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Claudio Rocchi - Volo Magico N. 1 CD (album) cover

VOLO MAGICO N. 1

Claudio Rocchi

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.71 | 20 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rocchi takes flight as RPI's "psych/folk minstrel"

Claudio Rocchi is another of the artistically fruitful Italian solo artists whose career spanned multiple genres over the decades, making him difficult to categorize like his contemporaries Alan Sorrenti, Lucio Battisti, and Franco Battiato. Rocchi started as part of the legendary band Stormy Six and participated in their debut before quickly moving to solo work. After his very mellow and beautiful acoustic debut album "Viaggio" Rocchi quickly began a period of musical experimentation covering a range of moods and sounds in a relatively short period. He is a part of the Italian progressive rock scene of the 1970s but not in the mold of the symphonic giants.

"Volo Magico #1" is one of his most popular titles and it came early in the RPI movement. The album consisted of only four tracks, one being an 18-minute suite. I can only guess to Rocchi's influences but there is a component of west-coast hippie rock, improvisational toned-down jamming like Traffic's quieter moments, and of course Italian music flavor. The hard-to-box Rocchi mixes prog-folk with psych and stoner rock elements not unlike what the Dead might have done in the US, but we also get the lovely Italian touch to the music from the piano and vocal choices.

The title suite (Magic Flight #1) truly seeks to be a flight, a mystical journey, as Rocchi was getting very into the spiritual/love/Eastern themes of the day. It begins with acoustic guitar and tablas/hand percussions which establish a very laid-back vibe. The piece has then been described as "one long crescendo." Soon it is joined by piano and trippy sounding guitars, but most importantly these very strange and celestial vocals which bathe much of the track in a mystical light. At one point in the middle and again at the end the "rock band" sound will creep in with big drums and this is where the combination of piano, drums, and the lead guitar sounded a bit like a smoky Traffic groove. "Volo Magico" will bore some by being too "out there" and long-winded, but if you love long jams aimed at taking you to higher places in an acid-folkie package you could be thrilled by this album.

"An acknowledged classic, it emerged as not dissimilar to Roy Harper's landmark song cycle of progressive/psych folk, "Stormcock." -Die Schachtel

The other long piece on this short album is the 11-minute "Guisto Amore" which I understand came largely from improvisation. Here the folk yields more to psych-rock and even blues-rock feel. Sounding something like an extra from the bonus disc of George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" sessions it is really only the persistent piano that interests me, especially the way it sort of reverses itself later in the track and comes back over the top with a counter part. Otherwise this track overstays its usefulness and drags down the album's overall quality. The two remaining short tracks are wonderful Italian gems in the traditional sense, heartfelt vocals with beautiful, sentimental piano and a bit of strings/flute. They are brief but wonderful, intimate moments, which help make the album more personable to me.

The album is hard to rate for me. The best moments are excellent indeed, but "Giusto Amore" is one-third of the album and pretty forgettable fare. I guess for now I'm on the north side of three stars but less than four overall. Still, if you are a fan of trippy/spacey prog-folk of the laid-back variety, you won't want to miss the side-long suite.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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