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Ars Nova (ITA)

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Ars Nova (ITA) Ars Nova album cover
2.34 | 4 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Introduzione (2:15)
2. Immagine onirica di un amore al quarzo (5:25)
3. Museo (4:27)
4. Caligola (6:18)
5. Sogna (4:14)
6. Messalina (5:10)
7. Katia e il protettore (6:43)
8. Felicita (3:40)
9. Messalina moderna (3:50)
10. I sogni di una star (3:34)
11. La mia vita (3:55)

Total Time: 50:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Luigi Piergiovanni / voice and keyboards
- Stefano Piergiovannt / bass
- Pietro Eugeni / guitar (2 - 10)
- Romano Carboni / guitar (1 & 11)
- Stefano Riccioni / drums (2, 3, 4, 6 & 7)
- Amedeo Scacco / drums (5)
- Stefano Falcone / drums (1, 8, 9, 10 & 11)
- Silvano Melgiovanni / keyboards (5)
- Riccardo Guerucci / keyboards (1, 9, 10 & 11)
- Pasquale Del Duca / keyboards (1& 11)

Releases information

CD Mellow Records MMP-317 (2002)

Thanks to finnforest for the addition
and to proglucky for the last updates
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ARS NOVA (ITA) Ars Nova ratings distribution

(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (50%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ARS NOVA (ITA) Ars Nova reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Todd
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano!
2 stars Digging deep in the Mellow catalogue of Italian reissues is immensely satisfying. I've yet to find a bad album, and there have been some real gems unearthed (see Stefano Testa). One of the great things the label has done is find artists that never released albums during their existence but have singles or live recordings to their credit. ARS NOVA is such a band.

Existing from 1974 through 1980 and revolving around the Piergiovanni brothers, ARS NOVA recorded two singles during their career. Neither of the singles is present on this album. Rather, there are eight live tracks (audio quality slightly above average for this type of live recording) and three studio tracks sequenced roughly chronologically (with one exception, as best I can tell). The opening track, "Introduzione," is a nice instrumental from the last iteration of the band, probably recorded around 1979, with emphasis on the keyboards and guitar. The next three tracks are live and appear to date to the band's beginning in 1974. On the first, "Immagine Onirica di un Amore al Quarzo," the keyboards provide a nice atmosphere, with bass and drums solid but not too creative. "Museo" follows with a nice atmospheric intro, then segues into hard rock. "Caligola" is more straightforward pop, although very pleasant. The fifth track, "Sogna," seems to be a studio track, although the production is so poor it could be live. It's really not very good! Tracks 6- 10 are live. The sixth track, "Messalina," is my favorite on the album. I love the guitar solo over the atmospheric keyboards, with the bass in a great groove. Lots of energy in this one. "Katia e il Protettore," is another good song that has a nice hooky theme and an extended drum solo. The rest of the album is pop with little prog added. The best of the rest is the final studio track, "La Mia Vita."

I'm trying to come up with a point of reference for this band that might be useful. Augusto Croce in his bio on lists OFFICINA MECCANICA, but truthfully the resemblance is quite superficial, and only to the most bland, straightforward of OM's songs, like "Insieme al Sole." Don't expect OM with this album! Other pop oriented bands in that era include CAPRICORN COLLEGE, but ARS NOVA band doesn't reach their level. Another contemporary band is LA BOTTEGA DELL'ARTE, and this may be the closest comparison I can find, especially their 1977 album "Dentro." But that's as obscure as this one, so it's not very helpful I'm afraid. This album doesn't approach any of the singer/songwriter works that I'm familiar with either.

So the bottom line is ARS NOVA is for the patient RPI enthusiast who is looking to expand horizons and flesh out collections. This pleasant pop oriented album with too few prog moments for my taste merits two stars.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Warm, accessible, and far from essential

Ars Nova are not a first tier Italian prog band, they probably reside in the middle of the third tier actually. The group from Rome began in 1974 and was led by the Piergiovanni brothers, Luigi and the late Stefano. In their active years of the late 1970s, the band managed only to record two singles. But their other recorded tracks, along with some live tracks, were documented on one of the many archival Mellow posthumous recordings which have become the treasure of the RPI fan.

These 11 tracks show a typically romantic Italian music mixed with a healthy shot of period rock and pop. This is music whose goal is much more the entertainment of the listener than anything risky or experimental. To my ears there is not much which is exciting or challenging and yet it is not terrible either. This is a much more satisfying posthumous release that the self-titled Cerchio d'Oro album in a somewhat similar style of release. Ars Nova are a band who likely would have improved very much had they made a modern era comeback album like Cerchio did. In trying to come up with a non-Italian band to compare them to, I would say in their best moments they remind me a bit of the Yugo band Tako with their spacey background atmospheres. While not as accomplished as those lads, Ars combine that love for a good rock track with that floating, serene bed of keyboards. Their best example of their success would be something like "Caligola" which starts like a foggy mellotron dream before dropping into a totally Beatle-esque chorus part complete with a Harrison style guitar solo and fade-out. "Sogna" is a lovely and sentimental late '70s pop track like those you would find on a Ktel singer-songwriter collection, with a fine piano melody. In fact, the later more pop-oriented tracks remind me of the '70s American band called Player who scored a big hit with "Baby Come Back." Imagine that track with more Italian flavor and vocals and you'll get the idea of one aspect of Ars Nova. The other side of them is the RPI influence of the period that you'll hear on the live stuff.

Without a doubt, Ars Nova is only for the most dedicated RPI fan who has already worked through the essential titles and the better lesser-known gems. The lower prog quotient and average quality of the finished product holds my rating to "for fans," yet some of these tracks will almost surely please those who enjoy melodic pop as much or more than pure progressive rock. I certainly enjoy the album on occasion, when one needs a break from the more challenging material.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ars Nova was an Italian band,which never got the opportunity of a proper LP release in the 70's.Led by the Piergiovanni brothera, Luigi (who suffered from polyomyelitis since he was four) and Stefano, and based in Rome, they only released two singles in 1977 and 1978 respectively.1978 sees the departure of the band's original drummer and bassist,then Ars Nova became a sextet with double keyboards,but this formation wasn't meant to be for a long time.From their formation in 1974 till their split in 1980,they covered many different styles of rock music,most of them where collected both from studio and live recordings and released as a posthumous release by Mellow Records in 2005.

The album sees the band stepping into various rock sections,from Classic Italian Prog to Heavy Rock to Orchestrated Pop.The live tracks are characterized by a very raw sound due to the bad recording equipment and contain also some atonal moments on vocals,but seem to be the most interesting for the prog rock fan.Romantic vocals,sensitive guitar work,strong use of synths in a light symphonic soundscape will leave the Italian Prog follower definitely satisfied,recalling bands like early IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE, L' ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO and PIERPAOLO BIBBO.The studio tracks are a different story,it is mostly Orchestrated Pop/Rock with a good production this time, certainly well-arranged,but it depends on the listener to like them or not.Personally I found them quite interesting,they are filled with intense vocals and good pianos creating a few splendid melodies.

After the demise of the band,both Piergiovanni brothers ccontinued to be involved in the music industry and even established the Interbeat label.''Ars Nova'' is a strange story actually,a uneven but so balanced album at the same time.The good progressive tracks suffer from the mediocre production,the poppy tracks will not be everybody's taste,but they are recorded sufficiently on the other hand.Yet all compositions are fairly enjoyable in my opinion to be at least recommended.

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