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RANDONE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Randone biography
N. Randone was born in Ragusa on 08/10/1972.
Today Nicola lives and works in Catania.

The first musical experiences of the guitarist and keyboardist-singer start in 1990 when he takes part in several musical projects embracing his first great passion: the electric guitar.

Nicola simultaneously is involved, for most of his time, in building and maintaining a literary-musical portal: Il mondo di Art. This site receives 1000 unique visits per day and it also had the honor of achieving different awards for the design including the prestigious Italian Web Awards.

Along with his primary job (graphic designer) Nicola has always supported his passion for music and composition. In 1998 the collaboration with the band Gray Owl brings the band to the auto-produced cd "La parete di ghiaccio" selling all the copies (1000 units). But the band struggled to remain united and Nicola decided to take a small break to write his first solo work. "Morte di un amore" comes 4 years after: album in which the author has poured his desire to still believe in music combined with the desire to reach a wider number of listeners. In a few months the album gets a positive reaction from critics (reviews), the distributors Musea Records and BTF add the cd to their worldwide sale catalogues. The title track of the album was broadcasted by RAI Radio 2 in a famous radio program: DEMO. Suddenly the first definition that will accompany him throughout his musical career: Randone is a "prog singer"!

After 1 year Nicola was contacted by the producer Beppe Crovella, keyboardist of the band ARTI E MESTIERI and author of soundtracks and music for television. Nicola joins Crovella's team in 2003 and takes part in the project "Colossus and Musea RY" which is a musical adaptation of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.

Nicola thus composes his first song for an international production. The single is inside a triple cd in company of famous bands and not from all over the world. Nicola is supported by the band TEMPORE of Turin, already known for their collaboration with Mike Keneally (guitar player of Frank ZAPPA). The track is a success and takes the full band in concert in Helsinki (August 2003), capital of Finland, in the festival Alwari Rock. Here Nicola has the possibility to propose tracks of his solo work Morte di un amore.

A few months after, Crovella decided to launch the first cd of the band Randone: Nuvole di ieri, a long suite of 45 minu...
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HyblaHybla
Import
Electroman 2007
Audio CD$16.05
$14.99 (used)
Hybla: a Live Barock OperaHybla: a Live Barock Opera
Import
2010
DVD$26.99
$9.00 (used)
Linea Di ConfineLinea Di Confine
Import
Electroman 2009
Audio CD$17.78
$14.99 (used)
Nuvole Di IeriNuvole Di Ieri
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Electroman 2007
Audio CD$17.94
$14.99 (used)
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RANDONE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.78 | 37 ratings
Morte Di Un Amore
2002
3.83 | 34 ratings
Nuvole Di Ieri
2003
3.62 | 27 ratings
Ricordo
2004
4.13 | 54 ratings
Hybla Act 1
2005
3.85 | 40 ratings
Linea Di Confine
2009
4.02 | 21 ratings
Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1)
2014

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

RANDONE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.50 | 9 ratings
Hybla A Live Barock Opera
2006

RANDONE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.43 | 7 ratings
Single & Unreleased
2012

RANDONE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 7 ratings
Sguardo verso il cielo
2009
4.83 | 6 ratings
Soy Peregrino
2014

RANDONE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1) by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.02 | 21 ratings

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Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1)
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Good music, a skilled band and very good songs, but this time what matters more is the concept. Journey. This is what the first act of this trilogy is about. A bit of history can help the understanding. St. James (Sanctus Jacopus in Latin) becomes Sant'Iago in Spanish. Centuries ago he walked to the actual "end of the world", (Finis Terrae) and watched a spectacular clear sky full of stars so that the place he was is now called "Compostela" (Campus Stellae - Starfield).

Since then thousands of pilgrims have walked from the Pyrenees, the mountains at the border between France and Spain to that remote place at the end of the known world called Santiago de Compostela.

This is why the album is so full of voices, emotions, sounds and the sense of the journey which includes wonder, fatigue, and a sort of spiritual renaissance. I don't know if Nicola Randone, the project's mastermind is a faithful Christian or not, I have personally spoken with people who walked the Way, and there are Atheists and Mulims who have done it.

Now let's go straight to the album. "Ultreia" is a mysterious word that the pilgrims use as "hello". The first song "Ultreia" starts from a traditional song, but as often happens in prog, it also works as Ouverture including some of the recurring musical themes which will pop-up here and there later in the album.

My favorite song is personally "la Cabra Negra". I'm not sure to have correctly interpreted the lyrics, but I think it represents the temptation, the Devil of Fatigue trying to make the pilgrim stop and give up.

"Il Canto Della Vita" (The song of Life) has a very easy musical theme which appeals immediately and persists in your mind after the listening, but the central interlude, sad and dreamy, gives the idea of the rest after an ordeal, the last moments at the end of the day before falling asleep. The flute and the march rhythm mixed with some electronics give me this idea, at least.

"Mariposas" starts from the main theme but in minor chords. The spelling voice describes the sensation of walking, "fixing the colour of Mariposas in your heart". The keyboards (I think played by Beppe Crovetta from Arti E Mestieri) have a big part in setting the mood with vintage sounds in a Wakeman's style. I have also the impression of a Theremin. Very good guitar, too.

"Soy Peregrino" is one of the most rocking tracks. As in classic rock its length doesn't reach 3 minutes, heavy guitar and hammond are the base of a spanish song. In the last seconds this sort of progressive metal turns into acoustic. A very good song.

"Qui ed Ora" (Here and Now) is a connection to the other Randone's work that I know: Linea Di Confine. The melody and the dissonances in between remind to that work. Anyway, the vintage sound of the keys (a Moog maybe?) has a bit of PFM. After 5 minutes, the wind introduces few moments of dark atmosphere, like a n incoming storm, but it's just a moment. The coda has a very positive sound, quite like a hymn.

A dark love song, a moment of rest in the night. Paying more attention to the lyrics, it's not clear if the woman he speaks about is a real woman or if there's anything religious inside. Maybe both the things. The a-cappella singing with an operatic female voice and the sound which seems a theremin are an unusual moment in this album.

"Rosa" (Rose) Seems to be a real character. A woman who helps the pilgrims and likes hearing their stories. "They come to ease the pain and fill the silence inside me" she says. It's a very melodic song which sounds very RPI,

"Hasta la Vista, Diego". It may be somebody met on the Way (The walk of Santiago is also known as the Milky Way). He says something in Italian with a strong Spanish accent. Then comes a good instrumental part which contains a bit everything. This is prog. No other words are needed. Again the influence of classic RPI is evident in the keyboard parts. The guitar instead, may fit in an Ayreon's album. This is the most complex song and one of the best for sure.

"So Close, So Far Away" is opened by acoustic guitar and harmonica, like a Country western song. It's something that was common in the late 60s in Italy, when many artists were strongly influenced by Dylan. But the Country flavor goes away soon. Another melodic song in classic RPI stile. The vocals are not too dissimilar from Ivano Fossati (former Delirium) but the melody can remind to "Le Orme", but the instrumental part is astonishing. A heavy prog interlude and the return to the melody. It represents a moment of doubt "can this Way be only an excuse to proceed far from you" This seems to be the meaning of the song's title.

In a city called "Victoria" there's the church of the White Virgin (La Iglesia de la Virgen Blanca), Is another sort of checkpoint in Nicola's journey. A mystic moment or just when he has finally given up to a lost love? Whatever it is, this song is very dramatic.

"Santiago" is the goal, where both the journey and this album end. We know that it's not the end of the story as this is just the first chapter of a trilogy. Operatic male vocals introduce a song with an unusual signature with several changes. It gives an idea of confusion. Like the pilgrim is asking himself about the true reason of the journey. This complicated song seems to me a bridge to the next chapter which will arrive in 2015: a sort of "to be continued":

I hope Randone will mantain the promise of releasing two more albums about the "camino". If you want to enter a bit more easier into the right mood for the album, give a look to the booklet. It's available in several languages and a photo in particular impressed me: Nicola on a bed with a small window on his back, likely in a hostel, with his guitar close to him. That snapshot says a lot.

Not less than 4 stars for me. 5 if it was for the concept only. The spirit of the Milky Way filters out of the tracks. This means that the music has reached its target.

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 Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1) by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.02 | 21 ratings

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Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1)
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars This is the first album I have heard from this Italian group named after founder Nicola Randone. Ultreia is the first in a trilogy of albums. This was inspired by a trip through the Pyrenes mountains on the border of France and Spain. The band has been around since the early 2000s and I watched a concert from 2005 I believe the band posted on YouTube; it seems the Jew's harp was always a part of the band's sound. Nice addition, I like it. The music here is generally modern RPI stuff with some very metal guitars at times. Talking and nature sounds can be heard throughout the album. Maria Modica does the female vocals while Carmelo Corrado Caruso does male operatic vocals.

"Ultreia" opens the album with a preview of the traditional Argentine song "Soy peregrino." One of the better tracks, some kind of symphonic prog with a shuffling beat. Symphonic prog metal during the 'chorus' part. "La cabra negra" starts off in prog metal territory before switching to folky symph prog when the vocals arrive. Very prog metal guitar soloing and drumming is followed by some cool synth sounds. "Il canto della vita" starts off very accessible and ballad- like before changing halfway to a more sombre sound with a flute solo and then a ripping guitar solo. Later male and female vocals alternate along with some cool choir sounds from the Mellotron.

"Mariposas" is an instrumental with narration at the beginning. One of the highlights of the album. Lots of variation in the playing. Features some great analogue synth soloing as well as some fast, intricate guitar playing. "Soy peregrino" is here performed symph metal style with the vocals done operatic. "So Close, So Far Away" has an English title but the majority of the lyrics are in Italian. Starts off as an acoustic guitar based ballad. Later changes to a fusion-y part with organ and synth before some metal guitars show up.

"Hasta la vista, Diego" is another highlight. Cool synth riff at one point. Some nice tuba(?) as well. Some vocals here but they are wordless. Nice piano at the end with a television in the background. For me the first half is stronger than the second half, but the best moments are found throughout the album. Recommended to those who enjoy modern RPI. I will give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

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 Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1) by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.02 | 21 ratings

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Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1)
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I was also contacted by Nicola Randone and found myself very honored to be doing a review of his latest and sixth opus. I have been aware of his career and even came close to pulling the trigger on his past album Hybla Act 1, due to the high ratings and blushing reviews. But for whatever motive, the gun never went off, a sad realization when one witnesses the passionate charm of this marvelous 2014 release! Nicola continues the fine tradition of Sicilian RPI artists such as Malibran, Conqueror, Coral Caves and the legendary Franco Battiato. The ever-lasting main RPI characteristic is the intercourse between symphonic classicism and Italian folk songs (canzone) which gives the music a dense power and a glorious historic tradition, and Randone certainly comes through in living colour. Nicola also handles keyboards, ably assisted by the famous Beppe Crovella of Arti+ Mestieri fame, a supremely talented player who adds some blitzing lines on Hammond organ. There is a lot of support vocals as well, from opera soloist (Carmelo Caruso) to female lead (Maria Modica) as well as Carlo Longo providing harmonic assistance. Lead guitarist Marco Crispi flashes some sparks when required and the Rabito-Cascone rhythm section is rock-solid. This 2014 release is the first act of a trilogy called "Canzoni sulla Via" (Songs on the Road") searching to define the experiences of author Nicola Randone's pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a spiritual journey that transcends religion. Hence some of the tracks have Spanish and not Italian names, an interesting twist. I will go through each track, as each piece represents a phase or juncture in Nicola's voyage. Storytelling, a fine Italian tradition!

The rousing title track "Ultreia" showcases Nicola's theatrical voice, here growling, there cajoling, always telling some deeply felt emotion. Birds, thunder and pastoral singing, with flute and Jew's harp in tow start off this number, detonated by a synth and guitar line that repeats the gloriously grandiose theme. Nicola has a tremulous voice, a tad like Alessandro Corviglia of la Maschera di Cera fame, which gives the various themes credibility and profound expression. Wailing backing voice, rippling piano, voice effects that include breathless panting and as many twist and turns than a roller coaster. A bluesy guitar spot just kills this one! Amazing piece that introduces some bleating goat effects.

"La Cabra Negra" (the Black Goat) is fueled by some testosterone riffs, a harder edge and inspired playing. Colliding rhythms mathematically precise until the main theme kicks in, featuring a rousing male/female duet that explodes out of the speakers. Smoking organ tirades, spooky synths, more Jew's harp and unexpected leaps and bounds, this is one hell of a ride! The guitar solo offers some liquid speed, hints of Vai or Satriani (two Italian American guit-slingers) that catches by surprise. Wow!

The rapturous "Il Canto della Vita" (Song of Life) is an effortless ballad with flute fluttering mightily, a thoroughly gorgeous track that sustains the feeling with a dizzying guitar solo that drips with sizzle and spark. The shrieking keyboard backdrop initiates a sense of chaos among the linear sentiments expressed by both male and female voices.

The supremely delicate "Mariposas" (Butterflies) follows suit, a supremely well-crafted adventure with slight medieval tinges amid the deep modern orchestrations (that sensational wind-swept synth lead!), the guitars and bass carving slivers of Mediterranean passion (Spanish speed riffs). This is a highlight track of the finest RPI caliber.

Laden with all kinds of voice effects, the short "Soy Peregrino" (I Am a pilgrim), is a shockingly poignant onslaught, bitter guitars up-front and devastating, but an unfathomable operatic voice enters the fray to sling this one into maximum overdrive. The guitars screech, the drums pound and the mind wanders way beyond the horizon.

"Qui Ed Ora" (Latin for Here and Now) is another exalted affair, male and female vocals tenderly intertwined, sublime mellotron squalls, slightly dissonant keyboard and guitar utterances, all coalescing to titillate the senses. This is where traditional old-school RPI meets edgy modern treatments (whooping synths, gurgling bass and loopy rhythms) to delicious effect, a truly progressive expression of creative genius. Bombastic, opulent and compelling, the arrangement takes complicated routes as opposed to the straight line. Fascinating!

"El Trovador Enamorado" (The smitten troubadour) relates to the famed "Chanson de geste", those epic medieval love poems expertly delivered by the troubadours of the times. Sung in Italian, the theme expressed is the classical yearning for love, the ultimate in spiritual journey.

"Rosa" is Maria Modica's platform to sing her heart out in a typical Italian song style, the voice forward and confident, slashed by violin-led orchestrations, rifling organ and sweet bombast. Crispi gives his axe quite a glistening workout, drizzling sparkling notes all over the place, sudden ukulele and ribald feast singing kick in as if participating in some camp-fire sing along. The whistling traveller seems to be engulfed in his own little bubble.

Hah! An English title "So Close, so Far Away" though sung in Italian, you have to love the chutzpah! Nicola's tired and raspy voice catches the mood perfectly, a happy weariness that impels the tired traveller to keep on the road, on his quest to find some inner and unknown salvation. Beppe Crovella literally abuses the Hammond organ, giving it a torrid Greco-Roman wrestle. Crispi is no slouch on the fret board, shoving this piece along with gusto and I daresay some vitriol. Tremendous feeling by all involved. Glockenspiel to finish off. "Dove vai?".

The grandiloquent "Hasta la Vista, Diego" has a muscular Schwarzenegger-like bass propelling this one forward, exuding a crunchy, hard-assed and urban mood, almost close to fellow Italian maestros Universal Totem Orchestra. This is no mellow fluff but a cinematic blur of genius, everything flowing with raging Orff-ian splendor, that slight dissonant zeuhl hint we all love. The music displayed is totally unpredictable, utterly creative and manically personal. A romantic piano lovingly relaxes the television announcer into a perfect fade away. Brilliant!

"La Iglesia de la Virgen Blanca" (Church of the White Virgin) is a more linear rock song, a gifted piece lush with guitar pyrotechnics, bombastic orchestrations and thrilling synthesizer forays. That Carmelo Caruso voice certainly evokes a Mephisto-like feel, as if the devil was chasing his tail. Holy molly, what a pot-pourri of emotions, all wrapped in a tremendous shroud of creativity!

This bleeds directly into the final masterpiece, "Santiago", a lush paradise where a stirring mellotron coalesces with ornate piano and that booming opera voice once again, giving this send-off some exalted foundation, buttered with a vast arsenal of slick little details, as vocalists Caruso and Modica exchange passionate vows. Its highly woven material, finely detailed and complex.

Repeat listens will flesh out even more detail, which will only provide countless future returns, the hallmark of a true prog winner. Once again, I must lash myself 100 times for not being aware sooner of such a talent! If there was an artist deserving of more attention than Randone certainly fits the bill. Time for me as well as all of you, to catch up with this innovative and original RPI stalwart.

4.5 Travelling minstrels

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 Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1) by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.02 | 21 ratings

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Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1)
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The future lies in the past. Obviously. We are all products of the past, so are the things we make. Music, art or buildings are all based on what came before, knowledge and experiences handed down over the years. I think that keeping the past alive by using whatever one feels strongly about and shapping it into something relevant and furthermore alive, something contemporary, that is art. And art is life. I was approached by Nicola Randone, asking me to give the band's latest effort a spin or two. I was very pleased and felt honored. At the same time I knew nothing about the band and, sad to say, I had not even heard their name prior to this request. Anyway, I put the disc through my earphones and that was a rush, I can tell you. I exppected little but got hooked at the very first notes. The birds singing, the chorus singing over gentle guitar. It was all so captivating. They even pulled out the old jew's harp. And then the distorted guitar set in, side by side with keyboards. "Ultreia" is a fabolous way to kick things off. Mellow, dramatic, epic, folky and all things one associates with RPI is put down in this track. How do you top that? Before I go any further I must say that this album is a very eclectic yet cohesive album that goes through every mood and genre you can think of in prog. Classical, rock, folk, jazz and beyond. I hear Osanna, PFM, New Trolls, Rovescio Della Medaglia and others but amidst all those great names stand an entity named Randone, a band in their own right, shining ever so brightly. Marvellous. Now I will continue. "La cabra negra" has a hardrock or metal feel to it, with great fretting. Still it holds sections with moods and soundscapes that builds into a highly interesting and captivating song. "Il canto della vita" is one of my favorites on the album. It is so beautiful it makes my eyes water, without me knowing what it is all about. I suppose, as an amateur linguist, that it could be translated into "The song of life". Extraordinary track. Everything is just perfect. Emotive and beyond beautiful. I will not go through every track, because there are 12 of them. I will only say that every track is very well made and there is not a single track that could be labeled bad or inferior. I do have my favorites, the songs I find superior, and there are others I enjoy but skip aswell. I think that Randone has made an album that would appeal to just about anyone into prog but certainly all those who love RPI. There are so many things to discover and get acquainted with. Every instrument, I must say, is played to perfection but the keyboards are outstanding. The way they are played makes my keyboard heart jump for joy. Exquisite! All in all, this is an album that manages to take the best from the past and merge it together with all the best from now. This is a magnificent album made with so much love and devotion. At times I feel overwhelmed by it all and that is good, actually.

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 Linea Di Confine by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 40 ratings

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Linea Di Confine
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The majority of the press considerded ''Hybla Atto 1'' to be Randone's most ambitious and mature effort.The same thing applied for Nicola Randone himself and a live transformation of the album on stage was captured and released in DVD in 2006 under the title ''Hybla: A Live Barock Opera'' by Electromantic.Soon after Nicola started working on a fifth studio album, his most personal work as he claimed back at the time.Inspired by the end of a love and the depth of human senses, the new album saw the light in 2009 on Electromantic, entitled ''Linea di confine''.His long-time bassist Livio Rabito was now out of the picture and a few guest bass players helped him with the recordings of this effort, among them Giuseppe Scaravilli from Malibran.Once more Beppe Crovella appears playing all vintage keyboards in several tracks.

A succesful recipe never changes and the same thing occurs with the music of Randone.''Linea di confine'' consists of plenty of short tracks, tightly connected to each other, resulting a long music story along the lines of Classic Italian Prog, always delivered with a contemporary flavor.The album is another sensitive, romantic and deeply melodious offering by Randone & Co., characterized by his drawn but warm vocals, the alternation between orchestral, grandiose instrumental moves and laid-back passages with interesting melodies, and the evident references to the 70's via the use of analog sounds.PFM and similar bands immediately spring to mind listening to ''Linea di confine''.Atmospheric symphonic arrangements, careful use of acoustic guitars, nice instrumental diversity and lovely Italian vocals are all over the place.And next to the fine synthesizer runs the listener will have the chance to listen to heavy loads of Mellotron and organs (to a lesser deegree), that are cleverly used without any mood to drive the music to the past.The Italian identity is obvious throughout the release, bands like SITHONIA, MALIBRAN, NUOVA ERA or MONTEFELTRO being the best comparisons from the recent past.The only flaw of the album seems to be the ballad-esque mood that pops up in plenty of moments, these again are nicely offered through good orchestral music and rich, melodic textures.

Seems like every Randone's work has something good to offer.Except for the music, the album came out in a collector's edition, featuring a book written by Nicola Randone himself, following the concept of ''Linea di confine''.This should be definitely a must have.Even if you don't find this, the album, as it is, belongs among the well-crafted offerings of melodic Italian/Symphonic Prog.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Hybla Act 1 by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.13 | 54 ratings

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Hybla Act 1
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars After participating in the Colossus Project's compilation ''The Spaghetti Epic'', 2005 would find Randone return with a new album.This was based on an idea of Nicola Randone after reading a story about Hybla, the ancient name of the historic quarter of the Ragusa city in Sicily, as written down by local historian Mimi Arezzo.The album was entitled ''Hybla Atto 1'-A Barock Opera'' and was again a product of Electromantic Records.

No line up changes and no significant style improvements would characterize the new Randone.It is again a mix of modern Italian Prog with retro-styled Italian Symphonic Rock and the new elements appearing are the operatic vocals by Carmelo Corrado Caruso,the strong presence of female singers (Bianca La Rosa and Elena Infantino), as well as the presence of more hard-sounding passages, let's say these would give the concept a more intense atmosphere.But for the first time Randone's music sounds a bit unfocused, going from Operatic Prog to cinematic passages to Classic Prog in a blink of an eye, but the overall delivery sometimes seems a bit loose.The orchestral parts sound rather stereotypical with no particular originality, the hard guitars appear unrelated to the previous style of the band, but Randone's personal approach on music with the strong use of synths, Mellotron, Folk elements along with his unique voice remind the listener that Randone are here.Nice and smooth Symphonic Rock with a hidden romanticism but also lots of expressive vocal explosions, these are the things the prog listener expects from Nicola and his company.

Maybe a bit too ambitious of a project, ''''Hybla Atto 1'-A Barock Opera'' fails to impress without being a weak album.It is just one of these works you really prefer to see performed live than simply taped in a CD.Still this comes recommended to all fans of serious and emotional prog music.

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 Linea Di Confine by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 40 ratings

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Linea Di Confine
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars First of all this is more than an album. The CD comes into a plastic envelop inside a book. The book and the CD are about the same concept but they are totally different.

The book has its origin from a short story published by Nicola Randone (Nicola is a male name in Italy) on his website that's about the end of a love for somebody very important for him. The story was written in the form of a fairytale located in Norway, a land where he has spent some time. Later he added new chapters and they have become a book. The writing style reminds to Peter Hoeg, with the characters moving to different levels of reality, similarly to Zelazny's Amber princes. It's not a fairytale, neither SciFi even if you can find the main character "throwing stars into a black hole".

The album approach is totally different. The songs are still about that love story, or better, its end. Both the book and the album are the result of an introspective work taken from different points of view.

Said so, the music.

"S.I.B. (Prologo)" - (Prologue) is an instrumental which starts with some low volume noises followed by a synthetic flute, then for a couple of minutes the music is at the level of the best PFM. When it stops, coming back to where it started, Randone speaks "there's no pleasure without sufference and there's no sufference without pleasure, only when you understand it you can enjoy pleasure and accept sufference".

"Primo Dell'Anno" - (First (day) of the Year) Is strongly melodic, between Battiato and Le Orme. Fans of RPI, this is your pot at least for two minutes, as the last is occupied by the trivial noise of the year's end celebration.

"Differenze" - (Differences) is introspective and shows all the influence that Le Orme seem to have on Randone. The love it's about is ended because of "differences". He sings "This dark sky doesn't let me look inside myself". While the singing and the lyrics appear influenced by Le Orme, the instrumental parts remind again to Battiato, specially the keyboards and the final part of the song.

A note: I'm used to compare an artist to somebody more known in order to give the readers an idea, I'm not saying that's cloning anybody.

"Promesse" - (Promises) starts with a phone and some speaking. It's a poetry, too long to be translated here. The music is slow and melodic with a good hammond base. The lyrics are about the promises made before that end. The arrangement is remarkable even if this song is a bit too melodic for my tastes. Quite sad, too. "if they could bring you to me, they would be more than just four notes and two words cried in the night".

"La Cella Degli Amori Estivi" - (The Jail Of Summer Loves) sounds very close to Battiato and surprisingly Nicola's voice on this song makes me think to Angelo Branduardi (not in the chorus). Good acoustic and classical guitar in the interludes. Still melancholic but not sad as the previous one.

"Speranze" - (Hopes) is particular. The signature and the singing are unusual. It's grotesque. It seems to represent the useless illusions of the main character. The instrumental part which follows is very good and very proggy.

"Emanuela" - is like a letter to the woman who left him. Musically is still very close to Le Orme, with good parts of acoustic and classical guitar also this. Another song that who is used to RPI will surely like a lot, specially the chorus.

"Linea di Confine" - (Borderline) is about suffering and introspection. "She's not wrong, she has her reasons...." The song is uptime and very pleasant but not very "innovative" from a musical point of view.

"Dovresti Non Scordare" - (You Shouldn't Forget) has a piano base and reminds a bit to Branduardi in the singing style. It's the song that fits better with my tastes.

"Buona Notte" - (Goodnight) is very melodic, maybe too much, but it is a sort of lullaby so it's how it has to be. In the second half of the song there's a surprise. A true lullaby starts after some dreamy sounds. It's a Sicilian traditional that's amazingly arranged. I don't know for sure but this may be the first time that it's recorded by anyone.

"Preghiera Di Un Re" - (A King's Prayer) is one of the few songs with a direct connection to the book. The vocals are almost whispered. This is the melodic side of RPI.

"Ritorno" - (Homecoming) has the eclectism of the early Battiato in the lyrics' metric and the odd signature. It's one of the few songs in which an electric guitar can be heard and the most complex from a musical point of view.

"22 Aprile" - (April 22nd) is another sad love song. It's mood is between the RPI of the early 70s (i.e. Banco and PFM) for what concerns the melodic line and the lyrics and Battiato of the 80s in the electronic arrangements.

"La Caduta della Mia Stella" - (The Fall Of My Star) is another reference to the book. I'm not sure that it's the same kind of stars that a character throws into a black hole, here is more a messenger, a true falling star in the summer night's sky. The stanzas are very dark and the chorus is very melodic. In the last chorus, the story of the "King watching the ashes" is the kind of imagines described in the book.

"Amori" - (Loves) Is just a love song, or better a song about loves. Totally out of my pot, sorry. However the arrangement is impressive.

"Epilogo" - (Epilogue) is light. The sadness has gone. "Now that I catch the pieces of my heart and my pain, nothing remains else than a light melancholy". The pain is gone, the story ends and life goes on. "I won't search for anything else than my music". It's light also from the musical point of view. 12-strings guitar and piano make the base. a coda of piano and voice closes the album.

It's an introspective album. Good but you have to be in the right mood for it. I'm not a fan of this subgenre so having had the wish to listen to it several times and having appreciated many of its parts means that it can be good for everybody, not for RPI fans only.

For this reason I round up to 4 the 3.5 stars that I think it deserves. The only advice that I give you is that it is totally melodic. Don't expect anything heavy else than the atmosphere.

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 Nuvole Di Ieri by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.83 | 34 ratings

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Nuvole Di Ieri
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. I wasn't exactly overjoyed when I saw 18 tracks at just over 43 minutes, but thankfully some of them blend into one another.This is modern RPI from a talented man named Nicola Randone. He enlisted the help of ARTI & MESTIERI keyboardist Beppe Crovella who adds a variety of keyboards including mellotron into the mix. To be honest I didn't even like this after the first listen but it has grown on me. I'm not even sure why this hasn't clicked with me because all the elements that I like about RPI are here.

There are some really excellent passages throughout this record. It's interesting hearing the lead guitarist while Randone is playing over top with his 12 string guitar.There are some fairly heavy sections on here as well. Some guest female vocals on one track are good and there are some word samples sprinkled throughout leaving me to believe this is a concept album. I hope this will continue to grow on me but right now I can't offer up the fourth star.

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 Morte Di Un Amore by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.78 | 37 ratings

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Morte Di Un Amore
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Nicola Randone´s first CD was a big surprise to me. I didn´t know what to expect and initially my impressions were not very good. This is by far the most different and experimental work I heard by this talented musician until now. However, by the third spin onwards I found myself enjoying more and more its content. Ok, it does not have the sophistication of his latter work specially last year´s brilliant Linea Di Confine. He had yet to find his personal vocal style too. But that does not mean all the right elements weren´t right there since the very beginning. In fact, he proved to be a terrific songweriter early on.

Morte Di Un Amore is certainly dense and less accessible than much of his work, and still is quite melodic, interesting and daring. For exemple, while I liked the opener Vision (a good prog song, by the way) at first I didn´t like a track like Il Pentimento Di Dio. Dopo La Fine Del Mondo. I mean, have you ever heard a reggae tune sung in italian? And it does have a gregorian chant at the last part! And the most interesting thing is that, after a few listenings, this stuff works! And so goes on. Some tracks offers a glimpse of his future compositions, like the beautiful ballad Tuttle Le Mie Stelle. But mostly this CD requires some atention to be fully appreciated. Then the whole 50 minutes of its duration seems very short, a sure sigh of a fine record.

His vocal parts are a bit awkward on some parts, but in general he puts his beautiful and emotional voice in good use. The instrumental is more subtle than most prog bands and while his vocals are deeply rooted in the tradition of the italian popular singing, the music has a strong prog base that reminds bands like PFM, Locanda Delle Fate, Le Orme and others. Morte Di Un Amore also proves that his songwriting skills were already in great shape when he recorded his debut. There are no weak tracks nor fillers. All made better by the use of the right production and fine performances ofl the musicians involved.

Conclusion: a nice surprise! And a very good start for one of Italy´s most important prog artists to appear in the new millenium. Rating: four strong stars.

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 Linea Di Confine by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 40 ratings

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Linea Di Confine
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the ambitious work Hybla Act I, italian singer/songwriter/multi instrumentist Nicola Randone comes back with another concept album. Linea Di Confine has a more simplier approach than on the previous efford, but it is equally as good, if not better than everything else Randone has done so far. it is a long CD (almost 79 minutes) and when I saw that I was a bit suspicious of some self indulgency and/or lots of filler material. Fortunatly this is not the case. Ok, this record takes some time to be fully enjoyed, but right away I could see that this is a fine piece of italian prog music.

Linea Di Confine caught my atention from the very beginning with its beautiful melodies, tasteful arrangements, clever choice of tracks and the terrific musicanship of all involved. But above all, one has to be in awe of Randone´s knack for writing great, memorable songs, in the school of Italy´s best. It´s a shame that his name is still not so widely known. In terms of italian prog this essemble is in the same league as the great names of old like Le Orme, PFM and Banco. And Nicola Randone is probably the single most important prog artist of italian modern prog of the new millenium. This CD is proof of that.

If you like the mix of symphonic prog, traditional italian songs and classical music, with bits of more modern styles here and there to spice it up, then Linea Di Cofine is a must have. It´s timeless music for all music lovers: emotinal, convincing, moving. Very well played and arranged. Production is quite good too. Just listen and you´ll be in prog heaven. One of the best releases of 2010. Rating: 4,5 stars.

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