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L' Estate Di San Martino - Febo CD (album) cover


L' Estate Di San Martino


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.38 | 25 ratings

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4 stars After a brief period of quiet on the Italian front, there seems to be a flurry of activity from the land of the Azzuri. Many of us at PA are already actively raving about Il Bacio della Medusa's second album; while the new Höstsonaten, Moongarden, No Sound, Ubi Maior, Minstrel, even the long dormant Grimalkin are all getting into collections everywhere. Our esteemed finnforest AKA the Italo-prog bloodhound is seeking out new gems for us to enjoy and savor. He recently reviewed this album by L'Estato di San Martino and within days, I found it foraging through a bin in a prog store in Trois- Rivières, Québec! What a joy it is when you tremblingly land on something in store that you are looking for (not having to rely on mail-order , aaah, the old days!). This is another fine example of the more refined Italian school of Prog, closer to the pastoral beauty of Errata Corrige, Celeste, Loccanda delle Fate and Aries. Dual acoustic guitars (6 & 12 string), superb vocals with a passionate delivery from Marco Pentericci who also blows some sax and flute, massed ivories of various keyboard textures, all held in check with the usual solid last line of Italian defense: volleying bass and exquisite kicking drums (including some electronic percussion). We enter with a brief soft gust from the flute, abetted by some twanging acoustic guitar, setting a mellow mood. Track 2 is a downloadable collage of the main themes. So just skip to next (a nuisance to us flow freaks but it's just a button). The first real track is Alpha and what an instrumental ride this is! A groping bass riff lays down a confident path for some fine piano, guitar interplay, pushed along by some active stick 'n skins work. "Anni Tempora" is the first song, Marco expressing a romantic memory thanks a deft piano leading the way, with electronic strings curtains draping the melody, then a gentle whistling synthesizer bridge that evolves into a more somber mood, where percussion and guitar arpeggios coalesce with admirable restraint, with sampled thunder but no rain. Simply superb. "Amoris Odoris" raises the heat somewhat, with Marco's shrouded vocals remindful of Le Orme's Aldo Tagliapietra, while the organ dictates and Ant Phillips-like guitar rings frantically. "Mater" continues toward slightly more theatrical climes, proposing hushed singing with almost minimalist passages eschewing any bombast, preferring a sultry jazz piano, brushed drums and a suddenly appearing acoustic guitar solo full of bright splendor to heighten the drama. "Nubes" is a succinct guitar lullaby, so typically lyrical and gentle, just like cottony clouds. "Memoria", an instrumental studio track from 1993 features the bright acoustic guitar of a deceased former member of the group, Alfredo Broegg, whose showcase here is one for the ages, a glittering exhibition of grace and technique within this slowly building 8 minute masterpiece. Again, there are hints of Ant Phillips lingering in the background, as well as a resourceful synth solo from Stefano Tofi finished off by an electric solo that just adds even more fire to the glowing arrangement. Definite highpoint as well as a poignant tribute, very classy. "Laetitia" is another Mauro Formica bass grooved piece, giving the impulse for some heartfelt singing by our Marco, massed keys suggesting a slight symphonic feel with a little soprano sax tossed in for good measure. "Animarum Mare" is another high point on this disc in large part due to the inspired guest female vocals of Conny Rausch, who sings alternately in English, Italian and German with a haunting style, very minimalist arrangements with piano, soprano sax and double bass providing the musical setting. Wow! The 7 and a half minute finale "Sole" is another inspired, almost punchy foray into a more typical ISP epic full of spirited playing and singing, certainly more upbeat than most of the other material here. All in all, another phenomenal and original testimonial from the ever productive Mediterranean prog paradise. 4 stirred martinis
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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