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Paolo Siani ft. Nuova Idea - Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams CD (album) cover


Paolo Siani ft. Nuova Idea


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.00 | 26 ratings

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4 stars Paolo Siani was a drummer & vocalist of highly recommended 70s Italian prog-rock band "Nuova Idea". After this group vanished in 1973, seems that Paolo didn't record too many albums, however in 2010 he came back with his first proper solo album called "Castles, Wings, Stories And Dreams". And it's a truly splendid release full of pure retro-macaroni symphonic rock. Siani plays many different instruments here (drums, keyboards, bass, guitars) and also provides vocals, but we can also listen to many great guest musicians. Especially I have to note here Giorgio Usai (Hammond organ), Ricky Belloni (electric guitar) and Marco Zoccheddu (electric guitar, piano) from "Nuova Idea", Joe Vescovi (Hammond organ) from fantastic ELPish band "The Trip" and Mauro Pagani (flute) from "PFM".

Let's proceed to description of songs included on the disk:

1. "Un Dono" - 2 minutes introduction with sound effects, "mystical" noises & long speaking part. Unfortunately I don't understand Italian so I don't know what he's talking about.

2. "Wizard Intro" - real beginning of the album with a fantastic, pompous organ/fuzzed guitar main riff and military-style drumming. Definitely one of the best tracks here. I suppose that Joe Vescovi plays organ on this track 'cos it sounds very much in the style of his band "The Trip". Splendid composition but sadly very short (only 3 minutes).

3. "Madre Africa" - really heavy, neck-breaking piece heavy prog piece dominated by sharp guitar tones and dark organ layers. Reminds me of such aggressive RPI bands like "Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso" & "Il Balletto di Bronzo", but Mauro Pagani's flute gives a little different, more melodic dimension to the music. Interesting duo male/female vocals, a bit weird sounding but surely suitable here.

4. "Questa Penombra ' Lenta" - softer track with melodic style singin', acoustic guitar licks & more modern sounding keyboards. Gianni Alberti also adds some nice saxophone fragments. Overall not bad but I prefer more 70'-like staff. It's just too modern and too pop-oriented for me (especially female choruses don't sound so good for me here).

5. "Chimera" - rather unexpected track with almost disco-flavor, repetitive organ/drum percussive melody. Long saxophone and piano solos give more jazzy feel about it, while speaking fragments in the middle let me think about hip-hop! But in general it's an entertaining tune, very up-beat & catchy.

6. "The Game: Wizard of your Sky" - 4 parts mini-epic called "The Game" starts with mellow "Wizard of your Sky". Soft organ waves, tabla percussion & discreet synth patterns over warm vocals are really OK for me.

7. "The Game: Mickey's" - second part of "The Game" is much more dynamic & aggressive. Loud Hammond organ & almost prog-metal electric guitar riffs sound phenomenal for me. I also love Carlo Cantini's violin solo here. Similar to material presented by Italian band "La Torre Dell'Alchimista" on their "Neo" album.

8. "The Game: Jump" - more or less it's a reprise of "Wizard Intro" theme with groundbreaking organ/guitar groovy melody. However this time we can also listen to short vocal fragment in the middle. I simply love growling Hammond sound here!

9. "The Game: Wizard of your Life" - mini-epic finishes almost exactly as it started with calm, melodic "Wizard of your Life" part. Some good electric guitar solos near the end here.

10. "Cluster Bombs" - fantastic, heavy prog track with omnipresent Hammond organ & English vocals. Surely recommended for fans of "The Trip", "Nuova Idea" and even "Le Orme". In the middle Paolo seems to even play bolero on his drum-kit! Unfortunately too long part with children voices/screams slightly ruin my enjoyment of the music.

11. "This Open Show" - psychedelic, slow-moving piece without any drums. Only piano, cello & very nostalgic (English) vocals. Surprisingly it's not as bad as it may sound after this brief description. Rather appealing I'd say.

12. "C'era una Volta" - medieval tune played on clavinet (harpsichord?) & flute. Also no drum beat here, but I like this piece more than "This Open Show". Sounds like Jethro Tull in their most relaxing moments.

All in all "Castles, Wings, Stories And Dreams" is a very solid album, for sure one of the best from 2010 year. Fans of 70's sounding Italian symphonic prog should definitely check it out. I can especially recommend it to fans of such RPI bands as "Metamorfosi", "Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso", "Museo Rosenbach", "Il Balletto di Bronzo", "Nuvoa Idea", "La Torre Dell'Alchimista", "La Maschera Di Cera", "Pandora" and to some extent also to lovers of "Le Orme" and "Nuova Era". It's a pity that this release was somehow overshadowed by another brilliant CD issued in 2010 - self-titled debut of Italian debutantes "Il Tempio delle Clessidre". IMHO both disks are almost equally great and should be checked by RPI aficionados.

Best tracks: "Wizard Intro", "Madre Africa" & "The Game: Mickey's".

4 stars from ozzy_tom

ozzy_tom | 4/5 |


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