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Riccardo Fogli - Matteo CD (album) cover

MATTEO

Riccardo Fogli

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Todd
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano!
3 stars An interesting find from an unexpected source

Riccardo Fogli was the bassist and one of the lead vocalists for I POOH from 1966-1972, when he left for a solo career. He soon found success singing popular ballads. But in 1978 he wanted to mix things up a bit and decided to write a concept album, complete with proggy music. Interestingly, most of the popular artists who dabbled for an album or two in prog did so in the early 1970s. But perhaps Fogli yearned for something a bit meatier. His first four solo albums featured music written almost entirely by other people. But for his first attempt at writing his own material, he went back to his prog roots.

"Matteo" is a concept album chronicling a man living his life in reverse (similar in concept to Fitzgerald's short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). The concept album was recorded in 1978 and musically has more in common with the proggy singer-songwriter albums than with the solo material he had previously released--think of artists such as Mario Barbaja, Gino D'Eliso, Franco Maria Giannini, and Gianni D'Errico. The melodies conveyed by Fogli's wonderful voice are the focus, with some nice guitar and keyboard work. There are some orchestrations, but they are pretty tasteful. There are some nice rhythm changes as well, as well as some RPI grooves ("Verita' Dov'e'" comes to mind).

"Matteo" was such a departure from his pop style that Fogli's label refused to release it, fearing that his newly- found momentum would be derailed and his new fans alienated. (One track, "Festa," managed to find its way onto his next album, 1979's "Che Ne Sai," the title track of which proved to be his breakthrough single.) "Matteo" would have remained in the vaults, but in 1999 the magazine "Raro!" released the album as a limited run of 1000 CDs. Although the CD version is difficult to find now, the album has been officially released digitally.

Fogli is not a prog artist, and unless you like syrupy ballads you can safely skip the entire discography outside of "Matteo," as far as I've heard. But now that "Matteo" is available, you should at least give it a listen. The entire album is currently on YouTube if you don't like samples, and the digital versions can be purchased at iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, etc. Any RPI fans who want to broaden and deepen their collection would do well to check this one out. Three stars (Gnosis 10/15)

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Send comments to Todd (BETA) | Report this review (#964429)
Posted Thursday, May 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
apps79
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Neo Prog Team
4 stars In 1978 Fogli decided to turn the back to his pop roots and record an ambitious album, close to the likes of Classic Italian Prog.Based on a fantasy concept captured by his producer Giancarlo Lucariello, the work ''Matteo'' dealt with the strange story of a man, who was born old and grew younger through the sands of time.However Fogli's record company rejected it for being too ''difficult'' and far from the accesible style of his previous works.Thanks to the efforts of the Italian magazine Raro! the album was eventually pressed in 1000 copies and released in 1999 on the magazine's independent Raro! Records.

And it would be a pitty of it was not, because this one belongs among the widely unknown gems of Italian Prog, having an elaborate sound based on lush, symphonic arrangements and the overall style recalls bands such as CELESTE, LE ORME and ERA DI ACQUARIO, although some pop hints are still present.Extremely sophisticated music with majestic orchestrations and lots of breaks of Classical nature, while you should add the stronger presence of electric guitars compared to any other album by Fogli.Words are very poor to describe Fogli's incredible voice, definitely one of the best singers ever to perform in Italy.The man captures the concept with comfort and rises it to another level with his crystalline chords.All tracks are absolutely satisfying with very dramatic instrumental moves, characterized by delicate harsichord, soft organ and depressive string lines, while the vocal parts are tremendous as already mentioned.The atmosphere is grandiose and cinematic with a tight connection between the tracks and efficient music performances.''Salutando un amico che va via'' should belong among the classics of the genre, a monster example of elegant Italian Prog with extended piano and acoustic textures, highlighted by the smooth flute lines, the angular moog synthesizers and the pompous orchestral keyboards.

Of course Fogli's career couldn't have been slowed down by a single unfortunate moment, regarding his fail to release this album on time, and he kept producing solo albums for over 30 years, all in a Vocal/Pop style.However ''Matteo'' is considered as his absolute artistic pinnacle.Quite unfair, this one remains also his less known work ever.Beautiful Italian Orchestral Prog/Pop with a genuine atmosphere.No less than highly recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1089708)
Posted Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permalink

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