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


Stefano Testa


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.08 | 62 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars In our sometimes narrow pursuit to uncover lost prog gems of the 1970s in our subgenre of choice, we have a tendency to bypass outstanding music that is only loosely associated with the style due more to co-existence than co-mingling. Those of a certain age from the Anglo world are aware of the impact of troubadours like CAT STEVENS on the prog movement and vice versa, but such examples abound from the four corners of the earth.

Mellow Records has dusted off a jangly and tingly chestnut in STEFANO TESTA's initial and only release, a simultaneously polished and rough cut gem. Most here would be primarily taken with the 16-minute suite "Una Vida", which is compelling enough on musical grounds. It's a concatenation of slow, mid tempo and peppy motifs backed mostly with acoustic guitar, with sparse keyboards and occasional flutes and feminine backing vocals. Testa distinguishes himself with elegant, simple, and well composed melodies and arrangements, but references abound, largely beyond my ken in the mother ship of international music, but I suspect our Italian comrades could shed the most light on the subject. May I mention FRANCIS CABREL, FRANCO BATTIATO and JETHRO TULL. My favourite portion is the last 6 minutes, with strings, powerfully gentle voice and acoustic guitar delights.

Still, the album attains a second, perhaps higher peak with the "Moby Dick" track, peppering a bit of the "Saucy Sailor" bawdy British style with Middle Eastern flavours and old fashioned showmanship but transcending all of these. The accordion work is especially notable. Not traditionally progressive and questionably rock, this is arguably the most progressive cut here. "Notturno" and "Difficile Chiamarti Amore" epitomizes two sides of 1970s soft rock, emphasizing song structure and atmosphere in a way that sounds both old fashioned and timeless. Another perhaps obscure reference, especially for the former, would be the work of LOUIS CAPART.

If you like mellow and harmonious RPI or prog folk with minimal psychedelic encumbrances then visit Mellow Records while you can, and I think you'll agree that Stefano has and will continue to stand the Testa of time.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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