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ARMONITE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Armonite biography
Another very difficult band to compare, very original music indeed. ARMONITE, an Italian band that knows well how to combine classical music with rock, created a great companion of every music lover. The sound impact that flows from the particular line-up of the band is remarkable: two electric violins, keyboards, bass and drums can create sweet melodies characterized by original rhythmic patterns that make this band a prog-rock band. Sometimes melodic with a very personal sound, sometimes even close to UK! Also some medieval influence can be heard here and there. I'll only say that if you need an easy-listening classical rock album, that's the one for you. Anyway, I know one thing. "Inuit" is an instrumental release and a great piece of art.

In 2015, violinist Jacopo Bigi and composer Paolo Fosso formed a new band while borrowing the name of their old one. Joining the original members was Porcupine Tree's bassist, Colin Edwin and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt. The new album "The Sun is New Each Day" is produced by the first producer of Muse, Paul Reeve, with mastering at the Abbey Road Studios. It expands on the classical violin sounds of the first album with an added jazz/fusion energy, ethnic favours and even electronic elements.

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InuitInuit
Import
Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$14.99 (used)
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ARMONITE discography


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

3.46 | 22 ratings
Inuit
1999
3.98 | 17 ratings
The Sun is New Each Day
2015

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

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

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ARMONITE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Sun is New Each Day by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.98 | 17 ratings

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The Sun is New Each Day
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Sun is New Each Day' - Armonite (78/100)

I have an undying respect for Italy's progressive rock underground. In the good old days they were arguably second only to the British prog powerhouse, and even then they had a theatrical sound that was distinctly their own. I'm not sure it would be quite fair to lump Armonite in the same canon as Premiata Forneria Marconi and their ilk, there's a similar sense of adventurousness in their sound that you seldom hear in modern prog anymore. The Sun is New Each Day bridges the gap between avant-prog and art rock. Blended together under an instrumental approach, it's surprising that this is only Armonite's second album. While they're a bit too eclectic to have a distinctive sound of their own, their consummate playfulness clearly indicates they're confident enough to know what they're doing.

In my experience of avant-prog, I've noticed groups fall into one of two categories. The first focus heavily on the cerebral element of the avant-garde, treating their art as an intellectual exercise. The second tries to inject that serious framework with character and humour. While it's lamentable that few of these artists are as skilled as comedians as they are as musicians, it's a great blend when it works well. It's impressive in its own right that Armonite are able to get the impression of humour across with a minimum of vocals. Save for a handful of spoken word samples, The Sun is New Each Day is entirely instrumental, but you can still tell Armonite approach their craft with tongue-in-cheek. Arguably the best example of their humour at work is on "Insert Coin", where a playful rhythm is spruced up with 8-bit video game samples.

Musically, Armonite are defined by Jacopo Bigi's electric violin arguably filling in the role of a lead guitar. Although the band's sound shifts too much more song to song to develop a singular sense of character, his violin carries a lot of the band's performance along. As performers, Armonite are at the top of their game; such as it is, I'm shocked they've been relatively silent since their debut release nearly two decades ago. Veteran proggers may be excited to hear that Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin takes part on the album. The thick bass grooves on PT's material are replaced here by playful licks, but the same talent is undeniable. Hopefully it won't be another sixteen years before we hear another record from Armonite. This approach may have been heard before, but it's not often you hear it done with such liveliness.

 The Sun is New Each Day by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.98 | 17 ratings

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The Sun is New Each Day
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Armonite began life in Pavia in 1996 and in 1999 released an interesting debut album entitled Inuit on the independent label Mellow Records. After a long hiatus, in 2014 the band came back to life on the initiative of Paolo Fosso (keyboards) and Jacopo Bigi (electric violin), two classical trained musicians in love with rock and modern audio-visual arts. For the recording sessions of their new album, The Sun Is New Each Day, thanks to the new technologies who allow working via internet, the line up was temporarily completed with the contribute of British bassist Colin Edwin (from Porcupine Tree) and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt while the guest Marcello Rosa played cello on two tracks. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Paul Reeve in Cornwall, mastered by Geoff Pesche at the Abbey Road Studios in London and finally digitally self-released in 2015 on bandcamp with a nice art work by Cyril Rolando a.k.a. AquaSixio.

The album features nine relatively short instrumental tracks where violin and keyboards perfectly interact with each other weaving charming melodic lines backed by the tight rhythm section. The classical influences are strong but always mixed with gusto and extravaganza, there are no long suites and although the pieces are not overtly complex they are never banal and the music flows away without weak moments. According to the band, some of the pieces were conceived as short soundtracks and some videos were shot to complete in some way the music. It's the case of the nice opener "Suitcase War", suspended between classical tradition and modernity, where you can see in the video the band performing in a virtual, empty opera theatre with the help of a remote drummer...

The following "Connect Four" blends touches of electronica, a bit of folk and brushes of classical taste and leads to the frenzied "G as in Gears" that features a short narrative vocal part evoking a commuter's routine, then comes "Sandstorm" that conjures up Oriental sceneries and ethnic flavours... The overall sound is well refined and the songwriting brilliant and full of nuances, although every now and again light reminiscences of albums such as Jet Leg by Premiata Forneria Marconi or Florian by Le Orme could come to mind the band sound modern and not stuck in the past at all.

The disquieting "Slippery Slope", the dreamy "Satellites", the hectic "Die Grauen Herren", the delicate, romantic "Le temps qui fait ta rose" and the conclusive, video-game inspired "Insert Coin" complete a coherent and cohesive set that in my opinion is really worth listening to.

The aim of the band is to play their music live as much as possible, that's why you can legally download the complete album for free: the musicians just hope that you will enjoy the music and spread the word out to help them to find gigs around the world, so... Well, have a try and judge by yourselves!

 Inuit by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.46 | 22 ratings

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Inuit
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Short-lived Italian act from Pavia, Italy with a unique line-up featuring two electric violin players.Armonite was an idea of drummer Gabriele Rossi, who recruited Giovanni Lanfranchi and Jacopo Bigi in 1996 and completed the line-up with bassist/flutist Andrea Bacchio and keyboardist Paolo Fosso.Several succesful live performances would follow and after a year of hard work Armonite self-released their debut ''Inuit'' in 1999, re-released a year later by Mellow Records.

Things are simple.If you love the sound of violins, refined melodies and calm atmospheres, Armonite is your band.Six instrumentals along with an intro and a short outro of a total running time under 40 minutes is the proposal of this unique Italian group and the style draws influences from Classical Music as well as modern Progressive/Art Rock, delivering them in a very smooth and elaborated way.The approach of the band is trully personal with dominant use of dual violins and sometimes delicate flutes, supported by a solid rhythm section and the careful use of background synths and pianos by Fosso.The musicians are all excellent, no question, but on the other hand the tracks sound extremely similar with little diversity and the album generally shows a lack in dynamics with these five Italians insisting on creating relaxed and dreamy soundscapes with no presence of more energetic parts, though some moments offer a somewhat dramatic twist.

A few years after this work nothing was heard about Armonite and it seems that the band dissolved as silently as it entered the music world.''Inuit'' is an original work of violin-driven instrumental Art Rock with the simple aim to please all fans of melodic, instrumental Rock music.Recommended.

 Inuit by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.46 | 22 ratings

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Inuit
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Twin turb.......make that twin electric violins galore.

To my knowledge, this is the only album this Italian combo ever released. By having two electric violins, they can claim some originality. The music itself is not that special and original although the twin electric violins gives this album it's own identity. The music is mostly easy listening music with some intense violin playing over some pretty laid back drums, bass, tangents and some flute. There is no doubts that the violins is the main instruments here.

The music is bordering to muzak with also a strong hint of fusion. But thankfully, the music is not muzak and they manages to keep the music interesting throughout. This album was the perfect soundtrack for today's sunny saturday after finishing of some outdoors activitities and some housework. Relaxing music which did not tax my brain too much. There are some good melody lines scattered around this album. The overall quality is good, but not particular great. In short; it is one of the many good albums in my collection.

For those into fusion or easy listening prog without to much emphasis on rock, this album will do it for you.

3 stars

 Inuit by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.46 | 22 ratings

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Inuit
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Two lead e-violinists!

Violin-lovers listen up! The now defunct one-shot band Armonite was born in 1996 when drummer Gabrielle Rossi met up with two talented violinists (Jacopo Bigi and Giovanni Lanfranchi) to begin a project. They added a keyboardist from a prog-metal act and a bassist from a Dream Theater cover band. If that sounds like a scary prospect I can assure you there is nothing to fear. The band Armonite began writing and playing gigs, finally seeing a CD release on Mellow in December of 1999. I am not certain how long they were together but unfortunately "Inuit" with its mysterious cover art was their only release.

The album has an intro and outro of one minute each which feature strange sound effects and odd female choir vocals, very lovely, and very sadly just a teaser. There are no other vocals in the six main tracks and this is a real shame, because those vocals would add just the depth that this album needs. However, it is still a very worthwhile and unique collection. Unique because there is no guitar on this album and just the brief mentioned vocals. Above all else "Inuit" is an album for lovers of the violin. The typical guitar and vocals are replaced by two accomplished violinists who handle the lead parts of the tracks, the melodies and direction. Drummer Rossi and bassist Andrea Bacchio provide a very solid and yet delicate rhythm section, minimizing heaviness for something a bit classical and elegant here. The other wild card is keyboardist Paolo Fosso who wrote most of the material and also contributes flute. He has thankfully set aside his Dream Theater tribute band skills and opted for spirited elegance as well, playing synth and piano both complimentary and sometimes in direct reaction to what the two violinists are doing around him. I don't want to give the impression this is a snoozy, sluggish affair. The songs are dexterous and light on their feet, often full of energy and edgy rhythmic pursuits. Great drum fills and bass lines flesh out the inventive songwriting. This leaves Lanfranchi and Bigi to do the rest on their electric violins and they are up to the challenge. They are everywhere, from offering beautiful counterpoint to some of Fosso's gorgeous piano twinkling, or adding tension with some frenzied build-up. "Agora" is a favorite, the most classical sounding track with lots of piano, it almost reminds me a bit of Quella Vecchia Locanda which is one of my favorite RPI bands. Overall however the band lacks the same level of dynamics and importance QVL possessed.

A truly lovely outing full of classy energetic numbers, "Inuit" would be so much better with some well-timed, crystal clear soprano Italian vocals to add another color. As it is I still recommend this rare gem for any fan of violin-filled lighter RPI. The 8-page Mellow booklet features a band bio and nice portraits of the group. The sound quality is pretty good, clear, but perhaps could use more oomph on the low end.

 Inuit by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.46 | 22 ratings

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Inuit
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by geezer

4 stars ****1/2

Armonite is a very interesting nineties Italian group. They have a really unique approach because there are two electric violinists in the line-up. There are not any guitars; the violins create the melodies that are left from the absence of guitars. This makes their music much more original than the music of an average progressive group. Due to the unusual line-up their music is light melodic progressive but it's still very energetic nevertheless. The violins are really great and you don't miss the missing guitar at all. The keyboardist plays mostly electric piano (some really beautiful piano melodies) and it suits the overall sound really nicely and makes the music even more melodic. He also provides some flute solos. This album is so not for people who don't like light melodic progressive with classical influences. Despite the light, not so complex sound, the music can be regarded truly progressive and original. Unfortunately, the band split up right after the release of this debut album.

All tracks in this only album are highly melodic and good. The best tracks are "Amebah", "Eos Aurora" and "Agora", all with very beautiful melodies. I find the music very relaxing and delicate. This is great progressive, more classical than rock. Splendid.

Conclusion: Fantastic melodic progressive.

 Inuit by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.46 | 22 ratings

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Inuit
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Marcelo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Between the short medieval opening and closing tracks (less than a minute each one), ARMONITE offers a really delicated music mainly based on two electric violins with soft piano background (yes, there aren't guitars).

The interplay among instruments is very nice, providing (sadly) only a half hour of calm and pleasant melodies. Progressive? Absolutely! Rock? I don't think. I would say that this album is a kind of almost-easy-listening-prog, special to enjoy in relaxing moments, but -despite this fact- music hasn't a low or simple elaboration degree.

I specially like "L'Insetto" and "Agora", but the style is the same at all tracks. So, quality is always present along "Inuit", making this stuff easy to recommend as a very good and different option inside the progressive world.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Michael H (Aussie-Byrd-Brother) for the last updates

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