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Höstsonaten - Autumnsymphony CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.98 | 117 ratings

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4 stars I get the first kick at this one! On Halloween night, I must be blessed!

Höstsonaten is an established offshoot project from the energetic, prolific and polyvalent Fabio Zuffanti , Italy's version of Steve Wilson or Roine Stolt, who has cemented such fabled RPI acts as Finisterre and La Maschera di Cera. His musical resumé is too long to list but he can be heard delving into prog versions of folk, jazz, ambient and symphonic. A masterful bassist but most of all, a creative mind, he has nurtured this project for more than a decade now and "Autumnsymphony" is the latest chapter in the seasonal cycle that began with the pastoral masterpiece "Springsong" and the ridiculously fabulous previous jewel "Winterthrough", two albums that I regard as symphonic monuments in reflective /introspective prog. Suffice to say I was awaiting this one with unbridled trepidation being a massive fan of the fall season to boot but after a few anguished spins, I cannot really raise this one beyond the other 2 ?yet. The artwork is as breathtaking as the preceding one, winter blues replaced by fall ochre and golden hues, setting the melancholic mood that autumn generally evokes. Significantly, the initial forlorn soundscapes on "Open windows to autumn" recall the sorrow of rustling trees shedding their crisp leaves, a binary double bass echoing between the fluttering cymbals and polyrhythmic drum patters, a brilliant trumpet blaring the sudden flight from the warm summer breeze. This is highly robust ambient prog with jazzy pretense, gently howling mellotron entering hand in hand with its usual ideal partner, the flute. It is certainly a haunting musical signature that sets the proper mood and segues nicely into "Leaves in the well" introducing guitarist Matteo Nahum's glowing electric guitar leads as well as some welcome classical work, with an only too rare added feature, the Japanese koto. The evolving keyboard-laced symphonics are pointedly accurate, choir mellotron injecting some grandeur and majesty while Marco Moro's flute sprinkles its sweet passion. On "Out of water", things get very orchestral with the impromptu appearance of cello, viola, violin, oboe and piccolo, blending the swirl of fluttering strains into the mix. "Nightswan I" is a special effects cocktail, heavily electronic and with the rumbling double bass, highly contemplative, while "II" raises the level another notch with another majestic series of electric guitar runs, a rampant flute , simple drum beat and whirling synths, the 'tron coughing , this is pure proggy bliss. The very jazzy "As the night?" has an amazing bagpipe setting, somberly pensive in league with that amazing Michele Bernabei trumpet (an instrument criminally underused in prog!), some churning Stick work, and a little Genoese whispering to add some spice. Stringsynth and mellotron are served up as bonus candy coating. The jazz vibe gets rather upbeat on "Trees in November", a playful romp that has shuffling drums, fun-loving flute and a guitar solo at first closer to George Benson than Steve Hackett (which happens later), a welcome surprise. "Elegy" has the sublime voice of Simone Angioloni who "lead microphoned" Zuffanti's brilliant Aries project, a soaringly crisp voice that wails passionately , almost near opera , a definite winner. The final nearly 6 minute track is the absolute winner here, incorporating all the glorious musicianship displayed previously = the double bass, the various strings, the elegant piano and mellotron, the flute, trumpets and oboe and that crystal clear voice. As stated earlier, this is an excellent release that cannot surpass the imperial majesty of "Winterthrough" but shores up the RPI mantle very nicely and it is Halloween after all. 4.5 aromatic chestnut trees

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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