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Nichelodeon

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.70 | 6 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars This 30 minutes live release contains five songs released on the Nichelodeon's debut album.

The mind behind this project is the vocalist Claudio Milano who has a huge vocal extension and is proceeding on the path started years before by Demetrio Stratos with vocal experiments and researches. Respect to his solo works and to other Milano's side projects, Nichelodeon have more contacts with the classic RPI even though on the RIO/Avant side. In particular on the chaotic final of "Apnea" I think to hear echoes of AREA.

But let's go in order:

"Fame" (Hunger) shows both classical and jazz influences. Claudio Milano starts singing on bass pitches. The melody has a Crimsonian flavor and the lyrics are quite raw and hard as one can expect from a so dramatic piece of music. The first sentence says "Fucking the mind to break the chains of pain..." then on the chorus, if it can be called in this way he says "I'm hungry of stones, I'm hungry of fire". The music is obsessive and the sax enhances the jazzy mood. There's also room for some vocal experiments before, at minute 4, a brief moment of tango is followed by a part driven by piano with a classical flavor. The last chord is unexpectedly a major one and it sounds discordant with the rest of the song. A very good song. Imagine Stratos singing in King Crimson.

"Fiaba" (Fairytale) Starts very dreamy with the clarinet and some water noises. The quality of the live recording is remarkable. The guitar seems a little untuned but I think it's intentional. It adds a touch of weirdness to a melody that could have appeared too usual (I don't mean trivial). Listen to how a free jazz ensemble slightly replaces the standard rock instrumentation without changing the melody or the tempo before turning to rock again. After this rocking part there's a stop and a section made of piano, electronics and vocals leads to a noisy paroxysmal crescendo followed by a sudden pause on which the main theme returns. At the end of this part Claudio Milano shoots a very long bass note which introduces the instrumental coda enriched by Claudio's vocals for a final of the song closer to the Milano's solo works.

"Malamore E La Luna" as song is my preferred in this album, with its initial tango which later turns into a very melodic song suitably arranged. Who knows the Italian songwriters of the 60s like Tenco and De Andre, would probably find affinities. I can add that also the lyrics contain a good touch of poetry. It's a song that can be listened to several times in a shot (as I have done before writing this review).

The already mentioned "Apnea" is more rock-oriented even without losing the Avantgarde feeling. It's a march that bass and drums transform into a swing before plunking into a jazz improvisation, at the end of which the main theme is back, not without an essay of very high pitches from Claudio Milano's throat. I haven't seen the show, but I'm sure that this song and the previous one work very well on stage. A little technicality. Singing the sentence "Imparare ad amare" before the second improvised section, Claudio Milano sings the last syllable on a very long note, and at the end, when a normal human being would take a breath, he goes a semitone higher....tha's effectively an "apnea".

"Claustrofilia" is the opposite of Claustrophobia. A piano solo with some electronic winds behind starts a long intro sometimes melodic and classically inspired, sometimes more jazzy in an alternance that seems to be willing to disorient the listener. The lyrics are a succession of images and situations which are full of alienation. The alienating effect is enhanced by the low pitches used by Milano. It's a very good song which creates a dark atmosphere with a wise and appropriate use of the arrangements. The paroxysmal acceleration on the final is an excellent closure for the album.

As I have already written the production is very clean and respectful of the live environment. The package is completed by some photos and I've seen that the band has a naked dancer on stage like the Hawkwind were used.

An excellent album, short but full of things, less challenging than other outputs from Claudio Milano like "Kasjanoova" and "Radiata 5et" (not on PA but suggested to whoever loves jazzy improvisations) but not less interesting.

4 deserved stars

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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