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Picchio Dal Pozzo - Pic_nic'@'Valdapozzo CD (album) cover


Picchio Dal Pozzo


Canterbury Scene

3.46 | 33 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The fact that this album features not only new material by Picchio dal Pozzo but also incorporates posthumous parts by legendary Area frontman Dimitrio Stratos should be enough to spur the fans of either or both ensembles into action, but here are this reviewer's thoughts on a rather special disc.

If PdP's self-titled showed their canterbury side and "Abbiamo Tutti..." was their RIO-inspired album, then Picnic at Valdapozzo could be said to be their avant-soundscape album, for the atmosphere is chill (as opposed to chilled) and ghostly, appropriate enough for a CD that captures Mr. Stratos' remarkable utterances - no singing, just constant experimental babbling, whispers and fuzzed-out chanting from beyond the grave. Sparse, minimal jazz provides a steady foundation, fronted of course by the signature saxophone play but backed with brushed drums and chiming, tuned percussion. Guitars don't play much of a role here, although muted plucking and harmonic twiddlings can be discerned in places and Mr. Griguolo does get to converse with Lugo's romantic saxophony during "Pugni Chiusi". Each musician is primarly contributing taste and incidence; when the question of structure is broached they reliably change the subject until "Boccasedrio", at which time a groove around vibes and bass forms (becoming comparable to the less immediate works of Jaga Jazzist) where, peculiarly, Mr. Stratos' voice alternates between dalek-speak and a baffling human reverse-cymbal effect. Strange but true.

To segue between the album's acts (not defined as such, but here's where Dimitrio's role ends) a short, poignant song entitled "Epitaffio" (this reviewer's italian is appalling but the gesture here is obvious) serves as a bridge into the improv section of "Picnic"; the extended closer "Valdapozzo" is dedicated in name to the farmhouse-turned-studio in which the album was recorded, and the proceedings are very tasteful and relaxed - each player gets a "room" to himself and explores his instrument. As ever, this being a PdP album, the saxophone steals the show.

Although much album space is alloted for texture and mood, this well-judged release never drops into drone or indistinguishable avant-garde flutterings on the edge of hearing - even so, a little patience when listening to Picnic at Valdapozzo will be rewarded. Giving this disc the five full stars would overstate its prog content and its worthiness compared to the previous three albums. Still, you don't have to be a completist to pick this up after you own "Camere Zimmer Rooms" - it stands up well as a testament to the enduring talent of these musicians, as well as that of a certain artist who, sadly, didn't endure for quite as long as we'd hoped.

laplace | 4/5 |


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