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Condor - Viaggio CD (album) cover

VIAGGIO

Condor

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.51 | 7 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars RPI 80s style - Condor's dream world

Condor were a band from Calitri Italy who followed that somewhat typical story for RPI bands. They were able to release one album in which they poured their heart and soul. The album was recorded in Rome in the mid 80s making Condor one of the bridge bands from the 1970s classic RPI scene to the acclaimed modern period. Unlike other bridge bands who had a stronger new wave influence Condor remained enamored by the symphonic prog but with an updated, succinct approach that reminded me of 80s Yes, that pop-oriented Trevor Rabin or perhaps Asia influence could be at work here. Their album "Viaggio" is as enjoyable as it is rare, a self-released vinyl that is highly deserving of a remastered CD reissue.

The album's opening prelude is perhaps my favorite part of this cool album. Sweeping simulated strings over floaty synths sound like homage to "Funeral for a Friend" or "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", with a feeling both longing and yet hopeful. Soon a gothic organ descends like a dark cloud, followed by a single classical guitar strum introducing the vocal. Talk about a dramatic entrance, it's fantastic! "La Strada Dei Sogni" kicks it into high gear with an Italian flavored version of the 90125 sound: crisp economical arrangements and melodic, slightly heavy and "razor-ey" Rabin-esque leads atop upbeat songwriting. Generous keyboards and interludes for acoustic guitar provide abundance of texture that keeps things interesting. Even the vocalist fits the mold a bit with a higher register and harmonies that remind one of Jon Anderson. "Ti Arrenderai" features gorgeous acoustic guitar performance with piano, lush harmonies, and impressive, interesting changes.

"Viaggio deals with the story of a young man in a dream world....where he meets an old man who represents himself. This old man invites his young self to join him and listen to his adventures. He explains leaving the real world to find shelter in a dream world because he was sick of real life. The old man starts talking about his adventures which are the themes of the songs in the album....an artistic pretext for the old man to make personal and social-political reflections. The old man condemns his choice in the song "La Canzone del Ritorno": he recognizes it is cowardly to run away from a concrete world. At this point, the old man says: Don't act like me, don't make my same mistakes, go back and face your real life, whatever it will be. In the last song, il Risveglio, the young man goes back to the real world: he realizes he dreamt about the dream world and the adventures of the old man (that is to say the songs), but after the old man's advice he is ready to face his future with more awareness and a better consciousness." -Giovanni Buldo

Side 2's "Il Cieco" feels somewhat classical and folk oriented all at once with more great acoustic guitar playing and piano. "Ai Tuoi Occhi" has a folk-ballad feel with a nice rock integration courtesy of the super lead guitar work, again the harmonies in the chorus are buoyant and dreamy. "Canzone Del Ritorno" is a super track, sounding very much in the vein of the late 70s RPI, a bit Locanda Della Fate, very smooth and romantic sounding. It begins with some real guitar fireworks then builds with easy going keyboards, the sound being hopeful and a bit nostalgic. Another standout track. "Risveglio" ends our journey with a cool clean guitar solo leading to climactic keyboards accompanied by free spirited wordless vocal.

"Viaggio" is a great find for RPI fans who want to explore the 1980s to have the complete storyline of RPI. Condor joins artists like Nuova Era, Gli Apostholi, Atons, Hopo, Mediterranea, and others as places to explore fine Italian music in the most sneered-upon years of prog rock. Viaggio's cover is quite clever. Upon close inspection, the person sitting on the tropical beach is actually staring at a superimposed image of Calitri, the little city on the hill. Suggesting perhaps that wherever the members of Condor may roam, their home town is never far from their thoughts.

Since the Condor members still play in gigging bands, hopefully one day they can reunite for the recording of a 2nd album as other RPI bands have, to bookend and revisit their Condor legacy.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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