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Mad Crayon - Ultimo Miraggio  CD (album) cover


Mad Crayon

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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4 stars Those who are artistically inclined may immediately recognize the artist of this album cover (Mac Mazzieri) who was responsible for some of the early famous Le ORME covers. MAD CRAYON create a sound a mood not unlike GENESIS aka "Selling England By The Pound" here with some beautiful proggy moments. Vocals and harmonies are superb and most of the lyrics are in english (that may please some of you who). MAD CRAYON blend rich musicianship here with some very tasty guitar parts (very S. HACKETT like!) and succulent keyboard parts.
Report this review (#4600)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars In the vein of the best neo-prog tradition, concerning excellent bands from Rome-Italy,like for example Ezra Winston, but also being affected by the best stuff by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso (in a more melodic vein), these Italian guys produced a pretty album in the 1st half of the nineties, moreover with the purpose of making the present album cover and their following ones be dipicted by the same illustrator involved with some albums concerning "Le Orme"...the reference is clear, but the approach is absolutely melodic. Sometimes the rythmical section tastes a few odd time signatures, as long as They come back to normal patterns in other circumstances, by focusing anyway their effort on the melodic approach of the keyboards; and this kind of composition is just broken by simple harmonic solutions at the guitar (Do you remember the early albums by Steve Hackett?!?), varying the mood pretty well!! The vocalist is not exceptional, but his job is well fitted into their melodic and simple set...well I prefer bands like Il Trono dei Ricordi from Florence or Aufklarung from the District of Puglia-Italy within the Italian and Neo Prog Romantic scene, but for the lightest and just a little bit less involved moments these Mad Crayon are ok (try to hear their stuff by driving your car with tranquillity!!)

Interesting even though it is not completely essential!!

Report this review (#4601)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars This Italian band has two roots in the past. First the cover that has been designed by Mac Mazzierri who once created the cover of Le Orme their album Uomo Di Pezza. And second their sound that has obvious hints from mid-Genesis: tasteful and melodic symphonic rock delivering wonderful interplay between the guitar and dual-keyboards (strongly evoking Hackett and Banks) and good soli. The song Running Child contains pieces that are derived from famous composer J.S. Bach. To my surprise the vocals are not only in Italian but also in English. That is a pity because Italian should sing in their beautiful native language, the English vocals lacks a bit power and emotion. That's my only negative remark, just enjoy this pleasant symphonic rock albm.
Report this review (#74053)
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not well-known to the wider audience,MAD CRAYON are a beautiful Italian band formed in 1986 in Genzano,a small city near Rome.After a decent demo tape they were signed by Cygnus Records in 1993 and a year later their debut ''Ultimo miraggio'' was released.Split between English- and Italian-sung tracks,this album is a magnificent tribute to the sound of GENESIS and PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI.Amazing organ parts,nice synth and piano work,memorable and strong guitar melodies compose a superb album filled with 70's influences,a great production and amazing orchestration.I really cannot set a single track apart from the others,all compositions are extremely well- and carefully-arranged and performed.A must-have for all symphonic prog lovers!
Report this review (#204109)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The government, with all the foresight of a giddy schoolgirl, wants us to perform three random acts of kindness each day in order that we feel happy. My contribution to this harebrained hobnailed happiness scheme would be to recommend Mad Crayon to fellow prog lovers. I have to tell you, this band is one of the best-kept secrets in town.

Their debut album 'Ultimo Miraggio' is a milestone and the minestrone of classic Italian symphonic prog of the nineties - a big galumphing soup, heavy with the aroma of the seventies and cooked-up with a delicious excess of Genesis, PFM and Banco. But mostly Genesis. You can almost put it to your lips and suck the marrow out of its bones. And while nine out of ten such albums tread the boards to a similar familiar foxtrot, the quality of this one is somewhere above the norm. It wasn't by sheer chance that the artwork was provided by the hand of none other than Walter 'Mac' Mazzieri of Le Orme fame.

'Ultimo Miraggio' is one of those RPI albums where English and Italian lyrics mingle with one another like streaks of mist. I'm not really fussed on this mixing of languages - although it actually works fine here - and the songs with Italian texts probably make the stronger impression. The opening brace, sung in English, instantly impresses with brisk frisky tempos but Mad Crayon really get their mojo working on the album's first song in the vernacular - 'Fiore di Luna' - a simple folk-like ballad that engenders a typically Italian feeling of romance.

Hammond organ plots the course of 'Running Child', a bedraggled instrumental romp that splices hornpipes with snippets and snapshots of Bach's 'Toccata' and Mozart's 'Rondo Alla Turca'. This track is sure to blot out the miseries of daily existence better than any political coalition. I've only skimmed the surface with my descriptions but if you're waiting for the big one you'll find it flying high among the three back-to-back RPI classics at the tail end of the album.

Some great things have found their way onto this album and in particular it's well endowed with melody, but if there is a counterweight to my glowing recommendation it's that 'Ultimo Miraggio' lacks the wild Italian animal spirit. Otherwise, shortcomings are as rare as the album itself - and you might have to sell your soul for a copy of this one.

Returning to the anecdote about government and its substanceless ideas, rather than bringing us happiness and gratification it seems to be doing its best to wear us down. When I began my working life over thirty years ago the life expectancy for men in my profession was sixty-five, therefore I might not live to collect my pension. In just the same way I fear there are many albums I will not hear again before I go to my grave, but not this one. It's a wonderful thing all the way through and, if my earlier talk of food has made you feel a little bit peckish, from the egg to the apples this album will surely satisfy your nutritional necessity.

Report this review (#583713)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permalink

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