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Luciano Cilio - Dialoghi del presente CD (album) cover


Luciano Cilio


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.47 | 23 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars In addition to the endless symphonic gems and heavier guitar-driven albums of the early vintage Italian progressive era of the Seventies, there are also a handful of supremely beautiful and experimental works that are well worthy of rediscovery today. One of them was delivered by classical-inspired composer and multi-instrumentalist Luciano Cilio, a tragic figure who sadly took his own life in the few years after his sole LP. His legacy, `Dialoghi del Presente' from 1977 is a ravishing mix of chamber-prog, ethnic-flavoured raga rock and avant-garde experimentation, and it works in everything from the most heartbreaking of piano balladry, unnerving vocal drones and percussion-heavy ambient interludes, sometimes having much in common with acts such as Germany's Popol Vuh.

Trickles of placid acoustic guitar that wrap around pin-drop delicate piano in opening movement `Primo Quadro Della Conoscenza' are gentle and comforting, but soon groaning cello and sighing wordless droning female voices bring an unsettling and despondent quality. Little ticks and abrupt sharp piercings in their voices are deeply jarring, truly pained souls in deep torment, but a final fragile solo piano reprise that turns confident in its final moments is achingly beautiful and offers little traces of light, hope and solace. Soft pattering percussion, faraway recorder and drifting flute float through `Secondo Quadro' that reminds of the more meditative moments of the early Deuter works, groaning cello slowly and softly weaving the piece into a mournful and lonely lament.`Terzo Quadro' is then a gentle, reflective and delicately romantic little solo piano interlude to close the first side that sparkles in the most minute of details and remains tasteful, restrained and intelligent the whole way.

The haunting `Quarto Quadro Della Conoscenza' has manic hand percussion builds rumbling around sombre flute, creaking cello and groaning oboe, creating an aural collage of Popol Vuh-like world/Kraut/ambient fusion, perhaps even lightly drifting closer to something like the ethnic raga sounds of early Seventies Italian collective Aktuala. The subdued closer `Interludio' is mysterious with moments bristling with life with ringing acoustic guitar spirals that teem with drama and barely contained excitement dancing between murky double-bass groans, and the piece ultimately culminates in a glorious and defiant horn climax.

Listeners wanting something more straight-forward or melodic will have to look elsewhere, and some may think this album a little fragmented, but those whose brains are wired for challenging, unpredictable and extravagant works may find Luciano Cilio's LP constantly inspiring, uncompromising and even deeply moving. There's a melancholic air that pervades most of the set, yet it remains one of those examples where great beauty hides in even the darkest of corners. Fiercely personal, intimately private and absolutely heartbreaking, `Dialoghi del Presente' is an understated and starkly honest minor masterpiece.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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