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NOSTALGIA

Neo-Prog • Italy


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Nostalgia biography
Hailing from Sanremo, Italy, NOSTALGIA was created in 1992 by guitarist Massimo Mazzeo, a Canterbury style enthusiast, and his friend guitarist/keyboard player Andrea Romano, a passionate CAMEL fan who also was very much into VAN HALEN, AL DI MEOLA and SANTANA. It is their common love for CAMEL that brought them together in 1982 to form a duo called ODEON. With the addition of various members, they evolved into NOSTALGIA and performed live, doing a mixture of cover songs and original material. The band has since released three albums of their own in addition to appearing on 3 tribute albums: GENESIS tribute "The River of Constant Change"; VDGG tribute "Eyewitness"; and CAMEL tribute "Harbour of Joy". The name NOSTALGIA was chosen by guitarist Mazzeo, partly in homage to a DAVID SYLVIAN song from his "Brilliant Trees" album.

Considering their CAMEL influences, their style is highly melodic and focuses more on the overall sound than individual prowess. The album features lots of acoustic guitar that gives their music folkish overtones (as in English folk), some nice keyboard flights and English vocals. Their strong point is their knack for writing smooth, simple, memorable melodies; their weakest point is perhaps the absence of a real drummer although to be fair, their use of digital drums is most discrete. "Never Too Late" is a nice debut album but their second, "Is Your Spirit Free?", is even better, with its prominent acoustic guitar, nostalgic piano and smooth female vocals that will likely remind you of early 70's English bands (the STRAWBS first come to mind). As for the equally charming "Welcome to Edo's Land", their third release, it ends with a couple of nice old CAMEL covers.

Recommended to fans of NOTTURNO CONCERTANTE, FANCYFLUID and CAMEL to a certain extent, but will appeal to all fans of smooth, melodic neo-prog in general.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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NOSTALGIA discography


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NOSTALGIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.13 | 4 ratings
Never Too Late
1993
3.50 | 6 ratings
Is your spirit free?
1994
3.02 | 5 ratings
Welcome to Edo's Land
1997

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NOSTALGIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Never Too Late by NOSTALGIA album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.13 | 4 ratings

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Never Too Late
Nostalgia Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Formed in 1992, Italian project Nostalgia from San Remo was the brainchild of guitarist/singer Massimo Mazzeo, who guided the band next to his school friend multi-instrumentalist Andrea Romano.A tape with their arrangements were caught in the attention of Mellow Records' leader Mauro Moroni, who suggested the duo to rearrange them in a proggier way.So Mazzeo and Romano re-recorded the tracks and Nostalgia's debut ''Never Too Late'' became reality on 19th May 1993.

By the time of the album's release Mazzeo was going through a painful personal phase, having lost his job, and all these facts are taped on the emotional performance of the band and the heavily auto-biographical lyrics.Additionally both Mazzeo and Romano were fans of CAMEL, so the album has a good sense of melody throughout, where soft acoustic textures meet often with melodic electric solos.However the album lacks the real fundamentals of progressive music, containing no interplays, no radical changes and no trully obvious progressive leanings.It is more in the vein of the easier material of ATON'S or NOTTURNO CONCETRANTE with the material strongly based around Mazzeo's voice, the calm keyboard atmosphere and the alternation between the acoustic and electric sound.The production is really flat and sound really amateur, same thing with the synths' and drums' echoes throughout the release.On the other hand Mazzeo's voice (though very accented on the English lyrics) and the duo's guitar delivery somewhat hold the listener's interest, although the playing is very mellow and deeply esoteric.

A good album for anyone looking for some music with a background essence, easy-listening and emotional.But I can see noone else, who could really appreciate the soft approach of Nostalgia's debut.Some samples before purchasing would be really helpful...2.5 stars.

 Is your spirit free? by NOSTALGIA album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.50 | 6 ratings

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Is your spirit free?
Nostalgia Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Interesting project by this italian duo of Massimo Mazzeo and Andrea Romano plus singer Stephania Bejma. The music here is very hard to label: they sing in english and don´t sound italian at all. Still this is mostly acoustic stuff, quite laid back and pastoral, except for the few occasional burst of electric guitars like the Santana inlfuenced instrumental track Shiver. In fact, they sound more american than european.

The songs are good, but not exceptional. I found the vocals rather weak on parts, expecially the male voices (mazzeo is no singer, which is very strange for an italian outfit). The lyrics are naive, ok, but I could live with that. Maybe they would be better if they sang in their native language. I heard they were influenced by Camel, but I really didn´t find much of that band here. Maybe that´s why they labeled them as neo prog here on PA, but don´t expect anything in the vein of the english 80´s bands nor the more recent neo groups that came from Poland or Holland. But if you like simple acoustic melodies, with some folky and jazzy parts then you should check this out.

In the end I found Is Your Spirit Free: a nice album. Quite peaceful and pleasant to the ear. Not much progressive stuff here, though. 3 stars.

 Welcome to Edo's Land by NOSTALGIA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.02 | 5 ratings

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Welcome to Edo's Land
Nostalgia Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars CAMEL meets folk rock somewhere in the middle of the 1970s, not a bad idea even in the mid 1990s. NOSTALGIA by this time had been progressing from a professional perspective, but the price is a certain loss of innocence, which was a quality that paradoxically elevated every aspect of "Is Your Spirit Free". This means that I have to judge "Welcome to Edo's Land" against other progressive rock of its time, and, while it's by no means a failure, I'm a little disappointed.

While the overall dreamy atmosphere and somewhat tinny quality remain, the melodies are less impressive as the duo goes singer songwriter, settling for ponderously strummed guitars and minimally persuasive bass patterns a little too often, as in "The Good Guys" and "Welcome" respectively. If one focuses on the lyrics and arrangements, the first are hard to hear and the second rather simplistic on "Never Alone", one of the longer cuts here.

The major highlights are the dynamically superb "I'm a Dreamer", with many phases and phrasings, and the delicate acoustic and vocally staggering delight "Double", while "Remains of the Night" shows off a more overtly keyboard dominated prog side for one of the few times, reminding me of some of ANYONE'S DAUGHTERS slightly fusion-y work in the early 1980s. The only Italian sung piece "Mare D'Inverno", and "Beyond the Fog" stake out a comfort zone without being pat.

After the free spirit soared in the previous album, this seems mundane by comparison, but still grounded enough to warrant 3 stars and a wistful sense that the band, like Edo, may have reached its ultimate landing.

 Is your spirit free? by NOSTALGIA album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.50 | 6 ratings

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Is your spirit free?
Nostalgia Neo-Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars While progressive rock is not the chart force it was 30+ years ago, one could argue that it is an even more successful style today than back then, on the basis of the number of artists plying the craft. In this environment, one of the challenges facing a band is that of defining their own sound, which becomes even more daunting when one considers the relatively paucity of common ancestors for the genre. In NOSTALGIA's case, their origins lie in unabashed CAMEL worship, yet they have somehow forged a unique style at the crossroads of the aforementioned veterans, the introspection of DAVID SYLVIAN, and myriad acts in the new age and folk constellations.

Some of their singularity may be due to financial constraints, so that very few drums are used, and half of those are programmed, and Mauro Moroni of Mellow Records produced the album, giving a cavernous and echoey aspect to the whole oeuvre. From a prog perspective, the group seems to have blown its budget on the compelling opening quasi-title suite, which includes the only authentic percussion, flutes, many shifts of mood within an ethereal framework, and some JADE WARRIOR styled languid guitars.

Subsequent tracks offer many beautiful melodies and moments, with plenty of gently yet ponderously strummed acoustic guitars, and occasional simplistic lyrics that sound profound when uttered with Italian accents. "Nothing we can't say, nothing we can't do" epitomizes this aspect of the group, as does "Only between people". The blending of male and female vocals is done in a charmingly amateurish way that somehow works. "Fragments" channels both Andy Latimer and Steve Hackett and shows that the band could go the instrumental route comfortably, even without percussion, while in other tracks the lack of real drums is compensated for by what sounds like luscious fretless bass.

While flaws abound, nostalgia offers a path to acceptance and forgiveness, which I freely embrace in the spirit in which this sweet production was offered. 3.5 stars rounded up.

 Welcome to Edo's Land by NOSTALGIA album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.02 | 5 ratings

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Welcome to Edo's Land
Nostalgia Neo-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Welcome to Edo's Land" is lovingly dedicated to Edoardo Anfossi, a friend and fellow musician who had a great impact on the members of this group judging from their words in the CD booklet. Reading their loving words to him it is obvious that all of us who have lost close friends too soon are going to be able to relate to the sentiments. But the album is not completely about Edo despite the title. Many serious topics are addressed in the lyrics which are quite good. The band is fronted by two friends Massimo Mazzeo and Andrea Romano, multi-instrumentalists who go all the way back to high school. Daniela Blundo is the vocalist and there are two guest musicians. The music is hard for me to describe well but I'd say it is neo-prog based with several songs that are flat out just folk-rock. It's a nice album if you're not looking for Relayer level prog. The Mellow Records website has a nice bit on the group's history if you are interested in more detail on that. The CD booklet features lyrics and nice photos of the band and also Edo.

The lyrics in this set deal with soul-searching (I'm a Dreamer), troublesome friendships (Double), staying close to your children (Never Alone), and the brotherhood of good people who refuse to turn their backs on the new lepers of our society, the poor (The Good Guys.) In "Never Alone" they say that children, given the choice of having their father in the next room under dire circumstances, or far away but content, will choose the first option. They don't care about your wallet or your status, they just want you, here and now.

"Welcome" begins with sound effects as someone presumably comes home and fires up a cig before picking up the acoustic. Bass and keyboards join a rather unnerving melody. "I'm a Dreamer" is a more conventional pop song but a real charmer with delightful melody and impressive guitar work. There are many different sections of music and all are interesting, along with shared vocals. One of the standout tracks for sure. "Double" features Maurizio Falcone in the first of three acoustic duets with Massimo. "The Remains of the Night" is a good instrumental with guitar over some very nice keyboard textures by Andrea Romano. Romano really shines here as an amazingly accomplished guitarist with some killer soloing. "Mare D'inverno" is written by Paolo Sommariva and shines to my ears because they sing this one track in Italian and it's very beautiful. This one is again accompanied by duel acoustics, mellow and very relaxing. "The Fault is Mine" features a guest vocalist performance by Stephanie Bejma. "Beyond the Fog" is the third of the dueling acoustic tracks and very nice albeit short. 'The Good Guys" features Daniela Blundo on lead vocals in a rather quirky pop song with pleasant bass and guitar accents throughout. "Never Alone" is an introspective ode to parenting with vocals by Daniela and Massimo and relatively uneventful music. "The New Day" closes the album with another instrumental this time written by Romano. It is upbeat and inspired. They then tack on a couple of Camel covers at the end, "Drafted" and "Camelogue." All in all the playing on the album is quite good although they could definitely use a full time drummer on future projects. Programmed drums can zap the zest from an otherwise good song.

When searching the haystack of lesser known, smaller groups from around the world, we must realize that we can't compare every local/regional band to Floyd and DT. Many of these people probably aren't full time musicians but working people who have sacrificed much to have a chance at recording an album, doing something they love without profiting much. I'm not saying we shouldn't judge them fairly but just that one has to keep in mind that Chris Squire can spend 24 hours a day in his home studio working on his stuff. He also has an unlimited production budget comparatively. While I can't know for sure, I'm guessing the musicians of bands like Nostalgia and others don't have the same luxury. They've done a damn fine job anyway. Take the time to find their music and give it a fair chance.

"In touching the strings of his guitars I tried to build a bridge to the unknown..to Edo's land. Ciao Edo, ciao my friend. My memories of you I'll treasure them in my heart." [Massimo]

Thanks to ProgLucky/Finnforest for the artist addition.

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