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Latte E Miele - Marco Polo - Sogni E Viaggi CD (album) cover


Latte E Miele


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.80 | 51 ratings

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5 stars Latte e Miele were formed in Genova in 1971. They disbanded in 1980, after three albums and some singles. In 2008 the band reunited for some concerts and a live album, "Live Tasting" with a line up featuring veterans Marcello Giancarlo Della Casa (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals), Oliviero Lacagnina (piano, keyboards), Alfio Vitanza (drums, vocals) and Massimo Gori (bass, vocals). In 2009 they released a brand new album in symphonic style, produced by PFM's drummer Franz Di Cioccio for the independent label Areostella. It was recorded with the help of a symphonic orchestra directed by Oliviero Lacagnina and the result is an excellent concept album, an original rock opera inspired by the character of Marco Polo. If you are not familiar with this band take as a reference point bands like Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and New Trolls or a work like PFM's Dracula...

The album opens with two instrumental tracks setting the atmosphere, the solemn "San Marco" and the joyful "Carnival"... It's night and the streets of Venice are crowded with people celebrating the carnival. A young artist, Marco, is attracted by a charming woman wearing a mask. He follows her along narrow and crowded streets. She leads him into a theatre. The theatre is empty because of restoration works, the mysterious woman vanishes and the young can't find the way out. Lost, he falls asleep and begins to dream...

"Il sogno" (The dream) depicts a strange dream where time and logic melt and become meaningless words... "Free, I'm gliding into a deep hugging sleep / I know, it's me but it's not my face / Mystery, invisible magic of a time that is gone / Please tell me, who am I now?...". In the dream the young artist becomes Marco Polo and set off for a long journey through open skies and cold deserts. The music is dramatic and brilliant, featuring operatic vocals and sudden changes of mood.

"Via si va" (Going away) is lighter and melodic. Soaring vocals draw the hopes and the expectations of a departure in the night, towards a new dawn... "Going away while it's still dark / Towards unknown countries / A last glance to what we leave and let's go... We'll see places that we can't even imagine / Miles and miles of new roads are waiting for us / We head east, where the sun rises / Towards a new civilization...".

On the long and complex "I crociati" (The crusaders) we can follow the footprints of crusaders that never came back. Ashes cover everything like snow while far away the tears of solitary mothers resound in the air

"Il deserto del Gobi" (Gobi Desert) depicts the magic of the wind that blows through the dunes singing a mysterious melody that keeps strangers away... "Long shadows on the sand / I'm following the sun to east, towards east... Listen, the dunes are singing / It's like a spell that's calling us / It pushes us, it slightly touches us / It defies us, it implores us / Please, stay away from here...".

During the journey, along with Marco we meet other peoples and civilizations with their peculiar rites and ceremonies... "Il matrimonio dei bambini nel vento" (The marriage of the children in the wind) describes a rite where is celebrated the marriage of two dead children in the other world. It's a beautiful and melancholic track... "They go away / As if they were playing / But their game is over... The clouds will be their cradle / They're going away / The wind wants them... ".

Then we arrive in China's capital. "Pechino" (Beijing) describes a scene on the market square where charlatans try to sell magic potions featuring dragons tears and eyes of snakes while the solemn and evocative instrumental "Kubilai Khan" describes a visit to the royal palace.

"L'ultimo unicorno" (The last unicorn) is ethereal and melodic. It describes a hunt scene. Marco has the chance to kill the last unicorn but he drops down his arrow and bow leaving it run away, free... Life and freedom are the only trophies that are worth to keep.

Ten, back in Europe with a brisk change of atmosphere and mood. "La battaglia di Curzola" (The battle of Curzola) describes the naval battle fought on September 9, 1298 between the fleets of Venice and Genoa in the seas of Southern Dalmatia where Marco Polo was captured and put in prison. It's an epic track that depicts the absurdity and horror of war.

The melancholic "La prigione" (The prison) describes the days that Marco passed in the prisons of Genoa, dictating his memories to a cellmate... "I've been put in jail by my people / But my thoughts are free / Follow me towards the fantastic and magical world / That is kept inside me... I'm flying away, follow me / I will carry you with me...".

"Sogno incrociato" (Crossed dream) is about another strange dream. Marco Polo falls asleep and wakes up in another era and in another place, an empty theatre in Venice. The instrumental "Ritorno a San Marco" (Back to San Marco) is a reprise of the first track and closes the circle. By the way, Malibran theatre (formerly known as Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo) was built in XVII century upon the ruins of the palace where lived the family of Marco Polo...

A wonderful rock opera that deserves many spins...

andrea | 5/5 |


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