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Alex Carpani Band - The Sanctuary CD (album) cover


Alex Carpani Band


Symphonic Prog

3.94 | 56 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'The Sanctuary' - Alex Carpani (8/10)

It was only over the last six months or so that I began to finally warm up to the world of modern 'retro-prog'; that is, bands playing music today that attempts to recreate the sounds of the classic 70's. For the greatest time, I dismissed this as 'copycat' behavior; after all, why would progressive rock look backward for inspiration? Although I still think there's something to be said about that, it has not stopped many of these acts from releasing passionate and stirring music. Alex Carpani's story began with an otherwise inconspicuous ankle fracture, and during that time, he wrote and recorded the debut 'Waterline', an album which has met some underground love in the prog community. 'The Sanctuary' was his second album, and would see him finally flesh out his musical ambitions to be worth a full band's contribution. The greater effort and confidence on this album leads it to be a fine example of how the 'retro-prog' sound can stir some beautiful music, even today.

The sound of the Alex Carpani Band can see influences drawn from a number of classic prog bands. genesis is an obvious contender. Alex Carpani and co. provide everything a listener could want from the symphonic prog rock style, perhaps save for the 'epic' format of composition. There are no twenty minute epics on the album, but the music keeps proggy and technical throughout. Although there may be structures to the songs, the tracks flow as if they did not need to worry about their length. Warm instrumentation and a cinematic-like dramatic build in the music are what drives 'The Sanctuary' along. There is little reverence given to memorable melodies, but the beauty of the arrangements and musicianship is more than enough to keep things interesting. In short, there are many ideas rolling around in this music, and if a listener wants to get themselves involved in the music, they can bet they will need several listens before they are able to identify the latent musical hooks.

The organ is the most notable aspect of this band's sound. Vintage key fanatics will be pleased to hear that the keyboards are what drive this music along. Alex Carpani is a very gifted keyboardist, able to take his instrument down a number of different sounds, from gentle piano interludes to bombastic organ climaxes. Carpani's vocals are less impressive than the rest of the performance. His singing is never particularly powerful, but he has a warm sound to his voice. Unfortunately, the vocal melodies lack the memorable power or beauty to have them stand out, even if he were a fantastic singer. Indeed, the wealth of 'The sanctuary' lies within the instrumentation and bold arrangements. Alex Carpani and his fellow musicians may look to the past for their inspiration and style, but the power of their music is more than valid today. Carpani's work makes me glad that I decided to give modern symphonic prog a real shot.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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