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Mindflower - Mindfloater CD (album) cover

MINDFLOATER

Mindflower

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.51 | 5 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Little known modern day Italian gem

Mindflower is an Italian band with English-language lyrics featuring Fabio Antonelli on guitar, Fabrizio Defacqz on keys and vocals, Alberto Callegari on bass, Micaela Gotelli, vocals, and Corrado Bertonazzi on drums. Stylistically the band visits many avenues. There is traditional prog along with neo-prog, rock sections, and pastoral gentle soundscapes. While they have their own unique sound, if I had to make comparisons to some others I would mention Renaissance, Gabriel, Oldfield, Willowglass, and early Ragnarok (Sweden). But they are not a clone of anyone, trust me.

The music is really unique sounding, magical, spacious, and intriguing. There are long gentle acoustic interludes, passages with acoustic guitar and piano together, with soft dreamy vocals. There are sections that are quite rocking, with heavy distortion laden guitars chugging away to nice heavy bass and good inspired drumming. I love the occasional use of strange, less common chords. There are smartly employed keyboards which add color and texture without taking over the sound. All of the musicians are good players who are tasteful without being flashy, though the drummer does occasionally awe me with some great fills. Most importantly is a complete lack of respect for formula and convention-bravo! They throw everything at you in a really intimate, patient manner. You never know what to expect from the next part and it's always going to change to something interesting. Some people will say this means lack of focus or consistency, I say it's people brimming with so many ideas they can't contain themselves, and I find it really charming on this particular album. This is one album where time just flies by very fast when I play it meaning that it never bores me.

The five part "Magic Riddle Suite" clocks in around 20 minutes and takes up the middle part of the album. The piece is a musical fairy tale that is as grandiose and delightful as you hope it might be, weaving together waves of soft acoustic guitars, vocals, piano that build up to rocking parts with electric guitar, synths, and drums. They really conjure up a world you can kick back and get lost in, in the finest tradition of the long-winded prog epics.

Addressing one problem, a reviewer at a different prog site complained that the vocals on Mindfloater were somewhat poor but I don't agree. I think at first listen they may seem average and not as commanding/dramatic as other bands, perhaps too hesitant. But after many listens I have ended up growing quite fond of the vocals, the male vocals occasionally remind me of early Gabriel and the female vocals are fragile and sweet.

The closing track "In a Lightbox" is another delicious track. The drumming is off on its own as a solo instrument, off in the background doing a rhythmic ambient thing. Gentle synths are welling up before a melodic line creeps slowly into the picture around 3 minutes. Then Micaela gently sings "Gimme your hand.don't leave me alone.I feel like a dead stone.I wanna be alive." and the pastoral ending fades away. Be sure to give it a few spins before forming an opinion, it's an esoteric beauty that may not make itself apparent to you at first.

Their CD booklet and artwork are delightfully whimsical, a style which appeals to me very much. Both high-minded and childlike the drawings feature peaceful countryside views with vibrant other-worldly colors. All of the starry-eyed lyrics are also included featuring stories of Gnome elders, magic, yearning, and the eternal quest for that better place just beyond the hill. Recommended for hopeless romantics, fairy-tale/fantasy prog fans and whimsy fans of all ages. More Mindflower is coming in the future I've been assured, so do check out their two albums and Fabio Antonelli's solo album "The Art of Dreams in a Little Bottle." All are available from Mellow Records. I can't wait to hear where they go in the future.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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