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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 "Ciò 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 | 42 ratings
Il gioco del silenzio
2010
3.49 | 11 ratings
Bath Salts
2013

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

3.38 | 7 ratings
Cinemanemico
2008
3.70 | 6 ratings
No
2012

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

4.20 | 6 ratings
Come Sta Annie?
2010

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

3.86 | 8 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
 Bath Salts by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 11 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 | 11 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
3.86 | 8 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 Admin / Heavy Prog Team / Math Rock Team

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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 Bath Salts by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 11 ratings

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Bath Salts
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Man With Hat
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team

3 stars A long look into the untempered schism.

Claudio Milano and Nichelodeon return in a glorious fashion with the double CD offering entitled Bath Salts. Some people will say this is very apt title, as to conceive music like this one would have to be on bath salts, or some other wild, unnatural, hallucinatory drug. Other people will say that's the only way to enjoy such outside work. Still other people will be able to enjoy something like this and be captivated by its evolution, its depth, its development, its scope, and its fine attention to audio detail. I would fall into this last category.

The first thing that is clearly noticeable just after starting the CD is the wondrous production work on display here. Nichelodeon have always been a band of subtlety. Nuances are buried deep within the sonic architecture of each piece. Needless to say, having poor production in an instance like this would be akin to a death knell to the creative aspects explored in such projects. The sound is warm, inviting, all encompassing, and never faltering throughout both CDs. The second element that jumped out at me, is the sheer amount of studio/electronic trickery and manipulation that went into this work. Seemingly every cog in the wheel gets processed in some way at some point of the show. Some might say it's a bit overdone, but it fits perfected with the mood of the music and almost gives a futuristic edge to the overall project. (As a note, I am a huge fan of when musicians utilize the studio, almost as an instrument, so my enthusiasm for such deployments may not be universally shared or supported as such.)

Musically, this album is a virtual tapestry of emotions and atmospheres. Bath Salts runs the gamut from dreamy to silly to ominous to meditative to playful to sacred to expressionistic to mischievous to melancholic to mysterious to calming without ever feeling forced or campy or unnecessary. As Nichelodeon's previous work, the clear star of the show is Claudio Milano and his impressive, ever invasive vocals. These vocals are supported by a myriad of instrumental accompaniments...tinkling pianos, percolating percussions, stark woodwinds, slick yet chaotic electronics, and classically laced strings. In fact, it is difficult to say which instruments get the lead, as they all tend to be used fairly equally in this musical undercurrent. Harps mesh with cellos, while pianos and synths bubble up, all the which is being supported by ever-turning percussives (with Claudio's voice flowing like a strong river atop). For me, this is when the album works best, when all the elements are working together to create another world of sound exploration. This is best personified by tracks like Rapporto sulla Fine di una Storia , 7 AZIONI - Musica per la Carne, and L'Urlo ritrovato. Still though, this is a vocal showcase at its core with one of the best and most expressive vocalists in the game today. The full range of vocal utterances are on display here, 'standard' singing, experimental sound generation, sputtering, crooning, chanting, multilayered colleges, whispering, and general derangements...all which occur in a tremendous octave range. And finally, it must be said that if there is a story being displayed through the use of all these vocals it is lost of this reviewer whose knowledge of the Italian language is quite subpar. However, this allows me to appreciate the vocals on a purely musical level (which is how I prefer vocals to be) and is probably a plus, as I'm sure this is must more of the intent of the project than the standard 'telling a story' or 'relaying poetry' use of the voice.

All in all, this is a very solid album. Its main drawback to me is it's length. This is a two CD set that lasts for over 105 minutes. While the moods and atmospheres are ever changing, the approach and execution is very constant throughout the album (especially in terms of tempos), which at times does get overwhelming (or underwhelming depending on how you want to look at it). Also, there are a few pieces that get a bit too instrumentally submissive to really satisfy my ears. Additionally, for the purposes of this website, the rock element is usually not present, and when it does break through it doesn't last for long. All that said, for those aurally adventurous this is certainly an album to seek out. Nichelodeon was never one to play it safe or stay inside a certain box. This album does brave the waters on the fringes of avant-garde (at it's most extreme) yet still provides comforting melodies and traditional musical instruments and modes (at it's least extreme). Is this destined to become a classic of outside music? It is certainly possible, but only time will tell with such things. Fans of modern avant-garde music and extreme voice albums will find plenty to enjoy on Bath Salts. Strict fans of neo-prog or more standardized rock will find this to be unlistenable noise (even though there are parts that are clearly hummable/memorable). On my personal scale this is a solid 3.5, which I will round down for PA. A strong 3 stars.

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 NichelOdeon Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.86 | 8 ratings

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

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sometime ago I was asked to review this massive four CD package wrapped up in a nice cardboard box with two boolets containing lyrics as well as several drawings and pictures. I really don´t know why I was chosen to do it, given the fact that RIO/Avant-prog is hardly my cup of tea. I´m much more a "traditional" prog lover, who´s a sucker for nice melodies, as my review list might have shown to anybody who have cared to visit it. Anyway, claudio Milano was very kind to send those CDs and I decided to take the challenge.

It was not an easy task for me as you might have guessesd. The music inside those two double albums (each one previously released separetly, one by his band NichelOdeon and the other a side project called InSonar) is definitly intricated, bold and challeging. This is no background music at all! It demands all your atention and, at first, it sounded way too freakish for my taste. However, upon a few more spins I found it to be quite interesting and ended up enjoying the material. It´s certainly a grower: you have to listen carefully to the complex layers of sounds and its unsual musical structures (or lack of it). But unlike most avant gard material I´ve heard so far, the weirdness of some passages, the atonal musical parts and some pure experimentation rarely, or never, sounded gratuitous or self indulgent. The often inclusions of some more melodic and "straight" parts made it all the more balanced and digestable.

Of the two CDs, the InSonar is definitly the more experimental and difficult to get on to it. Still, it is very interesting, including some clever and very original versions of songs from others, like his take on the old french song Plaisir d'Amour or even David Bowie´s already unsual Warsawa . Milano is, definitly, a great singer and he has an awesome technique that may sound be a little over the top to most, but works very well for this kind of material. He is probalby the most accomplished and daring vocalist I´ve heard since the late Demetrius Statos. The long list of musicians playing in here is quite irrelevant, since even if you know some of the names on it (like Hawkwind´s Nik Turner and PFM´s Walter Calloni) the music inside has nothing to do with those aforementioned bands (and others). However, I found the music here to be quite mesmerizing and trippy, taking you into a journey through a lot of human feelings, good or bad. I did not get the lyrics, since my italian is quite poor to say the least, but even if I believe those words are an important part of the whole, you still can enjoy the ride without really getting into them. The performances are spotless and some instrumental parts are quite intriguing and beautiful in their own way.

Both record benefit form a crystal clear sound and production. That´s quite an achievement since both records have a wild variety of styles and atmospheres that really demand some fine sound engineering to get it right.

Conclusion: a very fine and unique work of a terrific singer and songwriter. It´s not easy to listen to so many different moments in a row, but it´s something quite rewarding if you pick up a few parts each time. While most avant prog/RIO stuff sounded pointless and just without any musical consistency to my ears so far, Milano´s work strikes me as a well balanced, profound and pleasant record overall, even if at times it does have some parts I couldn´t really get it. It was a very interesting experience and I´m glad I had the opportunity to listen to such unique piece of art.

I recommend these CDs to anyone who appreciates the style and to anyone who wants to get to know it.

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 NichelOdeon Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.86 | 8 ratings

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

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars What makes progressive music so enchanting is the multiplicity of it's varied offerings, a wide palette of different possibilities that span the entire spectrum, from the concrete to the abstract, from song to noise and everything in between. While each fan has set their own personal parameters in what they enjoy, truth remains that most progfans relish more than just one style, giving them a greater grasp of sonic sensibilities.

No better introduction than this rather unique package from Claudio Milano, owner of a rare talent in our genre = a sensational voice, deeply rooted in Italian tradition of considering the lung/mouth alliance as an instrument all to itself. Previous reviewers have commented on similarities with Area's mythical singer Demetrios Statos, which to my ears is a too easy analogy. They both have stunning voices but Area's music was chaotic, at times gothic and mesmerizing, no hint of any harp anywhere. One can also name Alberto Piras of Deus Ex- Machina, another pyrotechnic rock band from Italy, but Milano is a totally different animal, closer to being a stage thespian merging with classical, avant-garde, opera and operetta than anything else. I cannot really think of anyone similar in North America or the UK. He has put together a massive 4 Cd package with copious artwork booklets that won't even fit in any conventional jewel box, creating a duality of works from the Baths Salts of Nickelodeon to the Insonar project named "L'Enfant et le M�©nure" .Being essentially a French schooled linguist, this last word was something new, so I researched it (I refuse to use the verb 'google' until they decide to end their world domination campaign) and it turns out it's an Australian bird! The stuff we learn in prog! Sheeeeesh!

Listening to 4 Cds is a gargantuan challenge for any audiophile especially when it's a style that is not devoted to an 'easy listen', so fans of Jouney, Boston, Asia and other more MOR styled artists should just bolt right now and head for the fridge to satiate their needs! The arduous audition will require patience, admiration for the sheer talent involved, solid reflection and profound introspection into the more ethereal inner world we all intrinsically possess.

The Nickelodeon 2 Cds as mentioned previously are under the Bath Salts moniker and are broken down in two distinct sections Capitolo I- D'Amore e di Vuoto and Capitolo II ? Di Guerre e Rinascite. We are immediately plunged into what is perhaps best described as modern-medieval, harp and voice in the forefront with a wide array of synthetic sounds and samples of the electronic variety. It's a beguiling listen, both complex and simple, easy and hard on the ear, turning hypnotic ("Un Posto Sicuro") and swathed in dense electronics. Milano has a wonderfully modulated voice, hitting various levels of tone and octaves. The underlying impression is one of disassociation with comfortable tendencies, a deliberate osmosis of styles and instruments (flutes, big beat drums, alto sax), some bells and whistles and sundry sounds. The entire side is the same avant-garde experimental music with a special twist and it's captivating only if you really involve yourself as a listener and let the sounds overcome whatever defenses you may set up. At times, Claudio makes noises with his lungs, mouth, tongue and lips that leap into the weird and the bizarre, which is surprising and fun. He yelps plaintive gulps of theatre, croons cabaret-style, grunts and groans, then dives into semi-operatic discourse, a voice that spans the gamut of emotions. Throw in some narration (semi-sung actually) and you get a prog-rock operetta with an encyclopedia worth of research. Yes, it's sung mostly in Italian but so is opera, so get over it! When he sings in English ("This Side of the Looking Glass"), the mood gets quite hysterical and creepy, as his plaintive rant gets washed in dense electronics. Other tracks have his voice multi-tracked into a mirror of a zillion tones, a flowery bouquet of vocal insanity. Some introduce cello to really extend the variety of sounds. Capitolo II is harsher, more war-like as the subtitle may indicate, still conducted by the mad voice and the eerie harp. I am reminded of some horror movie soundtrack, something the Italians did and still do quite well.

The 2 InSonar discs are quite different stylistically, closer to avant-jazz and even experimental rock, with classic covers of "Venus in Furs" (Velvet Underground), "Warszawa", David Bowie's stark classic from his Berlin days and Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren ", a standard torch song also covered by This Mortal Coil, a past (mid-80s) cousin with whom this music shares some common traits . All three are utterly interesting, mainly because they are quite recognizable yet aurally different. The first disc is titled "L'Enfant" , a coarse , exacting and punishing listen , though the final tracks are surprisingly intimidating, and the second CD called "Ashima" both literally soundtracks for the impossible movie playing in one's head, swanky Kafka-esque angst twirling into vocal vortexes that defy form and logic, yet they completely resonate and beguile. Experimental sonic workshops divulging extreme tendencies, ideal for the chaotic and urban vernissage your artist friend is planning next week, just make sure there is a lot of vodka on hand.

As stated by another reviewer, you need to queue up some heavy rock after this one, just to shake off the torpor of cocooned numbness that this music creates on any willing participant. At times gorgeous, intriguing, painful, mesmerizing and outer worldly, Milano is a talent that is completely unique and inspiring, boldly going where no one has gone before.

4 tortured ecstasies

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 NichelOdeon Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.86 | 8 ratings

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

Review by octopus-4
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars A lot of time is passed since when I received this boxset sent by Claudio Milano, but this is not a kind of music that you can put on you car audio system and listen to just in the background. As almost all the many Milano's side projects it requires attention and time.

Let's first speak about the package. Also this time there is no plastic other than the CDs, but the very "artist touch" is the little piece of rope which keeps the paper box closed. Inside, other than the four CD2 there are two booklets with the lyrics and some pictures. The pages, especially on the InSonar booklet remind me to the futurism of the first half of the 20th century.

Now the music: the first remarkable thing is of course the incredible vocal extension of Claudio Milano. Other than him there are very few singers with similar capabilities that I'm aware of: Boris Savoldelli of S.A.D.O. and the former Quintorigo singer John De Leo, but Claudio Milano is the one closer to the vocal experiments of the unlucky Demetrio Stratos. This means that his voice is one of the most important aspects of his music. But not only. The mixture of jazz, electronic and avantgarde music in general is relevant as well.

The two Nichelodeon albums are open by a harp prologue. Harp is quite omnipresent in this album and fits very well with Claudio's voice, especially on his highest notes. On "Un Posto Sicuro" (A Safe Place)the melody has a medieval flavor and it's a good contrast with the percussive background. The chorus has a very good melody, unusual in this genre. A part of the song seems sung in Japanese and it's followed by a coda and closed by an acapella last rhyme.

"Ricordo D'Infanzia" (Childhood's Memory) is incredible. The four harp chords sound medieval or even celtic but if I concentrate on the vocal melody it could come from the early 60s Italian pop, I think to Luigi Tenco. This is a lovely song with lyrics which deserve some attention. Sorry for non-italian speakers. Also on this song the coda changes drastically the song's mood.

Harp again on Surabaya Johhny, but this time instead of the melody we have a sort of teathrical monologue. Who speaks is likely a woman and this adds a touch of ambiguity to the song. The excellent chorus which dives in the same waters of Vangelis "One More Kiss, Dear" and the teathrical performance are again very vintage. I think to an Italian singer as Fred Buscaglione.

"Bolle" (Bubbles) is short. Musicaly I still hear a strong connection with the artsy pop of the first Italian singer-songwriters, these more influenced by the French chansonniers. "Rapporto Sulla Fine DI Una Storia" (report about the end of a story) is, for its melody, a sort of litany, lullaby or nursery rhyme, but it's accopanied by percussion and bells which make the "popular" feeling vanish. "(This Side of )The Looking Glass" has a strong RIO flavor, more than the other songs up to this point. It's closer to the Claudio's solo albums than to the Nichelodeon usual output. A little bit more challenging, but if you follow the melody I think it could be called jazz.. Something like Sinatra playing Carla Bley.

"Desiderio Nascosto"(Hidden Desire) is made of harp (played like a piano), cello and voice. It could have a classical feeling but Claudio's voice with the alternance of high and bass notes gives it the RIO touch. "7 Actions - Music for the Flesh" is a poetry. Claudio's voice is overdubbed several time, but don't think to Bobby McFerrin. He is later joined by tribal percussion. On this track we can hear all his vocal extension. Demetrio Stratos would have liked it.

This "first chapter", entitled "D'Amore e di Vuoto" (Of Love and Emptiness) ends with "Giulia". The subtitle means "born in seven months, dead at the first appointment". The melody is sweet. It's a sort of chamber rock, with mainly harp and flute creating an exciting background for Claudio's voice. The instrumental harp interlude is fantastic. This is the track that I've liked more in this first CD.

The Chapter Two, "Di Guerre e di Rinascite" (Of Wars and Rebirths) starts with "Terra" This word in Italian has many possible meanings: "Earth, Land, Ground, Dirt, Soil" to say few. Listening to the lyrics, I think that "Ground" is the best translation. The melody is obsessive and dark, with drums and double bass in evidence.

It's followed by "Alla Statua Dei Martiri Di Gorla" (To the Monument for Gorla's Martyrs). It has a sad melody and sounds like an epitaph. It was October 20th of 1944 when the Americans bombarded a school killing 184 children. The orders where misinterpreted and the aircrafs turned 22 degrees right instead of left destroying the school instead of a factory. Ok, this is not speaking of music, but even non-italian speakers can appreciate this song, poetry more than a song, knowing what it's about.

"Fuoco Amico (Mai N.A.T.O.)" Friend Fire, where NATO is the Atlantic Alliace, proceeds on this line with a joke about the two words of the title. The melody is very dark thanks also to the cello.

"Trittico 50 mg"(Triptych) has more hermetic lyrics. I have the impression that Claudio is joined by another singer here, instead of being overdubbed. This song is full of musical ideas. I really like what the harp does in this track.

"Johnny Dei Pirati"(Pirates' Johnny) Has a theathrical mood, like a part of an opera. More than just a rock opera I think to Bertolt Brecht. Another very good track with a very consistent melody.

Another war in another time: at the end of 15th Century all the inhabitants of Otranto (about 800 persons) were killed by the troups of the Turkish sultan Ahmet Pasha because the refused the conversion to Islam. Antonio Primaldo is a Catholic Saint. The legend says that after his head was cut, his body stood up in front of the sultan. The song is melodic and quite "light".

"L'urlo Ritrovato"(Rediscovered Scream) is initially sung in Latin. For what I can understand is like a prayer , or the parody of a prayer to Mary and Jesus. After the first part in Latin the Italian lyrics become "crazy". This is another operatic song on which Claudio is joined by a female vocalist. It's the longest song of the Nichelodeon's double CD and the central part of the track is one of the most challenging. The part of drums and brasses explores the free- jazz landscapes. I don't know on which track Calloni and Tofani guested, but this part sounds quite AREA.

"Un Posto Sicuro #2" is the reprise of "A Safe Place", but the medieval mood is disappeared. It has a chamber arrangement on a melody which sounds classic RPI. "Finale(Ninna Nanna)"(Final - Lullaby) is what the ttle says,but of course the lyrics are a tragic parody of a traditional one.

"Portami Un Fiore"(Bring Me A Flower) is a short dissonant closer. Again there's the contrast between a chaotic and dissonant base and the melody sung by Claudio. It's a strange closure. Even if not properly a concept there's a red line across all the tracks. "Finale" would have been perfect as last track, this seems quite an appendix.

However, this is an excellent double album that requires listeners in the right mood and available to pay the right amount of attention to it.

Now the second "double CD" of the boxset. The project is InSonar and even here there's a lot of guests from every part of the world: all the five continents are represented here. It's mainly a duo composed by Claudio Milano and Marco Tuppo, but just give look to the guests list on the album's page. The story of prog, and not only prog, is there.

InSonar is a different project. Maybe less challenging than Nichelodeon is naturally based on Claudio Milano's voice. The first track "The Simpsons Sing Gounod" is a kind of a joke, with Claudio's voice overdubbed in a crazy choir which we can imagine as the Simpsons.

A friend told me that the chorus of "L'Estasi Di Santo Nessuno"(The ecstasys of Saint Nobody) reminds to the PFM "Dolcissima Maria". This only to say that the connection with the classic RPI is evident as with Nichelodeon, but this project is not as dark as Bath Salts is.

"La Stanza A Sonagli" jokes again with the words. It can be translated as "rattleroom" as a "Serpente A Sonagli" is a rattlesnake . A difference respect to Nichelodeon is the use of electronics. After two minutes we are in a sort of drone enriched by Claudio's high pitches. It's not too dissimilar from the experimental side of Battiato in the late 70s.

"Thief Of Toys" is quite different so that I had the suspect that it could have been a cover of some song that I don't know. For some reason it has reminded me to Patti Smith's "Land".

"L'Inventasogni"(The Dreammaker) is the first track which can be called "difficult". Possibly the picture on the InSonar's album cover is inspired to this song. This is mainly a piece of free jazz with piano drums and sax in great shape.

"Menura Latham" is pure avantgarde with a bit of electronics based principally on drums and percussion. I can't describe it. Just listen. "Gallia #1" seems sung in French. The flavor is French as well. It's like a "Chansonnier's" song contaminated by avant arrangements. You can hear Claudio singing on high pitches and taking one very high and powerful note.

Now surprise: a Velvet Underground's cover. "Venus In Furs". Different enough from the original version but still recognisable. Here Claudio sings on bass pitches. More thanto Velvets to me it sounds more close to Joy Division.

"Dieci Bambini Cacao"(Ten Cocoa Children) is opened by keyboards and sounds very electronic. The song itself reminds me of Nichelodeon's "Malamore E La Luna" which is one of my favorite Nichelodeon's songs.

Finally, "Hamelinvoice" is another joke on words. Hamlin is the city of the "magic flute" of the Grimm's brothers. Claudio uses his voice instead of a flute. The story of Hamlin which is likely derived from something really happened in the year 1264 could sound like a horror story.

The first of the two InSonar CDs, "Enfant" is gone. To "Ashima" now.

"Liberami - Tabernacolo Erotico"(Free me - Erotic tabernacle) is a jazzy and electronic improvisation (maybe). Chaotic.

"Song To The Siren" is a Tim Buckley cover. It's I think the first time that guitar can be heard on this album. The song is fantastic and this cover, even though very different from the original, keeps the song's mood intact.

"Cancion Del Jinete" is a poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca. Knowing this fact, we can appreciate the "Andalician mood" of the track. I know that somebody else has put it in music, but this is the first version that I hear. The violin which emerges from the chaos is a great idea.

"La Torre Piu' Alta"(The highest Tower) has a middle-eastern floky flavor. The untuned notes sung by Claudio an remind to a Muezzi, then they change into a sort of Berber chant. After this intro the music is clearly arabic. An unusual ethno-folk effort with an unexpected jazz clarinet in the middle. It smoothly looses the ethnic element to be transformed into a noisy track, then back to North Africa. The lyrics may be both Arabic or Hebrew, I can't say.

After this chaos the famous romance composed in the 18th century by Jean Paul Martini appears strange, but it's just the first impression. It's so weirdly arranged that it can be recognized only because the chorus is so well-known.

Another cover: The Eno-Bowie "Warszawa" from "Low" (my first Bowie purchase many years ago). Calling it a cover may seem inappropriate as I can hardly recognize it, but it's one of the most relaxing tracks of the whole boxset.

"Gallia #2" starts instrumental and is sung in Italian, so not what one could expect from a #2. It's not what I mean as a follow-up or a second part. This is a challenging track. After about 4 hours of music, a track of this kind is not easy to listen.

"Medina" has a very slow crescendo from the initial silence. After about two minutes there's a major chord growing, then becoming minor. I can call it Progressive Electronic. It reminds me to Alio Die, even in the use of percussion.

After listening to the whole in one shot I need some rock and roll....jokes apart, this is a split release and the originals are effectively two double CDs, not a unique 4CD thing, so I can't say that the length is a defect. Both the albums are challenging and even if both are Claudio Milano's projects, they are very different. Dark and dramatic the first, Experimental and jazzy the second.

There's still something that doesn't make my cry for the masterpiece, but 4 stars are well deserved for both the albums. Enjoy. Just be sure to be in the right mood.

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 NichelOdeon Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.86 | 8 ratings

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

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Bath Salts" / "L'Enfant Et Le Menure" is a box-set featuring a double disc recording from NICHELODEON along with a double disc recording from a band called INSONAR. Claudio Milano the gifted singer from Italy is the connection between the two projects as he sings on both works. I've already reviewed the NICHELODEON discs seperately on this site so i'll focus on the INSONAR discs. INSONAR is basically Claudio Milano and Marco Tuppo with an enormous amount of guests helping out. Some will recognize several of these musicians like Nik Turner(HAWKWIND), Paolo Tofani(AREA), Walter Calloni who played with PFM in the eighties, Richard Ingram who played on OCEANSIZE's first Ep, Trey Gunn & Pat Mastellotto(KING CRIMSON), Graham Clark who played with GONG in the nineties, Dieter Moebius(CLUSTER) and many, many more. I much prefer these two discs to the NICHELODEON ones in this box set as they instrumentally match the adventerous and challenging vocals of Claudio Milano. I found this true as well of NICHELODEON's "Il Gioco Del Silenzo" record where the music was as entertaining as the vocals which is something I felt was missing with the NICHELODEON discs in this box-set.

Up first is the "L'Infant" disc at almost 60 minutes in length. The first thing we hear on the first track "The Simpsons Sing Gounod" is Claudio's high pitched scream as it were before he continues with vocal expressions. Not much else going on here other than that though. Not a good start and "L'Istali Di Santo Nessuno" doesn't do much to change that. "La Stanza A Sonagli" is where I start to get excited as before 2 minutes we get a lot of atmosphere as Claudio offers up some vocal expressions. So good ! "Thief Of Toys" opens with piano before Claudio sings in English. Other instruments help out but the focus is on the lyrics here. Nice sax later on. "L'Inventasogni" is an eerie track with laid back vocals that match the haunting atmosphere. Sax, drums and piano only standout later. Nice.

"Menura Latham" opens with what sounds like a music box playing in slow motion. Other intricate sounds take over in this eerie piece. I like it ! It gets intense late. "Gallia #1" is again spooky with vocals to match. Haunting sounds sweep across the soundscape. Amazing ! "Venus In Furs" was written by Lou Reed apparently. The vocals are deep and determined here and I love the atmosphere. Another winner. "Dieci Bambini Cacao" features a ton of atmosphere as laid back vocals join in. There are some really cool instrumental sounds on this one. "Hamelinvoice" ends disc one. Again it's spooky before the vocals join in but the eerie mood continues throughout.

Disc two is called "Ashima" and it clocks in at 40 minutes. It's my favourite of the two discs. "Liberami- Tabernacolo Erotico" opens with creepy vocals and the music to match. Gottal love when the intensity rises with sax. Love the last minute that brings UNIVERS ZERO to mind. "Song To The Siren" was written in part by Tim Buckley. This sounds so good to start with the atmosphere. I know i'm repeating myself alot when it comes to the atmosphere but I love it. Vocals join in and they almost sound cosmic here. Beautiful stuff. The female vocal melodies late bring IN THE WOODS... to mind. "Cancion Del Jinete" opens with sounds that echo before these angry vocals take over with a background that is adventerous to say the least. Crazy but oh so good. "La Torre Piu Alta" is almost Eastern sounding to start as vocal melodies help out. Different is the word here but man this is good. Like a deranged version of a DEAD CAN DANCE song with that World music flavour.

"Plaisir D'Amour" is certainly out there with the vocal expressions and laughter but the music works perfectly with them. Check out the creepy atmosphere 1 1/2 minutes in. Love when it picks up a minute later without vocals. This reminds me of KING CRIMSON but more haunting of course. "Warwaza" written by Bowie and Eno is a slow moving affair and the vocals don't arrive until around 4 minutes in. "Gaillia #2" is haunting with strings and lots of atmosphere. "Medina" ends it and it sounds like mellotron sweeping through in waves early on. Gorgeous sounds throughout this track.

I'm giving this box-set 4 stars overall. It's packaged beautifully and while I feel the NICHELODEON discs aren't as good as the INSONAR ones, there's enough here to recommend it for those who are into adventerous music.

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 Bath Salts by NICHELODEON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.49 | 11 ratings

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Bath Salts
Nichelodeon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars NicholOdeon present this double CD treat with a 48 page booklet featuring striking paintings and an odd assortment of artwork; visual poetry by Effe Luciani and photos by Andrea Corbellini. The 2 CD package of "Bath Salts" comes with the delightful addition of In Sonar's 2 albums "L'Enfant et le Menure", and "Ashima", all wrapped up with string in an elegant autographed handmade box, that has a black texture and green shimmering lipstick; each as unique as the next. This is an original idea and certainly catches the attention even before the music begins. The art in particular is wonderful and seems to be symbolic of the content within. This is a mammoth project by instigator visionary Claudio Milano, who is joined by a plethora of talented musicians; Raoul Moretti, Pierangelo PANdiscia, Vincenzo Zitello, with Michel Delville (The Wrong Object), Walter Calloni, Paolo Tofani, Valerio Cosi, Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (Larsen), Alfonso Santimone, Stefano Delle Monache, Elio Martusciello, Paolo Carelli, Lorenzo Sempio, Max Pierini, Andrea Breviglieri, Andrea Murada, Massimo Falascone, Sebastiano de Gennaro (Baustelle), Giorgio Tiboni, Laura Catrani, Valentina Illuminati, Ivano La Rosa, Luca Pissavini, Alessandro Parilli, Francesco Chiapperini, Andrea Quattrini, Fabrizio Carriero, Anna Caniglia, Marco Confalonieri, Simone Pirovano, Simone Beretta. Milano states that the album is: "A concept audio book about cannibalism in interpersonal relationships. 5 Decades of Italian (but not only) avant garde music under the same sky (32 musicians). A contemporary minstrel enchanted by Brecht/Artaud/Beckett/Ágota Kristóf. A grounded bridge between sound, literature, visual arts and theatre." It certainly is a unique visual experience.

"Bath Salts" opens on CD 1 'Capitolo 1 D'Amore e di Vuoto' with 'Prologo' featuring chiming Celtic harp that sprinkles the atmosphere with an angelic fragrance. The Italian vocals are handled with aplomb by Milano, with a tinge of sadness and melancholy. A haunting melody follows on 'Un Posto sicuro' peppered by Electrocaustic harp, Santoor and Alto Sax. The music wanders along aimlessly like a lost soul searching for meaning, and the mournful vocals are unsettling and alienating. 'Ricordo d'Infanzia' is a minimalist piece driven by lilting harp (6:23) and Milano's aching soulful voice. There is a disquieting ending with chilling shrieks, ethereal wind and guttural deep resonances.

The harp takes on a heavenly quality on 'Surabaya Johnny' and there is a distinct time signature change. Again it is minimalist with Milano's voice overpowering and a lonely musical accompaniment, no drums, just harp. Milano has a field day on this reaching high register falsetto, and octave changes from low to high effortlessly. 'Bolle' features a cacophony of string instruments such as Viola, Marimba, Cello and Harp in turn as Milano sings with true power. I love the instrumentation here as they compete against each other and yet have an appealing dissonance.

'Rapporto sulla Fine di una Storia' has a quirky melody, still off kilter and the odd assortment of instrumentations and vocals is akin to Magma's sound. There are some unsettling piano phrases and really weird effects on this as well as overlaid musings and vocalisations that take this one to another level of dementia.

'(This Side of) The Looking Glass' is a piece written by Peter Hammill so it is of interest in particular to a VDGG addict such as myself. It has that existentialist feel that Hammill exudes and is as disturbing in content as the rest of these tracks. The English vocals made it more pleasant for me as I could at least comprehend what it is all about such as "I am left to pass these nights alone." The song is about coping with madness and perhaps signifies the rest of the album. It is again a depressing soundscape about emptiness, isolation and the human condition.

'Desiderio nascosto' has delightful harp and Cello played by Zitello, and Milano reaches his falsetto range to create an ambient atmosphere of beauty. AZIONI - Musica per la Carne has an array of percussion instruments, some of which are very rare according to the liner notes, and the sound is generated over Milano singing and some oral readings. The Italian is heavily pronounced and given a measure of passion over a mere semblance of melody. Milano moves from piercing screeches to a low guttural tone at will; the experimental vocals are at the extreme end of the scale when it comes to Avant RIO, anything but pleasant listening and this is intentional. 'Giulia - nata in 7 Mesi, morta al primo Appuntamento' closes CD 1 with harps and bass flutes, a gorgeous resonance. The peaceful atmosphere is relaxing to the soul after the dissonance previously. Moretti is a master musician on harp and really shines beautifully. Zitello joins on Alto and bass Flute as the tempo quickens and the track becomes more intense. The flute solo at the end is exquisite, and this is easily my favourite piece on CD 1.

CD 2 'Capitolo II. Di Guerre e Rinascite' begins with 'Terra' stands out as it features a woman's vocals towards the end, and the track has a hissing sound with some ghostly reverberations, and a definite measured cadence. Again it feels like a Magma sound, though without the incessant drums of Vander dominating. The rattling on the track is made by rattling nails, and this is an enhancement that provides a deeply disturbing soundscape.

'Alla Statua dei Martiri di Gorla' is a lengthy track at 9:23 driven by harp and deep Cello vibrations. There are even stone slab sounds thrown in and some slices of violin. The track goes on for quite a duration and takes some patience as there is very little variation. 'Fuoco Amico - mai N.A.T.O.' has a delightful Cello rasping as we hear Milano reach a low growl and then launch into high register.

'Trittico 50 mg' has some odd percussion and irregular rhythms with a multilayered vocal from Milano at either end of the octave scale. The harmony oddly enough has a hypnotic power. It becomes a bit heavy to handle in places but I love when the piano comes in with a strong staccato melody, sounding Avant classical. 'Johnny dei Pirati' is dominated by harp, has a Japanese sound, and Milano is a constant presence on emotive Italian vocals. The E- bow Guitar has an interesting sound on this.

'Secca in Festa - Lode ad Antonio Primaldo' is perhaps my favourite track on CD 2 as it has a gorgeous melody, a beautiful musical accompaniment and Milano sounding pleasant. 'L'Urlo ritrovato' is the longest piece clocking in at 12:45, and it is driven by floating swathes of violin and harp that keep an irregular pattern over Milano's vocalisations. When the female operatic voice chimes in I was delighted as it made such a difference to the atmosphere. Laura Catrani has a sweet tone in her voice with a sensual quality that is haunting. This is a very complex track even featuring some odd readings from some actors that must have meaning but I have no idea what they are saying, so I feel I am missing the point here. Having an avid interest in theatre, this missing piece of the puzzle is tantalising, so I must find out what it is about. The way the actors are carrying on, moaning, laughing, and arguing and even arousing one another, has a very ethereal atmosphere as we hear some eerie music. I can guess it is a break up between lovers or they have perhaps gone mad; the music itself has the atmosphere of an asylum.

'Un Posto sicuro #2' has a steady cadence, with violins and harps taking over. 'Finale - Ninna Nanna' features an angelic harp, wire chimes, Japanese flute and Sax drone, so unsurprisingly sounds very oriental and it is distinctly calming to the senses. The album closes with 'Portami un Fiore', a short piece with bleating vocals and more minimalist music with harps, viola and electronics; an unsettling sound that screeches and has an ominous timbre. The album ends on a note that not all ends well; the descent into madness is complete.

Like a lot of RIO or Avant Prog I found this to be a very challenging experience and at times grating on the nerves; though if I knew Italian the experience would obviously have more meaning. It was fun to put my own meaning to the music. There are passages of beauty and mesmirising moments particularly on harp and strings that are heavenly for the most part. Milano has a keen sense of the theatrical in his vocal resonations, emotive falsetto battling with his low growl, acutely Italian flavours and taunting experimental sounds. The conceptual project has some dreamy, gentle nuances, that swoon over in the instrumental sections and then break out into odd angular rhythms; and with Milano's vocal presence it is evident that this is an album dripping with passion and highly charged emotive power. The degree of high strangeness may or may not be to the average listener's taste but the music is designed for those with an attuned ear to dissonance and discordance rather than a commercial standard sound. It is an acquired taste in essence, completely out of the box, however it is certainly an original approach from NichelOdeon; guaranteed to inspire many artists venturing into the murky territory of disturbing RIO soundscapes.

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 NichelOdeon Boxset/Compilation, 2013
3.86 | 8 ratings

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

Review by lor68
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Finally I've the splendid opportunity to review this recent box-set regarding "Bath Salts" + In Sonar "L'Enfant et le Mènure", such an ambitious project by Claudio Milano: talking about the project Insonar, featuring Elliott Sharp, plus some members of PFM, King Crimson, Area, Hawkwind, Gong and so many other musicians coming from every part of the world, my reaction has been soon enthusiastic, cause They represent a lot of different music genres, such as the electronic music, the experimental jazz, the classical music, the experimental rock and so on...(regardless the audio book, such a great idea!!).

Moreover, in particular, I found that the audio book by "L'Enfant et le Mènure" is so much interesting and pleasant, and also more accessible in comparison to the previous production by Claudio Milano with Nichelodeon: the theme regarding the childhood, making us reflect a lot, as for the intelligent music approach by Claudio, is so interesting after all, and the band give us the opportunity to explore the "historical" instruments from every part of the world! For me every tool is suitable and well fitted into this "magical" word of sound.

Here is the main reason for which Claudio has chosen the splendid cover versions concerning some important and excellent artists, such as Tim Buckley, David Bowie/Brian Eno, the Velvet Undeground, regardless all the interesting "Arias", well enriched by means of the lyrics by Garcia Lorca, Agatha Christie and David Lynch!

I like the experimental vocalism by Claudio and his natural sound, such a versatile project whithin this dramatic album; even though perhaps the other double album- of which I will tell you soon- is a bit less "harsh" and experimental, but always complex and characterized by a great team work and a fantastic songwriting as well!!

Talking about "Bath Salts", always under the label LIZARD, here Nichelodeon introduce the subject regarding the difficult relationships among the people in general: They talk about "cannibalism", but anyway here you find another dramatic theme, this is pure avante garde music; and I love the combination between for instance the theatre a-la Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill (regarding the foreigner authors) or a-la Fiorenzo Carpi (regarding the Italian one) with the experimantal sound and the most intelligent visual arts. Besides the Peter Hammil's cover is well worth checking out and if you take it alone, it's already worth the price of the whole "ticket".

Claudio is so brave, in composing the "pieces" of this intricate puzzle and, moreover, He's been able to resume all the interests and the versatile styles which have characterized his splendid career.

A masterpiece, which is almost worth a 5 stars score

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