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Stefano Testa - Una Vita Una Balena Bianca E Altre Cose CD (album) cover


Stefano Testa


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.13 | 52 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A true lost classic of such beauty

Stefano Testa's 1977 album is the epitome of the lost RPI gem. On almost no ones radar at prog sites (except, of course-good work Augusto), this is the kind of artist you find by digging deep through the Mellow catalog of reissues. There is almost no information available about Stefano Testa and I would urge anyone who knows him to put him in touch with me, so I can arrange a proper Bio. The only available information says he is from Cuneo province and began his career in the acoustic trio "Portici." More to follow soon, I hope.

Testa's acoustic opus brought several artists to mind: Enzo Capuano, Era di Acquario, Genfuoco, Cerchio d' Oro, L'Estate di San Martino, Reale Accademia di Musica, Blocco Mentale, and Errata Corrige. And I can safely say that this album is as good or better than any of those. How this title has flown completely below the radar of RPI fans is beyond me. We have everything here that the fan of softer symphonic/folk prog will enjoy. You have a 16 minute epic to lead off the album, featuring great composition and arrangements. Lovely flutes usher in harmonic sprites as gorgeous acoustic guitars are backed by a warm and spirited rhythm section: good organic bass and 70s drum sound are prominent but relaxed, that nice mix they managed to achieve back then. Piano and Moog are featured throughout the album although it is really led by the acoustic guitars more than the keyboards, both Testa and Portici are superb players. The mood of the music is romantic and earthy, zesty but never harsh, upbeat but only occasionally rocking. There are lots of gentle acoustic sections. The vocals are fantastic and full of life, though Testa is not a classic world-class vocalist, he just knows what to do with the ability he has. There are also plenty of backing female vocals. The third track "La Ballata Di Achab" is a humorous and lively folk track that sounds quite a lot like Alamaailman Vasarat. Side two is full of shorter tracks which are less proggy but contain some of the most beautiful melodies you've ever heard, breathtaking stuff. This is not music for adrenalin junkies to be sure, this is music for people who love beautiful melody and it will thrill them. Every writing instinct Testa has here seems to have been the right one.

While I have told Mellow this is a title they should retain, an obscure album like this could go out of print at any time. If you love RPI my advice is that you not wait. Grab one of the finer soft-prog titles of the late 70s while you still have the chance. This is easily going to knock somebody out of my "top 25 lesser-known gems" list. As much as it pains me to give a 5 star rating, I can't find a legitimate reason for a deduction here. This was a home run at a time when prog was not hitting a lot of them. I believe any fan of acoustic prog like Anthony Phillips would love this, even those who have difficulty accepting non-English vocals.

Finnforest | 5/5 |


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