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Maury e i Pronomi / Aquael - Ziqqurat nel Canavese CD (album) cover

ZIQQURAT NEL CANAVESE

Maury e i Pronomi / Aquael

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.90 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator
RPI
3 stars Maury e i Pronomi isn't so much an actual band but rather it's a collaborative project between three old friends led by Maurizio Galia, the Maury in the name. Their debut release ''Ziqqurat nel Canavese'' represents the fruits of twenty years of labour and while it features some full-on prog it's slightly weighed down by a number of pop songs in the middle of the album.

I'll come to the opening track in a minute but overall the second half of the album is the stronger and things begin to pick up in quality with the slow groove of ''Bretagna''. This song features poetic lyrics of history and legends, of mysteries and heroes. The translation from the Italian doesn't do the original words justice but the general vibe I get here is of a traveller led by some mysterious force to return to his beloved Brittany. Flute and synthesizer are well to the fore as Maury sings of ''Those sloping rocks of time'' and ''The white houses and harbours of a northern landscape.''

''Il Cielo Diviso'' (The Divided Sky) is a beautifully melodic track featuring saxophone and organ. There's a sense of marital strife in this song: ''Years together, the good old days, now everything is washed away''. The sky symbolises the relationship break-up of the protagonist and his lover; although they still eat and sleep together he sings of how ''Even the sky is divided between us.'' Other highlights on the album include the funk of ''Mangiare nella Merda'', and ''Risiko sul Golfo'' which finds the band in somewhat heavier mood.

The lovely cover layout and artwork were done by Maury himself and consist of a foldout booklet with all Italian lyrics. The painting features the silhouette of a couple sitting together atop a ziggurat, a terraced step pyramid with a flat top. The construction of ziggurats was one feature of the scientific revolution that occurred in the ancient Near East and they were believed to be the dwelling places of the gods. Which brings me to that opening song I mentioned above.

''Ziqqurat'' is a 10-minute love song inspired by the architecture and culture of the city-states of Mesopotamia: ''No marks I scratch, like the Sumerian tablets, will outlive our own history.'' It begins in mysterious and exotic mood with flute, percussion and spacey guitar. A male voice wailing in the background makes it sound like an incantation and I can picture the temple-priests burning the carcasses of sacrificial animals on the summit of the ziggurat, where heaven and earth were said to meet. After the 2-minute mark the main guitar riff kicks in like an ancient Babylonian warrior smiting an enemy. The riff signifies the power of the ziggurat but then sounds like a lamentation when the protagonist sings of his love that is lost like a scattered dynasty: ''The more your lips are closed, the farther I am from you.'' The dual focus of the song is the spiritual bridge between the divine and the human, and the personal anguish of someone consumed with passion and the choice between life and death: ''Why don't you talk? Your silence is killing me!'' The protagonist pleads to no avail and ultimately crosses the threshold from the known to the unknown: ''I wish that after many years an archaeologist at your house will discover my letters, like the clay tablets of Chaldea.'' Epic stuff!

This release isn't on the same level as the band's excellent ''(Ec)citazioni Neoclassische'' but if you enjoy that album then you'll probably want this one for the wonderful title-track alone.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |

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