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L' Estate Di San Martino - Talsete Di Marsantino CD (album) cover


L' Estate Di San Martino

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A return of one of Italy's most beautiful pastoral bands

L'Estate di San Martino are back with a brand new album in 2012 and a finely crafted work it is. As previously mentioned the group has had a strange recording history, with each batch of material delayed or shelved before finally seeing the light of day. 2007's "Febo" was finally delivered shortly after the sad premature death of long time guitarist Adolfo Broegg. Now five years later the band have recorded an album that finally sounds as if things have all come together naturally. It is a gorgeous album of mostly instrumental, pastoral progressive rock with symph and folk markers, even a few jazzy sections. This is the very listenable and beautiful side of RPI, it is an album that should be very popular with listeners drawn to Hostsonaten, Willowglass, and XII Alfonso, though at times it rocks more than all three.

BTF writes the material is "mainly based on great acoustic arpeggios and electric solos, keyboard soundscapes and beautiful flute and sax inserts. Even if practically void of lyrics, the album is a concept that would be listened while reading the notes in the booklet, telling about Talsete, an imaginary character, an archivist whose aim was to collect and preserve human knowledge and who fronts his greatest 'battle', against the passing of time and memories."

Sounds like a cool concept! The songs are extended jams which range from mellow to reasonably rocking and employ plenty of gorgeous keyboard work. There is also a ton of tasteful guitar work including some guest sections from none other than Steve Hackett. As mentioned most of the album is instrumental but there are a few vocals, and L'Estate have brought in RPI legends Francesco di Giacomo and Bernardo Lanzetti. Saxophone, flute, and female wordless vocals are also used to luxurious effect. I would describe the compostiion as music that is "soaring" as if the soundtrack to footage shot from aircraft above rugged coastlines and the like. Relaxing and sometimes not gripping enough for my personal tastes, yet, there are certainly times when I would find it appealing. A well made, ambitious disc for fans of the refined progressive rock.

Report this review (#811466)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I believe that the importance of a disc is in the emotions that can give you. Listening TALSETE OF MARSANTINO I went back 40 years (oh, thanks guys!!!!). Of course, the musicians in this band have certainly heard Banco, PFM, Genesis and King Crimson, and loved them. This disc is permeated by many atmospheres of the golden years of progressive revisited by the unquestionable technical ability of the musicians. And then the guests: Hackett, Di Giacomo and Lanzetti are "the cherry on the cake", to witness that great musicians have strongly believed in this record. A great job that I was really amazed by the variety and complexity of the arrangements. I believe that as a lover of progressive music I can only say 'thank you' to ESM for this record. P.S. The gatefold cover is FANTASTIC :-D
Report this review (#812458)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Following their wonderful predecessors "Febo" and "Alder", l'Estate di San Martino - the prog-rock band from magic Umbria - doesn't rest on laurels and takes a step forward by delivering us another impressive work named "Talsete di Marsantino" issued on the same label and housed in a lavish gatefold mini lp cd packaging. What about the music? Well, it only takes a few moments - as soon as Archivista bursts on the scene - to realize that inspiration and musicianship are as high as ever! Of course, giant prog-rockers of the past such as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and PFM have had a great appeal on the Italian band but in my humble opinion on this album more than on any other has emerged their undistinguished style made of intricate melodies and variety of arrangements. Not to mention the guest appearences: the voice impossible Bernardo Lanzetti, guitar maestro Steve Hackett and the voice master Francesco Di Giacomo are here to witness their deep belief in the project. A record that will certainly be much appreciated by the progressive music lover. Thank you ESM !!
Report this review (#812488)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The rules of prog archives tell: five star, a MASTERPIECE! But how many masterpieces can we count in the world of progressive music really? In my opinion, once you have tracked correctly the border of the prog music (how many heavy metal or hard rock works are wrongly considered in this winning label?) not more then 20. So I forget the rules and give five star to this wonderful work, although the work of the italian band can't compete with who open unexplored roads on the prog music in the 60/70's, the real Masterpieces of prog music. Ok Talsete doesn't open new way, at the end of the day he is an archivist, but guys, in what a manner he describe this wonderful world of music! And he does it with the music itself and the minimun necessary of words ... What idea and what a courage in twothousandtwelve! Listening to the Music of Estate, it's impossible not to think about a lot of giants of prog, but, and this is the fifth star, it's also impossible to say "hey men give credits to ELP, Genesis and so on". Everything is done with an italian original spice that join togheter medieval music instruments with the more recent synthetizer, that makes possible to vocalize (in a passage) in a Cocteau Twins mode over a base of a medioeval violin as if it were the most natural thing you could do! The other four stars are due to the wonderful music and the ideas this work contains, a music that like the old good times, you have to discover a little at a time, rejoining on 'her' every time a little more. Hackett, Di Giacomo and Lanzetti (the circle is closed, eventually we got a masterpiece thanks to these giants of Prog), fit perfectly in this tapestry concocted by Estate and open to our mind the archive of the wonderful word of Prog music. In the end it's impossible to forget that the package, the cover and the story perfectly complete this wonderful work. Don't miss it! Bargilla62 2012
Report this review (#813284)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Talk about a majestic slice of classic RPI , mixed with the latest modern symphonic tendencies and words are hard to come by. Insanely orchestrated, never boring, between sheets of pastoral folk, stormy sequences and fluttering flutes, woodwinds, brass and that masterful rebel, the saxophone ?.. Truth is, this one shines from the very get-go and never releases the pedal, scouring into a magnificent wonderland of style and texture. The various instruments have a huge organic feel that is quite unexpected and the wealth of musical ideas even within a single piece is masterful. Obviously if you include guest artists Steve Hackett and Banco's Francesco di Giacomo, you get a pretty clear idea that this will be an adventure in dreamland, with strong emanations of classic RPI, superb miniature pieces that recall Penguin Café Orchestra and Ant Phillips and full-blown Genesis-style symphonics.

"Silbo" sets the slithery mood from the very beginning, a hoarse flute scouring the airwaves. "Archivista" is where this album really hits the mark: a luminous guitar phrasing is supported by some brilliant drumming and rolling bass, all masterfully combined in a sensuous symphonic sheen. The sexy sax is blazing out in front of the undulating beat and the intensity is tangible as the brew becomes intoxicating, tossing in vocoder effects, whirring synths (including a dizzying choir mellotron finale) and a shuffling beat. This is primo stuff! What a breeze, when music is so effortless and brilliant, as exemplified on the languid "Fretta", an indescribable gem that resonates deeply with any audiophile. A barrage of acoustic guitars weave a web of delicacy that provides the foundation on which flute, soprano sax, electric guitar and assorted ivories can paint the harmonic skies, as vocalist Conny Rausch wails in a very 60s style. Effortless, dynamic, cinematographic, expressive and possessing that magical mixture of freshness and elegance that affect ones pleasure nodes. The simplicity of the electric guitar section is truly masterful.

"Il Cielo Per San Lorenzo" keeps things nicely minimalist with Riccardo Regi's 12 string electric guitar swerving amid Stefano Tofi's spectral keyboards in a style very reminiscent of classic Anthony Phillips. A sparkling and crystalline composition with discreet orchestrations and ornate piano work.

Wait until you hear Hackett's slithering lead on "Ely", a bare minute + of sonic genius. Tofi lays down a synthesized carpet for Steve to roll around on and the sonic master does not disappoint! Riveting,frightening and spectral.

"Long Now Clock" is anomalous, smoggy and atmospheric in an oddball way, bordering on experimental, with a celebrated stance of unwavering poise and ingenious juicedom, infusing Nickleharp, a strange Swedish instrument that stretches the boundaries of violin and viola. This creative side is what makes this release so attractive, an RPI comfort zone that is stretched to the hilt. The yearning guitar aches for some reassurance and fades, deeply relieved.

"Hallucigenia" confirms the talent of drummer Sergio Servadio, who positively rocks on the intro to this complex and demanding piece, as the mood settles for some brilliant piano musings, incorporating some lovely jazzy moves and then exploding into a bright section where the recorder played by Marco Pentiricci reigns supreme, amid the colossal drum fills. Throw in a little guitar synth and acoustic 6 and 12 strings to add some spice and flavor. Definitely hallucigenic. "Bang!" is a playful 12 second sonic experiment. Cute! The title track has a fretless bass solo to murder for, within all its other delights and its one of slayer cuts. A woozy synth solo launches this one into the night sky, swerving into a neo- tropical shuffle (them congas), soon to be united with piano madness and booming bass and blooming into a sensational composition.

"Mono Lake" is another massive highlight track, simple and effective, organ-fueled and just a plain brilliant instrumental. Stefano Tofi's stirring butterfly synth solo is damning, tugging on the heartstrings and delivering heavenly bliss. A straightforward beat, two note bass, boom-boom drums, that wrenching organ and a mood for excitation, as the guitar confidently mouths the melody. Brooding, sulfurous and raging.

"Otto" has the Banco fatman singing in his unusual tremolo, with Riccardo Regi's acoustic guitars weaving the way, catering nicely to another patented Hackett outburst. All screeching power and impossible sustain. Oh yeah, and balls to pull it off, Fripp would be proud.

The final track, "SENO" is a perfect bedtime story killer, goodnight sleep tight affair, a sensational concluder that has all the ingredients from raucous guitar, howling choir mellotron (my fave sound ever), blistering sax salvos and tight, tight playing within almost complex arrangements. This is no commercial music by any stretch, quite the polar opposite with perhaps too much music to absorb even after a few auditions, mighty as this music will appear to any unexpectant fan.

2 bonus tracks: "Res Gestae": If you want to bask in lengthy Italian speak, nothing better to get your girlfriend hot and bothered than by this husky Latin lover voice, oozing into your sexual spirit, babe! Unless of course, that is deemed to be too "progressive"! Claudio Cardinali narrates for 7 minutes, its very funny and very weeeeeeird. The second features Bernardo Lanzetti's love it or leave it special voice in a spirited little rumble, very RPI and very agreeable. Formica's fretless wobbles mightily once again, especially in the finale where the mood gets fiery intense.

This is a musical recording that inspires utter confidence and creativity, firmly influenced by a variety of regal prog choices (Genesis, Ant Phillips and Hackett, as well as the more exploratory forms of current Italian prog like Hostsonaten, Zaal, Maalavia, La Coscienza di Zeno, Labirinto dei Specchi, GTV, Daal etc..

Masterpiece that will stand even the test of time?..Finn, trust me on this?.

5 radar solos (you can read them also in both directions)

Report this review (#863693)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As I listened to this disc the first time I couldn't help be feeling repeatedly astounded at the freshness of the music I was listening to. I am also a witness to the extraordinary contributions to the whole by prog legends Steve Hackett, Francesco di Giacomo, and Bernardo Lanzetti. This music could be called neo-prog, but really it's neo-RPI, but with all new ideas--new melodies, new combinations, new emotions, new, 21st Century energy. As other reviewers have pointed out, I, too am reminded at times of GENESIS, ANT PHILLIPS, ROBIN GUTHRIE/COCTEAU TWINS, and even Norway's AIRBAG (because of the tremendous keyboard support work) and Poland's COLLAGE, but, for the most part, it is all Italiano--or, rather, in this case, L'Estate di San Martino. Congratulations.

This one goes down in the history books as a modern classic, a masterpiece for the ages! Thank you for achieving something so rare in this modern era of very good (and very alive) progressive rock music: creating a modern masterpiece that fills the listener with blissful nostalgia for the prog classics of the 70s. Something so many groups (especially in The Netherlands [Trion, Flamborough Head, Knight Area, etc., etc.]) seem so desperate to do. In my humble opinion, none have done it better than this one.

Favorite songs: I LOVE THEM ALL!!!

Report this review (#866790)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The third chapter of l'Estate di San Martino is probably the consecration of this group so long- lived but strangely with only three albums released. The history of Talsete is fascinating in real prog-style, an archivist with the dual role of guardian of knowledge and the essence of progressive music. In this sense be seen the illustrious collaborations of Steve Hackett, Francesco di Giacomo and Bernardo Lanzetti. The compositions are of great freshness and originality both from the point of view that rhythmic and harmonic. The amount of music in each song is such that is necessary more than one listening to discover the depth. The sounds ranging from classic prog to most modern. 12-string acoustic and electric guitars with analog and digital synths and vocoder. The colors of the saxophone and the flute and the addition of bass pedals enrich the entire job. A particular note for the great drum parts and for the quality of the recordings. Even the packaging is beautiful, in style with the previous covers of the group. There is also a limited vinil version...Whoaa
Report this review (#930621)
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars L'Estate di San Martino began life in Perugia in 1975 on the initiative of Marco Pentiricci and Giuseppe Petrazzini. In the seventies the band had no chance to release a full length album and it wasn't until 2006, after a long hiatus and many line up changes, that they managed to release their d'but work, 'Alder', a concept album recorded live in 1983. In 2007 the band released a second album called 'Febus', featuring old stuff from the nineties re-arranged, and, finally, in 2012 they released what is their best work so far, 'Talsete di Marsantino', on the independent label AMS/BTF. The current line up features Marco Pentiricci (sax, flute, acoustic guitar), Riccardo Regi (electric and acoustic guitar), Stefano Tofi (keyboards, vocoder, acoustic guitar), Massimo Baracchi (bass) and Sergio Servadio (drums) but during the recording sessions they were helped by some prestigious guests such as Steve Hackett (electric guitar), Francesco Di Giacomo (vocals) and Bernardo Lanzetti (vocals). The result in my opinion is excellent and this work is a must to have for every prog collector.

'Talsete di Marsantino' is a concept album based on a short story by Riccardo Regi that you can find in the booklet (if you can't speak Italian do not worry, in the booklet there's a translation into English as well). The protagonist of the story is an imaginary character, an archivist who in an Autumn day receives a mysterious letter containing nothing but a verb: 'to pick'. The album is almost completely instrumental, there are some jazzy passages but calm, dreamy atmospheres prevail. As time is running out the protagonist has to hurry to collect memories, sounds from the past, fragments of human knowledge and dreams. What kind of link can you find between an enormous clock hidden in a mountain that chimes just one time per century, the strange fossil of a bacteria and an ancient lake in California? Maybe the beautiful vocals provided by Francesco Di Giacomo could give you a clue... 'It will only take a time equal to eight to this last work / If standing towards North it will be East / And standing towards South it will be West...'. Is it not clear? Well, all in all it doesn't matter: just let the music draw you away! If you like bands such as Genesis, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso or Premiata Forneria Marconi I'm sure you'll enjoy this magnificent album as well.

Report this review (#968632)
Posted Sunday, June 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sometimes they come back, and when the return makes noise then is better turn up the volume, so that everyone will listen to better. This is not a great return, only one of the many bands that in Italy of 70s haven't had so much fortune. The grandeur of this return is represented by the exceptional maturity acquired during the last 38 years. Also their name is a good idea. In fact L'estate di San Martino (San Martino's Summer) is a period, in case it occurs, in which in autumn, after the first frosts it happens climatic conditions more pleasant of warmth (is the "indian summer" for Anglo-Saxon country). This album seems transmit the same feeling. It's as if it finally came after a long period of cold.

Time is something of fascinating for men, something that seems to play with human reason, hiding its real essence while it flows on relentlessly. And precisely this is the theme that they have chosen. The concept album Talsete Di Marsantino (acronym of the band's name) tells the fantastic story (written by guitarist Riccardo Regi) of an archivist, the most known of his time for his skills and his intelligence, that received the important burden to record all the human knowledge (intended maybe also like tradition of Progressive Rock) . So, in a time that do not seems to belong to the conventional rules, between oddities that seems coming from an unknown past and a futuristic device that will punctuates the present time, the adventure of Talsete Di Marsantino seems to get back to childhood, hearing its whistle.

The album has an aptitude completely Progressive. From the architecture as concept album to the sound typically vintage, from the elegant romanticism of RPI to the musical moments with unpredictable dynamics it sounds as the best tradition of Progressive Rock of a memorable musical experience. The work is mostly instrumental, based on acoustic guitar (Riccardo Regi) and piano (Stefano Tofi), where melodies seems to chase each other, merging and then give life to intense and warmth atmospheres, but there are also pure moment of Prog Rock (intro in "Hallucigenia"). To enrich this treasure there are the flute and sophisticated saxophone plots (Marco Pentiricci) that makes it more dreamy and airy and the participation of great musicians! Is possible to discover a soul more "restless" (if so it can say), in song such as "Archivista" (archivist / file clerk) with an electric guitar in Hackett / Genesis style. From here starts the beautiful "Fretta" (hurry), feeling which Talsete is kidnapped so much to not notice to embraced already his assignment, with exciting tones underlined by female vocals (Conny Rausch). After a little look under the stars in the San Lawrence's Night (Il Cielo Per San Lorenzo), here comes the first great guest. A wonderful intermezzo short but intense of electric guitar by the unmistakable Steve Hackett get us through a new concept of time, where the clacking of the "Long Now Clock" alternates every year. A romantic song with violins, acoustic guitar and piano and electric guitar laments that loads the piece of no time atmosphere.

Deep and elegant musical plots alternates masterfully in track such as "L'Estate Di San Martino", proud expression of the "same old" RPI of Great 70s Masters. My favorite musical passage (considering the entire listening) is in the song "Mono Lake", that establish oneself let me forget, if only for a moment, that I'm listening to it in 2014! Conclude the album the songs "Otto" (eight) and "S.E.N.O.". In the first appears the Voice (in my personal opinion) of RPI Francesco Di Giacomo, a flash of nostalgia for Banco's lovers. Here there is also the last (short) participation of Steve Hackett effective and unique like ever. The song S.E.N.O sounds with the Progressive band's mark, one of the few singed moment in the album but really good with Franceso Di Giacomo that sings "I've Got No More Time For Memories" in the way that only he can do.

There are also two (wonderful) bonus tracks. "Res Gestae" is the report of the story with the principal themes of all the songs. The narrator is Italian but don't worry, on the booklet there the translation with a tale more complete full of strange happenings and situations! If someone wants a more pleasant experience naturally must listen to the album reading the tale. "Pesce Vela" (sailfish) is their old piece here with another great participation. Yes the voice is that of Bernardo Lanzetti (ex ACQUA FRAGILE and PFM) that still the same of at least 40 years ago.

This album is far from the experimentation of new sounds and sonorities, oriented to a glorious past for Progressive Rock. This could be considered "the real project" of this band with a strange past that finally is materialized and that only now they are receiving the right attention. The presence of some great name is the proof of their commitment and their passion for Progressive Rock, with the desire to retrieve its essence, "swept away, at the time, far too hastily from the punk genre" (from a personal intervention of Riccardo Regi). Someone could label them such as band boring too Genesis oriented (and I must admit that previous two works are only decent with a few glorious moments) listened by nostalgic of Prog. This wonderful album sounds a Progressive Rock intelligent, bonded to the past but with a look to the new sonorities. This album let me changed opinion about them. Its sound is elegant such as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO and effective like PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, depth like GENESIS and unique like this renewed style of L'ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO. An exciting journey of a man in front of the magnificence and the mystery of time. A mix of feelings and emotions upon the notes of more than one hour of beautiful music.

5 Stars - Fortunately they come back!

Report this review (#1126850)
Posted Tuesday, February 4, 2014 | Review Permalink

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