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Corde Oblique - VolontÓ D'Arte CD (album) cover


Corde Oblique

Prog Folk

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The unique voice in rock that is CORDE OBLIQUE is already well primed by the time of this mature second effort. Riccardo Prencipe, skilled composer and guitarist, surrounds himself with fully engaged hired singers and musicians for this entrancing blend of classical, medieval/mediterranean folk, and rock. It's worth having a look at the numerous you tube clips of this "group" to gain insight into the synergy which upon which he insists and depends.

Of the thirteen tracks herein only 2 or 3 fail to be both interesting and entertaining. For the rest, the surprisingly hook-laden and vibrant opener "Cantastoria" counts as one of the most resounding. "Amphitheatrum Puteolanum" is equally arresting and is somewhat suggestive of the German pagan group "Faun", but much more daring with its blend of plaintive chant, guitar, and a hurdy gurdy or bagpipe like instrument. "Casa Hirta" is a gentle ballad that picks up the pace and is one of the many tunes with gorgeous violin by Alfredo Notarloberti from ASHRAM, a group from whom various members contribute to "Volonta D'Arte". "Kuntswollen" is similarly of the highest melodic caliber . Then there is the urgency of "Cuma", part opera and part folk from its unassuming yet portentous guitar opening to its near histrionic end. Claudia Florio as soprano should appeal to fans of Annie Haslam's wide range at her peak. The weakest vocal track is probably the less varied "Olhos cincentos" which is just as beautiful sounding and could be easily accepted if it were not overly long.

The two tracks sung in English, by different male vocalist are the narrative styled "Atheist Woman" that is lulling and subduing until another gear is added towards the end; and the wholly transcendent "My Harbour" which seems to bridge nostalgic pop and a bit of REM- esque songwriting with the group's trademark delicacy.

Of the instrumentals "Before Utrecht"'s guitar figures and the skillfully compiled mini piano suite "La Pioggia Sui Tasti" are especially worthy of attention. But ANATHEMA's "Kaiowas" and the oddly MABSANT sounding closer "Piazza Armerina" with its stilted clarinet phrasings, both lack the excitement of most of the rest of the album.

The album title translates to "The Will of Art" and "Volunta D'Arte" fulfills the promise of this intriguing moniker. 4.5 stars rounded down.

Report this review (#805075)
Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars VolontÓ D'Arte is Riccardo PRENCIPE's second release of neo-medieval folk music under the title Corde Oblique. As on the debut Respici, Riccardo surrounds himself with collaborators who are up to his vision and standards. I love the consistently high quality of composition and performance on this album. I am, however, biased toward the less-classical- and more medieval folk-orientation of two of Riccardo's future albums, 2009's exquisite The Stones of Naples and 2011's wonderful Hail of Bitter Almonds.

Album standouts include: the very Spanish-, almost GIPSY KINGS-sounding 1. "Cantastorie" (4:15) with the crystalline voice of Caterina Pontrandolfo (9/10); the medieval sounding 2. "Amphitheatrum Puteolanum" (4:29) (despite Ms. Pontrandolfo's voice being treated with reverb) (9/10); 3. "Casa Hirta" (9/10); the special piano-guitar duet on 4. "Before Utrecht" (5:44) (9/10); 5. "Atheistic Woman" (4:53) with its quirky, almost LEONARD COHEN vocal (9/10); the ANTHONY PHILLIPS-like solo guitar 9. "Pannegio" (2:42) (9/10); 10. "Cuma" (5:28) with singer Claudia Florio and her gorgeous operatic voice (8/10); the pretty piano suite "La Pioggia sui Tasti" (3:03) (8/10), and; the beautiful, more classically arranged "Piazza Armerina" (5:16) with guitar and clarinet (9/10).

Report this review (#1338795)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2015 | Review Permalink

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