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Sunscape - Sunscape CD (album) cover

SUNSCAPE

Sunscape

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 15 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars First , it behooves me to inform the prog community that no country , not even the mighty Albion (The UK for you Europhiles!) has such a huge array of progressive bands than Italy, pretty much uninterrupted from the early 70s to today. On what do I base such a bold statement? Facts, my friends, numbers my accountants! Well for one, half of the Mellow Records catalog, to name only one, is not even listed on PA! This azure land of talented artists has given so much prog that it's almost beyond galactic parameters, for they have boldly gone where few have dared. The list of one-shot wonders is endless , such as this marvel ,recently added by our esteemed finnforest who will vouch for my statement , as he has been burrowing like a furious mole through the past, looking for those magical albums that we can only imagine exist out there. Sunscape landed in my possession when it was released back in 1999, and has remained in unfair silence for a decade, until finn added it to our sight, as I had mentioned it in a poll as being a killer RPI album much in need of sunlight. To highlight the preciousness of this single recording (they sadly never "sophomored"!), let it be said that Italian prog is not just symphonic (hard or soft), there are a plethora of bands playing every genre within the progressive umbrella (jazz- fusion, neo, eclectic, Zeuhl, folk, crossover etc?) and yet we still see only the Banco, PFM and Museo Rosenbachs! Too bad for you less adventurous fans because this is a jewel and a half , to say the least , choosing a heady mix of dark space prog , laced with softer oh so Italian flute passages and some scintillating playing that will knock your socks off! The vocals in the native language are some of the finest you will hear. There are winks at early Porcupine Tree (the psychedelic parts), some Gong/Hawkwind as well as some personal material that is highly original. The disc starts off like Roxy Music's debut, effects from an airport terminal this time and the booming Matteo Curcio bass sets the mood right away abetted by the raunchy guitars of Marco daRold on one extreme and the sweet flute musings, while drummer Tony Fucci bashes deliriously, ahead of the game, while the glissando lead is almost schizoid (Fripp meets Hillage). "Ewok" has a delightful lilt , fueled by a fabulous melody and dual male and female vocals that conjure a pastoral expanse, whistling synths flutter with dreamy rapture, raging guitar nor withstanding. "2CB- Sunscape" is very near the psychedelic mood that Steve Wilson carved his teeth on , bubbling synthesized backgrounds, bass gurgling confidently, flute painting the space between, while the vocals and the chorus are to die for! "C'e qualcosa dentro me" (there is something in me?) is spooky. Eerier is the next whopper, a majestic classic "Simbiosi". Well if this track doesn't nail you to a cross, well , as Michael Jackson used to say, "Beat It!). The whispered vocal is doom incarnate , that two note bass pummeling your brain, the guitar rippling with agony , the steady Nick Mason-like beat and the breathy singing simply blowing impetuously , Floyd could not have done this better. Sickeningly good space rock! "Prospettiva" launches this clearly into more Gong/Hawkwind territory, showing that they can rage as well as cry. The propulsion is rocket-like in vivacity and then decelerates into a sweepy, sleepy psy-prog psychosis, like a sonic mist curling around the trees. What a ride! The haunting electronic harmonics only serve as a diving board towards a sweet short ballad sung with utter conviction. The very brief "Interno" is a wake-up breezer, a simple gentle riff pushing this along, male and female voices again in interaction, great stuff again! "Consorzio Nettuno" is an epic 12 minute job, where the players get to seduce their most creative musical libido in an inspired cosmic jam improv, the bass pops like a funky firecracker, the sequenced very Tangerine Dream ?like programming battles forward, complete with countering ripples and overt solos . This is another facet of their vision that is so exciting, as if challenged for a reason and going for the prize. The electro-stew that they cook up is stellar, galactic and intense .The bubbling synth echoes are mesmerizing, the congas hypnotic and the sleazy guitar scratching the cortex. Edgar Froese would be proud of hearing this! Too long perhaps for some after all the brilliant short stuff before, this megalith is a pure marvel to behold, flung mercilessly into the farthest realms of musical pleasure. It's supposed to be mind music, mom! (I used to say, as a teenager!). The metamorphosis is complete with a yawning, massive guitar sortie that toys with some earlier and gentler pools of dissonance. "Agibilita Enpals" is a piece that is very close to Mary Newsletter, another intense RPI band that is unafraid to use harsh blasts of bluesy guitar picking to get the mood heightened. This is a contrast laden romp that is perhaps the final clincher in my adulation for this kind of adventurous Italian prog. "Via di Qui" is drop dead gorgeous sample of angelic space prog, forcibly laced with euphoric psychedelia! "Spore" is a brief airy ballad that pleases the ear, especially that little guitar slide. Sweet, la Dolce Vita! "Schüsswassen" is my favorite track here, an instrumental 12 minute escapade that is alone worth the price of this sucker, a disturbingly minimalist opening only deepens the gestalt, ushering in a musical statement on breath, vision, talent and expression. Steve Wilson would flip over this one, including the Colin Edwin-like bass carpeting, the driven and driving drums as well as the dense keyboard colorations. The second section lays down another impeccable groove that will make you shudder in pure delight, the true essence of progressive escape, a merciful adventure of aural bliss. Damn I love this kind of trip! Slowly coming to a halt, it harkens back to the minimalist intro, thus proving their sheer genius and savvy understanding of the genre. Thunderous applause! Possibly the finest space track ever recorded. Floyd and Tree fans BEWARE! This WILL blow you away and hard! I stake my 40 tears as an avid progger on this affirmation, okay? This masterpiece terminates on a final "coup au coeur" (look it up, guys) flauntingly cocky, they bow out on a Hindu-influenced floral carpet of sounds that pummel adroitly, female vocals pulling it along and caressed by a flute heartache that is fully astonishing in its simplicity and heartfelt emotion. The final guitar solo demonstrate the bright side of the scales (closer to Santana than Gilmour) and passes the torch to the sexy female vocalizations as the curtain unhurriedly shuts this one down. How can it be this good and yet so unknown! Injustice repaired, go out and find it, now. YOU NEED THIS, BAD! 5 Supernovas. Easily in my top 20 all time, immovably so !

This review is dedicated to finnforest and sinkadotentree, 2 of the finest music lovers I have never met! Somehow, one day the depth will be even more unending, furrowing into the vast space of prog with smiles and headshaking admiration. Do you guys think I was clear enough on this one? Uhh!

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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