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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Darwin (1991 version) CD (album) cover

DARWIN (1991 VERSION)

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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4 stars Great concept album, well worth a four star recommendation, but they should have stated somewhere on the album that this is a 1991 remake of the classical 1972 album.... I have never heard the original version, but based on other comments I have found on the net, that was even better in spite of a lower sound quality. For more detailed reviews, see the original version.

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Send comments to Dragon Phoenix (BETA) | Report this review (#35086)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I'm not ashamed (much) to say the reworking of this legendary piece was the only issue I could get my hands on, so this much-chagrined version will have to do for awhile. And let me say, this grand rock opus is breathtaking, 'remake' or not. My only complaint is the hideous purple cover that replaced the clever original design. Pitty, that, but the music makes up for it... oh, does it ever. I'll just ignore the angry villagers of Progtown that may come calling for me with their torches ready to set ablaze copies of this ugly little purple jewel, this 'new and improved' bastard child of a beloved record. No matter...

The 17-minute opening track, 'L`Evoluzione', has to be one of the finest statements in the prog firmament-- ornate, carefully constructed, each moment significant, fresh and of musical import, and a level of musicianship rarely seen in the world of popular music. The jarring 'La Conquista della Posizione Eretta' moves things into slightly darker waters with great keyboard sounds from Vittorio Nocenzi and his array of Moogs, digital pianos, organs and various synth instruments, and with typically marvelous, heartfelt and wounded vocals from everyone's favorite bigman in Prog, Francesco Di Giacomo. 'Cento Mani, Cento Occhi' expands the perimeters of what rock music is (or could be) showcasing pumping, inspired rock rhythms conjoined with Bach structures and Italian passion. The eight-minute 'Anni Fa...' romances and reminisces like tragic opera meets a barroom piano, and 'Miserere Alla Storia' & 'Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo al Tempo' feature great counterpoint and calliope flurrys of organ, mandolin, synth bass and the tight batteria of Pierluigi Calderoni.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso weaved progressive rock dreams into a reality that few if any other prog outfits were able to equal, demonstrating immaculate expertise, smart arrangements, a disciplined work ethic and a studio sound unmatched by any known entities. If this Darwin is substandard to the original, one can only hope all prog artists aspire to such incredible heights of "mediocrity".

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#120017)
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Kotro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars PROGRESSIVE SUMMER RAMBLINGS 4

If there is one thing the Portuguese are addicted too (besides football) is coffee. Not the diluted version served in jumbo cups common to the Anglo-American world, but the thick, concentrated variant known internationally by the Italian word espresso. Every hour is good to have on of these babies, unquestionably the most sold commodity in the country, with each citizen having between 4 to 6 every day. No Portuguese household, regardless of class, is complete without an espresso machine. I had one of these myself. It served good espresso. Almost perfect, apart from one problem - I didn't find the foam it produced creamy enough. It was a shabby light brownish foam that disappeared within seconds. Priding myself on my inexistent mechanical talents, I proceeded to do what any Portuguese man unhappy with his machinery would do: avoid proper repair shops and tear the thing apart at home, fully disassembling it and cleaning every single part of it. Reassembling it, I eagerly tested it, already feeling the thick creamy foam cross my lips. What I got was a nightmare: watery coffee now poured from the machine, and somehow it tasted even worse. Disgruntled and defeated, I tossed the whole thing in the bin and bought me one of those Nespresso machines. It does the job.

The international face for Nespresso is, of course, George Clooney - not one of my favourite actors, yet I admire his choice of living, in the beautiful north Italian city of Como. I was fortunate enough to see Como while visiting a friend studying in Milano, even if I did found it more charming when overlooked from its neighbouring town on Brunate, also a delightful little place. Curiously, on this trip to Italy, I had plenty more cappuccino than a good, strong espresso. I also had a shopping spree for RPI. After all, going to Italy without getting some RPI is like, well, going to Italy without eating Tiramisů, as the proverb goes. Or something like that.

Looking for goodies of the genre, I found this one, which I mistook for a 1991 remaster of the classic album. It turned out to be a re-recording, something very noticeable from the moment you play it for the first time. Even if you don't know the original, you immediately realize that this isn't it. The downsizes of this album begin at the cover. What was amusing and enigmatic became plain and bland. A wonderful illustration replaced by nothing more than a purple cover? C'mon. The early 90's production gives it a highly unwanted Neo-Prog feel, with a sonority often too sterile, without some of the edge and roughness of the original. The synths are overblown, the electric guitar distorted. Vocals lost their punch - also gone are the great chorus vocals in songs like Cento Mani E Cento Occhi. OMMAGAWD. Drum machines? Banco, you should have known better.

The original music is still there - the quality of the composition is the same. That hasn't changed, so there is still a chance you will find much pleasure in listening to this. It's the performance that ruins it. It sounds rather like a poor tribute to Banco by a neo- prog band than Banco theirselves. Re-recordings are always a dangerous process, and must always be dealt it with care. In my view, the best way to re-record a classic album is by making it different from the original, even if ever so slightly (Mike Oldfield succeeded in doing so - more than once). However, in this case, it doesn't sound different - it's the same thing, only not so well-made. Pity. Like slightly flawed espresso machines, the same motto should apply to experiences like this one: if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Get the original, it's not that hard. Just beware if this one.

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Send comments to Kotro (BETA) | Report this review (#130772)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After their extremely poor output of the eighties, what could "Banco" proposed in the early nineties ? Well, why not trying a remake of their best album : "Darwin" ? Almost twenty years later. Why not if you have nothing else to offer. This shows anyway the dead end in which "Banco" was heading to.

After so many incredibly dull albums, this one could only be better of course. If you start from a very good original, you could hardly screwed it up. This version is longer than the original one (this will fit on a CD, right ?). But the idea as such does not please me very much. Sounds as if they needed to make money at all costs (especially the fan's one).

Yet again, the highlight is "L'Evoluzione", no wonder. "La Conquista" sounds more pompous here. Even if the original was not really my fave of the album, Franceso was much more emotive than on this version. Each song is more extended in this new release (some just a bit like the jazzy "Danza Dei Grandi Rettili" and some more like the great "750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore". This one is my second fave. Fantastic vocals again (Giacomo is really the one who holds things here).

But frankly, what's the use of getting another version of a great album. Would "Floyd" release a b-copy of "WYWH", "Genesis" another "SIBTP" ot "Tull" another "TAAB"? Pointless.

This album is good of course. Songs are well reworked, sound is much more polished but also harder than the original; and Giacomo always sounds magnificent. Musically this album deserves three stars because if it weren't for Giacomo, this might have been as a good cover effort. But I have a lot of concern about their marketing startegy (zero to one star for this). But I guess that it was the only way to get a good "Banco" album.

Three stars (but with the restriction I have outlined). This only shows a band that are completely out of their creative period (but this has lasted for over a decade...). If each band out of inspiraration would recreate an old album, the amounts of releases available for review on PA would double. Is this what we would praise ? Not me.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#141231)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Darwin (1991 version) - So much to expect from it

The first Darwin ! is definitely a milestone of Italian progressive music and for obvoious reasons (for those who hasn't got the chance to ear it) and it was very ambitious (or was it reckless ?) to revised it. This first one was an unexperienced production and has some flaws in the overall sound and 1991 was a chance to correct them.

And the results is good but not convincing...

The first track (L'Evoluzione) is a complete success - all the feeling of the old version has been completely kept and production flaws has been left behind. I was expecting a complete ecstasy.

But there were up-comming tests !

"La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta" and "Danza Dei Grandi Rettili" went well but I was expecting a lot from "Cento Mani E Cento Occhi" and, above all, "750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore?" While the former is a success even if it seems to have some outspread moments, the latter failed the test. Not that it was not a good version but Francesco DiGiacomo was so convincing it the original version. It was almost impossible to be able to do the same. More, they should has kept the piano as a sole instrument like it was in the first version ; adding some extra instrument has sort of annoyed me (just a little bit).

In conclusion, it is a good album to introduce you to Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's music and you should enjoy the listening. For a fan, it might leaves some expectations apart.

Ultime

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Send comments to Ultime (BETA) | Report this review (#216710)
Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | Review Permalink

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