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Moongarden Round Midnight album cover
3.62 | 81 ratings | 12 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Round Midnight (7:48)
2. Wounded (7:25)
3. Killing the Angel (4:53)
4. Lucifero (6:36)
5. Slowmotion Streets (5:47)
6. Learning to Live Under the Ground (10:24)
7. Coda: Psychedelic Subway Ride (1:56)
8. Nightmade Concrete (5:42)
9. Oh, by the Way, We're So Many in This City and So Damn Alone (1:54)

Total Time 52:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Luca Palleschi / lead & backing vocals
- David Cremoni / 6- & 7-string electric and 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars
- Cristiano Roversi / analog keyboards, electric piano, Hammond, Mellotron, Moog, loops, samples, Chapman Stick (1)
- Mirko Tagliasacchi / bass
- Massimiliano Sorrentini / drums, samples

- Giorgio Signoretti (Scraps Orchestra) / guitar solo (3)
- Stefano Boccafoglia (Scraps Orchestra) / narrator (3)
- Marco Remondini (Scraps Orchestra) / cello (5)
- Francesca Leasi / oboe (5)
- Massimo Menotti / ambient guitar loops (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Massimiliano Sorrentini with Gruxx (photo)

CD Galileo Records ‎- GR008 (2004, Switzerland)

Thanks to Atkingani for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MOONGARDEN Round Midnight ratings distribution

(81 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MOONGARDEN Round Midnight reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars On April 15th the promising Italian band MOONGARDEN will perform on a triple-concert near my hometown The Hague (the Dutch residence city), along with RIVERSIDE from Poland and KNIGHT AREA from Holland. I'm familiar to the last two bands but I didn't know anything from MOONGARDEN so I borrowed their last CD entitled "Roundmidnight" from a fellow proghead (Mr. Kiwi). Listening to MOONGARDEN's music is a special experience, a kind of 'Pandora's box of musical surprises'. It's hard to put this band in a category, perhaps the muscians themselves will hate every attempt from progrock reviewers to do so! My first reaction on this album was "Is this progrock?" but my final reaction is "Great to notice that, after more than 35 years, new bands still succeed to sound progressive!". The music alternates from progressive pop, including warm piano and acoustic rhythm-guitar and melancholic vocals (with obvious hints from RADIOHEAD and COLDPLAY), to melodic progressive rock featuring sumptuous keyboards (lots of fine Mellotron samples) and some wonderful sensitive electric guitar soli. I'm stunned by the beautiful, varied and elaborated compositions, loaded with emotion. In the end the vocalist sings "I'm so damned alone...", I think this phrase epitomizes the feeling of many young people who live in our ultra-modern and technically based society where verbal communication is on the level of the pre- historical times!
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I'm so excited about the bands that are coming out of Italy. MARYGOLD, THE WATCH, LA MASHERA DI CERA and this band MOONGARDEN. This record has a real modern, almost alternative sound at times.There are RADIOHEAD-vibes at times, partly because of the melancholic theme of the album. It's a record about the loneliness and sadness of living in the big city. How ironic to be so alone when surounded by millions of people. All you have to do is read the title of the songs of this record to see this subject that the band is making music about. Another thing that adds to the melancholy of this album is that it is drenched in mellotron.

It doesn't get any better than the first two songs of this record. "Round Midnight" is a lonely yet catchy song that features the use of chapman stick, vibraphone and ends with a terrific guitar solo and melody. Hard to get this chorus out of my head, actually I like it in my head. "Wounded" is one of my all time favourite songs. It is so amazing, emotional and mellotron laden. The tension is incredible, you think the song is going to blow up, eveything is restrained, held back, with the only relief an impressive soaring guitar solo. You have to hear this song ! "Lucifero" starts out very calm and reserved with vocals and keyboards, but it builds to the point of breaking out almost 4 minutes in. Lots of mellotron too.

"Slowmotion Streets" features processed vocals, cello, aboe and electric piano in a slowmotion song. "Learning To Live Under The Ground" is like an "In Absentia" song. It's hard and heavy with hammond organ, guitar and drums leading the way. Some amazing drum work on this one. The heaviness comes and goes throughout the song. "Coda:Psychedelic Subway Ride" is a short instrumental. Yeah i've been on the subway round midnight, not my favourite place to be. "Nightmare Concrete" features moog, piano, guitar and keyboards. The final track really says a lot by it's title "Oh, By the Way, We're So Many In This City and So Damn Alone", it's a short vocal track with piano.

This is one special album that means a lot to me.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Could be the soundtrack for the film "Lost in Translation"

I love this album though some may find it depressing. It is an album of contradiction, so alienating and sad, yet so beautiful and complete. It's not an uplifting album to listen to and yet quite good it is. Actually only the subjects are unpleasant, the music is pure beauty. With the subjects covered it could have been the soundtrack to the film "Lost in Translation."

"Round Midnight" is a modern sounding work about the human condition: dreams lost, loneliness, the lie of materialism, and the emptiness of the society our world has become. It asks and it ponders how we've ended up as such strangers, in such collective misery, in societies that get bigger and more crowded every year. We just had a great thread in the forum about depression which seems to get more prevalent all the time. Why is that happening? The themes of this album may offer some insight why. Essentially it covers similar conceptual ground of "Fear of a Blank Planet" except that this album is about the adult blank planet. This world you and I trudge out into every day for the privilege of affording food, as we create real wealth for more important people. We know what we're doing isn't fulfilling and yet if we don't do it we end up sleeping on cardboard in the street. How evolved, indeed.

The lyrics which are pure poetry, along with the booklet photography and the stunning album cover garner an A+ in presentation as they perfectly convey the message and compliment the music. The back cover features a photo of a plant growing from a nutrient compound in a sterile glass jar. A perfect metaphor for so many things in our lives, from our jobs to our consumerism to our souls: trying to find meaning and live in a world more suffocating by the year.

The music is alternative prog rock that is somewhere in that solo-Gabriel (circa "UP") and Radiohead neighborhood although Moongarden is slightly more accessible. You will find pulsing rock music that is brooding and slow generally, with occasional electronica or metal one moment, acoustic or piano dressed song the next. Always present is a thumping bass, emotionally heavy mellotron or keys, and insanely good rock drumming. And then there are the vocals which are quite Gabriel-like and filled with emotion, anger, and occasional release. When I think about this music I envision a lava lamp with black lava and white light, bubbling away in an empty dark apartment and the glow it casts on the floor around it. And the person who had to get out of that apartment but really had no where better to go.

If you love sad music you really have to get this one. Also recommended to fans of classy modern prog rock and people who wonder if our world is falling apart. The back of the booklet features a puppet on strings, with the words "everything is fading away" below the picture. This is an album you don't really want to hear but one that you should anyway. For this music is screaming to you where this world controlled by global corporate power has led us and continues to lead us. Yet another plea from an artist for us to wake the hell up.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Fourth album of this Italian band in almost ten years of existence. The least that I can say, is that I was not really impressed with their first three efforts. Closer to neo-prog than symphonic IMHHO.

It was without over-enthusiasm that I started listening to it and as soon as "Round Midnight" started, I was really surprised with the quality, the power of this song. Such a good track was alien to me in their discography so far. We are very far from the dullness and inconsistence of "The Gates of Omega". A highlight.

"Wounded" on the contrary is more on the melancholic side. Nice mellotron in the first and quieter part. The song goes beautifully crescendo and features emotional vocals. The final guitar solo part is nothing but exceptional. I must be dreaming!

"Killing The Angel" is a more tortured song with lots of weird sounds in there. Not my fave to be honest. But the band is still on the good track with "Lucifero" which features a superb closing guitar part (the second of this genre on this album). But the choir start, the sad vocal part (maybe a bit longish) and the magnificent mellotron section (of course) completes this song brilliantly.

"Slow Motion Streets" is a more usual "Moongarden" track. Close to Gabriel's solo work. Ambient and tranquil. A bit monotonous probably. The band is also investigating into some heavy metal mood with the longest track available; "Learning To Live Under The Ground" almost starts as an Iron Maiden song (or maybe DT because of the keys).

Fully Gabrielesque vocals (but this is not a new feature of course). The listener is almost suffering as much as Luca Palleschi. Fortunately, the finale is more joyful; just to raise your spirit after these depressive minutes. Another great guitar solo is peppering this very good and varied number. At this time of the track, it reminds me the great "K2" song "Infinite Voyage". A highlight.

The last two songs aren't that interesting even if the closing of "Nightmare Concrete" features great mellotron again (but it is a bit too much predictable). And the short and closing "So Many In This City & So Damn Alone" just adds some more sadness.

This is by far the best album from Moongarden. Three stars. I am even looking forward to listen their upcoming work (almost five years after this release)! You can get it with a 30% discount on the Galileo records site at the bargain price of 14 Swiss francs (or 9 ?). Release date somewhere in March 08.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars No surprises

This 2003 release is Italian band Moongarden's fourth album, recorded some nine years after their debut. While classified overall as symphonic prog here, "Round midnight" is rooted more in the Art Rock of bands such as Radiohead. There are leanings towards neo-prog, and perhaps even symphonic prog, but these are primarily in the washes of keyboards which adorn the songs; with organ, mellotron and synth all combining to provide a lush basis for each number.

The second track, "Wounded" offers the prefect example of what the album is all about, the melancholy Radiohead like vocals being complemented by some very Marillion like lead guitar. The following "Killing the angel" delves even deeper into Radiohead territory, or at least the melodic soft rock side of that band.

After a sparse intro, "Lucifero" positively swims in mellotron, with fine neo-prog style lead guitar occupying the song's core. "Slow motion streets" features oboe and cello as part of the intro, the ensuing distorted lead vocals of Luca Palleschi giving the track a Porcupine Tree feel. The song as a whole remains uncharacteristically understated.

If Porcupine Tree similarities were perceptible on "Lucifero", they are positively jumping out on the 10 minute "Learning to live Under the Ground", the intro to which sounds like it has been lifted straight from "In absentia" (released the previous year). This is unsurprisingly the most progressive track on the album, the song also bearing the watermark of IQ. The brief following "Coda: Psychedelic Subway Ride" could perhaps have simply been appended to its predecessor.

In all, a highly competent and enjoyable album which, while appearing somewhat derivative, is surprisingly difficult to pigeon hole in terms of genre.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Our own finnforest has expressed the exact sentiments (as he usually does with aplomb and flair) about this rather "difficult" album. If you are looking for bright piano exuberances, upbeat guitar runs, sugar-coated synthesizer sweeps and lyrics about fulfillment, happiness, bliss and how life is so beautiful, then ear-candy this is not! More depressive content than your recent Porcupine Tree, the last 2 Galleons , Blackfield or the latest Fish albums is assured. The mood here is symbolic of today's new religion: a very apathetic and bleak modern gloom. Kind of strange only because from 1945 to 1990, we all labored under the nuclear threat of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction), while in last 18 years we have been living in a surreal "Lalaland" of utter selfishness, social degradation, corruption and deceit. The Internet has made us immune from having a conscience. Funny what can happen when you turn off the lights temporarily in ICBM silos, we seem to become more primitive and less wise. I personally regret that many artists now eschew the desire for masses to reflect and highlight more awareness. I guess democracy has been replaced by hypocrisy (most probably it occurred after the fall of Troy but it was kept quiet, under wraps). With such a preamble, I think I have managed to properly prepare you for this recording, ready to absorb a little reality check. Why not! Whereas Moongarden's previous output was clearly influenced by Camel, this album takes a different contemporary direction, both in sound and in content, which had started with the previous The Gates of Omega. Nothing has changed as far as musicians are concerned, pretty much the same famiglia ; we are perhaps in a more current Gabriel mode, with heavy focus on Luca Palleschi's vocals. I also felt somewhat uncomfortable with his album as I quickly dismissed it and half-heartedly promised to get back to it later. Which is now. The cover is harsh bright light white, plastic neon sterility and innuendo-laced mini artwork boxes (the stringed puppet and "everything is fading away" mentioned by Jim). The title track "Round Midnight" initiates the angst with a bare delivery, FXed with sheens of urban gloom, a traveling electro-bass groove, a tappety-tap drum beat, some marimba-patch keyboards all combining to provide the platform for Luca to wail and howl. The contrasts between the cold atmospherics and the despairing voice are instantly appealing, a very beguiling modern take one, with a slithering solo by Davide Cremoni (a fine Hackett/Latimer hybrid) to set this piece well into the early dawn. "Wounded" starts off like a typical Porky Tree tune, acoustic guitar with heavily shrouded almost whispered vocals, oddball noises in the background, a gorgeous mellotron mid-section, evolving into a steamroller guitar theme, great drumming and another sibilant guitar foray that sustains the pain. "Killing The Angel" sounds even more contemporary (the wrenchingly pained "sound of our times " vocals), with a wobbling bass looping around the beat, weaving through odd sampled sounds and effects, the level of rage slowly rising in intensity, monolithic walls of keys rumbling overhead. "Lucifero" initiates with a somewhat contradictory heavenly mellotron choir, then electric piano and vocals take over the stage, both conspiring to be very fashionably minimalist. Certainly this is quite different take from the usual prog fare ("Jesus Christ crucified in space"), with suddenly lush drum driven symphonic blares combining with another bleeding Cremoni fill. "Slowmotion Streets" proposes some deliberate oboe /cello (always a scintillating combo) introductories , very measured and unhurried with a definite Gabrielesque vocal line as if off the recent "Up" ("the radio keeps talking while everything is grinding to a halt"), a rather morose description of urban realities where frenzy commutes with apathy, quantity fighting and defeating quality, numbers everywhere and everybody. Austere material that prepares well for the 10 minute+ hard driving opus "Learning to Live Under the Ground", as apt a descriptive for the decaying metropolitan ferrying of stunned masses, a subhuman subway that may have many stations but ultimately leads "nowhere". Depressing? ("Can't you see that nobody communicates anymore"), you are darn right. The musical context fulfills the mandate with appropriate doses of dissonance and repetition, with an extended guitar intervention that holds no restraint, until the piano elegantly takes over. Totally unconventional and hence convincing, mirroring the hermetic municipal ghetto we should be calling our lonely cities. "Coda: The Psychedelic Subway Ride" a less than 2 minute piece conveys exactly this bleak man-made landscape. Dull and hypnotic, sad and hopeless. "Nightmade Concrete" continues the tangible cement that holds this album together, eschewing prettiness and replacing it with drab reality, hard playgrounds were children do not laugh, too busy learning the joys of greedy survival, all searching for some concrete escape from the grim routine. A butterfly synth solo puts the dreariness to rest. The best way to describe the final piece is with the title "Oh By the way, we are so many in this city and so damn alone". How true. While perhaps not a masterpiece of the new Italian School of Prog, we are obviously in the presence of a different class of musician/artists who are unafraid to paint an ugly picture. 4 street beggars
Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars After hearing their excellent last album A Vulgar Display Of Prog, I was curious enough about this italian band to look for their previous CDs, even if I was feeling I maybe would not get ´more of the same´. Bingo! Round Midnight is their fourth release and differs quite from A Vulgar... The operner Round Midnight is a terrific mid-paced prog song, with great guitars, lush keyboards and very emotional vocals. But from then on the music turns to be more like the sohpisticated alternative pop of bands that followed Radiohead and Coldplay´s way. I found the vocals specially annoying (there is only one Thom Yorke. And that´s enough!). The title track was really an exception. Not that the CD does not have some very good moments (and lots of mellotron). But I guess those whining vocals do get in the way too much. From the second track onwards the quality stays the same (good, if you like a more progressive version of Radiohead). Excellent production and excellent perfomances. But I really liked A Vulgar Display Of Prog a lot more. In hindsight it seems very good that they took that path.

Rating: good, but hardly essential in any way. 3 stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
4 stars Often dissed by the prog community, I find Moongarden's contributions quite relevant to the prog revival, even if they are more NeoProg than expansionist. The final Moongarden album with singer Luca Palleschi in the lead position.

1. "Round Midnight" (7:48) one of my favorite prog rockers from 2003--great tension, shifts, musicianship, and melodies. (14/15)

2. "Wounded" (7:25) acoustic guitar strumming while Luca's scratch-compressed voice sings melancholically. In the third minute the music changes ('tron, electronic kick drum and bass). In the fourth minute Luca emerges from his submerged location and the music becomes flanged electric guitar strumming. Fifth minute full band coalesces and everybody is front and center--drums and sustained Hammond chords and sustained guitar (power) chords (kept in the background). Interesting but kind of scattered and nonsensical. (12/15)

3. "Killing the Angel" (4:53) builds into an excellent, power song. Great drumming and vocals. (9/10)

4. "Lucifero" (6:36) heavenly choir with spacey wind sounds panning around until the second minute when Roland electric piano takes over. Luca enters shortly thereafter singing in a voice that is like a combination of Thom Yorke and Peter Gabriel. Never really amounts to much. (7.5/10)

5. "Slowmotion Streets" (5:47) innocuous enough but takes too long to develop. (7.5/10)

6. "Learning to Live Under the Ground" (10:24) power metal? settles down in the third minute for entry of vocals. Nice melodies and chord progressions throughout the vocal sections. Stop/interlude 5:10 to 6:12 which is filled with Luca's four RADIOHEAD-like vocal tracks. Nice instrumental section follows. Another interlude 7:50 to 8:35 filled with reverse guitar notes and then solo electric piano. Interesting drumming display slowly brings us back to vocals--this time more subdued (though doubled up in harmony). (17.25/20)

7. "Coda: Psychedelic Subway Ride" (1:56) (4/5)

8. "Nightmade Concrete" (5:42) solo piano motif is joined by metronomic jazz-rock combo for Luca to sing. The stripped down solo acoustic guitar chorus is cool. A pleasant song about young love. I like the relaxed GENESIS palette of the instrumental passage. (8.5/10)

9. "Oh, by the Way, We're So Many in This City and So Damn Alone" (1:54) (4.25/5)

Total Time 52:25

Great sound, excellent musicianship (especially love the up-front bass on this LP), and a strong, powerful, emotive voice in LUCA PALLESCHI, their music is always an enjoyable and interesting listen. The songs "Round Midnight" (7:49) (14/15), "Killing the Angel" (4:53) (9/10), and "Learning to Live Under the Ground" (10:24) (17.25/20) are all worthy of inclusion in the pantheon of excellent prog music.

C+/3.5 stars; Round Midnight is a nice addition to a prog lover's music collection.

Latest members reviews

3 stars My first thought is... Post-Post-Progressive Prog?! Sounds like and unlike my childhood from the start. But mostly like what you might hear then. "Round Midnight", our opener and title track, has a very post-modernist, totally-aware-of-electronica (and, as you'll increasingly find, aware of R ... (read more)

Report this review (#2688181) | Posted by DangHeck | Monday, January 31, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, I'm kinda prog metal and heavy prog lover, but this album is just perfect. This is the softer prog I needed but without turning into something gay, it's just... beautiful. Songs like "Lucifero" and "Learning To Live Under The Ground", made me fell in love so deep that I can't stop listeni ... (read more)

Report this review (#136189) | Posted by painofdamnation | Tuesday, September 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This CD is my revalation of 2004. It is refreshing prog rock of the highest quality. Their album 'The gates of Omega' has long songs with a lot of soundscapes. This CD has more compact songs and is more direct. From the first sounds of the titelsong, this CD grabs ya. There are many highlights ... (read more)

Report this review (#31484) | Posted by Flipper | Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars There was not so many intrest for the band MOONGARDEN on this site until now, but I hope this will change, because they deserve it. Because these Italian guys are making excellent, refreshing music, modern progressive rock like more bands tend to play nowadays. So don't expect the traditional ... (read more)

Report this review (#31482) | Posted by | Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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