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Al Di Meola - Cielo E Terra CD (album) cover


Al Di Meola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars Though a departure for him at the time and the start of a serious move in new directions, Al Di Meola's 'Cielo e Terra' is supremely satisfying. A quietly haunting landscape is painted throughout the album as Di Meola focuses on the blend of acoustic guitar with synthesizer washes, allowing these swirls of light and color room to breathe, evoking moods of twilight and gentle desert winds. It also shows the beginnings of what would become his World Sinfonia, a series of projects I cannot say enough good things about. If you're stuck on his high-tech fusion of the 70s then avoid this lovely work. I give it three stars here based on a typical prog rock standard, but this record is too uniquely beautiful to rate in such a way.
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Posted Saturday, October 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Lots of tasteful, yet mostly boring, guitar noodlings from Al di Meola.

I usually don't struggle to find things to say about an album, but when so little actually happens on an album (as is the case here), what is there to say? Most of the songs are mellow, meandering pieces that of course feature lots of acoustic guitar, but with little else. And I mean VERY little: few melodies, consistent tempos, or other instrumentation. This is mostly spacey, new-age, relaxing music, nothing more. This would be great music to have in a hotel lounge, but not for much else.

There are only a few places when you actually notice that a guitarist as talented as di Meola is playing, such as when he cuts loose a bit on Vertigo Shadow or some of the gorgeous runs on Atavism of Twilight. The highlight is definitely the title track, in which di Meola actually partly succeeds in creating a meaningful soundscape. This is also helped greatly by the inclusion of percussion, sparse synths, and some vocal calls and cha-chas. It's nothing spectacular, but at least it holds my attention. I cannot say the same for the rest, which is basically tender solo acoustic guitar ramblings.

I really see little reason to go out of your way to obtain this album. Unless you are in dire need of some decent ambient, relaxing tunes, Cielo e Terra has little to offer.

Report this review (#156132)
Posted Friday, December 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Even though I do not consider this album to be anywhere near a standard progressive music recording, I feel obliged to give it five stars mainly because of its amazing musical content. Di Meola showed the world that he had much more to say than regular jazz-rock/fusion outdated licks, harmonies and instrumentations. Some people say that the album is boring... Well, if you're looking for regular prog rock, you're in the wrong place with this one! This album is for listeners that appreciate music in all of its forms. Cielo e Terra contains probably the most enchanting harmonies and melodies that Di Meola has ever conceived. Harmonically, it has elements of jazz, bossanova, new age, rock, and even classical! Structurally, the pieces follow very logical paths, with changes in mood, and atmosphere. And one of the most outstanding things is the use of rhythm, which is closer to classical music than to popular genres. This is especially noticeable in the constant use of rubato (accelerandos, ritardandos, and free phrasing), which frees the music from a constant beat which can become monotonous and repetitive. And one more thing is that Di Meola shows jazz and rock players that you can achieve lots of colors with few instruments.... just listen to the main title track, which is composed in a sort of Suite form, with a whole universe of percussive effects and atmospheric colors from the guitars and synclaviers. In general, this album is a must for eclectic listeners that are into different styles of music and not just into the same old same old.....
Report this review (#160568)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permalink

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