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Nodo Gordiano

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Nodo Gordiano Sonnar album cover
3.98 | 21 ratings | 4 reviews | 57% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Only Fool! Only Poet! (9:06)
2. Limbic Rendez-vous (6:57)
3. Charun (3:51)
4. After Dusk (20:47) :
- a) Promenade
- b) Debut
- c) Hey, Mr. Professor!
- d) Sgalambro's Ghost
- e) Pometine
- f) Pale Gallery
- g) Transhipment
- h) Nightdrive
5. Vanth (5:30)
6. Sonnar (8:23)

Total Time 54:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Filippo Brilli / winds
- Andrea De Luca / strings, keyboards
- Davide Guidoni / percussives, keyboards
- Natalia Suvorina / voices

Releases information

Label: Lizard (cd0168)
Format: CD, Digital
November 30, 2020

Thanks to Davels666 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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NODO GORDIANO Sonnar ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(57%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NODO GORDIANO Sonnar reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Gordian Knot remains defiantly untied and defiant as ever! My Italian pals Nodo Gordiano are back after a long six-year lull, Andrea de Luca still running the show with some new changes, as drummer Carlo Fattorini and guitarist Fabrizio Santoro are both gone. The mid-period King Crimson mood and style is still alive and well, thank you. Andrea handles his usual booming bass as well as guitar and keyboard duties, winds player Filippo Brilli is 'brilli-ant" as he does a fabulous Mel Collins-like performance throughout. But here comes the kicker, the drum stool is handled now by one of the finest drum/percussion masters on the Italian peninsula and beyond: Davide Guidoni. For those of you unfamiliar with this powerful Roman beat guru, here is a short list of his prog achievements: Pensiero Nomade, Taproban, Gallant Farm, Alberto Rigoni, The Far Side, Claudio Milano, Doracor, Nuova Era, Ozone Player, as well as his main gig with Daal and his B-Rain project. Suffice only to state that he is up there, not far from the Bruford/Peart/Bozzio/Colaiuta realm. The man is a beast as well as a super nice guy. There is little doubt that this new album will reach new levels of 'sons and fascinations' (to paraphrase Simple Minds' French words). While Nodo started out in 1994 as a KC and Genesis cover band, the 2009 "Flektogon" album really blew me away, and I have been a fan ever since. The 2014 release of "Nous" was an even higher step in the evolution of the band. This new album has all the hallmarks of continuing the tradition of complex, brooding, contrasting shimmers of familiar and often unfamiliar sounds.

The opening track serves to set the sonic table, featuring layered keyboard carpets propelled by that deft percussive touch, slashes of guitar reverberations, full of melodic dissonance and ominous feel. The female vocals of Natalia Suvorina take some getting used to, not really my style of tone (more a voice than vocals, if you see/hear what I mean) but they are there for a reason. A blistering 7-minute ride, "Limbic Rendez-vous" shifts into another gear altogether, revving up the engine, a platform for some ravaging sax work from Brilli, bruising bass and a drum barrage for the ages. Its raw, yet melodic, jumpy but structured. Hard jazz-prog with superlative control and dynamics. Midway through, the sequencer synths lead the brief witch like vocals, as the fuzzed bass carves some nasty lead grooves, more like prime Hopper or Babbington. Delirium ensues, sounding almost like classic Gong, with the Malherbe-like sax sprouting chaotic fantasy. The short "Charun" serves as a set-up for the massive 20-minute epic "After Dusk", a foreboding clock of dread, loaded with a flurry of metallic percussion that would make BB proud, as if some creeping monster was surging out from the Amazon jungle. The added mellotron bursts only add to the suspense. Here is the core piece as introduced earlier, a gigantic epic of colossal width and length, a crosscurrent of everything you can think of as progressive, from one end of the spectrum to the other extreme, all set up as individual vignettes. When the rash guitars kick in, shouldered by the clinical tik-tok of the drums, the energy level raises itself to insistent levels. This materializes into quite the hurricane, not unlike KC, s classic and my all-time favourite "Sailor's Tale", with various mood changes, alternate dimensions and surprising dynamics. When Natalia whispers, it comes off as a clever foil, especially when Andrea shows up on his slashing electric guitar, doing a most admirable job, all the while keeping the bossy bass low end furiously in place. The man with the strings. Two more pieces finish off the recording, "Vanth" choosing to explore a more modern groove, whistling synth front and centre, coddled by the menacing mechanical drum patterns (not a drum machine but a human machine) and large swaths of mellotron. An incessant and obsessive slice of genius, with an overt Brufordian guidance, this is quite the show, perhaps even more Crimson than the King itself. A grandiose finale is in order, the tittle track takes no prisoners, germinating from a gentle e-piano lilt that allies itself with a sonorous guitar phrasing, sounding like a jam version cousin of Zep's "No Quarter", as it evolves into a more concise arrangement, Davide operating like an octopus gone wild, all culminating into a breezy outro, where the e- piano waves a lovely and poignant arriverderci.

A tremendous piece of work that should find favour with the Frippian hordes, or anyone else who enjoys great drumming, fabulous bass, powerful guitar and exhilarating sax work. With this effort, the band has risen to even higher levels of style and maturity, offering a more psychological work, laden with detail as they keep getting better and better at their craft.

4.5 Roman cameras

Review by Matti
3 stars Sonnar is the fifth album by NODO GORDIANO, but the first one that I listen to. The band from Rome already has a long history with several changes in the line-up. Here the creative unit is formed by Andrea De Luca (stringed instruments and keyboards) and Davide Guidoni, probably best known from Daal, who plays percussives and keyboards. On board are also Filippo Brilli on wind instruments and Natalia Suvorina as a vocalist.

I might as well start by saying that the music screams King Crimson. Not the early era (except '21st Century Schizoid Man' perhaps) but the more experimental and edgier output. The rhythms are very complex, the atmosphere is often quite sinister and there's a certain "free jazz + avant + metal" spirit reminiscent of what's heard in Crimso's music, and what could be called Crimsonesque. The female voice on this hard boiled album isn't any softening feature either. Mostly the music is instrumental, and hardly ever song oriented per se.

The 9-minute opener 'Only Fool! Only Poet!' starts promisingly with a creepy atmosphere but the vocal parts sound mostly too cold and monotonous to make the piece significantly better than it would have been as an instrumental. The second track has an intense sound full of saxophone a la King Crimson or VdGG. There are some moments with brief backround vocals to underline the schizoid frenzy. 'Charun' is a deeply sinister, nightmarish instrumental with interesting percussion.

'After Dusk' is a 20-minute epic containing eight movements, according to the leaflet. After the free- jazzy intro ('Promenade') comes a vivid portrait of a "21st century schizoid girl", one of the coolest and grooviest moments of the album. Unfortunately the epic has very little for me to enjoy. The Crimsonesque intensity is way too constant without much space to take a breath. Also the calmer and slower sections maintain the dark and hostile atmosphere, and the fresh melodies are absent. Sorry, not my cup of tea. Too bad I don't even like the vocals, as you may have guessed at this point.

'Vanth' is a dark-toned instrumental with a psychedelic feel. My favourite is the title track in the end: it has fascinating, esoteric moments of spaceyness, and the vocal parts add a needed, more or less song oriented element to what is basically another instrumental.

Two stars might be closer to my subjective level of enjoyment, but I add one star and recommend this album for those progsters that appreciate the avant flavour and Crimsonesque hard edge.

Review by andrea
4 stars "Sonnar" is the fifth studio album by Roman band Nodo Gordiano and was released in 2020 on the independent label Lizard Records with a renewed line up featuring, along with founder member Andrea De Luca (strings, keyboards), the fresh energies of Filippo Brilli (winds), Davide Guidoni (percussion, keyboards) and Natalia Suvorina (vocals). According to the band, this album is dedicated to the inspiring works by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and was conceived "as a hypnagogic journey... divided into three parts revolving around the experience of the Other, separated from each other by demons who, as in the tomb of the Anina, guard the mystery of the Outside, and ends with the verses of the Vedic hymn to Surya, a memory of the solar symbolism that, even in darkness, pervades it". The overall sound is dark, challenging and every now and again it could recall King Crimson with a pinch of Oriental flavour, as you can guess looking at the evocative artwork by Davide Guidoni...

The opener "Only Fool! Only Poet!" features lyrics adapted from Friedrich Nietzsche's "The Song Of Melancholy" (In "Thus Spoke Zarathustra") and starts softly... The pace is slow, the almost mystical atmosphere takes you to a desert land where in a cave there's a sorcerer who is singing. To escape from the blinding light and the glowing glances of the sun you dive like an eagle into a dark inner abyss as the echoes of the music soar towards the sky trying to reach the dark side of the moon... The following "Limbic Rendez-Vous" is an instrumental track (vocals here are used just as in instrument to add a touch of colour) drawing you into an emotional labyrinth where memories get lost like a lizard in the middle of a battle of glass tears...

Next comes "Charun", a disquieting instrumental track where percussions take the lead conjuring up obscure tribal rites. The title refers to Etruscan mythology where Charun is one of the psychopomps of the underworld, a demon whose responsibility is to guide newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife...

The long, complex suite "After Dusk" (20:47) is divided into eight parts: a) Promenade; b) Debut; c) Hey, Mr. Professor!; d) Sgalambro's Ghost; e) Pometine; f) Pale Gallery; g) Transhipment; h) Nightdrive. This piece, featuring nightmarish atmospheres and hermetic lyrics, if I'm not wrong, is freely based upon "Toby Dammit", an episode from the horror anthology film "Spirits Of The Dead", directed in 1968 by Federico Fellini and staging a personal, modern version of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe entitled "Never Bet The Devil Your Head". The music and lyrics evoke an eerie 21st century schizoid girl, a man haunted by painful memories and ghosts, silent shadows moving around at night and a desperate race with the devil on the edge of madness...

The title of the following "Vanth" refers to a chthonic winged figure in Etruscan mythology, a female demon that is often accompanied by Charun. It's a nice instrumental piece full of tension and mystery leading to the final title track. "Sonnar" features lyrics freely taken from a Vedic hymn to the god of sun and begins softly. The mood is dreamy, then the rhythm rises while an invocation emerges from the darkness like a revenant fount from the past as flames of fire burn and blaze and places, faces and stories melt into the light...

On the whole, a very good work, even if it might need many spins to be fully appreciated.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The return of Nodo Gordiano takes place after 6 years, currently the group is a duo composed of bassist and founder Andrea De Luca and drummer Davide Guidoni (Daal), with the precious help of guests Natalia Suvorina on vocals and saxophonist Filippo Brilli. This fifth work of theirs is in some ways ... (read more)

Report this review (#2483726) | Posted by Aenima-x | Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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