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La Curva Di Lesmo - La Curva Di Lesmo CD (album) cover

LA CURVA DI LESMO

La Curva Di Lesmo

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.84 | 97 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Fabio Zuffanti is Italy's answer to Steve Wilson, a gifted musician, composer and mentor whose creative engine was probably built at Maranello, hometown of the Ferrari automobile, even though he was born in Genoa. His lists of achievements is extensive and his latest project is this Curva di Lesmo , in partnership with the sensational keyboardist Stefano Agnini of La Coscienza di Zeno (CdZ) fame , a band that has become a serious RPI front-runner with three delicious offerings of their own. The goal here was to go back in time when PFM, Banco, Le Orme and many others were revolutionizing rock music in Italy and do a fine retro album loaded with sizzling keyboard wizardry, and bringing in a multitude of guests from a variety of bands, such as singers Max Manfredi of Latte di Miele, Jenny Sorrenti of Saint-Just, who steals the show here and the incredible multi-octave lungs of Claudio Milano of Nickelodeon legend. Other noteworthy names are Boris Valle (Finisterre) and Luca Scherani (Hostsonaten) on keyboards, the terrific drumming of Andrea Orlando (CdZ and Finisterre) and the sublime guitar of Laura Marsano (La Maschera di Cera, Zuffanti, Hostsonaten)on electric and Fabio Gremo on acoustic, he of La CdZ repute. Edmondo Romano appears once again on flute.

Three tracks only but big developed ones where everything is thrown into the mix, creating a complex brew of sounds and textures that will need multiple listens to sink in. The material is based on a famed Italian comic book icon Guido Crepax (you have to love that name!), a 60s comic book series that was quite popular in Italy at the time. Contrary to some who dislike everything about this release, the modern elements added here are supremely entertaining and give the clear production a lot of depth, furthermore the vocals are completely sensational, especially the manner in which Jenny Sorrenti wails like no tomorrow , allied with Manfredi and Milano's convincing deliveries. This is how modern RPI is meant to sound, intensely dense and yet nostalgic, deeply melodic and theatrical, which is a true definition of what makes Italian prog so unique. Overblown, ya think? Have you ever been to Italy? They invented overblown, in everything they attempt!

An opening 8 minute + track introduces both the lovely voice of Beatrice Antolini along with sweeping mellotron strings, a steady drum beat and heavenly melodies, "La Posa Dei Morti" serves as a fine introduction to the theatrical characteristics that Make RPI so special, tons of twists and turns with a plethora of instruments being thrown into the ring (electric guitar, organ, synths, bass), whipped up into a divine frenzy , only to slowly ebb and subside into pastoral gentleness.

The tremendous "L'Isola Delle Lacrime" raises the running time to 17 minutes and change, featuring a more delicate insertion of electronic beats, sweltering synths, flute interventions, technical drumming and an outright Gothic mood that rekindles images of Goblin as well another Zuffanti project, the devilish "L'Ombre delle Sera" but the true highlight is Max Manfredi's initial growl as well as Jenny Sorrenti's inspirational vocal performance, one of the finest to ever grace an RPI album, lush with passion, flair, power and a heady does of sultriness. The tricky beat picks up steam as the slithering violin makes its catty foray into the mix, resonating synths careening in the background add dimension and expanse. When the two vocalists join in unison, the art moves into operatic territory, sobbing violins and suave flute act as cast and crew. Sorrenti hits some high notes that defy description, a tour de force as she wails upward and onward, like a mad woman gone bonkers. Oh my! Manfredi is no slouch when the spotlight shines on him, giving a very Italian folk song recital that emotes thoroughly, Luca Scherani doing nice things on the accordion. Zuffanti shows up on bass and programming, altering the arrangement into a much more modern affair, with recited words adding to the thrill, summoning marshaling drums and an insistent organ to propel the piece into another realm.

The final chapter is the colossal 26 minute and 20 second "Ho Rischiato di Vivere", a multi-part symphony that tackles a rather difficult vocal score, handled brilliantly by the sensational Claudio Milano, whose multi-octave voice also can deliver snarls, growls, screeches and yelps. He is aided by another more 'conventional' vocalist Matteo Merli, as well as German narration by Analogy's Jutta Nienhaus Taylor. Sorrenti also throws in her high pitched wail. Truly fabulous vocal work! Boris Valle plays a sombre piano throughout, deeply melancholic and somewhat abstract. Silvia Trabucco has a violin that shrieks mightily. This is a modern opera that veers into a full blown prog discourse, rocking with full bore passion and unrestrained determination. Laura Marsano does a James Bond 'You Only Live Twice' riff that is shockingly appropriate, before Fabio Gremo's acoustic guitar slides the arrangement back to a whispered menace. The theme is then muscled onwards with unabashed drive, pummeling beat that underlines a nearly psychotic score that shows to be intense and choppy, monstrous and urgent. The Bond-like theme is now fueled by massive choirs and sweeping synths, elevated by a series of gorgeous vocals, a perfect foil for some Marsano guitar pyrotechnics and a tectonic, crescendo-laden finale.

Now, I do not care much for the black and white artwork, even though I understand its part of the retro 60s concept, but the shimmering melodies and the antsy deliveries make this a truly desirable slice of modern RPI.

5 artistic master plans

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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