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RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Rustichelli & Bordini biography
An unusual duo of keyboards and drums that released a little known and incredibly good album in 1973 before disappearing. Paolo Rustichelli and Carlo Bordini had played with Cammello Buck, along with guitarist Pino Belardinelli and bass player Mauro Morlacchi, and they even appeared at 1972 first edition of the Villa Pamphili Pop Festival. With a new bass player, Pasquale Cavallo (from the latest line-up of PANNA FREDDA), they signed a contract with the Delta label, but didn't get to release anything despite some demo recordings, and their management suggested to reduce the four-piece to a duo in the same style as the UK band Hardin & York. Rustichelli & Bordini appeared at Naples' Be-In Festival in 1973 and supported West Bruce & Laing in Rome. After the album Carlo Bordini was contacted by a group called Oliver, that included Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante and Fabio Pignatelli, this was to be the first line-up of GOBLIN; he also appeared on the CHERRY FIVE album.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
This is another wonderful gem from the Seventies Italian prog featuring lush keyboard play.

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3.76 | 56 ratings
Opera Prima
1973

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The roots of this duo can be found in the Roman group Cammello Buck, found in 1971 by guitarist Pino Belardinelli, bassist Mauro Morlacchi, drummer Carlo Bordini and teenager keyboardist Paolo Rustichelli, son of Film Score composer Carlo Rustichelli.The group played in May 72' at the first Villa Pamphili Pop Festival and was signed later by the Delta label, featuring new bassist Pasquale Cavallo from Panna Fredda.Story says the management forced them to continued as a keyboard/drum duo and that's what happened, but the only album of the remaining Rustichelli and Bordini came out on RCA in 1973 with the title ''Opera prima''.

The duo sounded actually a bit like LE ORME circa-''Felona e Sorona'', playing a muddy, dark, symphonic-oriented Prog Rock and having obviously a keyboard-centered sound with strong Classical influences and occasional E.L.P.-like jazzy flashes.Rustichelli was armoured apparently with a Hammond organ, a Mellotron (which sounds often like a string synth among the mess of dual and triple keyboard exercises), an acoustic piano and a couple of synthesizers.Now, you won't even care about the absence of a bassist or a guitarist, because Rustichelli has been the central figure of a dense and emphatic album, full of organ solos, Mellotron waves and synth flashes.Other good reference points could be LATTE E MIELE during the softer moments and even IL BALLETO DI BRONZO, especially in the album's more complex keyboard/piano instrumentals.Do not expect an instrumental release, Paolo Rustichelli was also responsible for the harsh vocals appearing every now and then, another reason the album had a haunting atmosphere, except for some poetic singing lines at a couple of Classical preludes and interludes.The tracks are mostly long with some impressive Classical melodies, plenty of twists and complex ideas and, of course, some bombastic symphonic movements, always led by no less than two keyboard instruments and a solid drumming.Rustichelli was about 18 years old during the album's recordings and his fantastic performance along with his mid-aged, already mature voice make this whole work a pleasant surprise.

After playing in Napoli and Rome, the duo faded away.Bordini went on to join Oliver, which became Cherry Five, releasing one album with the band, before working as a session drummer.Rustichelli released some solo, keyboard-centered albums during his career, but his activities mainly focused on composing Film Score Music, as his father did before him.

Grandiose Italian Symphonic Rock with bombastic keyboard parts in the vein of LE ORME, CORTE DEI MIRACOLI and LATTE E MIELLE...but only performed on keyboards and drums.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

3 stars Another keyboard-driven masterwork, this time delivered by future movie soundtrack composer Paulo Rutichelli, and Cherry Five drummer Carlo Bordini. Like modern-day duos The Black Keys and The White Stripes, this pair manage to make a huge amount of noise for two people, and the lack of other instruments goes unnoticed. Often the arrangements are anchored on the bottom end by Moog basses and foot pedals, and the lack of guitar is never a problem either. Think of ELP without a bass player and you'll get the idea. While the album is a synth-lovers dream, the lack of vocal ability on the part of Rusticelli ruins what would be an otherwise perfectly enjoyable album. And though Bordini's drumming it quite serviceable, it is apparent to me that Rusticelli was running the show here, and Bordini is forced to play a "get-out-of-the-way" role.

If the entire album was as good as the instrumental "Nativita'," Opera Prima would easily be a four-star recommendation for me. A plethora of keyboards are featured, including Mellotron, acoustic piano, organ, and various analog synths. "Icaro" is our first taste of Paulo Rusticelli's voice; even though it starts out quite pleasant with an echo effect, when he hits the upper limit of his register the gruff nature of Paulo's natural voice reveals itself. If you've heard Arvalo Fella of Jumbo this voice timbre will not be too shocking, but unfortunately (unlike Fella), Ruticelli is out of tune most of the time, and it just feels like he hollering and wailing for no good reason. It can actually be nauseating at points, like in the bridge where it sounds like he is going to puke all over the microphone. Luckily none of the vocal parts last too terribly long, but they kind of leave a bad taste in your mouth (no pun intended).

"Dolce Sorella" is a sweet ballad, with more dazzling keyboard performances and even decent singing. "Un Cane" begins similarly but metamorphoses into a dirge-like opus. The synths and vocals completely drown out what Carlo Bordini is doing here, which sounds like some really talented drumming but it's impossible to know for sure. This production technique continues into "E Sveglarsi in un Giorno," the shortest and most accessible track on Opera Prima. The long "Cammellandia" rounds out the set, and honestly goes on a little too long in my opinion. Not a terrible listen by any means, Opera Prima is an album you will want to seek out at some point once you are prepared to deal with some of its shortcomings.

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rustichelli and Bordini - Opera Prima (1973)

Another vinyl record I was able to get my hands on thanks to my prog-buddy Erik Neuteboom. In Holland the RPI scene is hard to get on vinyl, so I was excited to get this record.

R&B consists only of two member (who would have though that with such a band-name..?). Paolo Rustichelli plays Hammond C3 organ, ARP VCS3 synthesizer and does the vocals, Bordini plays the drums. Both are great musicians with a lot of capabilities. But hey.. and album with only keys and drums, wouldn't you we miss the guitars and bass? Actually I did not. The sound of Opera Prima is already bombastic enough! The tasteful use of key- instruments and the warmth in the recording gives this album a great sound.

The vocals. I have good and bad news. The good news is that he doesn't sing to often. Well.. the bad news shouldn't come as a surprise then: the vocals aren't that likable. A reference to Peter Hammill isn't out of place here: rough, painful, haunting vocals sung in Italian by a not so gifted vocalist. This brings me to my following point: this might be a very very appealing album for those who like RPI and VdGG.

The compositions. The compositions are highly technical, sophisticated or/and bombastic. One could find VdGG to be a good reference for the intense experience of the chord progressions. On the second track I heard some chord progressions reminding me a bit of some of Focus' tracks (like Round Goes the Gossip). Furthermore there are some jazz-rock influences during solo progressions.

Conclusion. As mentioned before, this is keyboard haven. Normally I don't like key oriented albums like Keith Ermerson's or Rick Wakeman's, but this is another league. The music is confronting, haunting and has a certain abstract magical vibe during some moments. The vocals aren't that good, but at least they sound honest and unpolished -> which is good! This could be seen as an important contribution to the RPI genre and a nice Gem for collecters in general of the symphonic prog genre. Fans of VdGG might find a good introduction to Italian prog. Four stars!

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Opera Prima is a fairly obscure Italian symphonic prog album from the duo of keyboard player Paulo Rustichelli and drummer Carlo Bordini. Sadly this album released in 1973 remains their only collaborative effort. Bordini is perhaps better known to RPI fans for playing in the pre- Goblin outfit Cherry Five. Rustichelli following in his father Carlo's footsteps has gone on to compose Italian film scores amongst his achievements.

This is a keyboard dominated record; in fact the duo are the only musicians to play on the album. The music ranges from sublime passages of restrained piano to more bombastic Hammond fuelled moments, the sound palette widened with the use of synths and often reminiscent of ELP. The standard of playing is not surprisingly excellent as in the main are the compositions, surprisingly mature considering the young age of Rustichelli, the only downside being some decidedly rough vocals.

Despite being an excellent album I wouldn't consider this one of the more essential releases in the RPI genre, but lovers of symphonic keyboard fuelled prog will no doubt find much to enjoy here.

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars As a youth, being already a talented piano player and composer in the early 7s, Paolo Rustichelli became enamoured of the sort of artistic rock that the colourful realms of progressive rock offered to rock fans and the music industry. Once progressive rock stood as a fertile garden of young bands in Italy, he joined forces with drummer Carlo Bordini in order to bring in heir own contribution among those provided by their country's big prog names such as PFM, Le Orme, Banco, etc. while they were at it, Rustichelli worked on the dissemination of the ARP synthesizer in the rock circles. "Opera Prima" is the final result of this effort, and indeed it happened to be a real gem to be sought after and dearly treasured by any true lover of the progressive genre. As I see it, there's no other way around it. The album kicks off on a very enthusiastic note, with the lovely 'Nativita'' providing a dynamic vibe that owes a bit to ELP and solo Wakeman, but is mostly related to the idiosyncratic Italian sound that had been developed within the worldwide symphonic rock trend. Just like a more robust version of Le Orme mixed with a better version of L'Uovo Di Colombo, plus somehow predating Corte Dei Miracoli, the duo delivers a magical mixture of explicit energy and romantic nuances, fluidly conveyed through the motif and mood variations ? 8 minutes of pure progressive glory. 'Icaro' follows, starting as what seems to be a power ballad but soon evolving into something rockier, even talking it into a raw spot (Rusticelli's singing is a very big help at keeping things raw). The emergence of a wild Baroque organ-driven interlude and the introduction of a jazz-oriented jam afterwards create a solid enrichment for the basic motif's development. 'Dolce Sorella' does fit the symphonic power ballad's framework, with noticeable allusions to the standards of Procol Harum and Yes, but of course, since this is a typically Italian sounding band and keyboards are the only protagonists, the sonic scheme stays closer to BMS and Le Orme. 'Un Cane' gets the album's second half started: with a prologue dominated by grand piano, the overall ceremonious overtone is guaranteed right away, and so, when the main body is installed, the track happens to be closely related in mood to the preceding one. 'E Svegliarsi In Un Giorno' doesn't follow a dissimilar pattern actually, although one can notice (or at least, that's how I picture it) that the ongoing mood is a bit less romantic and a bit more extroverted. Also, the compositional development is a bit more sophisticated, which is mostly due to the use of synthetic fanfares and Gothic-like mellotron washes somewhere in the middle. The final track ''Cammellandia' starts with a beautiful piano sonata, whose simplistic motif brings the key to the whole compositional architecture, which indeed is not too complex, but it is cleverly based on coherent moods and. The connections with Le Orme and ELP are somehow easy to notice, and there is also a scary element to this track that I may not have found alien in a Goblin album? but again, Goblin didn't exist by then yet, so we can sense something a bit pioneering here as well. So, all in all, what we have here is a very substantial album in musical terms through all the bombast patently delivered in the ever present synths (ARP and VCS 3) and mellotron inputs. "Opera Prima" is an excellent progressive opus, and as such it should be valued by any prog collector who intends to be really proud of their collection.

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars Opera Prima by Italian duo Rustichelli & Bordini is an excellent keyboard-dominated symphonic album from 1973. The simplest way to describe the music here is to imagine ELP with the addition of a Mellotron and a gravel-throated Italian vocalist. This album is almost up there alongside Tarkus and Trilogy, and wipes the floor with just about everything else ELP did. The main issue with Opera Prima seems to be the vocals, which are something of an acquired taste. To be blunt keyboards player Paolo Rustichelli has a particularly gruff, ugly singing voice. However if you can get over the vocals you'll be rewarded with some of the richest keyboard textures in the RPI canon.

The album opens with an instrumental track, Nativita, which basically consists of an A-B-A structure but with several variants and transitions within that framework. The first A-section is like a fanfare initially played on piano and synth, but then joined by organ chords and Mellotron. A brief Emersonian jazz organ statement leads back to a variation on the first theme, with organ taking the lead this time around. Piano and Mellotron then introduce the serene B-section, with synth providing a melodic bass line. A transition passage climaxes with a piano arpeggio that heralds a reprise of the A-theme, this time with aggressive organ to the fore. The track finishes with a brief coda that combines the two main themes.

Icaro begins with some moody organ, until Rustichelli can unfortunately be heard clearing his throat before starting to sing. Ouch! The tempo picks up with a stirring organ melody, drums and burbling synth-bass. We then get a typical hard-rock beat complete with cowbell. Up to this point in the song Rustichelli's voice has been bearable. However in this section he sounds like one of Saruman's orcs! I kid you not. Think of the Piltdown man from Tubular Bells... yeah, that bad! Some Jon Lord inspired organ embellishments then lead into another ELP type of jazzy improvisation. This starts with organ and piano playing in breakneck counterpoint, backed by Mellotron; Rustichelli then goes on an elaborate solo using a variety of organ timbres. Bombastic organ, Mellotron and vocals bring the song to a close.

Dolce Sorella is a lovely ballad with church organ and acceptable vocals, even if these are a bit high in the mix. Actually once the drums start playing the vocals are just about right. A squelching synth line then introduces an ELP inspired melody that is to die for. Beautiful. Another verse then piano and organ duet to finish.

Track 4, Un Cane, begins with a lovely piano theme (sounds familiar... The Endless Enigma?) before drums crash in along with the vocals and a juicy synth line. This is a fairly straightforward slow-paced song, although there's some super pitch-bend synthesizer towards the end.

After a mellow organ introduction, E Svegliarsi In Un Giorno gets underway with synthesizer, drums and vocals. After a couple of verses there's some Mellotron-flute and buzzing synth, and we then get another superb ELP-type passage with organ and more synth. A military drumbeat and Mellotron slow things down momentarily, before a final verse brings the song to a close.

Cammellandia begins with a majestic piano melody; organ then takes up the melody with synth and drums playing a syncopated beat. The track then goes through an extended virtuoso section with Rustichelli finally succumbing to a bit of overkill. Mellotron-cello introduces a strange little section... I'll swear I can hear a dog howling here! This is followed by another organ and Mellotron passage, and the piece finishes with more strange sound effects.

If you ever wanted to hear what ELP might have sounded like with Mellotron then this is your chance. However Rustichelli & Bordini aren't mere ELP clones. This is one great album. I didn't actually realise just how good until I started trying to analyse the tracks for this review. All things considered, Rustichelli's voice isn't so bad after all either, with the exception of his singing on Icaro. In my opinion this is a 'must have' album for RPI fans. For everyone else I'd rate it as 4 stars.

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars Will you be overwhelmed by their skill? Or be happier with their natural faces?...I was smilin' in spite of myself!

PAOLO RUSTICHELLI and CARLO BORDINI are two well-skilled young musicians in Italy. This Opera Prima is the one and only album by them two. At that day PAOLO was only 16 years old but in this work he has an atmosphere of a great keyboardist. What a great boy! I guess most of Italian-rock freaks should tell 'bout Nativita' at first. Indeed such a heavy keyboard play can push and kick us away strongly, and the rhythm section (to tell the truth, this is PAOLO's key-bass plus CARLO's percussion.) can strictly and smoothly hit beats. But, believe me, I consider the highlight of this album is the song Icaro. Maybe everyone says why. PAOLO's loud and gaudy (sorry!) voice has real human nature. His vocal is not so nice but absolutely appropriate for their this work. I love his unrefined voice, and this might have really Italian flavour. Furthermore, the attractive point of this album is easiness to listen and understand. Full of pleasant melody and sound is here, and we can feel very little Italian progressive air. The last track Cammellandia has progressive wave but this wave is not hard and eccentric. For these reasons, almost all of Italian-rock freaks can enjoy this, I suggest.

Finally, I'm sure the most attractive keypoint is that two big men would make this album WITH THEIR NATURAL FACES. That is, They could feel happy and pleasant for making and playing, not have difficult thoughts for them. Maybe it's very difficult for us to find such an album with happiness and skilled play.

At first, listen to it. You'll be happy, like me and us. :)

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a rather minimalist line-up for a band playing Italian symph. Usually, we get some wind or chord player, a duo of keyboards or some fine guitarists. Nothing as such here. What we get is a keyboard player (who incidentally also sings) and a percussionist.

This doesn't mean that the music is minimalist though. Keyboards lovers, this album is yours: there are lots of bombastic and pleasant moments which automatically remind the good old ELP, but what is ruining this effort are the dreadful vocals: a desperate rasping voice (but some other reviewers seemed to appreciate this ''feature'', so.).

I wouldn't speak about highlights on this work, just a bunch of good songs which are flowing easily, without hurting any musical sense. Church organ sounds, heavy keys and intriguing mood are the components of the closing track ''Camellandia'' (nothing to do with a potential ''Camel'' land). I particularly like the mellotron section (but this is no surprise). The good point is that this is an instrumental track.

The second best number is the opener ''Nativita''. Like ''Camellandia'', it features some fine mellotron lines and it is quite upbeat at start and varied. From frenetic to emotive: this instrumental will lead you there. Since these two songs only are almost good for half of this album, one cannot complain too much. Still it would have been inspired to play some more of these pleasant tracks during the whole of this work.

This being said, there are no weak numbers per se, but ''Icaro'' is not very consistent and I am quite irritated with the voice of Paolo Rustichelli. It ends up in some jazzy interplay between both musicians. If you are missing some fine melody, I recommend you to listen to the emotive ''Dolce Sorella'' (sweet sister). A very sweet ballad indeed.

It is a good album (at least I consider it as such), but I wouldn't go over three stars to rate it. It would have been another affair if someone like Franceso DiGiacomo (''Banco'') would have been in charge of the vocals. Under these circumstances, a song as Un Cane'' would have been a masterpiece; because the potential was there; definitely.

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Keyboard heaven.

The cover photo never fails to get a smile when I look at it. This Italian album from the classic period is pure keyboard heaven and I believe that vintage keyboards and drums are the only instruments used here.

The leadoff "Nativita" is probably my favorite track with equal parts elegance and drama. Paolo has great command of the keys and arrangements and if it's true he was only a teenager when this was made in 1973 it is all the more impressive. Carlo Bordini is a very talented drummer and the playing is splendid. Paolo is ripped for his singing voice just about everywhere I read both in print and on the net. I have to say that his gruff vocals don't bother me to the extent they apparently do others..I've heard FAR worse. "Un Cane" opens and closes nicely with the first 90 seconds and last minute being beautiful majestic solo piano. And the closer "Cammellandia" is a decent track which wraps things up well.

The sound on the Japanese CD is remastered and fabulous, bringing those old keyboard sounds to new life. I can't say this is an essential Italian title though as it is a bit one-dimensional due to the lack of other instruments. And frankly, while enjoyable, the material here is just not to the level of many of the other great Italian bands. In other words, don't start your Italian prog collection here. Recommended big time though for all lovers of keyboards = 4 stars, for everyone else this is high 2/low 3 star territory.

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 Opera Prima by RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.76 | 56 ratings

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Opera Prima
Rustichelli & Bordini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Alucard
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Paolo Rustichelli (keyboards and vocals) and Carlo Bordini ( percussion) recorded in 1973 their only record 'Opera Prima'. The duo is inspired by ELP and produces a powerful symphonic prog with great dynamics. The only weak point are the vocals of Rustichelli.

'Nativita' the instrumental opener gives the direction with heavy organ chords, synth bass in the intro, followed by a first slow theme with a nice flute synth voice and a second more aggressive theme with great drum & keyboard interplay, before a reprise of the first theme on piano ends the track.

'Icaro ' starts with a recitativo part supported by organ chords, that leads into a bluesy medium tempo groove and a first theme where Rustichelli forces too much his vocals for my taste. A rhythm change leads to an organ/bass/vocal riff followed by an ELP- like groove with jazzy organ washes and a great Emerson-style organ solo and ending with the reprise of the first theme.

'Dolce sorella' opens with a citatation of Wagner's 'Tannhäuser' opening theme on organ and builds up a beautiful main theme (a variation of the 'Tannhäuser' motif) supported by organ and vocals, and followed by a moog solo and the track ends with an Emerson trademark Fanfare.

'Un cana', a slow blues opening with a piano theme, a countermelody for a second piano, a great track if not for the overstressed blues vocals of Rustichelli.

'E svegliarsi in un giorno' starts with a synth lead, organ chords and a bluesy first theme, followed by an organ solo and great drumming by Bordini. A highly syncopated section ,again with fantastic dynamics, leads into a reprise of the first theme.

'Cammellandia ' the last track opens with a beautiful piano intro, followed by a fanfare-like organ riff (with regards to ELP) and a great development for keys and drums. After a slower section an alterrnating part of organ riffs and drum rolls. The track ends with piano and a synth lead.

A great symphonic prog record !

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