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Sparkle In Grey

Post Rock/Math rock

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Sparkle In Grey Mexico album cover
3.99 | 10 ratings | 4 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Boys Vomit
2. That One
3. From The Air
4. Sunrising
5. Dimissioni
6. Mexico
7. Phennel Song

Line-up / Musicians

- Matteo Uggeri / Electronics and effects
- Agostino Brambilla / bass (track 1)
- Simone Riva / drums (tracks 2,3,6)
- Lucija Krostopovic / piano (track 5)
- Deborah Arnold / Vocal (tracks: 3)
- Cristiano Lupo / Many instruments
- Alberto Carozzi / Guitar and bass
- Franz Krostopovic / Violin

Releases information

Musica Di Un Certo Livello - MCL11, Grey Sparkle - GSCD004, Lizard Records - LIZCD0076, Afe Records - AFE124CD, Old Bycicle - OBR001

Thanks to philippe for the addition
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SPARKLE IN GREY Mexico ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SPARKLE IN GREY Mexico reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sparkle in Grey is a free-flowing post-rockin' collective formed in Milan. It consists of Matteo Uggeri (on electronics), Franz Krostopovic (Violin), Alberto Carozzi (guitars), Cristiano Lupo (many instruments) and a handful of guests. Each musician is also involved in many side projects and collaborations. Matteo Uggeri is also the founder of the independent label Grey Sparkle. This musical family tribe published a first album in 2008 entitled "A Quiet Place". It can be seen as an intimate combination between aleatoric sound experiments, dreamy acoustic tones and impressionist-like rockin sequences. Mexico (2011) does not appear to be fundamentally different from this first but includes more dense proggy variations into the mix. Maybe a less difficult listening for neophyts in underground subgenres as well. Musically speaking Mexico provides a bath of Cheerful dreaminess, deliciously evocative and constantly moving. The instrumental section is perfectly achieved and serve a gorgeous musical trip, providing an exquisite sense of drama punctuated by lyrical / humorous accents. This release delivers a very personal musical signature. However to situate briefly Sparkle in Grey's sound aesthetism I would like to say that they are somewhere between the introspect and highly textured ambient pieces of Hans Joachim Rodelius, the wondrous static minimalism of Tony Conrad, the smoothly languorous improvs of King Crimson and the sinister soundtracky ambiences of the Brothers Quay's animation films.

With an equal pleasure we pass from the delicate and cinematic Boys vomit , to the hyper catchy hypno-ish pop "That One", to the delirious avatn-gardist "From the air", to the funereal grooves of "Sunrising" to the gently metaphysical ambiences of Mexico to finally be absorbed by the sweet melancholia of Phennel Song. Each track is a sensitive / blissed-out micro musical scene in itself.

A breathtaking effort, a marvelous and engaged musical voyage out of time

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Mexico' - Sparkle In Grey (8/10)

Although initial impressions lean towards a GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR type of post-rock, Italian band SPARKLE IN GREY takes in a wide range of sound in their music. Post-rock may indeed be the best way to describe this Milan-based ensemble, but there is a greater focus on texture and ambiance than one would expect from a typical band of the style. The result of this collision of noise ambient, and psychedelic noodling is a mark of excellence I have not often given to my new discoveries of recent months.

Like the old Spaghetti Western films, these Italians recreate the romantic frontier-feel one might associate with Mexico. The album 'Mexico' does not feel like a concept work perse, but there is a running string of motifs that conjure imagery not unlike that of the album's artwork. SPARKLE IN GREY get these mental images across through a blend of post-rock, mixed with horns and violins. 'Boys Vomit' opens up the album on this mark, never quite latching onto a melody, yet captivating one's attention with its vast sense of texture. The mood is dreamlike and cinematic; something that remains constant throughout the rest of the album. By the end of 'Boys Vomit', SPARKLE IN GREY introduce another element of their style that will gain momentum in songs to come; electronic and noise music. Although it is never jarring, there is a benign use of gruff buzzing in order to give the soundscape an even wider scope. In the face of what is otherwise a very harmonious sound, this only works part of the time, but never significantly takes away from the sonic beauty SPARKLE IN GREY bring forth on this record.

From the murky ambiance of 'Sunrising' and PORCUPINE TREE-esque build-up of 'Dimissioni', SPARKLE IN GREY reinvent themselves slightly with every track, and though none of the songs ever truly leap at the listener as the 'best', the sense of monotony I often get from listening to ambient albums is in absentia. One song that may be my least favourite however is 'From The Air'; a piece that distinguishes itself from having vocals. Spoken word vocals are used here; Deborah Arnold calmly speaks in airliner-cliche, eventually getting a little absurd with it ("this is your captain speaking... put your hands on your head, put your hands on your hips..."). By the end of this short track, there is a vocal melody that sounds oddly enough like something Lady Gaga might sing. It's not a terrible track, but it does take away from what is otherwise a stunning piece of otherworldly ambiance.

I am not always big into this type of music, thinking it often to be rather listless and even lazy from a compositional regard. SPARKLE IN GREY may pass some listeners as just that, but the adventurous steps they take with fleshing out their sound is intense and exciting. An excellent album!

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sparkle In Grey are a group from Italy, a country which has produced a lot of great prog in recent years. This is their second album and the first I've heard. They were brought to my attention as a member of the Post Rock Team for which I voted for their inclusion. To my surprise, when I went to review this album Sparkle In Grey are now located in Prog Electronic. Oh well, PA can be a strange place sometimes. There are electronic elements here, as there are in a lot of post rock, but they never dominate. Instead there is a lot of violin on this album. The music here is the type of post rock I like the most: where a band has their own sound and diverse influences. Post Rock is not as one-dimensional as some make it out to be and I thought Mexico was one of the better post rock albums in recent years.

"Boys Vomit" is a song that was originally done by a group called Norm in 2000. I don't know anything about that group other than one of the members of Sparkle In Grey was also a member. The way the song is done here sounds like great post rock. "That One" has a nice buildup at the beginning, with instruments piling on top of each other. Spoken samples in this track. Really weird vibe to this song but it works. Sounds almost like two different songs playing at the same time: one an electronic track with a real drumkit added, and another a twangy rocker. I like the guitar strumming towards the end with the spoken samples. "From The Air" is a cover of the Laurie Anderson song. It keeps the vocoderized melody and overall beat of the original but otherwise if fairly different. The accent of the woman here does not sound Italian but rather Scandinavian. The beat eventually goes away and the drumming gets a little looser.

"Sunrising" has a muffled speech to an audience in Italian being overlaid with what sounds like some kind of horn. Electronic thuds and atmospherics abound until it turns into some kind of folky rock with violin. The speech comes back. "Dimissioni" begins with the electronic drone that ended the previous track. An electronic beat and then a nice folky melody on violin. Some lovely classical sounding piano later on. Gradually the electronic beats are replaced by a kick drum and the piano becomes more melancholic sounding. You hear the sound of a typewriter (remember those?) at the end and at the beginning of the title track. Said title track has a great dub reggae influence, yet another ingredient in early post rock that got discarded by later bands along the way. Nice wah-wah guitar and minimal piano.

Eventually the song gets looser and slightly jazzier before it changes to a sort of riff on guitar with more busy drumming. Later on some acoustic guitar, piano and trumpet make some lovely sounds. Such a great post rock song from 2011. Love it. "Phennel Song" opens with coins being spun then some great mournful violin leads a march. Almost sounds like a chamber-rock waltz. You hear glass break along the way. You can hear what sounds like either bagpipes or an accordion in the background. Overall a great album with great sound and compositions. I like this album since I first heard it last year but I never got around to reviewing it until now. If you like the more diverse and experimental end of post rock you should enjoy this. 4 stars.

Review by admireArt
4 stars -(This review was written before PA changed Sparkle in Grey from Progressive Electronic to Post Rock/Math Rock.)

Excellent Progressive Post-Math/Rock, Crossover and Eclectic music, with touches of Prog/Electronics !!

Sparkle in Grey's "Mexico" travels many routes musically speaking. Maybe the relaxed mood in both their cover art as its inlays (which they send you promptly, even if only downloaded, via Bandcamp) is that exactly, but as the music progresses there is an experimental sense of moving forward through different environments. The "electronics" involved consist mostly of pre-recorded material and "noises" which act as bridges from song to song, and also as track 4 "Sunrising", become a whole experimental electronic song.

I of course, knew of this band through the PA's prog/electronic listings, which I thank for, but nevertheless, to include Sparkle in Grey in this electronic "planet" is completely out of tune, both musically speaking & market-wise, 6 ratings since 2011, is ridiculous!

Anyway. Sparkle in Grey's "Mexico" is basically "instrumental", it is bold without scandals, intelligent and creative without pompousness or technical pirouettes. The range and scopes of the up-front but minimalistic display in their intrumentation ranges from the above mentioned electronic backgrounds, but mostly, whole constructed songs based on acoustic piano, acoustic and electric guitars, violins, strings, down to earth and subtle drummings and songs that have the whole feel of the night life Rock/Jazz circuits, in the post-"whathever" 21th century's world. Also songs that seem to come straight out from the "wilderness". The routes are varied, attractive and rich in contrasts, without exceeding these contrasts just for kicks!

As the rating goes, good enough, as to have bought their next effort. Good enough to hold on to, "essential" they say.

****4 (multi-genre) PA stars!

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