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Hopo - Dietro la Finestra  CD (album) cover



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4 stars One of my favourite albums from the 90s, this great italian bands second album is a step up from their first. The album contains great symphonic rock in the great italian tradition, this is closer to the 70s prog than neoprog. The music has some similarities to fellow italians Nuova era with a very melodic approach and good singing in italian. The one thing that stops this from getting a 5 rating is that the production of the album is a bit thin and sounds a little bit plastic. One song or two is also just good, not great. A recommendation to all lovers of italian progressive rock.
Report this review (#178671)
Posted Saturday, August 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Walking down the grey street totally unaware and impervious to the routine sludge around me, I stop at the crossroad and wait for the green light of change, so I can go on with my way. Then suddenly out of the blue, some man is waving hysterical arms and spewing Italian language vindictive at me, cursingly telling me that I am far from the knowledgeable progfan I may claim to be and inserting a sweaty series of RPI discs in my hands. Before I could even fathom what had just happened, poof! He's gone, swallowed by the mist. Even after 4 decades, I still feel like a kid in a candy shop, eager to taste some unknown hidden creations that somehow eluded my search engine. Hopo falls certainly in that category, as our Todd sent me both their albums on a hunch that I may enjoy them. Does he have flair or what? Not only is "Dietro la Finestra" (Behind the Window) a stunning piece of work, it also is a true hidden gem that deserves immediate recognition as well as monetary damages sent to the band as solace for the silence of our comments. Shame on us but so goes the world of Prog, a seemingly endless treasure trove of momentary eruptions of genius (now that's a prog tiltle!) and its courageous hunters searching the deepest jungled caves for them. Hopo made a debut in 1982 and finished off their quiet career with this 1991 jewel, a time span when prog was almost relegated to the delete bin , rescued in extremis by a series of revive flickers. The music within is preciously priceless, with extraordinarily gifted playing from all instrumentalists and a splendid vocal delivery from the husky Paolo Tovoli , fueled by those classic RPI melodies loaded with elements of drama, passion and creativity. All 6 tracks are in the 5-7 minute range, long enough to admire the pleasures within and whirl among the shimmering waves of amazing music. The title track wastes little time in setting the stage for the bliss to come and caressingly envelop the unexpectant listener, keyboardist Marino Baccini parping heartily on the synths, washing in some adroit mellotron and woozy organ, giving 6-stringer Carlo Poggini a cameo to sweep a heartrending solo into the mix, the first on many future interventions. A wake-up call indeed, this is gonna be good! Grazie Todd! "Un Uovo di Cristallo"(A Crystal Egg) keeps the pleasure-pedal foot firmly to the floor as the gentle flute flutters between the wispy strings , prepping the stage for a crushingly poignant lead vocal from Tovoli , paralleled by a brief rampaging Poggini lead, pushed along by clever bass rolls from Michelangelo Zorzit that keep things breathless. That's another one in the old onion bag, Todd! 2-0 the rout is on! Well, "Non Era un Fiume" (Not a river) is a scorcher, perhaps even the highlight here, with a muscular lead guitar painting the scape with lusty fervor, contrasting acoustic guitar and flute playfulness to heighten the drama, all urging along another simply regal vocal performance complete with nimble chorus 'nah nah naw naws'. This is so delicious I almost got hit by speeding car! 3-0, ball at midfield. "A Piedi Nudi" (Barefoot) is raunchier and offers up escalating performances from the gloomy guitars slashing amid the spacy grooves, providing some atmospheric respite, a series of loopy synth solos dancing within metronome drums and more elegant vocal exhortations. Shot off the woodwork! Close call, Still 3-0! "Un Minuto Solo" (A Minute Alone) deals more of the same recipe, an organ-ripped adventure that has slight jazz Allman Brothers guitar overtones, extremely gratifying to the instrumentalist fans out there. 4-0! "La Luna Gioca Ancora" (the Moon plays again) is a classy closer nicely decorated by the lighthearted mood so typical to the Italian musical culture (some see it correctly as effortless), massive swaths of acoustic guitar and stringed orchestrations (almost symphonic folk) because of the predominance of the vocal line and story. The final 2 minutes things get unrefined and torrential, a raging electric guitar flurry takes this into the stratosphere, a blistering foray into space and RPI history. 5-0 , the rout is on. Barely getting to the 40 minute mark (a big and perhaps my only peeve with RPI), the material -as well as the precious artwork- here easily warrants inclusion into the RPI big boys club with all the usual suspects. Outstanding and astounding masterpiece. Todd , you deserve an all- expenses paid trip to the "Boot". 5 diamanti
Report this review (#263611)
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A highly rated gem from the 1990s, it seems like.

There is no doubts Hopo has taken a lot of the best from the 1970s and given it a slight Hopo treatment. Originality is something that I will not accuse them for inducing into this album.

The album opens with an explosion of bombastic RPI before it settles down a bit to a more pastoral tempo. The vocals are excellent and the instrumentation typical 1970s RPI. There are a lot of really superb tangents runs here with both hammond and mellotron. OK, they used synths, but they sounds like mellotron and hammond organs. There are also a lot of superb guitar runs here too. Both acoustic and in particular electric guitar runs. The drums and bass is always present, binding it all together. Flutes too adds extra textures to this superb sound.

The best song is the excellent Non Era Un Fiume with some excellent vocals by Paolo Tovoli. Well, his vocals is excellent throughout this album. Understated pastoral, but brilliant. He neither takes over the sound or hide away. His place in the mix is just perfect and a bluescript other bands and producers should follow.

I have mentioned Non Era Un Fiume. But the other songs are great and a joy to behold. Yes, Hopo does not dishes up something original on this album. I doubt I would be able to pick out Hopo in a blind test. But they reuse this sound with style and bravour. Not to mention; quality. In short, this is a treat for any serious RPI fans out there. A real treat too.

4 stars

Report this review (#457719)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 80's wasn't the more prolific era for producing Progressive Rock and Hopo disbanded shortly after ''Senti''.However in early-90's it seems the band was contacted by a person, asking for a second album by Hopo and reputedly financing its recording.So the group had a brief reunion in 1991 with all members from ''Senti'' present, except for bassist Giuseppe Antenucci, who was replaced by Michelangelo Zorzit.The new 91' LP ''Dietro La Finestra'' was released as a private pressing, distributed by Mellow Records.

This was another fine album by Hopo, not as inspired as ''Senti'', as the band seemed to have lost the good momentum by spliting up, but still it contains some qualitive musicianship with excellent vocals.The style is heavily grounded in 70's Classic Italian Prog with the occasional 90's-sounding guitars, but what really holds this down is the massive use of digital synthesizers on the symphonic parts, which sound too plastic and cheap.Influences by bands like PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, FORMULA 3 or LE ORME are pretty obvious and the album has a strong sense of melody and romance throughout.Plenty of excellent guitar solos next to great dramatic symphonic parts and sensitive Italian vocals guarantee a fine experience for all fans of the style.Also the inspired shifting moods, the use of flutes and sometimes organ and the well-crafted arrangements provide strong links with the 70's Italian scene.The keyboard parts are mostly interesting with nice breaks, solos and even enough technique, but their cheap sound often overcomes the sufficient performance of Marino Baccini.

Hopo's career would stop eventually at this point.Before this the band created another nice album full of this Italian romance and innocence met earlier or later on bands like IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE, SITHONIA, ATON'S or CONSORZIO ACQUA POTABILE.Recommended.

Report this review (#808612)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 | Review Permalink

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