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Era Di Acquario - Antologia CD (album) cover


Era Di Acquario

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A short passage of beautiful music!

As you may notice, there are hundreds of excellent bands from Italy that have pleased fans of prog rock and well composed music since the latter 60┤s until these days, i could say that i have been in love with Italy┤s music since i discovered it, and so far, i haven┤t found any "bad" Italian band, of course i love some bands more than other ones, but them all are / were excellent.

This time i am reviewing another great band which unfortunately was a one-shot band as many 70┤s Italian bands were; Era di Acquario was the name of a trio of excellent musicians who came from Sicilia if im not wrong, and after having released in 1972 a couple of singles, in 1973 "Antologia" was released as their first and sadly last LP, do not think that the title Antologia measn that this is a compillation because it isnt, it is an studio album.

Now lets talk about the album, i started saying that statement "a short passage of beautiful music" because this album despite featuring 10 tracks, it only lasts 29 minutes, so it is very short to ve considered a "real" prog album, as you can imagine all the songs are very short with a range of 3 minutes average, with this lenght i always remember for instance Goblin┤s Profondo Rosso which i consider a masterpiece despite it is also very short, this time "Antologia" is not a masterpiece for me, but it is full of beautiful music indeed.

As i mentioned above, they were a trio, but not as bombastic as ELP, but with a very soft and delicate sound, an exquisite use of flute and acousti guitars with the always particular and recognizable Italian sound. "Campagne Siciliane" is the opener song and it is very beautiful, an instrumental and very melodic song, full of flute and very nice acoustic guitar, it is one of the best songs here. "Paddre Mio" and "Idda" are the follower songs, the first one is a bit rockier with electric guitar, good riffs and again flute, the second is a soft ballad which may reminad you to New Trolls. "Solitudine" is another relaxing song where again acoustic guitars and flute play the lead role, also we can listen to a very soft keyboard sound as a background, it also has nice percussions. "Vento D┤Africa" is very similar to the previous one, it gives me a sensation of being lying in the sea, watching the clouds and feeling totally relaxed. "L┤Indifferenza" is an excellent song, very Italian so traditional and with great vocals, great atmospheres. "Fuori al Sole" shows the rockier side of Era di Acquario with good guitar riffs but at the same time with the delicate sound of flute, another short instumental song. "Geraldine" was one of those previous singles before Antologia, so i believe in that era this sound was known there, this song features the best vocal performance of this album, reaching high tones, the song itself is simple but pretty nice. "Statale 113" is the song which finishes this nice album, as in the first song, this last song is instrumental with very nice arrangements, it is a catchy tune as the majority of the songs are actually.

I enjoy this album, it is very "easy" to listen so everybody could give it a chance and enjoy it, i like it a lot despite having some simple moments, i could give it 4 stars and recommend it to everyone, but i think i would be fair if i gave it only 3 stars, good but non-essential, since i think it is not a clear example of prog rock, i mean knowing all those Italian masterpieces, this album has nothing to do.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#123995)
Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yet again, 1973 Italy. My God, what was in the water?

I know y'all are probably sick to death of my reviews about '73 Italy being the musical epicenter of the universe. I can't help it. Here's another one. This one is quite different from those heavy, harsher Semiramis/YS type masterpieces that everyone raves about. This one is barely prog as we normally think of it. "Antologia" is an album of beautiful, short pop/rock songs with a light prog feel, made up of two distinct types of tracks. The first style of song is a dreamy, mellow acoustic guitar music with flute and bongo type drums. The second style are more upbeat rock tracks with high pitched Trolls-like vocals and US west coast hippie rock rhythm sections. The mellow acoustic songs are the winner for me because the guitar playing is very good and the flute equally impressive. When combined with their success at extraordinary melodies you get some very successful, lovely, memorable songs. While not a progressive masterpiece or even a prog necessity, I'm giving it 3 stars based on the strength of the pastoral half which I find very moving without being cheesy. I was recently spinning a very prestigious album by one of the Italian "big 3" and while that album is technically better and more "prog", if I had to pick between the two I would keep this little Era album over that one because it has a certain hard to define purity in the mellow stuff that I really like. The rock stuff is fine but not of the same level as the acoustic stuff.

I am really bummed that I was unable to unearth more history on these guys, I tried and found very little. Sadly I did find that Michele Seffer has passed away in 2006 at only age 56. The band formed in Palermo in the early '70s and got known through the Festival scene of course. After this album they added a fourth member in preparation for another album which of course never happened, in the grand tradition of the Italian one-shots. The guitarist Seffer had a brief stint in Il Volo a few years later.

"Campagne Siciliane" starts the album with one of the most beautiful melodic songs you will ever hear. This track was worth getting the CD for me. Dual acoustics playing different parts out of each speaker, with the most chilling melancholy flute part. The progression sounds a bit like "Colour My World" from Chicago. Then there is bass and hand percussions to lift the mood a bit. Beautiful stuff. Watch the video clip of this track on their artist page and you'll know exactly what you're getting with this band, although remember the album sounds much better than an old TV clip and features more guitar and bass. "Padre Mio" shifts to their second style which is pop/guitar rock and is a well done piece with vocals and aggressive flutes. "Idda" is another well constructed pop song with very pleasant vocal verses answered by big harmonies on the choruses, a bit like Crosby/Still/Nash would do. "Solitudine" like the first track is what makes Era very special to me: contemplative, gorgeous instrumentals with acoustic guitars, flute, and hand percussion. "Vento D'Africa" is yet another, little gems that are as pretty as any Italian prog you've heard. These kinds of tracks are like laying out in the grass on a spring day and feeling the wind. Like you did as a kid. "Monika Aus Wien" is yet another one. Perfect acoustic and bass, flute, and melodies that bring memories rushing back from the past. "L'Indifferenza" brings back a vocal and a darker tone with ominous operatic harmonies and tension. The amazing flute work is a great contrast to the darkness. Very good track. The last 3 tracks will shift back to more of the pop sound. "Fuori al Sole" is an excellent pop song with a 60s feel like The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield but with a bit of flute. Nice electric lead guitar. "Geraldine" is similar but with the falsetto vocals. "Statale 113" is an instrumental closer with acoustic, drums, and more great flute. The chords and lead guitar remind me a bit of the Airplane.

A great bet for Italian fans though not essential to others, and admittedly not the best example of what is traditionally accepted as the great Italian prog. No big keyboards to be found and nothing experimental. But music (and reviewing) is not an exact science, and this little gem is 3 very affectionate stars. What sounds very simple in the best tracks here is really far from it, it's very eloquently crafted stuff.

Report this review (#158849)
Posted Thursday, January 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
3 stars Morning skies of Skagen

It┤s kind of funny that this little album was made in Palermo Sicily some 39 years ago, because what the music really reminds me of, is the most northern parts of Denmark called Skagen. We are a small nation, and apart from H.C. Andersen and his fairy tales - the only other thing people from the outside world might recognize, and this is indeed if you┤re an art aficionado, is perhaps the eloquent work of The Skagen Painters. From the late 1870s until the turn of the century, this small group of artists decided to go against what was being taught at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - looking towards France and the Impressionistic movement, but with a unique touch incorporating a good deal of realism into their paintings. Skagen was a small fisherman┤s community, and this naturally seeped through into the paintings, as many of the local fishermen often were used as subjects. Now before I get ahead of myself, and start talking about Danish culture and the works, I┤d like to point out, that whilst Era di Acquario┤s sole album may not necessarily be speaking about this important point in time to the Danish arts, (in fact I find it rather preposterous if it did) the music of it contains perhaps the best musical odes to these nostalgic times. There is something about the light up here in the Northern parts of Jutland that is different to everywhere else I┤ve been in my country, and somehow, in some magical way, every time I put this album on, I feel like strolling down the beach in one of P.S. Kr°yer┤s paintings. This sentence needs explaining, and I┤m getting to that don┤t you worry.

There is something about the way this band plays the acoustic instruments here, and while they are most definitely rooted in the Italian folk tradition, the overall breezy nature of these, - how they seem to float on the air like lingering snowflakes that for some unfathomable reason never touch the ground, - this wafting feel to it really speaks to me about those Skagen paintings. Today, because I now live here and experience these images on a daily basis, the light of Northern Jutland has almost become ingrained in me, meaning that I from time to time feel like I┤m walking around in some weird bizarre pseudo world of old famous Danish paintings. The music of Era di Acquario helps these whims of mine, and I┤ll surely be locked up in a rubber cell any day now.

Just like the light here is extremely delicate and fragile, so is this music. The satin like sweeps of the acoustic guitars, or the gentle way the flute is handled - all points towards this highly feminine and muliebrous feel there is to this music. They accompany each other like long lost lovers, and together inside the music they obtain the feel of a perfect symbiosis. Underneath the starstruck lovers often you┤ll get muffled hand drums prancing away like small earthbound rhythm devices grabbing a hold of the windy music, that by now is threatening to leave the confines of the ground. These are the places in this album where I hold my breath and get the chills. Beautiful moments. I put this album on in the mornings, and it has become somewhat of a daily ritual to finish this while I┤m getting ready for work. It calms me down, and speaks to me about the wonders of the world in an almost lovingly way - that surpasses any sort of radio show trying to get you in shape for the day, and sends you on your way with what feels like hundreds of warm kisses conveyed in musical bliss.

Now this could sound like the review for a 5 star album, but it┤s not. Just like my fellow colleague Jim(Finnforest) - I too feel rather untouched by the rock sensibilities of this album. It┤s not bad or anything, but you can┤t help but think about the extreme differences there are between these outer bounds of the music. On one hand the folk induced acoustic sprees of this album are beyond words and sound to me like walking euphorically around in a beautiful painting from 18something, but the other side of the story tells a somewhat uninteresting anecdote of lukewarm adventures in rock music. The Italian vocals now turn from gentle and warm - maybe slightly high pitched but still very soothing and aptly sung within the folky confines - to the screaming rock n┤ roll platitudes of nearly every 1970s band you can think of. Put simply: the pieces doesn┤t fit together - not really. And that doesn┤t take away from the heartfelt and soul massaging ventures in Italian folk music that otherwise characterize most of this outing, but sadly does however make me warrant the whole album with a 3.5 rating.

Again these ratings are not everything, and if you┤re like me and yearn for the brighter and warmer days of spring, where the skies are lit up - the ground is greener and friendlier to the touch, then what this album does, is to give you exactly that, and more - all you need to do, is to listen intently and let yourself be swept away into the sandy dunes of the Skagen Painters┤ late soundtrack troubadours.

Report this review (#604053)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One-shot early-70's Italian band from Palermo, Sicily, originally consisting of Michele Seffer on guitars/bass/vocals, Gianni Garofalo on guitars/flutes and Pippo Cataldo on drums/vocals.After a single in a Heavy Rock mood Garofalo was replaced by Angelo Giordano and the style had softened as listened on their second single.The only album of the group was released in 1973 by RCA under the title ''Antologia''.

The album contains 10 very short tunes, clocking at less than 30 minutes long, split between soft and mainly instrumental arrangements and more rockin' tunes.The smoother tracks have a lovely and romantic Symphonic/Folk atmosphere with a great sense of melody, based on Seffer's soft acoustic guitars and Giordano's elegant flutes.Most of them contain nice background synths, but it is not known who is responsible for this work.From the vocal tracks, a pair of them have a typical Italian ballad atmosphere, close to the singer/songwriter style, the rest are decent Heavy Rock/Prog, similar to IBIS or NEW TROLLS, with interesting electric guitar work, still flute appears in groovy drives along with a very tight rhythm section, far from outstanding tracks but still quite enjoyable.

After the album the band had expanded to a four-piece group, as a new bassist joined Era Di Acquario, while Cataldo was replaced by Claudio Rego.However the band split up without releasing a reputedly already written second album, with Seffer joining Il Volo for a short time, just before they dissolved as well.Sadly he passed away sometime in 2006.

Several CD reissues followed the original LP release so the album is rather easy to be found and it is sure to please all fans of Classic Italian Prog and light Progressive Rock.Recommended.

Report this review (#804587)
Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's nice to finally see some MP3s of the more obscure Italian bands, and Era Di Acquario are definitely second-tier, but a good addition to any RPI collection. Three stars all the way.

"Antologia" is a Jekyll-and-Hyde have the excellent pastoral side and and the rockier stuff; the latter of which doesn't always work and actually takes this down from a possible four-star affair. The middle chunk of the album (well, the CD) contains their best material, largely instrumental, prog-lite if you will. Not necessarily a good representation of the rich symphonic heritage to come of out Italy during this period, but I suppose a comparison to Celeste or Blocco Mentale wouldn't be out of the question (although this holds a candle to neither).

This was actually one of the first RPI albums I discovered, and was taken to it immediately due to its accessibility - which is not to say this is pop music by any stretch of the imagination, but it is about as catchy as the genre gets. Good music to have on while the wife's around. Another quality that so enamored me to this album some ten years ago is the way it sounds: many RPI albums from this period suffer from lackluster production, tape hiss, sibilance and the like; "Antologia" is beautifully recorded and produced, with deep bass and shimmering acoustic guitars, full vocals and properly-recorded percussion. No doubt the backing of RCA had much to do with this, but again there is just not a lot of information about the band available to say for sure.

Once the heavy-hitters like PFM, Le Orme, and Banco have all been added to your collection, this wouldn't be a bad place to start for some of the second-tier stuff. I almost regret to give "Antologia" three stars because the acoustic material is so enjoyable, but the lack of consistency and weakness of the New Trolls-inspired rock tracks dictate that rating. Still, a worthwhile listen and unique entry into the world of Italian Prog.

Report this review (#839169)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars A band from Sicily that he could conquer Italy, they were Era di acquario. Their Prog form of song was really convincing and concrete, ready to explode. Yes, because it is difficult not to see in the proposed music by Era di acquario a concrete mix of acoustic and electric, always close to a form of Prog like Jethro Tull, although much softer and POP. I recognize that in "Anthologia" is missing the real hit, because the songs are all the same level. And, also, are very short. However, all the songs on "Anthologia" have the right amount of magic, which never hurts. Recognize that, as 90% of the Italian albums of the 70's, the production is amateurish used to understand how an album like that seems less successful than it is. So the songs seem more dry and slightly colored.

In any case, to be honest to the core, "Anthologia" is one of my favorite RPI albums. Because different from the mass of RPI albums. It is no small thing.

Report this review (#886272)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars And incredibly beautiful album. More folk prog than typical RPI. I wish there could have been more by this Sicilian trio. Strong guitar and flutes with great songwriting. Mellow in many areas as well as powerful with very potent melodies within the flute arrangements. Much folk, jazz, Blood, Swear and Tears and Chicago could have been a heavy influence as well as their Sicilian roots which is evident in the lyrics (some Sicilian words), singing style and some instrumentation. There isn't too much more to be said about this terribly short album... and like Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" and Supertramp's first, I could consider this a "mini masterpiece", Go for a drive in the countryside and feel it for yourself.

Thank you, Era Di Acquario.

Report this review (#889029)
Posted Sunday, January 6, 2013 | Review Permalink

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