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MOONGARDEN

Symphonic Prog • Italy


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Moongarden biography
Italian Symphonic band, MOONGARDEN was founded in the early '90s by Cristiano Roversi and David Cremoni. They had written enough material for a demo and added drummer Adolfo Bonati to the group. For this initial recording three guest musicians were recruited, including future full time member Simone Baldini Tosi. The demo released by Mellow records in 1994 as their first album, "Moonsadness." With a different lineup Christiano and David contributed Mellow Records' "The River of Constant Change" Genesis tribute album. Then they got to work on the next project. With drummer Massimiliano Sorrentini, guitarist Dimitri Sardini and vocalist Ricki Tonco joining the group, the band considers "Brainstorm of Emptiness" the actual first album. At this time an Osanna cover track was also recorded for a '70s Italian Prog tribute album.

Due to personal issues MOONGARDEN went inactive for over four years. The bug bit Christiano again and he got to work on new material, which would comprise the 2001 album, "The Gates of Omega." Dmitri did not return, Luca Palleschi joined as the new vocalist and Luca Dell'Anna was added on keyboards. The new album was welcomed positively by critics and launched a series of successful live shows. 2003's "Roundmidnight saw the band with a new label and another shift in lineup. Luca Dell'Anna was gone so Christiano had to cover keyboard duties again, which prompted the addition of Mirko Tagliasacchi on bass. In 2005 Max Sorrentini and Luca Palleschi called it quits. For the 2008 release, "Songs from the Lighthouse," Maurizio di Tollo joined on drums and original vocalist Simone Baldini Tosi returned to the fold. For the first time there was no shuffling as all the same members appeared on "A Vulgar Display of Prog" in 2009.

It seems as long as Christiano and David want to work together there will be a MOONGARDEN. It is a symphonic band that happens to be IItalian so should not be considered in the ranks of RPI. The influences stem more from Camel, Genesis and Pink Floyd than PFM or Banco. MOONGARDEN should be of interest to anyone exploring Symphonic prog.

H.T. Riekels

Moongarden official website

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Buy MOONGARDEN Music


Songs from the LighthouseSongs from the Lighthouse
PROGROCK 2001
Audio CD$10.47
$3.27 (used)
Brainstorm of EmptynessBrainstorm of Emptyness
Import
Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$18.99
$20.00 (used)
Gates of OmegaGates of Omega
Import
PID 2010
Audio CD$78.98
$78.98 (used)
A Vulgar Display Of ProgA Vulgar Display Of Prog
Distilleria Music Factory
Audio CD$21.99
$30.95 (used)
Round MidnightRound Midnight
Distilleria Music Factory
Audio CD$23.75
MoonsadnessMoonsadness
Import
Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$21.99
$22.88 (used)

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MOONGARDEN discography


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

2.72 | 27 ratings
Moonsadness
1994
3.16 | 38 ratings
Brainstorm Of Emptyness
1995
3.15 | 45 ratings
The Gates of Omega
2001
3.65 | 62 ratings
RoundMidnight
2003
3.55 | 70 ratings
Songs From The Lighthouse
2008
3.71 | 81 ratings
A Vulgar Display of Prog
2009

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

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

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

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

MOONGARDEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Songs From The Lighthouse by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.55 | 70 ratings

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Songs From The Lighthouse
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by mbzr48

5 stars It has been nearly four years since Round Midnight, the last Moongarden album was released and, true to form the band have undergone a couple of changes since then. From the last album only principal composer, keyboardist and Chapman stick player Cristiano Roversi as well as bassist Mirko Tagliasacchi remain. Original vocalist from the 1990s Simone Baldini Tosi returns while the drum stool is now occupied by Maurizio Di Tollo. The biggest change though is the departure of long-time guitarist David Cremoni who has been replaced by Marco Tafelli. A recent deal between Galileo Records and ProgRock Records sees the album gaining greater international distribution which should help increase exposure for this Italian band.

Roversi has spent the time since the last album well, composing sufficient music to practically fill the new CD; at over 70 minutes this is a long album and, naturally, contains several long songs. The range of music is quite diverse, starting with a quite heavy progressive number, My Darkside, that makes good use of a variety of keyboards and displays how well the new guitarist and vocalist have slotted into the band. It's You starts as a rather nondescript ballad which unfortunately shows the weakness of Baldini Tosi as a torch singer, although things do improve when the guitars come crashing in, although the song doesn't really go anywhere and suffers from over repetition, a tighter arrangement knocking off a couple of minutes and ending the song with the final guitar solo would have improved things a lot. First of the songs that exceeds the 10 minute barrier is Solaris which has a very Eastern feel in both the guitar and vocal melody. Inspired by the work of director Andrew Tarkovsky the song is cinematic in scope, with an excellent variety in sound and a very impressive guitar solo that has a David Gilmore feel to it. In contrast Emotionaut starts with some 'scratching' and a more funky beat; the overall song reminds me somewhat of Jesus Jones from the 1990s who really pioneered the mixing of rock and dance music. An okay song, but not one that really inspires.

That Child features special guest vocalist Andy Tillison from The Tangent on vocals. And a good match it is too, as the song could reasonably be an out-take from one of Tillison's own works. The guitar and mellotron section is particularly inspiring. The piano, synth and violin (played by guitarist Tafelli) piece Flesh provides a nice instrumental interlude and introduction to Dreamlord, a calm piece with a great hypnotic bass line that one expects to suddenly burst forth but manages to maintain the restraint until almost the 10th minute when guitars and keyboards provide a nice counterpoint and ending to the song. Indian sounding percussion introduces Southampton Railroad and maintains the beat throughout. Some good harmony singing ensues although again there is probably rather too much repetition. Sonya In Search Of The Moon [part 5] (no idea what happened to the other four parts!) is an instrumental number with a great tune and nice use of string synths. Title track The Lighthouse Song rounds things off nicely in a more relaxed mood.

The forth album by Moongarden displays some moments of delight and overall is quite an impressive release. The artwork by Ed Unitsky is just as impressive. Worth investigating if you have enjoyed any of the previous releases. For me another 5 star for Moongarden, I'm on a roll today! I love it!

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 A Vulgar Display of Prog by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.71 | 81 ratings

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A Vulgar Display of Prog
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by mbzr48

5 stars The Italian band Moongarden has turned into a very interesting prog rock band since their debut album Moonsadness in 1994. However, this new album is only their sixth studio-album in fifteen years. On their previous effort Songs From The Lighthouse (2008), we enjoyed a varied prog rock sound embellished with instruments as the grand piano, cello and tablas. The album contained strong and very distinctive vocals and majestic mellotron layers, so I was very curious how Moongarden's new album would sound a year later.

On A Vulgar Display Of Prog, Moongarden invites us again for an interesting and captivating musical journey. These guys play progressive rock in the true sense of the word! Sometimes we hear bombastic seventies symphonic rock in the vein of Genesis 1976-77 with lush mellotron and a powerful guitar sound, but also mellow atmospheres with dreamy vocals and ambient keyboards like in Demetrio And Magdalen. On other tracks we can enjoy an eighties Queen-like synthesizer sound in MDMA or a heavy guitar wall with rap-like vocals in Compression. What a stunning variety!

I'm delighted about the interplay between the guitars and keyboards. In Aesthetic Surgery, you can enjoy a howling guitar with mellotron choirs. Wordz & Badge delivers an exciting duel between aggressive guitar riffs and again mellotron choirs just like in Demetrio And Magdalen. Sometimes Moongarden sounds mellow and warm with strong emotions like in Aesthetic Surgery with tender piano and melancholic vocals ('I am an artist, not God'). Those emotional and expressive vocals form an important part of Moongarden's distinctive sound. Simone Baldini Tosi has a rather unique voice in the current prog rock with a lot of emotion and expression! This kind of music is not always my cup of tea, but I'm impressed anyway. Fifteen years after their debut album Moongarden were still alive and proging! When is the next album? for me a 4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars, I like it!

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 The Gates of Omega  by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.15 | 45 ratings

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The Gates of Omega
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by mbzr48

4 stars How can mere mortals make such beautiful music! If you've heard Moongarden's previous two albums and liked what you've heard, then do yourself a favor and have a listen to "The Gates of Omega". I admit I was skeptical when I found out that Riccardo Tonco (who sounds just like David Sylvian and has a beautiful voice) was no longer on vocals. Yet I was pleasantly surprised by their new vocalist Luca Palleschi, who does a superb job. To be honest, the lyrics are very sparse, leaving plenty of room for sounds that are out of this world. This music is simply magical: dreamy, atmospheric yet so tight it rips you apart at every turn. The musical phrases and movements are hypnotic and the production impeccable: even through a pair of mere headphones you can actually feel the bass through your body (never thought this possible!) This is Italian prog at its best. For me a 4 stars

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 The Gates of Omega  by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.15 | 45 ratings

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The Gates of Omega
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by bertolino

3 stars It seems i will be the fist to have a word on the actual version. Indeed,it has to be added about the new remastered and more concised 2010 1cd edition of what i think is a very good neo prog album. Now i've never heard the original version but whatever has been cut down gives as a result a moody but still powerfull cd.

For one ,the piece The Gates of Omega as suffered (?) a ten minutes cut and, at still seventeen minutes, it keeps a soft moody progression which will not overstay its welcome by too much. Home sweet home, now the fifth song of this single cd should stay pretty much the same at approx. the same time of sixteen or so minutes. And the same applies to Stars and Tears,the third epic of this well packed album, now the conclusion of the record. Untouched is the loveable overture, Forever chained, and the softer still 5 Years, giving you a one/two "feather punch" of prog ballads for which i'm a sucker i suppose.

In fact this is a kind of album i'd listen in a row, when in the mood, with the polish group Quidam mark II version, period "Together we're alone". As long as you share with me some appreciation for the same kind of moody prog indebted to Genesis circa 76/78 but sung in place by Ray Wilson and thus Marillion: or if you like the overall work of Cristiano Roversi, you could do worst than put an ear on this one. Three stars and a half for this reworked version.

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 The Gates of Omega  by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.15 | 45 ratings

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The Gates of Omega
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by Kiwi1

4 stars This is a magnificent album. What I find particularly admirable about the music is how Moongarden achieve a high level of compositional sophistication without allowing its complexity to become too conspicuous. Often, Progressive Rock strives too hard in its desire to employ unusual time-signatures and inventive harmonies such that the resulting music sounds awkward and contrived. It is, however, easy to overlook this album's sophistication even though it abounds in these musical attributes. What might sound like a straightforward harmonic riff involving a few repeated chords is often a carefully evolving structure which slowly builds to achieve an emotional intensity that is so often missing in Progressive Rock. Moongarden albums are often categorised a 'Neo-Prog' but the compositional sophistication here suggests that the label is unfair. The music also includes all the distinctive characteristics which render it clearly a Moongarden production ? the interplay between the guitarist and keyboardist, without involving flashy displays of instrumental virtuosity, is...well, always tasteful and somehow 'correct'. As with their previous albums, the music is overwhelmingly sad (what, I wonder, as I listen to it, happened to the band's members to make them capable of such melancholy). But such sadness is usually expressed in a way that is exquisitely beautiful and sometimes quite moving. If I have any quibbles, and they are only minor, it is that sometimes the layering of keyboards and studio 'effects' renders the music a little too mushy making me hope for some intervening sharpness to offset the prevailing mellowness and some of the tracks do seem to overstay their welcome and seem strangely reluctant to finish. But, overall, as I said at the beginning of this short review, this is a magnificent album.

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 Brainstorm Of Emptyness  by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.16 | 38 ratings

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Brainstorm Of Emptyness
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by Kiwi1

4 stars 'Brainstorm of Emptiness', the 2nd release by Moongarden ,is a fine supplement to Progressive Rock's noble corpus of unfathomable yet somehow compelling concept albums. I cannot confidently describe the content of this particular 'concept' given that the apparently broken narrative is developed by different characters all voiced by the same singer in an occasionally incomprehensible and 'accented' style. My particular interpretation ? no doubt wrong ? is that it concerns the cyclical unfolding of abandonment, withdrawal, childhood mental disturbance, loneliness and other 'cheery' themes in which a boy's (Fritz?) memories of his father leaving and his subsequent drift into crime and institutionalisation becomes all the more poignant now that he is contemplating leaving his own child (Sonya) who in turn associates her father with the coming and going of the moon and the realisation that she must also depart those she loves....yes, the narrative is that complex and I haven't even mentioned another character, a 'witch' called Sherylyn, whose role in the plot I cannot determine. Whatever the 'correct' interpretation ? if, indeed, there is one ? it is certain that the 'story' is one of exquisite sadness, something that the music masterfully captures. This and their previous release (the aptly named 'Moonsadness') demonstrate the band's talent for evoking a melancholy mood the beauty of which becomes particularly heart-wrenching during the guitarists understated but highly effective solos. The influence of the usual 'Classic' Progressive bands, especially Genesis and Pink Floyd, is evident throughout the album although the music always retains its own distinct identity.(But isn't there a moment during the second track that is almost a complete sample lifted straight from Pink Floyd's 'Great Gig in the Sky'?) Particularly impressive is the intelligent employment of 'tone-colours' to evoke, for example, the wash of the sea or the tumult of city life. Similarly, the clever use of syncopation and unconventional time signatures effectively 'paint' the disorientation and emotional turmoil that the various characters of the narrative are obviously experiencing. Hence, 'Brainstorm of Emptiness' , without ever achieving 'greatness' is a very good piece of Progressive Rock that is well worth an attentive listen.....just keep a bottle of anti-depressants handy if you do.

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 Moonsadness by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.72 | 27 ratings

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Moonsadness
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by Kiwi1

3 stars Conspicuous are the weaknesses of 'Moonsadness',. Several previous reviews note the vocal affectations of the singer which are often truly comical. His entry into a track is usually reminiscent of a friendly cow mooing for its morning corn and his delivery of the words is so tortuous as to make them incomprehensible. Given, however, that the album was initially only a demo recording some of its other faults (the rather rather flat production values for example) are, perhaps, more understandable although the off ?key flute playing near the beginning of the opening track is something unforgivable under any circumstances. The music is clearly that of a band still searching to establish its 'Progressive' credentials. Some passages, especially in the final track, offer a rather laboured attempt at Crimsonesque complexity. And the 'neo-progressive' endeavour of the album to marry a Progressive Rock aesthetic with aspects of 1980's 'pop' (always a tricky ambition given that one was surely the antithesis of the other) is ultimately a failure. Nevertheless, despite these faults, as a 'demo' the album does fulfil its purpose by 'demonstrating' the band's ambitions, abilities and potential. The musicianship, without ever becoming spectacular, is certainly competent and capable of occasional beauty. Especially notable is the combination, of some lyrical guitar solo work against a luscious harmonic keyboard cushion ? particularly at the end of the opening track and throughout 'Seagulls' ? which achieves a melancholic beauty resonant with the album's title. After listening to this album a few times I have, therefore, become confident that later albums by Moongarden (I am, at the time of writing this review, unfamiliar with any) are able to achieve a much greater polish and will rectify the problems that are so evident here. Even the singer has a considerable vocal range and a warm tone which is only spoilt by his excessive and injudicious theatricality. Moongarden , then, offers a decent but flawed listening experience probably worthy of some 'alternative' downloading but certainly not a purchase.

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 Songs From The Lighthouse by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.55 | 70 ratings

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Songs From The Lighthouse
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars With their fifth album from 2008 named Songs from the lighthouse, Moongarden take a diffrent direction, musicaly. Gone is Tonko and his great deep voice and aswell his poetical lyrics and here we have what I might very easy call modern prog, both musicaly and lyricaly, not very far from Porcupine Tree. Here are only 2 pieces that reminds me they are a symphonic/neo prog band - Opening track My darkside, an very ok piece with great keyboards and part 5 from what was in the past on Brainstorm - Sonya in search of the Moon, the rest is almost average at best, sounding very dull unmemorable tunes with almost the same arrangements. I was disappointed for sure after I heared this album, I was expecting better then this, maybe because I've like si much Brainstorm I would might like this one too, not realy beside the excellent cover art and inside booklet, the music is modern almost mainstream in aproach with very little instrumental passages, and not any passages prog rock is missing here most of the time. Is like I'm listning to PT or any othe band related to prog, realy , just listent to It's you , a realy boring and a total disater track or Emotiounaut another skip piece for me. The voice of the new singer Simone Baldini Tosi is ok, not fantastic not bad, quite sual, the problem is not him and his voice is the compositions, that sounds dul with cheesy lyrics, check out the booklet for that. The title track or Dream lord are 2 lenghty piece that saves this album to be a 2 star, 2.5 rounded to 3 this time, mainly for the pieces mentioned above as good and a honoray mentioning for the cover art and booklet. Not recommend one of the unpleasent Moongarden albums, if noot totaly unenjoyble, but far realy far from the greatness of Brainstorm in any aspect.

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 Brainstorm Of Emptyness  by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.16 | 38 ratings

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Brainstorm Of Emptyness
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Moongarden is one of the second waves of progressive rock bands from Italy, formed in early '90's conducted by keybordist Cristiano Roversi, easely can afirm that Moongarden is Cristiano Roversi, he is the main composer of almost all pieces that gives Moongarden attention. Besides Moongarden he is member in another fine progressive bands also from Italy, Mangala Valis or Submarine Silence. So, waht we have here, is the second album of this neo/symphonic rock band from 1995 named Brainstorm of emptyness issued as famus already Mellow records. I was little shocked to see how low reated this album is, realy what is so bad here I can't understand or find, to me was a pleasent album all the way with monor flaws here and there. First, I think Ricardo Tonko the vocalist coming from Theatre, another great italian prog band who released one album in 1993 named No More Rhymes But Mr. Brainstorm, is the best vocalist Moongarden ever had, realy, his voice is deep, almost gothic in places, with excellent variations of his tone, realy great voice and above all fits perfectly in album's atmosphere. Second, the music from here is almost excellent, from nep prog movements to a more symphonic side Moongarden did a great job for sure, I can't complain about almost anything, almost - only maybe for Is He Mommy's Little Monster?a Rachmaninov piece coverd and re arranged by Roversi, I think totaly useless, musicaly to me, but goes pretty ok in the dark atmosphere of the album. Pieces like Sea Memories or Gun child proves that Tonko is a great vocalist, but aswell the music is quite complex and more elastic then on usual neo prog band, the arrangements has pleanty of great keybords, great guitar that goes somewhere between Hackett in places and Floyd or Iq. I realy like this album. not something of a masterpiece , but a very under rated, unfairly album from Moongarden catalogue I might say. 3.5 rounded to 4 this time. I thik one of their fines moments.

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 A Vulgar Display of Prog by MOONGARDEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.71 | 81 ratings

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A Vulgar Display of Prog
Moongarden Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

2 stars Italian band Moongarden was born in the early 90's and A Vulgar Display Of Prog (2009) is so far their most recent record. Everything in this package made me not think about Prog Rock and I get it and I was almost right...

The album starts with 'Boramire' and you can notice that the band is trying to be modern. Prog is there but at the same time something in not 'quite right'. Maybe blame the heavy David Cremoni guitars. Glues on the first track comes 'Aesthetic Swegery' and once again the electronic bits made me cringe.

'Mama' and 'After The Madman' continues bringing us lots of electronics. This will be only changed in 'Wordz And Badge' that is heavier, including the bass. Here the band tries to mix Nu Metal (?!?) with Prog Rock. To save a bit of the album we have 'Demetrio And Magdalen'. Good melodies and acoustic guitars. Good track. 'Enter The Modern Hero' sees the band modern again.

The closing track 'Compresion' is the longest (around 17 minutes) and tried to evoke Prog back, but it's too late. Especially at the 13 minutes mark when we have some rap (?!?) parts.

Moongarden was trying to change? Reach new audience? Fail! I've seen that in another flop: Quidam's Saiko. Both mediocre albums.

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