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Accordo Dei Contrari - Kublai CD (album) cover

KUBLAI

Accordo Dei Contrari

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.94 | 62 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Accordo Dei Contrari is in position of going beyond the light of their brilliant debut album and seek to create new combinations of luminosity and shade in their jazz-prog vision. The factual proof of that is sustained in the repertoire of their recent sophomore release "Kublai", an album that shouts out its musical grandiosity in an imperial level. No doubt in my mind that this item should have a place assured in any Top 10 of 2011. All throughout this album's setlist, the band shows all the elements of its creative versatility, skill and energy, which makes it a perfect case of revitalization of some of the most excellent heritages of various jazz-rock and prog schools. 'G.B. Evidence' opens up the album with a solid mixture of 73-75 RTF and 75-77 Weather Report: an evident homage to the greatness of 70s American fusion performed with infinite elegance. Sophistication and energy become one sole force, especially in the middle section where the drummer states a frantic 15/8 tempo and the guitar leads the nucleus of a jam that ultimately signals the track's further development. After this impressively muscular beginning, 'Arabesque' displays a refreshing new set of moods in a 12 Ż minute scope. The title makes it clear that the Arabesque thing will be an important asset in the track's main structure, and in fact, the very prologue consists of an oud solo that lasts 3 minutes. Then, the first main motif brings exotic flavors in a very robust manner, something like Niacin-meets-RTF. Later on, things return to a more constrained mood when the ensemble retakes the prologue's motif and gives it a more electrically based reshaping, a strategy that proves tremendously fruitful when the psychedelically tense coda brings an explosive momentum a-la Area. Magnificent!, grandious!... nothing else tos ay. And there's more greatness in the near horizon for the listener, since 'Dark Magus' creates a monumental musical journey. Starting with a gong bang and somebody's steps, the main body displays a fluid combination of vibrant swing (by the rhythm duo) and robust guitar-keyboard interplaying. A thematic shift, announced soon after the 3 minute barrier but only properly installed one minute later, brings back the band on the jazz-rock path with its own flavors. One third motif finds the band exploring Gentle Giant-meets-D.F.A. territory, a great one indeed? but too short! Anyway, the sonic implosion that ends the track feels impressive and effective. And now, here comes the track with Canterbury Maestro Richard Sinclair as guest in it. I'm referring to 'L'Ombra Di Un Sogno', of course. The band's compositional scheme is complex regarding chord variations and motif shifts, with its proper dose of ornaments, yet the overall mood is relaxed. And how is its stylistic strategy? ? 40% of Hatfield's first album, 30% of Matching Mole's second album (Sinclair sounds very Wyatt-ish here, actually) , 15% of Bruford's first album and 15% of Henry Cow's first album. The "birds singing in the forest" FX provide a convenient light humor, a very Canterbury thing. Not only that, it also states a strategic contrast to the electrifying vigor of 'Pi¨ Limpida E Chiara Di Ogni Impressione Vissuta, Part I', arguably the most incendiary piece in the album: it serves as a simultaneous tribute to Hammer-era Mahavishnu and "Seventh Galaxy"-era RTF. The album's last 6+ minutes are devoted to 'Battery Park', a piece whose vibe is more connected to early Arti E Mestieri and the piano-oriented works of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Its initial lyrical mood has a groovy feel to it, intimate yet not introspective; later on, the instrumental drive is enhanced with a greater dose of expressive power, convincingly equaling the extroverted aura of the album's first 2 pieces; finally for the last 90 seconds, the mood becomes calmer and solemn, as if it were an invitation to take a rest and exercise contemplation. And so ends this magnificent album. This Accordo Dei Contrari's sophomore release is a must for those who intend to appreciate the best progressive music made this year? IMHO, of course.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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