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ALGEBRA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Algebra biography
ALGEBRA are an obscure early 80's Italian symphonic prog band who split up without having recorded a single album. In 1993, they gathered three of their former members along with guest musicians for the sole purpose of pressing a cd. Mostly, however, they seem to have made a career of appearing on tribute albums: "The River of Constant Change" (GENESIS), "Harbour of Joy" (CAMEL) "Giant for a Life" (GENTLE GIANT), "Fanfare for the Pirates (ELP), "Songs for Jethro" (JETHRO TULL), "To Canterbury and Beyond" (a tribute to Canterbury Music) and "Zarathustra's Revenge" (a tribute to Italian Prog).

Their album "Storia di un Icegerg" features both 70s and 80s GENESIS-style pieces with a strong Italian symphonic flavour (lyrics are mostly in Italian). The cd is divided into three parts: the drums and guitar lines of the first 4 tracks recall old 70s, classic-era GENESIS whereas the next 7, more upbeat, will remind you of GENESIS' pop days. The last track is a 10-minute medley of authentic GENESIS tunes (with unfortunately accented English vocals). The guys do manage to build their own melodic style without sounding like complete clones, but their work on tribute albums is far superior to their own, which ranges in quality from 'ok' to 'so-so' to downright abysmal.

Certainly not essential but worth a few spins for diehard GENESIS fans.

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

Update: In 2009, they return with a concept album inspired by Richard Bach's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." Guests on this work include Steve and John Hackett, Aldo Tagliapietra of Le Orme, and Osanna's Lino Vairetti. [Finnforest]

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PurposePurpose
Massenburg Media 2008
Audio CD$31.13
$16.73 (used)
Feed the EgoFeed the Ego
Dark Descent 2014
Audio CD$14.98
Storia Di Un IcebergStoria Di Un Iceberg
Mellow Records
Audio CD$23.93
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ALGEBRA shows & tickets


  • Algebra at Bizz'Art, Paris on 26 Sep 2014

ALGEBRA discography


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

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

2.54 | 15 ratings
Storia Di Un Iceberg
1994
3.34 | 14 ratings
JL
2009

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

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

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ALGEBRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 JL by ALGEBRA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.34 | 14 ratings

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JL
Algebra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The years following ''Iceberg'' were spent by Algebra on playing live and stabilizing a secure line-up.Mario Giammetti's sister Maria, who guested on sax in the first album, was promoted to a full-time member and in 1995 Roberto Polcino joins the band on keyboards.However original drummer Salvatore Silvestri leaves Algebra in 1998 and he is replaced by Francesco Ciani.From this point begins a huge presence of Algebra on tribute albums, including participations on works dedicated to Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Camel, Jethro Tull and The Moody Blues among other compilations.Passing through the mid-00's they focused on working and recording their second album ''JL'', based on Richard Bach's book ''Jonathan Livingston Seagull''.The work of the band attracted some impressive guest stars among others like John Hackett (flute on three tracks), Steve Hackett (guitar in the opening track), Le Orme's Aldo Tagliapietra (vocals in one track) and Osanna's Lino Vairetti (vocals in one track).The album was released in October 2009 on BTF.

Stylistically Algebra's music has not changed significantly, 15 years after their debut.The concept flows in 21 short pieces, where the band explores the elegance of smooth Symphonic Rock and the power within the acoustic textures, mostly coming as a cross between GENESIS, CELESTE, CAMEL and PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI.Of course the material lacks any pompous textures or strong interplays to be fully compared with the aforementioned legends and it is based more on atmosphere with soaring synthesizers, light symphonic keyboards, soft electric guitars and plenty of acoustic soundscapes.Impressively the production is a bit flat, recalling mainly the 90's than a more recent album, with a few flat keyboard sounds in the process, but in general the music is pretty good, melodic and deeply emotional.As expected by a concept work the album contains also lots of lyrical passages with nice Italian vocals and even some Pop sensibilities and Lounge Jazz ambiences in a few pieces, propably serving the needs of the unfolding story.While Algebra's album once more lacks in power and dynamics, it has a good instrumental depth with synthesizers, organ and guitars in evidence and if the production was better the album could be a great surprise among the 2009 Prog releases.

2010 sees the last appearance of Algebra on Marillion's tribute album ''Recital for a season's end''.Do not write this band off the map though, because they have showed us that they are capable of a comeback in a few years.

''JL'' is a great album if soft, polished and melodic Progressive Rock is among your prorities.Obvious references to the classic bands of the 70's will also be appreciated by fans of more vintage sounds.Warmly recommended.

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 JL by ALGEBRA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.34 | 14 ratings

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JL
Algebra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars really

The second album of this discret band comes 15 years since their debute named JL is concept album inspired by Richard Bach's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." The music is far more superior and mature then on Storia, with more elegant and complex arrangements, like must sound a symphonic prog album. There are also some famous guests here like Steve and John Hackett, Aldo Tagliapietra of Le Orme fame and Osanna's Lino Vairett. Here Algebra sounds little less genesis derivate then on previous album , the passages are well constructed like a suite and overall is pretty decent work. The guitars, the organ the pleasent vocal lines , beautiful instrumental arrangements, make from this albuma really nice and enjoyble ride, almost totaly unknown in prog circles. One of the lesser known bands from italian school and with this album they proved to be a named to take in consideration.

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 Storia Di Un Iceberg by ALGEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.54 | 15 ratings

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Storia Di Un Iceberg
Algebra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Algebra - one of the obscure italian prog bands formed early '80 manage to release their first album in 1994 named Storia di un iceberg. Well, the music is melancholic with smooth and soft moments overall, not bad at all, but far from really impressive. Genesis influence band, they even had a Genesis medly track here clocking around 9 min, but the best tunes are first two, Prologo and Il ladro romantica, very good symphonic prog, typical for italian school. Overall, an ok album, nothing more, 3 stars for this unnoticed band and album. In some parts they remind me of another italian band Slogans with their one and only album Photosynthesis released in 1983.

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 Storia Di Un Iceberg by ALGEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.54 | 15 ratings

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Storia Di Un Iceberg
Algebra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

2 stars If I had to write a one-word review of this album it would be 'dull'. Sorry folks, but I'm really struggling to find anything to get excited about here. The title-track is one of the better pieces and yet its overall effect is quite soporific. You keep waiting for some kind of happening but apart from a brief sax solo five minutes in it just keeps plodding on, as if the band was sleepwalking when it made the recording.

The songs are split more or less fifty-fifty between Italian and English language vocals. Among the latter is a medley of Genesis tracks comprising parts of 'Afterglow', 'Firth of Fifth' and 'Musical Box'. Algebra is perhaps best known as a tribute band and this medley is actually okay, although the thin and weedy production makes it sound like a demo-track.

The 13-minute instrumental 'Russian Suite' at least ensures that the album finishes strongly with nice interplay between violin and piano, although I'm a bit vague on the connection with Russia. The small handful of other good tracks is rather cancelled out by some horribly cheesy pop music, and as previously noted in another member's review 'A Prayer' sounds as if it has been shamelessly filched from the Velvets' 'Sweet Jane'.

I don't like being too critical and although I haven't completely savaged this album I do feel it has 'for RPI collectors only' written all over.

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 Storia Di Un Iceberg by ALGEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.54 | 15 ratings

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Storia Di Un Iceberg
Algebra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A rather unknown Italian band,carrying over 25 years of history,ALGEBRA were found in Benevento,South Italy in 1983 by Rino Pastore,Salvatore Silvestri,Carmine Ielardi and Mario Giammetti.In May they recorded a single with little success and the next year the band split up,with Mario, Rino and Salvatore joining the pop band Taxirum until 1988.In 1993 ALGEBRA re-united (without Carmine Ierlandi) and with the help of guest musicians they recorded a brand new album entitled ''Storia di un iceberg'',released on Mellow Records.

STYLE: More than an hour of Neo/Symphonic-oriented Progressive Rock with a few Pop tunes here and there.The album sounds more than an 80's release due to the production and keyboard sounds.Compositions are split in English and Italian sung tracks.''Storia di un Iceberg'' offers a variety of melodies both on guitar- and keyboard parts,which include piano,organ and synths.Not much of energy or complexity,the work is almost totally based on pleasant melodies,romantic vocals and an harmonic aura.Note that ''The prayer'' and ''You can't'' belong to the old ALGEBRA single from 1983,while the album features also a GENESIS meddley,consisting of parts related to ''Afterglow'',''Firth of fifth'' and ''The musical box''.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Influences come from both from the Italian (BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO,LE ORME) and UK Prog scene (GENESIS),of course in a more accesible package.First bands that springs into my mind are natives SITHONIA and ATON'S.

PLUS: Regardind the symphonic face of the band,it all comes around the very strong guitar melodies and the fascinating keyboard work with lots of fine moog synth solos and organ passages.Italian vocals are also quite romantic.Compositionally the band stands at a very good level.

MINUS:...but regarding the pop tunes,these are very plain,boring and forgettable.English vocals are among the worst I have listened to,bad singing and very accented.Production is also pretty amateur.Some piano parts sound very childish.

WILL APPEAL TO:...a closed community regarding the more symphonic side of prog,including Neo Prog and RPI.

CONCLUSION/RATING: The album hardly gets the 3 star rating.Most compositions are strong and very melodic,despite their simplicity and the band is very talented,but either the bad production or the amateur (English) vocals can spoil much of the enjoyment.Approach carefully.

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 JL by ALGEBRA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.34 | 14 ratings

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JL
Algebra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Algebra are an Italian prog band from Benevento that was formed in early eighties on the initiative of keyboardist Rino Pastore and drummer Salvatore Silvestri. Well, this band is not one of the most prolific ones.... After a debut album in 1994, "Storia di un Iceberg", in 2009 they released this second work for the independent label AMS/BTF, "JL", inspired by Richard Bach's book "Jonathan Livingston Seagull". The present line up features Mario Giammetti (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass), Rino Pastore (keyboards), Roberto Polcino (keyboards, accordion), Francesco Ciani (drums, acoustic and electronic percussion) and Maria Giammetti (alto and soprano sax, flute). In studio they were helped by some prestigious guest musicians like, among others, Steve and John Hackett, Aldo Tagliapietra, Lino Vairetti and Goran Kuzminac that contributed to enrich the sound. Algebra are great fans of Genesis, but the music on this work is definitely less derivative than on their previous one. It's conceived as a long suite and features some really good melodic and emotional passages...

It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle see... The opener "Il molo deserto" (The deserted pier) begins softly, two flutes wake up, then an electric guitar solo (played by Steve Hackett) soars like a flight of seagulls... On the next track the vocals of Aldo Taglipietra, on a calm background, draw the imagine of a solitary gull, who doesn't care for food like the others... "His name is Jonathan and he loves flying / He flies far away / To touch lightly new horizons"...

Next comes "Il volo perfetto" (The perfect flight) where the emotional vocals of Osanna's leader Lino Vairetti describe Jonathan's practice until the notes of a sax solo lead to the light and delicate instrumental "Aria nuova" (New air). We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!

"La gogna" (Stand to Center) describes the reaction of the flock against the strange attitude of Jonathan. "Jonathan Livingston Seagull! Stand to Center!" The Elder's words sounded in a voice of highest ceremony... "Jonathan Livingston Seagull", said the Elder, "Stand to Center for Shame in the sight of your fellow gulls!"... "For his reckless irresponsibility", the solemn voice intoned, "violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull Family"... The solemn threatening voice of the Elder and the puzzled one of Jonathan are interpreted by Rino Pastore and Mario Giammetti with passion, then a delicate flute passage leads to another beautiful instrumental "I gabbiani non volano al buio" (Seagulls never fly in the dark). Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull's life is short, and with this gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.

"Un'altra dimensione" (A new perspective) opens with a delicate organ sound, then synthesizers and an electric guitar solo introduce the voice of Goran Kuzminac who sings describing the meeting between Jonathan and two radiant gulls that show him the way for an higher knowledge, "Come with us they said to him / One school is finished, and the time has come for another to begin / And they disappeared together into the night". Well, Goran Kuzminac is one of my favourite Italian singer songwriter and it was a true pleasure for me to listen to his contribute on this album!

Next comes "Al naufragio del mio sogno" (The shipwrecked dream) that features the operatic vocals of Gianfranco Casiero soaring from a dreamy atmosphere and melts in the exotic percussive pattern of the short instrumental "Un battito d'ali" (A single flap of wings)... "I'm still alive / Into the caresses of every wind breath". So this is heaven, he thought, and he had to smile at himself. It was hardly respectful to analyze heaven in the very moment that one flies up to enter it.

On "Ciang" (Chiang) the intense voice of Italian rocker Graziano Romani describes a new leg of Jonathan's path to perfection and the meeting with the Elder Gull Chiang... "I am Chiang and I am the Elder Gull / I am here to teach you to fly / You will go to heaven / When you will reach the perfect speed". "We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome... Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect!".

"Il fattore tempo" (Working in time) is a beautiful jazzy instrumental where Maria Giammetti's saxophone evolves upon a background of counter-bass and piano. Those who put aside travel for the sake of perfection go anywhere, instantly. Remember Jonathan, heaven isn't a place or a time, because place and time are so very meaningless... The following track, "Il richiamo" (The callback), is about Jonathan's need to come back to his old flock to show to other young seagulls what he has learned and to teach them how to fly... Hope and nostalgia mixed together in a delicate ballad with a beautiful finale where sax and electric guitar take the lead.

On "Fletcher" lyrics describe the meeting between Jonathan and his new student, Fletcher. New sensations and feelings, new thesis overcoming old rules while exotic notes of saxophone lead to the delicate instrumental "Soffi da Oriente" (Blows from the East)...

"Un'infinita idea di libertÓ" (An unlimited idea of freedom) is another excellent instrumental, joyful and relaxed in the meantime, while the following "Ritorno allo stormo" (Back to the flock) begins in a more elaborate and dramatic way... "Break the chains / They keep the thoughts in prison / Then the body will be free too".

"Presa di coscienza" (Awareness) is beautiful piece about hope... It tells about the meeting between Jonathan and a gull with a broken wing, Maynard... "If you want to fly / Open your wings / And take it easy"... And Maynard, the injured gull took off towards the sky, into the wind! "Nel vento della grande montagna" (In the Great Mountain wind) is another short instrumental that slightly reminds me of Le Orme's "Aliante" and features John Hackett on flute.

You need to keep finding yourself, a little more each day, that real, unlimited Fletcher Seagull. He's your instructor... A moment later Jonathan's body wavered in the air, shimmering, and begun to go transparent... "L'addio" (Goodbye) and the following complex instrumental final act "Atto finale" are a perfect epilogue for a very good album that could give you the chance to rediscover an amazing book...

On the whole I think that this album could be an excellent addition to every prog collection.

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 Storia Di Un Iceberg by ALGEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.54 | 15 ratings

BUY
Storia Di Un Iceberg
Algebra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I really didn't know what to expect from this work, but since it is mentioned "worth a few spins for diehard Genesis fans" in their bio; I have decided to give a try.

Those musicians were apparently best known as cover bands than really producing their own music but when I listened to the fine "Prologue" I was quite enthusiast: a little peaceful and melodic overture which is followed by a quite symphonic "Il Ladro Romantica". Vocals are fine and in Italian for most of this work.

The feel is quite good after all: nothing to do with some neo-prog clones as one might have feared. "Algebra" plays a soft and melancholic music. There are evident links with "Genesis" of course (the intro of "Verso Il Nulla" is quite similar to the second hald of "After The Ordeal"). But this is not too much bargaining, right?

This was an excellent start, which is seriously compromised by "Claudia": a short jazzy/neo- prog piece which features rather average vocals. Press next to reach "Today Images" which is not a masterpiece either. It starts alright with a fine acoustic guitar play, but these vocals in English are quite dreadful. Only a short and extremely melodic guitar solo is saving the bill.

Now, we have to face a medley of ?"Genesis" songs! It all starts with a poor rendition of "Afterglow", followed by the closing section of "Firth Of Fifth" (the band could have prevented the last few vocal lines?). As the genuine band was used while they were four, "The Musical Box" is represented by its closing section. The vocals are really terrible. Awful.

What is quite unbelievable is that the next tune ("A Prayer") is a total rip off of "Sweet Jane" from the great Lou Reed. The riff if totally stolen and this song is quite out of place on this album. What the hell did this band want to achieve??? I can just pray to reach the end of this masquerade of a track. Only some instrumental passages are OK (like the fine mellotron one). Yes: this band mixed "Sweet Jane" for a while with mellotron to end!

I can't say that the next couple of song are thrilling: why did they feel the need to sing in English? While the lead vocalist was keeping the sweet Italian to express himself, it was quite OK. It is really incomprehensible. The result is far much better with the title track, which sounds like a jewel after these dreadful moments. It is all symphony, poetry, melody. Sweet keyboards, fine acoustic guitar and pleasant sax. Their manager (if any) should have been put in jail IMO!

The band was quite effective during the few tracks sung in Italian but the English tracks (+ the cover) dragged down this album to very low levels. Unfortunately. I knew it was a risky business to be the first one to post a review with some comments.

Fortunately "Russian Suite" is not sung in ? Russian. This long instrumental holds lots of fine parts: piano, electric guitar, violin but the whole is not really interconnected and sounds more as a bunch of "solo" from each member than a true combined effort. Still, the music displayed is very pleasant.

I was quite perplexed while I read the band bio from Lise: "their work ranges in quality from 'ok' to 'so-so' to downright abysmal". She was god damned right!

Two stars thanks to the Italian songs and the instrumental piece.

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