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Osanna - Palepoli CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.24 | 366 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Osanna's "Palepoli" is an exploratory masterpiece that lives up to the hype.

This as close to the edge as RPI gets and certainly threw me for a loop with its wild manic insanity and ultra-diverse innovative structure. It begins with the outrageous soundbites of children playing and cars honking and soon leads into a gorgeous flute passage. Italian vocals come in very Magma like, chanting and exuberant, and then it locks into an amazing ambient section with flute chimes and effective hi hat work. VDGG and King Crimson are the bands that spring to mind while listening to this epic that devours side one.

'Oro Caldo' works its way into the system spiralling with weird time sigs and chaotic sax squeals. It fades in and out with new compositional inventions, dramatic percussion. Then there is Mellotron bliss, and a heavy guitar immediately enters as flute goes wildly out of control. The musicianship is stunning; Danilo Rustici on guitars, vox organ, electric piano, and those pleasant vocal harmonies; Lino Vairetti is on lead vocals, rhythm guitars, ARP 2600, and Mellotron; Elio D'Anna is outstanding on tenor and soprano sax, and flute; Massimo Guarino is the drummer and also great on vibraphones; and finally Lello Brandi is on bass. Together they form a sound of immeasurable quality and innovation. The original approach is found on this album in the peak of the rise of prog in the early 70s. It stands the test of time over thre decades as being one RPI treasure to dig up and savour. The way this epic ends is quite remarkable with VDGG sax blasts and explosive percussion. Then there are backwards vocal over sweet flute and chimes and then a demented circus rhythm with RIO nuances. It is rather a dissonant avant garde sound that is blindingly refreshing in its origination. The second track is a short little shock called 'Stanza Cittą' that may as well have been part of the opening epic. How weird to end the vinyl side with this, but it contrasts well with all the intricacies and labyrinthine structures previously.

There is another side too and it is swallowed up on vinyl by the impressive epic 'Animale Senza Respiro'. This begins with some wild rhtyhms and then a chilling mellotron soaked verse, with lots of vocals carrying it along on waves of atmospherics. The lead guitar breaks through mercilessly with speed licks and a steady beat beneath. The heavier riff to follow is like Robert Fripp and the time sigs shift constantly, with jaw dropping precision. The sax returns like an old friend and crunches out something like Jackson would play. This is a great section that certainly grabbed me by the cerebral cortex and shook my eardrums. It even breaks into a rather ethereal echoing space effect, and after all the hyper strangeness an acoustic vibration sweeps over and gentler vocals giving our ears a breather.

Soon there are sounds of psychedelic experimentation with rather disconcerting reverberated guitar sweeps, and cymbal splashes. A fuzz guitar and sax blend in with an odd rhythm. The sound is dynamic as more flute flows beautifully on the crest of a wave of vocal harmonies. The music feels like it is thinking of where to go next and one is never sure with Osanna. Crimsonesque mellotron soaks up the atmosphere building to a high register like spaced violin. It sounds like Nektar when the multiple harmonies come in, though all in Italian. There are shades of PFM and Banco at this point, but it is broken by the gorgeous saz tones of D'Anna. The vocals become intense, the cadence quickens, then another time sig with wah-wah guitar is heard. Saxes compete for a while improvising and then a fabulous guitar riff interjects. The time sig is crazy and the music moves into an atonal jazz-freeform style, and it somehow returns to another time sig and another verse. Some jazz improvisation over a rather fast drum solo ends the epic. This is a dazzling triumph by any standards.

At the end of this I am convinced the album is indeed a masterpiece as I had heard over the years. Osanna dares to be different and has the musical virtuoso to back up the insane ideas. The interchanging sigs, and the strong compositional structure of the 2 epics are sheer genius and they explore music itself in order to reinvent the listening experience. I love how the band refuse to hold back and the result is a progressive dream. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest albums of the 70s when prog was king.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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