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Nichelodeon Il gioco del silenzio album cover
3.88 | 53 ratings | 21 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD - Il gioco del silenzio

1. Fame (3:53)
2. Fiaba (6:57)
3. Claustrofilia (5:27)
4. Malamore e la Luna (8:59)
5. Amanti in guerra (5:56)
6. Ombre cinesi (5:38)
7. Apnea (7:15)
8. Il giardino degli altri (8:16)
9. La corsa dei trattori (ghost track) (1:44)
10. Se (7:59)
11. Lana di vetro (7:55)
12. Ciņ che rimane (8:59)

Total Time 78:58

DVD - Come sta Annie? - Twin Peaks 20th Anniversary Show

"Il gioco del silenzio live - Nichelodeon in concert"
- A solemn preface
- Ombre cinesi
- Apnea
- Claustrofilia
- Se
- Ciņ che rimane
- Malamore e la Luna

"Passaggio nella loggia nera - Twin Peaks live soundtrack"
- Pt. I: A walk inside the Black Lodge (Sycamore Trees)
- Pt. II: The bank
- Pt. III: RR Diner
- Pt. IV: Return into the Black Lodge (Firewalking)
- Pt. V: Out of the Lodge (Come sta Annie?)

Total Time 83:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Francesco Chiapperini / saxophone, clarinet, flute, EWI
- Andrea Illuminati / piano, melodica, bombarda
- Claudio Milano / vocals
- Andrea Murada / percussion, didjeridoo, noise effects, flute, vocals
- Max Pierini / electric counterbass, ocarina
- Luca Pissavini / viola, synth, toys, field recordings, duduk, theremin
- Lorenzo Sempio / guitars, synth

- Carola Caruso / backing vocals (6), female vocals (2)
- Stefano Delle Monache / electronics & laptop (6)
- Estibaliz Igea / operatic vocals (5)
- Luciano Margorani / electric guitar & noises (4)
- Luca Olivieri / synth & noises (3), glockenspiel (11)
- Claudio Pirro / classical guitar (1), (2)
- Antonello Raggi / electronics & laptop (10)
- Marco Tuppo / synth (11)

Releases information

Lizard Records LIZARDCD0069, CD + DVD

Thanks to andrea for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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NICHELODEON Il gioco del silenzio ratings distribution

(53 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NICHELODEON Il gioco del silenzio reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by andrea
4 stars Nichelodeon define themselves as a "chemical laboratory engaged in performing audio- visual crafts". Indeed, this project is mainly the brainchild of Claudio Milano, vocalist and composer who started to work on it 1997. In 2007 he gathered around him a first line up for some live performances and in 2008 a first self-produced live album was released, "Cinemanemico". In June 2009 the line up changed and now features Claudio Milano (vocals), Francesco Chiapperini (sax, clarinet, flute), Andrea Illuminati (piano, melodica, bombarda), Andrea Murada (percussion, didgeridoo, noise effects, flute, vocals), Max Pierini (electric counterbass, ocarina) Luca Pissavini (viola, synth, toys, field recordings, duduk, theremin) and Lorenzo Sempio (guitars, synth). In September 2010 was released on the independent label Lizard Records "Il gioco del silenzio" (The game of silence), the first Nicheodeon's studio album. It features many guest musicians and the overall sound is extremely rich and colourful. Sources of inspiration range from John Cage to opera, from Kurt Weil and Bertold Brecht to jazz-rock and psychedelia. Well, experimental music is not everyone's cup of tea but in this case the result is a well balanced concoction of styles that gives strength to the poetical content of the lyrics and Claudio Milano peculiar vocal style and theatrical approach help to convey emotions.

The opener "Fame" (Hunger) features a troubled mood and an uneasy atmosphere. Music is obsessive and discomfort seems leading to madness, then tension melts in a desperate invocation... "Light that knows the secret of my name, just tell me you exist, that life is too short to repress myself / Light that shines at the recall of my name, let me discover where you are, for I feel like sleeping / Let this hunger be quenched...".

"Fiaba" (Fable) is one of my favourite pieces on this album. It's a kind of surreal and poetical description of a bombardment... "Lying like lizards, we suddenly were ballerinas dancing between the seeds that thundered / With the tails, souls never grew again, with a shout:- War! / The sun darkened us...". The mood is almost dreamy and vocals soar like a prayer... "Free me from the hate inside of me / Free me from the hate that is me...".

"Claustrofilia" (Claustrophilia) is agoraphobic and tense. Sometimes is difficult to keep up with the frenzy rhythm of a busy life and the desire to find an artificial shelter and shut out the troubles is strong... "Like many dolls at the window on a plane that sooner or later will fall / Freer than ever, freer than ever, freer than ever, freer...".

"Malamore e la Luna" (Evilove and the moon) is melancholic and haunting. A romantic tango turns to nightmare depicting an ill and evil love... "Rare, thieving and greedy for life recklessness, our eyes, black holes looking through each other / What connects them is the alien frame that scares and bares and all the rest is waiting, deceit and cannibalism... Proud pantomimes of insane superstructures, we defend a mosaic of lies that we no longer distinguish from our skin / Behind our face only a blind emptiness is left to be kept / Ashen moon, shine! / Without hiding your veil / Let me be the rain to wash you and don't hold your breath / Drop of glass, reflect now each of your longings for light / No longer scared of knowing how to shatter into a thousand drops of wrath...". A great track!

"Amanti in guerra" (Lovers at war) is a touching reflection about love and hate. Two lovers try to find a shelter while it's raining confetti of stone and in a nocturnal background you can hear a soaring dirge... "Mute silences have warmed hate as a child / But the shooter's children, neither you nor I have ever mourned / Ah Israel! Ah, Israel! / Tomorrow we'll find the courage to tell ourselves:- I don't know what I want, who am I, who are you? / Fear for a stroke of gunpowder is too cheap / No, it's not worth your I love you / Will we ever be able to surrender and fly through the wrinkles that life is giving us?...".

"Ombre cinesi" (Chinese shadows) is a surreal experimental track. It could remind of some Area's experiments but in my opinion the result is not completely convincing... "I've dug galleries in long unfocused dreams between warm sheets of guilt at my wakening...".

"Apnea" (Apnea) is another experimental track featuring an uneasy atmosphere and breathless passages... "Never suggest answers, not asking questions, it's like building yourself a prison / Not acknowledging confines and limits is not the way out... You have to be in peace with yourself to learn how to love...".

"Il giardino degli altri" (Other people's garden) starts like a mantra. It's a kind of psychoanalytic journey back into childhood where you can listen to nursery rhymes veined of a psychedelic and dark mood... "I put my dreams in a well / Then when evening comes secretly I look down on them from above and I feel fear / Fear of seeing them in the dark, drowning slowly / They are so deep, they are so far away...".

"La corsa dei trattori" (The race of the tractors) is a short instrumental credited as a ghost track that leads to "Se" (If), an experimental piece featuring lyrics taken from a famous poem by Cecco Angiolieri (1260-1312). Well, in my opinion the experiment was not successful and I think that this is the weakest track on this album.

"Lana di vetro" (Glass wool) is definitely better. It features folksy passages and pungent reflections about life and education... "How can we surrender to the recklessness of a child and invent ourselves mothers not to acknowledge our failures / If those who never die... Kill?".

Last track "Ciņ che rimane" (What's left behind) is long and complex. It begins with a delicate piano solo, then music takes different directions... "Let your reality explode, then swim in the depths of what's left behind / Let the truth explode, then rush to drink what's left behind...". A beautiful and unconventional epic piece...

On the whole a few weak moments don't waste this interesting and challenging work that lasts about 78 minutes. Along with the CD comes also a DVD including the live version of some tracks from the album and a "cine-concerto" featuring music inspired by the last episode of "Twin Peaks". Well, I'm sure this will be an excellent addition to your prog collection...

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is NICHELODEON's first studio album and all I can say is that this is one ambitous, elaborate and expansive work. Full of innovative ideas it really needs to be heard with headphones on. It's like listening to a theatre show. In the liner notes we are told of some of the variety of styles here including "Central European theatre songs, to Jazz and contemporary Classical music, noise, Psychedelic music, World music, Electronics and Sound design; the new Avant-garde". And check out all the instruments used on this almost 79 minute tour de force. I want to congratulate Claudio and his band for this outstanding release, it surpassed my expectations.The only thing I like better on their first release (live) over this one is the album cover. Oh and I love the picture of the band all dressed in black in the liner notes looking so serious, then you turn the page and there they are again but this time they're holding saws, clippers and other tools and yelling. Priceless.

"Fame" sounds so good with the horns to start as these theatrical vocals come in with low end sounds. It turns dissonant then the previous soundscape returns but with discordant piano. Vocals are back. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes then it gets fuller with vocals. "Fiaba" opens with flute and piano. Some strange sounds too. Reserved vocals join in and it picks up. A calm with piano only 2 minutes in then flute and vocals return. It turns dissonant 4 1/2 minutes in with horns and piano. Intense. "Claustrofilia" features dark and laid back horn melodies. Piano then vocals come in. It's building slowly. It settles back late. "Malamore E La Luna" opens with piano and clarinet as vocals join in.The vocals are expressive as other strange sounds join in. Some strings 3 1/2 minutes in then it calms right down as sounds come and go. It gets really intense 5 minutes in with all kinds of different sounds including laughter.

"Amanti In Guerra" is atmospheric until reserved vocals and piano take over after a minute. I like the brief female vocal melodies (they come back later). A fairly minimalistic track. "Ombre Cinesi" opens with experimental and haunting sounds. Female soprano vocals 2 minutes in. It sounds like she's singing in a barn at one point with all those background sounds. Male spoken vocals replace her vocals late. "Apnea" like the opening track sounds great with those horns and rhythm. Vocals join in then piano. Some good bass too. "Il Giardino Degli Altri" opens with percussion as reserved vocals chant. It all gets fuller then it calms right down with creepy background noises and sinister vocals. Check out the noisy atmosphere late.

"La Corse Dei Trattori (Ghost Track)" is a short crazy tune that makes me laugh. "Se" is eerie with sparse piano and spoken words in the background with other strange sounds. It turns really bizarre 3 minutes in. A change 6 1/2 minutes in as it settles. "Lana Di Vetro" has these laid back sounds that come and go then it kicks in before 3 minutes. It's almost like a jig here. Vocals and some intensity join in then back to the jig as contrasts continue. "Cio Che Rimane" is dark with piano melodies. Reserved vocals after a minute. It builds.Great sound 3 minutes in with guitar and vocal melodies. Claudio even does a brief Demetrio Stratus impersonation.The dissonance after 6 minutes is fantastic.

Truly a "must have" for Rio / Avant fans out there. Easily 4 stars.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian outfit NICHELODEON was formed back in 2007, and has been more or less correctly described as a pet project of composer and vocalist Claudio Milano even if is it a band project rather than a solo vehivle as such. "Il Gioco del Silencio" is the second full length album by the band, and was released in 2010 by renowned indie label Lizard Records, alongside "Come Sta Annie?", the first ever DVD release by the band as well as their record label. A description of the latter to be covered in a separate write-up.

Musically this band has been described as belonging to the avant-garde category of progressive rock bands, a description which seems to cover the stylistic expression of this act rather well. While arguably not as extremely complex as other artists active within this particular field the material at hand is at times highly demanding, of the kind that will leave even accomplished listeners well acquainted with material of a more challenging nature drained after their first venture through the almost 80 minutes of music at hand on this disc. A defining part of their approach seems to be to explore the borderlands between melody and dissonance, with a more or less defined melodic motif used as a red thread while counterpointed by dissonant sounds and textures, or by using the latter as the compositional backbone and adding in fragmented melodic motifs and sounds. Elongated melodic themes broken apart by gradually evolving dissonant segments and insertions of noisescapes and cacophonous excursions with more than a few nods in the direction of free form jazz are other distinct traits to this production.

As far as instrumentation goes, the piano, saxophones and the clarinet are the main providers of the distinctly melodic laced motifs, although the former often ventures out on jazz-inspired runs of a more dissonant nature as well. Alongside the lead vocals, which are also frequently used more like an instrument than a mere lyrical provider. Remnants and influences of classical and folk music make frequent appearances, these associations clearly a result of the instruments taking the lead as far as providing musical motifs and themes go. The plethora of additional instruments adds nuances to these excursions, some of them highly dominating when appearing. Like the guitar, especially when used to provide drawn out riffs adding a brooding, ominous dimension to the proceedings. The aforementioned vocals have an additional trait that adds a particular dimension to this band's sound too - a delivery that is even more theatrical than what is common for Italian acts. Which are generally known for having lead vocals of a theatrical nature.

The end result is somewhat of a varied affair. Nichelodeon does a fine balancing act between the melodic and the dissonant, between the pleasant and the unpleasant. At best the end results are stunning. Fiaba and Claustrofilia standing out in particular as far as my personal taste for such ventures go. On the other end of the scale efforts like the cacophonous Ombre Cinesi and the unnamed tenth track on this CD didn't come across as too interesting to my ears. Personal taste will without doubt bring forth listeners who's impressions are the exact opposite of mine though, but I do believe there will be a consensus amongst most that this album is a good one overall, at least for those who take an interest in productions that have made with an emphasis on material of a challenging and adventurous nature.

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Nichelodeon's album Il gioco del silenzio is quite unlike any other RIO/Avant album I've listened to up until this point. The album still has the experimentation and bizarre sound that I've come to love the genre so much for, but presented in a different way. Where as other albums can be blatant and straightforward with their experimentation, a lot of the time on this album it manages to subtly sneak its way into your mind. In a way, this album reminds me of a theater production or a movie. That isn't overly surprising, as I've read that Claudio has written for theatre productions. The music here draws on many influences, and each track tells a story of its own. From what I understand, this album includes a mostly different lineup from that on the band's debut. Still present here is the band's mastermind/leading voice, Claudio Milano. Apart from him, everyone is new since the last album, and we're presented with a greatly expanded lineup on this album. From the sound of the album though, these musicians are all comfortable playing together. Everything sounds wonderful on this album.

To my ears, one of the main focal points of the album is Claudio's vocals. He has a very emotive voice, and as John said, his vocals even draw to mind the great Demetrio Stratos at times (coincidentally, the track "Apnea" was the winner of the fourteenth Review "Omaggio a Demetrio Stratos", an award presented to new, innovative Italian groups). In addition to the vocals, piano, clarinet and sax play pretty large roles on this recording. The band pulls off wonderful, textured music made to please fans of adventurous music, and I must say it worked well in my case.

Reviewing song by song isn't exactly my style, and the other reviewers have already done a great job of giving you an idea what each will sound like. As far as the music on a whole...this is one which I've found hard to describe exactly why I like it in words beyond "I really like what I've heard on this album and want to hear more!". The way they manage to make tracks shift between sounds and styles here is really great. Several tracks really stand out for me on the album; "Fiaba", "Malamore e la Luna", "Ombre Cinesi", "Il giardino degli altri" and "Ciņ che rimane" in particular. There are no weak tracks on this album in my opinion, though. My only concern is with the album's length - some listens do seem to drag a bit, but it's nothing bad. As a courtesy to those of us who can't understand Italian but would like to know what they're saying, the group was nice enough to provide a translation of the lyrics in the booklet. I consider this to be a wonderful addition to my collection, and I'm looking forward to hearing more material from Claudio and his fellow band members in the future. This album has something for nearly everyone, I think; a great mixture of melodic tracks and dissonance, and a unique atmosphere.

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nichelodeon: Claudio Milano is the man behind Nichelodeon, a theater-eqsue act making diverse and rich-sounding music, focused on creation of ambiances and particular atmospheres, ranging from the eerie to the highly emotional. Their first output has been the 2007 release appropriately named Cinemanemico, as the music has a cinematic characteristic to it (I reviewed it as well). 2010 sees the release of a studio album and a DVD of a live show at the Bloom club in Mezzago, Italy. The DVD performance consists of some of the band's material re-interpreted as well as a soundtrack of the last episode of Twin Peaks to celebrate its 20 years anniversary (to be reviewed separately).

Il Gioco del Silenzio (The Game of Silence): Nichelodeon's music feels spontaneous, impulsive, coming straight from the "demented" and "tortured" mind of Claudio Milano. The sounds emanating from the speakers can be frightening and spooky while at other points they can be charming and embracing. But most of all, the music sounds like a real-time soundtrack of various experiences. Listening to the album, I felt I was travelling through Claudio's mind, encountering all these strange sceneries, places and people.

The music is an odd but well-done mixture of abstract and tangible. While one can discern melodic lines, it is presented in a way such as to make believe it is planned, or in a blurred and hazy manner (adding to that is the fact that there are no drumming on the album). This comes back to the issue of spontaneity: that is, the music for the most part sounds intuitive and impulsive, at times unstructured. The songs for the most part feature Claudio's emotive voice, a piano and various noises and other instruments adding their sound and vibes, all together creating chilling and expressive soundscapes, eerie sonic projections and nightmarish-sounding compositions (listen in particular to song 4, Malamore e la Luna). Listening on my headpones at night, I felt I was transferred from the coziness of my seat to the midst of a twisted and creepy setting. Not all songs are in this same vein however, but they all share a dreamy and abstract-like manner of expression to a varying degree. At times the songs can be chaotic and slightly disharmonic, such as on the wonderful track 10 of the album, Se.

Claudio's voice is evocative, powerful, theatrical and emotional. It is at the foreground, leading the music and setting the tone. He switches from a rhythmic and structured style, which sounds evil in a way to a freer and demented-sounding vocal delivery. However, to create these pieces of music and make them as strong as they are, he has assembled a large lineup of musicians playing all sorts of instruments, from acoustic (piano, flute, sax, percussions) to electric (guitars, synths and other noise making instruments) as well as field recordings. The production is clear and gives each instrument and voice the proper treatment and place in the mix.

If there ever was an album that needs full attention and headphone listening, this is it. Miss a beat (or a bit) and you can totally lose it and not be able to reconnect. This will not be an easy album to absorb and open up to, but a rewarding one, once you do.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For their sophomore release and first proper Studio album "Il Gioco Del Silenzio", Nichelodeon augment their personnel and enhance their sonic framework. What a lovely avant-prog album this is, so full of richly developed textures and adventurous orchestrations: this one might as well be regarded as a cornerstone of Italy's experimental musical scene in the years to come. Influences from (or coincidences with) Opus Avantra, Art Bears, Tortoise and Area can be easily traced by the informed listener, but once and for all it is only fair to consider Nichelodeon as a voice of its own in the realms of contemporary avant-garde progressive music. Piano and saxes are usually the most featured items in the instrumental schemes, while the lead guitar and synth are mostly in charge of opening doors to moods and ambiences to be fulfilled by the integral ensemble. And there is, of course, Milano's singing: Milano uses his voice as a relatively autonomous piece in this musical machinery, yet it consistently remains as a coherent member of the whole. The powerful results of the band's enriched dynamics can be appreciated at first in the three not-new tracks - let's take a look at these. The opener 'Fame' bears a deep sense of extroverted boldness (including taboo language in the lyrics). 'Malamore E La Luna' (a pet composition of Claudio Milano's, which was also included in a solo album before his Nichelodeon days) is tremendously evocative and dense, which provides a special flavor to the main body's inherent lyricism. Then, an extended instrumental closure works on the ongoing density and takes it to a vibrant, majestic level via the use of exuberant free jazz- oriented endeavors. 'Amanti In Guerra' builds on the preceding track's density and elaborates a greyer atmosphere from there. This last couple of tracks states a definitive highlight for the album. Now, let's go for the newer pieces. 'Fiabe' bears a twisted lyricism where the apparent calm reveals itself as a disguise for an inner torment. 'Claustrofilia' is evidently more robust in sound and mood, while 'Ombre Cinesi' brings an abstract impetus that enables the band to express their most inscrutable side. 'Apnea', on the other hand, is patently colorful, even sounding strangely optimistic among the overtly general flairs of density and tension. 'Il Giardino Degli Altri' is somewhat creepy in places: the clever use of synth layers and percussive resources sets the nucleus for the piece. Track no. 9 is a hidden track that delivers a joyful exercise on jazz-fusion, in this way establishing an introductory contrast to 'Se', yet another abstract adventure. 'Lana Di Vetro' goes to a different place: it bears genuine warmth and (to a certain degree) lightness among the dominant dissonances: its combination of rock, folk and jazz elements makes it appealing in its own terms. The closing climax is quite efficient and appealing as a culmination of the "Gioco Del Silenzio" experience: 'Ciņ Che Rimane' starts with a sober piano-guitar dialogue, then shifting to an extroverted musical journey filled with intriguing nuances and magical mystery; a few second before the 5 minute mark, the mood gets relaxed but not relaxing, since this is actually the threshold to a landscape of mesmeric tension that encapsulates specific calculated explosions; the final passages are signaled by exotic flavors mostly driven by the percussion, piano and soprano sax. The experience with Nichelodeon's second album has been terrific for me and I'm confident enough as to regard it as a future classic of avant-progressive rock (call it RIO, chamber-rock or anything else if you will?).
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian prog rock is one of the most controversial regional musical school. Starting from late 60- s, it gives us some best (as Area) and some worst (endless neo-classical well polished mellow bands with almost operatic male vocals,etc) . To be honest, during last decades there weren't too many really great new bands,coming from Italy, but these few who was came, are really great!

From very first this album's sounds I understood it is not just another sweet-voices pop-prog band (plenty of them are all around in modern Italian market). Combination of contemporary avant, jazz, great female operatic voices,traditional songs from 50-s, excellent instrumentation, complex composition and very Italian passion! Such music is recorded there!

Band's great talent is to mix really complex and even controversial structures and sounds into one composition,which sounds as excellent attractive final product!Besides of really nervous,dissonant pieces and common tension, this album contains plenty moments of simply beautiful music!

Experimental, very professional and unusual, this album is one between few really interesting avant-prog releases coming this year.Not an easy listening though.

My rating is 4+!

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the first studio album from Italian avant-prog ensemble Nichelodeon. Led by singer/lyricist Claudio Milano, who has a great versatile singing voice. Their previous release was a live album, some of the songs on it reappear here in re-recorded form. The origins of the concept and music of Nichelodeon go back to the late 1990s. They didn't become an active working group until 2005. The music here displays many styles and can be very melodic one minute, and more noisy and improvisational the next. The album was mostly recorded live in the studio with some vocal overdubs.

The vocals are in Italian but the CD booklet comes with English translations. Judging by the translated lyrics, they appear to be deep and thought-provoking. There is no actual drummer in the group, but there is percussion in places. The main instruments appear to be piano, electric guitar, electric upright bass, sax and viola. There are some great synthesizer sounds here and there. Good use is also made of oddball instruments like didjeridoo and Theremin. Sometimes the music has a very traditional western European sound. Not just Italian music mind you, but some French as well. Possibly other cultures.

The album begins with "Fame", which is the Italian word for "hunger" and not a cover of the David Bowie tune. The main riff/melody is a nice mix of sax and electric upright bass. The singing is sort of catchy. Goes into freer, improv sections at times. Near the end is some nice traditional European music. "Fiaba" is a song you can listen to on PA. Starts off very lovely with clarinet(?) and some sound effects. Some female vocals. The main 'chorus' part is very good. You hear water noises at some points. Music picks up when electric guitar comes in. Nice piano playing in the middle. I like the sound effects at the end.

"Claustrofilia" is mostly vocals, guitar and various sounds. Picks up near the end with percussion and sax. "Malamore e la Luna" has a 'chorus' part which is very melodic and nice. You hear some strange laughing while the music is very free and loose. "Amanti in Guerra" starts with cool industrial noises and echoed bird-like sounds. Then goes into a section with mostly piano and vocals. More instruments and vocals join in. Some nice flute or clarinet in the middle.

"Ombre cinesi" is based around Claudio's lyrics and vocals. The music has no structure and is very free and improvisational. The most avant-garde part of the album. I like when Claudio says "bah, bah, bah, bah" as a metal-like guitar plays with him. "Apnea" has a cool main riff/melody on sax and electric upright bass. The part after that is even better. Goes into improv. Halfway goes back to the song portion. Music gets freer and looser for the remainder of the track. "Il giardino delgi altri" begins with percussion and chanted vocals. Then synth, guitar and wind instruments. Good melodic electric guitar playing. Good use of wind instruments and what sound like an accordion.

Track #9 has no title but is called "La corsa dei trattori" on the PA album page. Basically some rock'n'roll guitar with a wind instrument and what sounds like a horse tap-dancing. "Se" at the beginning has a tape of someone speaking Italian which gets altered. Mostly improv with some echoed vocals. There is a vocal theme with electric guitar. In the middle some themes from movies and TV shows are played. "Lana di vetro" starts with a long improv section before it goes into an upbeat Italian-style music with bass drum. The song goes punk style briefly in parts. Goes back to improv at the end. "Cia che rimane" starts with some horror film type piano. More instruments and vocals come in. The music gets more cheerful. Some percussion and synth get added later. Ends with piano and vocals.

This was one of those albums where I didn't know what to think of it the first time I heard it. Very dense music which needs to be listened to several times in order to appreciate it. The sound is very good. The mix of vocals and instruments is well done. A unique sound can go a long way, and these guys have it. Recommended to those who want to explore some modern avant- prog. The improv sections will be an acquired taste to some, but repeated listens help. This may yet be a masterpiece, but for now I give a strong 4 stars.

Review by The Hemulen
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's hard not to be won over by "Il Gioco del Silenzio", this Italian septet's first studio album. Though a predominantly dark, brooding affair, it is infused with a splash of wit and charm, and exhibits a degree of macabre theatricality, all of which helps to prevent it from becoming an oppressively or overwhelmingly morose experience.

The main group plays a huge range of instruments on this record; guitar, bass, sax, flute, piano, melodica, synths and theremin to name but a few. This diversity of instrumentation coupled with a variety of guest musicians, superb, expansive production and a liberal use of noises, effects and field recordings all makes for an extremely rich palette of sounds.

Perhaps unusually for a band pegged (on this site at least) under the label of avant-prog, the music on this disc is rooted in often quite traditional song structures, though these are admittedly often subverted through the use of dissonance, improvisation and passages of largely non-instrumental noise. However, it is Claudio Milano's powerful vocals and thoughtful, cliche-free lyrics (helpfully printed with English translations alongside the original Italian) which provide the focal point for the majority of the album. The result is an endless struggle between melodramatic song, manic free improvisation and deep, textured soundscapes. At times reminiscent of Van Der Graaf Generator or the darker 'classic' Italian bands like Il Balletto di Bronzo, at other times redolent of Henry Cow at their most free and adventurous; there is an urgency and power to this music, a constant bubbling intensity, which makes it impossible to resist.

This is a refreshingly contemporary record which really stands out against the often contrived efforts of many avant-prog/chamber prog groups who seem content to retread the same old path as their predecessors. Nichelodean do not create artificially complex music. Instead, they allow their natural musicianship and feel for both melody and counter-melody, structure and improvisation to create a sound of their own which is powerful, arresting and truly unique. Highly recommended.

Review by Evolutionary Sleeper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Italian band Nichelodeon's debut Studio album Il Gioco Del Silenzio straddles the line between Avant-Prog (a genre I'm quite familiar with ) and RPI (one I'm not so familiar with). The band's sound is highly atmospheric and rich. The overall feel of the album is akin to that of a soundtrack for theater or an opera. One can easily visualize actors frolicking to and fro on stage to this strange and unusual music. The focal point of the music is obviously Claudio Milano's vocals, which range from a smooth, silky texture to a raspy type of growl, that seem to tell a story to the listener. There is also excellent sax work throughout the album, which is probably the highlight for me. And though the album as a whole can meander at times there are a plethora of guest musicians that prevent the album from ever getting dull or boring. This is really dramatic music that draws you in and is an excellent debut for this promising Italian band. Many thanks to Claudio Milano for sending me the CD + DVD. I can't wait to hear more from this exciting new band.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars There's a lot to like about Il Gioco Di Silenzio, the first full-length studio album by Italian band Nichelodeon (following a live album two years earlier). On this album, the band establishes themselves as an intelligent, eclectic, dramatic unit. To my ears, the music sounds like a combination of the romantic and symphonic side of RPI, with a dash of oddness splashed in - and then two scoops of avant garde and dissonance.

To date, I haven't had much chance to delve too deeply into the lyrical content presented on this disc, although I hope to do so in the future. I must admit that I am intrigued by what is contained within, especially given the creative cover. For the time being, this review will focus on the musical side of this album.

And on the musical side - the band really does a good job here! A lot of the music is melodic, and the melodies are all very nice. Many different instruments are used here, including Clarinet, which is a big bonus for me - the playing on Fiaba (especially at the beginning) is especially beautiful. Claudio Milano handles most of the vocal duties on here, and for me this is another of the highlights on this album. The vocal melodies are very strong, and Claudio is able to bend his voice into various different sounds. The rest of the band all have great performances as well, but those are the two aspects that stood out most to me.

This album is a pretty strong listen from beginning to end, but in the middle it doesn't quite stay as strong. The best tracks are definitely those near the beginning or end. This can lead to the album seeming to drag around the middle, but it is definitely worth listening through the few songs that aren't quite as good as the best stuff to get to the end.

I definitely love the dramatic aspect of this music, which is aided in large by the great use of atmosphere and melody, and the vocals. Overall this is a really great, if imperfect, find, and one of my favorite new discoveries from 2010.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Brilliant band, amazing album!

Yeah, they are Nichelodeon. A peculiar band from Italy whose work does not lie only in the musical side of things, because they tend to also emphasize the visual side, of course that cannot be noticed in an audio CD, but if you have the chance of getting their DVD, you will understand what I mean.

When I read the interview Torodd did to them, I felt really interested, so I read the reviews here in PA and visited their website, and let me tell you, that when I fortunately got the album (thanks Claudio), I understood why it was so praised and why people were talking about them in the past few months. They are a fabulous band!

Their music may be difficult to classify, so you better listen to it and enjoy it without labeling, though if you want some adjectives, the term avant-garde would fit. This is a 2010 studio album entitled "Il Gioco del Silenzio", which features twelve compositions that make 78 minutes of running time, not really a short album.

It kicks off with "Fame" which is one of the shortest compositions. Since the first seconds the sax sound appears, along with other elements that create a tense atmosphere, later vocals enter and add its dramatic sound. A couple of minutes later there is a cadence and even sensual sound that lasts for a few seconds, and then the song changes again.

"Fiaba" is a great song that has a soft sound, which is progressing little by little, I like the different elements they use to create music, and how they manage to build up structures and atmospheres. One can easily feel part of the music, create images on your mind and even conceive an imaginary story. "Claustrofilia" begins with a melodica sound, later vocals appear and once again create that sensation of tension. At half the track makes a change, a great and interesting passage appears with various instruments that create werid noises, along with Milano's voice, it makes a great track.

"Malamore e la Luna" is one of the longest tracks here. There is a brief sound reminiscent of a tango at the beginning, but it disappears seconds later when the voice appears again with those werrd noises. The role of the piano all over the album is extraordinary, it puts different colors and adds fresh and eclectic moods to the existent sound. I really like those quieter passages where you can close your eyes and let your imagination do the rest.

"Amanti in Guerra" offers a cool mixture of sounds and emotions, I love how it begins carefully, soft and calm and then gradually progresses creating chaotic sounds and those dramatic atmospheres, the vocals (not only Milano's, but all the backing ones) help a lot in the success of this track. "Ombre Cinesi" takes you to a different but curious world, those weird wind and percussion sound together lead the listener to an unknown place which is about to be explored, you just have to open your arms wide and feel the music deep inside your mind. Some minutes later, the name of Demetrio Stratos will come to your mind, I believe he inspired Claudio somehow.

Now a track I really enjoy. "Apnea" is full of cadence, a great sax sound which leads the track at first, later the other instruments with such freaky noises, and vocals, contribute to build up the road of the track. This is a pretty interesting composition that surely will appeal to those RIO fans (actually most of the songs here would appeal, but I mentioned this since it is one of my favorite tracks on "Il Gioco del Silenzio"). "Il Giardino degli Altri" may alter your senses, the voices are freaky (or freakier) and some of the musical passages will make your heart beat faster, I imagine some terror scenes, very dramatic.

The shortest track is "La corsa dei trattori" which is an instrumental piece that suggests some grade of comedy. "Se" is a longer song in which the voice reminds me again to some of the "games Stratos played" in the live performances. The guitar sound is not that evident, but always present and consistent, and once again, the piano plays a pretty interesting role. Worth mentioning also the string instruments such as violin and counterbass.

"Lana di vetro" is a calmer, yet intriguing track that offers different nuances while the time is running. Before minute three it stops for a second and then a brand new structure and rhythm appears, with some kind of folkish sound that will be interrupted for some seconds, but later it returns. Actually, in this song you will notice several changes in a brief space of time, which made the music even richer and more interesting.

The album finishes with "Cio che rimane" which is another long composition. The piano and its importance is evident once again here; and then the music makes some changes and provoke different sensations. After three minutes it takes a new direction and turns faster, there is a climax and the vocals enter and add its grain of sound.

The album is brilliant, complex and interesting, the only problem I found was that it is so long and in moments difficult to dig, there were one or two listens where I felt exhausted when reaching the tenth track, so go figure. Anyway, I am happy with this album and I really hope to see them on stage. Soon I'll review their DVD, which makes me want to see them and enjoy their magnificent performances. Returning to Il Gioco del Silenzio, I recommend it mostly for fans of avant-garde music. My final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by lor68
4 stars Finally I've decided to make a review about this audio CD and live project by Claudio Milano, such a brave and very skillful singer, as He was the former Lethe's vocalist in the course of 1996 and I was so enthusiast when He performed "Il Cavaliere Inesistente" along with us- a unique opera rock based upon a famous novel by Italo Calvino...even though here- of course- the music genre is completely different in comparison to his experience with Lethe, but it's anyway such an intelligent avant-gardiste and theatrical music. In fact you can appreciate his most important work so far, entitled "Il gioco del Silenzio", (issued as a fine album along with their video experience entitled "Come sta Annie? Twin Peaks 20th anniversary Show", that's a DVD resuming some live performances taken from various shows!!), and besides that's the work of maturity for Claudio!

Well, first of all you can watch a fantastic theatrical and artistic laboratory, whose dimension live on stage let their album earn a lot... then, it's an astonishing performance with their fine technical show, characterized by a powerful and highly imaginative live act, where each member shows his own talent and inventiveness as well!! Sometimes it seems a provocative experimentation, passing through some intelligent tracks like "Malamore" e "La Luna", "Ciņ che rimane" and also "Apnea", "Claustrofilia" and "Se", a memorable "bunch" of inspired acts.

Instead "Passaggio nella Loggia Nera" is a gift to the lovers of an old drama by D. Lynch, with its sinister atmosphere, entitled "Twin Peaks"...well I prefer the first section, of course being much more original and creative too, especially by thinking of their fanciful and fine artistic "games": above all their instrumentation and expressiveness, or once again- if you prefer- their "torment", are a unique mix and a special imprinting of their own, which remain alone some unforgettable characteristics...But coming back to "Passaggio nella..", at the bottom of the stage you can see the free canvas by another interesting artist, Mrs Ambra Rinaldi, who is able to share the scene with them very well and the output is remarkable!!

Their music in general is never banal or predictable, passing through the avangard RIO, the free jazz and various theatrical acts: as for these reasons, if you like all these music features you will buy the present work; instead if you prefer the most typical "symphonic" music, enriched by means of dark tones a-la Anglagard for instance (a band that Claudio appreciates very much...), you will find the most progressive features here and however the best vocal expression, which should never be missing into any music genre!!

Excellent addition to any music collection!

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Whether if you're an avant-head, an RPI addict or just a downright prog rock fan, you'll definitely find something to love with the creative band Nichelodeon. The great mixture of influences and styles within this album make it an enjoyable listen for many fans of many types of music and I'm one of the ones who really enjoy it.

All throughout the album you'll find extremely varied instrumentation, which adds to the vast array of musical styles, and almost every tune on the album can be loved. What's really to love are the vocals, I'm a big fan of Claudio Milano's style of singing and he pulls off every note extremely well. The moments where it is just piano and voice are pure bliss and a real highlight of the album.

Put in simplest terms, great effort by a great band. They definitely know how to play and the material is well written. The frontman is a great guy as well and I believe a listen should be given just for that.

4.3/5 stars. I keep finding myself coming back to it and it a darn great listen every time. Although at times it seems a little strung out, it's worth every moment of listening that it's given.

100th review, seems like just yesterday I joined the site. ;)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Nichelodeon is a chamber rock orchestra formed around the creative vision and expressive vocals of singer/songwriter Claudio Milano. His theatrical performance will be a feature you either love or hate with little neutral ground inbetween. It places him in the respectably company of notable attention-demanding performers like Hammill, Wyatt, Demetrio Stratos and even Diamada Galas, even though his voice doesn't particularly resemble either one of those artists.

But strong willful vocals won't get you anywhere without solid songs and adequate execution, and luckily the album excels in both departments. The musical accompaniments lean heavily on early 20th century experimental classical music, but at the same time, the music can be soothingly melodic, catchy and lyrical. It isn't as dark or as industrial as many other Avant rock gets these days and I think that this music could have a strong potential towards multiple audiences. If people would just care to take notice of this artist, the future should be looking bright for them.

With the artistic ethic of a band like Area and an album cover that recalls the iconic classics of the early 70s RPI, Nichelodeon strike me as a true inheritors of that scene. Not only do they continue the creative and emotive power of that scene, they also translated it successfully to the 21st century. But the music isn't RPI, it isn't rock for starters, not even chamber rock really, but it rather follows theater music traditions, be it with added hysterics, dissonance and an avant-garde approach to everything. Now, if you still don't have a clue how this may sound, imagine Paolo Conte gone berserk after being locked up in isolation for 2 weeks with nothing to listen to but Alban Berg's "Wozzeck". Insanity guaranteed.

This is a challenging and impressive debut, clearly recognizable as the fruit of many years of writing and performing by a very talented group of artists. Close to a masterpiece!

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
4 stars Welcome to the show.

Nichelodeon is a very intriguing Italian band led by vocalist Claudio Milano. Aside from a strong vocal emphasis, there is a generous amount of instruments floating around the album including piano, saxophone, viola, clarinet, guitar, ocarina, theremin, and even didgeridoo. This gives Il Gioco Del Silenzio a wonderful foundation upon the band builds. While there isn't often alot of sound at once, the amount of sounds used is a big plus for the band, in this reviewers opinion. The focus here seems to be placed more on textures, atmospheres, timbres, and creating a sound environment, than say overt use of melodies or structural complexities. Of course these things are utilized, but are more included than emphasized. All of the preceding gives Il Gioco Del Silenzio a very unique aire about it, that doesn't really remind me of many things I've heard before, which should go without saying is a plus.

There are two things that standout the most about this album, and that is Claudio's vocals, and the theatrical nature of the music. First, the vocals. The vocals on this album range from pseudo-typical crooning, to more traditional singing, to maniacal laughing, to operatic stylings, to falsetto shrieks, to deeper, dark mouth broodings, to experimental sounds. The most impressive thing about it is that each type of vocal is done quite well, and that the switch in style is very fluid. The sound of his "normal" singing voice is warm and almost soothing. But more importantly for me, his voice is very expressive and fits together with the music better than a lock and its corresponding key. (This is usually one of my biggest complaints with a band, especially one that has a heavy vocal presence.) As I've said, the other obvious feature of the this album is the theatrical feel of the music. At times, it is as if you went down to your local cabaret theater to watch a show after it was taken over by escaped inmates from your local asylum (which is a plus just in case there was confusion!). Or, to put a better way, it is as if you remove all the things you don't like about cabaret (and similar kinds of music) and add all the joys of avant-garde art in its place. Any way you say it, it works, and the end result is a few extra shots of whimsy to the music.

Speaking of music, even with the overt experimental nature of the program, there are some really strong melodies and "easier" bits sprinkled about. Apnea, Il Giardino Degli Altri, and Fabia, especially, have absolutely wonderful melodies that you could hum for days. (Further proof that the avant-garde isn't devoid of catchy material.) Another plus is the fact that even though the vocals are usually in the forefront, the musical backing is never complacent, just walking along to make it music. Instead, it moves, keeps a character of it's own, which makes it much more interesting and capable to keep my attention. On the instrumental side of things, the piano playing is certainly the most ear catching for me, with it usually punctuating the proceedings quite well. There is also some fine experimental guitar layered in throughout. However, that leads me to the greatest flaw of the disc...the length. At a CD bursting one hour, eighteen minutes, and forty-three seconds, it certainly contends for longest single CD in my collection. A natural hazard of packing the album full is the possibility for things to meander a bit to long in places, which happens occasionally in the middle and tail end of the album. But, even though it wanders it can still keep your attention, most of the time, meaning that it's rarely boring, even when the music isn't as powerful as it is elsewhere on the album.

All in all, this acts like an opera from the depths, and it really works well. Creativity is the truly the strongest aspect here. There is a certain charm of this album that makes you want to listen to it. The first time I listened to it, I liked it, but wasn't enamored. The second time, more things clicked and I really really liked it. The third time, nuances began to show themselves and my appreciation grew even more. But there was always enough to fill me with the desire to listen to Il Gioco Del Silenzio again, and each subsequent listen only underscored it. This really is an eclectic mix of musical styles and sounds that requires you to pay attention and listen to. And listen to loudly, to soak in all the little things about the music. Of course, this isn't music for everyone. This really is avant-garde music, often times eschewing 'rock' altogether. If you're not a fan of RIO/Avant-Prog this probably won't convince you to be. If you prog diet consists almost exclusively of the safer genres, this isn't for you. But, if you like creative music that doesn't fit into a box, that is willing to take chances, and not conform this is a record you should hear. This is certainly in the realm of sound art for me (if you care to make such sematical distinctions of course). (PS - Special thanks to Claudio for sending me this disc [as well as the DVD]. Mille Grazie!) 4.25 stars, recommended.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Had to recognize that I have Nichelodeon in my personal list of RIO favs since the purchase of Cinemanemico... This one has most of the basic elements from that previous attempt: complex melodies, beautiful and enigmatic piano sections, captivating atmospheres... But there's something else... ... (read more)

Report this review (#483269) | Posted by progadicto | Friday, July 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Folk rock ? Eclectic Prog ? RPI ? Avant-garde ? A lot of labels suits this band and this album. But I guess Avant-Garde is the right label. But this music have some tentacles into various other spaces too. This is the debut studio album from these Italians. This band is regarded as one of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#404396) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, February 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars By invitation of Claudio Milano, I was graced with a review copy of Nichelodeon's 'Il gioco del silenzio' ' CD, and DVD. I believe the title loosely translated is 'The game of silence.' What an honor, and what a piece of artfully crafted, mind bending, challenging and very rewarding experience. ... (read more)

Report this review (#395677) | Posted by tmay102436 | Sunday, February 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In 2007, appearing from nowhere, a voice suddenly invaded the Italian musical scene and materialized on a first self produced CD. A name began to be whispered on lips, even outside Italy: Nichelodeon! We are now in 2010 and a second album is released, this time on a well known and appreciated ... (read more)

Report this review (#377795) | Posted by Music By Mail | Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Normally a band as Nichelodeon isn't proper my type of bands. Normally I said. Isn't in fact this case. I admit that I'm a good reviewer if Claudio Milano contact my because I read a review about this CD and for DVD. Now It is the time for this review. But I have some problem with my mind b ... (read more)

Report this review (#308380) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Friday, November 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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