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NICHELODEON

RIO/Avant-Prog • Italy


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Nichelodeon biography
A workshop devoted to artisan sound and vision performance, Nichelodeon was born from a nucleus of compositions written around 1997 by the singer and composer, Claudio Milano. His compositions have been presented in Europe and in countries outside Europe (Moscow - The First Biennial Fair of Contemporary Art in 2005, The International Festival of Theatre Research in the Slovenian Republic in 2004) during theatre shows, dance exhibitions, short feature films, video installations, performance and expositions, in the form of a recital entitled "The room plays what I do not see".
In September 2007, the first official formation of the project was created, with Francesco Zago electric guitarist, Maurizio Fasoli pianist, recipe readings from the book "The science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well" by Pellegrino Artusi, Riccardo di Paola at the synth, Claudio Milano voice, video contributions by Marc Vincent Kalinka and sculptures from the studio "letestedimary", all animated by a live cd-r "Cinemanemico", which has obtained more than a hundred positive articles in specialized magazines, newspapers, webzines and in radio talk shows all over the world. In June 2008 "Cinemanemico" was among the winners of the Review in honour of Demetrio Stratos and participated in the project Factory Art, dedicated to John Cage's work; "Cinemanemico" was selected by a jury of the Progawards for the nomination of the year as "Best debut album".
In 2009 the band recorded a video document entitled "Cinemanemico DVD" with composer Luca Olivieri at the synth, glockenspiel and programming taken over by Riccardo di Paola, the scenic appearances inspired by the Theatre of the Absurd with actress Manuela Tadini and the video contributions by producer Charles Napier (author of the band's first videoclip "Ciň che rimane/All that's left "). The proof was made in one single copy, some extracts of which are available on numerous channels and net works dedicated to the project.
In June 2009, the band was completely re composed becoming a workshop open to the collaboration of any artist coming from the field of radical improvisation, jazz musician, contemporary art, noise, visual artists, performers, dancers, djs, who create a live exhibition of Nichelodeon which is completely new and different.
The new line-up featuring: Francesco Chiapperini, Andrea Illuminati, Claudio Milano, Andrea Murada, Max Pierini, Luca Pissavini, Lorenzo Sempio.
In February of 2010 the music and videos ...
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  • Fame Cinemanemico, 2008
  • Fiaba Il gioco del silenzio, 2010

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NICHELODEON discography


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

3.88 | 43 ratings
Il gioco del silenzio
2010
3.49 | 12 ratings
Bath Salts
2013
4.25 | 5 ratings
UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar)
2014

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

3.38 | 7 ratings
Cinemanemico
2008
3.70 | 6 ratings
No
2012
3.86 | 3 ratings
Musica Cruda
2013

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

4.20 | 7 ratings
Come Sta Annie?
2010

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

3.75 | 10 ratings
NichelOdeon "Bath Salts" + InSonar "L'Enfant et le Ménure"
2013

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

NICHELODEON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar) by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 5 ratings

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UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar)
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars A tapestry of chaos!

...(or an "Opera for the 21st. century schizoid human being".)

NICHELODEON UKIYOE: "Mondi Fluttuanti" (with Insonar)-2014, featuring mainly Claudio Milano & Paolo Siconolfi, accompanied by a bunch full of willing, top of their trades musicians, ready to play into this structured, entirely uncompromising, highly chaotic musical work.

A strong emphasis is made in its exploration of the human voice in all its possible extensions as music or noise. Meaning that if you are aquainted with the Avant Garde or RiO ways of gutural expressions, well, you are half way in. Comes to mind in this regard: Zamla´s mockery, as Zappa´s "manic" laughters or Magma´s choir progressions.

But it does not stop there, the real deal, talking about the human voice solely, is the overwhelming sensation of irreverent human madness, shamelessly displayed, yet like it or not, human to the bone!

And of course the before mentioned "Interactive Orchestra" is not just there to watch their impetuous front man explode into delirium just for kicks! Massive, fearless, structured yet willing to bend any rule, if by chance they encounter a good musical idea, no matter how small. They will stop and smell the flowers that come along the way. As a result, this work is full of astounding, highly visual, frantic yet comprehensible but never giving a damn to satisfy no one, completely instrumental musical passages, which balance equally, this 45 minutes long, apparently unconnected into 6 songs, "one man´s opera".

Therefore, as it usually happens with groundbreaking works in these AV/RiO sub-genres, your full participation is required. No cheap frills, no catchy riffs, no bargains, nor "preachers" to enlighten your way. In fact, just exactly the opposite!

****4.5 PA stars.

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 UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar) by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 5 ratings

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UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar)
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars The newest release from Italian composer/vocalist/artist Claudio Milano, here under the name of both Nichelodeon and InSonar. The latter project released a great album in 2013 which prog fans should check out. This time we have a new album coupled with a film on DVD. It was a great idea for a musician and director to put their works together and release them that way; this should be done more often. The short "Quickworks & Deadworks" by Francesco Paolo Paladino is an avant-garde film following two shipwrecked couples. Only some of the music on the album is featured. A bonus video (which can be watched on YouTube) was made for a track that was left off the album, "Tutti i Liquidi di Davide." A humourous but also sad tale about the love between a man and his balloon (no, seriously).

If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Milano or his work you should expect some very versatile singing in either 5 or 7 octaves (can't remember exactly). Everything from dramatic talking to screams to operatic singing to whatever else could be done with the human voice. Here his voice is sometimes electronically altered. The music itself is generally avant chamber prog, not a lot of 'rock' per se but the Italian vocals do sometimes remind one of some RPI. Piano, accordion and wind instruments are mixed in with electronics and percussion (both electronic and not). There is a list in the booklet (which contains some of Claudio's paintings) of albums that inspired this album. Some of the albums may be familiar to people who visit PA, like Radiohead's Kid A, Swans' The Seer, Art Zoyd's Metropolis, Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom, Tool's Lateralus and Henry Cow's In Praise Of Learning (amongst others).

"Fi(J)uru D'Acqua" opens with electronic percussion and piano before moving on to accordion and glockenspiel, all while overdubbed Claudios do their thing. In the middle is some atmospheric and symphonic synth backing while wind instruments and tympani play over top. "Marinaio" has seagull sounds and pounding programmed percussion fading in. A violin mimics a seagull. Eventually piano, overdubbed Claudios and some 'real' drums show up. At one point a nice melody is sung and then doubled on violin. Seagull sounds return in the middle along with some of Claudio's trademark 'little girl screaming' vocals. Gets dissonant and difficult for awhile before ending with icy synth effects.

"I Pesci Dei Tuoi Fiumi" starts with some Art Zoyd-like programmed beats and percussion effects. Then come the Claudios to both impress us and freak us out. Just one Claudio and a saxophone at one point. bell-like synth sounds as Claudio holds some long notes. The last track "Ma(r)LE" is listed as one but is three tracks on the CD. It is the most dissonant and avant-garde piece on the album. Overall yet another great release from Milano. I will give this a 3.5 but round it up to 4 stars.

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 UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar) by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 5 ratings

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UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar)
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars Claudio Milano has long brought his unique and impressive vocal talents to bear with two different bands, Nichelodeon and InSonar. In 2013 he took the radical new step of not just having both bands do double albums, but then packing them both together in a boxset. What we should have realised then was that he was about to have his two projects come together for a single album with a whole new vision for his music. "UKIYOE" is that album, a short but dynamite record that brings the two together for a strange, nautically minded collection of ever great tracks. As usual he nails his singing; here, he is reminiscent of Scott Walker on "Bish Bosch", but in Milano's case there is a concrete set of lyrics he wishes to share. As for the music, his bands pull out some great avant- prog, at once familiar yet wonderfully unique, and goes from there into even more different territory. On "Fi(J)uru D'Acqua", for instance, the initial beat sounds reminiscent of a dour electronic beat. And the strings, when they appear, really stick out. The sound runs from eldritch to beautiful, and Milano and his bands all do each perfectly. This is just plain an excellent and one of a kind avant-prog album. Highly recommended.

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 UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar) by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 5 ratings

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UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar)
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by tmay102436

5 stars This new album by Nichelodeon - Claudio Milano - is quite a treat to the senses. It seems to just flow over you with waves of unique, personal, emotions. Claudio, through the mechanism of "Nichelodeon" has always brought us adventurous RIO / Avant-Prog / music, but this is quite a change. All of the previous works were, of course, wonderful, but this is a true "vision" and done in a very manageable listening time.

The loose English translation of the title (UKIYOE - MONDI FLUTTUANTI) of this work mentions "Floating Worlds," and that is what you get with this work of art. It's still in the unique Nichelodeon style; mixing dreamy / RIO / Avant-Prog music together, but this album paints a wonderful picture of both beauty and violence. The album opens with the more dreamy side of the creation, and slowly, although not heading in a straight line, winds into the finality of dark, vocal magnificence. The instrumentation, although vast in quantity, is so smoothly woven in that it becomes the tapestry that Nichelodeon has always been looking for, and now found. The mixture of real and syntetic instrumentation is seamless, and becomes more than just a backdrop for Claudio Milano's incredible, emotional voice, as it is a mature, boundless vehicle that takes the listener into images of the aural picture that Claudio meticulously paints.

I loved this the on the first listening, and by the third time around, over the course of a week or two, have had that "can't get enough" feeling with every experience. This last listen was; myself, sitting in a recliner, middle of the night, lights off, headphones on, and just "letting it take me" to where this quality of music can travel. Sometimes scary, sometimes dreamy, immersing you into Claudio Milano's "Nichelodeon" world of art.

Brave Claudio, Bravo!

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 UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar) by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.25 | 5 ratings

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UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar)
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Claudio jokingly mentioned to me that he's the Antichrist of Italian Prog because he does things so differently from the norm. No solos, no fairies, in fact the sounds, harmonies and structures associated with Prog are all thrown out the window here. We get over 30 people participating on this release playing a huge variety of instruments, some of which i've never even heard of before. This is a 46 minute album that will challenge you on many levels. I keep hearing new things everytime I spin it, and man this sounds amazing with headphones on. In the liner notes the musicians are listed under heading like "Strings", "Winds", "Voices", "Electricity", "Multi-Instrumentalists", "Pecussion" and more. Two dvds came with this cd and once again the packaging is gorgeous. Oh, and INSONAR is back joining Claudio and his band once again.

"Veleno" features Claudio on vocals as mechanical sounds support. Female soprano vocals will come and go. A change before 3 1/2 minutes as it turns darker and more atmospheric. Eerie is the word. Violin, cello, harmonium, upright bass, clarinet, electronics and more provide the backdrop to the vocals. "Fi(j)ura D'acqua" opens with piano an electronic beat and effects all sounding incredible as the vocals join in. Accordion follows then the vocals start to dominate. A change 1 1/2 minutes in as a bass horn, vibes and what sound like kettle drums come and go. The vocals are back 3 1/2 minutes in with some strange background noises. "Marinaio" features these unusual sounds and a beat that build. Seagulls can be heard then the vocals arrive as the intensity builds. So good until it settles back after 2 minutes as strings and vocals lead the way. Strings only 4 minutes in then the seagulls return followed by vocals and piano. Piano, percussion and strings create suspense 5 1/2 minutes in. It's haunting with intricate sounds before the song winds down late.

"Ohi Ma(Nel Mare Che Hai Dentro)" has these determined vocals with lots of intricate sounds and insanity. Avant vocals and more lead the way in this crazy but short piece. ""I Pesci Dei Tuoi Fiumi" is led by percussion and atmosphere as vocal expressions come and go. Man Claudio can reach those high notes and sustain them. A calm 1 1/2 minutes in then vocals, horns and more arrive. The vocals are bizarre to say the least. "MA(r)LE" is the over 19 minute closer but it is divided into three parts beginning with "Tsunami!" where we get relaxed sounds before the vocals and percussion take over. It picks up after 2 minutes then becomes very strange(haha). The next section is called "Into The Waves" and is led by accordion early on as the vocals join in around 2 1/2 minutes in. This is all very "out there" but i'm digging it. The final section is called "Mud" and it's dark with guitar sounds, strings and more that create an unsettling mood. This one has to be heard to be believed.

As much as this is an audio cd I have to say that it creates so many pictures in my mind when I play this, especially the fact that it has a nautical theme to it. This might be even better than their debut called "Il Gioco Del Silenzio" and probably closer to 4.5 stars. Music for the adventerous right here. I'm so impressed. I wanted to mention some of the albums that Claudio lists in the liner notes as influencial to this recording, I won't list them all, but here are some. "L'Apparenza by LUCIO BATTISTI, "In Camera/Consequences/Thin Air" by Peter Hammill, "Rock Bottom/The End Of An Ear/Cuckooland" by Robert Wyatt, "The Seer" by SWANS, "In Praise Of Learning/Concerts" by HENRY COW, "Hail To The Thief/Kid A" by RADIOHEAD, "Assurdo" by GARDEN WALL, "Hunger's Teeth" by 5UU'S, "Metropolis" by ART ZOYD, "Lateralus" by TOOL and many others. This is avant-garde music at it's best.

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 Musica Cruda by NICHELODEON album cover Live, 2013
3.86 | 3 ratings

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Musica Cruda
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band NICHELODEON have been around in one form or another, rather literally speaking in this case, since 2007. A substantial amount of music have been released by the band over the now seven years they have been around, both live and studio productions, and even a DVD. "Musica Cruda" is the most recent production of their at the time of writing, and is a strictly limited production that was sent to a select audience in the summer of 2013.

Nicheloden is an ensemble that perhaps isn't as well known as they should be, but those aware of the band and their releases generally find their brand of avant-oriented, experimental music to be both interesting and intriguing. This is a band that tends to shy away from style conventions and a regular approach to the art of writing and performing music, and much revolves around the vocal talents of main man Claudio Milano, a vocalist with an impressive range, a strong voice and a keen sense of the theatrical.

"Musica Cruda" is a very different production to be released under the Nicheloden moniker however. Not because it is a short, concise production featuring either live on stage or live in studio recordings, nor because the main emphasis is on material previously recorded and released in alternate versions, but rather that this is, strictly speaking, not a band performance.

Apart from the a cappella studio recordings, arguably most intriguing on a technical level, this is a live performance by a duo rather than a band. Claudio Milano on vocals and Raoul Moretti on everything else. The else in question plucked string instruments. Listening to Nichelodeon's compositions explored in such a sparse arrangement is a vastly different experience than exploring them as performed by a full band, and at least as far as I'm concerned many of these songs comes across as more compelling in this simpler guise, and arguably more interesting as well.

The premise of all the live recordings is a simple but effective one: Plucked strings, dark and light in tone, used as the foundation for Milano's impressive vocal capabilities, and catering for sound in the intermediate sequences between the vocal passages when applicable. The contrast between the brittle light tones, the warmer organic dark tones and Milano's expressive and vibrant voice is a highly compelling one, the vocals here literally carrying the songs adding nerve and tension by the truckload. From light to dark, from ominous to jubilant, from harmonic and controlled to more experimental and wild, but still tightly controlled.

"Musica Cruda" is an album that first and foremost should be regarded as a celebration of vocals I guess. On how to use range, pace and intensity to make the vocals as vibrant and compelling as possible, yet within a context where the vocals have something to play upon, exploring the capabilities and possibilities within a more or less clearly defined framework. On a more superficial level, one might state that if you enjoy high quality vocals and plucked string instruments combined this is an album you most likely will appreciate greatly. The end result is much more than the sum of it's parts of course, but as a general description this should suffice.

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 NichelOdeon Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.75 | 10 ratings

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NichelOdeon "Bath Salts" + InSonar "L'Enfant et le Ménure"
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

3 stars No Van Goghs please

I reviewed the album 'Bath Salts' a little while back and was completely taken aback by the pirouetting beauty that had unveiled before me - especially seeing as I'd approached the music thinking it would be some kind of avant prog with strange fittings and angular motifs up the wazoo. That was however so far from the truth, that I today laugh a little when I think back to my opening meeting with this Italian produce...

The two missing discs I have yet to review are a product of Claudio Milano's musical flirtings, and I'll tell you right away: this guy must be doing something right and genuinely interesting, as musicians like Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto, Dieter Moebius, Paolo Tofani and Nik Turner agreed to take part in the making of these, and they are just a small fraction of the incredibly talented crew supporting the all encompassing, wild, frail, gentle and erratic vocals of Claudio. Where each of these fit in on the two albums is strictly guess work on my behalf, but I am quite sure I've spotted both Moebius and Mastelotto a fair few times during the playing time.

The music on offer is closer to what most of us here would identify as 'prog rock', and probably also a tad more approachable than 'Bath Salts' itself, but that doesn't take away from the overt progressive tendencies at it's core. Whether conveyed by a scarecrow of voices all emanating from the man himself, sounding particularly close to that of siren singing and inspired mermaid yawns, or through ambient flusters of electronics, gentle Italian guitar figurines or maybe some good old piano taken straight out of the symphonic prog cookbook, you're almost certain to intercept the more rooted feel of these records. They're earthier and more tangible compared to the, at times, almost hovering musical box presence of Bath Salts.

Come to think of it: imagine Dead Can Dance on some terrible Daturah inflicted drug conjuring up orchestral synths, strings, fizzing electronics and then being interrupted by some King Crimson musicians who just came from an hour long free improvisation jam, and you're not that far off...

Alright if you think you got it pegged down, then add some cabaret music, backwards blues, jazz rock, art rock and a slow moving presence that opens up ever so gently to you over the course of the individual tracks.

Criss crossing between Italian and the English lingo, the music never feels mismatched or thrown on the two albums for feck's sake. It feels natural and gives to the listener a kick in his kidneys - something to distract him from the lavish and colourful cover art.

As to which one I prefer of these two parts of 'Bath Salts', then I have to go for the original album. While you do get a fair whiff of the prog rock of old, as well as some clear parallels to the early RIO scene, on these two InSonar releases, and while they still come across infinitely modern and original, there's just something about Bath Salts that draws me in, gives it the edge.

For any of you people wanting to step out of your sonic routines and take the plunge in something brand new, and, for this kind of music, rather approachable, then by all means go get this stunning Nichelodeon release. It comes in a beautiful blue packing with old school string tied around, almost like a shoelace.

I remember saying to Claudio, that he shouldn't worry too much. Sure people will pick up on some of the most boundary pushing prog that's currently being made. "Sure thing!" I said I'd promise him he wouldn't end up as some kind of musical Van Gogh, who many years from now, after he's long dead and gone, will be looked back on as one of the most progressive and versatile vocalists of the new century. Let's give the living credit while they roam the airwaves eh? 3.5 stars.

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 Bath Salts by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 12 ratings

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Bath Salts
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Beneath the surface

Funny how such mundane and everyday words like bath salts suddenly can take on another meaning altogether. A little while back there was an incident in Miami, where a poor homeless man got his face bitten off by a drug fuelled raving lunatic, who indeed was tripping like an angry bear on the now infamous drug: bath salts. Since then 100s of videos have popped on YouTube relegating arbitrary people on this terrifying drug - most of them looking like they're on fire, possessed by some demon or merely trying to escape their earthly prison, clawing away at their own flesh like was it thick evil goo in the process of poisoning everything it comes in contact with.

I then read Claudio Milano's lyrics to 'Bath Salts' and found an extremely intelligent man asking questions about our nature - our human nature, or conversely the lack of it when confronted by the great big wheels of the world......the things that stem from cold machine feelings and parameters set up by ancient peoples trying their best to keep everything in check and that means people too. So there's a sadness here - a pensive mind eating away at the facial layers of our society, how we choose to succumb to rules, ideas and the things we don't understand.....and in the midst of all this, we're in serious danger of losing ourselves and the things that make us human. We erase the child and order a new person - an adult fixed and ready to go surfing in the huge big boy world, where everything depends on everything else, and nothing is as clear cut and real like it used to be.

Swish! Twinkling harp rivers of sound that stream and twirl oh so beautifully and naturally, you simply get transported into the grand scope of Italy's immense musical universe - 1000s of famous landscape paintings zoom through your brain, and then he opens his mouth.....

Claudio Milano is not so much a singer as he is an instrument made out of flesh. To tell you the truth, I was actually approaching this offering thinking it would sound like modern rocking avant music, but what I found in it's place was an overpowering sense of frailty and natural beauty. Claudio's often compared to the infamous Area front man Demetrio Stratos, because of his incredible talent to sing controllably in 8 different octaves. As I have found out while swapping emails with the man in question, his real and most important influence is actually Tim Buckley. Now that struck a chord with me, when he said that. I suddenly realised the frailty of the voice, the sometimes strangely wavering tonalities of his timbre, all of that sounded very much influenced by Buckley, only with Claudio you get a far more velvety delivery. Whether that's down to the beautiful Italian language, or the immense technical talent of his, I really don't know.......but there is something here folks, I'll tell ya. If you're sick of munching on the same ol same ol - in dire need of a healthy kick up your arse, then look no further, because this album will take you places in Italy you haven't even dreamed of.

I believe the progressive prog stopped a long while ago and somewhere along the line it morphed into a sticker that we nowadays interpret as music with mellotron, shape-shifts, solos and a mystic aura about it that peeps right into your soul. Well maybe not stopped completely, but if we're looking for the brand new and (sic) progressive, then why do we insist on looking in the same places as we always do? We certainly won't find 'Bath Salts' sporting any of the aforementioned holy essences of prog rock........but you find the spark. You find the same urge to make music that stretches people's sonic beliefs and will to embrace the alien. Make you think and experience something you take for granted and make you see things from a new place. Music is always ready to mislead you, and if you're wise you should allow it every chance you get.

Strange thing.....I mean music that can have this effect on me being this.....erm orchestrated. Maybe it's the supernatural surge of the vocals that entrances you with this album, but I'd like to think it's more than that. There is an immense dream world lurking in the instruments - something that takes on the form of ambient music, often put up against Claudio's slithering voice. Maybe this is more of a chamber music kinda deal? With marimbas and xylophones, acoustic string instruments and a frivolous and almost classically structured folk element in the mix, the music moves from intimate shimmers to the widest panoramic musical scenery known to man........and then I haven't even begun to mention the electronics in play - or the wonderful bass booms of the cellos.

'Bath Salts' is like opening up a musical box. It spins gracefully on it's own axis while relegating this beautiful feathery music that pirouettes and twinkles away like silver and gold and everything worth fighting for.

"Is there anyone now who can bite my beauty? Is there anyone now who can suck my beauty? Is there anyone now who can lick my beauty?"

Maybe we're so far gone that cannibalism is the last resort to really get under people's skin? To me personally, 'Bath Salts' feels like a modern voice of reason - beckoning people from deep beneath the ice - calling on them to break through the dark mirror and penetrate down into the murky waters. Dive head first into what drives us and feeds us, instead of merely perpetuating the everlasting ice- skating procedures that look oh so pretty and meaningful.........yet never describe anything about the true nature of what's hiding underneath. In that respect, you could say that 'Bath Salts' tries to reintroduce it's audience to the chilly waters slushing away under the ice like forgotten dreams and cobwebs of the mind. It wants you to see past the big hand gestures and feel the music for what it is.....and maybe in the process we'll be able to transcribe this method of experiencing life to other facets of our world.

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 Bath Salts by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 12 ratings

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Bath Salts
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian ensemble NICHELODEON was formed back in 1997, with vocalist and composer Claudio Milano as the band leader. Their debut album appeared in 2008, and since then Nichelodeon has released a further three albums, both live and studio productions. "Bath Salts" is their most recent release, and this double CD studio production was issued through the Italian label Lizard Records in the summer of 2013.

Nichelodeon's double album "Bath Salts" is an impressive constellation of compositions celebrating the role of the lead vocals and the possibilities you have in using them as a standalone dominating element or in constellations with one or more supporting voices to create stunning music even with minimalistic instrument support only. The use of vocal effects, the manner in which vocals and instruments are utilized, and the structure and overall arrangements of the compositions most often do take them to a place well outside common or mainstream music, I might add, if there is such a thing as minimalistic avant-garde I'd place this album within such a context. Especially if there is a subcategory there for material that references classical and, on occasion, medieval folk music. First and foremost this production is a sheer vocal delight however, and if you enjoy stellar lead vocals, avant-garde rock and chamber music you should find this double album to be a true delight.

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 NichelOdeon Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.75 | 10 ratings

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NichelOdeon "Bath Salts" + InSonar "L'Enfant et le Ménure"
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Prog rock is a truly dynamic genre. While many believe it to only consist of pompous British men playing a 27-keyboard stack while wearing 4 capes, the breadth of the genre extends so much further than that. While the extravagant 70s ideal still exists, bands from all walks of life are continuously pushing the boundaries of prog rock to include so much more than the balladry of the bands of the past. Bands such as the two bands represented in this boxset, NichelOdeon and InSonar, certainly push these boundaries. Both are bona fide members of the robust avant-garde prog scene of Italy, and are led by musical visionary Claudio Milano. The bands, while both being led by Milano, have very differing visions. NichelOdeon, and the album seen here, Bath Salts is an emotionally dense and minimalistic musical expos', while InSonar's L'Enfant et le M'nure is an experimental and all-inclusive work or avant-rock. The four-disc split is an expansive release, running for over three hours, and features the sounds of dozens of respected avant-garde musicians. The album is incredibly difficult to listen to in one stretch, but broken into its respective albums and perhaps even further into each album's respective discs, this album is a treat for any fan of avant-rock.

The boxset itself is a sight to be seen ' the handmade set contains the four discs and two separate booklets. Each set is handmade by Claudio himself, which brings the listener even closer to the viscerally personal music that is contained on the four discs. The entire presentation is very clean with the only plastic being the slim lightweight sleeves for the CDs themselves. The booklets too are very clean and well designed, with Bath Salts's booklet containing a portfolio of art pieces and photographs to accompany each of the songs on both discs. The art is very much impressionist and almost surreal, with some pieces taking on an almost cubist look, which mirrors some of the atmospheres of the music very well. L'Enfant et le M'nure is similar, but lyrics accompany the more defined, fittingly childish works.

But what really matters, of course, is the music contained within the thin slivers of plastic and aluminium we call CDs. The sonic expanse presented is remarkably dynamic, including mellow vocal passages, experimental electronic sections, and well-orchestrated avant-jazz pieces. If it weren't for the shared vocalist, these two bands would seemingly have very little to do with each other. And because of this, this album needs two almost completely different reviews.

First, Bath Salts. This two disc album is easily the more mellow of the two, with the music predominantly coming from a Celtic harp, e-harp, or related device which creates a truly pastoral and relaxing atmosphere. Of course, the album is not solely a harp-vocal duo, with many of the songs also featuring a full sized avant rock band to flesh out Claudio's compositions. The songs, in general, are fairly mellow, slow, and emotionally dense. Claudio's vocals reminded me of a cross between Franco Mussida and Laurie Anderson ' spoken word to a degree, but with a degree of RPI melody. The fusion complements the carefully constructed instrumentation perfectly, giving the mellow atmosphere a subtly haunting effect. Overall, the album is an experiment in emotional, mellow avant-prog, and Milano pulls this fusion off very well.

L'Enfant et le M'nure, however, is not quite as mellow. On this album, Milano pulls all the stops on experimentation, and the album shows. Both discs are a rollercoaster of revolving styles, atmospheres, and avant tendencies. While some bands do this same method and go overboard with experimentation, InSonar is able to keep the avant-garde nature of their music in check for an avant album which keeps the listener entertained and not alienated. L'Enfant also follows a more thematic form than Bath Salts as if follows the story of, as the title suggests, a child and a bird. Overall, the albums is definitely aimed at the more adventurous listener, and it takes a more open ear to enjoy, but the album is littered with bits of avant-garde gold as Milano shows he can write a mean work of avant magic.

In the end, this is album is definitely something to invest in if you are a fan of emotion- packed, experimental avant-prog. The four discs contain a world of experimental music, and anyone who is a fan of the genre is bound to find something pleasing to their ears while listening. While some parts can seem a bit off-beat at times, the swaths of music almost completely drown out the minor detriments of the album. Of course, to some, this three hour release may be a bit too much, but enjoyed individually, the boxset provides a nice immersion in Claudio Milano's work. 4 stars.

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