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I Dik Dik - Suite Per Una Donna Assolutamente Relativa CD (album) cover

SUITE PER UNA DONNA ASSOLUTAMENTE RELATIVA

I Dik Dik

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.43 | 30 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

jimmy_row
4 stars It seems fitting that I review this album, being that I played it incessantly this week. Let's try and pay some debt while it's fresh on my mind...

First, some background info on the band. Sort of a strange name "Dik Dik" is, fun to say, or maybe awkward; it comes from an African gazelle as the bio notes. They got together in the mid '60s, toward the beginning of the pop/beat movement in Italy, and with their friendly, slick approach, I Dik Dik found enough success to outlast many bands from the country. However, they were first and foremost, a pop band; but being around in the early '70s it was almost obligatory that musicians try out the prog rock thing at some point, which offered huge public interest and more artistic freedom. Their 1972 album, "Suite per una Donna Assolutamente" came at the risk of alienating fans in crossing over to the younger, more "happening" prog scene, and that is ultimately what would happen. Their 'story & song' approach didn't go over as well as expected amongst more aggressive groups, and the record company, as was often the case, did not lend enough support. So afterwards, Dik Dik went back to their bread and butter, leaving us with one nice little crossover into progressive rock.

As previous reviewers have noted, the first thing to jump right out is the humorous cover. Some hate it, some brush it off...I actually like it. In an odd way, it is such a contrast to the approach in the music that the irony in the foldout is delightfully out of place. The music itself will throw you considerable insinuations from bands occupying a similar boat to Dik Dik - those employing a melodic, song-based approach while going past simple pop structures and using fancy techniques and equipment. Just to give an idea of what that means, these guys would have been right at home with Procol Harum and The Moodies, and you can hear the influences of early RPI bands such as the Trolls, Giganti, and Orme. One of the main themes in the album (which is most likely a direct concept to my mind) introduced by the opening track "Donna Paessaggio" is a perfect example of pristine pop hooks infused with a progressive slant. The melody is so sweet, etching itself into my head for days (not even a bad thing) underpinned with imperial organ chords and glistening Moog embellishments. The following track is in similar fashion, and introduces more Moog sounds that sweep around all the empty spaces with jangly harpsichords. So the keyboards play a huge role here, and the guitars are primarily acoustic aside from a nice electric solo on the first track. My attitude toward synths is take 'em or leave 'em, but I was very pleased with the ones on this album, it's really a great one for Moog lovers; but the instrumentation never surpasses the songs themselves, which are the big picture. As I said, the approach is direct songs with added experimental touches. Aside from the warmer, luminous parts mentioned, there are darker ones as well, particularly the "Cattedrale dell'Amore" theme...rumbling drum-rolls, disturbed vocals, and of course those Moogs. Of course this picks back up into faster sections, one being almost "funky" ("Le Gambe"), and resolutely symphonic ("Monti e Valli"). These insertions really bring out the beauty in the Moody-esque sections, and the change-ups keep anything from becoming stale, even with several theme reprisals. By the time we hit the final stretch, the reprisals of "Cattedrale", "Viso", and "Donna" have particular emotional value in returning to familiar ground with an altered landscape. The album reminds me of someone who is shy and reserved, but "opening up", as if around someone or something they are comfortable with. You can feel them coming to some kind of realization or closure, and ultimately returning to the starting point...it could be a thought or place...with a different perspective.

Recommendation: I know that I've name-dropped the Moodies, but really this one goes a bit "farther"...if that makes any sense. Perhaps I've overstated the "song" approach. I'll try and come up with a comparison (probably an inadequate one). How about...Moody Blues + PFM + New Trolls / 3. That might work. In terms of RPI albums, this is not on the very top level, but it's still very worthy, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves the melodic stuff with loads of keyboard sounds.

Looks like I went the entire review without even mentioning the word "mellotron"!

PA Rating: 4/5

The Jimmy Row Factor: 8.5/10, B+

jimmy_row | 4/5 |

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