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Toto Torquati - Gli Occhi Di Un Bambino CD (album) cover


Toto Torquati


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.55 | 22 ratings

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4 stars In the eyes of a child

I have been enjoying this album during my daily commute the past couple of weeks. The intimacy it holds - the far reaching musical themes, as well as that infinitely warm and luscious Italian feel that literally exudes from this album. If anything, the music you'll find hiding underneath that innocent child's face - is one of deep emotive power, and never does it become saccharine or over the top. It's skilfully orchestrated right down to it's inner layers, and when you start to peel away the individual skins of this marvellous musical onion, you find a lot of spice and ornamentations that help this venture attain it's natural and soulful magic.

As other reviewers here have mentioned, Toto Torquati is a keys man who since birth has been without the gift of sight. Now don't let that fool you, because people who can't see are usually anything but blind, even if we seers of 'truth' and trees and sunsets proclaim that. Blind is something that comes from being purposefully naive, vengeful, spiteful or just deliberately mean. People who can't use their eyes are often the ones that see things the way they are - maybe because the world usually comes up with eye- candy traps and all the things that make you deviate from the 'righteous' path. Anyway that's my take on it after spending over 20 years in a loving relationship with Stevie Wonder's Innervisions....

Toto here plays a mean piano - in fact he plays every tangent fuelled instrument unbelievably well. He often reminds me of a smoother and friendlier Keith Emerson. The way he jumps from theme to theme is a thing of beauty, and if you've ever watched butter dissolve in a hot pan, you'll know the feeling of this man's playing. He can be forceful as well - relegating big booming segments of musical theatre and still, he keeps things nice and fluid - and he never feels staccato or hesitant of what comes next - a trade that thankfully shines through in all of this man's facets. Synths, organ, keys or piano.

Apart from the RPI flavour of the occasional acoustic guitars and the melodic piano melodies that more than often point a finger or two back to the old celebrated Verdi, I sense a distinct fusion groove as well. To be more clear, the sparingly used synthesisers give off a vibe that wouldn't feel out of place on a Caravan album from around the same time. This is where the music can get a little quirky and fun, although it never really gets humorous. You'll get mantraing piano chords with a jazzy beat underneath them - and then those laser beam synths trashing through in the most remarkable way. Just like Sinclair's magical touch, on here the result is somewhat identical - bringing with it a sparkling vivacious kick to the music. It's as if everything jumps up a gear or two.

Now take everything I just said about the synths and apply it to the guitar. Swoop! You've got yet another conveyor of melodic soloing. Just like I said before, there is indeed a Canterburian feel to these scoops of sound, and like any other means of transportation, you'll certainly feel invigorated and deeply alive during these stints - like sticking your head out of car window when you're doing a 150 on the free- way........ Wind in your hair, yeah that sounds right. Wind in your hair.

Allright, we have RPI and Canterbury covered - oh did I forget to mention the symphony orchestra that very tastefully paints the missing pieces within the music in a deep crimson red? Scores of violins and cellos that breathe air into the album - like a thousand hot air balloons setting off inside your living room. These are powerful breaks, and you actually get hit with them immediately in a refined and elegant manner. Folks like myself, that is laymen, will probably call this opening piece an ouverture. A piece of indefinable measure that warns you of what's to come, although on here these gentle sweeps of orchestral sound find you at ease and comfortably in check. One could argue that the docile behaviour of the start seems strangely unfitting of an album that weaves in and out of fusion and rock templates, but I do find it to be extremely necessary. Just like the following symphonic stints where the heavens open up and the violins sing, it helps the album fluctuate between darkness and light. It adds to the album a natural dynamic range, that would have the lads from Rush running straight home to their mommies.

All in all the music at hand gives hope to all you people with an affinity for the melodic and huge. More than once did I think of the Portuguese Jose Cid - in part for the occasional meaty Springsteen vocals, but more importantly for this album's cunning way of knitting the different puzzle-pieces together to form a whole of unlikely sizes. I really love this album, and it is breathtaking proof of just how imminent and imaginative this scene was back in the day, - and you certainly don't need your eyesight to see that...

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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