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Melting Clock - Destinazioni CD (album) cover


Melting Clock


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.41 | 47 ratings

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5 stars A 21st Century Italian prog band from Genova, this folk-classical founded band sports something that is kind of a rarity in Rock Progressivo Italiano: a female lead singer.

1) "Caledoscopio" (8:21) acoustic guitar and bouzouki! What welcome sounds! Too bad they soon disappear among the electronic instruments. Nice palette--symphonic and yet not too Italian and not too NeoProg. Singer Emanuela Vedana has a very pleasant voice--reminding me a bit of Quidam's original singer, Emila Derkowska. In the middle of the fifth minute things soften up, we moved to picked acoustic instruments and piano while Emanuela switches to a little more of an operatic voice before falling back into her But then at 5:30 we stop and take a drastic right turn onto the autostrada bombastica with organ in front. Soon the horses are reigned in and Emanuela returns. Solid and professional, not just a replication or imitation of older songs, sounds, and forms making it rather refreshing. (17.875/20)

2) "Banalmente" (5:16) ballad-like piano opens this one before cymbals, picked acoustic guitars, and Emanuela join in. This time Emanuela's voice reminds me very much of many of the wonderful vocalists that countrymate Riccardo Prencipe uses on his Corde Oblique albums. At the end of the first minute the blues-rock complement of rock instruments join in, taking the song into a whole different mood and then, at the end of the second minute we hear keyboardist and composer Sandro Amadei for the first time as a lead vocalist--though only briefly--as the intensity and power of the music amps up. Emanuela re-enters, giving the music a strong Eliana Valenzuela / HOMÍNIDO feel. The lead guitars in the dynamic instrumental passage start out rather tame but then turn quite raunchy as the intensity ramps up. The song finishes as a piano-dominated GENESIS-like piece. (8.75/10)

3) "Vetro" (7:10) acoustic guitars of a blues-rock flavour open this with full band support, but then at the one-minute mark the band reveals its real motif--something more dramatic and cinematic--over which Emanuela opens with some background operatic alto vocalise. When things settle down and she begins singing with lyrics up front and center, the musical whole has quite a bit of LAGARTIJA feel to it. This soon changes as the music continues to develop, to smooth out into quite an absolutely gorgeous full soundscape with a killer-heart-wrenching chord progression. But, unfortunately, this doesn't last very long as at 3:27 everybody shifts to staccato pizzicato play for a weave that serves as Spanish-sounding bridge back to the Lagartija motif. I'm really like all of the motifs here though part of me is wishing several could be developed more, for longer periods. Luckily, all motifs cycle through at least one more time (including the killer-heart-wrenching one). We close out with the Spanish pizzicato motif but this time supported by a little more rock-electric instrumentation. Great song! (14.25/15)

4) "Strade affollate" (4:57) picked acoustic steel-string guitar opens this one for half a minute before Emanuela joins in, singing, again, in a very folksy voice, giving the song a true CORDE OBLIQUE sound and style. Her lovely voice, however, remains in the realms of us mere mortals, never forcing itself into operatic modalities, which is actually quite endearing. Full-band joins in for the second verse, doing nothing to disrupt the spell that Emanuela has put us under until fourth minute when the electronic walls of sound kind of engulf her. But we switch back to a calmer, more supportive sonic field for the instrumental finish as a nylon-string guitar plays a beautiful recapitulation of the main theme to the end. Very nice song--almost perfectly crafted. (9/10)

5) "L'Occhio dello sciacallo" (2:51) a singing duet between Emanuela and Sandro Amadei over/within some theatric, almost lounge music. Quite lovely and romantic--like watching a tango dance. (9.25/10)

6) "Antares" (7:39) water/boat sounds are joined by a couple acoustic guitars and analog synth strings. Then things shift with the full band playing a very muted Latin soundscape as Emanuela sings (mixed a little farther back than previous songs). Sandro joins Emanuela for the second verse, at times double her, backing her, and even taking the lead, creating a beautifully arranged vocal dance. Of the support instruments, only the bass seems to be trying for extra attention. After a brief synthesizer solo, the singers turn to a more operatic style for the next verse (starting at 3:20). It's quite lovely and not ever over-the-top. This ends at the end of the fourth minute and we enter an extended instrumental passage in which piano arpeggi, chunky bass, and solid drums support not one, but two electric guitar solo--both occurring concurrently for over 90 seconds. Then the band gets heavier but this is punctuated by brief interludes that are filled with Emanuela's Annie Haslam-like upper-register vocalise--but the heavy music eventually wins out and plays to the finish. (13.75/15)

7) "Sono luce" (6:40) solo piano tinkling around the mid-range of the piano is joined by electric bass and then jazz guitars and drums' cymbal play, but then the whole band kicks into full gear at 1:10 with some nice guitar strumming and active bass play while drums lay back (until 2:00) as synth takes the lead, doing some very nice soloing. I am always a bit surprised to find this rather long instrumental piece at the song's opening as I know the album's concept has a lot to deliver. But then, around 3:40 the music stops and rebuilds with some strummed Irish bouzouki opening the new section with piano and military drumming behind another stellar, passionate Eliana Valenzuela-like vocal performance from Emanuela. Lead electric guitar takes over for Emanuela in the sixth minute with a fiery-yet tastefully melodic solo before the song comes to a calm end with Emanuela cooing some wordless "ooo"s. Nice. (9/10)

8) "Quello che rimane..." (3:21) this one opens with some awesome Blade Runner-like synth saw sounds trampsing in a wide spectrum over a droning low synth foundation. A single broad organ chord joins in at 1:20, signifying a bridge to a new motif: one with tom-tom play and chunky bass supporting slow, gentle acoustic guitar picking. Emanuela's wordless "ooo"s join in for a bit from 2:10 to 2:33 before a very interesting synth "horn" takes on the lead to the song's end. Wonderful. Beautiful. (9.25/10)

9) "Destinazioni" (14:59) a heavy, very RPI-sounding prog opening turns introspective with everybody settling back to let piano support a melodic lead guitar solo in the second minute. Then, at 1:38, the soundscapes switches to picked guitar-base with synth woodwind coming in at the end of the second minute and then Emanuela entering in a SEVEN REIZH-like theatrical performance in the third minute. Her wonderfully nuanced vocal performance, however, never seems to want or need the center stage: it's as if she's just trying to mix in with the rest of the storytellers--perhaps even as the narrator. But then things get a little heavier with bass and drums driving the song more insistently forward and Emanuela's voice steps up to accommodate--becoming quite a force. When the band ramps up even more, Emanuela steps back and lets the instrumentalists do their thing: at first with a staccato drum-led motif, then with a guitar-led rock section that sports a Keith Emerson-like Hammond front and center. At 6:40 we again have a stop and spacey atmospheric synth bridge into a contemplative section in which Emauela talks in an almost-secretive voice over some sparse, calm but kinetically-charged music. At the end of the ninth minute the band begins to burst out of their restraints and eventually enter into a plodding excursion over which Emanuela croons her "ooo"s until guitar and piano arpeggi take over in a nice little weave until 10:17 when multiple steel-stringed guitars and Irish bouzouki take over with some cool interwoven strumming. Full band rejoins and Emanuela steps in to continue the story telling with some straightforward singing (kind of mixed into the background). As the drums join in, Emanuela switches to her acrobatic Annie Haslam-like vocalise and the rest of the band coalesces into an intricate, almost-Celtic dance with everyone playing the same ostinato speeds. The song then slams to a pretty electric guitar solo stop around 13:35 which then turns into more of Emanuela's vocalise repeating the same melody lines that the guitar just played, taking us almost to the end of the song ? and album. Wow! I am worn out! And yet I feel so good, grateful and privileged to have been a witness to this gorgeous music--to this beautifully rendered album and story. (28/30)

Total Time 61:14

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music and one of my favorite albums to come out of Italy in this, the 21st Century. Highly recommended to any and all self-professed prog lovers.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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