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I Dik Dik - Suite Per Una Donna Assolutamente Relativa CD (album) cover

SUITE PER UNA DONNA ASSOLUTAMENTE RELATIVA

I Dik Dik

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The cover from this album is one of the most non-progrock covers of all time but the music certainly is prog! This is the only progressive album I Dik Dik (the name is derived from an African gazelle) made but it is an acclaimed one by the progrock aficionados and progheads. The 11 pleasant compositions sound melodic and alternating, from folky to bombastic prog. Although every musician plays very well, the focus is on the magnificent keyboard play: sparkling piano, swinging clavinet, sensational synthesizer flights, some strong organ floods and majestic Mellotron eruptions. If you like the wonderful sound of the late Sixties (warm vocals, acoustic guitars, organ) blended with the progressive sound from the early Seventies (with echoes from The Moody Blues and The Strawbs), THIS IS A CD TO CHECK OUT!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#41104)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another fine Italian album with a cover that is unforgettable. I'm surprised it ended up with some one and two star ratings. The playing is great and the vocals pretty decent too. The production seems on par and the sound on the Japanese CD is predictably quite good.

I can understand somewhat in that there is quite a bit less flair here than with some of its peers, but given that this was in the height of the classic period, they can't all be the best! But that is the downside here, this is less adventurous than some of the others you see reviewed often.

This album moves along quite easily with some recurring musical themes and always tasteful bass, acoustic guitar and keys backing up the vocal. But since it seems to grow on me I'm rounding up from a 3.5 star rating.

Bottom line here is that if you just want a sampling of classic Italian prog, skip this and go for the higher rated stuff. But if you are building a deep Italian catalog (and you really should be!) then you will need to track this one down. Try to get the Japan mini-lp sleeve version with the split back gatefold. The sense of humor shown on the cover continues on the inside!

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#118237)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Donīt look at the cover, pay attention to the music!

Well, surely you will look at the cover because itīs impossible not to see it, the realm of progressive rock has as an extra feature great cover designs which some of them are characteristic of a band, others are amazing and maybe you could be interested in the album just for the cover, this time is totally the contrary, this albumīs cover is one of the (if not the most) most awful covers i have ever seen, not only in prog rock but in music in general, sorry if im wasting your time, but i had to say it.

Anyway, i am and you are here for the music rather than cover art, so letīs review this album which was released in 1972 in the beautiful land of Italy, in that time as we know the music (prog music) in that country was very prolific (so is nowadays) but in the early 70s due to historical events or lack of imagination, problems between the members i dont know, so many bands released an album and dissappeared or some of them had a tremendous change in their music from one album to other, I Dik DIk was a band which were together since 1965 playing some popular tunes, but they (fortunately) could give us a progressive rock album called "Suite per una Donna Assolutamente Relativa" which contains 11 songs and a running time of 40 minutes.

I could say that the music here is very classic of the Italian vein and 70s movement, so it may sound alike to some other bands, but careful because im not saying that its sound could be compared with monsters such as PFM, Banco or QVL. The 11 tracks here are short ones with an average of 4 minutes each one, so you wont find an epic or an outstanding or very different track, nevertheless, you will find 40 minutes of very nice music with a 70s Italian flavour that may be enjoyable for anyone, the songs here are very catchy and may remind you to early New Trolls or some Le Orme tunes I, honestly dont have a favorite song here, since the style of the most of them is pretty alike, nice melodies, great use of keyboards and very nice drums "Il Cuore" has an special psych touch which make it different from the others, while "La Gambe" has a more bombastic keyboard sound which reminds me to Wakeman, "Monti e Valli" for instance, has a folkish sound.

In general this album is pretty good, everyone could dig this since its easy to listen, but obviously it wont keep your attention for so many time, so this is another nice album from Italy, which cannot be compared with the big 70s albums but that every Italian prog lover should check, my final grade will be 3 stars, i believe its the grade it deserves.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#134308)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It seems fitting that I review this album, being that I played it incessantly this week. Let's try and pay some debt while it's fresh on my mind...

First, some background info on the band. Sort of a strange name "Dik Dik" is, fun to say, or maybe awkward; it comes from an African gazelle as the bio notes. They got together in the mid '60s, toward the beginning of the pop/beat movement in Italy, and with their friendly, slick approach, I Dik Dik found enough success to outlast many bands from the country. However, they were first and foremost, a pop band; but being around in the early '70s it was almost obligatory that musicians try out the prog rock thing at some point, which offered huge public interest and more artistic freedom. Their 1972 album, "Suite per una Donna Assolutamente" came at the risk of alienating fans in crossing over to the younger, more "happening" prog scene, and that is ultimately what would happen. Their 'story & song' approach didn't go over as well as expected amongst more aggressive groups, and the record company, as was often the case, did not lend enough support. So afterwards, Dik Dik went back to their bread and butter, leaving us with one nice little crossover into progressive rock.

As previous reviewers have noted, the first thing to jump right out is the humorous cover. Some hate it, some brush it off...I actually like it. In an odd way, it is such a contrast to the approach in the music that the irony in the foldout is delightfully out of place. The music itself will throw you considerable insinuations from bands occupying a similar boat to Dik Dik - those employing a melodic, song-based approach while going past simple pop structures and using fancy techniques and equipment. Just to give an idea of what that means, these guys would have been right at home with Procol Harum and The Moodies, and you can hear the influences of early RPI bands such as the Trolls, Giganti, and Orme. One of the main themes in the album (which is most likely a direct concept to my mind) introduced by the opening track "Donna Paessaggio" is a perfect example of pristine pop hooks infused with a progressive slant. The melody is so sweet, etching itself into my head for days (not even a bad thing) underpinned with imperial organ chords and glistening Moog embellishments. The following track is in similar fashion, and introduces more Moog sounds that sweep around all the empty spaces with jangly harpsichords. So the keyboards play a huge role here, and the guitars are primarily acoustic aside from a nice electric solo on the first track. My attitude toward synths is take 'em or leave 'em, but I was very pleased with the ones on this album, it's really a great one for Moog lovers; but the instrumentation never surpasses the songs themselves, which are the big picture. As I said, the approach is direct songs with added experimental touches. Aside from the warmer, luminous parts mentioned, there are darker ones as well, particularly the "Cattedrale dell'Amore" theme...rumbling drum-rolls, disturbed vocals, and of course those Moogs. Of course this picks back up into faster sections, one being almost "funky" ("Le Gambe"), and resolutely symphonic ("Monti e Valli"). These insertions really bring out the beauty in the Moody-esque sections, and the change-ups keep anything from becoming stale, even with several theme reprisals. By the time we hit the final stretch, the reprisals of "Cattedrale", "Viso", and "Donna" have particular emotional value in returning to familiar ground with an altered landscape. The album reminds me of someone who is shy and reserved, but "opening up", as if around someone or something they are comfortable with. You can feel them coming to some kind of realization or closure, and ultimately returning to the starting point...it could be a thought or place...with a different perspective.

Recommendation: I know that I've name-dropped the Moodies, but really this one goes a bit "farther"...if that makes any sense. Perhaps I've overstated the "song" approach. I'll try and come up with a comparison (probably an inadequate one). How about...Moody Blues + PFM + New Trolls / 3. That might work. In terms of RPI albums, this is not on the very top level, but it's still very worthy, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves the melodic stuff with loads of keyboard sounds.

Looks like I went the entire review without even mentioning the word "mellotron"!

PA Rating: 4/5

The Jimmy Row Factor: 8.5/10, B+

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Send comments to jimmy_row (BETA) | Report this review (#182277)
Posted Friday, September 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I Dik Dik are an Italian band with more than forty years of activity. They had been very successful in Italy during the late sixties and early seventies thanks to their collaboration with Lucio Battisiti and Mogol and thanks to the Italian version of songs like "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" by Procol Harum or California Dreamin' by Mamas And Papas. They have always been just a beat and pop band and "Suite per una donna assolutamente relativa" is their only true progressive effort. The album was released in 1972 (a period when almost everybody in Italy seemed to go crazy for prog) but it was a commercial flop so, after this album, the band turned back into another musical direction.

"Suite per una donna assolutamente relativa" is a concept work featuring lyrics by the eclectic artist of Jewish origins Herbert Pagani. It was conceived like a musical and poetical journey through "planet woman": the female body here is compared to an unknown world to explore, both physically and spiritually... The music was composed by keyboardist Mario Totaro and it's an excellent mix of progressive rock and Italian melody.

The opener is the melodic and light "Donna paesaggio" (Woman Landscape)... A man is flying over a strange planet, "Woman landscape / I'm flying over you with caresses / And along my journey I can see lands, lakes, mountains and the mirage of my happiness / I will sing of you / Like a Greek poet of the ancient times... And my voice will be a hymn to your naked freedom". The music is rich and features beautiful touches of church-like organ and mellotron...

On the second track "Il viso" (The Face) our "hero" comes down with his parachute landing in a forest of "hair-trees", then he explores the brows surrounding "two lakes of blue water" (the eyes), then the nose, the ears... "I already can see your lips on the horizon / Your mouth is smiling to me / And your smile reveals a city / Atlantis of light that kills me... And to know a little bit more / I breath a while / Then I dive and go down"...

The sound of the moog marks a change of atmosphere that becomes darker in the next track "Il cuore" (The Heart). "Like a cast-away on his raft / I'm sailing down, along your veins...", our hero is now flushed away by brooks of phosphorescent blood... "I hear the thunder of a factory / The central engine of the heart appears enormous to me / I can see red Niagara falls swallowing me...". The rhythm becomes frenzy, the mood dramatic but our "explorer" awakes alive, wet and out of danger because the heart let him break through...

A short interlude leads to the "Cathedral Of Love"... "I'm climbing stairways of placenta / Like by magic I feel a body who is singing to me unknown Ave Marias / Cathedral of Love, cathedral of love / My heart beats fast but I go on...". Well, the lyrics describing the womb are a little bit bizarre (to say the least!) but the music is really good, here almost mystic I dare say, featuring excellent harmony vocals...

"The earth is trembling / New danger / Legs of woman / White vertigo... When you walk in the city / It's like a forest / That goes in a desert of concrete...". "Gambe" (Legs), describes the dizziness provoked by a "walking continent" on the streets of a city. Here the rhythm goes up sprinkled with flashes of moog, than melts in a nice short pastoral interlude (the instrumental "Suite relativa").

"Monti e valli" (Mountains and Valleys) is a bright and happy ballad and the subject matter is, as you can guess, the bosom... "I see pyramids and coliseums... Mountains and valleys of the youth / My hands are caressing you / Like ocean waves / My fingers are like horses breaking on gallop upon you...".

Next comes the delicate and sweet "I sogni" (The dreams) that tries to describe in music and words the dreams of a woman like the souvenirs of the childhood, the nightmares of the war, the wounds of past lovers that the conscience tries to hide. "I dream your dreams...". In my opinion this is the best track on this album.

Next track "La notte" (The night) tries to describe the act of procreation. Tense vocals soar over a beautiful piano pattern counter pointed by the sound of the moog... The poetry of the lyrics is perhaps a little bit clumsy and naive but the overall result is not so bad.

"Sintesi" is a reprise of the opening theme and it concludes a peculiar and interesting album... "Woman poetry / You are a miracle of rhythm and harmony / You are the most fragile fortress on earth / You resist to the world but love will open you / And from the country of your body new lives will blossom / Until life will be...".

I don't think that this is an essential album but it is a very good one and it would have deserved a better destiny. On the whole I think that this work is more ironic than pretentious, like the funny art cover, and it's really worth listen to. It was re-released on CD in 2003 by BMG with a nice paper sleeve reproducing the original LP jacket and I'm sure that Italian prog lovers will love it.

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#187565)
Posted Saturday, November 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I DIK DIK and I GIGANTI took similar paths in their careers, both starting out as Beat bands in the mid sixties before trying their hands at Progressive music in the early seventies. Both were not very successful (when it came to album sales) with this venture into prog so we only get one Progressive album from each band. I think both bands did a good job in their attempts at this style of music but there's just a lot better RPI albums out there.

"Donna Paesagio" is led by piano early as drums, bass and acoustic guitar join in. Vocals before a minute and they sound excellent. Organ and guitar after 2 1/2 minutes then the vocals return with passion. Synths late. "Il Viso" is a ballad-like tune and my least favourite. Piano and fragile vocals as the drums beat slowly. Mellotron 1 1/2 minutes in and synths late. "Il Cuore" opens with flute as acoustic guitar then the vocals arrive. Drums then mellotron before 1 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up. It's rather dramatic before 3 minutes. Great section. "Intermezzo" is a short drum / synths / vocal melodies piece. "La Cathedral Dell'amore" has this powerful atmosphere while vocals and drums stand out. Lots of mellotron. Synths around 2 minutes.

"Le Gambe" has a good beat and is uptempo. Vocals join in and some nice bass. Synths are prominant as well. "Suite Relativa" opens with strummed guitar. I like this. Bass comes in and a fuller sound after a minute with mellotron. Nice. It blends into "Monti Y Valli" continues with strummed guitar as organ then vocals join in. Great sound ! It's catchy and yet moving. "I Sogni" opens with powerful synths that stop when the vocals arrive around a minute. Mellotron rolls in then those synths return as contrasts continue. "La Notte" opens with piano and spacey winds. Vocals follow and synths become prominant 2 1/2 minutes in when vocals stop. Piano continues though. Vocals return then it blends into "Sintesi".Spacey at first then piano, drums, bass and mellotron take over. Vocals a minute in. Lots of synths late.

Pretty enjoyalbe but too commercial sounding much of the time for my tastes.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#260944)
Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
3 stars Warm vibrant honey, honey!

I've been revisiting this little Italian record the past couple of weeks, and have subsequently changed my mind about it. At first the music struck me as bland run of the mill symphonic rock leaving me completely indifferent, and then here the other day when I was throwing a fit - acting all insane because of all those little irritating bugs that seem to thrive in hot humid weather - creeping and crawling all over my skin, I put this very album on while maniacally waving my arms around out in the garden. I was too frustrated to put anything on that I had a deep meaningful relationship with - not wanting to destroy any of that, and decided to go for the overlooked RPI album with the ridiculous cover art.

Swoop! Out in the grasses a warm heartfelt vibe came tumbling with the first luscious sways of keys and piano, and I immediately thought to myself, that I perhaps had been a bit fast to judge the album. Out there among the humming and buzzing creatures this music really came to life, and for once my neighbours didn't seem to mind the tunes.

Romantic is probably a fair word to describe the feel of this thing, but when heard in such a setting - you really get the gist of what the word actually means. It's the same effect PFM managed to convey with their first two albums - that delicate Italian sense of melody that is as important to their culture as a fine red wine from the steep hills of Barolo. There is a deeper understanding going on with these bands of what really constitutes 'feel' and emotion within music, - and the genius and, at the time, new thing was that they did it with synthesisers. Electronic robotic instruments that were miles away from the wooden heart of a cello, and yet on some of these releases - this one included, you get to hear that unique emotional vibe running through the synthesisers. I struggle to mention any other nationalities that come close in accomplishing the same feat, because where the Germans went for the outer rim of the solar system, these bands actually found a way to echo their natural music heritage in a current modern manner.

I Dik Dik started out in the 60s as a beat band enamoured by the sweeping sounds of the British invasion. When the turn of the decade finally changed the winds and brought with them a newly found curiosity about all things musically, whether that was folk or classical, I Dik Dik naturally jumped the freight train and this album ended up as the fruit of their labour. While not the most progressive of albums from the Italian RPI scene, 'Donna' as it's affectionately called still hits a fair few highs in the course of its running time. Personally I just love the recurring main theme that has a way of sneaking in the back door - either in all out rocking symphonic gestures with drums ablazing and grand pompous orchestration from synths and guitars, or it gently and gracefully pops up in the form of a frail lingering piano melody that literally sends shivers down my spine. The ending deep breaths of this album has a few of these and they are sheer sonic manna from the heavens.

This is also a a very vocal album, and it's here things get a bit generic for my tastes. Usually I adore bands that bring their 60s vibe with them into the 70s - especially when we're talking vocals, but on here they just don't do anything for me. Heartwarming and dripping with emotion they overstep the invisible border between coffee sugar and candy floss country. That is however the only negative in my opinion, and if you're sitting out there looking for bands that work within the same melodic framework as PFM, Le Orme, Samadhi and Latte e Miele, 'Donna' should be right up your alley like a big beautiful Alfa in a fiery apple red.

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Send comments to Guldbamsen (BETA) | Report this review (#806886)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars I will always associate this album with Hunka Munka's Dedicato a Giovanna G.: I got them at the same time; both feature die-cut covers; the titles are similar. But the similarities don't end there - I discovered much later that "Hunka Munka" himself, keyboardist Roberto Carlotto, would go on to play for i Dik Dik. And like Dedicato a Giovanna G., Suite Per una Donna Assolutamente Relativa is a keyboard-heavy suite of shorter songs sequenced to flow together. Though I like it very much, i Dik Dik's 1972 foray into prog was short-lived and not entirely successful. This was apparent at the time as album sales suffered and i Dik Dik returned to basically being a singles group. But they did leave us this one patchy treasure which belongs in any thorough RPI collection...the prog community at large should not deem it essential.

The four-measure pattern heard at the beginning of "Donna Paesaggio" will resurface throughout the album, and holds it together thematically. The catchy figure is a worthy jumping-off point for i Dik Dik to elaborate upon, flesh out, and eventually beat into the ground. I appreciate the coherence of this melodic device on Suite Per una Donna Assolutamente Relativa, it's just simply overdone. As the song fades to "Il Viso," a battery of keyboard instruments are introduced. Though the sleeve does not disclose who actually played on this thing, we can assume principle songwriter Mario Totaro helms the piano, Mellotron and Moog. "Il Cuore" initiates a trilogy of darker songs, and again Mellotron is used to good effect. "Intermezzo" continues the minor-key dirge, and "La Cattedrale dell'Amore" capitulates it. This trio reminds me of Metamorfosi's Inferno, though the feeling is short-lived. "Le Gambe" returns to a lighter sound, sustained by electric piano and a driving beat.

"Suite Relativa" summons Days of Future Passed or even Atom Heart Mother, but quickly transitions to the upbeat "Monti e Valli." This triggers the point in the album where my attention starts to fade. The long, heavy "I Sogni" piques my interest momentarily as an assault of analog synthesizers begins to bombard the listener. "I Sogni" is the moment where i Dik Dik get closest to achieving classic Italian Symphonic Rock, but fail to cash in on the success. The disappointing "La Notte" is a rehash of the earlier trilogy, and "Sintesi" is a reprise of "Donna Paesaggio." The repetition is blunt and heavy-handed. A brief restatement or impression of the theme could have worked much better than a literal facsimile. In conclusion, that's really what Suite Per una Donna Assolutamente Relativa is - a facsimile of more relevant albums. But sometimes, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and i Dik Dik easily get three stars just for trying.

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Send comments to coasterzombie (BETA) | Report this review (#906445)
Posted Monday, February 04, 2013 | Review Permalink

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