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Nichelodeon - Il gioco del silenzio CD (album) cover





3.88 | 50 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For their sophomore release and first proper Studio album "Il Gioco Del Silenzio", Nichelodeon augment their personnel and enhance their sonic framework. What a lovely avant-prog album this is, so full of richly developed textures and adventurous orchestrations: this one might as well be regarded as a cornerstone of Italy's experimental musical scene in the years to come. Influences from (or coincidences with) Opus Avantra, Art Bears, Tortoise and Area can be easily traced by the informed listener, but once and for all it is only fair to consider Nichelodeon as a voice of its own in the realms of contemporary avant-garde progressive music. Piano and saxes are usually the most featured items in the instrumental schemes, while the lead guitar and synth are mostly in charge of opening doors to moods and ambiences to be fulfilled by the integral ensemble. And there is, of course, Milano's singing: Milano uses his voice as a relatively autonomous piece in this musical machinery, yet it consistently remains as a coherent member of the whole. The powerful results of the band's enriched dynamics can be appreciated at first in the three not-new tracks - let's take a look at these. The opener 'Fame' bears a deep sense of extroverted boldness (including taboo language in the lyrics). 'Malamore E La Luna' (a pet composition of Claudio Milano's, which was also included in a solo album before his Nichelodeon days) is tremendously evocative and dense, which provides a special flavor to the main body's inherent lyricism. Then, an extended instrumental closure works on the ongoing density and takes it to a vibrant, majestic level via the use of exuberant free jazz- oriented endeavors. 'Amanti In Guerra' builds on the preceding track's density and elaborates a greyer atmosphere from there. This last couple of tracks states a definitive highlight for the album. Now, let's go for the newer pieces. 'Fiabe' bears a twisted lyricism where the apparent calm reveals itself as a disguise for an inner torment. 'Claustrofilia' is evidently more robust in sound and mood, while 'Ombre Cinesi' brings an abstract impetus that enables the band to express their most inscrutable side. 'Apnea', on the other hand, is patently colorful, even sounding strangely optimistic among the overtly general flairs of density and tension. 'Il Giardino Degli Altri' is somewhat creepy in places: the clever use of synth layers and percussive resources sets the nucleus for the piece. Track no. 9 is a hidden track that delivers a joyful exercise on jazz-fusion, in this way establishing an introductory contrast to 'Se', yet another abstract adventure. 'Lana Di Vetro' goes to a different place: it bears genuine warmth and (to a certain degree) lightness among the dominant dissonances: its combination of rock, folk and jazz elements makes it appealing in its own terms. The closing climax is quite efficient and appealing as a culmination of the "Gioco Del Silenzio" experience: 'Ciņ Che Rimane' starts with a sober piano-guitar dialogue, then shifting to an extroverted musical journey filled with intriguing nuances and magical mystery; a few second before the 5 minute mark, the mood gets relaxed but not relaxing, since this is actually the threshold to a landscape of mesmeric tension that encapsulates specific calculated explosions; the final passages are signaled by exotic flavors mostly driven by the percussion, piano and soprano sax. The experience with Nichelodeon's second album has been terrific for me and I'm confident enough as to regard it as a future classic of avant-progressive rock (call it RIO, chamber-rock or anything else if you will?).
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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