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Cormorano - Giro Tondo (Giro) Fuori Scena CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.07 | 8 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano!
3 stars The voice sounds like Stratos, but it's not Area!

Spelunking (I don't get to use that word nearly often enough) in the caverns of the Mellow catalogue yields a mixed bag. Some finds are rare gems, unknown and often unpolished. Sometimes you find fool's gold, initially attractive but not worth much in the long run. But usually the stones are interesting and often beautiful, even if the quality is not equal to that of the rare gems.

Such is CORMORANO, which is a great album full of passion and vocal pyrotechnics. The band was formed in 1975, led by a wonderful vocalist named Rafaello Regoli. Like many Italian bands of the period, they played live quite a bit but did not record in the studio until later; much later for CORMORANO, who didn't record until 2000. The songs on their sole album, "Giro Tondo (Giro) Fuori Scena," were composed from 1976 through 1984, and their style reflects their era, with a progressive bent but without the edge of the early 1970s.

Vocalist Rafaello met AREA's vocalist Demetrio Stratos at a festival in 1976 and says that a firm relationship was formed then and thereafter. From that point, Rafaello Regoli became a dedicated disciple of Stratos, and certainly his vocals are the focus of the album and feature prominently in every song. However, the similarity to AREA ends there. Whereas AREA is quite avant-garde and experimental, CORMORANO generally plays it fairly safe compositionally. Nearly every song is more or less straightforward in style and structure. The rhythms are usually 4/4, with an occasional 3 /4, syncopation, or creative pattern or structure. The instrumentation consists of keyboards (usually electric piano and synthesizer), guitar, and bass. A typical song will have a laid-back introduction featuring one or two instruments, with the others gradually joining until the song proper begins. Then there is generally a nice groove with bass and drums, with guitars, keys, and vocals trading with or doubling each other. Making up for the conservative composition, however, are the vocals, as Regoli twists and turns around the phrases introduced by the other instruments, adding to and expanding upon them and making them far more complex and interesting than their innocuous introduction. One song entitled "Investigazioni" features vocals only, with multitracking and a style reminiscent of Stratos's solo albums. My favorite on the album, the last track "Taraviaggio" from 1978, features a theme which sounds much like the opening of AREA's "Lulio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)," enlarged upon and expanded by the band. Another favorite, "Somia" from 1976, takes a jazzier approach initially and is probably the most thematically varied on the album.

Overall, CORMORANO's only studio album is a fine example of late 1970s RPI. It's a mix of the Stratos-like vocal styling of bandleader Rafaello Regoli backed by fairly straightforward compositions, sometimes with instrumental and compositional twists and turns,but usually leaving the gymnastics to the vocals. Enjoy your exploring! Three and a half stars for this very good album, rounded down for the site in general, but round up for RPI fans. (Note: the biggest liability to the album is the cover!)

Todd | 3/5 |


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