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Paolo Siani ft. Nuova Idea

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Paolo Siani ft. Nuova Idea Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams album cover
4.00 | 26 ratings | 7 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Un Dono (2:13)
2. Wizard Intro (3:03)
3. Madre Africa (7:54)
4. Questa Penombra è Lenta (6:57)
5. Chimera (4:23)
6. The Game (10:38) :
- a. Wizard of your Sky
- b. Mickey's
- c. Jump
- d. Wizard of your Life
7. Cluster Bombs (6:43)
8. This Open Show (3:16)
9. C'era una Volta (2:59)

Total Time 48:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Paolo Siani / drums, vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar, composer, arranger, producer

- Ricky Belloni / guitar
- Marco Zoccheddu / guitar, piano
- Giorgio Usai / Hammond

- Roberto Tiranti / lead vocals
- Ottavia Bruno / vocals
- Alberto Buttarelli / vocals, flute
- Nadia Enghében / soprano vocals
- Giacomo Caiolo / acoustic guitar
- Joe Vescovi / Hammond
- Diego Gordi / piano
- Fabio Gordi / piano
- Daniele Pagani / piano
- Carlo Cantini / violin
- Giuliano Papa / cello
- Mauro Pagani / flute
- Gianni Alberti / sax
- Franco Testa / bass
- Guido Guglielminetti / bass
- Alessandro Siani / electronics
- Vittorio Pedrali / voice actor

Releases information

Artwork: Martin Allen

CD Black Widow Records ‎- BWR 131 (2010, Italy)

LP Black Widow Records ‎- BWR 131 (2010, Italy)

Thanks to finnforest for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PAOLO SIANI FT. NUOVA IDEA Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PAOLO SIANI FT. NUOVA IDEA Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Paolo Siani and Nuova Idea return in fine form

Paolo Siani was the original drummer of the classic RPI band Nuova Idea from Genova. In the later 70s he would play with both Equipe 84 and Opus Avantra, the latter being one of my very favorite RPI bands and a must-listen. In 2010 Siani released his first solo album, an ambitious concept album called "Castles, wings, stories & dreams". The music and lyrics were composed solely by Siani and he produced the album as well. He also expanded from drums and vocals to share keyboard and guitar duties on the album. He is joined by an army of friends including Belloni, Giorgio Usai, and Marco Zoccheddu of Nuova Idea, Mauro Pagani, Joe Vescovi (ex-TRIP), and many others. The album was released by Genova's own Black Widow Records.

"Castles" is a dynamic mix of RPI with a "heavy prog" edge that is sure to please a wide swath of the PA community. It follows the trend of recent returns by RPI veterans in delivering high quality material in the more accessible package that today's prog fan seems interested in. Italy's comeback albums are better than most as the musicians always seem to be into it for the right reasons and that is again the case here-the work exudes a passion for music with an uncompromising respect for the past, held above commercial considerations. Musically this project compares pretty well with the RRR comeback album, as well as modern bands like Il Bacio Della Medusa and Altare Thotemico. The album serves up several flavors and degrees of heaviness with a generally melodic and rocking feel. It places electric guitar on an even or greater presence than the keyboards, many tracks seem to be born of a heavy, grooving riff. When these riffs meet the Hammond organ the Heavy Prog feel is complete, but there are also sections which feature jazz-fusion and another with a Celtic music flavor. The main players are very good, the guitars and vocals are top notch. There are many of the usual RPI flavorings sprinkled throughout, like female operatic vocals, flute, strings, piano, sound effects, and dramatic flare. The flute over acoustic guitar brings a beautiful pastoral vibe to the closing track. But much of the album lives in an energetic prog-rock vein.

It doesn't quite match the thrills of "Clowns" for me, but then again rarely do today's albums thrill in the same way as the early 70s groundbreakers. Today's works are often far more "professional" and linear, but lack that spark of real craziness and unpredictability that makes us RPI purists shake it, much to the amusement of our family members. Yet this remains a very solid new slice of RPI that will bring a big smile to many of you. I strongly suggest taking the plunge on this one. A bit under 4 stars but close enough. Siani has proven himself a musician to be watched once again and we'll hope for an encore.

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Who is Paolo Siani, you may very well ask? He was the drummer of Nuova Idea. Who is Nuova Idea, you may ask? Nuova Idea is, or rather was, a progressive rock band from Italy. They released three albums between 1971 and 1973. Though knowing the band, I've yet to hear any of their releases (something I will correct shortly). Siani also played drums in Opus Avantra's Lord Cromwell album (an avant-rock band) and he also formed with former Nuova Idea guitarist the group Track. In this current album by Paolo Siani, he wrote the music and lyrics as well as roduced the album. He gathered here 3 of Nuova Idea's members: Ricky Belloni (electric guitar), Giorgio Usai (Hammond organ), Marco Zoccheddu (electric guitar, piano). He also gathered many other musicians, each contributing different parts and skills to this album. Paolo himself has expanded his musical prowess, to include aside from drums, also vocals, keyboards, bass and guitars. As I haven't heard Nuova Idea, I had no idea what to expect from this. But boy, was I pleasantly surprised!

A note before I go on: I usually don't write this way, but this text came out as a sort of song- by-song review; a style I usually dislike and am not inclined to write. But in this case, it naturally came out that way. I hope you still get the gist of my impression of this album.

Opening with an emotive spoken piece with very gentle percussions in the background ending with electrical sound effects, this is followed by 'Wizard Intro' featuring a heavy progressive approach with wonderful keyboards (Hammond) work, as can be usually expected from an Italian progressive rock act, where keyboards are so prominent.

This piece sets the tone for the heavy song that follows, 'Madre Africa'. This hard rock/blues influenced piece with a King Crimson vibe, could very well be on a Deep Purple album from the 70s, with its prominent bass and guitar aspect. It really hits you on straight in the face, and later on the Hammond join in the parade as it changed to this groovy rhythm and the main theme continues on for almost three minutes until the vocals kick in. Roberto Tiranti's vocals are superb and Nadia Engheben's sporano is sublime on top of it and together on the chorus form a wonderful harmony. The flute solo by Mauro Pagani complements the rough and heavy nature of this song, alongside Marco Zoccheddu's solo guitar. The drumming by Paolo are thundering and give a great rather slow pace to the song.

'Questa Penombra è Lenta' provides for a softer and calmer approach, though this is still classic rock to the core with beautiful vocal work from Roberto Tiranti and female vocalist Ottavia Bruno joining in on chorus. While starting as a mellow piece, it soon expands to acquire a heftier entourage with female vocals and the addition of the various keyboards and electric guitars enveloping the core theme, which remains basic, but enhanced with all that surrounds it. This song is quite emotional, and while simple and straightforward, a very rewarding listen.

So far, with these 4 pieces, the music provides for a classic heavy rock feel. But with the following tunes, Paolo showcases his experimental, explorative and progressive tendencies. 'Chimera' is a different beast than its predecessors, with a basic propulsive electric loop at the "bottom end" of the track and a jazzy and improv-like tune spread on top. The layering of instruments is done remarkable well here, with various sounds added in several places along the composition to create a different sound and mood.

Then comes 'The Game'; a ten-minute piece divided into four parts. While starting in a mellow fashion, it develops to the previous heavy mold set up by the opening songs, but here the music is much more varied, more "curious" to discover paths to develop into, as can be heard on the second part, 'Mickey's'. The piece has one of those awesome riff lines (heard in the third part, 'Jump') that just make you shake your head along with the music. This album is filled with such great themes and this one is wonderfully executed with guitar and augmented by the surrounding Hammond organ and bass. Another such theme with a hook is found in 'Cluster Bombs', which is sung in English and is a depressing song, lyrically (though with grammatical mistakes) but with another stellar vocal execution from Tiranti. The two closing pieces, 'This Open Show' (another song sung in English) and 'C'era Una Volta' (an instrumental piece) are two mellow and slightly melancholic pieces that serve as coolers to this dense album. 'C'era Una Volta' has a sort of folk-ish vibe to it and ends the album nicely.

The production of the album is clear and crisp; one can make out well the instruments and the smaller details in each song. This album was a surprise for me. Boasting a heavy sound with beautiful Hammond organ work and vocals, it contains elements from classic rock bands but also introduces variety into each song. The pieces have great hooks and are quite catchy. As soon as the album ended I wanted to listen to it again. I hope Paolo Siani doesn't stop here and produces another album of this caliber.

Review by ozzy_tom
4 stars Paolo Siani was a drummer & vocalist of highly recommended 70s Italian prog-rock band "Nuova Idea". After this group vanished in 1973, seems that Paolo didn't record too many albums, however in 2010 he came back with his first proper solo album called "Castles, Wings, Stories And Dreams". And it's a truly splendid release full of pure retro-macaroni symphonic rock. Siani plays many different instruments here (drums, keyboards, bass, guitars) and also provides vocals, but we can also listen to many great guest musicians. Especially I have to note here Giorgio Usai (Hammond organ), Ricky Belloni (electric guitar) and Marco Zoccheddu (electric guitar, piano) from "Nuova Idea", Joe Vescovi (Hammond organ) from fantastic ELPish band "The Trip" and Mauro Pagani (flute) from "PFM".

Let's proceed to description of songs included on the disk:

1. "Un Dono" - 2 minutes introduction with sound effects, "mystical" noises & long speaking part. Unfortunately I don't understand Italian so I don't know what he's talking about.

2. "Wizard Intro" - real beginning of the album with a fantastic, pompous organ/fuzzed guitar main riff and military-style drumming. Definitely one of the best tracks here. I suppose that Joe Vescovi plays organ on this track 'cos it sounds very much in the style of his band "The Trip". Splendid composition but sadly very short (only 3 minutes).

3. "Madre Africa" - really heavy, neck-breaking piece heavy prog piece dominated by sharp guitar tones and dark organ layers. Reminds me of such aggressive RPI bands like "Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso" & "Il Balletto di Bronzo", but Mauro Pagani's flute gives a little different, more melodic dimension to the music. Interesting duo male/female vocals, a bit weird sounding but surely suitable here.

4. "Questa Penombra ' Lenta" - softer track with melodic style singin', acoustic guitar licks & more modern sounding keyboards. Gianni Alberti also adds some nice saxophone fragments. Overall not bad but I prefer more 70'-like staff. It's just too modern and too pop-oriented for me (especially female choruses don't sound so good for me here).

5. "Chimera" - rather unexpected track with almost disco-flavor, repetitive organ/drum percussive melody. Long saxophone and piano solos give more jazzy feel about it, while speaking fragments in the middle let me think about hip-hop! But in general it's an entertaining tune, very up-beat & catchy.

6. "The Game: Wizard of your Sky" - 4 parts mini-epic called "The Game" starts with mellow "Wizard of your Sky". Soft organ waves, tabla percussion & discreet synth patterns over warm vocals are really OK for me.

7. "The Game: Mickey's" - second part of "The Game" is much more dynamic & aggressive. Loud Hammond organ & almost prog-metal electric guitar riffs sound phenomenal for me. I also love Carlo Cantini's violin solo here. Similar to material presented by Italian band "La Torre Dell'Alchimista" on their "Neo" album.

8. "The Game: Jump" - more or less it's a reprise of "Wizard Intro" theme with groundbreaking organ/guitar groovy melody. However this time we can also listen to short vocal fragment in the middle. I simply love growling Hammond sound here!

9. "The Game: Wizard of your Life" - mini-epic finishes almost exactly as it started with calm, melodic "Wizard of your Life" part. Some good electric guitar solos near the end here.

10. "Cluster Bombs" - fantastic, heavy prog track with omnipresent Hammond organ & English vocals. Surely recommended for fans of "The Trip", "Nuova Idea" and even "Le Orme". In the middle Paolo seems to even play bolero on his drum-kit! Unfortunately too long part with children voices/screams slightly ruin my enjoyment of the music.

11. "This Open Show" - psychedelic, slow-moving piece without any drums. Only piano, cello & very nostalgic (English) vocals. Surprisingly it's not as bad as it may sound after this brief description. Rather appealing I'd say.

12. "C'era una Volta" - medieval tune played on clavinet (harpsichord?) & flute. Also no drum beat here, but I like this piece more than "This Open Show". Sounds like Jethro Tull in their most relaxing moments.

All in all "Castles, Wings, Stories And Dreams" is a very solid album, for sure one of the best from 2010 year. Fans of 70's sounding Italian symphonic prog should definitely check it out. I can especially recommend it to fans of such RPI bands as "Metamorfosi", "Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso", "Museo Rosenbach", "Il Balletto di Bronzo", "Nuvoa Idea", "La Torre Dell'Alchimista", "La Maschera Di Cera", "Pandora" and to some extent also to lovers of "Le Orme" and "Nuova Era". It's a pity that this release was somehow overshadowed by another brilliant CD issued in 2010 - self-titled debut of Italian debutantes "Il Tempio delle Clessidre". IMHO both disks are almost equally great and should be checked by RPI aficionados.

Best tracks: "Wizard Intro", "Madre Africa" & "The Game: Mickey's".

4 stars from ozzy_tom

Review by andrea
4 stars Paolo Siani was the drummer of Nuova Idea, a band from Genoa that released three interesting albums in the early seventies. Nuova Idea disbanded in 1973 and since then Palo Siani has worked as a session man and producer for other artists. In 2008 he started to work on a solo album in a progressive rock style trying to blend vintage sounds and modern technologies. Three other former members of Nuova Idea (Marco Zoccheddu, Ricky Belloni and Giorgio Usai) got involved in the project but during the recording session Paolo Siani was also helped by many other friends such as Mauro Pagani, Roberto Tiranti or Joe Vescovi just to name a few. The result is the excellent "Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams" that was released in 2010 on the independent label Black Widow Records with a beautiful art cover by the British artist Martin Allen.

The short opener "Un dono" (A gift) features narrative vocals and sound effects in the background. The lyrics, in Italian, are taken from a short poem by Mahatma Ghandi... "Take a smile, and give it to someone who never had it / Take a sunbeam, and make it fly there where the night reigns / Discover a wellspring, and make wash those who live in the mud / Take a tear, and put it on the face of someone who never cried / Take the courage and put it in the heart of the ones who don't know how to fight / Discover life, and tell about it to someone who doesn't understand it / Take hope, and live in its light / Take goodness and give it to the one who is not able to give / Discover love, and make it known to the world...".

The short, evocative instrumental "Wizard Intro" leads to the dark, heartfelt "Madre Africa" (Mother Africa) that starts with heavy blues electric guitar riffs in the forefront backed by a powerful rhythm section. As you can guess it's a piece dedicated to Africa, a wonderful, rich continent exploited by merciless, fat merchants where endless tribal wars keep on raging... "Mother Africa, ferocious with women and children / Bribed by filthy assassins / Uproar of dances and drums / Belly of the darkest rituals...". Roberto Tiranti's lead vocals backed by the soprano Nadia Enghèben and the excellent flute work provided by Mauro Pagani give an exotic, mysterious touch to this piece that ends with an invocation: Mother Africa, you have to protect your children, the most precious treasure of all... "Smiles, perfumes and colours / Defend these immense treasures, Mother Africa"!

"Questa penombra è lenta" (This penumbra is slow) is a calm, reflective track. The evening comes and it's time to think about the past, about the real meaning of a man's life... "Look for a lighthouse, a port, a safe harbour / Follow the light flight of the seagulls... Looking for a man I found God...". Next comes the lively instrumental "Chimera" featuring an excellent bass work, a good sax solo and some nice electronic effects. Here guitarist Marco Zuccheddu turns out to be an excellent pianist as well!

"The Game" is a long, complex suite divided into four sections: "Wizard Of Your Sky", "Mickey's", "Jump" and "Wizard Of Your Life". It begins softly, the atmosphere is dreamy... "Listen to this music... Strong wind and smell of tide fill the sails... Let's go away, let's fly away...". Despite the English titles most of the lyrics are in Italian and conjure up a magic world where white horses ride in immense plains and distant comets cross the sky disappearing on the horizon, there are elves and damsels, a fakir and a roundabout... As the music flows away you can listen to a reprise of "Wizard Intro" and to many changes in rhythm and mood... A new life runs into your veins, eventually your heart is full of sounds, colours and lights and you can experience a feeling of peace... "Now listen to your music, go back on your road... Remember me...".

"Cluster Bombs" is sung in English by Roberto Tiranti and begins with a martial pace. It's a heartfelt complaint against war and the use of cluster bombs... "How many limbs of children / You will need some more / How long, filthy beasts / You will drink young blood...". Next comes the delicate "This Open Show". It's another track sung in English and features Alberto Buttarelli on lead vocals and flute. The atmosphere is dreamy, you can float in the air cradled by the magic of music and sounds... "Castles and wings / Stories and dreams / We'll never hold you / So I really hope / You'll like remember / This, this open show...". The short instrumental "C'era una volta" (Once upon a time) with its fairy tales flavour and Renaissance influences concludes this excellent work. By the way, all the revenues of this album (if there will be any) will go to the Gaslini Children's Hospital in Genoa. One more reason to buy it!

Latest members reviews

5 stars Excellent album from Prog veteran Paolo Siani, original Nuova Idea drummer on first solo project. It is classic, new, powerful and sweet: many flavours here in 'Castles, wings, stories and dreams'.Line-up is really amazing: Mauro Pagani (ex PFM) Ricky Belloni, Giorgio Usai from New Trolls e ... (read more)

Report this review (#412803) | Posted by alebrixia | Tuesday, March 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not exactly a bottle of the finest Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. The debut album from Paolo Siani & Friends is a mixed bag. The label on the tin says Italy. The speakers on my climate controlled office brings me something that reminds me about the US and the Dutch symphonic prog scene. Persephone ... (read more)

Report this review (#410528) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, March 3, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love this album! It is a perfect mix among past and future. First, listening to this album once, is not enough to feel everything. I like this fact that was normal in the early 70's Prog. Second, each tracl is well structured, the sounds are many but seems to be under the perfect control of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#408445) | Posted by pauldrum | Saturday, February 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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