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Distillerie di Malto - Il Manuale dei Piccoli Discorsi CD (album) cover


Distillerie di Malto

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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erik neuteboom
3 stars Distillerie Di Malto is a Italian five-piece band that includes two guitar players and a keyboardist, on the last track completed by a flute player. This debut-CD is dedicated to René Magritte, one of my favorite surrealistic/magic realistic painters. On the first track "Allegro Con Brio" (5.56) the climate is ominous and ambient, then a fluent rhythm featuring organ and guitar follows, this sounds very obvious as the lovely Seventies Italian Progrock Scene! Enjoy the dynamic music with fiery electric guitar and wonderful keyboardplay. The next song is "Phoebus" (9.24), first a bit experimental including xylophone, repetetive bass and electric guitar with ints from early King Crimson. Then the moods shifts from up-tempo with mellow organ, fiery electric guitar and flute to dreamy with classical guitar and flute and atmospheric with flute, hi-hats and piano, very alternating. In "Melodia Di Fine Autunno" (8.42) it starts with a compelling climate that gradually grows to more bombastic, interfered by more mellow pieces until a long and sumptuous finale, featuring lush keyboards, harder-edged guitar and a dynamic rhythm- section. The next composition is the longest one entitled "Aria E Vento" (13.24), again a very alternating track: compelling with twanging guitars and great keyboards like sparkling piano, moving with a wonderful guitar solo in the vein of Hackett/Latimer, bombastic with organ and even anl interlude with classical guitar and flute. The music often evokes early Genesis, wonderful! The final song "5/5/1555" (11.32) starts with xylophone (like the second track) and electric guitar, followed by some sensational, mid-Emerson inspired synthesizer soli and lots of varied climates featuring strong Italian vocals, howling electric guitar and dreamy flute. The 'grand finale' delivers a moving atmosphere with a splendid build-up guitar solo, supported by lush keyboards, prog heaven! This CD has hints from Genesis (twanging guitars and organ), Camel (guitarwork) and King Crimson (the more complex and experimental parts) and contains five elaborate and tasteful coloured compositions, AN IMPRESSIVE DEBUT!
Report this review (#40703)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 stars rounded to 4

Well, this is unusual album. It starts pretty weak - the opener (mostly instrumental) is nice (begins in a dark CRIMSO way, but later turns into great IQ-like 6/8 thing), but the following track ,despite rhythmical and groovy verse, has pointlessly long mid-part, which spoils the whole song. I guess somebody told them that any Prog album MUST have a pointless "Moonchild"-like instrumental here they go. Besides vocals are in English (as I understood), weak and unsured. Another one, fully instrumental, has some pleasant melodies in GENESIS way,but having more Italic atmosphere this time. "Finally they sound good" I thought. Hell no! EVEN BETTER! "Aria e vento" is the best track here - it starts like a ballad, crushes into breath-taking climax somewhere in the middle and then turns into energetic GENESIS-like hit...amazing! The last track, also long and complex, has great main theme in CRIMSO/VDGG mood - very dark and non-Italian again, but great after all. A nice surprise for all Sympho-Prog lovers - DDM is a good and promising band, and their album, despite its low quality, is worth of checking. RECOMMENDED!!!

Report this review (#108024)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The one and only album from this very interesting Italian band with the very unusual name.

This is a crossover album as in a blend of many prog rock genres. Their base is in Rock Progressivo Italiano and I personally regard them as a Rock Progressivo Italiano band. I think the Rock Progressivo Italiano fans is missing out on something they would love by this classification.

Rant over. Forget the last two lines above. I continue with......

Distillerie Di Malta's music is a distilled product of Rock Progressivo Italiano, Gentle Giant's eclectic prog, Camel and their symphonic prog, Return To Forever and their fusion and King Crimson's world. The music is very melodic, majestic, pastoral and lingering. It is also mainly instrumental. It is based on guitars, tangents, bass, drums and some guest instruments like flute. The few vocals on this album is also great and Fabrizio Pellicciaro is a superb vocalist.

All songs here are great and in the bracket "all fans of Rock Progressivo Italiano wet dreams". The band gives King Crimson and Gentle Giant an Italian heritage and identity if you understand what I mean. I love this blend of eclectic and Rock Progressivo Italiano on this album. A perfect blend. A couple of killer tracks would had elevated this album to classic status. But it is a close call.

A truly great album which deserve a lot of attention.

4 stars

Report this review (#503753)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Distillerie Di Malto are a six piece band from Italy. The band was formed slowly in 1988 and had some line up changes during the 90's, but it wasn't until 2001 that they manage to record their debut album Il Manuale dei Piccoli Discorsi. For some reason DDM is quite forgotten and are not getting enough mention when discussing modern italian bands. Another thing is the band's inclusion for Crossover Prog which I can understand for some extent, but still I don't think is the right spot for them and have always regarded them as pure RPI, this classification could distract RPI fans from getting this, and it most certainly does worth it.

Aside from the clear Italian touch, there are other influences as well which makes their music rather special. One thing that immediately comes to mind is the resemblance for Israeli band Sanhedrin (which have released their album much later) which automatically indicates influences from Camel, this is most evident in the guitar department. DDM includes two guitar players which is hard to determine who is doing what, because they are both playing in the same style. The playing is often kind of slow, conscious and clear even when the music has an upbeat rhythm, this reminds me of Latimer or Franco Falsini from Sensations' Fix. This is actually something that really characterizes the band's style and I like every time they are doing it, but the times when they get it perfectly right, it is really gorgeous. Vocals doesn't play the biggest role here but they do appear in every song except for one instrumental, don't ask me why, but the band decided to include both english and italian vocals. The album includes five tracks, the first couple of songs are in english and the last two are in italian, and like in many cases the band's original language sounds best here.

The music is most certainly progressive and has a lot to do with the more modern RPI bands rather than the 70's italian symphonic bands, although they do sound like Banco sometimes. DDM are not trying to win you over by dazzling solos or fast interplay between guitars and keys, the main focus here is on the melodies and good ideas. Every moment along the road sounds like a band effort rather than leaning on one extraordinary player, it seems they were all involved in writing the music because it is all balanced very well. There aren't many actual solos here but there are a lot of leads both from keys and guitars, so you can't really complain that there's something missing. The keyboards here are also really tastefuly done, no cheesy sounds and always has cool and groovy ideas.

Four out of five tracks here are long compositions. In every song the band successfully is taking one main idea and develop it or change it, once again everything is very well done. Although all tracks are equally good, the highlights here are "Aria e vento" and 5/5/1555 (is that a date?). The first starts with an amazing guitar lead which goes to a typical italian verse, great guitar there too. It calms down and sounds like Locanda Delle Fate and then goes back to that amazing guitar lead opener again. Few minutes before the end we get a Wakeman/Howe interlude and a cool guitar solo ends it, very good stuff.

I hope more people would check this wonderful album, it would appeal mostly to symphonic fans or RPI lovers. I know there is supposed to be a second album (not listed in PA) called Suono but I never came across it, just heard some samples. This is another excellent addition to my italian collection, 4 stars.

Report this review (#993796)
Posted Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars From the small city of Ortona hails this nice Italian group, established in 1988 by keyboardist Fabiano Cudazzo, guitarist/singer Fabrizio Pellicciaro and guitarist Marco Anselone.They started as a cover band of British Prog groups like Jethro Tull, King Crimson and Genesis, finding their new drummer in 1993 in the face of Maurizio Di Tollo and two years later bassist Salvatore Marchesani joined the band.The last to enter the picture was flutist Luca Latini.With the the help of another bassist, Giuliano Torelli, they released their self-released debut ''Il Manuale dei piccoli discorsi'' in 2001.

With a very retro-sounding style, Distillerie di Malto pay a tribute to the Classic Prog bands of the 70's, coming both from the U.K. and their homecountry, in five long and complex compositions.Actually the first pair of tracks are also sung in English with a very KING CRIMSON-like sound supported by mascular synthesizers and dominating organ runs, next to the reasonable complicated guitar parts.The delicate melodies, piano interludes and flute lines though are more of the Italian school of Progressive Rock aka PFM and BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO.Very dense, professionally executed and intricate material with jazzy and symphonic underlines.The same mood, albeit in a smoother style, appears in the excellent instrumental ''Melodia di fine autunno'', which has a very CAMEL-like ending section with a nice combination of synths and guitars.Italian vocals appear for the first time in ''Aria e vento'', which is very close to other Italian Retro Prog groups such as CONSORZIO ACQUA POTABILE, SITHONIA and NOTABENE.Dramatic semi-symphonic Progressive Rock with endless changing tempos and plenty of thematic shifts, based on jazzy guitar interludes, evident Classical influences and powerful keyboard parts, performed in organ and synths.The closest it gets to BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO and similar sounding Italian acts of the past.''5/5/1555'' is a perfect example of how Progressive Rock can be melodic and captivating at the same time.Atmospheric music, this time with more obvious folky touches, changing between laid-back passages, frenetic synth exercises, rural flute-based textures and grandiose guitar solos.Absolutely great.

Fabulous album from the land of prog miracles.Challenging and rich Symphonic Rock/Fusion with numerous instrumental highlights.Absolutely recommended.

Report this review (#1105292)
Posted Thursday, January 2, 2014 | Review Permalink

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