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Riccardo Zappa - Haermea (La Camera Incantata) CD (album) cover


Riccardo Zappa


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.62 | 9 ratings

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Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I heard Haermea for the first time, I immidiately felt that it would have been a big change from the previous formula Celestion-Chatka. In fact, although his third album Trasparenze has a more varied range of influences than its noble predecessors (slightly more prominent synth, 12 strings acoustic guitar, few singing, blues temper in one tracks) it nevertheless doen't seem to be at the same level of quality/innovation.

Haermea shows that the transitional phase of the artist is - finally - completed and that he, after two years from the previous work, comes back with a still "zappaesque" album but differently concepted, written and arranged. Atmosphere is somehow deeper and introvert with hints of "modernity". Don't get me wrong. The usual strong classic roots are not gone, neither his sound is changed. It's refined though and finally demonstrating that the Celestion-Chatka formula was not a cage. Keyboards here have a different role and meaning. Pietro Pellegrini (ex Alphataurus) manages to give 'em more importance even to build some "symphonic" scenarios in parts of the songs as, for example, in the final parts of "Serenata in Mi Maggiore" (4,44 mns) and of the closer "Ursa Major" (5,52 mns). Keyboards are generally played more loudly than ever before. Album's structure is based upon eight track between 4 and 6 minutes each. There is no longer composition.

Musicians are reduced to a trio. Riccardo Zappa on guitars and bass, Pietro Pellegrini on keyboards and synth, Walter Calloni on drums and percussions. The record opens with "440 Hertz" (3,42 mns) "tragically". The word is perhaps the most correct, I presume, for who knows the artist only for his first and second efforts. A hard acoustic guitar based played in fast tempo that, gradually, becomes explosive! Zappa playes also some electric guitar... then it's up to the longer track of the album titled "La Camera Incantata" - id est The Enchanted Chamber - (6,48 mns). The song starts in a soft (and dark) mood progressively changing into a in a more aggressive acoustic guitar musicianship with the help of good keyboards and with a strong drums playing, as the previous tune. The general atmosphere is romantic and deeper than what we're used to listen to. In the final part the song returns mellow and introduces "4311 B" (4,48 mns) which is made of more relaxing arrangement. The soft theme close side A: "Serenata in Do Maggiore" is based only on warm acoustic guitar (played greatly obviously) and keyboards, gently fading out.

Side B opens with a classic Zappa's track: "Haermea" (5,11 mns) that appears to continue the same soft formula of the previous track but, suddenly and even without let you take a breath, erupts into a convincing work from the whole trio. "Torniamo a Salonicco?" (3,55) is another ahort and gentle classic inspired by greek and meditennarean imagery, as usual in Zappa's discography.

"Serenata in Mi Maggiore"'s intro, reminds me a little of some Celestion- Chatka interlude, but it's only the first impressions. The song seem to go on without infamy nor glory only enrich by fairy colours. From the 3rd minute on keyboards take the scene and enlarge the atmosphere in a wonderful melody. Same goes for "Ubi Major" that is more complex and captivating in structure.

What I could say more? This record is fantastic, in my opinion. The best after Celestion!

P.S. 40 minutes of pure pleasure! Let's hope BTF will go on with the work of remastering the old analogic tapes...Riccardo Zappa needs and deserves a wide recognition.

Andrea Cortese | 4/5 |


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