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Alan Sorrenti - Aria CD (album) cover


Alan Sorrenti


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.91 | 96 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Intriguing and very beautiful, Aria is a slightly convoluted listening experience that stays with you for quite some time. Alan Sorrenti manages to evoke both subtle and confronting soundscapes with remarkable depth and precision at a detail level, which makes the album a different experience every time, and succeeds in taking you to different states of mind depending on what mood you're in.

Melancholic and meditative at heart, but with an underdog edge and passion that makes the music soar from time to time, positively vibrating with a tense, direct presence. Part of this success lies in Sorrenti's stunning vocal talents, with an acrobatic fragility that tells a story of its own regardless of the musical backing. He twists and turns the meaning and expression in every word - sometimes simply because he can.

Dominated by the twenty minute long title piece, it's hard to pinpoint any specific musical direction. Perhaps it's best described as a foundation of spacey folk and Italian melodrama drawing on a number of ethnic influences, which then builds up and descends into excursions of other styles. Never is this more apparent than on the epic song Aria. Humbly starting with understated guitar and sweet and mellow keys with a windy, cold effect in the background, the mood is set instantaneously; wistful, lonely, rainy and autumnal. Meandering slowly onwards, the song efficiently envelops in a series of dynamic percussion subtleties, naked piano runs and expressive, meaningful guitar phrases. The composition is so accurate, so natural, so very carefully applied you wilfully get lost in its intricacies. And all of a sudden the song's picked up speed in a near-symphonic mini-crescendo, with a strong base of organ and a whirling, individualistic violin performance from Jean-Luc Ponty (wonderful addition), neatly complementing and accentuating Sorrenti's spontaneous vocals. Further down the road, Aria captures the spirit of the first six or so minutes, but flesh out the influences and styles even further. It visits familiar, mysterious symphonic forays of bands such as Museo Rosenbach, Celtic as well as Latin delicacies, Battiato-esque percussion and even dares an approach to almost jazz territory. And all of the time maintaining that dreamy, complex style that makes it all so fascinating.

With the exception of Vorrei Incontrarti, which has a decidedly more romantic, ballad-like and simpler edge, the rest of the songs follow the same pattern as Aria. Perhaps never as successfully, emotionally charged or as accurately, but still with the same artistic goal to them, in taking something familiar and turning into something new, explorative and way more colourful and daring than it appears at first glance. This is the strength of the great progressive Italian singer-songwriters of the seventies, and this might very well be one of the best examples of it, far removed from the sentimental sweetness often associated with the country during later decades.

4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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