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COME STA ANNIE?

Nichelodeon

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With an existence spanning merely three years, Italian act NICHELODEON has been a rather productive ensemble so far, with two full length efforts to their name, the latest of these "Il gioco del silenzio" from 2010. In addition, 2010 saw them release their first DVD as well, featuring half the material from the aforementioned latest CD as well as six pieces celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the final episode of Twin Peaks.

Musically I'll refer to mine and others descriptions of their CDs for a more detailed view as far as musical style goes, and will limit the description of previously covered material to the fact that we're dealing with a band exploring avantgarde music of the progressive variety. I assume most people interested in purchasing this DVD will be familiar with the band previously anyhow, and those who aren't know where to get more information.

The second half of the DVD, dedicated to Twin Peaks, covers much the same territory, but arguably with an even greater intensity. Pacier, more frantic and more dissonant than the material found on the companion CD of 2010. Some of the soundtrack from the TV-series are covered, but in a manner which doesn't make it instantly recognizable. Much the same can be said about the parts from Wham's mega-hit Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go which apparently is found in this live performance. At least according to the credits. In short, the Twin Peaks celebration is mostly made up by music inspired by the TV series, and the main connection are the final episode of the show itself, which is played out on a screen behind the band whilst performing these creations.

As is the case with most contemporary DVD productions these days, the audio has been captured brilliantly from this concert. Most of the people purchasing this DVD will find it to be as good as expected and hoped, and this aspect of the production is at least on par with other live concerts I have watched, and probably slightly better than a fair few of them.

The video footage, captured by three different cameras I believe, isn't quite on level with the best out there. Lightyears better than most such footage dating back a few years obviously, but compared to for instance Metal Mind's range of DVDs this one is of a lesser quality. So if you're dependant on top of the range image quality this effort will most likely not be of your interest.

Apart from that the footage has been carefully assembled, with good coverage of the various band members and extensive of the video footage the band utilize on stage, which does add a better understanding of their material. Compositions that came across less than interesting on CD alone are clearly enhanced by the footage used on stage to visualize them. And in the case of the Twin Peaks inspired set of songs, the combination of the TV episode and the musical numbers inspired by it makes for an exhausting but captivating experience.

Fans of Nichelodeon who would like to see them in a live setting will get value for their money if they choose to get this DVD, and for those accustomed to experimental progressive rock who'd like to get to know this act by way of a DVD this production should cater for such a need. How much of a quality release it is depends very much on taste obviously, but those with interests as outlined above will most likely find it to be a very good creation in general. And until the digital video technology makes another quantum leap in quality, it will most likely be the visually best representation of this band in a live setting available.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#306454)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This is my first review of a DVD release. Even though I had this DVD since January, my remote for my DVD player quit working; by using the buttons on the player itself, I could only watch the first part of this DVD. Anyway, I replaced the remote and got to see the whole thing several times. I have to admit I'm not familiar with a lot of recent DVD productions by musicians, by this has both good sound and is well filmed/edited. Great mix of background visuals and music. During the whole performance a visual artist is painting on the floor, you can hear the brushes during the quietest parts of the music which is really interesting.

If want to know more about the songs in the first part, you can refer to the reviews of their 2010 album here. Six songs from the album are presented. The DVD opens with footage of the pope. Some guitar notes are played which get reprised at the end of the DVD. Claudio Milano enters the stage with a mouse helmet, playing a flute. For whatever reason, he is wearing a priest collar. "Ombre Cinesi" is not quite as interesting as the studio version, but this is an improv piece open to different interpretations. "Apnea" is close to the studio version and features great visuals. "Se" is another improv-oriented piece, this one is even better than the album version. Just like the studio version, at one point different themes from movies and TV shows are played. Compared to the album version, you can really make out the theme to the show A-Team here.

As good as the performances of the album tracks are, the highlight of the DVD is the section dedicated to the last episode of the TV show Twin Peaks entitled "Passaggio Nella Loggia Nera". I actually never seen much of this show when it was still new; I was a little too young and it was way over my head. I did enjoy the movie "Fire Walk With Me" when it came out, however. I bet if this show was on the air now, I would probably love it. Actually, watching this DVD makes me want to watch all the shows. This part opens with a voice other than Claudio which is creepy. You hear and see Claudio as well, but the other voice must be percussionist Andrea Murada, the only other member credited with vocals.

The actual music starts with part of the score by Angelo Badalamenti from the show being played by the group. The eerie improv music fits the scenes very well. Mentioned in the credits is the Wham! song "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". I finally found where this is; for those who have this DVD and are not sure where they play that song, I'll give it away. You hear it played on some instrument that sounds like a cheap antique organ, and it immediately stops when Cooper enters the Black Lodge, or as I like to call it: Red-Curtain Land. In retrospect, that 10 or so seconds of "Wake Me Up" is actually the most happy sounding music on the whole DVD.

Claudio steps out after awhile, letting the musicians run wild. The synth sounds here are great. Francesco Chiapperini plays something called a EWI, which is some kind of electric wind instrument. It gets to the scene at the bank, when the bank blows up the music stops. The audience applauds, but I'm not sure if they are applauding the music stopping or a bank getting blown up. At one point you hear a sound similar to a hip-hop DJ scratching a record. Ends with the guitar notes from the very beginning; very 1950's rock'n'roll sounding.

This is worth getting just for the Twin Peaks part. If you liked the CD then you will like this as well. A very interesting DVD. I've never reviewed any other Videos/DVDs yet, so I don't have much to compare this to. I think this deserves 4 stars anyway.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#402839)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh man what a great DVD!

If I was happy and enthusiastic with their "Il Gioco del Silenzio" album, now I have the same great feelings towards this DVD entitled "Come sta Annie?" which is a fabulous opportunity for us to know and appreciate the mysticism of Nichelodeon on stage. This band full of talented musicians does not focus only on the musical side of things, but they also have a fascination for the visual arts and films. One can appreciate that in this live show.

This DVD can be divided in two parts. The first one is the performance of six songs from their 2010 album (above mentioned); while the second one is a fantastic live soundtrack of the last "Twin Peaks" episode, so go figure what you are about to witness.

There is a humoristic introduction called "A solemn preface" where the image of the Pope and some spoken words appear; this leads to "Ombre Cinesi" which is the first track performed in this fantastic concert which took part (if I am not wrong) in Italy on last years' April 8th. The vocal work of Claudio Milano is simply outstanding, he is really in it, I mean, he really feels what he is doing so the crowd and us (the DVD spectators) can feel connected with him and the music surrounding us.

There are seven people on stage, all of them mutually helping and sharing their talent on the different instruments. The Rock in Opposition or Avant-Garde labels will spring to your mind immediately, and that is understandable, since it is what this band offers. Crazy, intelligent and complex music for your senses. "Apnea" is one of my favorite tracks from the album, and the performance here is simply brilliant. I also love the film edition and the different visual elements they create.

The other songs from the first part are "Claustrofilia"; "Se"; Cioche rimane" and "Malamore e la Luna". With this first half of the DVD you will be completely please, though it is music not so easy to dig, once you are in it, you will totally adore it. I honestly hope to see them on stage in the near future, because if a DVD can provoke these things on me, then in a live act I would end speechless.

The second part of this video is also amazing. I always enjoy that connection between music and films, here in Mexico City I've witnessed some concerts in movie theaters, where the musicians play the live soundtrack of some old mute films, and I always end up clapping and with a huge smile. I believe the people who attended to this Nichelodeon show had that feeling of astonishment and pleasure, because the musical score they prepared for the 20th anniversary of the last Twin Peaks episode is awesome.

"Passagio nella loggia near" is the title of this second part, which is also divided in a prologue and five more parts. All of them go well according to the images, so one can be watching the episode and feeling it, be part of it because of the music and nothing more. If you already know (and like) Twin Peaks you may feel even more connected, it is obvious that the name of Angelo Badalamenti will come to your mind, but now let these talented musicians do the rest. They are simply amazing!

While watching it I felt thrilled, excited, tense, and some other adjectives that I experienced, which indicates how good the music and the visuals are, because when an album, film, book or anything do something on you, it is evident that it has succeeded. Thumbs up for Nichelodeon, I hope they come to Mexico City one day, if not, may the destiny join us someday. This is a great DVD that I would recommend to any prog rock fan, and of course, especially to the avant-garde music lovers. My final grade will be four stars (4.5 would be more accurate actually).

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#409648)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Wow, what a trip! This DVD from Nichelodeon is really something great. It's the recording of a concert Nichelodeon performed last year, in which they played one set of songs from their 2010 album (Il Gioco Del Silenzio) and a live soundtrack to an episode of an episode of the show Twin Peaks. In addition, concertgoers were treated to a visual artist painting and, in quieter moments of the show, becoming a member of the band.

As with the other reviewers, I'm going to break this review up into the material from Il Gioco Del Silenzio and the material from the live soundtrack. First off for me is the songs from the album. Overall, the performances in this part of the concert were great. Claudio really got to let loose with his vocal performances overall, and for me his vocals were a big part of the first act. After the short introduction with the clip of the Pope, we get into the first track, "Ombre Cinesi." It was a very strong, fun introduction to the concert, and the wind instruments played by all the members were really great together. It set the mood for some of the more cacophonous moments to come later in the concert, and also set the bar high for me. Thankfully the DVD as a whole managed to meet and surpass that bar. The next track, "Apnea," is the only one which I preferred the album version of. Both are great, but I feel as if this performance was missing something from the studio version...not sure what. Anyway, after this the rest of the album track set really gets me up and moving. The band seems so together, so aware of what each other are doing during the following four songs - even during the often chaotic bits, they seem to be of one mind. The instrumentation throughout is really great and varied, pulling in everything from the expected instruments (guitar, bass, wind instruments) to the less normal (didgeridoo, for example). I found myself really grooving along with the band during these tracks, and really admiring the playing /singing by all of the members. I got a kick out of hearing the evil laughter in the background during "Malamore e la Luna". I'm still amazed by hearing some of the vocal range that Claudio manages to pull off...in this video, he wears a priest collar, and to me he was really a possessed priest - possessed by his will to bring us this great music.

The image of a possessed priest is enforced at the beginning of the Twin Peaks soundtrack session - Claudio has what looks like blood smeared around his mouth, and the vocalizations here are particularly chilling. After the Prologue, Claudio disappears from the front of the stage, and the majority of this part of the DVD is instrumental. Along with the musicians on the stage, the band had an extra member here as far as I'm concerned - the painter in front of the stage often added some extra percussive sounds which fit with the rest of the group. This part of the DVD really impressed me a lot. I'm not familiar yet with the Twin Peaks show (though I've wanted to watch it for a year or so now, this just added another reason). Still, the music played by the group really seemed to fit the visuals well here. The short snippets of other tracks ("Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" for example) were a bit of comical relief to an otherwise very tense, impressive group improv (correct me if I'm wrong). The music during this session of the DVD is, if possible, even more bizarre than the album tracks, which got me even more interested. They cover a variety of moods here, from chaotic insanity to somber moments. The band did a great job of syncing up their performance with the video, as well - for example, the buildup to the bank explosion, and the strange, chilling music in the scenes following it. I particularly enjoyed the way the music changed and evolved, getting more intense as the episode progressed...as I was getting more confused by what I saw on the screen, the music was getting more cacophonous and intense, a great combination.

As I've said earlier, I was really impressed by this DVD. The playing was great, the visuals were great, and overall the sound was well mixed. The only problem sound-wise for me was the percussion. Sometimes I found myself wishing I could hear his parts a bit more clearly, but usually I could hear all the instruments well. I'd like to congratulate Claudio and all of the other members of the group on a wonderful performance, which kept me waiting for more until it was all over. They are a band who really works well on stage, and the visual element adds a lot. I've never reviewed a DVD before, music or otherwise. I think I chose a great one to start with. This is even a stronger release than their recent album, and I'm pleased to reward the group with 5 stars fully earned.

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Send comments to SaltyJon (BETA) | Report this review (#414346)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
4 stars Audio Visuals.

Or perhaps visual audio. Come Sta Annie? is a DVD capturing a live performance from the wonderful avant-garde collective known as Nichelodeon at a show celebrating the 20th anniversary of the cult show Twin Peaks. The audio quality is simply stunning. Even with my television at half volume I was afraid the speakers would explode at the most intense parts of the show. Visual quality is sadly not as excellent, but isn't bad. For shooting in a small, dark room I imagine its pretty good. Camera work is generally very nice, even though there are a few random/odd choices. (Although I suppose that fits well with the theme of the evening.)

With that out of the way, I can get to the real meat and potatoes of the review. This DVD adds the extra element that was perhaps missing from their 2010 CD Il Gioco Del Silenzio...the visual element. The band is about connecting art of all forms together in one stew. (This is further emphasized by the addition of a graphic artist painting on the floor during Nichelodeon's performance.) Obviously a CD will not have a strong visual element (aside from the packaging/liner notes), so this isn't a fault against it. But, the theatrical nature of their music lends itself easily to striving for (and perhaps at times calling upon) a visual counterpart to emphasize or strengthen the musical aspect. This is fully realized in the first part of the DVD, IMO.

Part one deals with tracks off of Il Gioco Del Silenzio. These tracks have a similar style to the studio counterparts, but the feel of most of them is changed, no doubt from the avant-garde nature of the music and of course the live arena. First things first....there are plenty of visuals playing in a slideshow fashion as the band plays. Sometimes the two images (of the band and of the visuals) are set on top of each other, and sometimes its just one or the other. The pictures are certainly interesting, dealing with alot of strange/random/less than happy subjects...bugs, skulls, atomic bombs detonating, the pope, and various "paintings" and video footage from somewhere or another. All the images almost act as a play with no people that the band is playing the music for. It all gels very well together. As for the music, there is very inspired playing throughout the six selections from Il Gioco Del Silenzio. For me, Ombre Cinesi (with its strong wind instrument use and very dissonant atmosphere), Apnea (a particularly strong version with great drive), and Cio Cho Rimone (which is easily the most spine tingling song of this set, with its dark, driving atmosphere, wonderful piano, and fairly apocalyptic climax) are the highlights, and surpass their studio counterparts. I also must mention that on Malamore e la Luna Claudio gives a stupendous vocal "solo" at the end of the track that is very very impressive. Thus, this ends part one of the DVD on a high note. And the best is yet to come.

Part two of the DVD is titled Passaggio Nella Loggia and is a live soundtrack to an episode Twin Peaks. This is a show I sadly do not know well, other than it is the brain child of surrealist mastermind David Lynch. However, not knowing the show certainly doesn't hurt the enjoyment from watching the band making some wonderful music. For the most part the music does fit with the episode fairly well, even stopping at a point to fully emphasize the climatic action on screen. As with the first half of this DVD, clips are interspersed with footage of the band, sometimes being shown simultaneously. And once again, the connection between the audio and the visual is well made. Musically, this is a different beast than Il Gioco Del Silenzio. This is much more avant-garde, much noisier, and a real showcase for the talent the musicians have, especially in experimental techniques. The voice, a huge part of the Nicholodeon's sound, is largely absent, except for the superb Prologue. The piano (the other very definable sound of the band IMO) is also less prominent, but still there. However, more wind instruments are emphasized (especially a strange and wonderful device known as the EWI), as are electronics and tone/noise generating devices. Not to say that the string instruments get pushed to the back. The guitar is particular gets a good dose of limelight, especially with an excellent "solo" in Part II The Bank. The viola also gets good workouts, especially in creating a foundational or textural feeling. Its difficult to talk about this work in separate pieces, as it all runs together and truly functions as a collective whole. But the general pattern is creating periods of calm and chaos, gradual builds into strong climaxes that bubble over and burst with experimental goodness and musical creativity. This is best exemplified in Part IV: Return Into The Black Lodge, which starts off tribally, tense, nervous (and almost jazzy) and finishes with waves of experimental flourishes over a quickly driven percussive and edgy backdrop. Truly the best part of the whole DVD, in my opinion. The show ends on a tense and almost demented note, a fitting end to a strange journey.

All in all, this is one impressive DVD. The Il Gioco Del Silenzio tracks are nice, but the real jewels lie with in the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Its really great to see the musicians spreading their wings, so to speak, and really having fun playing the music (and showing it), and really getting into this abstruse music. The visuals add a cool element to the music, especially in the first half of the show. (Side note: According to the credits, there are some interesting musical homages, most of which are very hard to detect. The easiest is a short sound clip of Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, which is pretty hilarious IMO.) This DVD makes me excited for what the band can do next. As with their studio disc, this is for fans of avant-garde/avant-rock/RIO and similar styles of music. If you don't like dissonance and electronic noises pervading your music, this isn't for you. For the rest of us, this is a wonderful document of great music. The second half is easily 5 star material, and the first half is 4 star material, so I will compromise with a 4.5 star rating, with an official rating of 4 stars. But don't let that deter you. If you are thinking about getting this, just get it already. 4.5 stars. Extremely recommended.

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Send comments to Man With Hat (BETA) | Report this review (#439817)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink

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