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Metronhomme - Tutto il Tempo del Mondo - 1.òikos CD (album) cover



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2 stars Here I am reviewing for the second time this group from the town of Macerata in Italy. With the confinement, METRONHOMME took the opportunity to produce "Tutto Il Tempo Del Mondo", a 25-minute "extended play" comprising 7 titles including 2 sung for the first time. The recordings were made with the means at hand using the instruments that each musician had at his disposal: in many cases, everyday objects found at home and readjusted for this purpose. Musical solutions have been found through the use of new or old unconventional instruments, such as: sofa, sheets of paper, hairbrush, cutlery, mirrors and basins, used for rhythm parts. A whole month was needed for the work of composition with exchanges on the internet. This modus operandi has deeply influenced the new work, giving it a new and original sound compared to the previous ones, thus adding a new chapter to their discography. METRONHOMME is a hybrid name of French origin which can be interpreted as "the precise man".

"4" is the title of the previous album released in 2019 which offered symphonic rock combined with Italian prog of the seventies, in symbiosis with modern and innovative influences, such as STEVEN WILSON, LA BATTERIA, ILLUVATAR, MIKE OLDFIELD and many others. 'others ... This first opus had brought me to bear the note of excellence. Let's see what it comes down to here ... "Quarantine" is aptly named in view of the circumstances already mentioned above and offers us a music a bit jazzy, arranged with touches of electro, composed of sounds and percussions sampled, an acoustic piano, and various synthesizers ... you can listen to it!

"Come la Neve" is a simple and delicate song, sung in Italian and referring to winter. The tempo is quite slow and punctuated by a bass, a piano and some special effects. "Di una Moneta che Cade" is presented as a mix of sound effects with ambient sensations evoking water falling in droplets, followed by a rhythmic and futuristic atmosphere with aerial impressions ... it's not bad! In "Supermarket" a woman speaks vehemently in Italian, and she does so at the start and end of this short piece. Between the two we can hear a big repetitive bass accompanied by an electric piano and various keyboards performing descents and ascents in a synthetic atmosphere.

"Arkè" is a pretty pianistic melody which matches two simple repetitive notes as a common thread over the entire musical frame. Towards the end, you can hear a man with an Eastern or Greek accent shouting repetitive words that I guess are: "I love" ?! "Il Rumore del Mare" sends us electronic pop music like the French group PHOENIX, it's quite rhythmic and it's sung in Italian ... not unpleasant! "La Città di K." is undoubtedly the most elaborate piece, with its oriental clarinet well inserted in a frame with cinematic plots skilfully composed in the style of the Italian group LA BATTERIA, as well as a beautiful light bass played in a passage in the style of MIKE OLDFIELD . For me, this is the only track that looks like Prog in this cake filled with too short pieces, but it is also true that the frame and the context did not help much!

This record exudes clarity and futurism ... suddenly, the seventies have passed by, the compositions are minimalist and singularly lacking in complexity for a group stamped with prog. Adding electronics in a massive way is good but not enough to hide the forest represented by "4" the previous album. This artwork is made for fans and bootleg collectors. To be continued...

Report this review (#2456570)
Posted Friday, October 16, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tabernacle- the Divine Dwelling

Silver Linings

Here is progressive music writ large! Each track on the EP "Tutto il Tempo del Mundo1.òikos" ("All the Time in the World" was released in turn as it was developed, played, and recorded.

Starting in April 2020, as COVID-19 repercussions became vividly apparent, and with each succeeding track until September 2020, the resulting seven titles represent the 'first half' of an album Italian progressive band Métronhomme is in the thick of producing.

I Mention 'Tabernacle'

The ancient Greek term òikos translates the basic unit of Greek society as 'home' and 'family', and in Biblical literature refers to the dwelling of the Divine- human, human groups, or building.

I suspect the cerebral members of Métronhomme utilize the 'thicker' meanings of these titles and terms, so I'm playing a bit of improvisation myself, based on that suspicion.

Silver Linings

During the enormous, global, and intensely personal events of the ongoing pandemic (as I write this), scarcely nothing feels 'normal'; nearly everything seems 'different'.

Members of Métronhomme, no less than any other grouping of individuals, were often homebound with selves and family members- their own òikos, as it were.

And decided to honor their personal 'tabernacles' of creativity, of love and respect for music and for each other, by continuing to write, collaborate, play, utilize what's possible rather than pine for what is NOT, to record, and to be forward-looking rather than bitterly or wistfully gazing in the past.

Silver Linings, part 2

"Tutto il Tempo del Mundo1.òikos" then represents a 'progression' - after all this is a progressive rock website and a progressive rock outfit being reviewed! The silver lining is that Métronhomme found within themselves the permission granted by these extraordinary times to write and to play and to collaborate in quite new, yet somehow perhaps more elemental ways.

More gently. More subtly. More minimalistically, and whimsically, and repetitiously- in ways that challenged them, and challenge us to not only listen, but to HEAR what a pandemic sounds like to creative souls who are nonetheless still humans in an ongoing world-shaking event.

So, Make the Best of Things

Between 'found' objects to recreate drum sounds, and keyboard sounds many of which are synthesized, through the screens of computers and via the internet, with children, and perhaps a spouse or lover, with all the normal everyday things that require time and attention, these songs were assembled, added to and subtracted from, recorded, mixed, and then released into the multiverse.

No face-to-face rehearsals, no in-person arranging and developing of themes and passages- but making the best of things. 'Quarantine'. 'Like the Snow'. 'Supermarket'. And so on.

Métronhomme members kindly provided me with some of their thinking and translating (me here in the USA, them in Italy, via the internet and through the screens, etc), and of course these 'simple' tunes, these piano-based lines and compositions and ideas, with gentle exposition and development, with little of the epic RPI flourishes and drama, become real, and rooted, and profound.

The meaning of Arkè, for instance- that elemental fear and anxiety that small children feel sleeping in a darkened room, wind blowing- are there monsters under the bed?

The lyrics to 'Il Rumore del Mare' (The Sound of the Sea)- "the sound of the sea/it's an old fan/it is scrap metal abandoned on the street"...

Remember, progressive music does not necessarily mean loud flourishes and wild tempo changes.

So, Reset

Reset your expectations! Calm down, and go beyond the act of listening to actually hear what is being given to you and to us all. Being forced into the òikos in which you find yourself, do you and I and everyone not need to explore the new reality, the new terrain, the new facts as they reveal themselves?

For me, that's what Métronhomme does with this EP- and it's quite a feat. I give it 3.75/5 stars.

Report this review (#2484082)
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Obviously 2020 has been a challenging year, and historically, it should be reminded that it was the first time since Armstrong set his foot on the Moon (and even then, there were a few areas still in the realm of the unknown) that the entire globe was affected by the same thing, at the same time.! While it has created a fair amount of trepidation, anxiety, and outright dread, I am glad to report that we now have proof that the human species (while still plagued by many ills) have not conducted themselves like lemmings and collectively jumped off a cliff (except maybe politically, LOL). Being an amateur historian, I cannot help remembering my interviews with Londoners who survived the Blitz and extrapolated these words today:" We live under perpetual fear of death (bombardment) every day, every hour and every second for years, we can and did overcome". So, it is for the pandemic, for most of us found a way to cope, in conditions still way more comfortable today than in 1941. In relation to music, and for ever more, all productions recorded from April 2020 and ongoing, were under this bunker-mentality umbrella, a fact that warrants at the very least our admiration. Music has always been the panacea that keeps humanity sane.

As Andrea explains: "As you can hear, it is completely different in terms of sound, due to the conditions in which it was born: the April / March lockdown. We never met during the composition, it was recorded separately in our houses, often using objects adapted for the purpose! (especially the rhythm part: electronic drums were NOT used; everything is played by hand). The project was born spontaneously, without premeditation and almost for fun ... and in the end our most experimental work came out".

While "4 "was a smashingly modern instrumental prog album, you can immediately "feel' the difference here, I can give the analogy between Talk Talk's Colour of Spring and then subsequent leap forward on Spirit of Eden: an existential shift away from the comfortable and the immediate. Metronhomme sought to include voices, screams and vocals but more as effects than, say actual 'songs. I managed to catch on from the get-go, the material on this EP is more ephemeral, more spiritual, more confused and confusing than anything before. It is also a musical window on a specific place and time, where entitled freedom is tossed out with the dishwater! I mean titles like "Quarantine" and "Supermarket" clearly sheds light on the austerity of the crisis and the sounds, effects match the angst. Some will not necessarily like this starker minimalist approach, yet it's the product of our current reality, which is why this is an EP, something I am rarely fond of because I get teased into believe something substantial will come about before it suddenly ends with an unsatisfied appetite. The future will better reveal what we have lived through, especially if we do all return to "normal". "Tutto il Tempo del Mondo" (All the time in the world) is an appropriate title for a glimpse into a moment in time when, collectively and individually, we are somewhat brutally reminded what is important in our existence. I for one, miss visiting my numerous Italian friends and musicians. One fine day, soon!

This is one of the exceedingly rare times that a rating is not really a rational exercise. But those are the rules, so do not attach too much importance to the numbers but instead to the words.

4 patient patients

Report this review (#2486178)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2020 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars 2020 is terribly another special year for people all over the world. In the EU, especially Italy, people have been suffering from coronavirus pandemic since the early days of this year. Winter has come in the Northern Hemisphere, and such a terrible situation has not changed but worthened more. There is no coming nor going worldwide, and we have depression due to unclear future. However, we MUST try to find another hope and future brightness in a continuous manner. A Macerata-based combo METRONHOMME's latest ep "Tutto il tempo del mondo - 1.òikos" is filled with depressive atmosphere and heartwarming flavour of hope. They say this ep was produced with material each of them created at home, on instruments around them. I've heard some musicians work for production in the same way, and actually they create lots of good opuses. "Tutto il tempo del mondo - 1.òikos" is no exception. We can feel their essential musical spirit should be well unified and consolidated. Look at this sleeve, and feel their identification.

A tough "Quarantine" sounds like their sincere feeling. Monotonous but boiling melody lines would be naturally born via their anxious and restless condition at home. But somewhat strong will can be heard here and there, at least for me. "Come la neve" has lonesome atmosphere, just like we are watching snow falling through a window. A tad cold but heartsome. The former part of "...di una moneta che cade" is so beautiful and delightful enough for us to dream a fantastic dream. Voices of playing children on the background? The middle phase gives us massive cheer. This energetic texture would also be launched for themselves, I guess. But yes, under such a terrible circumstance we have some anxiety to visit a "Supermarket", that basically should be kinda wonderland for everyone. Their creation offers a combination of concern and tiny happiness for us all over the world. And our thirst to go outside actively can be quenched by the beautiful piano sound in "Arkè" that is another favourite of mine. "Il rumore del mare" shows that nature should be great and not easily be overcome. Anyway we never give up and get nature as our supporter. Via "La città di K." (what city do they mean, let me ask?) chilling air, deserted roads, and people's enthusiasm for reconstructing their own city in near future ... various movements can be heard overall.

Yes now it's time for us to put up with the situation but will see the sunshine anytime soon.

Report this review (#2486221)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2020 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars ...di una moneta che cade.

At the very first listen I had to wait for this song before something clicked in my mind, but I don't regret having waited enough, as with the following listens all the tracks deserved to be listened to.

What clicked is the similarity, at least what I think is a similarity, with the experimental side of Franco BATTIATO. So, having in mind something to be used as a key for the listening experience, I later appreciated the whole EP.

I (still) don't know the previous works of Metronhomme, so I can't say if this is different. For sure having composed, performed and recorded it by exchanging files via network during the lockdown must have had its impact on the overall process.

But let's speak about the music: Quarantine is a short instrumental mainly based on electric piano and keys. A bit jazzy with electronic percussion which are not sequenced but "played by hands" as the drummer Andrea GHEZZI proudly states on the bandcamp page. Short and light, not as dark as a quarantine can be. Come La Neve (As the snow), has lyrics and a lazy tempo. It gives me the idea of a naif painting or a b&w photograph. Very atmospheric.

As already said, "..di una moneta che cade" is my favorite track here. Experimental in the choice of sounds, with that bit of electronic which is not too invasive, so that the track can show its structure and continuity. But there is continuity throughut the whole EP. The sounds and the lazy tempo of the tracks, even when it gets more rhythm as in this one, are consistent with a dreaming soundscape. It gives the idea of a very unusual situation, like in some dreams, but far from being a nightmare.

"Supermarket" is very interesting. Experimental again, with the weird female voice speaking of trivial things like her favorite supermarket. The banality of daily life even during the pandemic.

Arkhe' is a greek word, meaning "beginning" or even "ancient". "Ark" derives from it. A piano based track, similar in some ways to the album opener. I'm not able to say what language is spoken below the music. Arabic or Russian?

Il rumore del Mare (The sound of the sea) is a proper song and the lyrics are about the strange summer of 2020. "L'estate dipinta su un muro" means "Summer painted on a wall". Curiously, "Son y Myr" (sound of sea) is one of the few things that I know in Welsh. Nothing to do with the album, which is closed by the darkest track: La citta' di K. (The city of K,) which I suppose has something to do with Franz Kafka. I wonder whether the SciFi sound in the first part of the track is a theremin.

Not "essential" in the progarchives sense, but surely not wasted time. About 25 minutes of dreamy soundscapes and the intention of digging the Metronhomme music further.

Note: 3 PA stars can have a different meaning if instead of "good but not essential" it's read as "not essential but good". And good is what I mean.

Report this review (#2487013)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2020 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars MÉTRONHOMME, a band comprised of four members coming from the Macerata region in Italy. This is their third release, an EP lengthy collection of seven relatively concise compositions. 'Tutto Il Tempo Del Mondo' (All The Time In The World) - besides some track names this is a reference to the COVID-19 circumstances all musicans are challenged with, no matter from what meadow they are coming from exactly. Actually forced or not, the musicians have focused on the virtual element in this case, decided to realize an entire new album quasi remote. The title suffix initiated by numero uno, well, this is pointing to a follow-up, right? And yep, a second effort is in the planning, they are promising. This music sounds unusual to me in some way. That's good, as long as it is not resulting in simple and disturbing noise, agreed?

Here we have a collection of short and rather eclectic song patches, very much piano / keyboard / synth laden, yet electronically styled stuff. Produced in a modern contemporary vein, with the incorporation of several samples. For the first time two vocal decorated songs are offered, a further development for the band. Overall this is reminding me a bit of the band Delirio Sonoro. Not rock music in a common manner one can say. Drummer Andrea Lazzaro Ghezzi exclusively assures that all percussions are provided via acoustic instruments. This might be a reflex due to some remarks. His input sounds relatively minimalistic. The songs are made in a rather melancholic mood, where the vocals respectively voices are more presented in parlando mode. Yep, unusual somehow, hence it takes some time to get used to. But hey, being innovative turns out to be a big plus in the end.

Let's drop the coin. Just take the wonderful Di Una Moneta Che Cade and the following Supermarket. I simply adore this flow in the meantime. Take your time, this is rich on impressions, oriental Middle Eastern flair here ... singer/songriter and jazzy ingridients there. The piano plays an important role, for example forwarding us into the marvellous Arkè, which closes with a somewhat whacked-out speech sample. For some time I thought it would be a special Italian dialect. But actually it's taken from the last speech of Romanian chief dictator Ceausescu at the end of 1989, where he's still blatantly insisting to stand for a socialist politics. Considering this EP MÉTRONHOMME are delivering no mass-produced goods, so to speak. That of course makes curious regarding the other albums they already have released beforehand.

Report this review (#2490852)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars Here we have the latest EP by Italian group Métronhomme, following on from their excellent album, '4', which was released in 2019. There are no guests this time around, so the line-up is Mirko Galli (bass, pedal synth), Tommaso Lambertucci (piano, synth and vocals), Andrea Lazzaro Ghezzi (percussion) and Marco Poloni (guitars, maschine and vocals). They stress that all the percussion was physically played by Andrea, and there is no drum machine, but given they feel the need to explain that, one can imagine what it actually sounds like. Written and recorded during lockdown, each member of the band worked on their individual areas using whatever they had to hand, given that they could not get to their rehearsal space, which may somewhat explain the percussion.

There is a definite feeling of separation within these seven numbers, which are mostly instrumental, and there are times when it really hits home, and that separation becomes something deep and meaningful. But there are others when it feels somewhat lightweight and unfinished. This is not assisted by some of the keyboard sounds being utilized which can come across as what one would hear from arcade video machines back in the early Eighties. But there are some strong melodies here as well, and one wishes that the guitar had been utilized more than it had as when it comes more to the fore then the music does become more interesting and dynamic. Recording in isolation is hard, and their EP should be seen for what it is, four musicians needing to flex their musical muscles and having no other opportunity to do so. The situation in Italy was horrific back in the early days of the pandemic and speaking to some friends up there I know what they were going through, so while this EP does not really resonate with me, I can only imagine the circumstances under which it was recorded. I thoroughly enjoyed their next album and am still looking forward to the next one with keen interest.

Report this review (#2595164)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2021 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars [Originally published as a mini review at The Progressive Aspect]

I have no knowledge of Italian, but my classes in French lead me to guess this EP is entitled 'All the Time in the World'. Unless Òikos is also an Italian word, my Classical studies lead me to assume this is the Greek concept of family and house. This would make a lot of sense, given the EP came out of the lockdowns and quarantines of 2020. For so many of us, we did indeed have all the time in the world, with our family, in our house. Just to ram it home, the opening number is entitled Quarantine. The immediate sound of this release is vastly different from 4, as it feels almost swamped by darkness, anxiety and dread that is palpable. There is none of the light-heartedness that peppered 4. This is almost, yet not quite, gloomy. But there is always a spark of hope that is never put out - always flickering away in the background. It makes for very interesting listening, and is notably different from a lot of quarantine releases I've heard from other bands and artists. Listening to some of thosereleases, it's easy to come up with adjectives such as unsettling, haunting, and melancholic, which no doubt is perhaps how their composers were feeling when they wrote the pieces. On the other hand, it seems Metronhomme might even be content!

While it could not really be described as upbeat, Òikos simply feels to me to be an optimistic release. While 4 was easy to listen to, and immediately accessible, Tutto Il Tempo del Monde - 1. Òikos seems intent on taking us out of our comfort zones. It's more experimental and spontaneous, sometimes unsettling but never threatening. It's music as catharsis and medicine - a means of coping with a situation out of our control. It's more stark, more sparse, more minimal, more inorganic than 4. And it's all the better for this. Sometimes there is such a great sense of expansiveness and space in the music that it's impossible to feel enclosed or trapped - which is no doubt how some people in lockdown felt. Even when the music feels more constrained, it's never quite in a threatening manner. The sense of constraint is more akin to being wrapped up and cocooned in a blanket. Some of this is down to the instruments and instrumentation often feeling more like effects than music, almost giving an ambient effect - though ambient music this is not. The same can be said for the use of voice, whether sung or sampled, because unlike 4 this is not a fully instrumental release. Interestingly, Meteonhomme come closer than Pink Floyd ever did to making a "Household Objects" album, given what they used for instrumentation, according to their Bandcamp page.

The tracks that make up this ep are all quite different and separate from each other, which seems to neatly fit back into the sense of (self) isolation of covid lockdowns, and also of the varying emotions that are cycled through while separated from the world, apart from by our screens. The electronic nature of much (but not all) of the ep heightens this feeling. But there are some truly beautiful tracks, like the second track (which I assume translates as "Like the Snow". This is as breathy and fragile and ephemeral as you might expect, and almost has a classic RPI sound to it. But there's not another track on the album that sounds like it. And really, none have the intriguing meeting of jazz and space rock that 4 had, even if still predominantly created with a similar mix of electronic and acoustic sounds. 4 was thoroughly delightful. I'm not sure I'd describe Òikos in the same manner, but it is definitely one of the best EPs I've heard from 2020, and I very much hope that the title indicates that there will be a second part forthcoming.

Report this review (#2712094)
Posted Monday, March 21, 2022 | Review Permalink

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