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Malaavia - Danze d'Incenso CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.55 | 33 ratings

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4 stars This is another fine example of Italian proficiency in progressive rock field, combining local and foreign influences to create memorable music and exemplary playing. RPI is akin to Italian cuisine, there are a lot of combinations, flavors and aromas that can go into the pan, while still keeping to long held traditions . The main cooks are Pas Scarpato and Oderigi Lusi with an army of guest musicians on violin, viola, trombone, sax, flutes, synths, mandolin and percussion. This is one colossal suite composed of 22 pieces that all intertwine brilliantly, some snippets and others, full blown pieces. It will take multiple listens for this to sink in but when it does, hold on to your prosciutto! I was attracted by the positive reviews and I am not disappointed one bit as this is pretty original RPI stuff with hints of opera, jazz, Italian folk, Middle Eastern spices (including Arabic and Hebrew), some disco (yup!), lighter barroom piano fare, classical orchestrations and the cucina 's sink!

Huge highlights include (and there are many): On "Abraham", the singing from Osanna's Lino Vairetti and Solimena Casoria is ecstatically incredible, blazing fast and powerfully emotive, creating a landmark RPI piece for the ages. The music is phenomenal but multiple voice fencing is truly epic and the chorus defines hummable to death. Same can be said on "Marrakech", where another scintillating female vocal rules the roost, with slight Moroccan hints, a caravanserai of bopping bass and a sandstorm of brass work. .

"Kyrie Elieson" is operatic, playful and loopy. "Ombre" is utterly brilliant, grandiose and driven, especially when twined with the follow-up "Gnoti Sauton", featuring crisp lady vocals and a sizzling synth solo (courtesy of Michele Mutti of Il Torre dell'Alchimista) that is flush with emotion, all of this splendor wrapped in lush symphonics . Bloody fantastic this.

The pulsating "Vie Interne" is where the disco feel is prevalent but not to worry, this ain't no Donna Summer (RIP), it's both gloomy, quirky, playful and has a sexy sax solo that will knock your socks right off, plus Solimena does another masterful vocal, fast, clean and just wow! "Cuori d'Eletricitta" offers more brisk wailing, flute and some liberal doses of passion and power, the mellotron synths kicking up some dust and finally a diabolic electric guitar solo bursting of fuzz and froth amid the pomp and circumstance ("Hominem Quaero"). "Vivi nascoto" is another colossal male vocal that inspires with an easy beat and some fabulous duet vocal and choir work into an almost hummable song that will stick in your mind, the arrangement has a massive orchestral feel that is also impressive.

Obviously, the instrumental title track is the longest piece here clocking in at 6.48, shepherded by a lovely flute melody, later paralleled by a synthesizer, acoustic/Spanish guitar modulations, elegant piano ripples and some more ornate classical dressing.

Then a miniature 3 part suite "Mezzaluna Fertile" sandwiched by a fascinating JS Bach piano interlude elevates the music to the proggiest levels and does not fail to impress, stuffed with various cinematographic voice effects and a colossal orchestrated chorus, metallic resonations in the foreground, bleeping synths and sparkling melodies. The impassioned female vocals scream despair and the male vocals recite in resignation at a blistering pace..

Gentle acoustic guitar leads the haunting "Locus Amoenus" in perhaps the most personal and melancholic instrumental piece yet, disturbingly sad. When the dexterous mandolin takes over, the sheer beauty of this song rises to the top. "Canzone di Giuseppe" is done in an outright Italian folk style, with male and female vocals, allied with some accordion-like sounds, dabs of synthesized sound effects, a lingering little ditty that is extraordinarily pleasant. The final cut, "Coda di Luna Calante" a muscularly flute-led beat, displays a trembling Hammond and loving piano work, only to be outdone by a whopping guitar intervention both sharp and concise. This a spacey exit that gets arranged with swirling synths and a near psychedelic formula.

A varied, complex, inspirational and refreshing RPI album that bodes well for the future.

4 Bad birds

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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