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Notturno Concertante - Let Them Say CD (album) cover


Notturno Concertante

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars "The most striking aspect of this new record is that it is completely instrumental, it is based on a mix of acoustic instruments (mostly guitars, but also drums and piano) and electronics. It is an album made also with a work at distance with musicians of various nationalities and in this album the rhythmic aspect is always very important. In short, it is rather distant from the previous album. The first completely instrumental record in almost forty years of history comes with a significant title: Let Them Say, the seventh album of the Notturno Concertante, published by Luminol Records. Notturno Concertante is in the music biz since the early 80s as a duo and then evolved into an anomalous and singular prog band, always careful to acoustic elements, to elegant and sophisticated textures, to the connections between various genres.

Eight years after Canzoni allo specchio, Lucio Lazzaruolo and Raffaele Villanova return with new album, which contains elements of the past and anticipates new musical horizons. The prog of the early days has been definitively archived, Let Them Say explores the possibilities of a crossover of various influences, from world music to electronics, between jazz and rock influences. Furthermore, in Let Them Say the Notturno returns to the ancient duo line up, opening to various collaborations, in a sort of "working band" which also includes international musicians such as the Russian violinist Nadia Khomutova, the American Molly Joyce, the Canadian cellist Kaitlyn Raitz, the Canadian cellist Katlyn Ritz the Japanese clarinetist Seto Nobuyuki. The new drummer Francesco Margherita also participated together with the previous Simone Pizza, Luciano Aliperta and Giuseppe D'Alessio on bass and, presence of absolute prestige, the vocal group Gesualdo Consort directed by Marco Berrini in Dei miei Sospiri, which uses parts of a madrigal by Carlo Gesualdo (recorded live by Notturno himself).

Between one album and another, Notturno did not stop, there were important collaborations in studio for soundtracks and in live shows and projects: with director Giorgio Diritti, Ray Wilson former singer of Genesis), Giovanna Iorio, Lina Sastri, Pamela Villoresi, Daniela Poggi, Barbara Alberti and Paolo Rumiz. These collaborations, in addition to the group's innate curiosity, eclecticism and openness to new influences, have matured a detachment from the progressive of the origins, adopting a new approach, as Lucio and Raffaele declare: "If for progressive rock we mean a continuous backward glance towards a period now long gone, with the obligatory references and what many expect (mellotron, dreamy guitars, whispering flutes ...) we are no longer progressive from a long time. Instead we mean prog in a broader sense, as an attempt to keep in mind the evolution of music, to be more personal, to cross various musical genres, making them balanced, then we are more prog than ever".

Let Them Say is a sort of reboot album, which will accompany a new transition for the Notturno Concertante, already working on another album that is probably new instrumental, acoustic, with the even more marked involvement of the new drummer Francesco Margherita. After thirty years of music, Notturno dialogues once again with its listeners: "We believe and hope that our audience is mentally open, interested to know a musical proposal that has many different influences within it, not least the progressive, a music that we still like".

Report this review (#2412658)
Posted Friday, June 12, 2020 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars NOTTURNO CONCERTANTE are back with mesmerizing compositions and a really elegant flow throughout. What a nice show! Lucio Lazzaruolo and Raffaele Villanova are building the band's inspirational and musical core since 1990, the year when they had released their debut 'The Hiding Place'. Well, after all it took eight years to offer something new to the prog scene, but the wait was worth it. 'Let Them Say' is different to what we know from this band so far. It has become a profound eclectic album with a mix of symphonic, classical, jazz, and traditional folk traces. The recordings see them also intensively collaborating with drummer Francesco Margherita, hence consequently he's listed as a regular band member on this occasion.

Furthermore they have invited several guest musicians. A good move in general, if one is intending to serve something really colourful, provided with diversified impressions. Some of them already have appeared on prior albums. Though not Japanese citizen Seto Nobuyuki, for what I know. He contributes extraordinary soothing as well as slightly weird clarinet portions, exemplarily on Fellow Travellers and Handful Of Hopes. A real attraction. I mean, I'm still detecting new impressions. It's a relaxed and charming experience predominantly. Bearing a jazzy touch the drumming totally fits, no question, comes to the point.

You will hear wonderful violin and cello all around, plus ethereal female voices on Dei Miei Sospiri for example. Delicate Sabbath transfers a special rhythmic elegance with Latin/Samba touch. Acoustic guitars all over, and nice piano solo excursions on Darkness I Became. So Far Out even really rocks with driving electric guitar and bass. So there's a plenty to discover. Now Let Them Say (the band) ... ''an instrumental album which essentially consists of a sort of crossover of various influences, from ethnic to electronic music, to jazz and rock influences' ... Yep, a proper conclusion, nothing more to add. 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#2432298)
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2020 | Review Permalink
2 stars Notturno Concertante have been around since the 1980s, but this is the first time I've ever heard of them. I was struck by the album cover. The dark tones and rustic textures combined with that face are interestingly evocative. First things first, this is not symphonic prog. The closest I could compare this to anything is Lunatic Soul, although that comparison doesn't really hold for anything other than general vibes. There's a whole lot that this album tries to tackle. From folk to world music, jazz to chamber music, and electronic to downtempo, there's a lot of influences spiraling around. Every song is a thick cloud of these sounds, phasing from one to the other. The overall effect of this is a pretty calm vibe at best and somewhat frustrating at worst.

Easily the worst part of this record is the juxtaposition of preset-core electronics with very transparently produced acoustic instruments. There's something that jumps out about those very shiny and flashy electronics that completely contrasts with the vibe. In other words, it's jarring. One second I'm grooving, the next I'm wretching at how they build up songs to this point where they've established a very clear and unwavering mood and completely toss it away for some flashy LFO laden electronics. I want to get behind this album, but the complete lack of subtlety in the choice of electronics is a dealbreaker to my ears.

There are some truly beautiful moments throughout. The title track is pretty nice, but my favorite was Handful of Hopes, easily the best song on this record by far. It might be because the electronics are actually well handled for once. I don't mean to imply that all fusiony artists have to comply to some aesthetic standard, but the fact that this record so strongly holds onto this tightly-woven chamber aesthetic with jarring and unpolished electronics is a shame. Check out the title track and closing 3 tracks, the rest is a mixed bag for fans of Lunatic Soul, Amarok, or some of Steven Wilson's solo and side work.

Report this review (#2639282)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2021 | Review Permalink

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