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GARAMOND

RIO/Avant-Prog • Italy


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Garamond biography
GARAMOND are a quintet hailing from Ancona, in the Marche region of central Italy. They were formed in 2001, and released their first demo, "Bucodicubo", in 2004. Their debut album, "Quant'Altro", released in 2007 by Lizard Records, is actually a compilation featuring songs composed by the band in the years 2001-2005. They have also contributed one track ("Canto XVI") to "Dante's Inferno", the 4-CD project issued by Colossus/Musea in the first half of 2009.

GARAMOND's music, though influenced by the likes of FRANK ZAPPA, HENRY COW and OPUS AVANTRA, as well as classic symphonic prog, is highly original and innovative - as witnessed by the critical acclaim received by the band, both for their recorded output and their live activity (which started in 2003).

Raffaella Berry (Raff) - September 2009

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3.88 | 11 ratings
Quant'Altro
2007

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GARAMOND Reviews


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 Quant'Altro by GARAMOND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.88 | 11 ratings

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Quant'Altro
Garamond RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I adore this record. The Avant style with Laura Agostinelli sounding like the female version of Demetrio Stratos just blows me away. The abundance of cello and sax is icing on the cake really. I love their sound though and I got the shock of my life when I sat down to do this review and saw that this album was released in 2007, I swear I thought I was listening to seventies Rio / Avant music. This album is entertaining and filled with surprises and lights out playing, I just can't say enough about the "sound" of this band.

"Consumatore Di Sonno" is the over 15 minute opening track. It opens with the clock ticking and spacey synths.The music comes in and builds.The cello and sax are prominant. It all stops as the vocals come in at 2 minutes. Keys too then cello and sax return. A calm after 6 1/2 minutes then the drums build.The vocals a minute later are high pitched. Piano takes over then we get a full sound with fast paced theatrical vocals. Sax is prominant and dissonant before 10 1/2 minutes. I like the different sounds that come and go like piano, sax, organ and cello.Vocals are back before 13 minutes. A calm with piano follows then it kicks back in. An alarm goes off to end the song.Yeah this was a dream wasn't it ? Brilliant !

"La Fine Del Ca De Luzi" is a short track led by piano, sax and cello. "Il Gesulta Millantatore" is almost 11 minutes long. It features sax melodies to start and i'm reminded of AREA as cello, drums and bass help out. Organ too. So much going on. Great sound. Vocals before 2 minutes as it settles and the sax and cello come and go. So good. Man she can sing. "Filastrocca All'oracolo" has a catchy rhythm with cello, vocals and organ. Sax a minute in. Love the enthusiasm here. "La Saga Degli Immaginari" opens with sax, drums and organ. Reserved vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as it settles. It's experimental 3 minutes in with strange vocal expressions and sax. It picks back up after 5 minutes with organ, bass, sax and drums. Nice. Vocals are back before 7 1/2 minutes. "Beatamente Plagiati" opens with male spoken words before a buzzer goes off followed by an avant soundscape. Soon we're listening to Electronic music. Go figure ? "Ommagio Al Dottor Zoidberg" opens with sax and an electronic beat. It kicks in but the tempo continues to change.The sax is prominant throughout though. "Drazil" opens with vocals in the soprano range. I like the rhythm that follows as piano and sax support. Contrasts continue. Some insane vocals in this one and spacey synths. "Situazione Angolare" has this eerie vibe to it as piano and vocals lead.

This is both challenging and fun but above all very enjoyable.

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 Quant'Altro by GARAMOND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.88 | 11 ratings

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Quant'Altro
Garamond RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It's so noisy at the fair...

Garamond is an amazing band from Ancona, Italy. Their first album on Lizard Records is a collection of their work from 2001-2005 and feels remarkably sophisticated considering the tender age they were back then. (Most of the members were born in the early 80s). The most obvious initial comparison that pops into my head with Garamond is an updated version of the legendary Opus Avantra, but Garamond are not pigeonholed by any easy name dropping. I would also say I hear or feel bits of Zappa, Yugen, SADO, Gentle Giant, Area, chamber prog like Gatto Marte but with more attitude injected throughout. This is refreshing, sometimes insane, sometimes beautiful, and always FUN stuff!

Their work is like a day at the summer carnival after a few hits. So many strange sites and sounds. Exotic lights, strange people, scary rides, and multi-coloured sweets drinks from the vendors---and it gets better at night when the moon comes up and the young couples shine and the bands sweat. The tracks are superbly composed to juggle the high talent levels of the musicians. They glide around each other like trapeze artists, the keyboards of Danilo Orlandini creating the atmospheres for the tight rhythm section of Riccardo Soleni on bass and Diego Vitaioli on drums. The spice ingredients are coming from piano and violin at times, but more often the lead is taken by tenor saxophonist Giovanni Breccia. He's all over the place, at times creating a more relaxed vibe and other time pure craziness. A special acclaim must go to the lovely and talented Laura Agostinelli who makes Garamond extra special. She has amazing control of her voice, capable of sweetness and range, but also of getting experimental ala Stratos with strange guttural noises, wild banter, and mysterious character voices. Her work on "Drazil" is just splendid-makes me smile every time! Most of the tracks are written by Olandini, with lyrics mostly by Agostinelli, and arrangements shared by the group.

So cast your cares away and go from soothing chamber prog to intense avant-fusion to experimental spacetronica in short order! Even among purveyors of the avant music styles Garamond find something outside the box, yet the results remain pleasantly listenable even though challenging. I'm not someone who appreciates weirdness for the sake of it, I need the challenging stuff to retain that element of warmth that makes me care. Garamond covers those bases. The 15 minute opener "Nel Sogno di Otfon Brunzig" is the coolest concoction of lovely violin (Cristiano Giuseppetti) with Laura putting forth her most formal vocal, the track moves from place to place like film scenes. Occasional bursts of energy punctuated with sax are later soothed with piano, the vocal moving from pure beauty to moments from a Fellini film. Drummer Vitaioli drives the frenetic portions masterfully with controlled tension. In "La Saga Degli Immaginari" a relatively pretty, peaceful beginning falls into a surreal interlude with a cacophony of strange babblings, almost like a mind drifting in and out of reality. The entire album maintains the quality, the affirmation of joy for music, and the lack of inhibition to try anything, even if the occasional juggling pin is dropped in the process. Very few are! The short closer features some delightful piano from guest Elena Montali. A strange, incomplete ending which leaves one dying to know what's behind the next curtain--but alas, the carnival has pulled up stakes and headed for the next village.

I suppose the only criticism I have is that the CD does sometimes sound like a collection of tracks as opposed to connected work, which makes sense as they were created over a period of time. It doesn't degrade the recording, but it does make me want to hear what they could do in a short period of time concentrating on unified pieces of music. The Garamond CD is stunning achievement for this young band and is nearly essential for Avant fans and adventurous RPI fans alike. Highly recommended---it makes the special shelf on my RPI wall. I do hope we hear from this band again. If I were one of the Italian prog labels, I'd be falling all over myself to handle their next album.

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 Quant'Altro by GARAMOND album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.88 | 11 ratings

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Quant'Altro
Garamond RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by 1967/ 1976

3 stars OH, QUANTO SIAMO BRAVI... (eng: 'Oh, how good we are).

I do not think that some albums are for everyone. The difficulty for those who have sufficient knowledge of the avant garde Prog in the case of Garamond is very high. In first because garamond style is Jazz and Rock mix with Zappa and Canterbury but the evolution of Garamont is clear that in kind of music that I call 'abstract music'.

'Quant'altro' (eng: 'Whatever) is a typical Lizard Records album because is an album not commercial. I do not have sufficient knowledge to judge the music. Yet I can say that 'Quant'altro' is the kind of album that I call: 'Oh, how good we are'! only that in this case the music is good for me.

I do not have a particular song that please more respect to other song. So please me the sound, extreme modern in the way of tradiction. Some songs are pure mad songs, other songs are more close to Frank Zappa and other songs are Canterbury (also if not fir sound). In general the songs have a good RPI trademark (also not all the songs have this trademark).

Certainly, if avant garde prog is your type of prog Garamond is another band that should be investigated.

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Thanks to raff for the artist addition.

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