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Maurizio Di Tollo - L'Uomo Trasparente CD (album) cover


Maurizio Di Tollo


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.01 | 40 ratings

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4 stars The ball is rolling for this mercurial recording, penned by the amazing Maurizio di Tollo, a drummer of impeccable credentials and sublime style, having graced numerous successful recordings from Finisterre, Höstsonaten, La Maschera di Cera, Moongarden etc?and rightly so, it's simply put, splendid. Here, Mau surprises by showing numerous other skills on a variety of keyboards, as well as supplying the rather unique vocals.

I am unashamedly one of those softer RPI fans that prefer the lyrical purity and sensational melodic sense so firmly rooted in Italian popular music, going back all the way to the Roman Empire! Not that I dislike the harder style, it's just a slow-maturing process that happens to all of us eventually, this eternal quest for musical beauty. So I just leaped on this, as soon as it was available, not only because of my esteemed colleague finnforest's enticing review but rather for my brewing respect for this talented percussor in recent years. I remain convinced that his placement on my top 10 current prog drummers list is perfectly warranted. Yet, this is not a drum solo exhibition by any stretch but an introspective and deeply heartfelt compositional work of incredible emotion. We are in the presence of something special, a highly personal offering of stupendous art, glittering poetry and evocative music all rolled into one.

First off, a mention must be made about the exquisite glossy cover art that rekindles images of Peter Sinfield's "Still", a mysterious and romantic image that one could stare at ,effortlessly inspired. After a brief spoken female word opening to set the proper mood, "Tannhauser" is an epic slice of modern prog, named after Richard Wagner's famous opera, a piece where pulsating drums, palpitating orchestrations and palpable emotion rule the grooves, as Maurizio vocalizes within a synthesized microphone. Little dabs of flute and then, the first of many electric guitar leads expertly handled by my new axe queen, Laura Marsano. The keyboards are expertly handled by the genial Di Tollo while the synths are twiddled by Agostino Macor, a tremendously talented musician who colors with a strong sense of emotion and passion, not surprising really if one looks to his body of work with various Zuffanti led projects such as Zaal, La Maschera di Cera, Höstsonaten etc?The music is heroic, dauntless, stately, edgy and memorable. Repeated listens will offer constant imagery that underlines the personality of the composer. There is also a strong, classic PFM tinge to the arrangements that wink at a legacy of RPI that is still beating strong in 2012.

The misty "Poggia Sulla Memoria" is arguably the most memorable track here, a clue being that it will be gifted by a reprise later on in the recording. A moody and hypnotic slice of melancholic progressive rock as only the RPI master school could produce. A doom-laden bass rumbles forward timidly, caressed along by some simple cymbal work, as the dirty windows of the past are washed away by new liquid impressions (the greasy guitar does wonders with the imagination!) , as Mau whispers his reflected annoyance. This is a voyage in psychedelic heaven that will be a classic.

"La Curva Deo Pitosfori" is perhaps more down to earth, a strong melody led by a groping bass (Christian Marras), reminding us of the strong RPI connection with traditional Italian song and seductive poetry (here recited courtesy of Ksenja Laginja, who opened the album). Once again, Mau delivers a personal vocal that exudes simplicity and heart-felt emotion, while Laura pierces another prog heart with a short guitar arrow. The lyrics are simply sublime, expressing the ongoing quest for understanding the human spirit and seemingly, always failing to grasp it, never giving up the urge to fight on.

The next 3 tracks form a mini-suite as first "Io Sono Quel Cespuglio" wavers over troubled waters, a melancholic ditty chock full of fragile honesty and a perfect companion to "Casomai", a piano and vocal cry from the heart , both 3 minute+ long slices of poetic anguish and finished off by the dreamy "Pioggia" reprise, densely atmospheric and ethereal. "La Poesia Delle Carne" (Poetry of the Flesh) returns to more expansive themes, first with light atmospherics, sultry spoken word while the Andrea Monetti flute flutters and then, BAM! a brief symphonic explosion, synths and axes blazing, announcing the delicate glockenspiel ( such a delightful instrument) which then is combined with the mellotron and the searing lead guitar ( a deadly prog combo). Forging ahead with ornate piano and a more bombastic disposition, the track just flows onward like a torrent of feeling. The final 2 tracks keep the ebb and flow pulsing through the speakers, "Millioni di Occhi al Cielo" reflects on life's unwavering and ongoing mystery, the pain of a wounded soul and the human ability to withstand the deepest tragedies. The lyrics are all about revival, resurrection, survival and victory. The finale celebrates this new renaissance and the realization that hope will vanquish despair, by being resolute, fighting on and never giving up. Perhaps not the proggiest or most Tolkienesque of inspirations but the human soul has always been a source of interest to the romantics of this universe). Marsano's shimmering guitar sortie is resplendent and hopeful, a positive sheen on a miraculously private album.

Italians have a strong sense of tradition that is to be commended and revered. This glittering joyride is example of a style that lives on radiantly and will never die. Fans who understand Italian will simply fall to their knees in exalted wonder, but the music and the honesty expressed throughout cannot be denied or deemed as boring.

4.5 invisible men

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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