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Latte E Miele - Passio Secundum Mattheum CD (album) cover


Latte E Miele


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 180 ratings

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4 stars The Soundtrack of the Passions

In the enticing sphere of Italian Progressive Rock, almost every single subject sees its chance to shine, but like in all realistic establishments, some manage to shine brighter than the others. Latte e Miele saw serendipity strike in prog year of glory - 1972, when they produced a Bach and New Testament inspired Passio Secundum Mattheum. This Genova based band's debut album's magnetism lies primarily in its concept which, as the title suggests, is pertaining to Christ's dramatic last days but only according to a singular source ' the gospel of Saint Matthew, often referred to as the Passions. The beauty behind this concept is that it tells a story in a simple yet heart rending manner, without it being homiletic.

Musically speaking the record explores symphonic dimensions reached not only by ELP, but also by Genesis in tracks like Ultima Cena (the intriguing supper coincidence) or Getzemani which oozes an abundance of influences in terms of keys treatment not only from the above mentioned giants, but also from Deep Purple, Yes and even Eloy for that twist of spaceyness. The jazz influence is another chief constituent of the whole, although at first they may seem slightly disconnected from the main theme. Present in both parts of I Testimoni (the witnesses) via piano and drums, it raises a fairly compelling question regarding its presence: why are there emotionless straight-forward jazz sections in a crucial moment of the plot, where the false witnesses accuse Jesus of having declared that he would destroy the temple and then rebuild it in three days? The answer is that the senselessness of the jazz bits overlaps the duplicate attitude of nonchalance and lack of emotion emitted by the witnesses.

As seen above, the soundscape manages to intertwine effortlessly with the visual thread, emerging into a burst of sentiments. Thus the emotions grow more and more till they reach an overwhelming apex: from the uplifting choir on Introduzione and the rather mellow acoustic guitar and harpsichord driven Il Giorno Degli Azzimi accompanied by the elegant narration of the Passover preparations, to the dynamic operatic choir from The Trial; from the witnesses false statements rendered in a counter-tenor vox, in a very similar vein to some of Annas' bits from Jesus Christ Superstar to the yet again mellow and sweet but at the same time excruciating Il Pianto which displays an absolutely beautiful blend of keys, acoustic guitar and flute; from the surprising Giuda where harsh guitars and drums alternate with a jazz section denoting insolence to Il Calvario featuring dramatic operatic choir, morbid church organ keys, and drums reminiscent of ancient ships where they would set the rowing rhythm of the slaves; all this only to paint one of history's most tragic paintings. But because the Providence had other plans, the end fulminates in a reiterated theme of the heavenly choir present at the very beginning of the record accompanied by the now regulars ' guitar, piano and drums.

All told, Latte e Miele's first effort is a gorgeous journey whether it is on a musical, visual, religious for some, educational for others, or merely a rudimentary emotional level, in which every music lover should engage at least once in a lifetime.

4.5 stars

Lizzy | 4/5 |


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