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DODECAHEDRON

Daal

Eclectic Prog


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Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Dodecahedron' - Daal (6/10)

Although it differs widely from artist to artist, prog rockers are often driven by some form of artistic ambition greater than that of the norm. Some may choose to channel this hunger through penning a concept album, others by sharpening up their instrumental proficiency, or even by trying something that hasn't been heard before. Daal is certainly ambitious, although they are not necessarily so for these reasons. Instead,this Italian duo have staked their claim by creating an hour of music that draws together a great many styles from within the prog umbrella. Whether it's the warm theatrics of Italian prog, the exploration of jazz fusion, the atmosphere of electronic music or the crunch of metal, Daal delivers it all. More impressive still is the fact that they are able to execute each style with relative grace, although in the case of "Dodecahedron", the whole is not quite as majestic as the sum of its parts.

Without a vocalist to give them a face, Daal are essentially free to transform themselves completely at a moment's notice. "I" opens "Dodecahedron" in fairly familiar territory, with lush mellotrons and fuzzy guitars creating a sound I most readily associate with the 'new' wave of Italian progressive rock. Almost immediately, Daal prove themselves to be a very cinematic band; although "I" enjoys a fair share of hooks, the atmosphere is easier to digest than the music itself. Although "II" is not a mile away from the previous track in terms of its sound, there is a noted change of pace, moving from a driving 'heavy' prog rock sound to a more mellowed sort of space rock, not unlike something Pink Floyd might have done circa "Wish You Were Here".

By "IV", "Dodecahedron" has shifted into a piece of classical-jazz fusion, led by some beautifully performed violin work. By "VI", the album hits its electronic phase. After letting listeners lounge in the arts club for a few minutes, Daal pushes them into the mechanical underbelly of a metropolis, one dominated more by electronic ambiance than 'real' instruments. "VIII" betrays an influence to the classics of electronic music; Tangerine Dream comes to mind most readily. By the time the album's over, Daal have retreated back to the old Italian prog rock, ending the album on a note similar to when it began. Suffice to say, "Dodecahedron" is a difficult album to summarize in concise words. While the diverse tour Daal takes us on is relatively consistent throughout however, the overwhelming variety seems to rob the album of a distinct identity.

Taking it on a track-by-track basis, Daal are remarkably solid. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, they are in no shortage of ambition when it comes to their craft. Although I do not think Daal would have achieved the sort of generally excellent acclaim they've received if they had stuck to only one or two of these styles, "Dodecahedron" could have been a more striking album. As it stands, the music is full of potential, but the album seems content to wander, and 'window shop' through a variety of sounds, without picking one and developing it long enough to create something truly magical.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#795386)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Dodecahedron" is the fourth album by Daal and was released in 2012 on the independent label Agla Records. The project is always led by drummer David Guidoni and keyboardist Alfio Costa and this time the guest musicians who joined the party are Ettore Salati (guitars), Luca Scherani (bouzouki), Roberto "Bobo" Aiolfi (bass), Alessandro Papotto (sax, flute, clarinet), Vincenzo Zitello (Celtic harp, flute), Marcella Arganese (classical guitar), Chiara Alberti (cello) and Sylvia Trabucco (violin). The album features twelve instrumental tracks that were built upon words and the sound is more compact, richer than in the past. The tracks have no title but every one is linked to a short story that you can read in the enclosed poster. In fact, this is a kind of conceptual work: Davide Guidoni and Alfio Costa wrote some short stories, then asked their fans to send them other short stories, chose the better ones and composed the music trying to capture the spirit of the words and their emotional content. In my opinion the result is surprisingly good, the musicians reached their goal and delivered twelve charming, evocative pieces drenched in emotion.

The opener was inspired by a disquieting story of madness and solitude, "Bianco" (White), by an unknown author. The interaction between the piano and the other instruments marks the contrast between an external, apparent calm and inner the feelings of inquietude and fear of the protagonist while threatening shadows are approaching... "My words have no voice any more, my soul has no light and my thoughts melt into the oblivion of this room with padded white walls...". Next comes the track inspired by "Sclerotics Days", by Davide Masciavé. Here malady is compared to an uninvited guest that haunts you, invisible and ever present. Sadness is all over the place, your enemy hides in the dark while your senses frequently confound night and day, dreams and nightmares. A sick, obscure moon lights your way...

The third track was inspired by "La suora nera" (The black nun) by Alfio Costa. The dreams of a little child turn into a nightmare and the Devil comes in disguised, hidden by religious symbols. There are autumnal colours and sinister shadows, a hard rock incipit, a classical inspired passage with piano and violin, another tense, dark section followed by a pastoral one, then the rhythm rises again with a Martial bolero pace. Well, a wonderful track full of nuances and surprises! The following track was inspired by "La bambola di lana" (The doll of wool) a sad, evocative story by another anonymous author where you can see the trauma of the loss of the parents through the innocent eyes of a little children. Here Death appears as a dreadful swarm of moths devastating the house.

The fifth track was inspired by "L'ultimo incontro" (The last randez-vous), a short story by Mauro Marino describing the agony of a man who is not ready to die, not yet! He asks for a last breath of life, a last ray of sun while sax notes soar like desperate prayers in the wind. The sixth track was inspired by "Dodecahedron", a Gothic story by Davide Guidoni about a haunted country house. The music is excellent, it flows away like the soundtrack of a horror film and features a guitar solo that could recall David Gilmour.

The seventh track was inspired by "La Torre" (The tower) by Daniela Cologgi and features Celtic influences and an atmosphere full of mystery. It describes the tower of a medieval castle and the tragic flight of some women haunted by its ghosts. The following track was inspired by "Il bambino e il sogno" (The child and the dream) by Marco D'Andrea, a short story dealing with the fears and the dreams of a child. The music underlines the contrast between dark and light, dream and reality. The child opens the window, the dream is frightened by a scarecrow and melts at dawn...

The ninth track was inspired by "I Can Not Let Go...", a story by Galina Azarenkova about the "thick but echoing emptiness" that the slow agony of a dying man provokes in his wife. The music begins with a sudden surge of rage, then many changes in mood and rhythm follow. Next comes the track inspired by "The Moon Is Pale Tonight" by Miroslav Gasko that depicts a wooden house on a hill where crazy musicians play, then poets who write their poems with their tears and a lonely child unable to live outside his dreams...

The eleventh track is taken from "I Left For Home" by Drew May that describes a cathartic listening experience. The mood is dreamy, almost hypnotic... After a hard day we meet a man on his way home, he looks forward to listen to his beloved music losing the concept of reality, at least for a short time... The last track was inspired by "Il padre che vedevo distante" (The father I used to feel far) by Daniele Cutali. A man sees in a dream his late father. Father and son never got along with each other but now the dead father comes just to say "Thank you" and appears to his son nearer than ever before. The music here features strong classical influences and a very suggestive mood.

After more than seventy minutes of music and emotions the album comes to an end. There are no weak moments nor fillers, everything works. Bravi!

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#841619)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
2 stars Some time ago, I decided to check the Progarchives top100 list so I could check what was going on with the Prog World.

One of the albums that had high rated on the list was Dodecahedron (2012) by the Italian duo Daal. Therefore, I decided to try it. This is the band's fourth album and it has been so praised in all websites? As I usually say to everyone: do not believe the hype!

Although I reckon that, the album is professional in all levels I had a hard time in finding the music attractive and catchy in any level. I admit that I have some issues with instrumental albums, but I have listen some wonderful instrumental works, like the new Willowglass, for example, so I can't say I completely dislike instrumental music.

The case here is that I found myself listening the album and not going anywhere, the band's music is supposed to be like a journey, but they were not able to take me with them. So it's a fail in their goal, for me. 70 minutes long, no names in the tracks and a continuous music that take me nowhere? No, thanks.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#842292)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A spooky occult-prog symphony which presents a full-length album composition drawing on everything from classic symphonic prog to the darker side of prog metal, Daal's Dodecahedron might not be the new Thick as a Brick - I think it flags somewhat and loses momentum a little towards the end - but it is an intriguing release which provides a notable example of an Italian prog band which isn't trying to recapture (and, indeed, doesn't seem to be enormously influenced by) the RPI scene of yesteryear. Apparently each of the compositions is inspired by a different spooky story, and whilst I'm not always sure the connection is apparent if you aren't already told how they fit together, at the very least the album as a whole represents a high- qualify instrumental prog release.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#857019)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Daal brings a new reason for progressive celebration: the new album "Dodecahedron", which is a brilliant successor to the equally impressive "Destruktive Actions Affect Livings" (Daal's effort from last year), but the new release bears a darker mood in more consistent way, a thing that makes sense with its compositional structure as a concept-disc about fear, nightmares, psychological traumas, etc. this album not only flaunts a whole arsenal of keyboards, synthesizers, acoustic and electronic percussions and sundry effects as the Costa-Guidoni duo usually does, but there is also a very proficient number of collaborators on guitars, woodwinds, bass, contrabass, and a lot more. This results in a very calibrated set of arrangements and ornament that both enhance the basic melodic schemes for each peace and expand on nuances that are potentially waiting to be explored. Now, let's focus on the repertoire itself. Getting started with a powerful exotic ambiance, 'Part I' starts the album with a vibrant exhibition of rocking exquisiteness that easily sets itself on a solid mid-tempo. The combination of clever synth layers and catchy guitar riffs prove quite effective. The epilogue displays a mysterious classical guitar motif that serves as a bridge to 'Part II', whose ethereal vibe is properly adequate to fit the mixture of Far East textures and Floydian atmospheres on which the main theme is based. On the other hand, the spirit of 'Part III' bears a denser feel, something like Goblin-meets-early White Willow. The last 2 minutes find the track incorporating symphonic elements to its framework, which work as an enhancer of the sense of doom that had marked the main theme. 'Part IV' reinstates the dominance of subtlety, this time with a jazzy orientation that occasionally is ornamented with psychedelic variations: the presence of the violin-cello duet guarantees the persistence of melodic clarity throughout the track's very core. 'Part V' is, in itself, a well balanced combination of standard space-rock and Arabic-centered fusion: the slow nature of the basic rhythmic scheme helps to preserve an air of suspense without altering a single particule of the track's dominant contemplative essence. Once again, the track ends on an epilogue played on classical guitar that paves the way to the next track, this time, 'Part VI'. This track sustains a heavy presence of Tangerine Dream-influenced eerie krautrock (circa 75- 78), with a coda that eventually turns things toward Yessian territory (in a magnificent way that reminds us of the "Tales"-era). 'Part VII' is full of candid lyricism while 'Part VIII' states a vibrant mixture of space-rock and jazz-rock where the cosmic textures of the main theme is explored in a very groovy fashion. Although this piece is perfectly valid on the basis of its own individual qualities, it can also be appreciated as a preparation for the rocking zenith encapsulated in 'Part IX'. The syncopated dynamics that rules the rhythmic pace enables the build-up of a catchy swing in the central theme. 'Part X' rides on a different arena, one that is based on influences from Shadowfax and Yellow Jackets. 'Part XI' definitely sounds like a close cousin to 'Part IV', TD-ish really, with a touch of "Anctartica"-era Vangelis? and pertinent colors delivered by the guests in charge of the violin-cello duet. 'Part XII' closes down the album in a very fulfilling symphonic fashion (Camel, 697-0 King Crimson, BMS) with evident touches of more contemporary trends (White Willow, Höstsonaten). There are also hints to some dark elements that had been present in previous tracks. This is, all in all, "Dodecahedron", a great achievement by Daal, a very recommended item in your contemporary prog rock collection.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#860585)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars It's always a pleasure when you discover a new band you like, even more so when it's unexpected. Such a discovery for me is Daal, an Italian duo comprising of Alfio Costa on a wide range on mainly vintage keyboards and Davide Guidoni on drums and percussion. Dodecahedron is their fourth album which is divided into twelve tracks simply titled Dodecahedron parts I to XII.

The twelve compositions are all instrumental with the duo being joined by a diverse range of guest musician's contributing everything but the kitchen sink including guitar, bass, sax, flute clarinet, violin, cello and even bardic harp and bouzouki. I find the dark vibe of much of the music particularly appealing, the composition's covering a wide base from classical influences, symphonic prog, jazz, electronica with ambient touches. Daal make much use of light and shade which complement the more bombastic moments to great effect and create plenty of musical tension. Highlight for me has to be Part 1 for its brooding mellotron work but don't be mistaken into thinking it's all downhill from here as the album is best digested as a whole rather than picking tracks at random. The musicianship is strong throughout and the composition's well thought out and constructed to create a strong and cohesive whole with only the occasional lull where it loses its way just a little.

Overall Daal have produced a winner, likely to appeal to fans of fellow Italian's Hostsonaten despite its darker feel and even King Crimson lover's. Well worth checking out.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#869806)
Posted Sunday, December 02, 2012 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Daal's third opus shows clearly the evolution of the Alfio Costa and Davide Guidoni tandem's style of organic ambient music, creating a massive soundtrack for the body and the mind. The keys and drums are certainly up front and center, the guiding light through a dense jungle of eclectic sounds, special effects, deep melodies and colossal orchestrations. Comparisons are nearly impossible; the music is highly original and cinematographic, layered with sweeping coats of mellotron, pulsating bass synthesizer patterns and solid non-electronic drumming. The guest list is equally impressive, as we find the sterling Ettore Salati (The Watch, SoulenginE and The Redzen) absolutely shining on electric guitar and keyboardist Luca Scherani (Höstsonaten) playing bouzouki, while Roberto Aiolfi (Tilion) lays down some mean bass , double bass and fretless motifs. There are also nimble sprinklings of sax, flute, clarinet, celtic harp, violin and cello. This is the type of progressive soundtrack that requires intense concentration and the listener will be thus rewarded with varying senses of pleasure, always picking up a different vibe that may have gone unnoticed previously. Obviously depending on the circumstances, environment, mood or time of day, the interpretation will be completely creative and original. That is a rare and most commendable achievement, reached here in spades!

Finally I get to deviate from my usual blow by blow, track by track account and just swelter in the profound glow of this most complete work, really meant to be played in one full sitting, like a soundtrack to an hourly moment in your day. The moods can flutter from one end of the sonic spectrum to the other, almost at will and without any advance notice. One second we are amid deep electronic ambiances and the next, things suddenly get ominous and depressive (almost like vintage Goblin, L'Ombre della Sera or Morte Macabre). At other times, the atmosphere can be exotic, romantic, seductive, ambient, or as on "III" outright King Crimson-esque, circa Red. Luxuriance and disturbance hold hands, winking at each other with glee! Cello and violin make impromptu visits that ultimately disturb and confound, forcing the listener into shadowy realms that have a slight labyrinthine feel, contrasting veils of shimmering light and obscure gloom vying for position. Tinges of classical music cocktailing with jazzy segments ("IV") keep the challenged ears constantly on edge, unaware of what can be coming up next. Primal jungle sounds coalescing with some free jazz sax blowouts also affect the nodes ("V") and veer one's mind into elsewhere. Doom- laden Hitchcockian weirdness is also on the menu, the duo unafraid to toss in some Jamie Muir-like percussion insanity (He was with KC for a brief Lark's Tongues period and then went into a monastery!) within the bubbly synth whirlpool, the chaotic meeting the poetic and having a sip of Campari together on the piazza. Salati blows off some espresso steam with a whopping electric guitar solo, screeching for the stars unrepentant. When you least expect it, a superb electronic lullaby full of Nutella sweetness delects the sonic palate, sweltering electro-symphonics and pulsating frantic bass soloing and a tick-tock reference. Taking a glimpse into their earlier "Disorganicorigami" style, where the snarling Mini-Moog and lugubrious bass synth patterns combine to startle and shudder, like a mellotron-led symphonic holocaust, the "IX" track dispenses occult meanderings amid the torrent of power. Halloween music for a few minutes, just to scare away the disguised little angels. Boo! The sax, dulcimer and clarinet revert to a jazzier mood, solemn and yet heartfelt, sonically painted by some blue melancholia that is crushingly effective. Like two spent lovers still woozy from their intertwining lovemaking's crescendo, deep within their mutual afterglow, the lonely and shared cigarette turning slowly to ash! Ballsy and genial! Some profound electronics again, mournful cello, cannonading drums and synth waves unite in icy rapture, like Tangerine Dream meets the Penguin Café Orchestra in a Budapest coffee house only to finish off the masterpiece with a classic symphonic prog workout that harkens back to the RPI and Brit-prog glory days. The majestic finale is achingly gorgeous, the mighty mellotron again leading the charge, carving out a grandiose melody of the finest pedigree, these lads know their musical heritage and are audacious enough to express it with the sheerest intensity.

This is a hallmark album of the highest quality, one of 2012's very very best, a future classic and an absolute must for the discerning prog music fan, always on the lookout for the unexpected and the ultra-original. Well, this is in so many ways! Every spin has been an experience to remember and cherish. .

5 Dario Argentos

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#881060)
Posted Monday, December 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Diverse" and "cinematic" are a couple of the words from other reviewers that I will definitely use in my own review of Dodecahedron. Also, "eclectic" in the truest sense of the word. The variety and diversity of sounds, styles, and instruments chosen to create this album are simply astounding. Here are my impressions of the album's song's similarities and familiarities.

I (7:46)--ANEKDOTEN imbued with a little PRESENT (9/10)

II (5:10)--KING CRIMSON's In the Court of the Crimson King blended with PURE REASON REVOLUTION's The Dark Third. (9/10)

III (6:57)--"21st Century Schizoid Man" blended with Beethoven's 9th and THE BEATLES' "She's so Heavy" and then MIKE OLDFIELD's Hergest Ridge/Tubular Bells for the final minute and a half. (8/10)

IV (5:50)--feels like a more chamber rock continuation of the previous song--as if PRESENT or ARANIS had taken on the themes and melodies of the previous song. A bit too repetitive and drawn out, IMO, though the use of all acoustic instrumentation is quite fascinating. (8/10)

V (4:37)--is like a song that fell to the cutting room floor during the making of JAN GARBAREK, ZAKIR HUSSEIN, and JOHN McLAUGHLIN's 1986 "Making Music." (6/10)

VI (8:13)--starts out feeling as if it comes from PETER GABRIEL"s Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack but then evolves into something more akin to early AMON DÜÜL or ASH RA TEMPEL. The final three minutes move more into the territory of Force Majeure-era TANGERINE DREAM (with GEORGE HARRISON playing lead guitar). (8/10)

VII (3:02)--opens with a BUDDHA LOUNGE-like sound and feel. The airy flutes and zitherish instrument are soothing and mesmerizing--like a song by GOBI. A pretty song with a rather obscure/unsettling ending. (8/10)

VIII (4:32)--starts out like a piece from TANGERINE DREAM's 1977 live album "Encore." AT 2:40 there is a radical instrumentation shift, especially in the funk-stylings of the bass play, that take it out of the TD 70s music genre--or rather, combine it with some other group like THE DREAM ACADEMY. (8/10)

IX (5:51)--incorporates some incredibly familiar instrument and sound combinations--straight out of RUSH's classic work. At the one minute mark it softens into more of an ANEKDOTEN moment before rushing back into the "Limelight/Moving Pictures" riffs and sounds. I like the addition of the violin for the solo in the fifth minute. The synth strings' chord progression with whispering voices in the background gives it an eerie ending. (9/10)

X (5:11)--sounds of birds and waves are joined by treated piano, fretless bass, brushed drums and sax on this beauty. Sax plays the seductive melody over the piano's haunting liltings in the background. If this isn't a cinematic classic, then I don't know one. Much better, IMHO, than those delivered by LEBOWSKI on 2010's Cinematic. Perjhaps a bit simple at first listen, but hearing it over and over there is so much depth, so much to listen to on this song that brings forth layers of emotion and unresolved tension. Masterful simplicity. (10/10)

XI (5:14)--begins with a DEAD CAN DANCE feel to it: oddly treated percussives playing some kind of syncopated folk rhythms over which a bowed double bass keens its haunting melody. Random synth 'noises' are also interjected here and there to add to the deep-seated tension of this one. In the fourth minute everybody comes together into a cohesive structure--strings, synths and batterie. Ends with yet another odd, quiet ending. (10/10)

XII (8:15)--piano picks up a melody from the previous two songs and is joined by strings and zither. ARP synth solo takes over the melody from the two minute mark. All other instruments pulse together beneath. Brilliant! A few quiet instruments are allowed to "run free" between the synth and the staccato rhythm being played beneath. Reprise of the RUSH sounds/riffs. FRIPP guitar soloing. This song seems to be trying to gather all of the themes and sounds into one Overture. Very nice.

I love the eclectic gathering of familiar and loved sounds that DAAL have used here to put together a collection of 12 mini-'soundtracks' to some Gothic stories. Great ideas, great execution, great sound, an album that I will go back to over and over. I must say that one lasting impression I have from this listening experience is that I don't think I've never heard the sounds of RUSH used so well. Definitely an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, perhaps even a masterpiece.

4.5 stars rated up for its amazing eclecticism. Perhaps even album of the year 2012.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#881563)
Posted Monday, December 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars DAAL are back once again with their fourth album in four years. The dynamic duo of Costa and Guidoni offer an array of keyboards and percussion respectively as guests help to fill out the sound. Once again we get Papotto from BANCO on wind instruments, while Salati (THE WATCH) plays guitars. Trabucco (HOSTSONATEN) adds cello and violin while other guests play classical guitar, flute, bass, harp and bouzouki. This is an instrumental concept album divided into twelve chapters. Each track is based on a Gothic short story that has insprired the music. So yes the music here is much darker than what we've heard in the past from DAAL and I for one welcome this change.

"Dodecahedron I" opens in a very spooky manner then the sax comes in as the atmosphere continues. It turns fuller just before 1 1/2 minutes as drums and mellotron storm in. How good is this ! Very ANEKDOTEN-like. A calm 3 minutes in as this haunting guitar takes over with other sounds. Then it kicks back in just before 4 1/2 minutes with that same ANEKDOTEN-like soundscape. Nice. That calm with piano returns just before 6 minutes. The final minute is this spacey but haunting mood as the water drips. "Dodecahedron II" is scary with sounds that echo. It's slowly buiding as other sounds contribute. It kicks in before 2 minutes including mellotron. It's like the melody is going in circles like a merry-go-round. It settles back after 4 minutes to the opening soundscape to end it.

"Dodecahedron III" almost sounds KING CRIMSON-like to start as we get a powerful intro before it settles with piano and strings. Not for long as it kicks back in before 1 1/2 minutes. Back to the calm 4 minutes in as contrasts continue. "Dodecahedron IV" has this melody of piano, drums and strings that goes round and round. "Dodecahedron V" is spooky with sparse sounds until we get some woodwinds. The woodwinds stop as the mellotron comes in. I like this better. Back to the woodwinds 3 minutes in for about a minute when it calms back down to end it. "Dodecahedron VI" is haunting with wind and woodwinds as the sounds of footsteps join in. It turns darker as sounds come and go. The sound starts to pick up after 2 minutes. Great sound a minute later. A haunting calm settles in at 5 minutes then it kicks in with the guitar soaring around 5 1/2 minutes. This lasts until after 7 minutes when the guitar stops and eventually the piano joins the dark atmosphere to end it.

"Dodecahedron VII" sounds cool to start with the mixture of various sounds. This is the shortest track at 3 minutes. "Dodecahedron VIII" is haunting to start with lots of atmosphere. Scary stuff right here. A beat before 1 1/2 minutes joins in. It sounds like an electronic beat. A change 2 1/2 minutes in as chunky bass, drums and a dark atmosphere lead. Excellent stuff. "Dodecahedron IX" has a heavy "Rock" sound with atmosphere and mellotron. A calm with flute before a minute then it kicks back in as contrasts continue. Strings later. Great sounding track.

"Dodecahedron X" opens with the sounds of waves and birds chirping. Music just before a minute as the waves and birds continue. Jazzy sax here in this relaxed soundscape along with piano, drums and bass. Mellow stuff. "Dodecahedron XI" has these different intricate sounds coming and going with a dark atmosphere. Strings follow then horns. "Dodecahedron XII" opens with sparse piano and strings. It builds from there. It settles back 2 minutes in. I like this. Angular guitar before 4 1/2 minutes then a calm with piano and strings. Organ joins in then we get a calm with wind and piano only 6 minutes in. Strings are back 6 1/2 minutes in, flute too.

This is certainly different than their "Destructive Actions Affect Livings" record in that we get more strings, guitar and darkness but both come highly recommended by yours truly.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#882245)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Imagine if you took one of Pink Floyd's instrumentals, extended it to full album length, and then crossed it with a band of traveling gypsies who were roaming the far corners of the earth putting on a tale of tragedy and loss. If you can't imagine that, well, then it's your lucky day because Daal can play it for you. There really is no other way to describe Dodecahedron but as a complete trip. This is music you can get lost in, that you can let your mind wander through as it lilts and pulses and dances through spacy soundscapes and emotional melodies.

More concretely, I would describe Dodecahedron as falling somewhere between Krautrock and fusion, with additional forays into a more classically influenced sound and even some brief contact with avant-prog. Many of the songs are built around a repeating motif that is gradually developed and elaborated on. The playing is superb throughout; there's a fantastic blending of ambience and chaotic performances, and the variety of sounds used is incredible. There are healthy doses of winds and brass, but vintage synthesizers are also used to great effect, as is the occasional blistering guitar solo.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, for an album that relies so much on ambience, the melodies are also phenomenal. They're incredibly varied as well; Part VI closes out with a somewhat gothic, classical sounding outtro and Part VII immediately picks up with a light, almost bubbly dance of melody that still manages to thematically fit with the track before it. This of course is followed up with the nearly Musique Concrete introduction to Part VIII, yet never does the album feel lost or listless despite the vast range it covers.

If I tried to describe every musical style that appeared on this album it would end up a 2000- word review, so for the sake of the reader I'll abridge those comments somewhat. Rest assured, though, if you can think of a style of progressive rock, it probably appears somewhere here. This album by turns rocks, whispers, groans, drifts, and occasionally even grooves. I have to emphasize again, however, that not once does it ever lose its way. If I had to delve into unwieldy, over-wordy, pretentions metaphors again (and, since I already brought it up, I may as well), I would describe listening to this album as walking through a dark, abandoned castle and finding that it had displayed paintings of the entire universe. The closest (actual) comparison I can find for this is Estradasphere's masterful album Palace of Mirrors; there are stylistic similarities, to be sure, but the real similarity comes in the scope. If you liked that album then don't hesitate to pick up this one.

In short, this album is a wonder. It is exceedingly rare for a purely instrumental album to hold my attention for over an hour, but Dodecahedron is that rare album that not only holds your attention but forcefully pulls it in an immerses it. Words can't really capture everything that this album has to offer, and in fact I fear some of my attempts to connect it to concrete genre labels have been woefully inadequate, but at this point I suppose they're as good as they're going to be. Just know that this is a beautiful, beautiful album that should satisfy even the most distracted of prog fans. Astoundingly good.

5/5

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Send comments to VanVanVan (BETA) | Report this review (#888905)
Posted Sunday, January 06, 2013 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
4 stars I have finally made myself familiar with this CD I was sent to review months ago. DAAL is a project of Alfio Costa (keyboards) and Davide Guidoni (percussion), both with a long CV including earlier bands in Italy. This album has several guest musicians (reeds, guitars, bass, harp, strings) and it's all instrumental. The twelve parts are untitled, but actually they might as well be titled after the miniature stories they are inspired by. I was also given the poster with those stories, sadly most of them are in Italian which I can't speak. Three of them are in English; they are ghostly, impressioniostic horror stories and very economically told in just a couple of hundred words I suppose.

The closest in sound I have heard is probably ANEKDOTEN from Sweden. The atmosphere is dark and thick, and there are lots of mellotron. I don't think DAAL can be blamed of unoriginality at all. Of course one can name KING CRIMSON (albums such as Lark's Tongues in Aspic) as the starting point of all this kind of sinister and experimental [instrumental] prog. What I appreciate in DAAL is the way they carry on the long prog tradition and sound modern at the same time. The wide variability in instrumentation brings a lot of unpredictability in the listening of this album. There are some strong highlights, e.g. the electric guitar solo in the 8- minute title track (it faintly reminded me of the solo in CAMEL's instrumental 'Stationary Traveller').

The playing is really fine and with lots of nuances. The music is eclectic: you get some ambient, electronic music, jazz and art music. Sometimes it is rather heavy - not aggressive - but it's balanced by more fragile and delicate soundscapes. 'La Torre' is among them. Over 70 minutes of dark instrumental prog can be a demanding task, and I believe I won't put this CD very often into the player. But it could work excellently as a companion to some reading - horror fiction especially!

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#910851)
Posted Thursday, February 07, 2013 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
3 stars What to wear, what to wear....?

First of all, I'd like to apologise to Daal for the late review, but I have had my hands full the past couple of months. I received this album a cold winter morning, with the black and rather occult looking art work almost blinking at me with a frosty and wintery characteristic to it - as if nature and music secretly had been talking behind my back previously to this occasion. It felt right and preconceived in some weird way.

Daal consist of two fine gentlemen who play a gazillion different instruments. On here they've been assisted by various musicians that take care of bouzouki, cello, flute, electric guitars and some instruments I don't know anything about. Kehru?

What first struck me with Dodecahedron was it's brilliant usage of counter-pointing musical effects. There's a mirroring happening throughout the course of this album, that either comes through distinctive instruments playing up against each other or in the way an otherwise delicate and melodic instrument suddenly changes for something far more snarling and sharp.

King Crimson obviously made this brand of heavy and countering music, when they did Lizard and Larks' Tongues in Aspic, yet it's still rather seldom we come across modern bands who are capable of infusing hard and heavy over and undertones to music - without ever getting near a guitar amplifier and overt heavy metal riffing. Steven Wilson is one of the few who does this successfully currently, he knows how to make music intense and heavy without having to resort to pure metal. It's about feel and energy, and at times rather tumultuous rhythm patterns that again counter something on the other side of the fence. Just like this band actually....

Though Daal put their own spin on it - continuing to draw in inspirations from all over the place. You get quite a bit of fusion, though served up in a strangely metallic dressing that has a ninja like way of numbing your eardrums after the first half of the album. Then there's the ultra modern folk music that only seems to show its head in between the huge and theatrical parts of the album. Pling pling the strings go and suddenly you get hit with great big cascades of washing synths - and together these feel as one, even if they still have that countering effect, that most of this album is full of.

So why the 3,5 stars? Well, I feel I need to be sincere with these guys - after all they did go out of their way to send me a tangible version of the album. So here it goes: I am not really digging the way Dodecahedron was produced. It's a real shame in my humble opinion, because I have completely fallen for the music. If I may, then let me just get back to my earlier King Crimson parallel. I really do think, that part of why an album like Larks' Tongues worked so well, was due to the natural timbre of the instruments - the wooden and earthy texture within the music itself. Had the angular and demanding riffs been subjected to a more sterile production, thereby eradicating every little noise and imperfection - the music would've turned out anodyne and strangely flat. That's my take on it anyway, and I feel the same has happened with this album. The feel these guys are going for would be helped enormously with a more ascetic and raw approach to the production side of things.

There's so much diversity, sprinkling and somersaulting headturners of musical bliss hidden away within this record, I just think they would be far better represented in a different black tuxedo. Still 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Guldbamsen (BETA) | Report this review (#923845)
Posted Monday, March 04, 2013 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Served black with no milk.

Do you like your progressive moody, intense, almost gothic? Well look no further because Daal created an hybrid machine of RPI and Crimsonesque features, dark as an Italian espresso but rich in flavor and color. Well...er...black is the absence of color, but still a color, right?

With BLACK as a main theme (cd, music, sleeve, art) Daal is a sure value to some who likes the quiet/ loud approach of Anekdoten, with nice viola and lots of stuff to chew on. Although there is no lyrics or chant, Daal is easily entertaining us with their sound, giving a great hommage to the Larks Tongue In Aspic period, without ripping out the bands they like.

Thank you to the good people of Daal for their patience and generosity, this album created a buzz in 2012 and deserves the attention for their effort!

Recommended for goth weddings.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#925244)
Posted Wednesday, March 06, 2013 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian duo DAAL was formed back in 2008 by Davide Guidoni (drums) and Alfio Costa (keyboards), with the latter the main person as far as crafting material goes. They've contributed to a number of thematic albums instigated by the Finnish Colossus organization, and from 2009 and onwards they have steadily released studio albums as well. "Dodecahedron" from 2012 is their fourth album.

Diversity is the key word to describe Daal's "Dodecahedron", a dozen of instrumental compositions covering sometimes subtly different and sometimes vastly different musical grounds. A certain affection for keyboards, synthesizers and cosmic, electronic flavoring may be needed to be able to enjoy this album, an overall eclectic and fairly broad interest range probably a necessity. A rewarding journey that comes highly recommended to progressive rock fans who enjoy fairly demanding and diverse productions in general, and in particular those who prefer their music to be instrumental.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#975115)
Posted Monday, June 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The new album by Daal, bizarre Italian musical reality, is a monstrously rich album, articulate, complex, iridescent, these the first impressions! "Dodecahedron" , as the title suggests, has 12 twelve acts, twelve soundscapes inspired by Gothic tales written by friends and fans of the band, a synergy of music and literature appropriate and suitable to the spirit of the noble and intellectual of the group . "Dodecahedron" is an instrumental album infused with a multitude of suggestions, atmospheres and nuances that produce inner vibrations, feelings and emotions that only artists can translate into living matter, as is the case for painters, sculptors, and also musicians. Progressive music mixed in with large brackets folk, psychedelic and ambient with a predilection for melancholy skies, blacks, disturbing, sinister, mysterious although never distressing or frightening. Daal don't want to impress you with easy emotions, always seek the most difficult, subtle, cathartic, then to blow up all the anxiety of those who listen, and intimidated at the same time lulled by the sound of stories, deep and visionary as the outcomes of a night, at the base of absinthe and gothic spiers. An album that is the antithesis of banality.

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Send comments to tatoosha (BETA) | Report this review (#1093486)
Posted Friday, December 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The fourth DAAL album from 2012, `Dodecahedron', sees this talented Italian band take their varied compositions to the grandest heights possible, resulting in their most richly detailed and defining musical statement to date. Despite hailing from Italy, DAAL, or rather the two main musicians Alfio Costa (with an army of vintage and modern keyboards, check the detailed list above!) and Davide Guidoni (all manner of acoustic and electronic drums/percussion), rarely compose in the style of traditional Italian progressive rock (although this one has more of those moments that previously), instead favouring a varied mix of very modern sounding dark electronics, classical sophistication and avant-garde experimentalism, all soaked in oceans of the grand ol' Mellotron. The duo have also recruited guest players from numerous other Italian bands such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, The Watch, Hostsonaten, Soulengine, Trama, Tilion and Archangel to achieve their ambitions with this work.

Despite being fully instrumental, each of the twelve tracks here are represented by a mix of stories or poems, not only written by the two main musicians, but also from submitted pieces by fans of the band and elsewhere. Generally of a darkly supernatural quality (this is also highlighted by the uncomfortably occult themed artwork on the album cover and inside the CD sleeve), the words offer the duo ample opportunity to present their eerie soundtracks, and, taken as a continuous whole, the work seamlessly moves through a wide range of shifting moods, emotions and atmospheres. Other reviewers such as Andrea have already offered a definitive look at this project relating to the words of the various poems and stories provided, so I'll mostly focus instead on the music, especially considering it's a purely instrumental work.

`Bianco' opens with an howling distorted wail, truly the sound of a soul in torment, and the music that follows perfectly captures the words of solitude offered in the CD booklet. A gently maddening storm of flute and saxophone from Banco's Alessandro Papotto, pitchy electronics and spooky piano is contrasted with almost an heroic or victorious Mellotron theme over purposeful drumming that King Crimson and Anekdoten fans will quickly love. `Sclerotics Days' is mostly a grand extended slide guitar solo from Ettore Salati in the proud David Gilmour tradition over glorious intimidating Mellotron, highly emotional and overwhelming. `La Suora Nera' is a brooding heavy stop/start guitar stomper that offers some more strangled Crimson menace, but also steps a little closer to traditional Italian prog with moments of classically inspired violin, somber piano and militaristic drumming. Some spiraling Moog solos almost give little moments a Rick Wakeman touch as well. `La Bambola di Lana' is a sorrowful tale of children who have lost their parents and the form that death manifests itself as, it's presented as a spectral waltz, full of drowsy drumming, reflective cello and ghostly piano that frequently brings an R.I.O flavour.

The moody ambient jazz of `L'Ultimo Incontro' features an increasingly desperate and suffocating clarinet solo from Alessandro until Mellotron's cut their way through to bring a slightly malevolent quality. Despite another grand Pink Floyd inspired electric guitar solo in the finale, the title track is a droning ambient middle-eastern flavoured desert-blown flute and electronic experiment that reminds me of a more successful marriage of the different styles that Agitation Free attempted to mixed results on their `Second' album. Guest harpist Vincenzo Zitello has a standout moment on `La Torre', a delicate medieval flavoured acoustic interlude (with hints of Andreas Vollenweider), while `Bambino e il Sogno' is a dreamy and disorientating electronic sound-collage that creates a very hypnotic mood, almost like something off Gong's `You', with some nice thick bass work from Roberto Aiolfi of Tilion.

After a couple of those more sedate and thoughtful pieces, the relentless space-rocker `I Can Not Let Go' kicks back to life with swirling electronics, scratchy Mellotron and searing violin. `The Moon Is Pale Tonight' returns us to the earth, a sweetly gentle yet melancholic jazzy come-down with sublime saxophone playing again from Papotto. The next two pieces are especially a showcase for violinist Sylvia Trabucco. The experimental `I Left For Home' is a vioin-led lonely gothic lament, with subtle use of Mellotron, metallic looped effects and a variety of repetitive percussion to wear the listener down. The classical album closer `Il Padre Vedevo Distante' is a sorrowful piano and violin-led epic that almost takes on a glorious orchestral majesty, with Moog soloing full of longing, regimented drumming and what feels like a slab of Mellotron bearing down on the listener with a stalking wicked glee.

Make sure to give this album a listen on a good pair of headphones to get a better idea of the depth of Alfio and Davide's playing and the clarity of their compositions. Each album from the pair sees them revealing new qualities, and despite being over 70 minutes in length, there's not a filler track to be found, each piece successfully creating a mood that stays with the listener long after the disc has ended. No doubt, `Dodecahedron' is truly sumptuous, and without question, it's the most complex, intricate and sophisticated work to date from the Italian duo. Where they go from here will be hugely thrilling to discover.

Four and a half stars.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1150194)
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | Review Permalink

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