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CERVELLO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Cervello biography
CERVELLO are another example of a seventies Italian prog band who only managed to release one album. They formed in Naples in 1972 and quickly appeared at a number of festivals including the Palermo Pop Festival. The line-up consisted of Gianluigi Di Franco on vocals and flute, Corrado Rustici on guitar and flute, Remigio Esposito on drums and vibes, Antonio Spagnolo on bass and violin and Giulio D'Ambrosio on sax and flute. They had a connection with OSANNA as Rustici was the brother of Danilo Rustici, their guitarist.

As well as family ties CERVELLO also occupied similar musical territory to OSANNA. A high standard of musicianship is present on Melos and they should appeal to fans that enjoy the wilder excesses of RPI, not only OSANNA but the likes IL BALETTO DI BRONZO and RACCOMANDATA CON RICEVUTA DI RITORNO. They combine a fairly eclectic blend of musical styles ranging from acoustic folk, occasional avant moments to more bombastic instrumental workouts. The excellent guitar work of Rustici display's a John McLaughlin influence at times. Notable is the absence of keyboards, in their place sax and flute playing a more prominent role.

Unfortunately the band was short lived and split up in 1974 with Rustici joining OSANNA and then NOVA before embarking on a solo career including production work. Vocalist Gianluigi Di Franco, who sadly died in 2005, collaborated with Toni Esposito on Kalimba De Luna and As You As before embarking on music therapy work.

Melos remains essential listening for anyone seriously exploring the Italian prog scene and is rated highly by many fans of the genre. -Paul Fowler/Nightfly

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MelosMelos
Import · Limited Edition · Remastered
Bmg Japan 2006
Audio CD$115.62
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4.15 | 139 ratings
Melos
1973

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CERVELLO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jeromach

5 stars What a marvelous album!

In my quest through Italian progressive music lately this perhaps might be my most rewarding find. It's that good. But not immediately. Melos (the song) I found mind-blowing the first time I heard it, but all the rest really had to grow on me. But that's only good, because:

I'm afraid I regard music from another angle as most people do, I am not particularly interested in its technical aspects nor who's who and who did it with whom, For me the most important part about music is in which way it can play MY strings, i.e. my internal strings. It must "act" on me, it must impress me, it must touch my emotions, it must make me misunderstand. Perhaps the latter being the most important; since in that way it's adventurous in the most ultimate way.

Melos does it all. It did take some time (the misunderstanding), but then it hit very hard. Apparently from first listen until now I played this album some 12 times. Today particularly I really had to fight my tears (touching my emotions). So, this album really took me by surprise (impressed me), but not at the first listen! It indeed is a grower, and a very rewarding one at that.

I read the other reviews on it, I need to say that "technically" I can underscribe David's(Guldbamsen) remark on the way it sounds; "It's like a harmonious bird convention with added tumultuous rock". It is. Despite the sometimes harsh "looking" sounds in fact it's rather pastoral. It at times being harsh only accentuates that, but in it's core it's just very very beautiful. Real maybe, earthen, true. Another friend for life made in front of the loudspeakers here.

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Utnapishtim

5 stars The Neapolitan society is very particular, full of paradoxes. Wonderful places, a lot of art, a cultured population that lives within many crimes. In particular the music scene is full of creativity. I'm Italian, but only recently I have discovered that there is even a Neapolitan Scale!!! In short, we can say literally "a world apart". It would probably be possible create a sub-genre in Prog Rock, characterized by the Neapolitan bands with Progressive and jazzy tones.

Among many bands, especially in RPI, surely emerge those bands that have created only one album, leaving for the rest of life in the imagination of the listener, unforgettable melodies and a hint of dissatisfaction for the only one prog gem.

The talent of these one-shot band's musicians is often forgotten, probably for little know names. But here the band formations is very impressive. The charming and powerful voice of Gianluigi Di Franco goes well with incredible guitar of Corrado Rustici, brother of Danilo who plays guitar whit most popular Osanna. Unfortunately Gianluigi Di Franco died in 2005.

It's hard not to be impressed by the attention to details. Starting with the cover in which there is a pack of canned brain. On original LP cover is possible to open this box under which appear the members of the band locked by spider's web. The band's name CERVELLO already offers an idea of their creativity. They want to recreate atmospheres of the past, of an old Greece lost, with magical and mysterious moments. But the surprise is when the album plays! In the opening track "Il Canto Del Capro" (the sing of the goat) you can feel clearly a kind of black magic, as if a pagan ritual was in front of your eyes. While the 4/5 of the band are playing the wind instruments (flutes for most) a bleak chorus sometimes as bewitched, falls into the scene: "Magica Danza Ci PorterÓ Il Seme, Vivido Intruglio Disseta La Mente, Magica Danza Ci PorterÓ Il Seme". (magic dance will bring to us the seed, vivid concoction quenches the mind, magic dance will bring to us the seed) WOW! A shiver down to the spine.

Other songs are spectacular. Di Franco's voice reaches the culmination in "Trittico" (triptyque / maybe mean an Opera in three parts) after a soft dreamy intro. Sophisticated time changes introduce an increasing singing with haunting guitars until come back again gentle chorus. And when the track appears to be over a galloping rhythm with an unforgettable "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" concludes the song. As two lighthouses the voice and the guitar light up the mind in "Scinsione (T.R.M)", which at 4th minute is characterized by a wonderful crazy guitar. To embellish the album there's "Melos", (melodic aspect of a song in Greek time) 5 minutes of musical essence with a superb guitar solo.

"Galassia" (galaxy) is my favorite song. I'm a dreamer and when listening is at the end of the album it's as if I started to wander in dense universe, accompanied by that hypnotic voice, and then be awoken by the redundant final rhythm. It's always the old unmistakable emotion, truly unique! This track, their structure and the fact that it is toward the end of the album reminds me "The Fountain Of Salmacis" by GENESIS. It's an innate analogy that my mind always do.The album ends with the strange "Affresco" (fresco / a painting technique) that as in a painting sets this ancient journey into the Greece of Gods, of the sacred and profane, lulled by ritual symphonies.

One of the most significant album of RPI. A tribute to human intelligence and art. A unique album in the history of Prog Rock destined to remain a solitary gem.

5 Stars

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

5 stars Melos translates into flour-smog in Danish(Mel-os) I think that says something about something quite vague which has never been successfully transcribed nor understood before this very moment.

I vividly remember reading Jim's(Finnforest) extraordinary review of Melos from back before I joined this site. Now whereas the surreal art work depicting a psychedelic can of tomatoes in the process of being opened already inevitably had drawn my attention, it was the review of the music standing next to it that made me purchase the album in a heartbeat. So first and foremost a great big thank you goes to Jim for introducing me to this music. Wow, looking back now, I can hardly imagine having lived the last 5 years without Cervello's Melos in my life. It means so much to me..........like an invisible brother.

To start out on the wrong foot musically though, I'd like to point out the obscure and completely unrelated fact, that this record sounds remarkably close to an Italian version of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe. Yup, I know..... Who the feck is Burnin' Red Ivanhoe? Still, comparing obscure bands to equally obscure bands is something I genuinely adore. BRI are a Danish band with one particular Karsten Vogel behind the saxophone. Their brand of psychedelic jazz rock is one that I haven't heard reproduced anywhere other than on Melos. Cervello are however from Italy, and you certainly get a whiff of the ol Mediterranean seaboard in the cheeky vocals, the constant flirtations with acoustic folk elements and perhaps even more so in the general warm vibe that permeates this gem.

That vibe comes from the lack of synths, or at least I certainly think so. Instead of focusing on the more luscious and creamy character of the symphonic school of melodies, Melos feeds off the natural and slightly breezy sway of jazz rock. Though most notably associated with the musical equivalent of all chops and no sauce, the fusion offered up on this baby is beyond melodic. It's like a harmonious bird convention with added tumultuous rock. Through simple quirky reed sections with a mere 3 chords, this album soars into unknown heights of sonic bliss. Similarly to the aforementioned Danes, these guys have a way with melody that is second to none, and then with a charming crooked smile on their lips, like had the cheese just slit off their crackers, and a youthful nonchalance about em, Cervello then wraps up the remaining room of the album in a wild and adventurous strain of rock, that I have come to love so dearly.

There are moments on here where I get short out of the blue chills and feel the urge to spread my arms out and leap into the air. The ending pirouette rock of Euterpe with the sax and guitar lapping up against each other in the most ingenious manner conceivable, - the teenager inflicted anxiousness of the vocals that mixed with a nasal quality to them appear bittersweet and poetic throughout the record, - the inspiring windswept flute melody of Trittico, - the colourful spacey twang of the guitar in Scinsicne - all of these are highlights on a release that seems to be immune to any low points or meandering musical riff raff. I hoover them up tenaciously with my ears and feel invigorated and ready to explode, like had I just licked the surface of a small star.

If you decide to dive into this album on account of its rather peculiar take on RPI or just find yourself intrigued by the enigmatic cover, the one thing that truly matters is that you're diving into it - plowing yourself through one of the most original sounding records from the Italian scene. And if anything, Melos continues to show itself as a timeless piece of art each and every time you return to it. Cervello hit a nerve back when they recorded this thing, that's for damn sure, and as a consequence of that we're now able to tap into the mainline whenever we feel the urge for an electric jolt of genius.

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Short lived one-album wonders Cervello had family connections to Osanna via Corrado Rustici, so comparisions between their sole album and the Osanna's Palepoli period may be inevitable, though there's something earthier and folkier about Melos, with its gentle pastoral passages balanced with more rowdy and rough about the edges moments, helped in particular by boisterous vocalist Gianluigi Di Franco. It's not the most consistent of albums, and at points the band seem to be meandering a little in search of their sound; in truth, they don't really seem to have hit on a coherent sound for the band yet, and I wonder whether their inability to carve out a distinct identity for themselves might have contributed a little to their disbanding in the following year. Still, it's decent enough stuff and whilst I wouldn't make it my first recommendation for a prog tour of Italy, it's worth a listen if you've already covered the basics of the Italian prog scene.

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Another Italian group with a short life,Cervello came from Napoli and performed in early- to mid-70's with Giulio D'Ambrosio on sax/flutes, Remigio Esposito on drums,but the driving forces of the band were singer/flutist Gianluigi Di Franco, guitarist Corrado Rustici and multi- instrumentalist Antonio Spagnolo.Corrado was the younger brother of Osanna's guitarist Danilo Rustici.The sole album of the band ''Melos'' was released in 1973 on the Ricordi label,with several re-issues following in the future.

Often compared to OSANNA,the sound of Cervello is less hard but somewhat more diverse,throwing influences from Heavy Rock,Psych,Jazz,Classical and Mediterrenean Music into the mix.Unlike many other Italian bands of the time,the style of the band is nor symphonic neither jazzy,it is actually a very Fusion-like style of Progressive Rock with Lizard-era KING CRIMSON, GNIDROLOG or even Swiss band CIRCUS being the most suitable refrence points.The arrangements are quite complex with a great number of breaks, featuring plenty of saxes and flutes and swinging from energetic electric prog to mellow folkish rock with acoustic passages and a very psychedelic atmosphere.Vocals are great from romantic lines to more Avant-Garde choirs.Much-based also on atmosphere,the mood of the album leaves its dreamy pastoral face to jump on really dark and complicated themes.The musicianship overall has a strong theatrical vibe (OFFICINA MECCANICA spring to mind),but it is not always consistent on the whole,particularly due to the many different styles presented.

The band split up a year after the release of the album,with Corrado Rustici participating in Osanna's album ''Landscape of life'' and later being a member of Jazz-Rock act Nova together with his brother Danilo.Singer Gianluigi Di Franco remained also within the music industry as well,until his death in 2005.

''Melos'' is a nice and quite different release from the usual Italian Prog vibes of the 70's with a much personal sound and a great discovery for those into dramatic,complex and intricate Progressive Rock.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

5 stars The first time I heard Melos, I hated it. Superficially, it is a discordant mess, seemingly random, and obnoxious. It sounds like nothing, and nothing sounds like it. And now some ten years later, that's exactly why I love it so much. It would be impossible to sum up in a few paragraphs what Cervello were able to accomplish here, it must simply be heard. But it will take most listeners some time to really warm up to Melos, as it is chock full of avant garde musical ideas, other-worldly sounds, and a general sense of mystery; just the right amount of creepy and transcendent in equal doses. I seriously would give it ten stars if I could.

Cervello were a short-lived group of five musicians from the Napoli area, all multi-instrumentalists and all extremely talented. Guitarist Corrado Rustici is the younger brother of Osanna's Danillo Rustici, and would later join that group in a limited capacity. But Cervello have more in common with Semiramis than Osanna, blending a traditional rock sound with atypical instrumentation like vibraphone and 12-string guitar. Add a charismatic and super-talented singer and you've got all the ingredients for a prog classic. "Canto del Capro" begins the album with a sense of dread and a foreboding tone, a theme that will be sprinkled throughout. What sounds like a low-tuned Mellotron* plays the same note repeatedly while flute and muted electric guitar interject; cymbal splashes and vocal scatting augment an already spurious arrangement. Then Rustici, as if out of nowhere, begins a melodic arpeggio and the entire band fire on all cylinders. At this point, your head is already spinning and the first song isn't even over yet.

"Trittico" will please Genesis fans with its symphonic introduction; but it won't last long as three minutes in, singer Guianluigi Di Franco hits an inhuman crescendo, and the song explodes into a barrage of saxes and Frippian guitar runs. The original theme returns and the song draws to a close, and "Euterpe," with its similar instrumentation, begins. This song has one of the coolest guitar solos I've ever heard, and Corrado Rustici even surpasses the reputation of his talented brother. "Scinsione (T.R.M.) recapitulates the horrific sound of the album's opener - I would not recommend listening with headphones on in the dark. The middle section with the brooding Mellotron* sound and oscillating effect still freaks me out to this day. Luckily the title track will bring some much needed melodic relief, before "Galassia" shatters any illusion of the status quo...the end of the song features some of the most complex, high-level technical skill in all of Italian Prog. What sounds like 12/4 time is broken up into poly-meter, a bar of three then four then five, then back to standard 4/4 time for two measures! It's enough to make your head spin if you can keep it above water. "Affresco" is a brief and somber end to this masterpiece of progressive rock music. Highly recommended.

*There is some debate as to whether keyboards are used on Melos. Though none of the musicians are listed as playing keyboards or synthesizers specifically, bassist Antonio Spagnolo is credited with "Pedals." I believe the Mellotron sound heard may actually be an organ pedal processed with various effects; a Mellotron can only hold a singular note for so long before the "tape runs out" - so it is unlikely a Mellotron or similar mechanical synthesizer was used for the droning sound on "Canto del Capro" and "Scinsione (T.R.M.). It makes more sense that a pedal organ was used, as this would also allow Spagnolo to reproduce the song live while playing bass, a la Geddy Lee.

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Cervello is another one-off band from Italy in the '70s, and the music on "Melos", their only album, is noisier than most RPI albums I've heard. Noisy and at times some avant-garde elements are present, but definitely not as much as Area. The music here ranges from soft and beautiful to quite harsh. As "Canto del Capro" starts the album off with some odd avant sounding flute and bizarre psuedo-choir, I wasn't sure what to expect. Initially my expectations were another purely beautiful RPI album. This album is quite a bit racier in pace, and is usually very rocky with strange touches. There even some passages that makes me think of various Zeuhl bands. I think tracks like "Trittico", "Euterpe", "Melos", and "Affresco" stand out because of the healthy combination of avant or heavy passages and beautiful passages, with more emphasis on the beautiful passages.

This is a very entertaining album, and it feels much different from most RPI that I've heard. "Melos" would definitely not be an album to serve as an introduction for RPI, but if you're already a fan and are looking for something on the wild side then you should track this one down.

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Cervello is one of those RPI bands that shone as short and bright as a supernova. Seemingly coming from out of nowhere and hitting hard with a unique masterpiece before fading into oblivion again. For many RPI tifosi this album ranks as a masterpiece, and going by the quality, originality and artistic honesty this is largely deserved.

This sort of album is entirely unique and not easily compared to any UK bands. Within the RPI scene there's the obvious relation with the wild sound of Osanna, Il Balletto Di Bronzo and Semiramis, but that doesn't mean anything to anyone but the few people familiar with the scene. And those in the know obviously have the Cervello album already.

So let's name one UK band, one that was possibly more popular in Italy then in their homeland, Van Der Graaf Generator. Cervello inherited the bewildering song development of Pawn Hearts, and even within a 5 minute format their songs are an adventure, complete with delirious sidesteps and controlled chaos. The use of flutes and sax help to extend the comparison, but Cervello has the guitars prominent in the sound and doesn't use organs.

Also the vocals are very different, they may be equally passionate, imaginative and creative but the voice of the lead vocalist is very different from Hammill's, more nasal, or 'trumpet-y' as I call it, and possibly an aspect of the sound that might be a bit difficult to get into, unless you are already a convinced fan of the style from the other RPI bands mentioned above.

A masterpiece of RPI but a very difficult one where I have to force myself to listen to, even though each listen is an enjoyable discovery. 4.5 stars for sure, maybe more within a few years.

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Cervello were formed in Naples in 1970 on the initiative of guitarist Corrado Rustici, brother of Osanna's guitarist Danilo. In 1973, after a good live activity and thanks to the help of Danilo Rustici, they could release a debut album for the label Ricordi, "Melos". The line up featured Corrado Rustici (guitar, flute, vibraphone, vocals), Gianluigi Di Franco (lead vocals, flute, percussion), Giulio D'Ambrosio (sax, flute, vocals), Antonio Spagnolo (bass, acoustic guitar, flute, vocals) and Remigio Esposito (drums, vibraphone). Cervello's overall sound is absolutely original: no keyboards but bass pedals set through the Binson Echorec and many flutes, guitars and harmony vocals to weave a fabric where Mediterranean roots are perfectly intertwined with other influences ranging from British progressive rock bands like Genesis and Gentle Giant to the West Coast sound and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The main source of inspiration for the lyrics was ancient Greek Tragedy and Mythology. Well, all in all Naples was founded by the ancient Greeks with the name of Neapolis...

The opener "Canto del capro" (Goat song) describes a rite in honour of Dionysus where Satyrs and Maenads dance and drink a magical substance while blood spills out from a ritually slaughtered goat. The music starts softly, the atmosphere is mysterious and dark then solemn music, dance and wine transform the anxiety of the faithful into a "mystical eruption". In some way a rituality that today is missing... "Scream, perhaps the faith will come back!".

The long and complex "Trittico" (Triptych) is melancholic and nostalgic. Here the souvenirs of ancient rites celebrating joy and pain disappear in a foggy past... "Everyone will try to tell his story in vain / The temple will crumble / My voice will never come back to life again / Anger crushes me / I would like to find a peace / That perhaps I never enjoyed...". The anxiety of freedom rides away in the wind. A new deal is coming, a new society where falsity and cruelty rule... "I feel hope in life fall down... I'm powerless / That's why I sing into the silence...".

The atmosphere of "Euterpe" is lighter. This track begins with cheerful flutes and beautiful melodic lines. In Greek mythology Euterpe was the muse of music and was called the "giver of delight", here she's a young girl who's growing up giving birth to a charming music that can bring to life again on the notes of a fiery electric guitar solo... "Clear illusion of healthy moments / Where sincerity reflects herself...". On "Scinsione (T.R.M.)" beautiful harmony vocals contrast with sudden jazzy bursts and changes of rhythm and mood. It's an experimental track where music and words are meant to underline efforts of mimic representations (Tentativi di Rappresentazione Mimica), depicting in a sequence looks, sobs, hallucinated looks, irresolution, disdain, ambiguity, joy, ecstasy... "Fantasy, candid visions / Sea, endless coast / Coral shapes are wondering... Drops of songs / Sacredness...".

The title track is melodic and dreamy. Melos is a Greek word that defines the melodic side of a song. Here soaring vocals take you up and your mind starts wondering in the sky... "Masks of bone are kissing each other / A silent moon turns back and begins to paint the air again...".

"Galassia" (Galaxy) is an introspective track inviting you to an inner quest. Look for your ego as a way to explore infinite worlds... Shadows and lights, flights of comets and new suns. "Joy soars and glides clear / Into a white and endless foam...".

The short and calm "Affresco" (Fresco) concludes this beautiful album in a "celestial way". Karma becomes wind and a divine light begins to shine... "Total splitting of the body from the mind / The infinite nothingness, the peace...".

On the whole "Melos" is an excellent album that would have deserved a better chance at the time. The work went almost completely unnoticed and the band split up in 1974. Anyway, as years passed by, it reached an authentic "cult status" among Italianprog lovers...

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 Melos by CERVELLO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 139 ratings

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Melos
Cervello Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars I have to admit that this album confounds me. It has the reputation of being one of the essentials of the RPI canon, but try as I might I just can't get into it. I can appreciate that Melos is a bold and challenging work; it's certainly brimming with complex musical strands, but it's just a bit too ''difficult'' for my taste. I'm not saying that I only like simple song structures, but the music here is constantly changing which makes it quite confusing; or should that be confused? It's like musical sleepwalking; there is certainly variety, but themes appear then disappear with little thematic development and variation. The band appears to have used a cut and paste approach, with no apparent link to different parts within songs.

The other side to this argument is that Melos is a genuinely singular work. Paragraphs of sound are built from short phrases and it all seems very spontaneous, as if the band were in stream-of-consciousness mode. As I alluded to above, song structures are very loose and the music is characterized by a marked volatility of mood. Broadly speaking, most of the tracks move from mellow and acoustic to harsh and aggressive. For example, the opening section of Euterpe has recorders and acoustic guitar, while the closing part features the electric commotion of squeaking sax and piercing guitar. Instruments are used imaginatively to create a unique sound world, with winds and vibes employed to compensate for the absence of keyboards. Galassia features what sounds like a Mellotron but is in fact an electric saxophone, whereas Scinsione (T.R.M.) features some odd guitar that sound like sci-fi effects. Variety of timbre and texture are important components of the album's sound-scape as vibes and pure toned flutes and recorders alternate with the electric instruments. Vocals range from ritual incantation and treated voice on the otherworldly sounding Canto Del Capro to light and lyrical on Trittico, which in my opinion has the most aesthetically pleasing melody on the album.

For anyone building a comprehensive RPI collection, this is an essential addition to that collection. However I would personally only rate this album as, at best, good i.e. 3 stars. Benchmark albums are Osanna's Palepoli and Il Balletto Di Bronzo's Ys; I would place Melos between these two in terms of both quality and accessibility, with my recommendation going to Palepoli. Another album that I would recommend is Biglietto Per l'inferno, which has a stronger sense of melody than Melos. One final thought on the album sleeve of Melos. The album is seemingly a concept album based on Greek mythology, although the front cover features a picture of a tin of tomatoes being opened. Stranger yet are the peas on the back cover photo. Can anyone explain that please?

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