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Nichelodeon - UKIYOE - Mondi Fluttuanti (with Insonar) CD (album) cover





4.27 | 27 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Exceptions. Exceptions to the conformism of modern society and its abusive Ministry of entertainment that has always sought to shovel the same pre-fabricated pap/sonic manure on millions of ovine obedience adherents. Prog has always been the bastion of rock adventurism and promoted rebellious disdain for the formulaic pop foisted on us all. Yet even within the prog community, with so many options, there is a certain amount of loyalty to a few styles, perhaps at the expense of others that would merit at least more interest. As team collaborators, we have the duty and the privilege to decide the level of progressive content and suggest inclusion or exclusion into Progarchives. Hence, we are asked to examine recordings that might not necessarily be our favorite style but fueled by the prog guidelines, we can somehow judge accordingly. Enter Claudio Milano, a multi-octave singer of incredible talent, fluent in many facets of art even beyond music and a visionary musician with a multitude of ideas and the tools to deliver them. His previous work with In Sonar and Nickelodeon was well-received by the community and this latest release goes into even higher elevations of creativity, that bodes well for both his future fame and our acceptance as progressive fans. Clearly avant-garde music, even in its classical phase at the turn of the 20th century, was always about a special relationship between artist and audience, in some cases impossible to enjoy unless physically present with the musicians. As a fine example of this theory, I experienced a live concert in Budapest, an odd 2 part presentation of Richard Strauss, followed by Bela Bartok. The Viennese classic piece was enjoyable in that everyone in the house recognized it as a familiar if not famous section from the opera Don Juan but was literally blown off the stage by Bartok's excitingly dissonant string quartets, with so much angst and Kafka-esque anguish that the whole audience was perspiring heavily, even the buzzing solitary fly landed for a breather! Visceral, personal and yet deeply emotional. Listening to "Ukiyoe", one gets the same impression of distance, of oblivion, of escape and of adventure that affects and infects each listener in distinctly different ways, the polar opposite of pop music, if you will.

Normally, a track by track breakdown is something this scribe prefers, as a complete understanding of an album can only be achieved by describing the constituent elements that make up an opus of this, or any progressive calibre. Our colleague "Aldebaran Well" has expressed this so utterly perfectly that I will humbly and willingly desist and urge you to defer to his visionary words with avid interest, as he is spot on in his vivid descriptions. The lovely package comes with splendiferous artwork, a DVD movie of a separate work by filmmaker Francesco Paladino which can be enjoyed entirely on its own, as well as the CD that handles all the lush music we live and breathe for.

Instead, may I take this opportunity to put into words the kind of emotions I have channeled in listening to this breathless music, a lyrical descriptive of the statuesque sounds and the tectonic rhythms, as well as all the interval silences that provide the joyful drama embedded within this release. This is perhaps the ultimate goal of the artist, to have each listener identify their own internal muse, channel their receptors and then provide images to the brain, like some virtual or sonic LSD of sorts. There is a house of multiple vocal doors, the voices used as vehicle for expressive spirituality, shrill walls of stridency, profound balconies of reverberation and Claudio Milano using his arsenal of tones, with operatic insanity. The overall feel is somewhere in the realm of a futuristic ritual of kaleidoscope lungs, screeching orchestrations and eyes pointed skywards. The voice swoons into a cauldron of sizzling electronics, colliding dissonance with praetorian beats, lilting piano rivulets, minimalist convictions in a psychotic universe, the leather pigeons in the piazza wondering who will feed them next, the martinets losing their control over the airwaves, the hustle and bustle of the night denizens gulping down a final Amaro, before seducing their pillow. The osso bucco was really quite divine, signorina! The never tardy train rolls into Termini station, disgorging the coastal sailor seagulls searching for the nearest fish monger, psychopath urgencies whispering sweet everythings into the night lady's ear, alternating collapse and distant erection and finally drowning in their own liquescent fears. Oceans bubble, flying bulbous eyed fish leap into the saline sky, blustery clouds and gale force winds, all compressed into the tiniest velvet-rimmed box. Mephisto seduces, lying through his bloodstained teeth, laughing and bellowing at the innocents, the 'pazzi ragazzi' who only care about their next sensational fix, Morse code to the submariners scouring the abyss. An oceanic empire of ghostly gods, Neptune sitting on a reef, blowing a blowfish with his blowtorch while the Greek Poseidon is counting his deutschmarks (I know, its euros!), while Volturnus, Salacia, Juturna and Fontus play floating plastic cards on the back of some giant tortoise. The accordion leaks, the moray eels coughing up phlegm, the violin scales filleting the sordid sturgeon, emptying its filth onto the Via Appia.

Challenging musical adventure that is so off the charts, clearly the antithesis of pop culture, a delirious soundtrack to spook your unfriendly, square Lady Gaga-loving neighbors and the ideal background music for a naval academy diploma celebration. Like the Pope recently stated in his Argentine-tinged Italian, "In Questo cazzo"!

4.5 Venomous mariners

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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