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CONTRAPPUNTO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Contrappunto biography
CONTRAPPUNTO are a late 90's symphonic Italian band emulating the 70's sound. Mainly keyboard driven (piano), their music is reminiscent of French neo-progsters ARRAKEEN. Their latest line-up consisted of lead female vocalist Adelaide Loru, keyboard player Andrea Cavallo, guitarist Sebastiano Di Paola, bassist Denis Fiori and drummer Denis Militello. They've put out two albums todate, "Subsidea" (1999) and "Lilith" (2001), and are about to release an all-instrumental cd entitled "Elegie d'inverno".

"Subsidea" is a mix of moody instrumental rockers with some jazzy bits ŕ la KARNATAKA, interspersed with vocals by Sara Arrigone (who appears on this first album only). It features lots of Moog and Hammond organ as well as a few good guitar solos. "Lilith" will no doubt remind you of MARILLION's "Clutching at Straws" with, again, the addition of some jazzy parts. The tunes sometimes drag on a bit longer than they should and the "marillionisms" are slightly overdone, but the overall result is fairly palatable. The up-coming album "Elegie d'inverno" is rumoured to be quite different as it promises more complex instrumentation and lots of acoustic passages, with contemporary classical flavours reminiscent of Stravinski, Gershwin and Piazolla.

Not essential but if you're a fan of ARRAKEEN or old MARILLION and don't mind a touch of jazz to your simple melodic lines, these albums may be worth checking out.

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

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Elegie D'InvernoElegie D'Inverno
Mellow Records
Audio CD$23.57
$22.99 (used)

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CONTRAPPUNTO discography


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

3.00 | 2 ratings
Subsidea
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
Lilith
2001
2.09 | 7 ratings
Elegie d'Inverno
2004

CONTRAPPUNTO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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CONTRAPPUNTO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Elegie d'Inverno by CONTRAPPUNTO album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.09 | 7 ratings

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Elegie d'Inverno
Contrappunto Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Three years after ''Lilith'' Contrappunto and Andrea Cavallo returned with a third album and a new contract with Mellow Records.This time though things have completely changed.Contrappunto were always, more or less, driven by Cavallo's writing skills, this time the group was renamed to Contrappunto Project and ''Elegie d'inverno'' is mostly a solo than a band effort.Cavallo played all keyboards, traditional instruments and percussion on this album (which sound rather programmed) with some help by guests on wind instruments,

It is quite clear that Cavallo's preferences at the time were far from his past, proggier attitude and his new album sounds like a mix of Ambient, Electronic, World Music and New Age soundscapes.There is total absence of any rock instrumentation like guitars, bass and drums and the music relies upon Cavallo's various keyboard textures mixed with trumpets, horns, traditional instruments and saxes.The tracks sound good for background music but are far from interesting for occasional listenings.Repetitive, very soft, monotonous and deeply atmospheric music with inconsistent styles' blends, that lack energy and passion, presenting a trippy experience based on orchestral and ethnic arrangements.On the other hand this sounds as Cavallo's personal approach on experimental music, there are plenty of Avant-Garde related themes in this release, but I am afraid these are too minimalistic to strike the listener's ears.Only the pair of closing tracks sound a bit inspired, a nice Electronic soundscape and a pretty romantic piano arrangement.

After the album Cavallo put his project on hold, only occasionally returning for participations in a few Prog-related compilations albums like the '' Dante's...'' series of Musea Records.

''Elegie d'inverno'' is by far the less recommended work by Contrappunto.Hypnotic music all the way, flirting dangerously with New Age, and having absolutely nothing to do with Progressive Rock.Only for fans of the style.

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 Subsidea by CONTRAPPUNTO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Subsidea
Contrappunto Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Italian band led by keyboardist Andrea Cavallo.Andrea was also the vocalist of the band in the beginnings back in 1995,which started as a quartet in Torino,where the band succeeded some radio airplay.Soon the original guitarist would leave the band to be replaced by Sebastiano Di Paola and female singer Sara Arrigone,so that Andrea had plenty of space to focus on his keyboard work.Contrappunto recorded two demos,''Soundscapes'' and ''Mini mood'',performed intensively around the Piemonte area,thus giving birth to their debut ''Subsidea'' in 1998 on Progressive Rock Worldwide.

The album is a mix of keyboard-driven modern Symphonic Rock with Electronic hints here and there,filled with long instrumental passages,Classical piano-centered references and crystalline vocals by Sara Arrigone (with English lyrics all the way).''Subsidea'' balances constantly between an aggressive face with heavy guitar playing and vocal-based soft passages with piano lines,between melodic, dreamy passages and complex parts with a bombastic sound,between furious catchy grooves and technical soloing.The compositions are on a good level with a good blending of symphonic arrangements and rock aesthetics.The floating synths of Carvallo are great,not to speak of his compositional skills,the solos and riffs of Di Paola are more than decent and Sara prooves to be a fine singer with no mistakes.Italian compatriots PRESENCE are a good comparison.

''Subsidea'' was a nice entrance for Contrappunto in prog discography.While the album has not really anything new to add to the subgenre,it remains a great and pleasant listening for anyone into the Symphonic Rock sound or for die-hard keyboard fanatics.Recommended.

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 Lilith by CONTRAPPUNTO album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Lilith
Contrappunto Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I am a bit disengaged by this album.

This album has everything a good progressive rock album, bordering to a rock album should have. Decent vocals, decent melodies, decent musicianship and a decent packaging.

The music is somewhere between Neo-Prog and AOR. Add some jazz elements and you get the zest of this album. There are some good guitar solos here. But most of the music is underpinned by the female vocals and the use of piano and keyboards. Even some hammond organs is included here. But this is not RPI as we knows it. The sound is much more leaning towards today's Marillion. But most of all; towards AOR. I have problems finding any progressive rock elements here. The vocals too is a bit flat and uninspiring. The quality of the tracks are rather good.

My main problem is that there is nothing here that either offend me or amuse me. Everything is good here......... and just that. This album is a flat and featureless as the prairie in the USA. In other words; this album gives me some pleasure, but does not satisfy me. The guitar solos brings this album up to a three stars............. barely.

3 stars

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 Subsidea by CONTRAPPUNTO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Subsidea
Contrappunto Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Today I noticed that my amount of Italian Symphonic Prog reviews is 99 so I started to work on # 100, it's the only category I can easily compete with neighbour 'Super-Sean'! I have chosen for Contrapunto, this means that an Italian band on a Brasilian label is reviewed by a Dutchman on a Canadian progrock site, music unites! Contrapunto is from the city Turin, known because of their legendary football club Juventus. The nine compositions on their first album (1999) contain a fresh and modern sound with lots of captivating breaks. All musicians present themselves in a very pleasant and crafted way: good female English vocals (with hints from Tracey Hitchings), a guitarist who plays very alternating (from sensitive soli to heavy riffs), a keyboardist with a lush sound and flashy runs and a tight rhythm-section. Some tracks evoke Collins-era Genesis but in general Contrappunto makes quite original prog that grows every turn. The final song Bad Choice is a funny one with disco-like rhythm guitar and a jazzy piano. A promising debut CD.


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 Elegie d'Inverno by CONTRAPPUNTO album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.09 | 7 ratings

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Elegie d'Inverno
Contrappunto Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Fitzcarraldo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars The inside of the back cover says "Instructions for use: Play it loud with lights off". Actually, neither is that important or makes much difference to the music.

Unlike CONTRAPPUNTO's two previous albums, the instrumental "Elegie d'Inverno" was released under the name of CONTRAPPUNTO PROJECT. I have not yet heard the previous albums but, judging by the reviews of those I have read, this album is quite a departure as it is much less like Progressive Rock. This album is more akin to modern chamber music or classical-jazz fusion (plus a nod to TANGERINE DREAM on several occasions). The artist used acoustic instruments (piano, celeste, flute, clarinet, tenor sax, trumpet, trombone, French horn, xylophone, bandoneon. you get the picture) with some occasional backing from synthesizer, electric piano and other keyboards. Andrea Cavallo is the composer of all the pieces and also played many of the instruments.

Despite the predominant use of acoustic instruments and the classical-jazz pretensions, the compositions are relatively simplistic (sometimes rather unimaginatively repetitive) and, in my opinion, verge on the pretentious. The music is pleasant enough but by no means stellar. My favourite parts are the relaxing TANGERINE DREAM-like soundscapes on a couple of the tracks, and the final track (a live version of a track from the first album) using just piano.

The mention of Gershwin and Piazzolla in the write-up on the Mellow Records Web site, plus the evocative album title and attractive cover photograph of a tinted cloudy sky, were what attracted me to the album, and I decided to take a chance. The sleeve notes mention Gershwin and Piazzolla specifically with respect only to the track 'Vivaci Acrobazie', and indeed in that track there is a snippet of bandoneon plus a few bars almost straight out of Summertime from Porgy & Bess, but that's about as far as the similarity goes. The music is predominantly calm, ponderous and, as I said, somewhat simplistic. An interesting project and pleasant enough music but certainly not essential. I would not have bought it if I had listened to it beforehand, to be honest. If it were possible I'd award the album 2.5 stars but, as it isn't, I'll go with 2 stars (Collectors/fans only). You might enjoy this but do try before you buy, to avoid disappointment (I have since discovered that you can listen to several of the album's tracks on the group's Web site).

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 Lilith by CONTRAPPUNTO album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Lilith
Contrappunto Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Marcelo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Second album from this neo progressive band that shows, at the same time, interesting and some weak points.

CONTRAPPUNTO's sound is based on keyboards (specially piano) and a female voice potentially very good, but not really expressive. Rythmically, music isn't very complex, going from jazzy tunes to classical approaches, including some soft blues soundscapes.

The album isn't bad, with nice atmospheres and relaxing moments, but there's a lack of melodic line and playing isn't the best: i.e., keyboardist seems to sail between Rick Wakeman and Richard Clayderman beside the above mentioned singing style.

Among contemporary Italian bands, CONTRAPPUNTO isn't the winner, but worth a listen and -if you don't looking for the most elaborated music- "Lilith" has enjoyable moments.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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