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Lost Tales - A Volo Radente CD (album) cover


Lost Tales


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.02 | 12 ratings

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3 stars These days it seems that just about all the vocal music I listen to is sung in a foreign language, but occasionally I hanker to know what these bands are singing about. So with that in mind I thought it might be an idea to have a bash at translating some Italian lyrics. Okay, probably not the best idea I ever had as the results offer some very broken texts, therefore it's not an experiment I'll be repeating in a hurry. Anyway I think I got the gist of most of the songs, enough to do me until one of the Italian speakers comes along with a review.

In broad terms ''A Volo Radente'' is a light progressive album of catchy melodies and hooks, interlaced with the odd dissonant instrumental to tickle your fancy. The music is firmly grounded in the '70s tradition although the digital keyboards sound distinctly Neo. This album strikes me as deeply introspective in nature, a dreamlike collection of tales with the common threads of darkness, shadows, mysticism and illusions running through many of the tracks.

The first song ''Racconti Perduti'' translates from Italian as the band's name, Lost Tales. It's highly typical of much of the material on the album, the main body of the song built on a catchy melody and broken up by a melancholic passage somewhere in the middle. The lyrics contrast darkness and dust, false gods and myths with indifference and apathy, cold cynicism and hypocrisy to suggest the common quality of each. The song finishes: ''Browse through the pages and you can change the sense of reality, reading the book of your lost tales''.

''Corno e Avorio'' (Horn and Ivory) mixes biblical themes with legends of ancient Greece and Rome. The gates of horn and ivory appeared in the ''Odyssey'' and ''Aeneid'', and are a literary image used in order to distinguish true dreams (of real events) from those that are false. True dreams (of fulfilment) come through the gates of horn; false dreams (of deception) come through the gates of ivory. After Eden, no longer in the shadow of God and subject to the random nature of existence, man wonders: ''tell me where we go, where this restless dream will take us, which gate will open, whether of horn or ivory''. This song opens with some harsh-toned guitar, and quickly develops into another catchy Neo-vibe with neat synthesizer and guitar solos.

The haunting intro and beautiful guitar solo, and the rhythm and tempo changes of ''A Volo Radente'' (Flying Low) should leave a lasting impression on fans of 70s-style music. It's a great track that features what I think are some wonderful lyrics: ''Beyond the silence, into the unreality of these identical and pointless days in a slight movement, a beating of wings and then forever on''.

Apart from some brief wordless vocals, ''Big ERTO in the Magic Valley'' is an instrumental and is perhaps a ''cautionary tale'' of man's folly. Erto is a village in the Vajont valley in the northeast of Italy, the scene of the Vajont dam disaster of 1963 which left almost 2,000 dead and brought destruction to the Piave valley. The valley was evacuated and remained empty for three years until survivors returned to reform the villages in the area. This track changes from funky, with wah wah guitar and forceful drumming, to eerie and threatening, with Fripp-style guitar and tribal toms. It also features a micro-homage to King Crimson as at one point the music comes to an abrupt halt, identical to the climax of ''The Court of...''.

The lovelorn ballad ''Tu Lascia Che Sia'' (You Let It Be) features piano and chiming guitar that help to create a sense of pining for lost love: ''empty phrases, worn out clichés... lock away the lies''. The song ends on a hopeful note as the protagonist promises to open his heart in the future, although the music still has that feeling of yearning. Perhaps it is already too late for him?

''Verso Il Buio'' (Towards The Darkness) is a jaunty little song that seems at odds with its dark subject matter: ''Here isolation has already become a disease, look for the way people have tired of lies, with eyes closed they don't realise it's now dark all around us''. This is probably the most mainstream composition on the album, maybe a little too commercial for some tastes.

The instrumental ''Corona Borealis'' is obviously inspired by the small constellation in the northern sky. Corona Borealis means ''northern crown'', the name taken from the wedding diadem that Dionysus gave to his consort Ariadne. According to legend, it was a crown of seven stars that was set in the heavens as the constellation after her death. This is the album's big-hitter that seems to reflect the cult of Dionysus. It starts off heavy on the Hammond and drums (the release of powerful impulses), which leads into a synthesizer flurry (the necessary catharsis). After that comes piercing guitar and organ (final relaxation and relief). Outstanding stuff.

''Altre Estati'' (Other Summers) is a tender ballad that vanishes into the mist like little bubbles of light: ''Rusty leaves strewn in an alley, like our thoughtful summers that slip away''.

''A Volo Radente'' is maybe a teensy bit bland for those who prefer a walk on the wild side of RPI, but is recommended to those who enjoy melodic progressive music with a twist of Neo.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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