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Festa Mobile - Diario Di Viaggio Della Festa Mobile CD (album) cover


Festa Mobile


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.98 | 106 ratings

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4 stars Festa Mobile were a band from Rome that vanished after releasing one album in the early 70s, though some of the members later surfaced in another group called Il Baricentro. Festa was another band of brothers, the Boccuzzi brothers, one whom played keyboards and other played guitar. Little else is known about this mysterious group and their story so hopefully they will come forward and give their history in the future. When I first started playing this album I noticed it had a quite different sound and feel than many of the other classic period Italian albums I've heard. At first listen it sounds less well-rounded and more one-dimensional with the primary focus on rumbling and fast paced piano runs and drumming, while the guitars, vocals, and other things seemed more an afterthought. It was offputting a bit but I stuck with it and now enjoy the strange hybrid jazzy jamming and unique sound. The remastered version features punchy, loud sound and also well-defined separation. Piano and percussion seem to be the leaders of the album but I now notice the other elements as well: tasty lead guitar licks, bass played like a lead instrument, and good vocals.

Diario begins with "La Corte di Hon" and its fast and furious piano runs rolling back and forth from one speaker to the other, good headphone stuff. After a minute or so the drums and bass kick in followed by the vocals. The fast pace continues throughout as the electric guitar begins with some riffs followed by a good lead part up against what is almost metal style drumming although not quite as fast or brutal. The song fades out rather abruptly leaving an underdeveloped feel. "Canto" begins with all instruments playing to themselves almost in a free-jazz state. Eventually the drums pick up a beat and pull everyone else along. This is a bit slower but not much with a shuffle style beat. The vocals are decent and won't offend anyone although they are certainly not the best you'll ever hear. This album is for people who like piano, elec guitar, and a forefront drummer who really leads the action for much of the album. Don't expect any flutes or acoustic guitars-if there are any that I missed they are very scarce. It ends like it began with everyone dropping the rhythm and just playing freely their own thing. "Aristea" jumps out of the gate almost without an introduction, just right into the fast lane with a quick beat and raunchy guitar. The beat stops quickly for some noodling and then launches into a more grandiose symphonic section with a nice melodic vocal against a slower backdrop of piano, bass, and drums. I believe I hear some mellotron coming through along with harpsichord followed by some great soaring lead guitar and feisty bass. They really love abusing the stereo pans sometimes perhaps a bit more than they need to. Another quick fade ending which some people will not approve of! "Ljalja" puts the keys to the back for a spell as the lead guitar and bass come forward more with some very expressive playing. They actually get a little grittier sounding on this one as the song alternates between a harder sounding guitar section and a lighter section with a nice vocal and bass. This one actually has a decent structured ending that sounds like it was actually planned! "Ritorno" is the final track and just a longer, more adventurous version of what you've heard so far. They throw some spacey effects and vocal harmonies into the mix and there are more breaks in the fast paces for sections that feel reflective and open. Interesting to be sure. This is far from my favorite Italian album but I'm mostly pleased with its quirks and rather bold non-conformist sound. I've read reviews saying they sound like PFM and Banco but I don't think too much. Perhaps in certain moments but overall their album has its own vibe.

Conrad Leviston from 'Ground and Sky' notes "A lot of their songwriting seems to revolve around rapid, repetitive piano figures. Some of the repetition is so precise that I suspect a little bit of technical assistance involving recording tape. The overall effect of this is surprisingly good, lending a frenetic air to the first track in particular. The band seems to have cast their net wide for influences. Apart from the unsurprising similarity to the Italian romantic progressive scene, there are also moments of jazz inspiration, as well as contemporary American popular music. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that there are few obvious parallels with the English bands of the time." [Conrad Leviston] Because Diario carves out its own unique sound that mimics no one they do deserve credit for this progressive trait. It's a very unusual album that I'd recommend to Italian fans and also drummers who enjoy hearing a distinctly different style of playing. Also perhaps good for jazz/symph piano nuts. If you only want a few Italian titles in your collection I would not recommend this one as there are better choices for a more conventional and rounded "Italian experience." But for anyone looking for a unique mostly-instrumental frenzy you might enjoy this too. 3 .

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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