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Daal - Dodecahedron CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.04 | 286 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The fourth DAAL album from 2012, `Dodecahedron', sees this talented Italian band take their varied compositions to the grandest heights possible, resulting in their most richly detailed and defining musical statement to date. Despite hailing from Italy, DAAL, or rather the two main musicians Alfio Costa (with an army of vintage and modern keyboards, check the detailed list above!) and Davide Guidoni (all manner of acoustic and electronic drums/percussion), rarely compose in the style of traditional Italian progressive rock (although this one has more of those moments that previously), instead favouring a varied mix of very modern sounding dark electronics, classical sophistication and avant-garde experimentalism, all soaked in oceans of the grand ol' Mellotron. The duo have also recruited guest players from numerous other Italian bands such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, The Watch, Hostsonaten, Soulengine, Trama, Tilion and Archangel to achieve their ambitions with this work.

Despite being fully instrumental, each of the twelve tracks here are represented by a mix of stories or poems, not only written by the two main musicians, but also from submitted pieces by fans of the band and elsewhere. Generally of a darkly supernatural quality (this is also highlighted by the uncomfortably occult themed artwork on the album cover and inside the CD sleeve), the words offer the duo ample opportunity to present their eerie soundtracks, and, taken as a continuous whole, the work seamlessly moves through a wide range of shifting moods, emotions and atmospheres. Other reviewers such as Andrea have already offered a definitive look at this project relating to the words of the various poems and stories provided, so I'll mostly focus instead on the music, especially considering it's a purely instrumental work.

`Bianco' opens with an howling distorted wail, truly the sound of a soul in torment, and the music that follows perfectly captures the words of solitude offered in the CD booklet. A gently maddening storm of flute and saxophone from Banco's Alessandro Papotto, pitchy electronics and spooky piano is contrasted with almost an heroic or victorious Mellotron theme over purposeful drumming that King Crimson and Anekdoten fans will quickly love. `Sclerotics Days' is mostly a grand extended slide guitar solo from Ettore Salati in the proud David Gilmour tradition over glorious intimidating Mellotron, highly emotional and overwhelming. `La Suora Nera' is a brooding heavy stop/start guitar stomper that offers some more strangled Crimson menace, but also steps a little closer to traditional Italian prog with moments of classically inspired violin, somber piano and militaristic drumming. Some spiraling Moog solos almost give little moments a Rick Wakeman touch as well. `La Bambola di Lana' is a sorrowful tale of children who have lost their parents and the form that death manifests itself as, it's presented as a spectral waltz, full of drowsy drumming, reflective cello and ghostly piano that frequently brings an R.I.O flavour.

The moody ambient jazz of `L'Ultimo Incontro' features an increasingly desperate and suffocating clarinet solo from Alessandro until Mellotron's cut their way through to bring a slightly malevolent quality. Despite another grand Pink Floyd inspired electric guitar solo in the finale, the title track is a droning ambient middle-eastern flavoured desert-blown flute and electronic experiment that reminds me of a more successful marriage of the different styles that Agitation Free attempted to mixed results on their `Second' album. Guest harpist Vincenzo Zitello has a standout moment on `La Torre', a delicate medieval flavoured acoustic interlude (with hints of Andreas Vollenweider), while `Bambino e il Sogno' is a dreamy and disorientating electronic sound-collage that creates a very hypnotic mood, almost like something off Gong's `You', with some nice thick bass work from Roberto Aiolfi of Tilion.

After a couple of those more sedate and thoughtful pieces, the relentless space-rocker `I Can Not Let Go' kicks back to life with swirling electronics, scratchy Mellotron and searing violin. `The Moon Is Pale Tonight' returns us to the earth, a sweetly gentle yet melancholic jazzy come-down with sublime saxophone playing again from Papotto. The next two pieces are especially a showcase for violinist Sylvia Trabucco. The experimental `I Left For Home' is a vioin-led lonely gothic lament, with subtle use of Mellotron, metallic looped effects and a variety of repetitive percussion to wear the listener down. The classical album closer `Il Padre Vedevo Distante' is a sorrowful piano and violin-led epic that almost takes on a glorious orchestral majesty, with Moog soloing full of longing, regimented drumming and what feels like a slab of Mellotron bearing down on the listener with a stalking wicked glee.

Make sure to give this album a listen on a good pair of headphones to get a better idea of the depth of Alfio and Davide's playing and the clarity of their compositions. Each album from the pair sees them revealing new qualities, and despite being over 70 minutes in length, there's not a filler track to be found, each piece successfully creating a mood that stays with the listener long after the disc has ended. No doubt, `Dodecahedron' is truly sumptuous, and without question, it's the most complex, intricate and sophisticated work to date from the Italian duo. Where they go from here will be hugely thrilling to discover.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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