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Nichelodeon - Il gioco del silenzio CD (album) cover





3.88 | 50 ratings

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4 stars Italian outfit NICHELODEON was formed back in 2007, and has been more or less correctly described as a pet project of composer and vocalist Claudio Milano even if is it a band project rather than a solo vehivle as such. "Il Gioco del Silencio" is the second full length album by the band, and was released in 2010 by renowned indie label Lizard Records, alongside "Come Sta Annie?", the first ever DVD release by the band as well as their record label. A description of the latter to be covered in a separate write-up.

Musically this band has been described as belonging to the avant-garde category of progressive rock bands, a description which seems to cover the stylistic expression of this act rather well. While arguably not as extremely complex as other artists active within this particular field the material at hand is at times highly demanding, of the kind that will leave even accomplished listeners well acquainted with material of a more challenging nature drained after their first venture through the almost 80 minutes of music at hand on this disc. A defining part of their approach seems to be to explore the borderlands between melody and dissonance, with a more or less defined melodic motif used as a red thread while counterpointed by dissonant sounds and textures, or by using the latter as the compositional backbone and adding in fragmented melodic motifs and sounds. Elongated melodic themes broken apart by gradually evolving dissonant segments and insertions of noisescapes and cacophonous excursions with more than a few nods in the direction of free form jazz are other distinct traits to this production.

As far as instrumentation goes, the piano, saxophones and the clarinet are the main providers of the distinctly melodic laced motifs, although the former often ventures out on jazz-inspired runs of a more dissonant nature as well. Alongside the lead vocals, which are also frequently used more like an instrument than a mere lyrical provider. Remnants and influences of classical and folk music make frequent appearances, these associations clearly a result of the instruments taking the lead as far as providing musical motifs and themes go. The plethora of additional instruments adds nuances to these excursions, some of them highly dominating when appearing. Like the guitar, especially when used to provide drawn out riffs adding a brooding, ominous dimension to the proceedings. The aforementioned vocals have an additional trait that adds a particular dimension to this band's sound too - a delivery that is even more theatrical than what is common for Italian acts. Which are generally known for having lead vocals of a theatrical nature.

The end result is somewhat of a varied affair. Nichelodeon does a fine balancing act between the melodic and the dissonant, between the pleasant and the unpleasant. At best the end results are stunning. Fiaba and Claustrofilia standing out in particular as far as my personal taste for such ventures go. On the other end of the scale efforts like the cacophonous Ombre Cinesi and the unnamed tenth track on this CD didn't come across as too interesting to my ears. Personal taste will without doubt bring forth listeners who's impressions are the exact opposite of mine though, but I do believe there will be a consensus amongst most that this album is a good one overall, at least for those who take an interest in productions that have made with an emphasis on material of a challenging and adventurous nature.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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