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Le Porte Non Aperte - Golem CD (album) cover

GOLEM

Le Porte Non Aperte

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.55 | 17 ratings

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seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator
RPI
3 stars Italian prog rock bands seem to have a great appetite for the weird and wonderful concept album, and from that great Mediterranean storehouse comes the recently released debut by Le Porte Non Aperte. It's a real doozy.

The album works on some peculiar levels. The golem of myth was a cloddish conjuration of magician-priests who desired to emulate God by creating living beings - the Kabbalists believed that nothing could be left to chance in this undertaking so they used a secret formula to create an artificial man to carry out menial tasks. This contrasts with the manifesto of chance, or unpredictability, adopted by a group of Italian pro-anarchists during the 1960s-70s who embraced the phenomenon as a vehicle for social change. Le Porte Non Aperte's debut album hangs its hat on this concept of chance, personified by the golem, and it even throws in some Greek mythology and Asimovian science fiction to help develop the idea - the gloomy 'Nemesi' takes its name from the goddess of Retribution but the track is deliberately oriented to an Asimov novel, and the story is ultimately resolved when the protagonist meets a cybernetic turtle! With me so far?

Okay, so how do these guys try to sell this idea? Well, to complicate matters even further the tracks take the form of a dream cycle and the short piano instrumental that opens the album prepares us for the protagonist's transition into the unconscious. There are in fact several self-contained piano pieces spread across the album. In addition to providing variation these minimalist pieces help to rekindle the dreamy atmosphere at regular intervals, with wind-down moments between the periods of high arousal evident on other tracks. For example after entering the mind-metropolis of 'La Cittą Delle Terrazze', all spellbinding flute and mood swings, the protagonist's journey to distant locations of his psyche is elaborated on the runaway train of 'Binario 8' - perhaps signifying the golem running amok in the ghetto. And in keeping with the theme of chance the protagonist is later confronted with his alter ego, the junk dealer of broken dreams ('Rigattiere Dei Sogni Infranti').

The music is clearly enlivened by an admiration for UK bands of the seventies; I suspect that Deep Purple and ELP are held in particular esteem. Another trend worth noting is the interplay between the flute and vocals, so characteristic of Italian prog, which in this case seems to reflect the conflicts of will within the protagonist. The album is largely activated by a feverish tension between gobby vocal remonstrances and islands of airy flute, all on top of debauched heavy riffs. And on 'Il Re Del Niente' more than any other track is this mode evident. The protagonist, the king of nothing and master of his own loveless realm, enters a dreamworld yet paradoxically awakens from his stupor like the mud-formed beast. This mutual engagement between concept and music continues throughout the album as elemental laughter and murmurings run in parallel with the splitting of the protagonist's personality.

Like its mythological counterpart 'Golem' is somewhat rudely fashioned but, unlike the lifeless creature of the title, the album is full of panache - it's nowhere near as dry as my description doubtless makes it sound. Recommended if you like your RPI on the wild side, but to listen to the album in full just follow the link to the band's site via its PA bandpage.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |

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