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Posto Blocco 19 - Motivi di Sempre CD (album) cover


Posto Blocco 19

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Despite only releasing their debut album in 2014, Italian band Posto Blocco 19 actually first formed all the way back in 1972 under the name Collettivo Musicale Collecchiese, on the spurring of guitarist Raimondo Fantuzzi and a group of friends who shared an appreciation for groups such as Premiata Forneria Marconi, Deep Purple and the Santana band. During their initial activity, they performed various concerts up until 1983, and released only a sole single `E La Musica Va' in 1981, but the musicians were unable to record a proper full studio album before splitting two years after that.

Reforming in 2005, the band were finally able to deliver their full-length debut nine years later with `Motivi di Sempre', containing re-arranged versions of their most significant pieces as well as new tracks recorded with a renewed line-up. The short-but-sweet results are five tracks full of the magic of the classic Italian symphonic prog-rock sound, close to the textures of PFM, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and numerous other bands with dynamic keyboard progressions, sweet melodies and pastoral moments, and it also includes a guest appearance by singer Bernardo Lanzetti (of Acqua Fragile and `Chocolate Kings/Jet-Lag/Passpartý'-era P.F.M) on a bonus track.

Opener `A un Passo dal Cielo (Suite 1)' is a reliably prancing fanfare of symphonic themes back and forth with keyboardist Graziano De Palma's zippy Moog sprints, warm Hammond delights and regal organ blasts, powered by Massimo Casaro's sweetly murmuring bass and Vittorio Savi's snappy drumming. The unhurried `E la Musica va' is dreamy and reflective before bursting to life as an upbeat vocal pop/rocker with a playful and fizzy synth pomp backing, and `All'alba del Giorno Dopo' alternates between wilder bursts of snarling twisting/turning guitars with keyboard whimsy, Raimondo's gravelly voice joined by female singer Francesca Campagna's soothing tones. `Scandendo Il Tempo' wouldn't have sounded out of place on the recent Murple album `Il Viaggio' with its male/female lead vocals, and it also includes a hint of darker flavours that almost give the piece a colder Neo Prog/early Marillion-like edge. The concluding instrumental `A Un Passo dal Cielo (Suite 2)' opens with introspective and slow-burn electric guitar, but fanciful electric piano runs, exotic percussion and a laid-back infectious jazziness give with piece a whirring P.F.M/Progenesi-like charging momentum, wrapping up a very strong collection of music.

The band have included a bonus track in the form of `L'Ultima Acqua', a piece that dates from 2014 and initially appeared on the Musea-Colossus compilation `Divine Comedy part III - Dante's Paradiso' (These particular various artist sets are well known for offering a ton of terrific contributions from a range of different Italian bands - explore them further!). It's a frequently urgent, up-tempo and ever so slightly loopy keyboard-laden symphonic blast (with earlier keyboardist Giancarlo Di Bella) with bristles of Mellotron choirs and Rick Wakeman-esque regal fanfare, with ex-P.F.M singer Bernardo Lanzaetti delivering a ravishing and deeply theatrical Italian vocal. It's a delicious and fun little extra to top off an already superb album, and it just might even become the favourite track on the disc for many listeners!

Prog fans shouldn't be put off by the barely 35 minute length (Italian prog history is full of numerous RPI bands with discs that have a brief running time!), as it means the band only include their best material with no lesser filler tracks padding out the disc. While `Motivi di Sempre' doesn't hold too many surprises, it absolutely contains beautifully performed melodic music from skilled musicians that will be a great joy for lovers of the Italian symphonic prog sound to hear. It's a disc that can easily sit proudly on a shelf next to so many other superb progressive releases from that country, both vintage and modern, and let's face it - Posto Blocco 19 fall under both those eras!

Four stars.

Report this review (#1667749)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Posto Blocco 19 (the name means Check-point 19) began life in the province of Parma in 1972 under the name Collettivo Musicale Collecchiese on the initiative of a group of friends in love with the music of bands such as Premiata Forneria Marconi, Santana or Deep Purple. The band had been active until 1983 but during their early days they never had the chance to release an album and their only record was a single released in 1981, when progressive rock was considered a genre completely out of fashion. After a long hiatus the band came back to life in 2005 but it wasn't until 2014 that they could release a first full length album on the independent label Lizard Records. It's titled "Motivi di sempre" and collects the band's most significant pieces re-arranged and some new tracks recorded with a renewed line up featuring along with founder members Raimondo Fantuzzi (guitar, vocals) and Vittorio Salvi (drums) also Francesca Campagna (vocals), Massimo Casaro (bass), Stefano Savi (percussion) and Graziano De Palma (keyboards). The result of their efforts is excellent and the beautiful art work taken from some paintings by Teo De Palma (father of the keyboardist) in some way reflects the music and lyrics with its soft colours and dreamy mood.

The opener "A un passo dal cielo (suite 1)" (One step to the sky) is a brilliant instrumental track that recalls the best tradition of Italian Progressive Rock and takes you back in time with its positive energy, its warm organ waves and the soaring electric guitar solos...

The following "E la musica va" (And the music goes) was originally released in 1981 and here is dressed up in new colours and revitalized by the new line up. It's a song about racism and multi-ethnic conflicts and some melodic lines remind me of an Italian band called I Nomadi. The lyrics conjure up the images of shooting men, soldiers in an unwanted war who are nothing but pawns in the game of mischievous, unscrupulous politicians. Blacks and poor people do not fear to get killed, they're just blood and tears, love and death... Try to imagine the corpse of one of these men lying in the dust. He was just a tramp, a poet, a free spirit who used to fly high on the wings of love. The evocative music and the soaring vocals tell about hate and nostalgia mixing the colours of a scared painter...

Next comes the dreamy "All'alba del giorno dopo" (At dawn on the day after) that invites you to stop running after this crazy, busy world and to enjoy your life seizing every fleeting moment. The visionary lyrics tell that you can let your dreams drive... The past is gone but you can ride on new horizons towards crystal lakes, you can travel through far deserts and clear skies until you'll find in a legendary treasure box the ancient fairy tales that will make you lord of the castle of triumph allowing you to tame new planets on the course of your flying ships...

"Scandendo il tempo" (Beating time) was originally released in 2011 on the Musea-Colossus compilation "Decameron Part 1". This piece was re-recorded in 2014 by the new line up and the vocalist Francesca Campagna here brings new energies and freshness. It starts softly, the mood is dreamy and the music is calm while the poetical lyrics deal with the relativity of time and space. Try to imagine the wind riding raging sea waves in the dark while the borders between reality and imagination get blurred... Then image some flocks of birds on the wires: they are like notes coming from deep throats while they're looking at falling stars and distant planets, sparks in an abstract universe...

Then comes the beautiful instrumental "A un passo dal cielo (suite 2)" that in some way closes the circle of your daydreams and takes you back to Earth with its delicate Mediterranean flavours and Latin rhythms.

The last piece, "L'ultima acqua" (The last water), is credited as a bonus track and was originally released in 2010 on another Musea-Colossus compilation, "The Divine Comedy Part III - Dante's Paradiso". It was remastered in 2014 and features Bernardo Lanzetti (vocals) and Giancarlo Di Bella (keyboards). The band here interpret with heartfelt passion and personality the spirit of the immortal lines by the sommo poeta... "On the edge of the last water seize the hope / At the right time many will return...". A great track!

On the whole, I think that this is a really good album. Every now and again the music could recall bands such as Premiata Fornaria Marconi, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso or Il Castello di Atlante but Posto Blocco 19 are not just emulators playing by rote and they do not sound derivative. I'm sure that this album will be an excellent addition to any Italianprog collection!

Report this review (#1668440)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2016 | Review Permalink

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