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Samadhi - Samadhi CD (album) cover

SAMADHI

Samadhi

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.47 | 57 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A forgotten classic

"Samadhi" has to be one of the best kept secrets of the classic Italian scene. This album is so fantastic to me: it has everything I love about music. It puts melody and emotion above forced complexity, the playing is very good but not excessive, and there is variety is spades. Samadhi was the short -lived project of some big names on the scene, described by some as a "super-group" it featured two members of Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno, one from Teoremi, one from L'Uovo Di Colombo, and one from Kaleidon. Luciano Regoli and Nanni Civitenga began the formation of Samadhi when RRR fell apart looking to take things in a completely original direction. Keyboardist Stefano Sabatini and Aldo Bellanova were the main composers with quality lyrics created by poet Enrico Lazzareschi. The album was recorded and mixed in Torino in the fall of 1973. Fonit released this fine album in 1974 and as with the fabulous Alusa Fallax, promptly chose to ignore it in favor of promoting the Osanna offshoot Uno. The band would split up shortly thereafter.

The sound of Samadhi takes the "standard" Italian prog sound in some new directions, some old ones, and delivers a strange concoction that just makes me feel good. There is a bit of a happy 60s psych feel at times, some ripping rock guitar, some jazzy excursions, and wild surprises served up with a crisp bit of "Yes Album" enthusiasm to the sound. Scented Gardens describes the album as "marvellous songwriting, veering between the classic old pop music tradition and jazzy progressive rock..happy songs with a sunny Mediterranean feel, high-pitched lead vocals, fine vocal harmonies, lots of keyboards, laced with guitars and phased drums..great arrangements for strings and brass..even had the bassoon playing an important role..radiates friendly, human warmth and is recommended to those who like the second Procession album." It certainly is an uplifting experience to me with each element coming and going at just the right moment to keep things exciting. Stefani's outstanding keyboard work is the heart of the album to me while complementing the flute and brass sections. Throughout is stellar drumming and joyous guitar lines perfectly layered with the keys. There is even a big send-up of prog-funk that sounds like Nucleus found their way into the studio one day. On the whole it's a good example of why I often prefer the music of this period to today's albums which people claim sound so much better. No way. This music has warmth and more importantly space to hear each instrument breathe on its own. There is no dense wall of oppressive machine-sound to an album like Samadhi but more of an organic feel. "L'uomo Stanco" starts with a sunny pop feel and a strange effect on the percussion that throws one off-kilter but the organ is instantly likeable. The second track "Un Milione di Anni Fa" is where it gets very cool with this very Yes-ish guitar/drum feel and of all things a bassoon creeping around the edges. Sabatini's instrumental "Passaggio di Via Arpino" is another highlight morphing jazzy e-piano with funky brass and some blistering guitar, chilled out with flute and hand percussions. Hell yeah! Side two starts with "Fantasia" which is a pleasant pop-prog track with great bass and flute, very upbeat stuff. "Silenzio" starts quite pleasantly but drifts into strange territory with oddly distorted sounds and otherworldy voices in one spot topped by more fine leads from Civitenga. The album ends on a high note with the longest track "L'ultima Spiaggia" at over 8 minutes. This is pure Symphonic beauty like only the Italians can do it with passionate vocals that reach for the sky in a few places. The piano and bass playing are so gorgeous as they slowly wind into these mystical choired voices that crescendo to the heavens.

The album will take hits from people for not sounding cohesive due to the explorative nature, others will diss the singer's high register pipes and still others might find the playful pop elements in a few tracks unforgivable. I find Samadhi to be absolutely rewarding and a must for anyone who enjoys early '70s progressive and doesn't mind non-English vocals. The BTF gatefold mini-LP sleeve edition is fabulous with remastered sound and a nice booklet with photo and history. 8/10

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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