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Gruppo D'alternativa - Ipotesi CD (album) cover


Gruppo D'alternativa



3.51 | 31 ratings

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3 stars Proto-RIO indeed

BJ-1 makes a great observation that this band may well have been a pioneer to the RIO sound although they have other sides to their musical personality. GdA is another odd band on the early side of the classic Italian period. Hailing from Milan the band evolved from two 60s Italian groups called I Tipi and Gli Asceti. Once the line-up was ready the band prepared material for their one-shot on Harvest Records. The plan was to openly reject the popular Symphonic prog of the day and instead experiment with rock, jazz, classical, and the avant-garde. Semi-conceptual in form, the album features two long suites with good lyrics about the difficult life of a close friend of the band, his search for Utopian possibilities, and his tragic demise. The result is an album that is in the esoteric, experimental music camp and could be compared in spirit to bands like Saint Just, Stormy Six, Pholas Dactylus, Paese dei Balocchi, and Area though of course they don't sound exactly like anyone else.

"Ipotesi" has something of an "all over the map" structure, loose, free-in-spirit approach. On the one hand you have the stock rock elements of bass/drums/electric guitar. A second part of the sound is a free-jazz which some claim is Canterbury influenced. There is an acoustic element of guitar, piano, bassoon, and flute that cross pollinate the rock and jazz mix. There is organ and Italian vocals which give the album just a little bit of the traditional ISP feel but not much. The various styles and sections change often enough to interest the adventurous listeners while remaining accessible enough for those turned off by the very difficult or dissonant. The sound is not unfriendly at all even sporting the occasional groove or moment of pastoral beauty. The sound quality is a bit dank to be sure and the musicians themselves suffer a bit from the production, my hunch is that they are not bad players but that they probably had less studio time available than the Floyd clocked for bathroom breaks in a given session. notes that "musically the band is competent and the album reveals some jazz-rock influences in the Canterbury vein (listen to some jazzy guitar parts or the use of bassoon). Acoustic parts are prevalent but there are sudden rhythm changes and complex arrangements and the album can be a nice surprise." I love how rather than following the typical linear song structures and seeing them through to the end of the track, the band will simply try something.stop.starting another idea right in the middle of something else. "Infanzia" is a good example moving from an organ/flute opening to frantic piano runs and finally to a melodic pastoral section of acoustic guitar, flute, and vocal. There is a streak of creative anarchy and irreverence running throughout Ipotesi that should be your clearest indication as to whether you should buy this. If you enjoy the odd and the irreverent you should own this one eventually. If you prefer your prog more polished and concerned about appealing to the many then you can probably skip this.

While the band got some good reviews and were offered a chance at a second album (with more label oversight) and even a supporting gig for Deep Purple, they chose instead to split. My feeling is that this band was probably not interested in artistic compromise at all. One member, Leonardo Dosso, would later record two albums with RIO legends Stormy Six. While "Ipotesi" is admittedly not an album that will have wide mainstream prog appeal it is one that should interest RIO fans, Italian Prog fans, and experimental band fans. The album is one of those growers than I appreciate far more after many listens than I did after my first few plays. The Italian mini re-issue is the usual delicious gatefold with rare photos and nice Bio in both Italian and English. They know how to treat their customers. There's no way I'd trade these delightful re-issues for some lame download-record companies take note-there are still a few of us left when you offer products like these. 7/10

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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