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Accordo Dei Contrari

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Accordo Dei Contrari Kublai album cover
3.91 | 100 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. G.B. Evidence (5:19)
2. Arabesque (12:32)
3. Dark Magus (9:00)
4. L'ombra di un sogno (6:55)
5. Pił limpida e chiara di ogni impressione vissuta, part I (5:08)
6. Battery Park (6:37)

Line-up / Musicians

- Marco Marzo / guitar, oud
- Giovanni Parmeggiani / Hammond, acoustic & electric pianos, ARP Odyssey, Minimoog
- Daniele Piccinini / bass
- Cristian Franchi / drums

- Richard Sinclair / vocals (4)
- Antonio Cupertino / percussion (4), mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Claudio Del Monte

CD Self-released (2011, Italy)

Thanks to gentlegiant for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ACCORDO DEI CONTRARI Kublai ratings distribution

(100 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Accordo Dei Contrari return to the public's ear in 2011 with their second full-length album, Kublai. This new album follows their 2007 release, Kinesis, which to my ears was a pleasant, energetic and enjoyable listen and signaled a promising future.

Indeed, this future is now realized with Kublai. The new album is much more diverse, filled with different influences and sounds; from jazz-rock (most of the album) to progressive rock (throughout the album) to a ballad (first part of L'Ombra di un Sogno) to Arabic elements (Arabesque). The band playing morphs from faint and delicate to heavy and powerful and back again. There are 6 tracks on this album, 5 instrumentals, and one song where Richard Sinclair sings a song he wrote the lyrics for, dedicated to his dog that passed away. The band members use their talents and skills at crafting an eclectic mix of tunes into a naturally flowing and coherent musical statement. The sound is rich and crisp, the melodies jump right at you, taking a stroll in your lap and shaking you gently out of your everyday-induced apathy. The songs are playful and varied. They begin with an idea, develop it and then take a turn, evolve and progress into something a bit different but always appealing and ear catching. Their music has a contagious characteristic. Take for instance opener piece, G.B. Evidence; once it starts, it's a non-stop action-filled composition, upbeat melody and superb execution.

The album's highly captivating music is greatly enhanced by the stellar musicianship of the band members. I absolutely adore Giovanni Parmegianni's keyboards work. It is passionate, poignant and gives the music much of its power. Already on my first listen, his keyboards playing "hit me straight in the ears" (in a very good way); it is indeed a prominent part of their sound. He wrote 4 of the compositions here and it shows. Additionally, his piano playing on Battery Park is sensational.

Marco Marzo Maracas' guitar work is subtle and accurate; he adds on various innuendos and intricate details that require attentive listening. On occasion he shifts into heavier territories, when the music requires it, as well as playing a solo (Dark Magus). Additionally, his oud playing on the opening of Arabesque is riveting.

The interplay between the keyboards and guitar is a source for grea moments on the album, one that creates thrilling musical moments (the interplay at the end of Dark Magus, Piu Limpida e Chiara di Ogni Impressione Vissuta).

Daniele Piccinini's bass work is clearly heard in the mix and reveals punctual playing, supporting the music and rhythm. His work in Piu Limpida e Chiara di Ogni Impressione Vissuta is invigorating.

Cristian Franchi's drumming is a delight to listen to; he plays delicate accompanying patterns as well as he does the powerful and loud bouncy rhythms, and everything else in between. His playing is groovy and catchy; listen for example to Arabesque where he really shines.

This is an energetic and stimulating album, varied and dynamic. The musicianship is stellar and each tune is memorable and left a big impact on me from first listen. A personal contender for my 2011 top albums list, I highly recommend this wonderful album.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars ACCORDO DEI CONTRARI's debut was a well done all-instrumental Jazz / Fusion album. I mentioned in my review of it that it didn't blow me away or anything but felt it was worth a low 4 stars. Well these young Italians have stepped up their game and they even got Richard Sinclair (CARAVAN) to sing on one track.

"G.B. Evidence" opens with everything sounding so crisp and precise.The organ joins in around a minute then the tempo picks up 2 1/2 minutes in. Check out the drums and guitar ! Organ 3 minutes in as it trades off with the guitar.

"Arabesque" opens with atmosphere and picked acoustic guitar.This has an East Indian vibe to it. It doesn't kick in until before 4 minutes as that ethnic vibe continues. Some organ floats in after 5 minutes. A calm after 7 minutes as we get a similar sound to the intro then the drums come in and pound after 9 minutes. Electric piano comes in as well.Intense and incredible. The tension lifts before 11 minutes then the tempo picks up to end it.

"Dark Magus" opens with a gong then it kicks in hard before it settles back to a jazzy mode. It becomes intense before 2 minutes with organ then settles back as the contrasts continue. Nasty organ runs before 5 minutes followed by synths then guitar as they trade off. A dark atmosphere before 8 1/2 minutes to end it.

"L'Ombra Di Un Sogno" is where Richard Sinclair sings and man everytime I hear this he reminds me of Robert Wyatt. A beat and electric piano help out in this laid back tune. It becomes more powerful after 2 1/2 minutes with drums and guitar. Nice.Vocal expressions after 5 minutes. "Piu Limpida I Chiara..." has a powerful intro with some fillthy organ runs. How good is this ! The guitar is crying out after 1 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up. Kicking ass and taking names right here people. It settles back before 3 minutes but it does kick back into gear one more time to end it.

"Battery Park" opens with piano as drums then guitar join in.The drums and piano standout the most here as the guitar comes and goes.The bass is quite chunky as well.

In my opinion there's a lot more character to this album and they've mixed things up more, and on top of all that they increased the power. It all adds up to this being a very solid 4 stars and one I highly recommend.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Impressive instrumental jamming

I missed out on the Accordo debut album so "Kublai" was in fact my initiation to the band. The very first thought that popped into my head on the first play is that this is the band which will carry on for the legendary D.F.A. who may not be coming back after the death of one of their members, and the desire of the others to be close to their families. They also bring to mind some of my elder favorite Italian jazz bands like Free Wave System and Bella Band. These guys have that same combination of prowess on their instruments and refusal to fall into the too often "dry" mode of jazz/fusion, bringing instead much more color to the table. Without question my favorite part of the equation are the keyboards of Giovanni Parmegianni. Wild runs of bombastic organ jump off the map every now and again, thrilling in an old school way, linking the unquestionably forward-thinking edge of the group to an important portion of prog-rock's storied sound. Richard Sinclair delivers a very Robert Wyatt like vocal on "L'ombra di un Sogno" over a somber, somewhat more traditional jazz sound. The closing "Battery Park" is not surprisingly my favorite track as here they bring some piano into the mix. Throughout you can expect intelligent and high energy jamming where the interplay between musicians is impressive, the songwriting diverse, and an overall experience which leaves all of us wondering where they go next. I'm pretty sure this is not a group that will repeat themselves.

The cover which initially looks rather bland becomes much more interesting when you begin to stare at the designs inside the circle, I was having flashbacks to my old spirograph set. A fine second album, though not quite enough for the 4-star plateau in my book.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This one is definitely more Canterbury-like than the more typical Avant/RIO that seems to be gushing out of AltrOck Productions. Long flowing, floating, forming, instrumental jams with a fairly small, straightforward jazz-oriented rock combo. My favorite part of the album is the riveting oud playing in the first half of "Arabesque" (7/10). Keyboards are very interesting, except I often found myself wishing they were a little more forward in the mix (as the guitar is). Though the voice and lyrical presentation of Richard Sinclair on "L'ombra di un sogno" (6/10) is familiar and comforting, it seems to come from an age long past--one that doesn't necessarily want to be resurrected. Not my favorite kind of guitar and key sounds. "Battery Park" (8/10), with its simplicity and pleasant melodies (and full use of acoustic piano), is far and away my favorite song. Great jazz piano work.

IMO, this is fairly standard--though high quality--Canterbury jazz rock. Nothing to write home about. Heard a lot of this in the 1970s. Good, but non-essential.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Accordo Dei Contrari is in position of going beyond the light of their brilliant debut album and seek to create new combinations of luminosity and shade in their jazz-prog vision. The factual proof of that is sustained in the repertoire of their recent sophomore release "Kublai", an album that shouts out its musical grandiosity in an imperial level. No doubt in my mind that this item should have a place assured in any Top 10 of 2011. All throughout this album's setlist, the band shows all the elements of its creative versatility, skill and energy, which makes it a perfect case of revitalization of some of the most excellent heritages of various jazz-rock and prog schools. 'G.B. Evidence' opens up the album with a solid mixture of 73-75 RTF and 75-77 Weather Report: an evident homage to the greatness of 70s American fusion performed with infinite elegance. Sophistication and energy become one sole force, especially in the middle section where the drummer states a frantic 15/8 tempo and the guitar leads the nucleus of a jam that ultimately signals the track's further development. After this impressively muscular beginning, 'Arabesque' displays a refreshing new set of moods in a 12 ½ minute scope. The title makes it clear that the Arabesque thing will be an important asset in the track's main structure, and in fact, the very prologue consists of an oud solo that lasts 3 minutes. Then, the first main motif brings exotic flavors in a very robust manner, something like Niacin-meets-RTF. Later on, things return to a more constrained mood when the ensemble retakes the prologue's motif and gives it a more electrically based reshaping, a strategy that proves tremendously fruitful when the psychedelically tense coda brings an explosive momentum a-la Area. Magnificent!, grandious!... nothing else tos ay. And there's more greatness in the near horizon for the listener, since 'Dark Magus' creates a monumental musical journey. Starting with a gong bang and somebody's steps, the main body displays a fluid combination of vibrant swing (by the rhythm duo) and robust guitar-keyboard interplaying. A thematic shift, announced soon after the 3 minute barrier but only properly installed one minute later, brings back the band on the jazz-rock path with its own flavors. One third motif finds the band exploring Gentle Giant-meets-D.F.A. territory, a great one indeed? but too short! Anyway, the sonic implosion that ends the track feels impressive and effective. And now, here comes the track with Canterbury Maestro Richard Sinclair as guest in it. I'm referring to 'L'Ombra Di Un Sogno', of course. The band's compositional scheme is complex regarding chord variations and motif shifts, with its proper dose of ornaments, yet the overall mood is relaxed. And how is its stylistic strategy? ? 40% of Hatfield's first album, 30% of Matching Mole's second album (Sinclair sounds very Wyatt-ish here, actually) , 15% of Bruford's first album and 15% of Henry Cow's first album. The "birds singing in the forest" FX provide a convenient light humor, a very Canterbury thing. Not only that, it also states a strategic contrast to the electrifying vigor of 'Pił Limpida E Chiara Di Ogni Impressione Vissuta, Part I', arguably the most incendiary piece in the album: it serves as a simultaneous tribute to Hammer-era Mahavishnu and "Seventh Galaxy"-era RTF. The album's last 6+ minutes are devoted to 'Battery Park', a piece whose vibe is more connected to early Arti E Mestieri and the piano-oriented works of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Its initial lyrical mood has a groovy feel to it, intimate yet not introspective; later on, the instrumental drive is enhanced with a greater dose of expressive power, convincingly equaling the extroverted aura of the album's first 2 pieces; finally for the last 90 seconds, the mood becomes calmer and solemn, as if it were an invitation to take a rest and exercise contemplation. And so ends this magnificent album. This Accordo Dei Contrari's sophomore release is a must for those who intend to appreciate the best progressive music made this year? IMHO, of course.
Review by andrea
5 stars In 2011 Accordo dei Contrari released an excellent sophomore album "Kublai", confirming all the good promises of their debut. The line up is the same as in the previous work with two prestigious guests on one track, Richard Sinclair (vocals) and Antonio "Cooper" Cupertino (percussion). According to the band, Kublai represents ordered chaos, light and dark, the balance between written and improvised music.

The lively, jazzy opener "G.B. Evidence" is freely taken from a theme by Thelonious Monk. The band "prog" interpretation is absolutely convincing, full of energy with delightful keyboards rides alternating with frenzied electric guitar passages backed by a nervous rhythm section. Next comes "Arabesque", a long, complex track that recalls Area and features many Oriental influences. It's my favourite on this album, it starts softly and takes you far away for a long trip where you can smell spices and taste exotic fruits.

The following "Dark Magus" begins with the sound of a gong that, according to the band, marks the passage from the visible to the invisible. The atmosphere is tense, full of evocative passages where guitar and organ paint in chiaroscuro on their musical canvas. "L'ombra di un sogno" (Shadow of a dream) features Richard Sinclair on vocals. Richard Sinclair wrote the lyrics for this piece as well, a charming elegy for a lost companion, his beloved, faithful dog. Dreamy memories shine through this melancholic song of intense beauty.

"Pił limpida e chiara di ogni impressione vissuta part I" (Clearer, brighter than any lived impression) is more aggressive and according to the band tries to describe the hopes and fears of everyone's life while the last track "Battery Park" was inspired by the gentle flow of the Hudson river on a windy and sunny day in February 2007 in New York City. Here gentle piano touches contrast with the thundering force of some guitar riffs in an effective way. Well, a perfect conclusion for a wonderful album!

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3.5 stars really

Accordo dei Contrari is a well known and respected progressive/jazz rock band from Italy with two albums in their pockets so far. Kublai is the second offer released in 2011 and is to my ears a winning one. I like that the album is quite diverse in compositions, from jazz rock passages to prog rock elements added and even some canterbury moments are present, we have here on L'ombra di un sogno the famous Richard Sinclair who sings, the song being dedicated to his dog who just passed away. The album is all instrumental minus the piece where Siclair are present with his voice . The opening track G.B. Evidence is excellent and sets the mood for what to come.Is an energic jazz rock tune with nice musicianship and great parts. Arabesque is a very intresting piece and as the title sugests has arabian atmosphere. All in all a good towards great album, I like it but I prefere for example other bands from Italy with same attitude and playing same type of prog jazz rock/fusion like The RedZen or Gran Torino, both bands being little more intresting for my taste then Accordo dei Contrari. 3.5 stars for Kublai.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Accordo dei Contrari's Kublai carries the torch for bands like the Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Crimson. Written and recorded in the same vein as classic progressive albums, this 45 minute gem sounds much more coherent than your average 65 minute, 14 song progressive album put out today. Gu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1114438) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, another gem from Italy. I have had my eyes and ears on this band for a while. If I am not wrong, I even interviewed them. This band have a quirky approach to fusion/jazz as in if they belongs in the Canterbury Scene genre. Which in my view they do. I am big fans of Picchio Dal Pozzo and S ... (read more)

Report this review (#466715) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, June 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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