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ALEX CARPANI BAND

Symphonic Prog • Italy


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Alex Carpani Band biography
Some bands start by accident, but in this case it was literally an accident which caused the formation of THE ALEX CARPANI BAND. The Italian keyboardist and composer Alex Carpani suffered an ankle fracture and during the three weeks on rest he composed, arranged, performed and recorded all the parts of his debut conceptual album called "Waterline".

His first intention was to make it an instrumental but he sent the demo to the legendary Aldo Tagliapetra from the Italian band LE ORME to take the lead vocals who accepted the challenge.

During the next years under the production of Cypher Arts, Paul Whitehead (known for his Genesis, VDGG and Le Orme artworks) created the cover art for the album for this project and after a couple of years of hard work, the album is released in the year 2007.

Before the album being issued Alex Carpani formed in late 2006 the official lineup of his band for the live performance of "Waterline", including some top musicians of the Italian new Prog scene: Alex on keyboards and vocals, Ettori Salati (Former The Watch) on guitars an bass pedal; Marco Fabbri (The Watch - Odessa - Eclat) on drums and Fabiano Spiga (bass, acoustic guitar & vocals), with the collaboration of several well known musicians.

The sound of the band is clearly influenced by Italian Symphonic pioneers in addition to a strong GENESIS feeling, with a massive mellotron use "a la Banks" and some ELP touches.

The band has made an extended and brilliant tour called "Waterline Live" in which they not only play Alex's songs, but some Genesis and even ELP covers.

The Alex Carpani Band also recorded in studio in late 2007 "Surviving The Assault", a composition written by Alex Carpani which will be included in Cypher Arts' upcoming compilation "Pirate Tales". The band started its live activity in 2007 appearing in two International festivals: at Verona Prog Festival (opnening Osanna's concert) and at Baltic Prog Festival, in Lithuania, opening Arena's concert.

In 2008 it appeared at Baja Prog Festival in Mexicali (Mexico), as well as in several venues in Los Angeles (U.S.A.) and Copenhagen (Denmark). Several concerts have been made in Italy too, such as the one at Stazione Birra in Rome, the best rock club of the eternal city (Tony Levin, Steve Hackett, David Cross, Carl Palmer, The Watch and others played there).

Great release for Classical and Italian Symphonic fans, and hope not the last one. read more

Alex Carpani Band official website

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ALEX CARPANI BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 35 ratings
Waterline
2007
4.00 | 36 ratings
The Sanctuary
2010
3.68 | 26 ratings
4 Destinies
2014

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ALEX CARPANI BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 4 Destinies by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 26 ratings

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4 Destinies
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Four Destinies is the third studio album by Alex Carpani and it confirms all the good qualities of its predecessors, Waterline (2007) and The Sanctuary (2010). It was recorded with a line up featuring Alex Carpani (piano, Hammond, Mellotron, Moog, vocals), David Jackson (sax, flute), Ettore Salati (electric and acoustic guitar, bouzouki, balalaika), Giambattista Giorgi (bass), Alessandro Di Caprio (drums) and Joe Sal (vocals) and produced by Cristiano Roversi who engineered, mixed and mastered all the pieces. The album was finally released in 2014 on the independent Festival Music label with a nice packaging and an art cover reproducing a statue by Michelangelo Pistoletto, The Etruscan, from the Forth Worth Museum collection. According to the liner notes, this is a concept album based on four eventual destinies that a man can find on the path of his life: four destinies that irradiate, moving from the same point, in four different directions of life. To be honest, the concept is not very clear: the lyrics alternate parts in English and in Italian and do not try to tell a story but rather conjure up images adding more colours to the four musical tableaux on the album, the rest is up to your imagination! Four destinies, four long tracks with many changes in rhythm and mood, very rich in ideas and musical colours well performed by an excellent team of musicians...

The beautiful opener, "The Silk Road", takes you on a long journey through valleys and deserts, following the ancient tracks of merchants and adventurers such as Marco Polo. It's a road that marks the destiny of many different people in a melting-pot of races, colours, smells and sounds... A road that crosses the borders between science and faith, where you can hear secret stories whispered by silent shadows under the moonlight...

"Time Spiral" takes you on the mountains where you can sit on the banks of a brook and bathe in the icy waters of the springs of Time. There you can get lost in the mystery of life, you can feel the weight of your days passing by like dust and sand carried away by the current... But a threatening storm is approaching and the rage of the wind will soon blow away everything around you in the crazy spiral of a deadly fate...

"Sky And Sea" begins softly and features some dark passages that recall Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator. The music and lyrics take you on a boat sailing across raging waters under a thundering storm in a dark night... You've got to gather all your energies and fight hard for your life against the fury of the elements. At last the storm calms down, you see a lighthouse and you can breathe the smells of a seaport, you can reach a safe harbour. Now the danger is gone but sometimes tears take a long time to dry...

"The Infinite Room" takes you on a sleepwalk through an enchanted world, as in a H.P. Lovecraft story... Your body is out of control while you're strolling through the streets of a fantastic, unreal city. At dawn the dream melts and you wake up confused by feelings, thoughts and visions that are driving you insane. You can hear a strange music that's shaking your soul... "The sound of weird lyric melody was what aroused me. Chords, vibrations, and harmonic ecstasies echoed passionately on every hand; while on my ravished sight burst the stupendous spectacle of ultimate beauty..." (H.P. Lovecraft, from Beyond the Wall of Sleep).

On the whole, I think that this is a very good album: if you like bands such as Genesis or Van der Graaf Generator and Italian progressive rock, have a try! I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

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 4 Destinies by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 26 ratings

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4 Destinies
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars This one has taken me a long time to really get a grip on. At first its jazziness captivated me. But then the more I listened to it I was hearing the GENESISness of it--and the PETER GABRIEL-like voice and vocal stylings. Then, more and more the imitativeness of GENESIS and other early prog masters like VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR came forward. Now I don't know how well I like this one.

1. "Silk Road" (12:58) is very much like a heavier THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE song made to excel by its constant morphing into a wide, wide variety of styles and tempos: awesome Italian singing parts, classical and jazzy piano parts, chunky bass, bouncy organ play, breathy flute soli, Gabriel-era Genesis background vocals, 70s era synths, 70s-sounding drums, and many tasteful solos. The continuous shape-shifting, however, does take its toll: It detracts from allowing this song to form an identity of its own; in the end I am left with the impression that this song was made to be a show piece (of the artist's skills). (8/10)

2. "Time Spiral" (13:22) opens like an old GENESIS song--one that was left off of Selling England by the Pound. It then settles into Neo territory--very imitative with plenty of melody but really with nothing new or innovative. But then the third minute seems to shake the mold with some more modern--no. (Fourth minute) Just my imagination. It's Neo. Pleasant enough stuff. KNIGHT AREA comes to mind. Unlike the album's first song, this one seems to want to plod along at the same pace, with a very predictable form and structure. The blatant GENESIS rip off beginning at 8:21 a bit is disappointing. Luckily it is soon followed by a jazzier KC/VDGG-like section. A Steve Hackett solo tries to fit in at the ten minute mark. ERIS PLUVIS anyone? Nice work. Again the singing in Italian may be the song's saving point. (8/10)

3. "Sky and Sea" (13:53) opens with a delicate weave of GENESIS-like instruments including 12-string guitars and clarinet. The Gabriel-era GENESIS vocal that joins in completes the song's obvious GENESIS reference. The B Sections move, again, into more VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR territory, until at 2:45 an amorphous bridge moves back into GENESIS territory with mellotrons and organ. The vocalist's likeness to Genesis-era Peter Gabriel is truly extraordinary. I guess the presence of Genesis-imitator THE WATCH's guitarist and VDGG's David Jackson throughout this album could also have something to do with its Genesis and VDGG sounds. The soft almost-spoken vocal part in the eleventh and twelfth minutes sound much like Fish-era MARILLION. This is probably my favorite song on the album--if you can get past its obvious roots and influences. (9/10)

4. "The Infinite Room" (14:17) opens with some untempoed piano and saxes--very VDGG- like. As the soundtrack feel builds a tempo seems to solidify until at the two minute mark drums and guitars take over to provide a foundation for a Richard Wright-like echoed synth solo. Mid-tempo Rock tempo is established for the vocal (again very Genesis-era Peter Gabriel-esque). At 3:55 a very COLLAGE Moonshine-like section begins, but it eventually morphs back into the vocal part--which turns from English to Italian at the end of the sixth minute. Dracula is mentioned just before the Richard Wright synths are let loose again. Grand piano takes over with the advent of the seventh minute before a more RPI familiar section takes over. Solos from multiple instruments are being traded until TONY BANKS' Arp synth (think "Colony of Slippermen") takes over. Grand piano then supports a Broadway-like vocal before David Jackson's sax supplants Steve Hackett for the solo on a section taken straight out of "Fly on a Windshield"--which then morphs back into "The Colony of Slippermen." I guess the Infinite Room may be just next to The Waiting Room! The song is pleasant listening--especially if you can get past the familiarity of so many sections--especially some lifted straight out of other classic 70s prog. (8/10)

It is very difficult for me to come up with a rating for this album. I don't do well with Neo-prog in general as the sounds, structures and formats are often too overwhelmingly lifted from favorite or familiar songs from my already prog rich and prog happy past. This is well done. It is well composed and well performed. It is pleasant to listen to. It isn't bad. I guess I'd recommend it to others so that you can make your own opinions. It is in my opinion more pleasant to listen to than most Neo-Prog--for me, moreso than Marillion or IQ--and certainly mores than The Watch or Citizen Cain. But "excellent addition to any prog rock music collection"?? Hmmm . . . I think I'll let you decide.

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 4 Destinies by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 26 ratings

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4 Destinies
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars It appears that fate has had quite a part to play in Carpani's career, as being in the same class as Aaron Emerson, and having the opportunity to meet his father Keith at the tender age of 7 started his interest in progressive rock and keyboards from a young age. Later, when recovering from an accident he took the opportunity to compose and record what ended up being his debut album, 'Waterline', which was released in 2006. Since that time he has formed a full band and has toured much of the world (although not this area I note). The second album followed in 2010, and now he is back with the third. This album features all of the Alex Carpani Band with Alex providing all keyboards and lead vocals, Ettore Salati on guitars, GB Giorgi on bass, Alessandro Di Caprio on drums and Joe Sal on additional vocals. In addition, David Jackson (VDGG) adds various saxophones and flutes as special guest, while it has been produced by Cristiano Roversi (Moongarden, John Wetton Band, Submarine Silence, CCLR).

4 Destinies is a progressive rock concept based on four eventual destinies that a man can find on the path of his life. Alex states that there are four destinies that irradiate, moving from the same point, in four different directions of life... and needless to say this is depicted in four songs, all of which are thirteen minutes or more in length. If one was asked what country Alex hails from, I think that many progheads would fathom a guess at Italy as although his style may be more symphonic at times, then there is no doubt that the Italian scene has had a major impact on his music. The use of Jackson is really interesting, as although there are times when he is very much in step with the rest of the music there are also times, such as on "Sky and Sea", where there are passages where he is producing a melody that is almost as odds with the rest of the band. There is a fine line here between creating chaos and providing emphasis and he just stays on the right side of the line but it is a close call at times. From ballads to more powerful numbers, this is an album that is quite atmospheric, and while never getting to the same dizzy heights as Goblin also have nods in the same direction.

There are times when the contrast between the instruments, and the arrangements being deployed, makes on think that here is something that is going to veer off into avant-garde jazz territory, but it always comes back safely to the prog side. Overall this is an intriguing and interesting album, while never being truly essential, but worth hearing all the same. www.alexcarpani.com

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 The Sanctuary by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 36 ratings

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The Sanctuary
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Alex Carpani is one of the lesser known keybordist from Italy in last years with quite long career untill now being parts of many projects, but somehowe he only mange to atrcat attention with his 2 solo albums released untill now, the third one is in making as his official site says and will be released somewhere in the next month. His second album from 2010 named The sanctuary is quite a solid album in symphonic prog realm. He gathered around him some well known and skilled musicians here coming from quite known bands like The Watch, from here is the guitarist Ettore Salati being member aswell in The Redzen and now in Soulengine. The music is very chalenging and well played with clear direction to the '70 greats in this filed and I mean Genesis or some ELP influences here and there. I like aswell that Carpani concentrated on writting and compositions mostly and not only on skills, each pieces has a vintage feel and is very intresting. The keyboards are very variate and bring some good moments. Alternating instrumental pieces with vocal ones, Carpani voice is not particulary strong but is very warm and fiting ok in this context. This is not at all a copy/paste music from the old school, he was only influenced by that period and aswell he infuses his own ideas, the result is more then ok, even great. Nice keyboard driven passages, where each musician shine, make from this album a real solid one in every aspect. Symphonic arrangements with nice inventive melodic lines, only a pleasure to listen, the opening track Burning Braziers for instance is a good example. So, all in all this is a memorable album that any serious fan of the genre must have or listen at least once, worth evrey second, not to mention that the package is very well presented. Digipak with a great very evocative cover art made by famous Paul Whitehead. 4 stars easy and recommended, is really sad that this album gone under the radar in that period, for sure desearves a far better recognition.

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 The Sanctuary by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 36 ratings

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The Sanctuary
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Sanctuary' - Alex Carpani (8/10)

It was only over the last six months or so that I began to finally warm up to the world of modern 'retro-prog'; that is, bands playing music today that attempts to recreate the sounds of the classic 70's. For the greatest time, I dismissed this as 'copycat' behavior; after all, why would progressive rock look backward for inspiration? Although I still think there's something to be said about that, it has not stopped many of these acts from releasing passionate and stirring music. Alex Carpani's story began with an otherwise inconspicuous ankle fracture, and during that time, he wrote and recorded the debut 'Waterline', an album which has met some underground love in the prog community. 'The Sanctuary' was his second album, and would see him finally flesh out his musical ambitions to be worth a full band's contribution. The greater effort and confidence on this album leads it to be a fine example of how the 'retro-prog' sound can stir some beautiful music, even today.

The sound of the Alex Carpani Band can see influences drawn from a number of classic prog bands. genesis is an obvious contender. Alex Carpani and co. provide everything a listener could want from the symphonic prog rock style, perhaps save for the 'epic' format of composition. There are no twenty minute epics on the album, but the music keeps proggy and technical throughout. Although there may be structures to the songs, the tracks flow as if they did not need to worry about their length. Warm instrumentation and a cinematic-like dramatic build in the music are what drives 'The Sanctuary' along. There is little reverence given to memorable melodies, but the beauty of the arrangements and musicianship is more than enough to keep things interesting. In short, there are many ideas rolling around in this music, and if a listener wants to get themselves involved in the music, they can bet they will need several listens before they are able to identify the latent musical hooks.

The organ is the most notable aspect of this band's sound. Vintage key fanatics will be pleased to hear that the keyboards are what drive this music along. Alex Carpani is a very gifted keyboardist, able to take his instrument down a number of different sounds, from gentle piano interludes to bombastic organ climaxes. Carpani's vocals are less impressive than the rest of the performance. His singing is never particularly powerful, but he has a warm sound to his voice. Unfortunately, the vocal melodies lack the memorable power or beauty to have them stand out, even if he were a fantastic singer. Indeed, the wealth of 'The sanctuary' lies within the instrumentation and bold arrangements. Alex Carpani and his fellow musicians may look to the past for their inspiration and style, but the power of their music is more than valid today. Carpani's work makes me glad that I decided to give modern symphonic prog a real shot.

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 The Sanctuary by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 36 ratings

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The Sanctuary
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the release of "Waterline" Alex Carpani recruited some experienced musicians to perform his music on stage and in 2010 released a sophomore album titled "The Sanctuary" on Cypher Arts and Ma.Ra,Cash Records. Here the line up features along with Alex Carpani (piano, Hammond organ, Mellotron, Moog, pads, lead and back vocals) also Gigi Cavalli Cocchi (drums, percussion), Ettore Salati (electric and acoustic guitars, dulcimer) and Fabiano Spiga (bass). "The Sanctuary" is a conceptual work built up on the idea of an imaginary, invisible shield protecting a man from the stress of the real life and the beautiful, surreal art work by Paul Whitehead gives this idea a shape. The overall sound draws unashamedly on the prog masters of the seventies, especially Genesis and Emerson Lake & Palmer, but the result is not too derivative and every track of the album seems almost timeless, suspended between past and present as in a dream.

The instrumental opener "Burning Braziers" sets the atmosphere. It starts softly, the mood is dreamy but you have to walk cautiously on your way to your sacred shelter. Then the rhythm rises, so hurry up! The dark shadows of the real life are following you...

"Spirit Of Decadence" recalls the music of Genesis. Crumbs of life emerge from a glorious past while as a bold archaeologist you look for the reminiscences of a powerful king and of his court, lost in time... "Opulence and well being, holiness and favour / Warriors on the path and guards protect the treasure...".

"The Dance Of The Sacred Elves" is a lively instrumental track that recalls ELP. There's a turntable hidden somewhere, echoes from the past come back from an old vinyl and magical creatures start to dance. If you pay attention you can even hear the needle of the turntable scraping the record...

"Entering The Sanctuary" begins with a solemn organ passage. You are now entering in a cathedral with walls and roof of glass, your personal sanctuary where you can listen to vintage sounds from an enormous turntable which lies in the place of the altar. Once you have found the way rush in and close the door behind you! "Inside this sanctuary I repent all my life sins / Drunk with harmony, enclosed in a cage where I'm safe and free... Deaf, I can hear / Dumb, I can speak...".

The instrumental "Knights And Clergymen" and the following "Templars Dream" evoke dreamy rides on the wings of time while the vintage sounds conjure images floating through the waves of a sea of light...

"Memories Of A Wedding" begins with a romantic piano solo passage, then electric guitar riffs break in and the rhythm rises. You have to fight hard against the interferences of the outside world... "Now the elves are scurrying away, the pageant comes to an end / A wide frame grows on the wall, the scene appears like a dream... Now and then alien forces break that dream and desire / Folding hearts and resistance...".

On the hypnotic instrumental "Master Of Ceremonies" the battle rages on and dreamy passages alternates with more aggressive, disquieting parts. A short flamenco guitar pattern leads to the following track, "Moonlight Through The Ruins". An acoustic guitar arpeggio and soaring vocals seem to evoke ancient spirits wondering under the moon, through the ruins of your broken dreams... "I can make out the stones and vaults... Now the ruins are loving arms to embrace and... I can make out the people's smile / No roof on my head, the stars...".

It's time to come back to reality but the healing effects of the time passed in harmony and peace remain. The amazing instrumental track "Leaving The Sanctuary" drives you in the real world with a new awareness and a feeling of self confidence concluding an excellent album...

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 The Sanctuary by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 36 ratings

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The Sanctuary
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Swiss-born, Italian-based composer and musician Alex CARPANI has been around for a good few years now. Since his first tentative steps as a recording musician back in 1990 he has recorded just over three dozen albums in total in the format of self-released discs, demos and commissioned works. "The Waterline" from 2007 saw him attaining something of a breakthrough amongst fans of progressive rock. "The Sanctuary" from 2010 is the follow-up to that album, issued by MaRaCash Records in 2010.

"The Sanctuary" is a good example of an album that should have a strong appeal among fans of 70's progressive rock of the symphonic variety. In sound and expression those familiar with the giants of the genre will find many recognizable details, while the overall sound and arrangements also incorporate elements of a more contemporary nature. But by and large this is an album that appears to be tailor-made to cater to those whose heart and soul reside among the symphonic giants of yesteryear, most of which should find this CD to be a pleasing and rewarding experience.

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 Waterline by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.01 | 35 ratings

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Waterline
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Alex Carpani was born in Switzerland in 1970 of an Italian father and a French mother. Later he moved to Italy and graduated in Musicology at the University of Bologna. As a composer and musician his activities and interests range from soundtracks for cinema and theatre to electronic and progressive rock. From 1990 to 2007 he self-produced many works without a great success, then he met with Le Orme's singer Aldo Taglipietra and his career suddenly took another direction...

According to Alex Carpani's official website, "Waterline" is a progressive rock concept album dedicated to the thin line dividing the world emerged from the water (the familiar one) from the submerged world (the unknown one). Originally conceived as an instrumental project, it has become an album with lyrics and vocals thanks to Aldo Tagliapietra. It was composed and recorded as a demo in three weeks by Alex Carpani in his home-studio, then Alex sent it to Aldo Tagliapietra, who liked the project and connected him with the American independent prog label Cypher Arts. Alex Carpani met Cypher Arts' director Dan Shapiro in Los Angeles and the album was finally refined and released in 2007 with the help of many musicians of the American prog scene and the art cover by Paul Whitehead. The result is excellent and if you like the works of bands like Le Orme, BMS, early Genesis and ELP I'm sure you'll like this work too.

The opener "The Siren And The Mariner" should be a true delight for symphonic prog lovers. It starts with a tasteful classical intro that leads to a duet between the voice of the mariner Aldo Taglipietra, who sings in Italian, and the voice of the siren, the guest singer Beatrice Casagrande, who answers in English... "Your voice shines like the sun on the sea... Come to me and hear me sing / Leave behind your hopes and fears...". Then, after an instrumental break featuring an electric guitar solo, Aldo Taglipietra concludes... "I'm losing myself into the light / Following your voice... I'm feeling like a leaf lost in the sea".

"The Levees' Break" is a beautiful and dreamy instrumental featuring delicate flute passages and shifting tempos. Next comes the darker "In The Rocks" that tries to depict with music and words the feelings of the survivors sheltered on the rocks after the wreckage of their ship, into the mist...

The solemn "Reclaimed" is another beautiful instrumental track that leads to the quiet navigation on the clear waters of "Agua Claro"... "A new direction covers the past / Take the white wave / Ride towards the sun...". "Starcurrents" is more dramatic and mystical. The navigation leads here to a path of stars without frame, a metaphysical journey into the space...

The calm instrumental "Song Of The Pond" features a delicate acoustic guitar arpeggio and dreamy flute passages leading to a final joyful section... "A Gathering Storm" is more aggressive, with the sax in the forefront and a tasteful jazzy feeling while the following "The Waterfall" begins with a cascade of notes played by piano then joined by the other instruments for another musical ride...

On "Catch The Wave" the saxophone leads the dance until an acoustic break, then vocals soar... "With no more fears / I ride the wave towards the open sea / In harmony whit this sea / I can't fall / I can't fail...". An interesting arrangement of J.S. Bach's "Prelude In C Min." concludes this excellent album.

Not necessarily the vocals of Aldo Taglipietra and the art cover of Paul Whitehead make the difference between a very good album and a masterpiece. On this work in some passages Aldo's vocals seem almost "unnatural", like if he had tried to make an effort to sing in a different way and with a lower register than on Le Orme's works. Nonetheless I enjoyed the music and I'm looking forward to a new Alex Carpani's album...

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 Waterline by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.01 | 35 ratings

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Waterline
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Swiss born, Italian based composer and musician Alex Carpani is no stranger to the art of creating music. He has recorded and issued a number of albums prior to to 2007 - but when he issued "Waterline" it was his first production exploring the realms of progressive rock.

Like many other artists it's the symphonic side of the progressive rock universe that has fascinated Carpani, and whilst there's certainly a distinct vintage sound to this first venture of his in this stylistic expression he's to be given credit for finding a sound that doesn't immideatly make you think of other artists, although for the first half of this album the reason for this is also one of the major weak points of this venture as far as I'm concerned.

The reason for this are the constant changes in style and mood in the compositions for the first 6 tracks or so. I get the feeling that these excursions consists of more transitional segments and breaks than actual themes themselves - the individual passage hardly have time to settle before we're moving on to the next, and more often than most it's done by a transitional part than by a more freely flowing evolvement. Personally I like to be able to get somewhat familiar with a theme before the next one appears; but this is more of a personal point of view of course; many find these arguably frantic shifts intriguing in themselves; and those of that opinion should find this album pretty captivating due to that.

For my sake the second half of this effort is much more interesting though. Although changes in sound and style still happen more frequently than on many other albums the intensity of these shifts lessen somewhat, and the inclusion of more typical fusion elements to these compositions also makes these tracks more anjoyable for my part. Even the one tune here with a sound pretty distinctly similar to one other band - "Song of The Pond" the track and Camel the band - is so well made that it's a pleasure rather than an annoying feature.

The songs are all keyboard dominated; and the piano is the most dominant of the keyboards used here, with the organ a close second. Vintage sounding keyboard themes and floating patterns are used neatly as embellishments and to add the odd detail, while acoustic guitars and toned down guitar riffs flesh out the soundscapes. For the latter half of the album some pretty neat sax work is added in to strengthern the fusion touches of these tunes. And as far as intrumental performance go it's pretty top notch from start to finish here. The mix and production does come across as somewhat rudimentary at times though; but as this does add a vintage touch to the proceedings this may as well be a planned effect - many fans of progressve rock do prefer the warm, vintage sounding production over the crystal clear and slightly cold modern one after all.

All in all a talented debut album, and one that warrants to be checked out by fans of symphonic progressive rock.

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 Waterline by CARPANI BAND, ALEX album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.01 | 35 ratings

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Waterline
Alex Carpani Band Symphonic Prog

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

4 stars A pearl that has stayed below the Waterline!!

I'll admit I had never heard of this band, when while browsing Wayside's clearance list this album cover caught my attention. No wonder! It's Paul Whitehead! In reading about it (including Ivan's great review, to which I refer you), my curiosity was piqued. I was instantly hooked when I read that vocals were done by Aldo Taglipietra of Le Orme.

Let me quote from Eddie Lascu on the Gnosis website:

Alex Carpani was born in 1970 in Switzerland from an Italian father and a French mother (great ingredients when it comes to musical influences). Showing a great interest for music as early as when he was 6 years old, Alex was encouraged by his parents to pursue his talent. We don't know whether a meeting with Keith Emerson was instrumental (Alex and Aaron, Emerson's son were classmates in Switzerland), but Alex took on the piano and became a very talented keyboard player.

This album is definitely keyboard driven, with great melodies and really interesting chord and time signature changes. The instrumentation is fabulous, including lots of organ, mellotron, flute, and acoustic guitar. Electric guitar solos are also prominent, and there's some sax in there too. This is a well-crafted album!

Again to quote from Eddie Lascu:

The music is undeniably rooted very deep into the great Italian traditions. This album can be placed without any hesitation into the pantheon of Italian progressive masterpieces, even though it was only released in 2007. Carpani's style of playing is reminiscent of PFM and Le Orme at the peak of their careers. His compositions are complex, offering a lot of interplays between Carpani's keyboards, the various guitars guest on the album and Cory Wright's pastoral flute ("Song of the Pond") or jazzy sax ("A Gathering Storm"). He reviews some of the genres that influenced him early in his career (listen to the spatial electronic intro to "The Waterfall") but almost always leads the song back into the realm of progressive rock.

As Ivan has given his impressions of every song, I won't get too detailed. I agree with his enthusiasm! I will say that my tracklist is different from his, and what he calls "Song of the Pond" is entitled "Oceana" on my version. I would also like to particularly recommend "Siren's Call," "In the Rocks," "Waterfall," and "Gathering Storm." But actually all the tracks are excellent, from the pastoral mood of "Oceana" to the straight-rocker with sax (but still with great melodic underpinning) "Levees Break." The sample track on the website, "Reclaimed," is a bit more straightforward than my favorite songs on the album. In fact, it seems to add some of the electronic element that Carpani apparently utilizes on other releases and is a bit atypical of the other tracks on the album. But if you like it, you'll definitely like the other songs.

My only complaint is related to what sparked my initial enthusiasm-the underutilization of Aldo! He sings on four songs, almost exclusively in Italian (yes, he sings a few lines in English on one song). And when he is used, the vocals are a bit too low in the mix for my taste. But this is a small criticism of what amounts to an outstanding album, one that REALLY deserves greater recognition on this site and in the prog community at large! Four stars.

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Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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