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Il Volo - Essere O Non Essere?  CD (album) cover

ESSERE O NON ESSERE?

Il Volo

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars "Essere O Non Essere" (To Be Or Not To Be) is the second fantastic release from Italy's IL VOLO (The Flight). In the same spirit as their debut album, "Essere..." delivers intriquite instrumentation with the highest calibre musicians. "Essere..." is a little quieter that their first album and offers some scrumptious acoustic guitar / symphonic keyboard interplay. IL VOLO blend elements of PFM and Le ORME with the magic of BANCO creating some very addictive songs. Si-Wan has done a great job in transferring this digitally onto CD with enhanced sound reproduction. What makes this album such magic is the carefully tinted delicate guitar/bass/drum interplay in combination with heavy symphonic analog keyboards. IL VOLO is appeal to all fans of Italian prog rock and is in my opinion a real classic deserving a place in your collection.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#18490)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This Italian progressive/fusion album is quite different from other Italian bands like PFM, Banco and Le Orme: the presence of clavinet, mandolin, singular keyboards textures and Latino rhythms are enough to put this album in a class apart.

Compared to their first album, "Essere o non essere" is more instrumental and rhythmic. There are many excellent percussion parts. There are still many floating keyboards parts a la Pink Floyd's "Animals". The mandolin parts still contribute here to make their trademark. The exhibition of the Clavinet instrument, in a rhythmic manner, is particularly impressive. The overall mood is VERY rhythmic, as reveal the miscellaneous percussions, clavinet and electric piano parts. The keyboards are more present and elaborated than on the previous album: I even notice some organ parts. The bass is, again, very bottom, loud, complex and varied; the impressive drums are absolutely complex: one feels their presence essential to support the refined rhythms. There are unique synthesizer or guitar? sounds, a bit like Pat Metheny used to produce on his "Offramp" album with a synthesizer guitar: they sound a bit like a funny sax/trumpet. There are still many excellent electric guitar solos. Il Volo significantly reduced their lead & backing vocals here. At the limit, the album nearly has the fusion style.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#18495)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Not always the most respected of Italian prog bands, which I can't figure out why. 1975's "Essere O Non Essere", Italian for "To Be or Not To Be", is their second and final album, and is usually regarded as their best album. Labelmates (Numero Uno) PFM often gets compared, but I really can't figure out why. To me, this is your typical mid '70s funk-influenced prog rock, loaded with lots of Hohner Clavinet, and Solina string synths with fusion tendencies, and electronic saxes (which I presume is the Computone Lyricon). Most of the time the band jams, so it's not the most complex of prog, but they put out some incredible music. If you enjoy EELA CRAIG's "One Niter" or the more funky moments of GOBLIN's "Roller" (specifically "Snip Snap"), then you'll definately enjoy this album.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#18491)
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I think their first album has catchier melodies, but this is still head and shoulders above most Italian progressive albums. Perhaps a bit more jazz influence in places. It sure makes me wish they had stayed together for three or four more albums.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#18493)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having warmed up with their namesake debut album one year earlier - an album based on melodic pop-rock with lots of acoustic stuff and some subtle hints of symph prog -, now Il Volo was prepared to create and record their magnum opus, "Essere o Non Essere? Essere! Essere! Essere!" The material contained in this album shows a band determined to explore new grounds, enhancing their prog side while strongly adopting a fusion-esque approach, something that allowed to show their prowess and skill as instrumentalists. The focus is not in exhibitionism, but in expanding the basic musical motifs all along well crafted jams where each individual member of the ensemble interacts fluidly with the others. You can tell that there are two guitarists and two keyboardists in the fold, but none of them plays the game of competition; the jamming is enthusiastic and tireless, but never self-indulging in unnecessary excesses - all this produces a musical result that feels genuinely fresh, containing a complexity that is never showed off. The sign of the band's new times is clearly drawn in the first two tracks: both 'Gente in Amore' and 'Canto di Lavoro' even include some hints of Arabic- like harmonics in some exotic keyboard layers and percussive adornments, while Radius' guitar leads and Olov's demanding bass lines assume a prominent role in the band's sound. The only sung number in the album (and not abundant lyrics) in 'Essere', the only piece that somewhat reminds us of the debut album's straightforward romantic spirit; but it is the jazzy guitar and electric piano stuff, together with Del'Aglio's drumming labour, that keep the song well integrated with the album's overall spirit. I have no doubt in my mind about the impressive 'Alcune Scene' being the album's highlight: here is the best jamming, the most captivating eerie synth layers, the most intricate time signatures, and the best ordained dialogues between the lead guitar and the Fender piano. The use of slow preludes and interludes that somewhere along the road give way to more upbeat sections is reiterated in the remaining two numbers, not as brilliantly, but with the same amount of class and skill. One of the most effective ingredients in the fast sections is the complementation between bass and clavinet, which provides an additional air of sensitivity to the rhythm section - once again, the musicians' ability to function together as an ensemble where each piece works as an integral companion of the other proves crucial for the build-up of the band's sound. A great album indeed: a classic of jazz-oriented Italian prog.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#18494)
Posted Monday, February 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "To be or not to be? To be, to be, to be!"

This is the complete album's title of the remarkable Il Volo' second effort (1975). And that above is the answer to the most famous shakespearian question. Not too obvious, really! Often feeling a little bit pessimistic, then I thought an album like this one could be a good remedy for my soul! I had to wait for some weeks, but finally I own it!

I was very interested to listen to Il Volo's works, usually being described as an important "supergroup". Not because of a commercial success, really, but because of the band's six members who came all from different famous bands. In primis Alberto Radius and Gabriele Lorenzi, both from Formula 3 after they disbanded in 1973. Other members came from other important Italian bands like, for example, I Camaleonti, Duello Madre and I Ribelli.

Five of the six tracks of this 1975 work are completely instrumental efforts, while the only one with some lyrics features the contribution of Mogol, the extraordinary famous lyrics' writer of Lucio Battisti. They both worked many years together with Formula Tre.

But what about the music? It's difficult to say.maybe the subgenre symphonic prog is not completely suitable, being wisely mixed with jazzy vein and a space-rock attitude. The most evident aspects are, in order, the use of two keyboards' players and the great importance of mellow voices and choirs. Plus some sparkling acoustic guitar in the usual Radius' manner.

The listener is so introduced into such a "flying musical imagery" of another good Italian bands of the 70s. A perfect album to listen when you're driving your car after a hard working day! Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#59651)
Posted Wednesday, December 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The second work released in 1975 "Essere O Non Essere?". This work to which instrumental is expanded more than the first works is a masterpiece of Italian rock played because of the sound in which a thick emotion is sharpened. Technical one after another play appears over an exotic theme. However, the nuance is different from so- called jazz-rock/fusion. It is instrumental rock without the song. It is new music, and a new sound. And, there is peculiar grace to Italy in the melody. The first half is a work of the image where it dashes, and mysterious atmosphere is shown in the latter half.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#71915)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Second album of this group, official executor of musics of the disc "Anima Latina" of Lucio Battisti (printed from the NumeroUno label and the text of "Essere" is signed from Mogol).

The sound is an incredible crossing between progressive, jazz and fusion, very rarely complex but never banal: the sound is always rich and beautiful full load: the imposing use of fender Rhodes, Synth/Strings and guitars filtered with strange effects (counting the presence of Alberto Radius and Vince Tempera...) renders most pleasant listens. Only sung song is, like saying over, "Essere" . Also in "Gente in amore " and "Canto di lavoro" vocal is present that emphasizes the musical context.Beautiful the dum,sure one of the more interesting things of the disc.

Unfortunately the duration is short: 30 minu.

One of best discs of the Italian school.

To have absolutely.

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Send comments to Planet_Gong (BETA) | Report this review (#114775)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars All the members of Il Volo were excellent musicians and the only problem in their debut album was the lack of originality in the song-writing. Anyway their second work in my opinion is better than the previous one. It's almost completely instrumental though this wasn't exactly a choice of the band... According to an interview with Gabriele Lorenzi on the site of their label, Numero Uno, it just happened that the guitarist Alberto Radius had a dispute with the lyricist Mogol and the album lyrics were left unfinished... Perhaps this was just a lucky chance, because in my opinion Mogol's lyrics on the eponymous debut album of the band weren't particularly inspired... Here vocals just seem to sketch whispered melodies but the result is very suggestive and pleasant and they probably give a touch of "unintentional originality" to the whole album...

The opener "Gente in amore" (People in love) is a good track that reminds of some works of Lucio Battisti (especially "Anima latina"), but low subdued vocals drawing a murmured melody without lyrics give it a strange feeling... Into the following track "Medio Oriente 249,000 tutto compreso" (Middle East 249,000 all included) prog, jazz and Mediterranean echoes are blended together for an interesting trip towards Middle-Eastern atmospheres... The third track "Essere" (To be) is the only one with lyrics, but they are very far from memorable... "Dignity is a very difficult subject / Tears and pains never change you..."... Anyway the music is excellent and features a good guitar solo...

The music flows steadily without weak moments... "Alcune scene" (Some scenes) is dark and suggestive and it could have been a good soundtrack for a film of Horror or Science-fiction... "Svegliandomi con te alle sei del mattino" (Waking up with you at 6 a.m.) takes you in a kind of peculiar "Latin jazz" atmosphere, with a guitar solo in Carlos Santana's style giving way to a good keyboards work... In the last track "Canti e suoni" (Songs and sounds) whispered vocals are used as an instrument to introduce an ethereal a quiet first part that after two minutes melts in a more aggressive and nervous crescendo...

The album is short, but without fillers and in my opinion it could be an excellent addition to an "Italianprog" collection...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#115517)
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Don't like the classic Italian genre? No problem.

Il Volo's second album "Essere o Non Essere" is not really typical of other albums in the Italian section of this site. While I love the Italian symph genre I know that some of you bristle at the vocals and occasionally dated sounds.

Essere is not like that at all. This is a mostly instrumental album first of all, a bit jazzy and plenty rocking. The sound is great on the Japanese CD and the production quite good too. The music should appeal very much to fans of good rock music with lots of lush instrumentation, bright guitars, full bass, and very expressive drumming. While the playing is indeed top notch the band presents a very unified sound and avoid simply trading long-winded solos.

The album reminds me a little of PFM's "Stati" release in that you have gorgeous yet powerful instrumental music that would work perfectly as a soundtrack to the kind of video PFM used. For some reason "Essere" constantly puts images of flight in my mind.

I read that this album sold poorly back in the day and the band split. That's a shame because it would have been fascinating to hear what direction they took after this one. And it proves again that sales and quality music often have very little to do with each other. So always hunt for these little gems regardless of what the hot sellers are.

Both Volo albums are easy to enjoy and I would recommend anyone check them out, fan of Italian prog or not. There is a stream from this album on this great site so you can sample it for free. If you like it try and hunt down the Japanese mini-lp sleeve while you can.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#120088)
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Remember the "Love Boat" theme? Not the lyrics...just the music. Well, take the "Love Boat" theme music, jazz it up and rock it out (Fusion it up!)...and you have Il Volo. "Essere O Non Essere" is predominantly an instrumental album which I loathed. This may not be my cup of tea, but I can see it a whole lot people on this site that might enjoy it. Plenty of string-synth and quite a bit of percussion. Vocals are very PFM-ish a la "Per Un Amico"(an album that I love). I give this album a 2 star rating for rubbing me the wrong way, but 3 stars for "worth checking out". Italian prog.rock fans should seek out it at a reasonable price, but I wouldn't pay more than $10.00 for it. Check the used bins or second hand shops on-line.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#129310)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars If "Essere O Non Essere" hadn't been recorded by an Italian band, it's inclusion would have been in the jazz-rock/fusion style without any problem. But this is my problem. If you are expecting some flamboyant and lyrical music, you won't get it here.

Complex songwriting, jazzy atmospheres with a light symphonic mood (not unpleasant of course) like in "Medio Oriente" will please almost any proghead but these moments aren't too many on this very short album. The most symphonic number might well be "Essere", but the jazz feeling is also very much present. Some good sax for the finale of this pleasant number.

"Alcune Scene" is frankly experimental for two minutes and then turns completely in a jazz improvisation. The poorest number on this album.

If you are found of the melodious and symphonic Italian prog, you might be somewhat decieved by this record (like I am). It is not easily accessible. To have it categorized this album under symphonic Italian prog is misleading and wrong IMO. There is not a single true symph song on this album. Just listen to "Svegliandomi Con Te alle 6 del Mattino" and tell me where is the symphonic style.

The closing number "Canti e Suoni" might eventually be categorized as symph, but that's a bit too short for my taste..

Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#132105)
Posted Monday, August 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Il Volo takes the romanticism of Italian symphonic prog, strips out the sometimes overbearing vocals, and blends in the most melodic fusion grooves you could imagine to produce one of the more distinctive albums of the genre. The band's ability to use conventional instruments in odd ways is evident from the first note of "Gente In Amore" and persists throughout. Best of all, it doesn't sound all that dated considering the use of certain period styles.

The main features are the dual keyboards of Vince Tempera and Gabriele Lorenzi which borrow liberally from the earlier classics like Le Orme, but seem to transition more skillfully between themes, particularly in "Medio Oriente 249000 Tutto Compreso" which at times sounds middle eastern, particularly in the wordless vocal sections. The only track with any real vocals is "Essere" but it does not really break with the pattern, as the voices are very mellow and unobtrusive, while the instrumental backing is typically lively. "Alcune Scene" is the weakest track, not really taking off until the last quarter and then it's too little too late. In contrast, "Svegliandomi Con Te Alle 6 Del Mattino" and "Canti E Suoni" build on an ambient opening to climax in an inventive stereophonic cacaphony, the closer featuring skillfully blended voices.

Few albums blend compositional skills, traditional symphonic structures and jazzy improvisation so effectively, giving "Essere no Essere" more than sufficient "raison d'etre" to these ears..

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#140845)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Essere, essere, essere!

There was back in the 70s a band called Il Volo that released just a couple of albums, while the first one (self titled) is more melodic with some mediterranean touch and with actually some popish moments, the second one (Essere o non Essere) besides the symphonic music and classical italian style, has that jazz feeling which makes a kind of a mixture that would make an album called unique.

Il Volo sadly split up after this album released in 1975, this band was actually a super-band whoch featured trained members of others great and popular RPI bands, just to name a couple of them, Alberto Radius (the legendary Alberto Radius from Formula 3) and the awesome bass player Bob Callero who used to play with both Osage Tribe and Duello Madre formed this band.

Essere o non essere is a beautiful album but sadly very short, i think they could have created a couple of songs more without a roblem and the album would have been as good as it is, it features 6 songs and a total time of 30 minutes. Gente in Amore is an awesome track, it starts soft but at the same time showing some strange noises, then it becomes heavier and we can notice the great musicianship that the band had, after a minute we will listen to acoustic guitars and some vocals over there, not lyrics just the voice, then it has the electric guitars just in order to change to a jazzy oriented style with slight symphonic moments due to the keyboards, the percussion and bass are great. Medio Oriente 249000 tutto compresso starts with a guitar which makes a sound that transports me to the Arabia, the name says it, Medio Oriente so the music has to be with it actually, then it blends everything, jazz, rock and symphonic and again some vocals without lyric, a great track filled with what those excellent musicians can do. Essere besides being the shortest track, its the only one that has lyrics, of course italian lyrics which i love and personally is an extra point to me, there are two keyboard players in the band and we can notice it in this track, which besides the above mentioned symphonic and jazz style, it has some spacey flavour on it. Alcune Scene, so fast we are now in the second half of the album, its a pity they didn`t make more songs, the previous song was the shortest, on the other hand this is the longest track whose first two minutes are kind of a dark moment, after that passage the song turns jazzier (note the drumming) and after a short pause when we can listen to the guitars, it returns to that jazzy style, i love the bass Bob Callero`s work is always a guarantee of excellence. Svegliandomi Con Te Alle 6 Del Mattino is a delicious theme, very calm and soft music, delicate percussion and a comfortable guitar playing makes you feel pleased and relaxed, the second half of this song is a heavier with some jamming here and there, and again excellent musicianship. Canti e Suoni, well friends we are now at the end of the road, this is the last song of this beautiful album, it again features some vocals without lyric, and starts with a delicate sound, then it turs into a heavier song with some percussion that reminds me a bit to Santana, the keyboard background is very atmospheric and pleasant.

So this is it, i agree with the album`s previous reviewers that this is not the typical RPI album since it blends everything i mentioned before, anyway it was made by key musicians that played an enormous role in the developement of the Italian prog scene. This is a must having for anyone who likes this country`s prog, i personally dont give it 5 stars because i really would have loved to see the album filled with a couple songs more, i believe it would have been better. My grade is 4 solid stars, highly recommendable and of course an excellent addition to any prog lover.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#172123)
Posted Saturday, May 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Not as commercial sounding as the debut, this is mostly an instrumental album with vocals on only one track, although there are vocal melodies on other songs. I must say this album has really left me feeling indifferent about it. That surprises me. I've held off reviewing this thinking more listens would warm me up to their sound, but it's not happening for me.The sound isn't the best either on my release(BMG Ariola S.p.A.). It's also suprising it's not even 31 minutes in length.

"Gente In Amore" opens with some strange sounding synths. A full sound a minute in sounds like fusion, this is followed by a calm with acoustic guitar, vocal melodies and drums. The contrast continues. "Medio Oriente 249000 Tutto Compreso" opens with more strange synth sounds with a full sound arriving before a minute. Excellent sound 2 1/2 minutes in, with synths, percussion and vocal melodies arriving a minute later.

"Essere" opens with faint vocals and sound. It does get fuller sounding and kind of funky a minute in. "Alcune Scene" is faint sounding to open again. A full sound 2 minutes in. A calm with synths after 3 minutes. It gets jazzy 4 1/2 minutes in to the end. Nice. "Svegliandomi Con Te Alle 6 Del Mattino" is mellow with synths as some tasteful guitar comes in followed by bass and piano. Drums are more prominant after 3 minutes as the sound builds. "Canti E Suoni" opens with faint vocal melodies and piano. It gets louder after a minute. Much better sound after 2 minutes with vocal melodies. The tempo picks up 3 1/2 minutes in.

I can barely give this 3 stars. Unfortunately IL VOLO is a band I just can't get into.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#187201)
Posted Monday, October 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The derivation of music in the early the especially 1970's and the appearance of diversity might have shown the respect from all angles in various fields. The derivation of the music character since The Beatles might have infiltrated the market of the music of Italy with the form of Beat Rock. It is also true that the element of Prog Rock that is becoming a main current to say nothing of the flow had acted enough.

The form accomplishes the revolution further. The band that performs as a flow to which individuality and the culture are taken from the part of Rock appears gradually by the band's in Italy carrying everything before one of the market. The flow that derives from the part of Beat Rock and psychedelic is multiplied from in the early the 70's to middle term and strengthens further. The band to be confident of the performance appears one after another and the part of Beat Rock and psychedelic has the flow that shifts to the next stage. And, the flow and the directionality of the band in Italy had the flow that gave priority to a performance and a progressive part further. The activity of the band in Italy that became a main current in the market and the chart rushes into from the dawn to the time of the expansion temporarily. In the flow, the activity of this Il Volo might have shown the existence as a band that represented the music of Italy of the 70's.

The existence of guitar player's Alberto Radius and keyboard player's Gabriele Lorenzi might be important in the background of details continued with shape that "Formula Tre" that is not the exaggeration to say the antecedent of this band develops. And, following work with Numero Uno accomplishes advancement and the revolution further in this Il Volo.

Their debut albums were produced in March, 1974. The flow that the tune of the member of the band unites splendidly in the part of poetry by Mogol might have had the flow developed while exactly following the music character of Formula Tre.

The music character of this band develops greatly further in 1975. Alberto Radius and Gabriele Lorenzi are related to a lot of tunes. The song has shifted as a content of this album in the form to emphasize the part of the performance further. Music with diversity to make the listener listen with 1st Album might evolve further by this album. Their original expression of feelings and performance have been digested in a good direction.

"Gente In Amore" produces the atmosphere of symphonic for you may accompany the dash feeling from the sound with the anacatesthesia. Melody of acoustic guitar in close relation to melody with expression of feelings. Sound of decoration that twines while continuing anacatesthesia and part of scat. Their expression of feelings is splendidly expressed. The performance where the part and the dash feeling in which the rhythm of Latin is taken overflow is splendid.

"Medio Oriente 249000 Tutto Compreso-Canto Di Lavoro" progresses with the flow of good symphonic from the melody that is reminiscent of the element of the Middle East. Rhythm and melody developed one after another. Chorus who had good atmosphere. Progress of Chord that has both anacatesthesia and expression of feelings. The tune accompanies the melody with an enchantment chorus while being dash before long in the space. Solo of the Electric sitar by Alberto Radius also decides the atmosphere of the tune.

"Essere" flows quietly with the progress of a good keyboard. It might be a good material for the band that this band is characterized and two people exist the guitar player and the keyboard player. It is symphonic with complete expression of feelings. It produces complete ensemble as Groove. The progress of original expression of feelings that the band in Italy at that time had and peculiar Chord is completely expressed.

"Alcune Scene" produces quiet power to flow incessantly. Rhythm that multiuses rhythm of six. The part where the melody that was it was taken while putting fast and slow might be splendid. The tune dashes on the top.

"Svegliandomi Con Te Alle Sei Del Mattino" is a tune that the melody of the synthesizer unites with a good anacatesthesia in the rhythm of gentle Latin. Solo in which the guitar is glossy is splendid. The sound and the obbligati of the shining keyboard are complete. The tune heads gradually for the top. This arrangement might be also splendid.

In "Canti e Suoni", the sound of a gentle song and a peculiar keyboard is features. An original arrangement and the progress of Chord have good atmosphere. The idea of the song processed by the effect acts on the tune well. The zeal of ensemble and the band might be splendidly reflected in the tune.

The music that this Il Volo did including the age and the music character when thinking about Prog Rock of Italy of the 70's and existence might be indispensable.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#260024)
Posted Friday, January 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
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RPI
4 stars On this their second album, Essere O Non Essere? (1975), Italian band Il Volo deftly broadened their musical horizons. The jazz-fusion hinted at on their debut of the previous year was given its head on this release. It was obvious from their debut that Il Volo were all technically accomplished musicians, but by the time they recorded this album they were clearly more comfortable in the studio and the end result is more polished. Arrangements are better and tracks are more experimental. The generally laid-back pop feel of the first album has been replaced by mainly instrumental smooth-edged fusion. Vocals are mostly restricted to wordless vocalisations, and in fact only one song contains actual words. Drummer Gianni Dall'Aglio invigorates the rhythm section with the injection of some Latin-inspired percussion. Il Volo continues to rely heavily on dense keyboard textures, but here the various keys really stand out with some great leads. All these elements come together on the stunning opener GENTE IN AMORE, with its pulsating rhythm, silky guitar and lush multi-layered keyboards. Clavinet features prominently throughout the album, as do some intriguing popcorn-type synth effects.

MEDIO ORIENTE 249000 TUTTO COMPRESO has something of an Arabic flavour with its synth-sax intro, scat vocals and surging groove. This segues seamlessly with CANTO DI LAVORO, and its wailing vocals, percussion and electric sitar prolong the Eastern vibe to good effect. ESSERE is the only track with lyrics and it begins as a romantic-sounding ballad but finishes in fiery mood. ALCUNE SCENE is arguably Il Volo's most diverse and interesting piece with its many shifts of atmosphere, from impressionistic sounds to funk jams to dramatic crescendos. A strong Santana influence permeates SVEGLIANDOMI CON TE ALLE 6 DEL MATTINO, although the more experimental CANTI E SUONI, with its waspish synthesizer and strange treated vocalisations, also displays a Latin influence. Overall, Essere O Non Essere? represents a superb balance of experimentation and immediacy. 4 stars, easily.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#281148)
Posted Sunday, May 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
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Neo Prog Team
3 stars Just a year after their self-titled debut Il Volo would return with the same line-up and a new album.''Essere o Non Essere?'' (''to be or not to be?'') was released again on Numero Uno.

While ''Il volo'' was a song-based light Symphonic Rock album, the Italian six-piece supergroup really turned the corner with ''Essere o Non Essere?'', offering an album of Symphonic/Jazz- Rock, where vocals are limited and music plays the first role.Actually only one track (''Essere'') features vocals, though there is some wordless singing in most oof them, and the work is almost exclusively based on a new instrumental approach.The guitars of Alberto Radius and Mario Lavezzi have now a very jazzy still strongly rock-oriented feeling and they are nicely blended with the Fusion-esque moog synth efforts of Vince Tempera and Gabriele Lorenzi and the deep bass work of Callero.Among these Prog/Jazz-Rock arrangements the listener will detect a number of Ethnic inspirations, greatly adapted by the musicians participating.Still the Italian romantic symphonicism is not gone and can be easily traced in the melodic guitar solos, opening intros and dominant organ parts (when present).

Afte the second Il Volo album Bob Callero left the group and he was replaced for a very short time by Era Di Acquario's Michele Seffer, though he did not record anything with the band as Il Volo split up a little later.

The sophomore release of Il Volo presented a group, which could easily transform the music from melodic to intricate passages, though the main absence of vocals and true dynamics hardly makes the album a masterpice.Still it belongs among the very good pieces of 70's Italian Prog and comes strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#803732)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2012 | Review Permalink

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