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The Italian Prog Appreciation den

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SaltyJon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SaltyJon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Italian Prog Appreciation den
    Posted: July 25 2010 at 00:28
Originally posted by Todd

Universal Totem is FAR better than their parent band Runaway Totem in my opinion.

That's what I've heard, but I've not checked out UTO yet since their albums cost more than $0.00 and I've got too much stuff to buy anyway. LOL
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Todd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Todd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 00:28
By the way Andrew, if you like Arachnoid (great band!) give Areknames a try. Their new album is particularly good.
"A good album should always be much more about questions than answers." Bill Bruford

My Gnosis Ratings
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Pirx the Pilot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pirx the Pilot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 00:38
Originally posted by Todd

By the way Andrew, if you like Arachnoid (great band!) give Areknames a try. Their new album is particularly good.


I love the Arachnoid album.  And Rocky's Filj!  Personal expression through avatars. Smile

I'll definitely check out Areknames - I believe I caught some comments on the previous appreciation thread.

Alas, I'll be stepping away for a couple days for some brief travel, just as I start to get acquainted here.  Will catch up soon...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheGazzardian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 01:01
Out with the old, in with the new. I've got a few newer RPI albums on my stack (Algebra - JL and Eris Pluvia - Third Eye Light) and recently I've listened to RRR's new one and Maxophone. I've also been enjoying the work of Zu who is Italian as well, if I recall correctly...

I must admit that the Italian albums packed as mini-LPs are quite appealing!

Also, Andrew made a good point about that mellow records sale, I saw that on Greg Walkers site but just scanned it for bands I know. Any recommendations from there?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote seventhsojourn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 05:58
Originally posted by Pirx the Pilot

And just as I discovered the old appreciation thread!  Not necessarily new to the site, but somewhat new to the forums...  For what it's worth (that is, not much), my first few reviews, all RPI, are up.  Feel free not to critique, as I'm very sensitive... Tongue
 
Andrew, I just left a post on your newbie thread, recommending that you come here... but you obviously beat me to it! Very nice reviews btw... look forward to reading more and to seeing you around here. Tongue  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pirx the Pilot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 08:49
Originally posted by seventhsojourn


Andrew, I just left a post on your newbie thread, recommending that you come here... but you obviously beat me to it!


I'm sneaky that way...

Grabbing a few CDs for 6-7 hours in the car.  The kicker is, we have to appeal to my better half (but not really since I'm driving Big smile).

SO -
Alphataurus, personal favorite.  Travels with me wherever I go
Germinale's  e il respiro...  I think I'll review this one next!
Il Volo - Essere, since it's very new to me
J'Accuse - I mentioned it last night and realized it's been a while since my last listen

And some non-Italian, since she's less of a fan (but a very tolerant listener)... Sloche, SBB, Rush, and maybe a little Atheist and Zeppelin to appease.

Whoops - looks at the time.  I'm off.
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Nightfly View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nightfly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 12:04
Goodbye old thread Cry and hello new one Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nightfly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 12:20
Vault pick - For the first of the new thread a modern day (relatively speaking) classic.....
 
Nice one Andrea Clap
 
 Il Passo Del Soldato  by NUOVA ERA album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.35 | 47 ratings

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Il Passo Del Soldato
Nuova Era Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
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5 stars Nuova Era were formed in 1985 in Firenze, on the initiative of keyboardist Walter Pini. Their music was heavily influenced by Seventies prog and, going against the stream in a period when prog was completely out of fashion, the band managed to release some very interesting albums. Their fourth one, "Il passo del soldato", released in 1995 for the independent label Pick Up Records, is usually considered their best work. The line up here features Wlater Pini (keyboards), Enrico Giordani (bass), Gianluca Lavacchi (drums) and Claudio Guerrini (vocals). Claudio Guerrini took the place of former singer and guitarist Alex Camaiti but only on vocals so, on this album there's no room for guitars and the overall sound is extremely keyboards driven. Nonetheless the result is excellent. "Il passo del sodato" (The soldier's step) is a concept album about war, every war in every time. Lyrics were written by Ivan Pini, poet and brother of the keyboardist and yhe excellent art work by Riccardo Di Stasi tries to describe their content, showing soldiers of every era fighting each other like marionettes, manipulated by the hands of power... As you can read in the booklet as an introduction to the concept, "weapons always play the only role they know from the script of hatred, the audience will be always formed only by winners and losers, but no one but the Death will applaud".

The opener "All'ombra di un conflitto (La dichiarazione)" (In the shade of a conflict ? the declaration) begins with an insistent and obsessive military marching beat, then music and intense high pitched vocals express the anxiety for the impending drama. Lyrics describe two great nations that are divided by hate while powerful men are sharing out death... "White hands upon Destiny / Draw wars like in a play / Ancient songs will be anthems / And the strained blood will be violated... Today's dawn, please do not ever rise!".

"Lo spettro dell'agonia sul campo (Costernazione)" (The spectre of the agony on the field ? consternation) begins with a frenzy rhythm where you can imagine the Dark Lady dance foretasting her harvest, then the atmosphere becomes darker and heavier. Time is running out but some people can't stand the change and are scared by the gloomy clouds of war that are gathering on the horizon... "In my contracted body a fear shines through / The purity of the dreams lies in a background never seen before / My life floats in the wind with a sword into the soul...". Then there's a touching comparison between the war games that children play and the cruelty of a real war underlined by music before the final explosion...

"La parata del simboli (La truppa)" (The parade of the symbols ? the troop) is a beautiful short instrumental evoking troops manoeuvring and marching to the front that leads to the long and complex epic "Il passo del soldato (Verso la battaglia)" (The soldier's step ? towards the battle), more than twelve minutes where the battle rages on leaving death and destruction behind... "Armed ghosts defeated by Fate / Slow agony on the buried faces / Nobody seems to see the dying soldiers... And now they look just as deadly relics...". The void erases forever dull banners while the instrumental finale evokes a ghost dance...

"Armicrazia (I pensieri di un cecchino)" (Weaponcracy ? The thoughts of a sniper) describes the thoughts of a sniper wondering about the thin thread of one man's life. "I was ordered to kill / And I have many hours left to die...". The middle section features a delicate and intense passage with piano and vocals.

Next comes "L'armistizio (Le decisioni dei generali)" (The armistice ? the decisions of the generals) that after a thundering start becomes melancholic and describes a silent battlefield... "Harmless eyes in a truce / Hands up towards the sky to pray...". The survived infantrymen invoke peace...

"Riflessi di Pace (Oltre il fronte)" (Reflections of peace ? beyond the front) begins with a joyful sound of bells and keyboards, light starts to shine through the dark clouds... "When peace will grow along the days / Like a sincere tear / Springtime will come back on the first steps / And everywhere you'll go / You'll find true looks... The sky is not so dark after all...".

"Epitaffio (La morale)" (Epitaph ? the moral) sounds like an ominous warning and is dedicated to memory of an unknown soldier that sacrificed his life fighting at the front among other unknown men. Recitative vocals tell that only behind the marble of his grave he could find back the peace that he had before...

"Nuova Era atto secondo" (New Era Act Two) is a beautiful instrumental finale that tries to evoke a new era where peace can rule overdubbing hate and incomprehension. Well, an excellent conclusion for an outstanding album. I'm sure that if you like bands like Le Orme or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso you'll love it as well...



Edited by Nightfly - July 25 2010 at 12:21
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Alberto Muñoz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Alberto Muñoz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2010 at 17:46
Great... new thread...


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Nightfly View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nightfly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2010 at 13:50
Vault Pick - A really lovely album as Jim will tell you. Thumbs Up
 
 Racconto dinverno by ARPIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.64 | 6 ratings

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Racconto d'inverno
Arpia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
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4 stars Understated, elegant, wonderful!

In 2009 this band from Rome known as Arpia celebrated their 25th anniversary with the release of the splendid "Racconto D'inverno." The three core members have been together all that time: Leonardo Bonetti (vocals, bass, keys, and brilliant composer), Fabio Brait (guitar), and Aldo Maria Orazi (drums). While I have not heard their earlier recorded works, it is written that the band have moved through different stylistic phases of progressive rock, including symphonic, heavy prog, metallish, gothic, and certainly some classic RPI influences exist. Past work has been noted to be of a heavier and darker element. In the earlier days the music and performance were linked to theatrical presentation as well, sometimes employing actors or mime (which reminds me of the vocalist from Officina Meccanica in the '70s). Over the years music definitely became the emphasis as their discography of cassette and CD releases grew. A few years ago the band was assisted by percussionist Tonino De Sisinno and vocalist Paola Feraiorni. Around 2006 Paola would become the fourth permanent member of Arpia and the band were ready for the new work "Racconto D'inverno." It is quite difficult to find comparisons that sound like this album and doing so is always my least favorite part of the reviewing process, but I'm usually game to give it a try: Think of "unplugged" Italian prog mixed with elements of Dead Can Dance; think of Joni Mitchell's great instrumental intuitions of later years; perhaps bits of Mazzy Star, Roxy Music, Delirium, Cat Power, and Kristen Hersh. Confused? You should be, for Racconto sounds like Arpia 2009 and no one else really...read on!

Even hearing just a few samples of older work from their website, it is obvious that Racconto is a sound shift for the band. Described as a marriage of music and literature, it was a dual release of the novel by Bonetti and this conceptual album by the band. (The book is also available through their website.) For a band with a history of rough and heavy music, this new album is an amazing change-up. It comes across to me as a highly sophisticated yet toned-down progressive sound, emotionally evocative, and darkly romantic....a musically conceptual, cohesive work. I dare to say it comes closer to mature progressive-pop than "prog-rock" but it certainly is NOT saccharine, mainstream pop music. Rather it is a sound all its own, very tightly controlled, perfectly-produced, and yet passion-filled. Very beautiful. There is no electric guitar and the keyboards play only a background role in most cases, providing the atmosphere, the mood. The main element throughout is an acoustic guitar played in a unique way, tightly and often briskly strummed, most of the time not allowing the chords to ring out. It is an intensely focused acoustic guitar rather than any kind of laid-back or folksy acoustic you might expect when talking "acoustic music." While completely different in finished product obviously, the guitar style itself reminds me of Syd Barrett's playing on some of his solo stuff. I think of tracks like "Opel" where the acoustic is played so personally, so guarded, the strokes so consistent it sounds like he plays them to keep a boat afloat. Here, as there, it gives the songs a truly distinct sound, which is aided by a similarly masterful drum playing. Very crisp and defined, perfect without being flashy. Subtle rhythmic shifts combined with the understated play give the tracks a light and airy feel in one way, which makes for fascinating contrast with the moodiness of the songs themselves. Then there moments which break away to a refined yet imaginative interplay of guitar, bass, and drums....not really jamming as much as complimenting the others....these moments are just savvy and delicious examples of musicians taking their craft to a completely different place.

And then there are the outstanding vocals which are the emotional ebb and flow, alternating male and female by Leonardo and Paola. They are nothing short of breathtaking. Modest but passionate, sometimes pleading, aching....other times more narrative in feel. Paola's vocals on "Casa non mai vista" will take you straight to heaven. They are all perfectly balanced and integrated into the nimble instrumentation, never overbearing or contrived. The combination of these various forces, and without even understanding the lyrics as an English-fluent-only boy, I find the album one of the year's loveliest releases. (And it was a great choice for them to use Italian language rather than attempt the English conversion---keep singing in Italian!) Further, they did not make the modern era mistake of forcing every album to be 70 minutes long. At 43 minutes the album is the perfect length and will keep you spellbound throughout. With my highest compliments to the band members, "Racconto D'inverno" will make my yearly list of best Italian albums, and perhaps flirt with my overall best of 2009 list at ProgArchives. The folks at Musea were wise to latch onto this band. Enthusiastically recommended to fans of Italian progressive and sophisticated pop-rock music. 4 ½ stars. (Might eventually round it up rather than down, will have to see how it holds up over more time.)

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Finnforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2010 at 14:30

Yeah, that was one of my favorites from last year....though definitely not a typical RPI release.  Tongue



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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2010 at 19:10
Originally posted by Finnforest

And while it is tragic to see the previous thread's 5500 posts of suggestions and good will fade into the night, we on your new and improved RPI team will continue to feed your addiction and celebrate the web's best prog music resource.  
 
To be honest with you, I gave up on it a long time ago ... it's impossible to keep up with the discussions and suggestions and get anywhere with it ... and no one remembers what page they were in yesterday!
 
I'm almost wanting to make a suggestion that instead of a thread for Italians that we could easily easily combine other threads and realign the board a little. I think it would be nice to have a German area, and then an English area and an American area, instead of endless threads.
 
There are a lot more ideas and thoughts and discussions that could be had about Italian prog, from its connections to classical musics to other influences ... and those kinds of nice things just get lost and ... never read!


Edited by moshkito - July 27 2010 at 19:13
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Finnforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2010 at 19:49
I'm not sure how I can help you there Moshkito.  I don't deal with the layout/design of the forums, my job is trying to better the content of the site, which I do my best at with the time I have available. 

For me personally, I love the forums here, and I do read through the threads that interest me.  Smile


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Post Options Post Options   Quote American Khatru Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 28 2010 at 16:08
Originally posted by moshkito

Originally posted by Finnforest

And while it is tragic to see the previous thread's 5500 posts of suggestions and good will fade into the night, we on your new and improved RPI team will continue to feed your addiction and celebrate the web's best prog music resource.  
 
To be honest with you, I gave up on it a long time ago ... it's impossible to keep up with the discussions and suggestions and get anywhere with it ... and no one remembers what page they were in yesterday!
 
I'm almost wanting to make a suggestion that instead of a thread for Italians that we could easily easily combine other threads and realign the board a little. I think it would be nice to have a German area, and then an English area and an American area, instead of endless threads.
 
There are a lot more ideas and thoughts and discussions that could be had about Italian prog, from its connections to classical musics to other influences ... and those kinds of nice things just get lost and ... never read!
Sounds like a great idea.  When you get it up and running let us know!  Build it and we will come.

Why must my spell-checker continually underline the word "prog"?

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Nightfly View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nightfly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 28 2010 at 18:02
Vault Pick - An absolute classic and essential RPI album.
 
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 Biglietto Per LInferno by BIGLIETTO PER LINFERNO album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.19 | 60 ratings

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Biglietto Per L'Inferno
Biglietto Per L'Inferno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg
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4 stars Like a windy day in the autumn......

This album have been reviewed here in in PA by far more intelligent people than myself so I will be brief.

This band from Italy made complex progressive rock full of contrasts. You will find elements of early Rush, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep together with the likes of Gentle Giant, Genesis and the Italian giants like Le Orme, PFM and Banco. Most of all; this album reminds me about a cold windy autumn day where the trees are being thrown around by the wind....... with some eerie silence between the gusts. This album a lot of pretty epic and calm pastorial parts inbetween some hard rock parts too. It is the pastorial parts I will remember most fondly. They are almost like church music. There are some really stunning music on this album. The vocals are good. The tangents parts are excellent. The music is so full of contrasts that it is easy to get into unless you give it time. Which I have done. I dismissed it out of hand when I listened to it for the first time though. The very heavy pieces here put me off. But they are an integral part of this album.

This album is almost a proto type Italian Progressive Rock album in it's elegance, complexity and beauty. Quality wise, it is among the better albums. As usual, I miss the really killer track here. But this is still an excellent album and a worthy investment for all symphonic prog lovers.

4 stars

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Pirx the Pilot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 28 2010 at 18:24
Great album.  And Il Nevare is the killer track!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote seventhsojourn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2010 at 05:40
Looks like this Castello album is deleted... so I'll probably have to pay a king's ransom if it crops up on eBay!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote toroddfuglesteg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2010 at 05:44

I paid £ 20 for it from Music For Penguins or The Royal Society Of Dull Men (cannot remember). I also believe I can organize something for you from the band......... but no promises.  

Btw a Biglietto Per L'Inferno interview is long in the tooth, but has been promised from the band. 



Edited by toroddfuglesteg - July 29 2010 at 05:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote seventhsojourn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2010 at 05:53
Ahha, thanks torodd... I can save my shekels for the re-issue then! Thumbs Up
 
Looking forward to that interview.
 
EDIT: Oh, I would appreciate that thanks!


Edited by seventhsojourn - July 29 2010 at 05:55
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Post Options Post Options   Quote toroddfuglesteg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2010 at 05:59

PM me in four-five days time to remind me about it if you have not heard anything from me. I will get in touch with the band.......... but I also have some upcoming RPI interviews to sort out today + my daytime job.

 

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