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Ars Nova (ITA) - Ars Nova CD (album) cover


Ars Nova (ITA)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.34 | 4 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano!
2 stars Digging deep in the Mellow catalogue of Italian reissues is immensely satisfying. I've yet to find a bad album, and there have been some real gems unearthed (see Stefano Testa). One of the great things the label has done is find artists that never released albums during their existence but have singles or live recordings to their credit. ARS NOVA is such a band.

Existing from 1974 through 1980 and revolving around the Piergiovanni brothers, ARS NOVA recorded two singles during their career. Neither of the singles is present on this album. Rather, there are eight live tracks (audio quality slightly above average for this type of live recording) and three studio tracks sequenced roughly chronologically (with one exception, as best I can tell). The opening track, "Introduzione," is a nice instrumental from the last iteration of the band, probably recorded around 1979, with emphasis on the keyboards and guitar. The next three tracks are live and appear to date to the band's beginning in 1974. On the first, "Immagine Onirica di un Amore al Quarzo," the keyboards provide a nice atmosphere, with bass and drums solid but not too creative. "Museo" follows with a nice atmospheric intro, then segues into hard rock. "Caligola" is more straightforward pop, although very pleasant. The fifth track, "Sogna," seems to be a studio track, although the production is so poor it could be live. It's really not very good! Tracks 6- 10 are live. The sixth track, "Messalina," is my favorite on the album. I love the guitar solo over the atmospheric keyboards, with the bass in a great groove. Lots of energy in this one. "Katia e il Protettore," is another good song that has a nice hooky theme and an extended drum solo. The rest of the album is pop with little prog added. The best of the rest is the final studio track, "La Mia Vita."

I'm trying to come up with a point of reference for this band that might be useful. Augusto Croce in his bio on lists OFFICINA MECCANICA, but truthfully the resemblance is quite superficial, and only to the most bland, straightforward of OM's songs, like "Insieme al Sole." Don't expect OM with this album! Other pop oriented bands in that era include CAPRICORN COLLEGE, but ARS NOVA band doesn't reach their level. Another contemporary band is LA BOTTEGA DELL'ARTE, and this may be the closest comparison I can find, especially their 1977 album "Dentro." But that's as obscure as this one, so it's not very helpful I'm afraid. This album doesn't approach any of the singer/songwriter works that I'm familiar with either.

So the bottom line is ARS NOVA is for the patient RPI enthusiast who is looking to expand horizons and flesh out collections. This pleasant pop oriented album with too few prog moments for my taste merits two stars.

Todd | 2/5 |


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