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Barock Project - Misteriose Voci CD (album) cover


Barock Project



3.24 | 51 ratings

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4 stars This is my first review in Prog Archives (I will make sure it's not the last) since I could not stand the fact that this gem was not yet reviewed. I hope you don't mind lyrics in italian because this album is a true discovery. Being a debut album (besides a previous EP) I was even tempted to give it 5 stars but I'l stay with 4.

Barock Project is the creation of piano and keyboard virtuoso Luca Zabbini, he wrote all the music and many of the lyrics, produced and mixed the album, and in case that was not enough he also played the guitars.

Strongly influenced by Keith Emerson, Luca follows in his footsteps and has already composed his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.1 (watch an extract in YouTube, plus several great covers of ELP songs). He is a conservatory musician and it shows in his music, this is not the all-too-frequent neo-prog made of a few pop-rock chords and pentatonic scales arranged in prog fashion by a few time signature changes. B.P.'s music is very rich musically, with chord progressions, key changes and scales drawing from classical music, jazz, pop-rock, mediterranean music and I would say even some flavours of argentinian music, plus of course the symphonic and prog rock classics.

Bassist Giambattista Giorgi and drummer Giacomo Calabria do an excellent job as well and their style fits well with Luca's music. Lead singer Luca Pancaldi is maybe a step below his bandmates but given how difficult it is to get a top level singer into prog rock, his performance is more than respectable.

Even if the ELP influences are clear here and there, the music is quite different. Far from the excesses and extreme self-indulgence of ELP, the music in MisterioseVoci (MisteriousVoices) is always very melodic, quite easy to listen to even for non-prog-trained ears, with a more pop-jazz feeling to it. Actually the music is quite personal and it's not easily likened to any of the main symphonic or prog bands, which is a good thing, they are not a simple clone of some of the masters. The songs are rather short, in fact with the inspiration which Luca puts on a track many bands would surely write a 20-minute suite, but Luca intentionally keeps it at 5 min, but man... he packs so much quality in that short time!

And make no mistake, even if some of it may sound rather pop at first glance, when you listen carefully you will discover a lot of subtle musical quality. Luca (& Co.) will not show the compositional talent or playing virtuosism with wizard ultra-fast solos alla Jordan Ruddess, long instrumental jams, or grandiose Overtures and Finales alla Neal Morse. Instead their quality is subtle, measured and balanced, to the point that it's even a bit too measured and humble. I have been told that their next album "Rebus" is more self- indulgent, I have already ordered it and I can't wait to receive it.

Now to a quick review by track:

"La danza senza fine" ("The endless dance") is an upbeat prog tune which might remind us of PFM's "E Festa" ("Celebration" in the english version) combined with Marillion's "Market Square Heroes", with a nice combination of 4/4 and 3/4 beat and some Emerson-sounding organ solos.

"Senza Regole" ("Without rules") blends pop, jazz and prog elements to make up a nice track.

"Eclissi" ("Eclipse") is a very prog track (and the longest at 9min42) with many time signature and key changes. Some segments may remind us of mid-epoch Genesis (let's say Wind and Wuthering times) with beautiful grand piano, keyboard layers and of course very good bass and drums.

"Anima" ("Soul") is a beautiful soft ballad with strung acoustic guitar supported by piano, bass and drums, the chorus segment consisting of an interesting progression of ascending chords emphasized in the closing section with a nice synth solo.

A short Emersonian organ fugue introduces us to the powerful "Odio" ("Hate"), a great power-prog track in 7/8 focussed in hard hammond & moog sounds including also distorted guitar and a great bass & drums work. Great song, feels too short.

"Quello che resta" ("That which remains") is another beautiful ballad based on piano well supported by bass and drums, growing in intensity and instrumentation as it develops.

"Premonizioni" ("Premonitions") is an excellent and very prog track, with a powerful instrumental intro followed by soft piano, the track mostly in 3/4 beat with some changes to 4/4, and a short baroque transition to a great organ solo before retaking the main theme for the closing section. My best pick together with "Odio" and "Un Altro Mondo".

"Volo" ("Flight") is again a ballad, this time based on arpeggio'd acoustic guitar adorned with (fretless sounding) bass, piano and some layers of keyboards and some harpsichord in the closing section. Beautiful.

"Gentile Direttore" ("Dear Director") has a swing feel to it, it may sound poppy but it too has quality (as a detail, notice drummer Giacomo Battista's combination of quarter notes and triplets on the ride cymbal in the main bass-lead instrumental verse), and includes 3 nice short solos of Rhodes piano, guitar and hammond organ respectively.

"Luce" ("Light") is another soft pop tune but once again very beautiful, with high quality details such as the piano and bass transition between the 1st chorus and the 2nd verse.

"Un altro mondo" ("Another world") is maybe my favourite track, a great prog track whose only defect if any is being too short, even at 7min08sec. Mostly in 3/4, the introduction has some wonderful piano work soon joined by the rest of instruments and keyboards. In the final section the beat will change to 14/8 for a few bars before closing again in 3/4. Great song!

For those who can understand italian, the lyrics are more than decent.

In summary: 5 excellent prog tracks, 4 beautiful high-quality ballads with prog touches and 2 high-quality pop-jazz-prog songs. Get it, you will not be disappointed. These guys deserve to become famous.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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