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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$19.18
$17.99 (used)
Hybla: a Live Barock OperaHybla: a Live Barock Opera
Import
2010
DVD$26.75
$9.00 (used)
Nuvole Di IeriNuvole Di Ieri
Import
Electroman 2007
Audio CD$23.93
$20.00 (used)
Linea Di ConfineLinea Di Confine
Import
Electroman 2009
Audio CD$19.09
$14.99 (used)
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RANDONE discography


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

3.73 | 43 ratings
Morte Di Un Amore
2002
3.73 | 41 ratings
Nuvole Di Ieri
2003
3.61 | 30 ratings
Ricordo
2004
4.00 | 66 ratings
Hybla Act 1
2005
3.71 | 50 ratings
Linea Di Confine
2009
3.46 | 13 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)

3.48 | 8 ratings
Hybla A Live Barock Opera
2006

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

4.25 | 4 ratings
Single & Unreleased
2012

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

3.40 | 6 ratings
Sguardo verso il cielo
2009
5.00 | 3 ratings
Soy Peregrino
2014

RANDONE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Linea Di Confine by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.71 | 50 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
4.00 | 66 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
3.71 | 50 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
3.73 | 41 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
3.73 | 43 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
3.71 | 50 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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 Hybla Act 1 by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 66 ratings

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Hybla Act 1
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Hybla, Act I' - Randone (9/10)

Staying in check with the typical album-length 'suite,' which Randone first explored in 'Nuvole Di Ieri,' 'Hybla' takes a massive amount of different musical ideas, and throws them all together into a piece of music that ends up being much more cohesive and memorable than one might expect. Without a doubt the highlight of Randone's career, this Italian artist's tribute to his hometown of Ragusa, Sicily is a stunning and dynamic tour-de- force, which reflects greatly on the group's skill and talent as artists.

Meant to be the first part of a two-act opera, 'Act I' entails the story of Hybla (the original name of Randone's hometown) from the city's formation to a greatly destructive earthquake in 1693. Spanning historical events such as invasions, civil turmoil and such a devastating natural disaster, Nicola Randone and his bandmates certainly had quite a bit of material from which to inspire this music. While it may be difficult for the typical English speaker to follow the album's narrative, there are sections where the music perfectly captures the event at hand; episodes such as the marching percussion and gang vocals for the invasion sequence, or the furious chaos and screams during the great earthquake easily transcend the language barrier, and let the music paint a tapestry all it's own.

While the music can easily be identified within the spectrum of Italian symphonic prog, Randone throws alot of instruments into the mix that wouldn't typically be heard together on a rock album. Saxophones and violins alike have their place in the journey, and the introduction of each new sound makes for a pleasant surprise; never sounding like a forced novelty and always doing well to compliment the album's sound. As well as having a wide array of instruments at use here, there has also never been such a vocal variety in a Randone album, as there is on 'Hybla.' Operatic (both man and woman) voices and even an english-speaking female singer all accompany the prevalent voice of Nicola Randone here.

While it may have been nice to see a few more of the ideas on 'Hybla, Act I' to be developed and give some of the better concepts more of a highlight in the album, 'Hybla' is a fantastic rock opera that Randone's hometown should be proud of. This album will certainly take the typical listener many times to appreciate fully for the sheer amount of ideas, but Randone has made an album that really showcases the immense talent of this group. Safe to say, I eagerly await the arrival of 'Hybla, Act II!'

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 Morte Di Un Amore by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.73 | 43 ratings

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Morte Di Un Amore
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Morte Di Un Amore' - Nicola Randone (8/10)

Beginning his career under his full name, this album is understandably more centered around the talents of multi-instrumentalist Nicola Randone than on latter, more group-oriented releases. While very clearly being influenced by older Italian progressive groups and the likes of space-rock era Pink Floyd, Randone makes an impressive first effort with 'Morte Di Un Amore,' that features a bit more punch than is expected for your average debut, but lacks some of the cohesion and direction that would be found on a masterpiece.

'Morte Di Un Amore' certainly falls within the realm of Italian prog rock, but it ends up pushing the envelope out of the prescribed sound, moreso than any album that Randone would release in the future. The album begins the way it ends; with an extended space rock jam filled with vocal tape loops and a synthesizer sound that makes it sound like it could easily be a long-lost B-Side from Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here.' Beginning 'Morte' on a very mellow note, the album finally kicks off with it's second track, 'Il Pentimento Di Dio.' This is where I (and hopefully, many other listeners to this album) realized that this was a much different creation than other Randone music I have been exposed to. The trademark syncopation and tropical drum patterns instantly brought the label of 'reggae' to my mind, and I can't say that I've heard that style of music ever brought into the lens of progressive rock before. Some upbeat vocal melodies brought about by the pleasing tenor voice of Nicola Randone with the trademarked 'reggae' instrumentation make it a very catchy and pleasant track. Halfway through, I am further surprised by the addition of Gregorian Chants, which seems the strangest combination of styles to make, but somehow, the sounds compliment each other.

The next three tracks are very much in the typical style of Randone; melodic, mellow, symphonic and a bit quirky around the edges. While there's not much out of the blue to comment on these tracks, they are all pleasant to listen to, and don't deter the album at all. With the opening of 'La Giostra' (the sixth track) however, the listener is dosed with a much more memorable piece of music. Nazi speech samples play over a beautifully sombre piece of instrumentation. When that's through, some of the best vocal work on the album kicks in, working very well with the ethereal and melancholic soundscape. Much in a Randone fashion however, the music has short moments of optimism, which keeps the music from getting too depressing. The outro to this track is very unique; featuring an accordion and a fast paced vocal line that sounds a bit too theatrical to be singing about 'Auschwitz' (the context of the word however, remains a mystery to those who do not speak Italian!)

'Strananoia' (the next track) is a very poppy and upbeat track that is very theatrical and one of the more memorable tracks on the album, featuring a slower tempo epic middle-section. After that comes 'Amore Bianco,' which once again won't surprise anyone who has heard the symphonic prog stylings of Randone before, but it is a very calming and heartfelt listen before the final track.

The final track (self titled as 'Morte Di Un Amore') might appear at first glance like a full-blown epic with it's sixteen minute time length. However, about half of that time is devoted to a reprise of the space jam that was introduced in the first track. For what it's worth however, the first seven minutes (the actual song) of the track are among the best on the entire album. Beautiful symphonic flourishes abound throughout this track, leading up to an energetic and proggy climax before petering out into silence and the ensuing spacy ambience. While I do find the soundscaping at the end enjoyable, it passes me moreso like the music to the album's 'ending credits,' so to speak; the sort of music that people would listen to as they left the theatre; if this album were treated like a film.

At first, 'Morte Di Un Amore' sounded to me like it was a bit stretched out and lacked the cohesion that a really great album would have. With further listens however, it becomes very possible to disregard some of the flaws the album might have, and take 'Morte' for what it is; the inaugural work of a very talented artist trying to find his proper sound. As it stands, 'Morte Di Un Amore' is the most song-based, yet most experimental piece of music that has been released under the Randone title. A fantastic debut album.

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 Sguardo verso il cielo by RANDONE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.40 | 6 ratings

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Sguardo verso il cielo
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Sguardo Verso Il Cielo' - Randone (Single)

Perhaps Randone could not find a proper spot on an album for this track, or maybe they just wanted to record something short and sweet for the hell of it, but this band out of Italian has made a very cool track with this one. 'Sguardo Verso Il Cielo' is much longer as a single track than much of the other stuff done by the group; although the studio albums are generally in themselves; song suites.

The 70's are alive in this track; guitar riffs you wouldn't find out of place on a Led Zeppelin album dominate this track, which is an exciting switch from the more mellow style that Randone generally does. The song goes through many different parts (being in a sense, a mini album) going from a couple of minutes worth of acoustic ambience to a bluesy guitar riff that runs through a fair bit of the song. Coupled with the electric guitar work is some very fitting organ and acoustic instrumentation to give the music depth, as always.

A very cool track worth a couple of intent listens, and although it certainly doesn't beat a masterpiece like some of the ones that Nicola Randone and company have released over the past few years, it is certainly a track that fans of the band's existing material will get into and enjoy greatly.

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 Ricordo by RANDONE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.61 | 30 ratings

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Ricordo
Randone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Ricordo' - Randone (6/10)

It seems that every band at some point in their career, comes out with an album that while not necessarily distinguishing itself in terms of quality, is decidedly different from the others in some aspect. With the third chapter in the musical saga of Nicola Randone, a much more laid back and song-based approach to record making is used, to mixed success.

While one of the things I really love about the music of Randone is his ability to make cohesive song suites that encompass the entire course of the album, each track here feels very individual and separate from the rest. Although this is the way that many pop/rock albums are intended to be, Randone has proven itself to be a group that can do much more. This aside however, 'Ricordo' is still a very good piece of music, although it doesn't quite compare to some of the masterpieces the band has released over time.

'Ricordo' (italian for 'memory') is more or less set up like Rush's seminal '2112' record; a twenty minute 'epic' at the beginning with five shorter length songs afterwards. Having greatly enjoyed Randone's music throughout all of what I had heard so far, the prospect of a twenty minute composition was pretty exciting. Unfortunately, while the music is pleasant with quite a few excellent parts, it didn't quite match up to my expectations. The idea of a great epic is to cycle through a great many different sounds and emotions while making it all still sound like a single piece of music. While it does grow with each listen, the epic 'Jill' could have been so much more with the sort of dynamic range that is present on alot of other Randone albums. The highlight of 'Jill' would have to be the vocal work, both male and female. There is definately the sound here of a Spaghetti Western epic in the works; even the FX whinnies of horses help to reinforce this notion... However, unlike a proper Western, there doesn't seem like there is proper tension (the archetypal 'showdown') towards the apparent 'climax' of the song. In any case however, there are some brilliant sections where Nicola enlists the talents of singer Maria Modica which work very well over the soothing symphonic arrangements underneath.

The rest of the songs have many of the same strengths and weaknesses that the epic did. Things feel a little too subdued with this one; mellotron, keyboards and soft vocals take place where heavier organs, and electric guitars took the forefront. While it's definately good to do something different in terms of an album, I have to admit I enjoy Randone when there is always something new and exciting coming around the corner for each track instead of something more uniform. Of the shorter tracks, my personal favourite would probably be 'Culia' which at seven minutes, is a mini epic in itself; it almost feels like it covers more ground than 'Jill' itself, despite being less than half of the length. Half way through, some of the harder rock starts pouring through, which sounds all the more exciting due to the inherent lack of it over the course of the album.

The performance in terms of musicianship is very professional, but once again; I cannot praise it as highly as on masterpieces such as 'Nuvole Di Ieri' and 'Linea Di Confine,' simply because there is less diversity and technicality here. Still, the instruments are played with feeling to them, and Nicola's voice is as strong and emotive as ever. The production for some reason however, feels a bit more lo-fi than even on the previous release 'Nuvole Di Ieri,' which sounded crystal clear. Here, some of the electric guitar work sounds like it wasn't mixed quite as well as it should be, which is a shame due to the fact that some of the best sections on this album are driven by axework.

It's not that I instantly disdain Randone for making something that is more 'mellow' than their other albums; I love Opeth's 'Damnation' as much as anyone else out there. The fiery passion here just doesn't seem to shine out as much. While this feels like a bit of a low point, theres still alot of beautiful sections and gorgeous keyboard work to dive into. Certainly an album that a mellotron fan will love! A lower point of the Randone saga, but still competitive with much of the other music coming out of the modern prog scene.

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