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Cantina Sociale

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Cantina Sociale Balene album cover
2.53 | 15 ratings | 4 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ulisse (Ulisse intro - Ulisse part 2 - Ulisse pt 3)
2. Primo Battito
3. Macina (estratto 1) (estratto 2)
4. Dive-nire
5. Ali Grandi
6. Una Vela
7. Balena

Line-up / Musicians

- Iano Nicolo / lead vocals
- Carla Viarengo / alto saxophone, back vocals
- Elio Sesia / guitars
- Marina Gentile / guitars
- Rosalba Gentile / keyboards
- Gianni Grasso / bass
- Graziano Viola / drums ospite
- Beppe Crovella / all mellotron & Hammond

Releases information

CD Electromantic Music ART 401 (2002)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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CANTINA SOCIALE Balene ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (43%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

CANTINA SOCIALE Balene reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars "Modern Mediterranean influences" - what he said!

3.5 stars actually

I got used to dozens of NEW Italian bands sounding very RETRO-like , and only THE WATCH managed to preserve unique equilibrity between Retro Prog and Modern Prog.Considering this one - I should take away this CD from my ITALIAN PROG box and put it into MODERN PROG one! Hardly comparable to anyone, CS managed to create pretty enjoyable and melodical album of SIMPLE SONGS with Progressive feeling. Rich arrangements, great musicianship, emotional yet soft vocal - recommended for those who about to discover new Italian Prog scene. It has reminded me a bit of MOONGARDEN's "The Gates of Omega" - same way strange but beautiful, a bit CARPTREE-like modernly sounding but good anyway. Recommended!

Review by b_olariu
2 stars 2.5

Cantina Sociale is an italian band who release a single album so far entitled Balene from 2002, but I doubt it there will be a second one. The music they play on this album is a strange one for my taste, I don't know how to grab this band, influenced by King Crimson, even in places some symphonic elements are shown, some Gentle Giant arrangements, ok not many, but they are, and from from italian bands from the'70's. As I said all the pieces are well played, well executed, but something is missing, maybe because the dark atmosphere they manage to create here and some realy strange vocal parts, mellow but unintristing to my ears. Anyway this Balene is something between good and not necesarly mediocre, more unpleasent. The best piece is by far the instrumental one, but the rest doesn't impressed me at all. Not something special in my collection, but not something realy bad, a so so album, for collectors of italian prog. I know at least 20 italian bands from today who sounds more intristing and choesive than this Cantina Sociale.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars « Cantina Sociale » is one of these Italian bands from the noughties who are trying to modernize the ISP genre but who are strongly capitalizing on the sound from the seventies.

The model here is definitely KC. "Cantina Sociale" plays music between jazz and symphonic prog. What I like the most of their sound is of course the extensive mellotron play which is vastly used during the whole of this album.

This being said, this work is no big deal, really: lack of passion, of melodic brilliantness, of great solo, of fine compositions. It is just a succession of well performed items featuring sweet vocals for most of them. But that's not enough to make a good album.

I far much prefer a band like "La Maschera Di Cera" in the register of more recent Italian bands. But I guess that all tastes are in nature. I can't go over two stars for this album. No real highlight at all. Just average music; but well performed.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Reaching already 15 years in the music league,CANTINA SOCIALE are another interesting entry in the prog world coming from Italy.The band was formed in 1996 in the small city of Asti in North-Western Italy by Elio Sesia and Marina Gentile (guitars), Gianni Grasso (bass and tenor saxophone), Carla Viarengo (alto saxophone), Rosalba Gentile (keyboards) and Graziano Viola (drums).By the time of their first album ''Balene'' from 2002,vocalist Iano Nicoḷ had already joined the group with famous Beppe Crovella,helping out on keys..According to Marina Gentile,they were inspired by the discovery of a 3.5 million years old fossil whale around Asti,with the album trying somehow to re-determine the relationship between people and mother nature.

STYLE: This is quite a bizzare album.While using a variety of vintage instruments,''Balene'' sounds so fresh and modern.That's maybe due to the very clear production,the sometimes distorted vocals and the use of synth effects.On the opposite,heavy mellotron sounds and flutes can be often heard throughout the listening.Despite featuring two guitarists,CANTINA SOCIALE's sound is strongly based on keys,the rhythm section and a couple of additional instruments like sax and flute.Guitars play mainly a supportive role ,adding an atmospheric dose at parts.Some good solos and breaks are of course also present.All tracks are arranged in a slow-tempo and contain a strong lyrical taste along with a Meditterenean/Balkan influence,with Iano Nicolo delivering a decent performance.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: A bunch of influences coming from both old and new prog school guarantee an intricate result: PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, KING CRIMSON, AREKNAMES, AREA,MEN OF LAKE are good reference points if you add a strong ethnic character to the music.

PLUS: Partly original,the album shows a band with personality.Great vintage keyboard sounds.The beautiful saxes and some guitar parts show a strong Balkan influence of great interest.Nice performance by Nicolo behing the microphone,a brand new but well-worked voice.

MINUS: Two guitarists in the line-up,but hardly are they on the front,to make the sound even richer.The marriage of vintage and modern sounds in not always succesful.Two many different styles,which are hard to follow.

WILL APPEAL TO: ...Fans of RPI,who aren't stuck in the symphonic/jazz past of the country and would like their music to have an ethnic feeling.Anyone who has loved AREA's early releases.Lovers of Experimental Music as well as Mellotron hard-die fans.

CONCLUSION: CANTINA SOCIALE are a good band.Their first step into progressive fields is defintely positive and is characterized by their own-established style.However they need to work a bit more more on the thin balances of this very challenging sound.This is a recommended effort which I enjoyed a lot...3.5 stars.

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