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Giorgio C. Neri - Logos CD (album) cover


Giorgio C. Neri


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.95 | 18 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars At a superficial glance, "Logos" ('word' or 'speech' in Ancient Greek) may seem a rather untypical album for an Italian artist, being a rather personal take on a genre (space rock) that is generally seen as more of a prerogative of the English and German musical culture. Though a relative newcomer to the recording scene, Giorgio C. Neri is an experienced multi-instrumentalist, who (as unfortunately happens all too often) has never be able to make a living out of his music. He is, however, both a gifted musician and a humble one, having successfully resisted the temptation of recording the whole album without any outside input. "Logos" sees the constant presence of drummer Roberto Maragliano, as well as a number of other musicians guesting on a couple of tracks. The use of real drums is definitely a bonus point for the album, which possesses a warm and intimate feel that the stilted, mechanical sounds of programmed drums would have seriously impaired . Since Genoa, Neri's home town, was one of the main hubs for Italian music in the Sixties and early Seventies, it is not surprising that a pervasive Italian vibe can be felt beside the stronger space rock imprint. Vocals, though featured quite sparingly, add a welcome touch of melody and emotion to the compositions. In true space rock tradition, the music leans towards a repetitive, hypnotic mode, taking full advantage of Neri's skill as a keyboardist and guitarist. The fascinating ambient soundscapes created by the use of various sound effects (a baby crying, falling water, warfare, religious chants) provide a suitable background for some tasty guitar excursions.

"Logos" consists of tracks of varying lengths - some longer and weightier, others shorter and mainly meant as interludes. The leading role of the synthesizer is effectively balanced by the high melodic content of piano and acoustic guitar passages, adding a romantic, wistful note to lengthy workouts like the 9-minute-plus "L'Ultima Danza". Some of the more classically spacey items show influences by the likes of Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and early Porcupine Tree - the synth-driven "Godinus 7 pt. 2" could fit quite comfortably on "Signify". Others are instead harder to define, like "Le Braccia e le Ali", a varied effort featuring layers of piano, synth and guitar over staccato drum bursts. The album's crowning achievement, however, is the haunting, folksy Tuona il Cannone, a song about death featuring an intense vocal performance by guest singer Giuseppe Alvaro, and a Celtic-flavoured bridge complete with military drumming and bagpipe-like flute. The other two tracks featuring vocals, "Seconda Navigazione" e "Per Tutti e Per Nessuno", are based on extracts from, respectively, Plato's "Phaidon" and Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", solemnly recited by Vittorio Ristagno over slowly mounting synth washes.

Neri should also be commended for keeping the album's running time manageable, which allows the music enough room to develop while reducing the presence of filler. In spite of space rock's more than occasional tendency towards self-indulgent rambling, the album manages to come across as fairly tightly-knit - which makes it definitely more accessible, especially to newcomers to the genre.

Those interested in exploring the many diverse facets of the current Italian progressive rock scene could definitely do worse than check out "Logos". Psychedelic/space rock fans may also be interested in finding out how the more straightforward sounds of the genre can mesh with the influence of the Italian musical tradition. A very solid first effort, and hopefully one that will not remain a one-off.

Raff | 4/5 |


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