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Alan Sorrenti - Come un Vecchio Incensiere all'Alba di un Villaggio Deserto CD (album) cover


Alan Sorrenti


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.91 | 27 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Sorrenti's second album is best called Desert Village instead of its original lengthy Italian title. If you thought Aria was a difficult album, then don't even look here: Desert Village is definitely weirder, stranger, innovative and inventive album than Aria was. But it loses some of its initial appeal because it is a lot less melodic and is much rawer than its predecessor. Again a gatefold album, but presenting a bizarre post-nuke atmosphere, it fits rather well the music. Built on a reverse blueprint of Aria, the sidelong title track suite is on the flipside, while the sorter song (5 instead of 3 and none above 5- min30) come first, then comes the pièce-de-résistance

Opening on the acoustic folky Angelo, resembling a bit early Tim Buckley (Goodbye & Hello) with the congas (the great Esposito) and added effects and I Never Wanted To Be Your Mountain is not far away, only a piano making the difference. The flute-laden (by Graaf's Jaxon, no less) Serenesse also "benefits" from a seemingly out-of-tune violin, courtesy of Mareux (makes you wish for Ponty in the previous album). The same violin opens Lucce Si Accende with acoustic guitar strumming, but Sorrenti's voice is not picking up the song, it forces the song to wait for it, and once it has been subdued, then Alan unleashes with the piano and we're gone for a typically Italian overblown piece until amid cymbal scrapes and crashes, Sorrenti throws his voice on hot coals and we just have to suffer its screaming, but this is nothing that Buckley hasn't got you used to either. In Starsailor or Lorca, sorrenti being a tad less melodic but a tad more dramatic.

The return of Jaxon (more discreet, this time) in Oratore is not the only feature, as Sorrenti is again up on crazy Buckley-type of antics and crosses it with Hammill's own tricks, probably in Jaxon's honour. Oratore is also violinist Mareux's best contribution to this album. Te closing A Te Che Dormi has Sorrenti trying a few Robert Wyatt, just himand his guitar and voice, the latter getting some multi tracking.

Obviously the main attraction is the 23-mins+ title track suite filling the flipside of the album and that it's in here than Alan pushes his vocal talents to the extreme. Less than a minute into the track, you're fighting vocal drones that even Matching Mole in Instant Pussy wasn't daring. At one point, you'd swear that Buckley, Wyatt and Hammill are on the same microphone and competing for most bizarre intervention. This track is probably Curved Air's Monkman's weirdest he ever participated in, and his synth interventions have nothing to envy to the rest of the musos present. As ambitious as it gets, it fails to captivate throughout, but Desert Village has its moments, generally in the more accessible passages, like between the 10th and 13th minute. At others it sounds much improvised but then the Krautrock pioneers do a better job (Tangerine Tempel Vuh Klust-Werk) at building semi-cosmic ambiances. Actually if you look at the artwork, it's a fair visual description for its track.

There is no question, in my mind that Deserted Village is just as stunning as the debut and for experimental progheads, I find it superior. If you're more in the traditional prog, you'll prefer Aria, although I'll be the last to call this album or Aria traditional. Not for everyone, start with Aria then see if you want to go further.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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