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Celeste - Celeste [Aka: Principe Di Un Giorno] CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.18 | 328 ratings

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5 stars Review Nš 568

As almost all prog fans know, the progressive rock music was almost an Anglo-Saxonic phenomenon in the 70's. But, it was especially a British phenomenon, in spite of some names that appeared in USA. However, there were many other interesting cases all over the Europe. We can especially mention cases that appeared in Sweden, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, despite many other interesting cases, some of them that ppeared in an unexpect place, I mean the East Europe, especially in Hungary and Yugoslavia. But, of course, we can't forget the Latin American countries and the Canada, especially the Quebec. But, above all, we must especially mention a European country, Italy. I think that once I read that someone said that there are probably much more Italian prog bands than Italian prog fans.

Towards the end of the 60's, the Sanremo group Il Sistema, was one of the first to spread the prog rock in Italy, even though it had never recorded a single LP. Not only the guitarist Enzo Merogno who later formed Museo Rosenbach in 1971, but also the drummer Ciro Perrino and the keyboardist/flutist player Leonardo Lagorio who, with Mariano Schiavolini, guitar and violin, and Giorgio Battaglia, bassist, were part of that historical formation and gave birth to the band Celeste in 1972. After about a year of work in which Celeste prepared an amount of tracks, in 1974 the quartet entered in the recording studios and recorded an album. However, for some reason (probably due to problems with the record label), the album was only released in 1976 when the progressive rock wave was running out. In any case, and certainly due to that, 'Celeste', also known as 'Principe Di Un Giorno', was released with the band already dissolved.

The intention of Celeste was to aim of deepening those musical spaces that had only been touched with Il Sistema, the more classic and acoustic ones. The melodies sought were not those from across the channel, because that had to be 'Mediterranean', manifesting the firm intention of regaining their own strong identity, a kind of an identity of the South European music. This led to the idea of creating less rock and a bit more symphonic music. The result is a dreamlike atmosphere that permeates the entire album, a sense of lightness that accompanies listening. Even the texts written by Perrino are poetic and dreamy. Thanks to their previous experiences, their musical culture and the excellent skills of all musicians, they've managed to create a very innovative and different product, where the 'classic' instrumentation, guitar, flute, piano, violin, sax, bass, percussion, mixes perfectly well with the electronic parts, Mellotron and synths.

The sound of a Mellotron opens and closes the title track. The delicacy and lightness present in the entire album are perfectly shown on this song with an excellent fusion between voice, guitar and flute, especially on the first part of the piece. The second part flows slightly along the lines of the first one. 'Favole Antiche' has an electronic start with the support of a vocalization. Soon the dreamy atmosphere takes over the track with the flute and xylophone between voices and laughter in the background, underlined by the organ and a choir. The ending is entrusted above all to the piano. 'Eftus' starts with voices and flute. The continuation of the piece is a skilful mix of flute, guitar and bass, with the use, for a short stretch of the synth. The use of the flute is nice, never too loud nor boring or tedious. 'Giochi Nella Notte' continues the sense of the album. Around the second minute, the sax stands as the driver, compared to what Celeste was getting used us. But, everything comes together very soon with the entrance of the whole band. Only in the last part of the track, vocals take over the control. 'La Grande Isola' starts directly with the voices to flow, with a crescendo, in a suggestive game between Mellotron and synth. After this, as happened on 'Giochi Nella Notte', after the 'storm', we return to peace by the sound waves of Celeste. In the end the synth returns. 'La Danza Del Fato' begins with space sounds. It might almost seem like the beginning of an experimental song, but it doesn't, really. The trademark of the Celeste is felt immediately with the guitar and the flute, above all. The very short track 'L'Imbroglio' closes the album. The guitar, the tambourine and the flute give a sense of a 'medieval' feeling to the composition.

Conclusion: Celeste released a very beautiful and pleasant album that ranks among the best releases from the Italian 70's progressive rock scene. They're a four piece that consisted of guitar, bass, flute, Mellotron and some synths. There are no drums, and the music is always very quiet and atmospheric. In fact, it's undeniable that its weaves of Baroque bows and woodwinds can leave a good flavour to those who mainly ask for moments of peace and serenity from the music. It's a very beautiful and romantic album, layered with Mellotrons and synthesizers to give it a huge, rich of the 70's atmosphere. The songs are brilliantly crafted and show just how profound a symphonic album could be at its most gentle and tranquil. It has great vocals too. It's an absolute gem, an overlooked classic that deserves a place among the best Italian releases of the classic period. This is a worthwhile listen, especially if you're into the Italian 70's prog scene.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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