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4 stars Forming in late 2013, Kalisantrope are a new Italian instrumental progressive rock trio with the set- up of bass, keyboards and drums, and their first twenty-six minute EP `Anatomy of the World' already shows great promise, with the young group striking a good balance between a modern sound with vintage Seventies RPI qualities. Some parts remind of the instrumental elements of Le Orme, and, surprisingly, other moments hint at the classical elegance and daring of Triade's sole 1973 album `1998: La Storia di Sabazio'! With fleeting moments of gothic grandeur, brief space- rock diversions, heavier bursts and symphonic flavours also worked in, it's an exciting little start to a potentially great new band to keep an eye on!

On moody opener `Varroa Destructor', Alex Carsetti's drums are dominating and up-front, female player Noemi Bolis' bass rumbles like a thunderstorm, and Davide Freguglia's keyboards move between mystical drones and spacey synth runs. Eerie Mellotron choirs bookend `Hypophysis', an energetic piece that races back and forth in tempo, Alex's furious drumming briefly calling to find Le Orme's heavy `In Concerto' album, and some spiralling Moog dashes remind of the galloping moments of Premiata Forneria Marconi. Ethereal deep-space synths initially float through `Holodomor' before wisps of electric piano ambience, brooding Fender Rhodes thickness, scratchy bass distortion and sprightly drumming almost take the piece in a jazz/fusion direction, and fans of Norwegian band Elephant9 should love this one.

The trio deliver their most ambitious pieces from this point on, and the more prominent RPI traits fully emerge starting with the fourth track `Concept Fading'. Spiralling runs of classical piano, maddening synths, frantic bass and snappy drumming tear up, down and all around, very much in the manner of the extended instrumental first side of the above mentioned Triade's addictive `La Storia di Sabazio' album, but whether it's a true influence on the band or this is simply a coincidence is unsure! The eight minute three-part suite `She' really hints at what the band can deliver with lengthier works, and gloomy church organ with teases of classical themes and reflective piano interludes weave between slinking bass, driving drums and gently erupting Fender Rhodes fire.

At this early point, some of the playing is a little clumsy in a few brief spots, and successful transitions between passages are not as well developed as they could be, but this is a young band, and the three players will only keep improving and honing their skills from here. The production of the album means the trio are always prominent in the mix, and they already show great developing musical ability and imaginative compositions. These elements all help make `Anatomy of the World' a strong little debut with a creative variety of instrumental ideas that suggest the best is yet to come from the group, so let's hope they have a full album in them in the near future!

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four for encouragement.

Report this review (#1462239)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Kalisantrope are a young prog band from Rescaldina, a small town in the province of Milan. The band was formed in 2013 with a line up featuring Noemi Bolis (bass), Alex Carsetti (drums) and Davide Freguglia (keyboards). Soon after they met, they begun to work on some original compositions and started performing live on the local scene. At the end of 2014 the band self released a very interesting debut EP entitled Anatomy Of The World, with a very simple packaging and a nice artwork. The album is completely instrumental and the overall sound could recall bands such Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Le Orme but it would be unfair to define them as clones of someone else. In my opinion their song-writing is absolutely brilliant and these young musicians deserve credit.

The opener "Varroa Destructor" starts just by drums and bass, then the keyboards bring in a disquieting, dramatic atmosphere. The title refers to an external parasitic mite that attacks the honey bees and that can only thrive in a honey bee colony. It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens its prey by sucking hemolymph. A significant mite infestation will lead to the death of a honey bee colony, usually in the late autumn through early spring... Well, here the music has an ethnic, tribal flavour and you can almost feel an impending, threatening event looming on the horizon!

Next comes "Hypophysis" that starts by an evocative intro played by the keyboards setting a mysterious, almost spacey atmosphere. The title refers to the pituitary gland, or hypophysis, an endocrine gland, a protrusion off the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain from where are secreted the hormones that help to control growth, blood pressure and many other functions of the human body...

"Holodomor" is another evocative track featuring a dark, almost gloomy mood. The title refers to the "Terror-Famine in Ukraine". According to wikipedia sources, the word Holodomor literally translated from Ukrainian means "death by hunger", or "to kill by hunger, to starve to death". The Holodomor was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1932 and 1933 that killed an estimated 2.5?7.5 million Ukrainians, with millions more counted in demographic estimates. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the independent Ukraine and many other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet Union...

The following "Concept Fading" is lighter and alternates delicate, dreamy piano solo passages with heavier, frenzied sections full of energy with the keyboards backed by a strong rhythm section. It leads to the excellent final suite "She", a long, complex track divided into three parts. The first one is subtitled "Funeral Elegy" and features a classical inspired church like organ solo that sets a dark atmosphere. The rhythm section comes in for the second part, subtitled "1st Anniversary: An Anatomy Of The World", where a steady marching beat fades in a dreamy, reflective passage leading to the jazzy conclusive part, subtitled "2nd Anniversary: The Progress Of The Soul". A great track!

On the whole, I think that this is a very promising debut work that it is really worth listening to. Have a try! You can listen to the complete album on Youtube.

Report this review (#1487805)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kalisantrope is an Italian trio of bass, drums and keyboards. 'Anatomy of the World' is their debut EP, containing five instrumental tracks clocking in at 26 mins. With this setup, you might expect some ELP influence, but putting on the opening track, 'Varroa Destructor', we are heading off into different landscapes. Drums and a deep, rumbling bassline opens to track. The keys adds a symphonic flair to the rather gloomy atmosphere. The calm intersection nearly takes the track into total darkness before the keys, drums and bass kicks off again in similar fashion. Great opener, especially if you are in a shady mood. With 'Hypophysis' a floating keyboard sound is allowed to dominate until drums and bass splashes into the spotlight again. Track shifts into different gear for the 2nd half before that floating keyboard sounds bookends the tune. 'Holodomor' once again starts with floating keyboard sounds for more than a minute. This is the most jazzy part of the EP, with close to improvised drumming and jazzy piano chords on top. Very good one! The piano chords continue on 'Concept Fading', but in a less subtle way, and this track soon turns into a rather tight and demanding affair that starts to get a bit annoying after a while. Closing section luckily calms it down. The closer is a three part 'epic' that starts with a church organ playing a funeral-like intro, before we are treated with a short rocking section of the EP in the 2nd part. Then it all slows down with a low key interplay between piano and bass, before all three comes forward in full throttle on the final episode. Elements of jazz (mostly) and prog (a little) are melted with a flair of post metal to create a feeling of dark corner jazz trio with proggy ambitions. It's hard to point at specific references, but if we stay within Italy, I could find some traces of Le Orme and Perigeo in their playing. The trio of instruments don't allow much variation on sound, and puts some challenges on the future development of the band. They seem highly capable musicians, and may profit on bringing in some guests for their next record. 2.5 stars rounded upwards for being their first recorded attempts. Potential is definitely there!
Report this review (#1667087)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2016 | Review Permalink

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