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NotaBene - Sei Lacrime d'Ambra CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.99 | 49 ratings

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4 stars NotaBene were formed in Brescia in 2003 on the initiative of Gustavo Pasini (drums, percussion, vocals) and Gianluca Avanzati (bass), both former members of a band called Lithos. After a first eponymous album in 2005 and some line up changes, in 2007 NotaBene released their best work so far, "Sei lacrime d'ambra" (Six tears of amber), on the independent label Mellow Records. On this album the line up features, along with Gustavo Pasini and Gianluca Avanzati, Andrea Alberici (vocals), Giampietro Maccabiani (guitars, mandolin) and Daniele Manerba (keyboards, vocals). NotaBene's sources of inspiration range from classical to jazz, from the prog masters of the seventies to Italian melody and "canzone d'autore" but the band managed to shape an original sound blending new ideas and reminiscences from the past. The result is quite good and on this work music flows away steadily conveying feelings and emotions, without weak moments.

The opener "La révolution bourgeoise (parte I)" starts bringing echoes from the seventies... Breaking news report the murder of the Italian poet Pier Paolo Pasolini. It happened one night in Rome in November 1975, during the "years of lead" when every day shootings in the streets, riots and hard slogans used to poison Italy. Music and lyrics try to drive you back in time. What's the legacy of those days of ideological fighting? Disillusion rules by now... "We are slaves of an illusion and of our holes of memory / We've lost the last train trying to find a faith in which nobody believes anymore...".

Next comes the long and complex "Le mistificazioni dell'ombra" (The mystifications of the shade) that starts depicting the bleak reality of a loser who lives into the shade and dislikes other people. Then the light of hope turns on... "There's no need to live in the dark / Stop grudging, it's dawn by now / It's a sunny day, if you want it...". Let truth lead your actions... "Ego veritas, tuarum actionum dux sum!". The instrumental coda is excellent.

"Maschera di cera" (Mask of wax) is an introspective track about the need to hide themselves from other people because being sincere is not convenient. Sometimes we have to put on a mask of wax to protect our fragility, it's easy to get lost in this life where there are so many nuances... "Mask of wax drip down from the face / I can see a new look that I don't know / Perhaps it's just a natural changing / A mutation that I can not accept...".

"Sei lacrime d'ambra" (Six tears of amber) is bittersweet and dreamy. It features clear classical influences and many changes of mood and atmosphere. Lyrics depict the disappointment for a reality that exploits people and then throws them away, worn out. The wish to leave is strong and you look at the sky. Suddenly a mysterious shadow comes down inviting you to fly away taking with you nothing but your dearest dreams... "Souls here can happily fly / No condemns nor judgements because of what you are / Freedom to express yourself at your best / Respect and passion for everything...".

"Il treno di Obuda" (The train to Obuda) is a beautiful suite in five parts. It's a tribute to the Sziget Festival, one of the most important music and cultural festivals in Europe that is held every year in August in Hungary, on an island on the Danube, Obuda, close to Budapest. The suite tells of a boy who sets off with his backpack and goes to Obuda by train carrying with him his dreams while tiredness and troubles are left behind. The journey leads to the magic of the island... "It seems a theatre without walls / A big stage made of living dreams...".

The last track is the second part of "La révolution bourgeoise (parte II)". It's a long and complex suite in four parts dealing with the generational gap. What's left of the ideological struggles of the seventies? Well, after so many years spent running after illusions and dreams you realize that youth is gone and that the sleep of reason generates monsters... "I believed to have jumped into the future / But eventually it was just the usual illusion / Now I look back and I laugh a little bit / They have persuaded me that reality is different...". Finally the truth hits hard and takes you back to your roots, you look in the mirror and what you see is not a boy but a man... "In the mirror I can't see my face / It's my father's face... And then I can hear the cry of a baby / He wants me, yes, I'm his daddy / I know that this is the whole story / The beginning is the end...".

On the whole a very good album and an excellent addition to every prog collection!

andrea | 4/5 |


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