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Nodo Gordiano - Flektogon CD (album) cover


Nodo Gordiano


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.85 | 70 ratings

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4 stars I live in a city suburban area, I'm surrounded by buildings and apartments. In a circle of 1 km in diameter around my apartment there are almost 10000 inhabitants.

I'm convinced each of those 10000 people hear my scream after I wrote a lengthy review which is long overdue, and my browser just crashed in a second before I submitted it. Frankly, I kicked the computer so hard I'm surprised it's still working.

But NODO GORDIANO deserves that review from me - they're one of the most unique bands that can be heard. If they endure a career with a span of ten years or more, I'm sure they will gather a cult status and numerous devotees in various prog rock communities worldwide.

To the point.

First off, I'll try to describe what do they sound like - which is not an easy task at all.

The band's music got an emphasis on drums and percussion - varying from a standard rock drum kit, to all kinds of percussion, chimes and bells. They're all over the place; the are unaccompanied percussion as well, but I guess a 'drum solo' was not a band's statement. More on that later. The other prominent instrument is bass - it's set up quit high in the mix - and it's adding nicely to the rhythmical aspect of the band, along with its sinister melodies. There are also keyboards, producing various percussive and bell-like sounds (contributing to the percussion inferno), some undecipherable sounds, even snippets of classical electronic sequences. Electric guitar is used as a tool for producing soundscapes (varying from simple to elaborated), sometimes carrying the melody, sometimes being simply erratic. The vocals are few and far between, as this is mostly instrumental music, adding operatic and choir elements to the singular musical landscape. There's also a plethora of other instruments, swallowed among many layers.

The overall picture is 'dark', whatever 'dark' might represent you. Now try to look things from this perspective:

NODO GORDIANO epitomize everything associated with progressive rock - in both adjective and literal sense. They're clever, complex, sinister, angular, eclectic. There's not a single moment of pop approach in their music. In the very roots, they're a rock band, but I dare to say their approach to music crafting is academic. There's no point of underlining the phrases such are 'high artistic level' and the like; that's already implied, and it won't help you in understanding their style. Impossible encapsulation aside, perhaps a few reference points would help; but take them with a grain of salt.

KING CRIMSON are holding the lion's share of band's musical influence, but band is far from being a copycat; I think I already mentioned the word 'unique' once or twice. Another post that might lead somewhere might be GONG from their post-psychedelic period; or perhaps Karlheinz Stockhausen (circa 'Ceylon' era) - of course, it's because of percussion and bells, varying from chimes, gongs to Gamelan bells. As for the dimension above the standard rock approach (even standard prog rock), JADE WARRIOR springs to mind. There's also a hint of symphonic progressive rock, both vintage and modern, but it's far from being very evident. Finally, I think I can trace bits of metal - perhaps because of certain drumming moments, or because of guitar, but this is more a gut feeling and it might be misleading: there's no thin and ultra-fast soloing, and there's not a single chugging riff, power chord on the entire album. Perhaps that was only my expectation since the opening track is titled 'Teatro Di Memoria', hinting both at DREAM THEATER and their 'Scenes From The Memory Album'. But this album doesn't sound like aforementioned one at all. Maybe all that is because of angular melodies - which will close this circle of comparisons again with Crimson; with all the diminished, whole-tone scales and what not.

I might also mention ANGLAGARD's 'Hybris', going totally berserk, abandoning symphonic components and emphasizing the percussion. But I'm overdoing it.

There's a certain 'air' in the sound. Don't get me wrong, album is dense, complex and multi-layered, but it seems there's enough silence between two microscopic point of chaos. This is highly elaborated craft, intelligent so much it's almost arrogant. But that's not a negative aspect; I, for one, like it.

Speaking of negative aspects, there's a certain something, but nothing I can pin-point. The songs are complex and long, but not for the sake of being so. It's not that ideas are going nowhere, or that the musicians are 'lost', although there's virtually anything you can find in, and yet it's not incoherent. It's cold, but it doesn't leave me cold.

Perhaps I'm missing a rounded-up statement that will fully resonate with my inner self, clearly revealing its masterpiece status. It's a food for the brain, and somehow it's urging you to analyse, but maybe it should be enjoyed on a more simplistic level, letting the music happen in the present moment - nevermind the complexities protruding in all dimensions. Which leads to the fact this band is not only enigmatic it's also paradoxical.

Nice going, NODO GORDIANO. You left something to scratch my head about.

clarke2001 | 4/5 |


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