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Riccardo Zappa - Trasparenze CD (album) cover


Riccardo Zappa


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.35 | 6 ratings

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Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Trasparenze is the follow up to Chatka. I had so high expectations in the past months because I though it would have been the STEP FORWARD in the Zappa's discography, after the two classics of the seventies, Celestion and Chatka. This thought has not come true, though, even if there are important differences between the records.

First of all, this is where and when Zappa introduced a prominent role for the twelve strings guitar along with his usual "Ovation" acoustic guitar. He occasionally plays tubular bells. Pietro Pellegrini (ex Alphataurus) by then joined him on synth-korg in some of the tracks, without replacing Vince Tempera on piano and Bob Clarck who, despite the bass guitar playing, provides synth-moog. A famous italian (pop) singer- songwriter, Antonello Venditti, sings in the first minute of the opener track "Ouverture" (7,20 minutes).

The result is still very good, sometimes excellent. By the way, after some listenings more, I cannot deny what was my first impression. This album is fine and represents, somehow, a return to the Celestion period with its longer tracks and complex songs' structure. Chatka has still a strong influence on it and you can listen it clearly in the strong classical vein and, for example, in "56 Misure Inedite" (3,00 mns) which is made, as "Emphasis" upon the music of a lutist of the sixteenth century. One of the most convincing songs, with a touch of sadness. Not as memorable as it could have been, though.

What really impressed me since the very first listenings (not positively, though) is the strong blues temper of "Datsun Blues" (6,00 mns). Never underestimate the title tracks. Never. O.K. it's not completely bluesy, but a mixed bag which continues to calls itself "Zappaesque", especially in the middle part.

The most relevant track, from a prog point of view, is the long "Trasparenze" (almost 9 mns) that demonstrates well what I've said about the mix between the sound of both Celestion and Chatka. It lacks of some mordant, in my humble opinion but is still an excellent gift for any serious fan. Tubular bells are played here. Keyboards are slightly more important here, in particular in the second half.

"Archipelagos Aegeon" (5,00 mns) features, for another time, a classic guitar's soft sound that erupts unexpectetly in a joyful ballad with the fine drums' playing of Calloni. Greece's and mediterranean sea's imagery is very strong in the Zappa's musical concept.

The closer is the warm and short (unfortunately) "Cosė Diversa ...Eppure" (1,48 mns).

In conclusion, this is not the big opus I was waiting for. It doesn't seem to be at the level of the noble predecessors. It's still and excellent contribution from the italian prog scene but suffers a little of those comparisons and, the most important thing, has an uncertain structure due to an artist in transitional phase. The nice surprise will come with the following record Haermea...

3.50 (3.75 should be the most correct evaluation). I will not round up to four, 'cause it would be difficult then to distinguish my appreciation's grade of the albums I own. All in all, a wonderful music that I will never be tired to listen to. Riccardo Zappa deserves more wider recognition.

Andrea Cortese | 3/5 |


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