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Nodo Gordiano - Nous CD (album) cover


Nodo Gordiano


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.01 | 123 ratings

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4 stars Cosmic atmospheres and psychedelic strangeness is woven throughout `Nous', the fourth studio album in twenty years from Italian band Nodo Gordiano. An assortment of seven eclectic arrangements, the group deliver a mix of drowsy vocal passages with lengthy and varied spacey instrumental sections. Although predominantly a spacerock album, the band still work in classic vintage RPI/Italian prog traits, psych flavours and progressive-electronic traditions, driven by raging electric and ragged acoustic guitar, droning electronics and plentiful use of the mighty Mellotron! With cover art that suggests exploration and uncharted courses of an earthly kind, what the band really delivers aims straight for the furthest reaches of deep space.

Despite what's to come on the album, the band open with a frayed piece that has all the qualities associated with the best 70's RPI works. Powered by repetitive rolling percussion that takes on a hypnotic mantra-like quality, `Portonovo' has stirring acoustic guitar over hypnotic rising and falling synth washes, with out-of-place little drum-fills that trail off in all different directions. Just when you start to ease into comfort, molten eruptions of jagged King Crimson/Adrian Belew-like electric guitar violations burst fourth and retreat back and forth in a deliciously twisted and addictive manner. `Aion' is a pulsing spacerock instrumental that groans like a siren klaxon, chiming electric guitars glisten amongst a howling electronic vacuum, the piece constantly building in maddening tension but with a reassuring soothing ambient finale. More spiky RPI twists spliced with a snapping Hawkwind heaviness and coolish New Wave 80's guitar sheen in `Apologia del Nolano', fat bass bounces with up-tempo urgency, meditative treated vocals moan, and there's even a loopy vibraphone spasm!

The near-ten minute title track `Nous' is another spectacular instrumental spacerocker, the ambient moments of shimmering synths recalling Sensations' Fix, the heavier blasts again hitting like Hawkwind topped off with the improvised colour of the Oresund Space Collective. Jangling percussion with bashing aggressive drumming, 70's acid rock electric guitar wailing and mud-thick bass splattering liquid grooves all around pierce oppressive Mellotron-fueled intimidation. `Officina' offers a little respite, if still a melancholic and confronting Mellotron soaked drifter. Soaring guitar work, moody organ, technicolour bleeding synths and sweeping yet restrained cinematic strings means pure space music bliss, a mix of dreamy Pink Floyd spaciness, the wasted coarse vocals of Novalis, with a rollicking symphonic fanfare ala PFM and Genesis to close on. Relentless snaking bass darts through `Arturiana' with brief Black Sabbath creeping riffs before the track turns more mysterious and psychedelic, plus ponderous slow-burn floating electric guitar ruminations and endless reflective, delicate scratchy Mellotron. There's perhaps even a wicked little taste of Universal Totem Orchestra sci-fi menace to the hissing synths in a few spots as well. Thoughtful instrumental album closer `Stella Maris' opens with lethargic synth washes and tip-toeing electric piano flitting amongst of backdrop of waves at sea, and after some eerie menacing robotic drum loops, angelic female harmonies sigh in contemplation, bringing a sense of peace and finality to the album.

Of particular note throughout the entire album is a very sparse production, which will come as a relief to progressive music fans who don't like the slick and polished production that is found on many modern albums. At times I even wondered "Are they using an old 4 track recorder?". That simple and restrained production gives it the more authentic feel of endless 70's works, as well as the above mentioned unpredictable and wild reckless musical outbursts that aligns little parts of it with vintage RPI. But thrilling murky spacerock is mostly the order of the day here, schizophrenic, yet still tasteful and subtle where needed. Hopefully` Nous', a little album that could, doesn't slip too far under the radar compared to other more high profile Italian Prog works of 2014. Nodo Gordiano sound like nobody else with this work, and their distinctive sound and musical talent deserve to be rewarded with more praise and exposure.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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