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NODO GORDIANO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Nodo Gordiano biography
NODO GORDIANO project begins its run in 1994 after the meeting between Andrea De Luca (bass, vocals), Alessandro Papotto (wind instruments, vocals) and Tony Zito (drums). The first line up was completed with the arrivals of Roberto Proietto (guitars) and Fabio D'Andrea (keyboards). The band, during 1995 and 1996, plays basically GENESIS and KING CRIMSON covers and Radio Rock, with other private networks, promote live gigs in important live exhibitions in Rome.

In 1997, after the keyboardist departure, the quartet creates and records for promotional purposes the music that would be in the first omonimous studio album, produced by Lizard Label the following year, and gigs with John Wetton playing KING CRIMSON covers. In 1998 the band collaborates with BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO (playing also live with Francesco Di Giacomo and Rodolfo Maltese), appears on national networks, plays live extensively and exhibits in several Alternative Rock Festivals.

In 1999, a few months after official first out, Alessandro Papotto and Tony Zito leave the project to engage themselves in other musical projects. Andrea De Luca, after Roberto Proietto defection, continues in NODO GORDIANO musicians search and collects new ideas for the next band incarnation.

In 2002 the new thing appears. Andrea meets the drummer Carlo Fattorini (Der Blaue Reiter, Magog) and Fabrizio Santoro (guitars, also with Magog e Oak). Now the band plays as a trio, open, like in NODO GORDIANO best tradition, towards any form of musical adventure. Among other collaborations, during the first 10 years, the names of Antonello De Zelis, Roberto Gavazzi, Giordano Rossini, Max G.B. Tommasi and Alberto D'Annibale have to be mentioned for their contributions. A direct recording of KING CRIMSON's Lament (with Andrea Amici, Leviathan, playing keyboards) has been chosen in 2003 in order to appear in the 3CD box The Letters, devoted to KING CRIMSON fans. The boys collect audio materials for the studio album, Flektogon, but before arriving at the final cut NODO GORDIANO unexpectedly runs into Alea.

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

3.76 | 9 ratings
Nodo Gordiano
1999
2.56 | 10 ratings
Alea
2005
3.88 | 34 ratings
Flektogon
2009
4.04 | 50 ratings
Nous
2014

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NODO GORDIANO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 50 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NODO GORDIANO are from Italy and they began life in the mid-nineties doing covers of songs from bands like KING CRIMSON, GENESIS and PINK FLOYD. The influence of each of these bands can be heard on this their latest album called "Nous". I first became aware of this band through their previous album "Flektogon" which really impressed me, so when I heard about this latest offering I picked it up as soon as I could. It's hard to believe this is a trio because they create so much sound. Effects and synths certainly help with that as they conjure up a lot of atmosphere at times.

"Portonovo" opens in a spacey manner with strummed guitar as reserved vocals join in around a minute in. This is all so laid back and we get percussion helping out as well. A change before 4 minutes as flute-like sounds join in and then it picks up before turning fuller with some aggressive guitar coming and going. A curious choice for the opening number I must say. "Aion" is a very FLOYD-like track circa "The Wall". Atmosphere and guitar brings PINK FLOYD and RIVERSIDE to mind. It kicks into gear after a minute followed by some prominant bass. Another atmospheric calm follows before 3 minutes then the guitar starts to make some noise as it builds. Another calm after 6 minutes but this is very spacey right to the end.

"Apologia Del Nolano" is a top three track for me. A dark beauty with out-front bass as the guitar comes in followed by these deep male vocals that have character. I really enjoy the drumming here. Glockenpiel to the fore after 2 minutes then a calm arrives before 4 minutes with laid back vocals. It stays this way until it ends although we get some organ late. "Nous" is another top three tune. A spacey intro goes on for some time then the guitar starts to solo and it all turns fuller before 3 minutes. I like how dark and powerful this becomes and check out the Hendrix-like guitar that echoes sort of like on "All Along The Watchtower'", a very similar tone. Love this stuff. A calm arrives 6 1/2 minutes in as it becomes atmospheric and dark. It then starts to build until it breaks out with power. "Officina" is my other top three and after a spacey opening with the guitar soloing over top it changes 3 minutes in to a GENESIS-like sound, especially with the pulsating organ but there's more to it than that. This ends before 5 minutes when it returns to a similar sound they started with on this track.

"Arthriana" opens with the sounds of birds which are replaced by glockenspiel and more then it turns powerful just before a minute. The guitar is crying out over top. A calm with more glockenspiel and bass before it builds. Boy this one changes moods a lot. It turns dark with bass before 4 minutes as the drums impress. Some nice guitar expressions as well. Samples after 6 minutes of horses and also people talking. More glockenspiel then it builds. Dark and powerful but restrained is how i'd describe the conclusion which is uplifting. "Stella Mary" opens with the sounds of waves rolling in as piano joins in reminding me of CHROMA KEY. Guitar expressions help out then there's a change before 2 minutes as it picks up. A dark calm before 3 1/2 minutes along with water sounds. The female vocal melodies before 5 minutes are a nice touch as this continues to the end.

Another solid 4 star album from these Italians who continue to impress the heck out of me.

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 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 50 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band NODO GORDIANO have a history that goes back to the early 1990's, and since releasing their self-titled debut album in 1999 they have a grand total of four full length studio productions to their name. "Nous" is the most recent of these, and was issued through Italian label AMS Records in 2014.

Just where to place this band in a progressive rock context is something of a conundrum. This is a band that is undeniably progressive rock, they do have quite the eclectic approach to their game as well, but their variety of eclecticism is one geared towards being approachable and fairly compelling, rather than being of the more challenging variety more common among artists often described as being of an eclectic nature.

Keyboard arrangements is a key element throughout, with plenty of room for regular keyboards just as much as organ and Mellotron, and those fond of more futuristic sounds and the occasional cosmic laden effect will also encounter material to their liking here. While being a key element it is not the sole, as the alternating acoustic and electric guitars are just as important, where wandering acoustic motifs and darker toned, dampened riffs underscore nicely and effectively throughout, with a full range of guitar solo runs ranging from atmospheric dream-laden Camel style and a more haunting Floydian tinged expression and onwards to eerier Frippian-tinged excursions and occasional dips into some textured guitar displays of the kind that in a different context might have been described as post rock oriented. A firm bass guitar with tendencies towards a beefier, dominant sound is also a mainstay, as are drum patterns ranging from delicate rhythm details to more expressive in a Rush-like manner as wel as occasional forays into slightly more jazz-tinged maneuvers.

Fans of bands like Camel, Rush and King Crimson will all find recognizable elements within one or more of the compositions at hand, and fairly often with some subtly psychedelic flavorings brought to the table as well. The songs as such flow quite nicely along, easy on the ears and the mind throughot, and while not lacking in quirky details and unexpected developments this isn't a challenging production as such. Still, as instrumental sections dominate this production and the lead vocals used are Italian this will make the main audience for this album somewhat confined I guess. A well made effort that merits a spin by those with an interest in mainly instrumental progressive rock of a relatively accessible yet also an eclectic nature.

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 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 50 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Nodo Gordiano ? Nous

A truly wonderful album!

Five years after their excellent "Flektogon", Nodo Gordiano released their fourth studio album this 2014, offering once again a first class record with its obvious Italian flavor, but with a pretty original, yet unclassified musical style within the progressive rock realm; here one can enjoy a seven-track album full of textures, atmospheres, symphonic passages, eclectic melodies and much more. So if you have time, sit, relax and enjoy "Nous".

I loved their latest album, the quality of the compositions let me speechless, I remember at that time it was one of my main surprises, and because I liked it a lot, I thought it would be difficult for them to make a new record with the same tremendous quality, but now with Nous they did not let me down. It is worth mentioning that this time the band changed a bit in the lineup. It starts with "Portonovo", the eclecticism of this band can be easily perceived since the very first seconds due to its synth atmospheres, the oriental drums and the soft acoustic guitar, deliciously accompanied by Italian vocals. The music flows and before reaching the fourth minute, a moment of tension begins, the rhythm changes and guitar produces a quite nervous sound. It is like a day's soundtrack, I imagined several things. Great introductory track!

"Aion" is a beautiful composition, the band managed to create a top-notch track whose constant changes in tempo and mood produce a mesmerizing sound. First the bass creating dark atmospheres, later drums and electric guitar join and create new nuances, together they build up a progressive rock structure that might not be bombastic, but in my opinion, is very clever, so one can perceive their compositional skills. There is a part I love and comes after four minutes with a spacey passage that lasts some seconds just before the song returns to its main form. "Apologia del nolano" starts with acoustic guitar, seconds later bass and drums join and then the music makes an explosion, more intensity is added, the bass sound is strong, so the energy is spread. Male vocals appear later and within almost six minutes Nodo Gordiano is capable of offering a vast mixture of sounds, with slices of oriental and Spanish cultures in its sound. What I love about them, is that they do not sound as the classic RPI band, in spite of its roots and influences.

"Nous" is the longest composition with almost ten minutes of a great psychedelic / symphonic prog carousel. Some reminiscences of Pink Floyd are in this track, mostly in the softest moments. The music naturally flows, there are no weak moments so it is easy to enjoy the 10 minutes and its different stages, which means that Nodo Gordiano has found the way of capturing the listener's attention. "Officina" is a enigmatic track whose synthesizer work is fabulous, because it superb atmospheric backgrounds while vocals and strings do their job. After three minutes it changes and the symphonic side of Nodo Gordiano appears, reminding me of Camel or PFM just to name an example.

"Arturiana" is an instrumental track that might also work as a film soundtrack, in moments its atmosphere is dark, tense, like for a horror score, but in others it might even be used in a sci-fi one, so go figure the eclecticism of the music here. Like a lot the bass sound here, it is hypnotic. Drums are always constant while guitars experiment a lot, producing a diversity of textures. The last song is "Stella Maris" is a gem, a great way of closing the album. A tender beginning with piano and the sound of the ocean; a couple of minutes later the mood changes, some electronic drums enter making a strange but interesting sound. Then it returns to its original form, but now with the addition of sweet female voices.

It is an excellent album, one of a kind, the sound is unique, something that should make Nodo Gordiano proud. Congratulations!

Enjoy it!

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 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 50 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Nous is the fourth album by Nodo Gordiano, an Italian prog band based in Rome whose roots date back to 1994. It was released in 2014 on the independent label AMS/Btf with a renewed line up featuring founder member Andrea De Luca (bass, guitar, synthesizers) along with Carlo Fattorini (drums, percussion, vibraphone, glockenspiel) and Fabrizio Santoro (electric guitar, synthesizers, bass). Some guest musicians such as Silvia Scozzi (vocals), Gianluca Cottarelli (electric piano) and Valerio Di Giovanni (guitar) took part to the recording sessions and helped the band to enrich their sound. The result is this excellent concept album sui generis where the musicians managed to shape a very personal blend of tradition and new ideas. The artwork, music and lyrics draw dreamy landscapes and beckon you to embark on a voyage for fair unknown shores...

The opener "Portonovo" begins by a calm, dreamy acoustic passage that reminds me of Francesco Guccini's L'isola non trovata. Soaring vocals conjure up the image of a ship and invite you to casting off and set sail at dawn. You fatherland is over there and your fantasy is already gliding on the sea. Then the rhythm rises, the wind begins to blow and you're carried away by the waves... Well, in some way this track makes me think of a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, The White Ship..."Out of the South it was that the White Ship used to come when the moon was full and high in the heavens. Out of the South it would glide very smoothly and silently over the sea. And whether the sea was rough or calm, and whether the wind was friendly or adverse, it would always glide smoothly and silently, its sails distant and its long strange tiers of oars moving rhythmically...".

"Aion" is a beautiful instrumental track that every now and again recalls Pink Floyd. The image chosen to describe it in the booklet is an ouroboros, a serpent eating its own tail that usually symbolizes something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return. It features spacey, psychedelic atmospheres and dark energies running like hell all along the band's particular wall of sound. Then comes "Apologia del Nolano", a celebration of musical freedom that reminds me slightly of bands such as Area and BMS. The music and lyrics here evoke infinite spaces, nomadic songs breaking free from their prisons, kingdoms of unreachable echoes, uncountable worlds and distant lands where the people speak different languages that you can't understand and where the free breath of your soul can shine brightly.

The ethereal "Nous" is a long, complex instrumental piece full of psychedelic nuances. The image the band chose to describe it in the booklet represents an old, surreal world map... It leads to the dreamy "Officina" where you get lost at dawn on the limit between reveries and reality. Then you enter into a strange, magic workshop where you can exercise your crafts... Next comes the beautiful, alchemical "Arturiana", a charming instrumental track with a mysterious atmosphere described with the image of a sword in a circle and where you can almost perceive the ghosts of King Arthur and his knights of the round table riding through clouds and enchanted woods.

The closer "Stella Maris" is depicted by a ship sailing across a storming sea. It's another beautiful instrumental piece where the female vocals of Siliva Schiozzi are used as an instrument and seem to evoke the hypnotic singing of a mermaid... "I walked out over the waters to the White Ship on a bridge of moonbeams. The man who had beckoned now spoke a welcome to me in a soft language I seemed to know well, and the hours were filled with soft songs of the oarsmen as we glided away into a mysterious South, golden with the glow of that full, mellow moon..." (H.P. Lovecraft, The White Ship).

On the whole, I think that this is a very good album, an essential one for every Italianprog collector!

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 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 50 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Cosmic atmospheres and psychedelic strangeness is woven throughout `Nous', the fourth studio album in twenty years from Italian band Nodo Gordiano. An assortment of seven eclectic arrangements, the group deliver a mix of drowsy vocal passages with lengthy and varied spacey instrumental sections. Although predominantly a spacerock album, the band still work in classic vintage RPI/Italian prog traits, psych flavours and progressive-electronic traditions, driven by raging electric and ragged acoustic guitar, droning electronics and plentiful use of the mighty Mellotron! With cover art that suggests exploration and uncharted courses of an earthly kind, what the band really delivers aims straight for the furthest reaches of deep space.

Despite what's to come on the album, the band open with a frayed piece that has all the qualities associated with the best 70's RPI works. Powered by repetitive rolling percussion that takes on a hypnotic mantra-like quality, `Portonovo' has stirring acoustic guitar over hypnotic rising and falling synth washes, with out-of-place little drum-fills that trail off in all different directions. Just when you start to ease into comfort, molten eruptions of jagged King Crimson/Adrian Belew-like electric guitar violations burst fourth and retreat back and forth in a deliciously twisted and addictive manner. `Aion' is a pulsing spacerock instrumental that groans like a siren klaxon, chiming electric guitars glisten amongst a howling electronic vacuum, the piece constantly building in maddening tension but with a reassuring soothing ambient finale. More spiky RPI twists spliced with a snapping Hawkwind heaviness and coolish New Wave 80's guitar sheen in `Apologia del Nolano', fat bass bounces with up-tempo urgency, meditative treated vocals moan, and there's even a loopy vibraphone spasm!

The near-ten minute title track `Nous' is another spectacular instrumental spacerocker, the ambient moments of shimmering synths recalling Sensations' Fix, the heavier blasts again hitting like Hawkwind topped off with the improvised colour of the Oresund Space Collective. Jangling percussion with bashing aggressive drumming, 70's acid rock electric guitar wailing and mud-thick bass splattering liquid grooves all around pierce oppressive Mellotron-fueled intimidation. `Officina' offers a little respite, if still a melancholic and confronting Mellotron soaked drifter. Soaring guitar work, moody organ, technicolour bleeding synths and sweeping yet restrained cinematic strings means pure space music bliss, a mix of dreamy Pink Floyd spaciness, the wasted coarse vocals of Novalis, with a rollicking symphonic fanfare ala PFM and Genesis to close on. Relentless snaking bass darts through `Arturiana' with brief Black Sabbath creeping riffs before the track turns more mysterious and psychedelic, plus ponderous slow-burn floating electric guitar ruminations and endless reflective, delicate scratchy Mellotron. There's perhaps even a wicked little taste of Universal Totem Orchestra sci-fi menace to the hissing synths in a few spots as well. Thoughtful instrumental album closer `Stella Maris' opens with lethargic synth washes and tip-toeing electric piano flitting amongst of backdrop of waves at sea, and after some eerie menacing robotic drum loops, angelic female harmonies sigh in contemplation, bringing a sense of peace and finality to the album.

Of particular note throughout the entire album is a very sparse production, which will come as a relief to progressive music fans who don't like the slick and polished production that is found on many modern albums. At times I even wondered "Are they using an old 4 track recorder?". That simple and restrained production gives it the more authentic feel of endless 70's works, as well as the above mentioned unpredictable and wild reckless musical outbursts that aligns little parts of it with vintage RPI. But thrilling murky spacerock is mostly the order of the day here, schizophrenic, yet still tasteful and subtle where needed. Hopefully` Nous', a little album that could, doesn't slip too far under the radar compared to other more high profile Italian Prog works of 2014. Nodo Gordiano sound like nobody else with this work, and their distinctive sound and musical talent deserve to be rewarded with more praise and exposure.

Four stars.

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 Flektogon by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 34 ratings

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Flektogon
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Nodo Gordiano's Flektogon is the third album from this thundering Roman prog band, led by gifted multi-instrumentalist Andrea DeLuca and drummer extraordinaire Carlo Fattorini. The band sent me a download subsequent to my review of their 2014 masterpiece 'Nous'. I will be purchasing this CD to add to my classic collection (I am not a fan of collector downloads).

I have always had a soft spot for Gregorian choirs, not due to any religious schooling but rather because of the resonating effect it has when witnessed in a proper setting (church, cathedral, basilica), it serves as an excellent audio-physical anesthetic, preparing the mind for some serious sonic pleasure. So on the opening 'Theatro di Memoria', once the drug has penetrated into the soul, what better than some classic King Crimson (Red period) to push the boundaries, a hurricane of Cartesian guitar triangles, weighty Wetton-esque bass excursions and syncopated drum lunacy, but the Italians do add a new twist, an operatic aria courtesy of Silvia Scozzi, that will make the hair erect on any listener's body.

The Oriental-leaning 'Ozymandias Pt 1' involves more avant-garde fantasy, assorted percussive adventures framed with some marimba-like lines, booming gongs and a sense of forlornness. This interlude only serves as a primer for the 'piece de resistance', the megalithic 30 minute colossus 'Avventure di Mastarna', which once again stamps the KC/Anekdoten influences with little regret or shame. For a low-end fiend like yours truly, I get hooked hard and fast when a bass guitar blasts into the ionosphere like on this piece, literally hauling the arrangement forward mercilessly. The sound is clearly in the John Wetton/Liljestroem vein, where obese bass (ooh that was clever!) rule the roost, sweetened by a virtual arsenal of various percussive instruments that wink at Jade Warrior and such' yet contrary to their prime influences, there is a slew of spacey synthesizers that induce a sense of hypnosis and intergalactic voyage. Then, when you least expect it, a gluttonous saxophone comes blaring into the melee, proposing a deafening chaos that verges on the absurd. At the 14 minute mark, the reptilian bass goes bonkers, fueling sheer aural pandemonium. Hey, this ain't no girlie pop music, okay! Play this loud and your Miley Cyrus t-shirted neighbors will 911 the army, let alone the cops! Volcanic, disturbing, angular, lunatic and slightly insane, the progression of this piece defies categorization, literally encompassing every prog genre (yeah, including zeuhl) and will bedevil the drum freaks out there (Fattorini is a giant!), shame the bass novices and scare the lazy formulaic composers who constantly search out the cheapest thrills. The anarchic onslaught is quite experimental, and at times, just outright mental. This flirtation with dark and obscure themes provide a real carnal appreciation for the music, as if a soundtrack for some imaginary movie was the main impetus, a sonic script entirely at the mercy of the beholder. Dream what you will, fratello, dream what you will! As far as bass and drum fests go, this will feed your hunger.

Part 2 of 'Ozymandias' serves as a rhythmic sandwich for the previous turmoil, a platform for Fattorini to show off some wrist and elbow, perhaps a forearm as well, such is the thunder emanating from his kit. Hey, he can do Moerlen, he can do Bruford, he can do anyone! The finale has a coiling beat, aided by some peripatetic electric guitar and a strong sense of direction.

'Zeitgeist' (isn't that like the archetypical prog title for a song?) plows through some mammoth slippery bass lines, cyclical (or is that cyclonic) guitar patterns and deranged drumming, a fitting finale lush with menace and inglorious doom. A piece that sort of sums up what Nodo is all about. Bloody amazing band.

4.5 camera lenses

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 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 50 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Things are getting quite bubbly and intense in RPI land, as another slew of majestic releases are being foisted on us unsuspecting reviewers. And as per the tradition of constantly stretching the boundaries of sound and substance, here is one that got me hooked like some blue marlin biting into lethal bait. Nodo Gordiano (Gordian Knot in Italian) has published a third album of impressive atmospheric originals that confound and seduce with stellar authority. Everything about this jewel will keep the prissy prog fan breathless, as this trio of incredible talents summon their collective spirits in complete harmony and disciplined execution. I have always had a massive respect for 1999's one shot wonder Sunscape, a psychedelic/space rock self-titled Italian masterpiece that few have latched onto (my good, their bad), considering it to be a timeless classic that may never be challenged! Well, never say never!

'Nous' is a clever concoction of adventurous explorations, somewhat devoid of puerile formulas and immediate thrills. Thick, dense, articulate and highly detail-oriented, the trio of Andrea de Luca (bass, guitar, keys, voice), Fabrizio Santoro (guitars, bass, keys) and drummer Carlo Fattorini unite their considerable techniques in forging eclectic canvases of delightful RPI-tinged, psychedelic crossover prog. Now comparisons or benchmarks will be a hard slog but let's just say a heady mix of King Crimson Mark III (the Bruford era), some bold space rock flavourings (Eloy, Mappe Nootiche, Colorstar) and a decidedly heavy-prog approach. Nothing to make one nod off (sorry for the pun), constantly imaginative, petulant and bombastic, the material will keep you on your collective Defcon III, alert and ready for the next onslaught. All 7 tracks flow like some celestial river, meandering, cascading into occasional pools of serene karma and then splashing forward, unrelenting. The bass guitar seems to be the prime motivator, the devilishly reptilian conductor taking charge and forging ahead, unafraid. Lots of electric guitar phrasings in both rhythmic and in soloing presentations, incessant baking colorations that defy mundane facility. There is a definite Djam Karet-like vibe as well as a wink to that Sunscape album, definitely soundtrack music for the travelling mind.

Things start out pretty simply, acoustic guitar and male vocal with rifling yet gentle drum fills, "Portonovo" sets the proper mind-altering mood to get the prog brain nicely anesthetized and fit for cosmic interplanetary voyaging. The neurotic and effect-laden guitar shrieks will get your attention, perhaps even eliciting a few smiles of unbridled jealousy. Like some plastic doll floating in some swanky swimming pool, the cottony contrasts will confound and disturb. "I think the patient is ready, dottore!" 9

The propulsive "Aion" is a highlight track, the serpent-like bass corkscrewing deeply into the rhythmic pulse, shimmering guitars collapsing behind the forward motion and a foreboding sense of doom and sweat-laced fear. It then gets Floydian heavy, escorted by a binary muscle beat and searing axe phrasings, repetitive and merciless. This is space prog at its unpredictable finest. 10+

The vocally-pushed "Apologia del Nolano" is a weirder creature, an odd cocktail of the psychotic and the bizarre, where a strained voice, vibraphone and devious synth whispers combine to shatter a few illusions. A hint of Gentle Giant, pastoral psychedelia and unsettling angst, these are the unexpected ingredients served up by the crew. 8

The sumptuous title track is where the mood gets really hypnotic, a seemingly familiar theme is carved out from the bare-bones introduction, a screaming guitar and intense keyboard assault suddenly take hold, almost like a Hawkwind instrumental blow-out but the seductive bass work really impresses immediately. Both axemen really lather on the sweaty riffs and the swift licks, once again a wink to Djam Karet-like explorations. This one will take you far into the deepest realms of the cosmos and drop you off exhausted at the nearest space station for some needed R&R. Spectacular sounds, amazing themes. 10+

Some respite? Hell no! Massive mellotron squalls will tumble ahead with "Officina", keeping the pedal firmly on the Ferrari pedal, an astro-lullaby of the highest order, deeply Pink Floydian and a complicated vocal. A classic organ-led foray moves the piece into more playful confines, bass humming along and stark mellotron waves. The main melodic theme will get a smile on any face. 9

Effects-laden and slightly medieval like the stunning black and white artwork, "Arturiana" is a fine example of their consummate craftsmanship, a jungle of lush mellotron and guitar interplays, brooding bass sinews and bashing drums. Bombastic, overblown and colossal are just three words that come to mind, but I can add cool, confident and utterly brilliant too. Material such as this can be enjoyed in various everyday situations, from the bedroom to the kitchen, to the sunny patio and the living room. Will it offend the neighborly Nickelback fan? I certainly hope so! 10+

As with Finnforest's epic review, "Stella Maris" is one hell of a finale, a fitting end to a gloriously intense album, chock full of unforeseen themes, devious twists and turns and numbing excitement. The female wailing is beyond beautiful, a tinge of Celtic/gothic sensibilities, hand percussion notwithstanding. 10

A simple design makes this package very desirable, a thrilling release that should fascinate, titillate and enchant the most blasť prog fan. Instrumentally spectacular and melodically highly enticing, this is another sure contender for the 2014 list of masterpieces.

4.5 French maps

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 Nous by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.04 | 50 ratings

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Nous
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A musical trip on turbulent seas

The cover art does not lie. Nodo Gordiano are one Italian prog rock band that I'm unfamiliar with despite the fact they have been around for twenty years now, albeit with a different line-up for each album. The one constant is multi-instrumentalist Andrea De Luca who for this fourth album is joined by guitarist Fabrizio Santoro (from Vu Meters) and percussionist Carlo Fattorini who has been around since the Alea album. Released in March 2014 from AMS/BTF, Nodo Gordiano sound enthusiastic and psyched for exploration. NG are not your typical RPI band by any means and could be just as easily be described (at various times) as psych-prog, eclectic, possibly even heavy-prog. There are long instrumental sections throughout the album with that eclectic spirit and that certain spark I've heard time and again in modern Italian bands. Adventure, mystery, and a willingness to dive down any possible rabbit hole with a big hearted grin. If prog-rock is about fun and adventure and you don't mind forgoing the "easily accessible" on occasion, then you're likely to enjoy this one.

The first thing you will notice is the wide variety of sounds choices, moods, and interplay. Sometimes passages are going to be somewhat abrasive and sometimes very mellow, even relaxing, but rarely will you be allowed to settle in for long. Changes are pretty constant, the ideas come and go at a good clip. We can go from gentle acoustic guitars over dreamy synthesizers, the occasional hand percussion, then quickly things can build into absolute frenzy with chaotic, wild lead guitar screaming. And then back to a subdued space. In the slower and more thoughtful passages there is great attention paid to mood and storytelling instrumentally, not always easy! I like instrumental music that still feels like storytelling, as opposed to random shred. While we have seven different tracks here this is very much the experience of listening to different movements of one long track for me. Too much going on to get into the details of every track but the closer Stella Maris is my favorite. Just amazing. Dreamy piano, waves-literally!, guitars like seagulls, electronic burst, mean riff, break, then a wonderful "sailing away" represented with wordless female vocals.

In his review of their previous work, our friend Assaf Vestin described the band as such, and his works ring true of the new album as well:

"I have a hard time trying to describe what they sound like, but I can say that they have a variety of influences and an eclectic palate. This plethora of musical taste buds doesn't lead to an incoherent album. They take all those ingredients and mix them in a superb and magnificent manner. However, the album may very well seem thick and too hard to digest at first, necessitating multiple listens until the listener manages to get ahold of the entire album in its size and splendor." -A. Vestin, Hanging Sounds blog

Oh I like this album very much. It is a busy album and some people will disliked their approach but I think adventurous music fans will approve. Bravo! And an awesome album cover proving yet again that simplicity and the human touch trump all those big budget covers that look like video game advertisements. Looking something like a map of a "Middle Earth" type location in a fantasy novel, it is a great representation of how the music itself feels to me. I'm in the 3-4 star space but I round up here without much hesitation.

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 Flektogon by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.88 | 34 ratings

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Flektogon
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 2007 the stable members of Nodo Gordiano, founder Andrea De Luca and drummer Carlo Fattorini, return to the studio to work on the band's third release.This time though keyboardist Gianluca Cottarelli was not with them, so De Luca handled all guitars, bass and synths for this album with occasional performances on sax and violin.Instead they were joined by singer Silvia Scozzi and sax/flute player Franco Terralavoro.Entitled ''Flektogon'', the new album was released in 2009 on BTF.

The album is literally centered around the 30-min. grand opus ''Avventure Di Mastarna'' with two shorter tracks each placed before and after it.This time the mood is less experimental and the music more structured compared to ''Alea'' with a couple of improvised moments in the two ''Ozymandias'' pieces.But the opening ''Teatro Di Memoria'' and the closing ''Zeitgeist'' are two great cuts of KING CRIMSON-esque Heavy Prog with angular guitar chops and a pounding rhythm section, featuring very strong grooves and riffs, while the first one features also the operatic performance of Silvia Scozzi, that makes the overall style even more atmospheric and haunting.Of course the real deal and the biggest bet for the group comes from ''Avventure Di Mastarna'', which could stand as a whole album alone.This is a very good example of intricate Heavy Prog, presenting finally Nodo Gordiano as a mature group.The musicianship remains fairly guitar-based with endless changes between complex textures and more laid-back material, where the presence of spacey synthesizers and elegant flutes add a nice diversity to a very edgy style.The different themes are tightly connected in a composition that runs almost flawless, featuring also some fine choirs and a mood towards shifting climates, ranging from spacey instrumentals to complicated guitar workouts to extremely ambiental soundscapes with a great atmosphere.

By far the more mature work of De Luca and his companion.''Flektogon'' is a beautiful album in its own cruelty with some great instrumental madness delivered.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Alea by NODO GORDIANO album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.56 | 10 ratings

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Alea
Nodo Gordiano Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Shortly after the debut,Andrea De Luca would suffer the departure of the core of his band and Nodo Gordiano wouldn't pull off until De Luca would met drummer Carlo Fattorini guitarist and Fabrizio Santoro.The trio would cover the track ''Lament'' for the Mellow Records King Crimson's tribute ''The Letters: An Unconventional Italian Guide to King Crimson'' in 2003,but soon Santoro would quit as well to focus on electric bass.This fact opened the gates for the arrival of keyboardist Gianluca Cottarelli and the new trio headed to the studios for the sophomore Nodo Gordiano effort ''Alea'',finally released on Mellow Records in 2005.

As the band members' state themselves,this was a chance for them to explore more improvised and experimental styles of rock music in this short work,clocking at 37 minutes.And that is what actually goes on in ''Alea'',where a very strong rhythm section offers a variety of deep grooves with a haunting atmosphere in order to support the keyboard work of Cottarelli.Entirely in a free electronic form, the band's keyboardist pushes his instruments to the upper limits, filling these grooves with obscure electronic work-outs, loops and spacey synthesizers,the result being a totally unconstructive pack of six compositions full of jams,effects and sudden breaks.The album reminds at places of a more modern form of vintage Psych/Electronic/Kraut-Rock bands,without being anything close to their level of inspitration.

This album is far from recommended,it resembles more to a personal effort by a band in order to push their skills in an experimental field.Dark, haunting and jamming synth-driven music only for the mystified with a careful recommendation to Kraut-Freaks.

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