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Consorzio Acqua Potabile - Robin Delle Stelle CD (album) cover

ROBIN DELLE STELLE

Consorzio Acqua Potabile

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.72 | 36 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars The magical wonderland of "Robin delle Stelle" (Robin of the Stars) is a wholly original example of the much vaunted and still very much vibrant Italian school of progressive. In fact, CAP are a bit the Italian Marillion, as they forged on in those troubling early 80s when punk, new wave and disco conspired through the corporate music media to assassinate the progressive icons of the 70s (who then were forced into prostituting their craft into pop idioms: "Love Beach" & "Follow Me, Follow You" says it all). CAP had launched their initial masterpiece "Nei Gorghi del Tempo" in 1983 and returned in 1998 with this striking work, a total progressive package with lush artwork loaded with Breughel reproductions, sterling production and masterful pieces well anchored in the classical prog mould, where fertile arrangements are chock full of massive dual keyboards, incisive dual guitar attacks, first rate Italian language vocals and some truly inspired material. CAP are not a bunch of ego-crazed professionals but rather fan-musicians who chose career paths in various business trades that forced them to make music out of desire and not greed. This generosity is clearly reflected in the genuine feeling emanating from the grooves. The 14 minute "Signori del Tempo" opens the proceedings with their trademark dizzying orchestral bombast, full of pleading operatic vocal work from the amazing Maurizio Mercandino, rousing organ, synthesizer and piano work, crunchy guitar underpinnings and sudden contrasting serene passages courtesy of leader Maurizio Venegoni's midi-powered wind instruments ( particularly a booming trumpet sound that is his signature). The alternating fury and calm is intoxicating, keeping the listener constantly on the knife's edge, breathlessly awaiting the next salvo with obvious nods and winks to the prog greats as well as the strong Italian classical-folk song tradition. The title track is another 13 minute powerhouse, with a decidedly spacier theme, wind blown atmospherics building into a stop-start extravaganza with a massive hook, bombastic keys setting sparks galore until the glorious main melody kicks in, Merchandino's crying plea begging to be heard and then a subtle piano motif that takes it all to the stars as the massive choir mellotron sweeps in an upward crescendo that is jaw dropping intense. Fiery symphonic prog this is, my friends. A soft lull is only brief respite until a slide guitar coloring reboots the piece with some Celtic riffing, grandiose vocal work and finally a soprano wailing voice effect that is chillingly uplifting (again similar to Floyd's "Great Gig in the Sky") that introduces the simply magnificent 11 minute "Lontana Lucia", a piano-choir synth- led melody with a vocal aria to die for, an instantly engrossing slice of musical splendor. It is soon redirected by a medieval flute/bagpipe mid-section before exploding into a full fledged main theme upgrade (level two) , abetted by organ, guitar and full rhythm section alliances, slowly expanding in emotion until the surging orchestrations kick the theme to a third level. The vocal effort is simply spell binding and this piece is arguably one of prog's finest moments with a bombastic coda that oozes passion, with electric guitars underlining the main theme in counterpoint with the keyboards. Applause... "Soli sull'Olimpo" is an 18 minute romp that prefers pointing the spotlight on the various symphonic attributes this band has so much of, where complex piano colorations blend with organ darts, romping guitar phrasings and delicate Midi-fueled wind flurries that add a jazzy tinge to all the sympho-operatic melodrama. Masters of contrast, a series of sizzling synth solos set fire to the whole thing and testy guitar flights put them out, back and forth until the Olympic fire licks its last flame. This prized disc ends on a title track extended reprise "Robin.again" which, as promised, reintroduces that sparkling main theme for a last hurrah. A supremely suave vocal aria revives all the previous highpoints, in a more relaxed, less controlled bubble, giving even more expanse to that monstrous mind numbing chorus. Only a smooth band like CAP can end this masterpiece with a tingling "a capella" coda. From all my endless drooling, I think you can guess how many Stelles this is getting. Non sono pazzo! Cinque.
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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