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Hopo - Dietro la Finestra  CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.00 | 14 ratings

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5 stars Walking down the grey street totally unaware and impervious to the routine sludge around me, I stop at the crossroad and wait for the green light of change, so I can go on with my way. Then suddenly out of the blue, some man is waving hysterical arms and spewing Italian language vindictive at me, cursingly telling me that I am far from the knowledgeable progfan I may claim to be and inserting a sweaty series of RPI discs in my hands. Before I could even fathom what had just happened, poof! He's gone, swallowed by the mist. Even after 4 decades, I still feel like a kid in a candy shop, eager to taste some unknown hidden creations that somehow eluded my search engine. Hopo falls certainly in that category, as our Todd sent me both their albums on a hunch that I may enjoy them. Does he have flair or what? Not only is "Dietro la Finestra" (Behind the Window) a stunning piece of work, it also is a true hidden gem that deserves immediate recognition as well as monetary damages sent to the band as solace for the silence of our comments. Shame on us but so goes the world of Prog, a seemingly endless treasure trove of momentary eruptions of genius (now that's a prog tiltle!) and its courageous hunters searching the deepest jungled caves for them. Hopo made a debut in 1982 and finished off their quiet career with this 1991 jewel, a time span when prog was almost relegated to the delete bin , rescued in extremis by a series of revive flickers. The music within is preciously priceless, with extraordinarily gifted playing from all instrumentalists and a splendid vocal delivery from the husky Paolo Tovoli , fueled by those classic RPI melodies loaded with elements of drama, passion and creativity. All 6 tracks are in the 5-7 minute range, long enough to admire the pleasures within and whirl among the shimmering waves of amazing music. The title track wastes little time in setting the stage for the bliss to come and caressingly envelop the unexpectant listener, keyboardist Marino Baccini parping heartily on the synths, washing in some adroit mellotron and woozy organ, giving 6-stringer Carlo Poggini a cameo to sweep a heartrending solo into the mix, the first on many future interventions. A wake-up call indeed, this is gonna be good! Grazie Todd! "Un Uovo di Cristallo"(A Crystal Egg) keeps the pleasure-pedal foot firmly to the floor as the gentle flute flutters between the wispy strings , prepping the stage for a crushingly poignant lead vocal from Tovoli , paralleled by a brief rampaging Poggini lead, pushed along by clever bass rolls from Michelangelo Zorzit that keep things breathless. That's another one in the old onion bag, Todd! 2-0 the rout is on! Well, "Non Era un Fiume" (Not a river) is a scorcher, perhaps even the highlight here, with a muscular lead guitar painting the scape with lusty fervor, contrasting acoustic guitar and flute playfulness to heighten the drama, all urging along another simply regal vocal performance complete with nimble chorus 'nah nah naw naws'. This is so delicious I almost got hit by speeding car! 3-0, ball at midfield. "A Piedi Nudi" (Barefoot) is raunchier and offers up escalating performances from the gloomy guitars slashing amid the spacy grooves, providing some atmospheric respite, a series of loopy synth solos dancing within metronome drums and more elegant vocal exhortations. Shot off the woodwork! Close call, Still 3-0! "Un Minuto Solo" (A Minute Alone) deals more of the same recipe, an organ-ripped adventure that has slight jazz Allman Brothers guitar overtones, extremely gratifying to the instrumentalist fans out there. 4-0! "La Luna Gioca Ancora" (the Moon plays again) is a classy closer nicely decorated by the lighthearted mood so typical to the Italian musical culture (some see it correctly as effortless), massive swaths of acoustic guitar and stringed orchestrations (almost symphonic folk) because of the predominance of the vocal line and story. The final 2 minutes things get unrefined and torrential, a raging electric guitar flurry takes this into the stratosphere, a blistering foray into space and RPI history. 5-0 , the rout is on. Barely getting to the 40 minute mark (a big and perhaps my only peeve with RPI), the material -as well as the precious artwork- here easily warrants inclusion into the RPI big boys club with all the usual suspects. Outstanding and astounding masterpiece. Todd , you deserve an all- expenses paid trip to the "Boot". 5 diamanti
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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