Monday, 23 January 2023


In 2008 Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno, one of the many one shot bands of the Italian progressive scene of the early seventies, came to life again on the initiative of singer and guitarist Luciano Regoli and in 2010 they released a new album on the independent label BTF, “Il pittore volante” (The flying painter). Along with Luciano Regoli the line-up on this work features the veterans Roberto Gardin (bass, guitar), Nanni Civitenga (bass, guitar, keyboards), Walter Martino (drums) and some prestigious guest musicians as Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli, Lino Vairetti, Nicola Di Staso, Maurizio Pariotti and Carl Verheyen to name just a few. Anyway “Il pittore volante” is mainly the brainchild of Luciano Regoli who wrote the music and lyrics and conceived it as a concept album inspired by a book of the same title, a kind of travelogue that he wrote and published some years ago and that he dedicated to the late Iginio Gonni, a painter and a friend, who died in 2003. The basic idea was that of an old painter who flies and looks at his life from above. In the booklet you can find not only the lyrics but also a picture for every piece painted by Luciano Regoli himself. As for the music, the overall sound is not stuck in the seventies and in this work you can perceive even metal influences along with a more typical Italian progressive style. Well, during the nineties Luciano Regoli had been a member of the prog metal band DGM and he doesn’t disown this experience...

The opener “Il cambiamento” (The change) tells of a spiritual metamorphosis. It starts softly with a mystical atmosphere, then hard guitar riffs and harmonica introduce the change... “It happened in those days / Something revolted inside me / Fast as a blizzard... Alone in that room I fell asleep / Dark dreams / Alone in that room I woke up in discomfort... Ah! I was changing and I didn’t want it / But I was coming to life again / Yes! I was coming to life again...”.

“Il vecchio” (The old man) begins with a piano solo introduction. It’s a tense, melancholic track depicting the meeting with an old friend who has just had a stroke... “They had cut off his hair / That old madman was trudging up the hill / Marked by the paralysis that had darkened his mind, his limbs, his fingers / I remember him just a few months before / Enormous, disdainful, with a magnificent beard...They had cut off his hair...”.

“Il fuoco” (The fire) features a duet with sweet, dreamy female vocals and an ethereal, suggestive nocturnal atmosphere. The lyrics and music depict fire as a metaphor of fear before a natural impending event, a fire burning false fairy tales, pains, fears, desires and thoughts... “The night was over there, in front of me / Some rocks were burning / Above me gentle wings were flying away / They were flying high, they moved the air with a dull noise / So I followed them, with the light behind my shoulders / Towards dark clouds...”.

“Eagle Mountain” is a long, complex track that tells about a journey through the desert in North America. A good acoustic guitar intro by Nicola Di Staso (former member of Libra and in the line-up of Daemonia) leads to new horizons and spectacular panoramas where two friends enjoy the quiet, strange atmosphere of the desert until, in the middle of a magnificent, silent landscape, they find an old truck. There’s a sudden change in mood. The truck stands still but the engine is running, the driver is naked and... dead! “He let us stare at him while the night was falling in us / The day after in a café people were whispering about him / But the air was clear / We went out / I switched the engine on...”.

“La mente” (The mind) features a dark, nervous mood. It’s a kind of dive into madness and the lyrics draw images that seem to come from a Stephen King novel. An enormous wasp trying to enter the room, an agoraphobic scene in the subway... “My God! What is happening to me? I’m alone, with my only enemy / I’m alone, with my ego...”.

“L’uomo nuovo” (The new man) is another beautiful track. It was arranged by Claudio Simonetti and it seems conceived as a thriller score. It is about fear, the fear that a man has to overcome to reach knowledge... “At the beginning of the tunnel, under the subway / That noise of water running, under the subway tunnel / I paid attention but I couldn’t understand the origin of that noise...”.

“Le anime” (The souls) features a slow pace and a haunting mood. It depicts a nocturnal landscape. It’s midnight on Elba Island and while the protagonist walks back home along a narrow street he can see the people that used to live there when he was a child and that now are nothing but shadows... “They can’t see me / But I recognize them all...”.

“Raoul” is set in Paris. It’s a complex piece that starts as a strange mix of hard rock and Italian melody (a particular blend between Aerosmith and Quartetto Cetra I dare say), then the rhythm calms down and the atmosphere becomes dramatic. The music and lyrics depict a drunken clochard that’s sleeping under cardboard... “What made him still appear as a man was just a name / That name tattooed on his wrist / Only that name, Raoul...”.

“La spiaggia” (The beach) is set in Portugal. It’s an amazing short ballad featuring a swirling flute and a vocal style that could recall the Italian minstrel Angelo Branduardi. It tells of a strange meeting on a solitary beach on the Atlantic Ocean with a threatening sea that seems like dog on a chain, desperately barking because it couldn’t go any further, blocked by the high cliffs... “I felt as if I couldn’t breathe on the beach / The rocks behind me and the thundering sea in front of me / All night long with that dull noise...”. A good finale for an excellent album.

From Rock Progressivo Italiano: An introduction to Italian Progressive Rock
You can listen to the complete album HERE
La Nuova Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno: Il pittore volante (2010). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: A well rounded album which perhaps could be accused of trying to put too many ingredients in one dish, but I'm sure that some of these ideas have been percolating for years and restraint/minimalist considerations were not among the goals of the project. Thank goodness for that, as musical extroversion is usually put to great effect by RPI bands! "Il Pittore Volante" offers great variety, superb musicianship, and gorgeous packaging/artwork. This is one of the most interesting releases of 2010 and should make some end of year lists... (read the complete review HERE)

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