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Corte Dei Miracoli - Corte Dei Miracoli CD (album) cover

CORTE DEI MIRACOLI

Corte Dei Miracoli

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.64 | 122 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By turns sweepingly symphonic and almost funky-jazzy, CORTE DEI MIRACOLI is another in a seemingly endless supply of classic Italian prog bands that gave us one or two unique albums before disbanding. The focus here is heavily on keyboards, so those who feel that one keyboardist is too many won't be happy to hear that there are two sharing the space. Luckily, the tastefulness and relative restraint (for prog, anyway) of the players and sounds make this less of an Emerson-meets-Wakeman situation than one might expect.

One can immediately hear that this is classic stuff; every second is wrapped in that glorious saturation and compression that only 70's recordings can give us. Thankfully, the production quality is also pretty good; each instrument is distinct and relatively detailed. If I wanted to nitpick, I'd say the drums were mixed a little low (but, conversely, the percussion- such as the notorious temple blocks- is mixed little too high). I would have preferred a little more guitar, as only the first track has that perfect mixture, but the keyboards cover such wide tonal spectrum that one can quickly forgive the lack of six strings. Over the course of any given track we're treated to a veritable encyclopedia of classic keyboards: lovely acoustic pianos, beautifully nasty electric keyboards (I particularly liked the grungy Clavinets and filtered harpsichords), bubbling and buzzing analog synths and flowing washes of string synths. I'm a little surprised there weren't more organs (apart from the excellent solo on "E Vera L'Uomo"), but I suppose there are plenty of other prog albums to turn to if the Hammond sound is your thing. On vocals, Zippo is boyishly competent, though I tend to like a little more grittiness to offset the generally operatic Italian vocal style. Zippo's style is much more similar to BANCO (I kept thinking of "Dopo... Niente E' Piu' Lo Stesso") than, for instance, to anything by LOCANDA DELLA FATE- which for many people is probably just as well.

ELP fans should have very little trouble adapting (as long as they're willing to tolerate more prominent jazz flavors and less pyrotechnic virtuosity), and it goes without saying that fans of Italian prog should seriously consider adding this album to their collection. I can't rave unreservedly about this album; for one thing, there seems to be a hollow gulf in between the jazzy jamming and the more sweeping, classically-inspired symphonic sections. The transitions are smooth, but the feel is somewhat schizophrenic, as if the creators were struggling to go in two different directions (maybe each keyboardist had a different favorite style?). This is definitely not unheard-of in the prog world- for example, several of my favorite KING CRIMSON albums had that same split personality- but it does mean that some passages will be more to your taste than others. If possible, 'try before you buy' and you'll know pretty quickly if CORTE is something you'll enjoy.

James Lee | 3/5 |

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