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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Modest but pleasant debut

The debut of Mindflower, an Italian progressive collective assembled by Fabio Antonelli. With him are bandmates Fabrizio Defacqz and Alberto Callegari who will appear on all three Mindflower albums, along with several other musicians who are not permanent members. This first album was recorded in Genoa in late 1994 and early 1995. Mindflower captured my interest immediately because they have such a freedom to their sound. Their sound can vary from rock to symph to neo, from classical and folk and new age, from things like Willowglass to Oldfield to classic period Italian. While their sound would evolve and expand on later work you just never know what is coming in the next Mindflower song. It could rock, it could be a classical acoustic guitar solo, it could be a passionate vocal over some delicate keyboard melody. Listening to Mindflower is like walking into a painting..

Lyrically Fabio begins the thread that will permeate the following two Mindflower albums, a being on his search for some kind of enlightenment. Strange characters and natural surroundings will be introduced to the listener and these thematic elements will repeat. In this first work our subject is somewhat unaware of the magic and beauty around him and he will become increasingly more aware on "Mindfloater" and "Little Enchanted Void."

"Lightbox" has a neo-prog feel to me with effervescent guitars, sythns, and catchy drumming. Playing is superb and there are various male and female vocals. "In It" begins with classical guitar and a sonic effect that sounds like Darth Vader breathing. There are some very nice vocal harmonies briefly but this piece is mainly Antonelli's delightful guitar on display. "Miss Shadow and the Void" is an almost new-age soundscape of acoustic guitar/synth/female vocal. Very beautiful. "Empty Shadow Around Me" is back to a catchy pop/neo sound with great bass playing and drumming by Roberto Lupo. "The Nowhere Poem" is hard for me to describe but features some of Fabio's harder-edged guitar playing and some great keyboards by Fabrizio. "Happy Silence" is a folksy piece that reminds me of classic '70s prog albums. Female vocals to acoustics and unique hand percussions. "In Two Flowers" has a modern eclectic pop-rock sound not unlike a Gabriel track. "Mr. Mindflower" is another classical guitar composition by Fabio setting the stage for the album's centerpiece "Sitting" clocking in at over 10 minutes. Nice classical acoustic supporting mellow female vocal verses. Then a section with conversation between guitar and bass. The synth sections after the 6 minute mark seem to have a "shimmer" effect on the sound which might be the sunlight on the water of the lake that our character sits by. The rest of the song is an ambient exploration of these keyboard passages. "Minor End" certainly ends the tranquility with drums and guitar coming back in for another eclectic rocker that becomes repetitive and hypnotic. "Ghosts in the Garden Eat the Poet" is one I honestly haven't figured out yet. "Lightbox (third light)" brings things to a close with a nice distorted guitar solo over acoustic, fat bass, and keys. Our character has gone as far as he can for now, the journey will continue in Mindfloater.

I think some will find Purelake to be an esoteric experience, how much you enjoy it may depend on whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing. It certainly is more concerned with sampling the colors on the sonic palette than it is in carving out a specific "band sound" for which to sell records. Mindflower is an exploration of ideas and emotions represented in sound rather than an adherent to any of rock and roll's rules. The next album Mindfloater will have a harder rocking edge to it and be a bit more consistent, perhaps with better flow. This debut has some very nice moments but in the larger scheme is not their best work. Start with one of their others. If you end up a fan return to this one later. 2 stars.

Report this review (#142541)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Formed in the beautiful city of Piacenza,MINDFLOWER begun their journey to the world of music in 1994 and only a year after their ''Purelake'' album was ready.An album of different sounds and music landscapes through 12 mellow tracks.

''Purelake'' is unique experience of Contemporary Prog music with the band twisting from vocal- driven semi-acoustic arrangements to minimalistic passages,sometimes dominated by smooth guitar,others by piano or soft organ sounds.Artists like MIKE OLDFIELD,STEVE HACKETT or even GOLDON GILTRAP should have been a great influence for the band's mastermind Fabio Antonelli.Female vocals by two singers are excellent,I can't say the same about the male ones.The atmospheres met through Folk,Symphonic and Acoustic-influenced music are very personal sounding,what however slows this album down are some over-streched monotonous tunes,which could have been a bit more limited and the absence of some dynamics.

Nevertheless,''Purelake'' is a very nice and recommended listening for anyone looking for dreamy light prog trips,based more on atmosphere and limited complexity.

Report this review (#456347)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2011 | Review Permalink

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