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LA CASA DEL LAGO

Saint Just

Prog Folk


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Saint Just La Casa del Lago  album cover
3.07 | 24 ratings | 5 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tristana (6:41)
2. Nella Vita, Un Pianto (11:04)
3. Viaggio Nel Tempo (6:33)
4. La Casa del Lago (6:28)
5. Messicano (5:28)
6. La Terra della Verita (2:44)

Total Time 39:14

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Jane Sorrenti / vocals, 12-string guitar, percussion
- Tony Verde / bass
- Tito Rinesi / vocals, guitars, percussion, harmonica, autoharp
- Andrea Faccenda / guitars, piano, organ, harmonica
- Fulvio Maras / drums, percussion

Releases information

Lp. EMI 3C 064-18033 / Cd. King/Crime 292E 2027 (1989) / Cd. Mellow Records MMP 194 (1994)

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SAINT JUST La Casa del Lago ratings distribution


3.07
(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
21%
Good, but non-essential (54%)
54%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

SAINT JUST La Casa del Lago reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Their second album is in a very similar vein as their debut, means a very nice blend of celtic (singer Jenny Sorrenti has grown up in Wales) as well as mediterranean folk, psychedelic and some classical elements. Most characteristic feature of SAINT JUST's music is certainly the voice of Alan Sorrenti's sister which is as unique as his, at times rather exalted and onomatopoeic. I can imagine people having trouble with very high-pitched vocals might need a few listens to get used to it. Obviously this was the case with my fellow reviewer. Nevertheless I don't think this is a reason to give this actually very beautiful album a low rating.

Tristana opens despite its title with a rather up-tempo nice instrumental section by keyboard and electric guitar before Jenny comes in with her dominant expressive voice. Then there is a part with furious violin and wordless vocals and a pure acoustic finish. Very impressing opener.

The wonderful second track Nella Vita, Un Pianto is initially more in a discreet and a very folk-typical vein with lithesome tunes by violin, acoustic guitar, harp and some reluctant keys in the back. Both celtic and mediterranean folk are merged in a perfect way here. After about 4 minutes both music and vocals are becoming much more "allegro" and at this point I'd like to mention the awesome musicianship presented here including an excellent rhythmic section. This one is for sure the best track and together with the opener highlight of the album.

Viaggio Nel Tempo is a very typical more up-tempo celtic folk song, just with Italian vocals, very often without any lyrics and with two voices by Jenny and Tito Rinesi . As well a very nice one.

The title song begins with a short atmospheric intro, before guitars starting to play and Jenny's voice comes in. After a while the wordless vocals are moving a bit into the back and instruments (guitar, piano, harp) are coming into focus. Actually I can hear more different types than are listed in the line-up. There's definitively something like a clarinet or soprano sax involved as well, maybe by keyboard but it sounds rather natural. Really an awesome interplay between the different instruments. That's the third highlight of the album.

Messicano is a very quirky song, again mostly with wordless vocals, excellent guitar play and rhythmic section. There's as well a nice part with harmonica included.

Finally the short La Terra della Verita closes in a rather relaxed and acoustic vein with Tito Rinesi on lead vocals supported by Jenny Sorrenti. A very nice epilogue for an excellent album.

SUMMARY: Although this one might not appeal to everyone right from the beginning, which was the case as well with me, I would still highly recommend it to any lover of original and unique prog folk in a slightly more prude vein. It's absolutely an album that will grow on you with each repeated listening and after you got used to the vocals. I would say definitively worth 4 stars!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#38194) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 01, 2005

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Inconsistant

"La Casa del Lago" is a nice piece of Italian prog with much going for it, with some real stand-out "moments". It lies mainly in a folk-rock kind of vein and, while reminding me of a lot of other bands in places, has an overall style all of it's own - it's a great pity the band never got to develop it further, as I feel they could have produced a masterpiece given the evidence before me...

The intro to "Tristana" gives away very little about what is to follow; acoustic guitar and squelched keyboards set up a myriad of expectations which are dashed somewhat when the band kicks in;

A gently grooving riff with perfect, loose execution is topped off by the synth sounds which quickly become somewhat old. When the vocals replace the keyboard, and a winding piano offsets a meandering bass and all is forgiven. Utterly sublime vocal textures with really neat subtle backing vox conjour up a tranquil, if slightly dark pastoral feel. The instrumental textures cotton on quickly, and reach a similar level of sublimity...

There is a feeling here of "Script For a Jester's Tear" underpinning the main direction of the musical development - especially in the piano/bass interaction; forget Genesis! This is much closer to the original style of Marillion - even the Celtic flavoured guitar is there.

A frantic gypsy-style violin drives the textures forward, and everything gets rather chaotic - I'm put in mind slightly of Comus' "First Utterance" in flavour - but chaotic is good, and this doesn't get strung out... A pause and another complete change of texture, and we feel like we're listening to a new track - but this is just an odd little interlude that doesn't progress the music at all. An odd way to end the piece, which sets up expectations that the rest of the album is going to be somewhat inconsistent...

"Nella Vita, un Pianto" has a nice unison moment between 'Cello and guitar melody, before the violin kicks in again, painting a hauntingly evocative scene - I'm getting flavours of an old village in Tuscany with crumbling stone buildings, probably set on a rocky outcrop. Jane Sorrenti treats us to some more sublime vocals that I would like to hear "soar" a little more - maybe that's just me.

The music gently winds its way onwards - progresses - then suddenly changes to a more "rock" moment with a Spanish flavour and some really peculiar time changes. This gets slightly uncomfortable, but maintains the intrigue well enough to not only prevent me from even thinking about the skip button, but instead makes me anticipate the next time I listen to this album. An open invitation indeed. The music develops subtly and continually, with some really great thematic development and conversations happening between the instruments and particularly the vox, which enter a "moment" - one of those rare bits of pure prog that really hits me as perfect.

Unfortunately for my taste buds, this is not maintained, but fortunately for progression, this is moved on and developed. Saint Just may not have the uncanny feel for musical development of, say, Gentle Giant, but they have something close - a natural feel for when the music needs to move on, and, on the whole, the ability and clarity of musical vision to make it happen "just right" - just, maybe, a tad hesitantly. Still, their naievity has a charm all of its own, and 11 minutes still ends up feeling a mite too short for this piece!

"Viaggio Nel Tempo" begins far more conventionally than the previous two pieces, and descends into an ensemble passage that is slightly messy and directionless. I'm put in mind of Jefferson Airplane on a bad day. Around 3:30 we get a nice change with vocals that remind me a little of Clannad, and textural changes that are rather inconsistent. Sadly, this is much too short, and the song never picks up, develops or, more importantly, improves despite my hope that it will.

The title track is kind of more of the same - but fortunately, more of the same of the good stuff that preceeded "Viaggio Nel Tempo". Nothing ground breaking or earth-shattering here, but Jane Sorrenti's vocals are captivating, even when she's just singing "La-la-la". Frankly, she could be singing about doing the washing up or mucking out the cowshed and it would still sound entrancing.

This song enters more into jam territory, and is far less structured or progressive than earlier tracks - but I could care a whole lot less. Frankly, this track could be on continuous repeat and I probably wouldn't get tired of it after a day. OK, an hour maybe...

"Messicano" is a great depature providing a nice contrast however. Uptempo and with an almost Santana-style carnival atmosphere, any darkness that may have previously provided an undercurrent has disappeared for 6 minutes of light and exuberance.

Kind of a pity in a way, as, maybe the departure is a bit too great - I feel here that the spell that this album may have woven is irrevocably lost, despite Sorrenti's enthusiastic attempts to lift it further - in places, she sounds a little like Janis Joplin. The guitar solo is horribly derived and cheesey, and layering another guitar solo in there with harmonica just confuses the whole thing and leaves it floundering somewhat.

"La Terra della Verita" closes side 2 off with what we hope is going to be a return to the opening mood and texture. It's quite a shock to hear Tito Renesi take over vocal duties, but his baritone is pure and steady and contains just enough emotion to prevent it from sounding overly precious - but he doesn't "do" vocalisations with the panache of Sorrenti. Fortunately she drifts into the backing vocals, fulfilling my wish. There's no real development in this little piece, although the instrumentalists grow the texture towards the end, and blur the underlying structure well for a good close to the album.

Conclusion: A really good proggy album, the first half and the very end well worth a listen by any progger - especially those with a predeliction for the folkier sounds. But this is not a pure folk album, and the rock moments are great for chilling out to - kind of Renaissance without the ridiculous "classical" piano bits. The quality of the musicianship is more than reasonable, if a tad patchy - but don't let that put you off. When it's good, it's really good! If you're just starting to explore Italian prog, you might want to dive into P.F.M.'s back catalogue first :o)

Prog Rating (Is it progressive): 6/10

Rock Rating (Does it rock?): 6/10

Creativity Rating (Are the artists pushing their style to the limits?): 8/10

Musicianship Rating (Do the artists execute the music well?): 7/10

Enjoyment Rating (Do I like it?): 6/10

Total : 33/50 = 66%. Technically 4 stars, but dragged down by the not-so-good bits IMO.

Very Good indeed in places, but non-essential. It's well worth checking out "Nella Vita, un Pianto", though - I'd say this piece alone is essential.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#49802) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 03, 2005

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Content Development & Krautrock Team
3 stars I'm quite impressed by the technical skills and the rich catalogue of expressions delivered by this cult 70's prog folk collective. However I must recognize that as many Italian prog essays, this one gets the price of kitschy melodies and old fashioned style...but anyway let's make abstraction of it...the album starts with the wonderful and colourful "Tristana" written as an energic rocking folk ballad, including a dreamy, nostalgic like atmosphere (the acoustic side & female vocal) and almost psychedelic moves (the guitars and the hallucinatory sax solo break that reminds me Clearlight). "Nella Vita, Un Pianto" opens with a mysterious, lunatic and evocative guitar / cello duet, a pleasant introduction rapidly followed by emotional female vocals. The track progressively gets into a more freak 'n roll vibe with a faster tempo and an insistent groove. The symphonic like dimension tends to be cheesy in the second half of the title + some misplaced vocals. The self title track deliversa gentle folkish "trip" with a lot of lalalala and sensual Italian vocals. A good mention to the piano parts that provide fine improvisations. The song contains also a nice jazzy feeling dominated by technical lead guitars and floating sax solos. A pleasant listening for the relaxed, groovy tempo. Nothing really transcendant despite that is nicely made (especially the improvised parts and their enchanting atmosphere).

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#155374) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2007

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

SJ's Casa Del Lago is sadly the second and last album of this band, even if the line-up is very different than that of the debut album, having augmented from a trio (losing the sax) and now being a quintet, including a full-time drummer. The music is obviously fairly different than the excellent avant-folk rock of the debut album, here drawing more on a symphonic jazz-rock with a fairly present violin and a mellotron. Again released on the Italian branch of Harvest, with the famous lakeside-house picture amputated by five squares of lake water under the sun as the sleeve artwork, CDL is a stunning album that breaks quite a few clichés about the Italian prog scene.

The opening Tristana features some nearly incomprehensible singing (impossible to understand the lyrics by listening to her) from the otherwise great voice of Jane Sorrenti (makes me think of Jane Relf), some great lead guitar and bass work, good percussions, excellent drumming and a solid violin, plus a sax solo, but has a weird outro that doesn't fit at all the main body of the track. The following 11mins Nella Vita, Un Pianto has a different slant, using some flamenco overtones and often dramatic jazz rock, with a good measure of symphonic thrown in via the mellotron, but the violin as well. An excellent track only surpassed by the title track.

The flipside is made of four shorter tracks, the first of which, Travel In Time, is a quieter affair, with the drummer preferring percussions, but stays well within the general direction of the album. The 6-mins+ title track is really more of the same plus two undeclared wind instruments (clarinets), but then again since "the same" is so good, we shall not deny our pleasure. Messicano (Mexican) is a very different conga-filled affair that develops a Central American feel, mixed with some African guitar work and, strangely enough, harmonicas. It's a little strange, but provides some welcome change of atmosphere at the right time. However the closing Earth Of Truth is definitely more surprising, with guitarist Rinesi holding the main vocals (Jane is very present in the background), but the acoustic piece is so sparse, that it brings you back slightly to the debut album. While I might have chosen to place either Tempo or the title track to close the album, moving the last two tracks up a notch in order to have the album's end more in line with the general direction, because ending the album with such a bizarre non-representative track is a bit weird.

Although a different beast than its predecessor, CDL is certainly no less worthy and it might just top it, many progheads even preferring this one. It's a bit too bad that SJ only stopped after two albums, as I'm sure more albums would've kept the band progressing. In either case, while there are still some folk overtones on this album, don't be fooled with its progressive folk belonging, due mostly to the group's debut album. One might also see a bit of a parallel between Madrugagada and Saint Just, as both had a folk prog album for their debut, then followed it up with a much jazzier-rock second (and last) album.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#187465) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 31, 2008

Latest members reviews

1 stars I had heard so much in favour of this album that hearing it was a complete surprise. It is a cacophonous racket from start to finish. It is as though the band had learnt of the concept of polyphony and having done so decided to overlay as many themes as possible, unfortunately none of them ble ... (read more)

Report this review (#29033) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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