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CONDOR

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Condor biography
CONDOR was founded in 1979 when two students from Calitri, Alessandro Altieri (guitar, vocals) and Crescenzo Martiniello (keyboard, vocals), enrolled at the Academy of Music in Avellino, shared the idea of starting their own band. The hill town of Calitri Italy is surrounded by castles and picturesque valleys, an off-the-beaten-path place not overrun by tourists. As they had such a great passion for music, they decided to include some other musicians from Calitri: Claudio Iannella (bass and voice), Giovanni Buldo (lead vocals, guitar), Mario Fatone (drums, vocals) and Vito Cestone (sound engineer). The new band they started performing famous covers in local pubs and clubs. Unfortunately in 1980 Mario Fatone passed away at a very young age so Antonio Daniele from Aquilonia replaced him.

The CONDOR started performing well known songs by bands such as YES, QUEEN, PFM and many others, which were their main source of inspiration. At that time progressive and rock musical scores were not as easy to find as today, especially for a group of young musicians who were willing to play but had little money. Prior to the Internet the only solution was to listen to songs and try to guess the notes by ear, in order to recreate the cover as accurately as possible. Such perseverance and efforts were not in vain, since the young musicians were finally able to build up an extended repertoire and perform in many Italian cities, alone or as a backing band for well known Italian singers like MICHELE ZARILLO, PAOLA MUSIANI, ALUNNI DEL SOLE and many other ones.

The first to leave the group was Claudio Iannella and he was replaced by Giovanni Briuolo in 1983. After so much "cover training" the band realized it was time for an album. Recorded in 1984 at Rome's Titania Studio, Viaggio was released in 1985 and included original songs written by Alessandro Altieri and arranged by Crescenzo Martiniello and Alessandro Altieri. The album is a co-production of CONDOR and Dario & Nicola Marzullo.

Viaggio could be considered one of the few concept albums of that period and a relatively rare attempt to merge progressive-rock music with political and social lyrics, as a result of the influence of Italian singers/songwriters and British rock bands. All the songs contribute to a single overall theme: a young man finds shelter in a dream world and meets an old version of himself, who tells him stories about when he used to live in the real world. Every song deals with ...
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3.50 | 2 ratings
Viaggio
1985

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CONDOR Reviews


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 Viaggio by CONDOR album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Viaggio
Condor Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Extremely obscure Italian band, deeply buried in the ashes of time.Condor reputedly came from the town of Calitri near Avellino in Southern Italy.They were led by guitarist Sandro Altieri and keyboardist Crescenzo Martinello, who wrote all the material of their sole effort ''Il viaggio'', released as a private press in 1985.

This is actually a melodic Prog/Soft Rock album with light symphonic influences, but the whole work is certainly well-crafted, carrying a decent production.Most tracks come like a cross between 80's Pop Rock and mellow Italian Symphonic Rock, much in the vein of ATON'S, NOTTURNO CONCERTANTE or ABISSI INFINITI.They contain very interesting and expressive vocals and a fair dose of music flexibility, from smooth keyboard-based symphonic passages to acoustic themes and from catchy rockin' grooves to orchestral preludes.The tracks are rather short but extremely melodic, tight and well-performed with often a very good bombastic atmosphere, even if most proggers will find them more than accesible.The vocals have this great Italian romantic taste and Altieri has a beautiful guitar touch, regarding both his riffs or solos, accompanied by the dreamy keyboard work of Martinello.

Mega rare LP by a band, who came and went like a flash.Italian Prog followers or anyone who does not get bothered by the 80's Prog stylings should try to track down a copy.Recommended overall.

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 Viaggio by CONDOR album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Viaggio
Condor Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars RPI 80s style - Condor's dream world

Condor were a band from Calitri Italy who followed that somewhat typical story for RPI bands. They were able to release one album in which they poured their heart and soul. The album was recorded in Rome in the mid 80s making Condor one of the bridge bands from the 1970s classic RPI scene to the acclaimed modern period. Unlike other bridge bands who had a stronger new wave influence Condor remained enamored by the symphonic prog but with an updated, succinct approach that reminded me of 80s Yes, that pop-oriented Trevor Rabin or perhaps Asia influence could be at work here. Their album "Viaggio" is as enjoyable as it is rare, a self-released vinyl that is highly deserving of a remastered CD reissue.

The album's opening prelude is perhaps my favorite part of this cool album. Sweeping simulated strings over floaty synths sound like homage to "Funeral for a Friend" or "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", with a feeling both longing and yet hopeful. Soon a gothic organ descends like a dark cloud, followed by a single classical guitar strum introducing the vocal. Talk about a dramatic entrance, it's fantastic! "La Strada Dei Sogni" kicks it into high gear with an Italian flavored version of the 90125 sound: crisp economical arrangements and melodic, slightly heavy and "razor-ey" Rabin-esque leads atop upbeat songwriting. Generous keyboards and interludes for acoustic guitar provide abundance of texture that keeps things interesting. Even the vocalist fits the mold a bit with a higher register and harmonies that remind one of Jon Anderson. "Ti Arrenderai" features gorgeous acoustic guitar performance with piano, lush harmonies, and impressive, interesting changes.

"Viaggio deals with the story of a young man in a dream world....where he meets an old man who represents himself. This old man invites his young self to join him and listen to his adventures. He explains leaving the real world to find shelter in a dream world because he was sick of real life. The old man starts talking about his adventures which are the themes of the songs in the album....an artistic pretext for the old man to make personal and social-political reflections. The old man condemns his choice in the song "La Canzone del Ritorno": he recognizes it is cowardly to run away from a concrete world. At this point, the old man says: Don't act like me, don't make my same mistakes, go back and face your real life, whatever it will be. In the last song, il Risveglio, the young man goes back to the real world: he realizes he dreamt about the dream world and the adventures of the old man (that is to say the songs), but after the old man's advice he is ready to face his future with more awareness and a better consciousness." -Giovanni Buldo

Side 2's "Il Cieco" feels somewhat classical and folk oriented all at once with more great acoustic guitar playing and piano. "Ai Tuoi Occhi" has a folk-ballad feel with a nice rock integration courtesy of the super lead guitar work, again the harmonies in the chorus are buoyant and dreamy. "Canzone Del Ritorno" is a super track, sounding very much in the vein of the late 70s RPI, a bit Locanda Della Fate, very smooth and romantic sounding. It begins with some real guitar fireworks then builds with easy going keyboards, the sound being hopeful and a bit nostalgic. Another standout track. "Risveglio" ends our journey with a cool clean guitar solo leading to climactic keyboards accompanied by free spirited wordless vocal.

"Viaggio" is a great find for RPI fans who want to explore the 1980s to have the complete storyline of RPI. Condor joins artists like Nuova Era, Gli Apostholi, Atons, Hopo, Mediterranea, and others as places to explore fine Italian music in the most sneered-upon years of prog rock. Viaggio's cover is quite clever. Upon close inspection, the person sitting on the tropical beach is actually staring at a superimposed image of Calitri, the little city on the hill. Suggesting perhaps that wherever the members of Condor may roam, their home town is never far from their thoughts.

Since the Condor members still play in gigging bands, hopefully one day they can reunite for the recording of a 2nd album as other RPI bands have, to bookend and revisit their Condor legacy.

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