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Semiramis - Dedicato a Frazz CD (album) cover

DEDICATO A FRAZZ

Semiramis

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.01 | 206 ratings

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LinusW
Special Collaborator
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Never judge solely on appearance, for beyond the ugly face that stares at you with a mix of smugness and surprise, await one of the most rewarding releases ever to come out of the Italian musical hotbed.

Take some of Osanna's frantic, lacking-in-respect asylum-RPI with their peculiar love for sudden changes in tempo and style, some of PFM's acoustic sensibility and the usual keyboard lushness (and fondness for unique sounds from those instruments) of the sub-genre to get a feeling of roughly how this record sounds, only to later sit through the surprise of how unique this record feels. Refreshingly daring and imaginative, it may take a few spins before you can start to enjoy the music, rather than just study and observe its components.

One album is all we got from Semiramis, but it is a lasting legacy after all. Not just because it is masterfully performed music, but also because of the fact that the composition and playing is all in the hands of guys in their mid-late teens. And while instrumental prowess sure is impressive, the most meriting about Dedicato A Frazz is that it always feel like a unique piece of work, with the skills being applied on - and with the help of - own ideas and joyous creativity. With that come focus, confidence and natural energy of a very contagious sort, guaranteed to grab you, even if it ultimately fails to hook you. It's just so youthful!

In many ways a guitar-oriented album (and still not!), with distorted, heavy and sometimes angular playing giving some of the parts muscle and speed, while it may be soaring way above the rest of the music (even delivering some scattered, beautiful Gilmour-esque tones), almost lonely, in others. The acoustic pieces are just the way I want them, in excellent PFM style. Classical AND folky, just slightly edgier and packing more punch. But what I really, really like with the sound on Dedicato A Frazz are the profound layers of music that often shape-shifts in the background, yet remains intact enough not to reach solo characteristics. Guitar, bass and keys have a way of working together in a textural firework that is loose in nature, but surprisingly stable in effect. Those moments are true bliss.

And then there is that one thing that reaches really, really, really high ear-pleasing levels; the vibraphone. Amazing usage of it here. While it hardly adds much weight, it has quite a fascinating and beautiful tone in the midst of the chaos here. Innocent, childish and fragile, the vibes contribute with amazing contrast to the hard guitar parts, and propels the streak of charming inconsequentiality. It smooths rough edges and sometimes it just overwhelms you in a shocking and painfully beautiful way in one of the sudden mellow passages.

Some dislike the production qualities of this record and, granted, they aren't the best, objectively speaking. However, I think they add a lot of character to the music, and that works especially well with the music on Dedicato A Frazz. At times, some of the instruments appear distant, or just a little too separated from each other, but with the generally disparate feeling conveyed by the music, it's actually more of an asset as I see it.

Even with all this speak of inconsequentiality and abrupt changes in mind; this is a record that flows remarkably well considering it. Once again much of the credit goes to the compositional and structural skills of the musicians, for actually pulling it off. They're not doing it the easy way, but it pays off. If you're interested in a swirling, twitchy and intense ride, catching breath and gaining power in delicate acoustic and majestically symphonic parts along the way, this is what you need. Think of a place between Osanna and the Big Three, and that's where you'll find Semiramis. Keys are ranging from nervous and digital-sounding via melodic lushness la Le Orme to sweet piano parts.

The vocals are of the Italian style, and being slightly rougher they may not please everyone. But if the timbre isn't your cup of tea, the fire, passion and honesty of them (and the music) most definitely will be.

4 stars.

//LinusW

LinusW | 4/5 |

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