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Nodo Gordiano - H.E.X. CD (album) cover


Nodo Gordiano


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.19 | 48 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars My first exposure to the cinematic music of Nodo Gordiano! After this experience I am sure to backtrack into the band's discography to hear other releases.

1. "Heng" (26:00) blending several styles together including VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, TANGERINE DREAM, GENESIS, ART ZOYD, RICHARD WRIGHT/DICK PARRY--sometimes multiple times, each--this epic is reliant on a blending of excellent bass, drum, and saxophone playing all seamlessly and impeccably mixed in with computer programmed keyboard washes, sequences, and percussives. The journey the listener is taken on is truly epic, with many cinematic twists and turns, however, the ending is quite odd: as if the story-teller leaves us at the edge of a cliff; we're left with a beautiful view but a dead end to our forward progress and no hint as to where we're to go from there. Excellent and very satisfying blending of all of the elements and motifs. (47/50)

2. "Kou" (26:00) the first eight minutes of this piece bring to mind so many famous pieces of progressive rock music-- all from the 1970s and 1980s--yet the music is totally new and unique. The journey one is taken on over the course of these 26 minutes is far less segmented than the previous one, with each motif only gradually and subtly sneaking into one's consciousness as being "different" from the one that was playing just two minutes before. The long, plodding, heavy motif that "sneaks in" during the ninth and tenth minutes is so VDGG! Organ, sax, and lumbering drums plod along as if we're slaves pulling massive slabs of stone up long ramps to the next highest layer in the construction of a Wall or Pyramid. Unfortunately, the similarities here to much of the long, drawn out music of one of drummer DAvide Guidoni's other projects, DAAL (with ALfio Costa) are so strong as to rather annoy me (as some of DAAL's music has done). These are the times that I wish there were vocals in Davide's music. The next motif, which has somewhat taken over by the 17th minute, has a more Eastern, almost Tibetan or Buddhist, vibe to it. I like some of the more melodic parts to the soloing guitar part: it gives the underlying droning singing bells and strings a nice human contrast (as opposed to serving as just a meditative trance dissociative experience). The next motif is less subtly faded in as the Tibetan drones fade out: some industrial or post-industrial Blade Runner-like soundscapes that fall directly into the realm of sounds used by the Belgian electronic master that goes by the working name of BATTLESTATIONS. As a matter of fact, the similarities are so profound that were I to hear this music out of context, I would automatically assume that I was listening to the latter band instead of Nodo Gordiano. However, as the EDGAR FROESE-like guitar ramps up his speed and intensity and the drum play becomes more human and less computerized, a distinction between the two bands becomes more evident. In the end, the journey of "Kou" is far less exciting, far less satisfying, and far more tame than the one "Heng" took me on. (43.5/50)

Total Time 52:00

The end of the album always leaves me wondering whether or not the two epics on this album were meant to be sequential--that is, part of one journey--or even part of a continuous circuitous journey--like a Möbius strip. This wondering is fueled mostly by the somewhat-dissatisfying hanging ending to the opening tune. I think, however, that there is a much stronger case to be made that the two journeys are totally separate and unconnected (besides having been composed and rendered by the same artists).

A-/4.5 stars; a minor masterpiece of instrumental prog--with two very different epic journeys to choose from.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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