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Floating State - Thirteen Tolls At Noon CD (album) cover


Floating State


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.92 | 40 ratings

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4 stars If you like Italian Progressive Rock, medieval folk music, the pastoral and jazz-rock fusion, and many changes in tempo and mood in a track do not scare you, this 2003 album may well be of interest. A little bizarre, I suspect this to be a polarising album: you'll either love it or detest it. Me, I love it. It repays repeated listening, that's for sure. Where would Progressive Rock be without the Italians?

'Water Clock' is two and a half minutes of nothing but pleasant vibraphone. A promising start.

'White Flower' is a 22-minute track with many disparate parts - all good, it has to be said - varying from very medieval to jazzy in feel. If you are a fan of GRYPHON you may well like this track. It starts with a rat-a-tat-tat military drum introducing keyboards ('horns', later clavinet or harpsichord) that in turn becomes a very medieval-sounding English country ditty with flute and slightly echoing vocals. Moschini's voice sounds like a court minstrel's (and sometimes a bit like Peter Hammill). About a quarter of the way through, the track rocks up nicely with some twangy guitar, bass and drums, only to then mellow into some lovely piano. The subsequent flute, sax and bass are very laid back and jazzy, and this part is a real foot-tapper. But then it rocks up again and in comes a long (and good) percussion solo. Nice. Then back to medieval with Moschini backed by Assia Polito. A very pleasant piece if you like the Baroque.

'Fairies Inn' starts with laid-back piano darting here and there, and Moschini breathes his lyrics over the top. The piano and vibraphone are superb. Very nice indeed.

The 44-minute (that's longer than some albums!) 'Pilgrimage To Nowhere' starts with some heavy guitar, keyboards and bass, a real foot-tapper. I like the synthesizer and bass, and the alto sax jazzes it up a treat. In comes Moschini's flute, and shortly after the music turns into a lengthy ramble. It really is a pilgrimage to nowhere. The playing is good and very diverse while the band meanders along on their lengthy pilgrimage. The track does border on the silly at times, although some parts are excellent (and I do mean excellent). I can easily listen to the whole track but would have preferred more of a musical thread or for it to be shorter. It's a bit ambitious really (Moschini even puts on the voices of the characters in the song, which sounds a bit odd at first), but it does get better on repeated listening, with a wide variety of instruments and moods. And the playing is superb in places.

Church bells, crunching gravel, organ and chanting introduce 'Something Has Changed In The Happy Land of Vondervatteimittiss' (say it out loud if you still haven't got the joke) with Moschini singing in a most bizarre way. The track ends in an abrupt and amusing way.

If you don't mind long tracks with disparate and meandering parts then you may well enjoy this. I find it excellent and am going to stick my neck out and award it 4 stars (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection), but I reckon many would award it less. Which is a pity as this album is like a good wine, not to quaff but to savour. The musicianship is top notch and some of the music is very pleasant indeed. These guys have captured the sound of 1970s Italian Progressive Rock bands but have progressed that sound. If you're adventurous and willing to take a gamble, give "Thirteen Tolls At Noon" a try - you may find that you, too, wonder what time it is.

Fitzcarraldo | 4/5 |


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