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Taproban - Outside Nowhere CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.74 | 55 ratings

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4 stars Outside Nowhere, the second CD from Italian trio Taproban, is an enthusiastically executed set of songs on a general theme of space exploration with some of the tracks paying homage to specific Science Fiction films (2001, Bladerunner and Star Trek). This is not a staggeringly original idea, nor does the music present anything particularly groundbreaking or revolutionary, but the core trio of Gianlucca De Rossi - keyboards and vocals, Guglielmo Mariotti - bass, vocals and acoustic guitar, and Davide Guidoni - percussion are all fine musicians, as is guest Alessandro Papotto (from the superb Periferia Del Mondo) on saxophone. Also, they look for inspiration in all the right places, with ELP, Yes, Rick Wakeman, Vangelis and Rush being the main, but by no means the only, influences. The pieces are largely instrumental, but the vocals, when they do occur, are pleasant enough, particularly on Broken Shell (an acoustic ballad) and Pieces Left Behind with the merest trace of an accent failing to dampen proceedings. I still prefer it where, as on Nexus, the vocals are presented in their native Italian. From the opening Wakeman-esque synth fanfare of At The Fifteenth Orbit, through the dynamic Chris Squire-like bass which powers the album's centrepiece 19 minute suite Outside Nowhere and that same track's bolero-like opening, melodic dancing sax solo, Peart-like percussion and lush layers of keyboards, to the spooky desolation conjured by the short but effective The Deep, this album is an enjoyable ride through an ever-changing landscape of prog rock staples and tried and tested styles. That said, they never stoop to blatant plagiarism and manage to pull all their influences into a cohesive whole. Of course, like ELP and Rick Wakeman, this is keyboard-dominated music, and is most likely to appeal to fans of these and similar artists. Di Rossi is a very capable player, with a wide range of styles at his command, from gentle piano to majestic organ, enabling him to conjure up appropriate atmospheres for this evocative music. The rhythm section are also considerable better than in many similar groups, where the backing is purely workmanlike. Il Dificile Equilibrio. has a more modern, spiralling synth sound, edging towards Ozric Tentacles in places but retaining a neo IQ inspired feel, mixed with some frantic ELP organ runs. The unpronounceable fifth track is apparently a Klingon translation of "War Dance" and this is an apt title for this lively Star Trek motivated piece, laced through with vibrant percussion, making for an easily likeable track. The album closes with the Bladerunner inspired Nexus featuring lovely, mournful saxophone, treated vocals and it ends with a sweet, melancholic piano mixed with samples of the last words of Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov who died aboard the Sojuz 1. This is a reflective way to end an album whose moods are many and varied. While this is unlikely to top anyone's "best of year" lists, it is a pleasing work with much to offer the old school prog fan. It manages to steer clear of the bombastic overkill employed by Japanese proponents of similar music (Ars Nova, Gerard) and also avoids the overt metal influences that are currently in vogue with many Neo-Prog groups (Star One, Aryeon). All in all, this is an agreeable album for all fans of keyboard prog
| 4/5 |


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