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I PENNELLI DI VERMEER

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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I Pennelli di Vermeer biography
I PENNELLI DI VERMEER are a five-piece band from Naples, Italy. They were formed in 2002 with the intent to create an extensive musical project whose key word is "contamination". Their music has been described as 'pictorial rock', which combines theatre, traditional songwriting forms, and progressive rock. The band's musical output is very distinctive and original; the lyrics are often conceived as visionary 'micro-suites', featuring satirical and metaphysical elements.

All the band members - Pasquale Sorrentino (vocals and acoustic guitar), Giovanni Santoro (bass), Raffaele Polimeno (keyboards), Pasquale Palomba (electric guitar) and Marco Sorrentino (vocals and drums) - are fond of 17th-century painting, therefore their choice to take their name from the famous Dutch painter, Jan Vermeer. In December 2003 I PENNELLI DI VERMEER released their first, self-produced CD, titled "Mod. Barocco, Fragile, Maneggiare con cura, Grazie!".

The band's curriculum boasts numerous participations in important music festivals all over Italy. In 2005, on the occasion of their participation in the MEI Fest in Faenza, they distributed "Processo immaginario.ad un nevrotico dissociato ma non del tutto", their second, self-produced EP featuring 4 previously unreleased songs, plus a bonus track with a videoclip of the song "La pipa operaia". In 2006, the band opened for FRANCO BATTIATO at the Meeting del Mare in Marina di Camerota, playing before an audience of 40.000 people. They have also been awarded a number of prestigious musical prizes, and appeared on several compilations of modern Italian rock.

In January 2007, I PENNELLI DI VERMEER released their first official EP, "Tramedannata", for the historical Neapolitan label, La Canzonetta. The EP, presented at the FNAC multimedia centre in Naples, received very positive reviews, published on national newspapers, specialized magazines and music websites. After a series of appearances at important national festivals, the band are now engaged in a promotional tour, and are working on their new LP, which is due to be published in May 2008.




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
I PENNELLI DI VERMEER combine the atmospheres of classic Italian prog with theatre, satire and modern musical trends to produce a very original, entertaining sound.

Raffaella Berry (Raff)



Discography:
Tramedannata (2007 - studio EP)

I Pennelli di Vermeer official website

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I PENNELLI DI VERMEER discography


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I PENNELLI DI VERMEER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Mod.Barocco, Fragile, Maneggiare con cura. Grazie!
2003
3.38 | 6 ratings
La primavera dei sordi
2008

I PENNELLI DI VERMEER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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I PENNELLI DI VERMEER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Processo Immaginario...
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Tramedannata
2007

I PENNELLI DI VERMEER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mod.Barocco, Fragile, Maneggiare con cura. Grazie! by PENNELLI DI VERMEER, I album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Mod.Barocco, Fragile, Maneggiare con cura. Grazie!
I Pennelli di Vermeer Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars I Pennelli di Vermeer or ''The brushes of Vermeer'', named after the work of Dutch painter of Johannes Vermeer, were formed in 2002 in Napoli by five young musicians, Pasquale Sorrentino on vocals, Raffaele Polimeno on keyboards, Marco Sorrentino on drums, Pasquale Palomba on guitar and Giovanni Santoro on bass.They self-released their debut the next year under the artistic title ''Mod. Barocco, Fragile, Maneggiare con cura, Grazie!", of course featuring a painting by Vermeer in the front cover.

Impossible to be defined, their style is a very theatrical, modern Art Rock, deriving elements almost from any possible musical source and setting up a very rich and dense musicianship, having Art Rock as the initial basis and moving on from this point through time and place.Of course the flavor is always rocking, sometimes with some quite heavy guitar moves, but the overall mood is very theatrical with breaks leading from groovy lines to melodic ans sometimes old-fashioned styles, like 60's Soul Pop, Funk or Cabaret Music, while the album contains plenty of multi-vocal arrangements.The array of keyboards help to this unique music journey of the group, including piano, organ, synthesizers and harsichord, thus starting from the sixties and ending up in recent years.The Italian taste of the vocals are another positive asset of I Pennelli di Vermeer, though hardly the band can be compared to any of the significant acts of the country.Some vintage keyboard-led instrumental plays even have a strong psychedelic vibe from the early-70's, while even fans of more Classic-oriented Prog will find something to like in here.The overall combination does not work extremely well in some tracks, but the general style has its own charm and comes as definitely personal.

If a term Theatrical Prog would be invented, I Pennelli di Vermeer should be listed as one of the candidates.Pleasant, optimistic and multi-influenced music with impressive vocal lines.Recommended.

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 La primavera dei sordi by PENNELLI DI VERMEER, I album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.38 | 6 ratings

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La primavera dei sordi
I Pennelli di Vermeer Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This band is at best original. It might need to be investigated even if the traditional ISP fan might be astonished with the result. The music proposed is varied and holds lots of influences. Even some Spanish flamenco style like during "Manifesto?" can be dicovered.

I would say that it is a pain that most of the songs are shortly formatted (ten songs for about thirty seven minutes of music). What you will discover is a definite Italian prog accent; but there are little (to none) symphonic moments available. I would say that the experience is more rock oriented. At least during the first two opening numbers.

Vocals are mostly theatrical like described in Andrea's review. Some sort of "Ange" Italian counterpart at times. But too shy of these French masters IMHHO.

There are too many pure rock songs featured on this album: "L'urlo?" or " S.K.L.ERO " for instance. the former is even mixing hard rock with pure baroque passages. Nothing really in line with ISP but interesting. Still, I am missing the complexity and fantasy of the great genre we all love and which can be felt during " Nel Giardino Di Belzeb¨". One of the two songs in excess of four minutes on this album?

Actually, I don't like this album very much. I still wonder why the band needs to sing these stupid French lyrics during the basic rock song "Luce". Pretty much dispensable as far as I am concerned. The weird "Carogna" only adds to the feel: some fine guitar work but weak vocal parts.

I can't go over two stars with my rating here. Too weak overall, no passion (or little) and close to none excitement.

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 La primavera dei sordi by PENNELLI DI VERMEER, I album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.38 | 6 ratings

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La primavera dei sordi
I Pennelli di Vermeer Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I Pennelli di Vermeer are an Italian prog band from Naples that was formed in 2003 by Pasquale Sorrentino (vocals, acoustic guitar), Giovanni Santoro (bass), Raffele Polimeno (keyboards), Pasquale Palombo (electric guitar) and Marco Sorrentino (drums, vocals). All the members of the band are fond of painting, so they decided to call their project "I Pennlli di Vermeer" (The Vermeer's Brushes) in honour to the Dutch painter Vermeer (1632-1675) and this passion can be found also in their music, a wonderful patchwork of different influences and styles ranging from symphonic rock to ska, tango, baroque, nursery rhyme... "La primavera dei sordi" (The springtime of the deaf), their first full length album was released in 2008 by the independent label La Canzonetta and features some guests appearances (among others Lino Vairetti, leader of Osanna) that contribute to enrich the sound. The result is excellent: the ten tracks were composed mixing together different colours like in painting, combining shadows and lights with sarcasm and irony. Lyrics are full of double meanings and are often sung in a very peculiar and theatrical way...

The opener "Tre cadaveri nel cassetto" (Three corpses in the drawer) is a kind of dark and witty nursery rhyme built upon a strange marching beat, while the next "Manifesto cm 70x100" is sarcastic and committed piece featuring a bizarre rhythm of ska condemning a policy made of words without actions that let rubbish cover the streets of Naples (you can watch a video of this track on PA). The mood changes on the following track "Cinque minuti... una notte" , a dreamy and "colourful" ballad...

"There is a reason behind every scream / Pain, joy, rage, a simple emotion...". "L'urlo" (The scream) is a piece inspired by an Edward Munch's famous painting and features Osanna's Lino Vairetti as a special guest: it's an interesting mix of country, hard rock and even opera compressed in less that three minutes... Then comes "Nel giardino di Belzeb¨", a kind of journey through the dark paths of love that features beautiful female vocals and a delicate melody...

"S.K.L.ERO" is more aggressive and "electro" and deals with drug addiction while "Luce" is a funny piece where different musical influences (ranging from baroque to rock, from folk to "varietÚ franšaise") are the perfect background for light words that seem to be conceived as "touches of colour". The futuristic "Incuboinuncubo" (Nightmare in a cube) is about "trash TV" while the ironic and irreverent "Carogna" features an almost operatic atmosphere and a good guitar work. The last track "Autogestione" would be a perfect soundtrack for recent protests of the Italian students and features a children choir and a funny swinging march rhythm...

On the whole "La primavera dei sordi" is a very interesting album, funny and fresh. Even if it lasts less than 40 minutes, there are no weak moments and it's really worth to check out

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 La primavera dei sordi by PENNELLI DI VERMEER, I album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.38 | 6 ratings

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La primavera dei sordi
I Pennelli di Vermeer Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars

In the second half of the Seventies I bought my first Classic Italian Progrock albums: Banco their eponymous fifth album (aka V) and the Italian version of The World Became The World by PFM, this was the start for my Italian progrock fascination. I was blown away by the mindblowing blend of great vocals, virtuosic work on guitar and keyboards and adventurous, dynamic and varied compositorial skills. In the late Eighties and early Nineties I was very pleased with the Japanese and Italian record labels that released cascades of Classic Italian progrock gems on CD, from albums by Museo Rosenbach and Corte Dei Miracoli to Panna Freda and Semiramis. It turned out that the USA progrock labels Laser's Edge and Syn-Phonic were my gateway to Prog Heaven. In that era I started to write for Dutch progrock paper SI Magazine and soon I discovered that the Italian progrock scene was still alive and proggin' when we received lots of promo CD's from bands like Il Castello Di Atlante, Abiogenesi, Nuova Era and Calliope, again I was In Prog Heaven! Early 2004 I started to write for Prog Archives, one of the first things I did was writing about all those old and new Italian progrock bands and adding Classic Italian Progrock like Rustichelli & Bordini and Cherry Five. Unfortunately the following years it was a bit poor and I started to focus on the very prolific progrock scene in Latin- America (from Nexus to William Gray). But since last year I have hope with new Italian progrock bands like Moongarden, Hostsonaten, Ainur, Il Baccio Della Medusa and .... I Pennelli Di Vermeer, what a stunning debut CD!

I Pennelli Di Vermeer (the name is derived from our famous painter Johannes Vermeer) is rooted in 2002, in 2007 they released the mine-CD Tramedannata and one year later the debut CD entitled La Primavera Dei sordi. During my first listening session I was blown away, what a varied and unique prog this is with an important role for the vocals, from an opera-like female voice to theatrical vocal harmonies or even a small children choir. The variety in the 10 compositions is great: a tango-like rhythm in the first track Tre cadaveri nel cassetto, "Madness meets The Shadows" in the cheerful Manifesto 70 x 100, wonderful interplay between violin and Grand piano in Cinque minuti...una notte, a Hawkwind-like atmosphere with a hypnotizing beat and synthesizer beeps and bleeps in S.K.L.ero, vintage keyboards (Farfisa - and Hammond organ and flute-Mellotron) and a wide range of singers in Luce and a synthesizer sound in the vein of The Stranglers (late Eighties-era) and a spectacular synthesizer solo in Incuboinuncubo. My highlights are the two most 'traditional progrock efforts': an intro with warm vocals and twanging acoustic guitar, then a slow rhythm featuring wonderful work on violin with soaring organ and excellent male and female vocals in Nel giardino di belzebu' and sumptuous church organ and howling guitar in the alternating Carogna.

If you are up to an adventurous progrock journey (this music will not be everybody's cup of tea), check out this genuine progrock effort by a very unique new Italian band, what a thrill that 30 years after the Classic Italian Prog-era, a new Italian band succeeds to present such an unique, daring and adventurous prog, a big hand for I Penneli Di Vemeer!

Thanks to my Dutch PA friend Angelo for his recommendation.



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 Tramedannata by PENNELLI DI VERMEER, I album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Tramedannata
I Pennelli di Vermeer Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

— First review of this album —
4 stars Ladies and gentlemen, the progressive ska theater is coming to a theater near you!

Recorded in 2006, released in 2007 this EP is a landmark in the modern Italian prog scene - at least from where I'm standing. Everything has been done before in prog? I don't think so, and Pennelli di Vermeer agree with me. You can mix rock with classical music, and Rush for example included some reggae influences in their music around 1980, so why not put in a bit of ska, opera and theater influences?

The Pennelli members guide us through their musical world on this EP, starting with the opening track Sulla mia Scriviania. This is a short track, opening with the kind of singing you would expect in a theater/musical performance. The electronic bass that follows would in other cases make me turn of the music, but here it develops into a ska like rhythm that catches you, without becoming as poppy as 80s ska-devils Madness. After this, Onde is a more rocky track, with a more explicit role for the guitar, but also a clavinet like keyboard sound. Again, the vocals are almost musical like, interleaved with great instrumental trips. The end of the track is an operetta like 'lalalala' chorus, demonstrating the vocal range of the bands vocalist(s) Pasquale and Marco Sorrentino. La pipa operaia again opens as a clean rock track, but quickly changes to a bass and keys driven tango, accompanying once again well done theatrical vocals. Surprisingly, the instrumental mid section of this almost four minute track comes close to the level of bombast of ELP. AldiladelladilÓ with it's disco/dance like intro, is easily the most eclectic among the five tracks. After the intro it quickly slows down into an acoustic guitar and piano piece on top of which the vocals put a layer of complaint. The first verse is followed by a nice instrumental break that combines hints of old Genesis with bluesy guitar riffs and then gives way again to an symphonic second verse, develops into an Arabic like instrumental tune, followed by a Cossack chorus and then travelling back to the Arab world. After this, we are guided to the halls of la Princesa - where the chamber master opens with a megaphone effect vocal. The tune develops into a keyboard driven, almost fully electronic track, with a grrovy background rhythm driven by bass and drums - and it ends with a nice, short guitar solo.

The video track La pipa operaia included on the CD confirms the tango influences in this song - a couple of tango dancers lead the way, accompanied by the band, an old man singing and a crowd dancing to the bombastic mid section.

All in all, a quite different experience from what I've heard in the past year, and definitely a band with it's own unique, eclectic sound. To be checked out and enjoyed with an open mind.

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Thanks to Raff for the artist addition.

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