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Il Ruscello - Paesaggio Solare (Estate 1972) CD (album) cover


Il Ruscello


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.63 | 25 ratings

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4 stars A possible contender for best Italian prog album 2009

Il Ruscello is one of the most exciting RPI debuts in some time as it comes from a band aiming squarely to produce an album of equal beauty to the greatest Italian albums. That's right, this is not the usual bit of retro flavor being used by guys wanting to capture the modern prog/prog-metal fans. These guys sound to me like they are literally trying to recreate the Summer of 1972 for you---as in, let's go back in time and give the music fan the chance to hear a classic RPI album hot off the press. The band, originally from Milan and now relocated to London, consists of brothers Silvio and Giampaolo Cavallo and longtime friend Luca Harb. After gigging in another band around Milan for some years the band formed, inspired by the resurgent RPI of recent years and by incredible gems from Silvio's 1970s Italian prog collection (something we understand on the RPI team!) The band began writing songs and one of the first tracks caught the ear of Matthias Scheller of AMS/Vinyl Magic, who liked what he heard enough to get the project going. September 2009 saw the release of this project in the gorgeous gatefold mini-lp sleeve design that AMS is now famous for.

"The return of true Italian Progressive Rock"

Those are the words that adorn the promotional banner of Il Ruscello's debut, proving the trio have no problem with their self-confidence. But can they deliver the goods? Can this album, lovingly conceived to pay homage to the great Italian albums of the early 1970s, be added to those albums as an equal? Time will tell---this is an early review to help get some buzz going for the band, but it will take time to know the full impact of Il Ruscello. What I can say is that the ingredients are all there. They possess the talent and the love of the classic composition to have a real shot at it. The tendency of many recent Italian retro bands has been to embrace the very heavy edge, throw in some metal riffing, or some angular Crimson/Deus Ex Machina edge on top of a classic Italian symphonic influence. Il Ruscello is not looking for that. They are trying to capture the sunshine of the pure, overblown Italian symphonic gem without reservation. They seem much more inspired by the likes of Banco and Orme than anything extremely weird, and again, no metallic riffs or lightning-flash solos ala VIII Strada or even some Pandora sections. Another comparison I can offer is Alphataurus: the overall feel of Il Ruscello reminded me instantly of the very good Alphataurus album

I agree with the BTF promo on one thing....when you first play "paesaggio solare" you do feel as if you are hearing a lost RPI album from 1972, albeit one with much better sound. Vintage sounding keys and guitars (acoustic and electric) are skillfully arranged with warm Italian vocals and a good, though not showboating rhythm section. BTF claims Silvio sounds like Gianni Leone but I think he sounds much more like Aldo Tagliapietra of Orme. The album has 6 tracks and is bookended by the two long pieces at 10 and 12 minutes in length. Here we feel the potential of Il Ruscello, with "Il Cielo in un Ruscello's" closing moments oozing dreamy, laid back Orme warmth, lovely keyboard atmospheres, and gentle vocals. It all sounds like a late summer day. The other epic tracks like the two-part "La Grande Citta" and "Orizzonti" features much more boisterous, full-throttle playing blended with lovely eccentricities: occasional pop keyboard runs, keys that mimic the harpsichord sound, delightful pastoral acoustic interludes, and tasteful electric guitar leads. Play by play descriptions are relatively useless because we all know the manic nature of great RPI with everything changing by the second. "La Quiete" is a short acoustic interlude with sweet piano. And there is the title track: beautifully constructed vocals and guitar parts with great keys and my favorite, matching opening and closing piano with that nostalgic, slightly melancholic feel. Mmmm.

The rating is only a preliminary one which could be adjusted after spending some months with Il Ruscello, but my very initial impression is that this is an excellent debut across the board. Fans of the warmer classic period RPI and fans of the "big 3" are going to eat up Il Ruscello. Will certainly challenge Delirium and a few others for the mantle of best Italian recording of 2009 and might make my end of year Collab poll list. Again, more time needed for those considerations, this is an early review.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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