the fear of the atomic bomb... Next comes “Lucifero (Politicanti)”. For many people politicians seemed to be representatives of Evil playing with the World, so it was normal to find them in Hell freezing forever in the sea... “Gentlemen presidents, with your politics you have woven every deceit and betrayed the ideal of man... And my blood freezes thinking of our Hell...”. The fear melts into the sweet, delicate conclusion that marks the end of the journey (or of the nightmare if you prefer). “And then we could see the stars again...”.

On the whole “Inferno” is definitely a good album though with some ingenuity. To be honest, sometimes I miss the sound of the guitar here but there is a good interaction between all the other instruments and the keyboards work is really outstanding.

From the book Rock Progressivo Italiano: An Introduction To Italian Progressive Rock

You can listen to the complete album HERE
 
Metamorfosi: Inferno (1973). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: I enjoy "Inferno" for the uniqueness of its sound more than the music itself. It may not be a 5-star masterpiece to me but it has a sound like few other albums. Dark and mysterious. An overwhelming presence of keyboards with a very stately and strangely disconcerting sound. You often feel trapped or like you are lost in some maze and that's probably the exact feeling they wanted you to have given the subject matter. Very tight drumming with a canned or confined sound contributes to this. Add this to the dramatic vocal pronouncements and low key guitar presence and you have the recipe for something different... (Read the complete revie HERE)







Saturday, 20 November 2021

ON THE SIXTH DAY

Metamorfosi began life in Rome in 1969 when Sicilian vocalist Davide “Jimmy” Spitaleri teamed up with the musicians of I Frammenti, a group specialized in the beat masses, a music genre typical of those years, characterized by associating texts with religious themes to beat music and to be performed during the new Catholic liturgy post Second Vatican Council. In 1972 the band released their first album, entitled ...E fu il sesto giorno, on the Vedette label with a line up featuring along with Davide “Jimmy” Spitaleri (lead vocals, flute) and main composer Enrico Olivieri (vocals, organ, harpsichord, piano, flute, synthesizers) also Roberto Turbitosi (vocals, bass), Mario Natali (drums, percussion) and Luciano Tamburro (guitars). It’s an album that marks the passage from simple beat music to more complex, classical inspired structures but still bound to the song form.


The opener “Il sesto giorno” (The sixth day) starts softly, by delicate flute notes on organ chords while you can hear the sound of the sea waves in the background. Then warm, operatic vocals evoke the creation of Man according to the Book of Genesis and the rhythm section begins to pulse describing the banishment of humanity from Eden. As the years passed by fate carved into time the vanity of men and a thirst for science troubled their mind and made them ignore their own reality... Well, in these dramatic times of pandemia and climate changes it’s a piece that keeps all its relevance.

The following “...E lui amava i fiori” (And he loved flowers) tells in music and words a fable where a peaceful man meets the personification of war, prime minister of evil on Earth. But in this fable there’s a happy end, love is stronger than evil and the seeds of hate would not sprout in the garden of peace...

The long, dramatic “Crepuscolo” (Dusk) ends the first side of the LP and is a harsh critic to the hypocrisy and selfishness of many Christians. It is my favourite piece on this album and begins by a lively marching beat... Then the music and lyrics conjure up the image of a starving busker, a man in need ignored by the crowd. The passers by can hear his songs and prayers but nobody helps him. And yet, Jesus lives in him and in every famishing man or child... “I am cold and hungry and a man walking by looks at me / He smiles, then says something in someone else's ear / Words, only words / My fingers freeze on the old fretboard / They make a last effort / But the guitar falls down...”.


 
“Hiroshima”, as you can guess, is a song about the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city during World World II by an American aircraft. Here the music is still rooted in the sixties while the lyrics deal with regret, painful memories and the cathartic power of repentance and forgiveness...

“Nuova luce” (New light) is a nice song of hope full of positive energy where the shining light of love shows the way and darkness becomes synonym of pain. Only a new life can heal the pain for the loss of a man... A new light, a new love, a new life... This piece features good vocal harmonies and the atmosphere in some moments is almost mystical.

“Sogno e realtà” (Dream and reality) is another light song rooted in the sixties. It’s a kind of lullaby for a little child who still believes in fairy tales crowded with dragons, fairies and enchanted dolls. The experience of a lifetime could cancel the memories of the dreams from the childhood, so he has better keep on sleeping peacefully while he still can...

The joyful, catchy “Inno di gloria” (Hymn of glory) ends the album and is linked to the past experiences of the band with the beat masses. Praising glory to the Lord, glory to Life and glory to Love, it could be a good choice as a song for a modern church service...

On the whole, a work with some ups and downs that deserves a try.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

Metamorfosi: ...E fu il sesto giorno (1972). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: Their second album "Inferno" is considered an RPI classic by many but this debut album is often overlooked. This is unfortunate because the album is very respectable and one of those fascinating bridge albums where you can hear the "metamorphosis" to progressive rock occurring right before you ears... A good transitional album of the subgenre, but again, not fully realized from a progressive perspective... (Read the complete review HERE)
Michael “Aussie-Byrd-Brother”: While understandably it doesn't share close to the status and reputation that `Inferno' enjoys, this is still a well performed and enjoyable rock/pop album, where at least half the compositions are really quite intelligent and gently daring, and two or three pieces approach genuine greatness. If you've got a healthy set of the true landmark vintage Italian discs and are looking to expand your collection with some of the more unimportant yet perfectly worthwhile titles, `E Fu Il Sesto Giorno' certainly falls under that category. It captures that moment when many Italian bands were just beginning to explore the limits of their music, presenting very respectable experimental rock/pop albums brimming with promise and the exciting potential to come... (Read the complete review HERE)
 

Friday, 19 November 2021

SPLENDID ISOLATION

Opra Mediterranea come from Empoli and took form in 2010 on the initiative of musicians previously involved in other projects who teamed up following their common passion for progressive rock. They soon started working on original compositions but it wasn’t until 2019 that they finally managed to self-release their interesting debut album entitled Isole with a consolidated line up featuring Michael Aiosa (piano, keyboards, synth), Mattia Braghero (vocals, harmonica), Federico Ferrara (electric and acoustic guitar), Manuele Mecca (drums, percussion) and Lorenzo Morelli (bass) plus the guests Francesca Della Vecchia (backing vocals), Francesco Pipia and Marco Giampieretti (who both contributed to the intermezzo on the title track with sound effects). It’s a fine conceptual work dealing with solitude and incommunicability that blends melody, complex musical structures and poetry in a very effective way. According to the liner notes, “We are the islands, agglomerations of experiences and memories stuck into the sea. Navigating in sight of the archipelago of relationships, in an alienating everyday life, that same space that seems to keep us apart binds us irremediably”. The artwork, taken from a picture by Katrin Korfmann, tries to express the concept in a visual form...


The opener “Lettera” (Letter) starts by strummed acoustic guitar and soaring synth sounds then the soaring vocals begin to paint images of dusty urban labyrinths in a cosmos of electric shocks, pulsations and sexual impulses... It’s the world where lives a man who browses the skies and reattaches the tesserae of a mosaic picked up on the street, a man who is an island wherever he goes carrying his burden of dreams and discomfort... The music and the poetical lyrics draw emotional landscapes where the survival instinct might show you a way out from chaos and invite you to listen to the others, to speak the language of soul and to dig the bottom of your humanity to reach the deepest sense of Love...

Then the dramatic “Marionetta” (Marionette) conjures up the image of a solitary puppet hanging by an invisible and motionless thread and looking for another reality... The music starts softly, as if the puppet was waking up from a long sleep. He’s alive and wonders who he is the maker of the false world that surrounds him, who is moving his muscles and destroying him like a synthetic dizziness... The tension rises, the rhythm becomes heavier as the marionette realizes he’s just the slave of an emotional void, the chrysalis of a man without imagination. He will never know who the architect is, where the world runs or if hell is comfortable. But something overcomes the din and floods his soul, something burns in his veins now. He screams, tears off his chains and breaks through... It’s never too late, you have to switch off the power and connect your soul to the heart to be free...
 


A delicate acoustic guitar passage introduce the following “Numeri primi” (Prime numbers), a bittersweet piece that deals with a problematic relationship between a man and a woman... Two twin souls trapped by fate into unknown bodies, two parallel lines, two solitudes divided by the wall of normality. Step after step they get closer and closer but are never able to reach each other... This track was inspired by Paolo Giordano’s novel La solitudine dei numeri primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers) that narrates the childhood and early adulthood of a boy and girl whose relationship is compared to prime numbers: always together, but never touching.

The long, complex “Isole” (Islands) paints in music and poetry a desperate tableau of alienation and solitude where a man is portrayed like a wreck in the mess of his room, in front of his flat screen world where there’s no time nor space. He’s like an island lost in the middle of the sea while from the screen a diabolical voice snakes out suggesting that the island where he’s stranded is just an idea. The voice is trying to sell him a new universal logic with a thousand gadgets, the eye on the screen is like a cynical passepartout, there’s no place to escape. The protagonist is overwhelmed by advertising... Litres of fake sea to give out to the beggars or a pinch of America to have more fun... His island is like the final destination of an endless journey, beyond the boundaries of time and identity where even loneliness is clouded by a freezing inner void...

Opra Mediterranea, 2019

The introspective “Oceano Mare” (Ocean Sea) was inspired by a 1993 novel by the Italian writer Alessandro Baricco of the same title that tells about the lives of a group of people gathered at a remote seaside hotel. The music and words evoke memories coming back from the past in front of the sea while the music alternate dreamy melodic passage to harder parts. Your thoughts can fly free on the surface of an infinite sea, but they could drown as well...

The closer, “Fammenti di una via distesa tra la terra e il mare” (Fragments of a road stretching between the land and the sea), recalls PFM and invites you to follow a hypnotic path across a nightmarish world fallen to pieces where men experience reality as if it were a video game by accumulating points and where happiness is being able to earn more than you spend... The music and words evoke the fragmented, distorted images of a dream and the faint reflections of lost memories. Time is running away as a strange music falls down from the sky like snow covering the city... At last the sound of an alarm clock and the echo of the bells of a distant church resound in the air and you can open your eyes...

On the whole, a wonderful work that grows spin after spin.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

More info:


Thursday, 18 November 2021

ONE IN ALL

In 1974, after Osanna's split up, former members Danilo Rustici (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Elio D'Anna (sax, flute) teamed up with a drummer from Forlì, Enzo Vallicelli, and formed a new band called Uno. The only album they left to posterity was their eponymous work, recorded in London, in the same studios of Pink Floyd, and released on the Fonit Cetra label...

 
Osanna’s ghost here seem to be “hanging on a nail” (just to quote a verse from the lyrics of the album) while the members of the band are trying to overcome their past, but the result, in my opinion, is not convincing at all. I find that the song-writing is almost awkward in some points (for instance "Popular Girl" is a R & B track that suddenly turns into a "tarantella", but the passage from one part to another is too abrupt and it sounds unnatural to my ears) and too much derivative. There are many influences coming from The Beatles (like on the sweet, dreamy "Stay With Me" and on the first part of "Goodbye Friend") and heavy "echoes" coming from "the dark side of the moon" (like in "Uno nel tutto", after a first "R'n'R section, or in the "Goodbye Friend" finale), but the result is a kind of clumsy patchwork featuring rather weak vocals.


The best track (and, in my opinion, the only really good one on this album) is "I cani e la volpe" (The dogs and the fox), a melancholic ballad featuring lyrics telling of some boys who are trying to escape from a world that has gone mad and is full of violence. Here they are compared to a fox hunted by barking dogs that are screaming all their rage against the life... "Right Place" and "Uomo come gli altri" are not bad and closer to Osanna's sound but can’t “save the match”...


On the whole, an album that might be recommended only to Osanna's die-hard fans...

You can listen to the complete album HERE

In 1974 the first album by Uno wasn’t successful and, consequently, the members of the band parted ways soon after it was released. Nonetheless not all of this experience was negative and so, after many years...

Uno nel Tutto, 2021

In 2021 drummer Enzo Vallicelli gathered around him a new line up under the name Uno nel Tutto, and featuring besides him also Enrico Gabrielli (winds, keyboards, vocals - from Calibro 35), Roberto Dellera (bass, lead vocals - from The Winstons) and Stefano Pilia (guitars - from Italian indie rock band Afterhours),. Teir aim was to revisit and perform Uno’s old repertoire for a concert at the Ravenna Festival. In my opinion, the new line up, based in Romagna, sound even better than the original one and successfully revitalized and improved the old stuff. I hope they’ll go on... Have a try! You can watch the complete concert HERE.

More info:

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

THE DEVIL'S VIOLINIST

Paganini Experience, the third studio album after the new millennium reunion by Latte e Miele, was released in 2019 on the independent label Black Widow Records. Since in the band there are no founder members left, it was wisely released under the name Lattemiele 2.0 with a line up featuring along with historic members Massimo Gori (bass, guitar, vocals) and Luciano Poltini (piano, organ, keyboards, backing vocals) the fresh energies of Elena Aiello (violin) and Marco Biggi (drums, percussion). What they deliver here is a concept album inspired by Genoese composer and virtuoso Niccolò Paganini where you can find a really good blend of classical influences and progressive rock in the best Italian tradition from the seventies but with an updated sound quality. The excellent art work and the graphic project of the rich, colourful booklet by Gino Andrea Carosini and Marco Mastroianni help to understand the concept...


The beautiful opener “Inno” (Hymn) starts by a violin solo passage, then the keyboards and the rhythm section take over for an adventurous, fantasy ride. According to the liner notes, this is a hymn to the music that doesn’t know limits of space, time nor genre and in the meantime a way to pay homage to the late Keith Emerson who passed away in the days when this piece was composed.

The soft, melancholic “Via del Colle” evokes bitter-sweet memories from Paganini’s childhood and conjures up his ghost complaining about the greediness of the businessmen who demolished the house where he was born. In fact, the title of this piece refers to a street in Genoa located in the Molo district, an area that in the early seventies of the twentieth century was subject to demolitions that affected also the native house of the famous musician (portrayed in the booklet).

 
“L’ora delle tenebre” (The hour of darkness) starts with a flamboyant piano solo pattern, then organ and rhythm section bring a change of atmosphere. This piece depicts a city at dusk, when darkness falls down like a web upon streets and houses. It’s the hour of the lost souls but also a time of secret rites and obscure symbolism on the border between good and evil... The music and lyrics here refer to the diabolic aura that surrounded Paganini but also to his devotion to art and music and to his links with Freemasonry, an influential semi-secret force in Italian politics that promoted universal values.

Inspired by Paganini’s music, “Cantabile 2019” is a dreamy instrumental track featuring the elaborated harmony vocals of the Genoese vocal group Clusters and their perfect interaction with the violin lines. Every now and again it could recall the New Trolls from Concerto Grosso...


The nocturnal “Porto di notte” (Port by night) describes a walk under the moonlight through the narrow alleys of Genoa port district. The ships seem like monstrous, silent giants with their white sails resting in the port, sheltered from the blowing winds. A lantern shines like a distant star showing the way to thirsty sailors, artists, gamblers and other people looking for fun. Under that light, in a hazy tavern you can find alcohol drinks and unashamed ballerinas ready to heat your night as the fog of the port hugs you like a mother hugs her child. Maybe it’s right here that you’ll meet a damned artist like Paganini...

The short instrumental “Charlotte” is a dreamy, romantic piece that refers to a famous Paganini’s love affair with a young singer, Charlotte Watson, a romance that was also narrated in The Devil's Violinist, a 2013 film directed by Bernard Rose and starring David Garrett and Jared Harris... Anyway, here there’s nothing but the beautiful music to suggest the plot.
 

“Danza di luce” (Dance of light) is another excellent instrumental track divided into two movimenti. According to the liner notes, it draws a kind of winding path leading from the solemnity of a cathedral to an imaginary jam session between Paganini and a rock band. It includes some variations on Paganini’s Capriccio N. 24 and a contribute of the guest musician Aldo De Scalzi (from Picchio dal Pozzo).

“Angel” is a cover of a piece by Jimi Hendrix and was included on the album to mark the parallelism between the extravagant violin virtuoso and the famous guitar hero. Of course, in Latte e Miele’s version the role of violin is prominent, but you can always imagine a duet between the two stars...
 

The last track, “Cantabile 1835”, is a piece by Paganini for solo piano and violin interpreted by Elena Aiello in perfect classical style, as close as possible to the way the maestro would have played it in his times...

On the whole, a beautiful album full of classical contaminations...

You can listen to the complete album HERE
 
More info: