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Architrave Indipendente - Azetium a otto piste CD (album) cover


Architrave Indipendente


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.59 | 17 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars There are a whole bunch of stories being told on Azetium A Otto Piste, sometimes in isolation, sometimes intertwined in a grand scheme of things, sometimes familiar and safe, sometimes disturbing and ill-willing, but always with an environmentally or socially urgent message. That's the short story behind the album, being the debut of one of the most exciting and refreshingly genuine new RPI bands I've heard in quite a while.

Musically a very diverse escapade, evoking images ranging from hazy days under a forest canopy to decidedly more urban and barren experimental electronic landscapes, making it difficult to establish any sort of base line. If I had to pick one, it would have to be the delicate recurring guitar arrangements that are equally tasteful every time. Sometimes Mediterranean, sometimes something else completely. Never strongly emotional, but rather warm and comforting or mildly wistful, this is the album's safe ground, or its point of reference if you like. Other things sneak up even here though, as you might expect; wonderful flute and sounds of both nature and man give it a near folksy, rural and warm quality, but coupled to needle-sharp, angular electronic hisses, weird effects and samples it ends up in a near Battiato-esque scramble of past and present, much to the enjoyment of this reviewer. Tasteful understated organ and violin backing make some successful appearances. Reading this one might get the idea that it's a rather subtle and detail- oriented album. To some extent that's true, with almost minimalist qualities and precision at times, coupled with a great sense of space and nearness in the composition.

But there are also the other sides. A wild force that brings back the dark unpredictability and uncertainty of Il Balletto di Bronzo's Ys, dramatic, bold and swirling solo piano and grand, powerful classic RPI symphonic rock. Contrasting electronic effects eagerly fill out the gaps, a whiff of technically updated renaissance minstrelsy makes an exciting excursion. Great vintage synths and organ have a dominant, but not overpowering role in many of these more familiar-sounding parts and once again - there's piano playing to cry for here, in that wildly expressive, rollicking style best found in this scene. The last song even manages to bring some playful, warm, rich and slightly jazzed-up music to the table. One of the more up-close and personal compositions of the album, it's a nice touch to have it as an ending.

What I like most about the whole package is still none of these parts in isolation; it's the fact that despite the leaps and bounds between some of the different parts, it works so well together. There's always a smart, unexpected degradation or twist that manages to segue into what's to come. Sometimes quirky, but never in a way that distracts from the impressionistic and lush exuberance of the story-telling. As such, it's both an adventurous and mature effort.

Warmest recommendations.

4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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