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Marco Ragni - The Wandering Caravan CD (album) cover


Marco Ragni

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Just another album which takes time to reach for the real depth .... Recorded by MARCO RAGNI's Wandering Caravan outfit here we have a well-crafted melange of melody, accessibility, but also complexity, diverse twists, turns and rough-edged moments. For what prog is about, isn't it? This appeals to me the more I'm listening. Apart from the overall psychedelic backbone there is much richness to state. The starter What We Have Done In The Past We'll Be In The Future proves this while juggling with oriental flair, folksy acoustic guitar and flute as well as rocking excursions decorated with saxophone, dashing organ and soaring electric guitar. A heavy load, when intending to capture this composition in its entirety.

Thoroughly convincing. I already had kept an ear on Marco's previous albums, but this one is a great leap forward definitely. First of all the Wandering Caravan gives excellent musicians a lift. And the compositional attempt is very successful, top notch. Wonderful smooth parts and raucous vocals are Waiting On the Threshold. Especially right in the middle the song triple Which Is The Right Path To Take, It's Only Fantasy and What Are We Willing To Lose To Regain Our Freedom is an inseparable experience. A dreamy atmosphere, nice piano sequences again and again, a partial hallucinative downfall in between ... bravo! Melodic Revolution Records can be proud of having another top album on the back catalogue.

Report this review (#1907034)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Multi-instrumentalist and singer Marco Ragni is back with his latest album, and what an album it is. While he provides vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards, mellotron, piano and mandolin he has also been joined by Dave Newhouse (sax, clarinet, flute, keyboards and woodwinds arrangements), Peter Matuchniak (lead guitar), Jeff Mack (bass) and Maurizio Antonini on drums, plus a few guests adding different nuances. This means this album includes members of The Muffins, Bomber Goggles, Scarlet Hollow and Barock Project, so it is a given that the guys all know their ways around their instruments. What this has enabled them all to do is to relax completely, and the result is an album which in many ways is the loosest I have ever come across. We often talk about how tight a band is, how they are right on top of each other, but here they sound as if there is a great space between them all and between the layers, allowing the music to fully breath and go where it desires.

The album title is apt, as there is a feeling of a great sky and a bleak landscape, and the travellers knowing not where they are going, when they are likely to reach the destination, or even if it really matters. This is a musical journey that is given a very middle eastern feel at times with the use of the oud, while it is also often reflective, with a great deal of restraint. It is an album which demands to be savoured like a fine brandy: take the time and let all the nuances and textures hit every sense. It is progressive, it is psychedelic, it is nearly New Age (but not quite, they don't inhale), it is World, it is delicate, but there is an inner strength and core which keeps everything moving in the same direction.

Often it is just Marco singing in a reflective manner, but during "Promised Land" there is even room for many singers and for Peter to become more direct in his approach. Maurizio is also one of those drummers who understand that there are times to play, and time to listen to the band with everyone else, and that restraint also has a key part to play. This is quite some album, and is well worth discovering by all good music lovers.

Report this review (#1988480)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Marco Ragni is a bit young to be a child of the flower power years but that has never stopped him from keeping the music of those years close to his heart. His 2018 release "The Wandering Caravan" is a prime example of his devotion to the music of the late sixties and early seventies. But Marco is not one to simply attempt to resurrect the past. Marco's music seems to have come exactly from those days and is then filtered through Marco's magnificent brain.

The album begins with a bird's call and footsteps outside before a psychedelic acoustic guitar makes us want to just lie back and chill, letting the notes carry us into our minds. Then abruptly, the whole band drops in with a wham and now we're on an electric ride. With barely a proper warning, the music halts and permits some strumming of an acoustic guitar. At last now we here the lyrics to "What We have Done in the Past We'll Be in the Future," the first track of the album. It's an 11:25 song that delivers thought-provoking lyrics, followed by an exciting psychedelic rock passage with organ and electric guitar solos. Take note of the saxophone in the song, too. This track is an excellent introduction to the album and you can expect more of this kind of music.

"Waiting On the Threshold" begins with some thoughtful piano and singing, but at the line "And I saw that all is not lost," the music is given over to a clean electric guitar that wanders with a bass guitar into 1969 and searches absentmindedly for meaning until Marco comes back to gives us more singing, accompanied by flute. Then more of this psychedelic guitar, soaring and diving.

Before long, my impression of this album is that we are listening to poetry set to music and music set to poetry. It's like each song is part of a series of related thoughts. The music keeps changing and delivering different themes but there's an overall cohesive atmosphere. As if to confirm this, at least twice a track will reference a bit of music from a previous track. It's also interesting to note how sparse yet profound the music can be during some of Marco's poetic illustrations in the lyrics while at other times, during the instrumental passages, the music can be more fluid and adventurous.

This is not just an album for lying back and relaxing to. The music will tell you that the lyrics demand to be heard and weighed. As such, this is no light listening if one is to become fully absorbed. There's little in the way of catchy hooks and sing-a-long melodies. This is more of a journey through the thoughts of a man considering his and our place in life and time. Meanwhile, hints of Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, and others emerge here and there.

As an interesting aside, this album was way up near the top of the PA Top 100 of 2018 back on June 18th of this year. Listeners seem to agree that this album has its share of magic.

Report this review (#2053589)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2018 | Review Permalink

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