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Claudio Rocchi - Volo Magico N. 1 CD (album) cover


Claudio Rocchi


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.76 | 39 ratings

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4 stars East meets West.

Going back to the mid 60s bands like The Beatles and The Stones were already exploring the strange and wondrous sonic thematics of the far east. The altogether different tonalities of the instruments - let alone the feel of the music, had these western teenagers mystified and deeply enthralled. There was a good deal of soul searching going on, mental boundaries broken down with the help of drugs and meditative processes, but slightly boiled down, the fact of the matter was, that many people who ventured out beyond the confines of western societies and that way of thinking - musicians and travellers combined, - were searching for something different than what their old world was teaching them. A way of inter webbing all these new ideas emerging from the new pop culture - into something old and wise. Buddhism and guru teachings and everything that was suddenly becoming popular in the western world, had been practised in the east for centuries. Most people were going straight to the horses mouth so to speak, - and Claudio Rocchi was indeed one of these searching individuals. While he may have ended up in the ranks of Hare Krishna - leaving his musical carreer behind towards the end of the 70s, we as the listeners were truly pampered by another trade of his that he brought back from the lands of Buddha, and that was his love of the music.

Straddling a high flying bird - Rocchi´s music is a mixture of folk rock with an eastern tinge. The feel of the acoustic guitars is somewhere between Ganges and Venice, and these are a real treat on Volo Magico N. 1. They sound crisp and earthy, and with these small eastern phrasings incorporated into the mix, the album gets a certain idiosyncratic layer to it. You can certainly pick up that Italian vibe from the guitars as well, but what really shines through is the perfect interplay happening here between east and west. When these rather droning raga aspiring sections have played themselves out, you´ll often get ethereal multi layered choirs - sung in a way that really makes you feel a part of the over atmosphere. They´re delicate and beautifully eerie, like some strange vocalizations coming out of the mist.

Most of all, Volo Magico N. 1 is a terrific psychedelic album. Yes it´s packed full of classically ebullient piano playing, massive loads of mellotrons and gorgeously sung Italian vocals, which by all means should be pointing towards an early symphonic RPI album, but Rocchi is ever more focused on the trip and the alluring bewilderment of the psych pastures - leading you on a musical journey through Asiatic forests with towering golden Buddhas looking down on you.

Another thing sprucing this album up, and setting it apart from many psychedelic albums of the time, is the diversity of the instruments. We have small snippets of harmonica taking you back to those old western movies. The pianos of this record is highly reminiscent of what you´l find in bands like Le Orme and Il Volo, and that classic serene touch of these notes spread out on the different tracks here works much like a refreshingly icy shower after a serious bender. All these differentiating ingredients alter the all too conventional road of what just might´ve been a run of the mill psychedelic album, and takes it to another level.

Rocchi´s voice is an original one to boot, and while he may sport the same sort of fragility of several other artists inside the Italian domain, he has an altogether different sounding crackling in his vocals. He sounds coarse - almost raspy at some point during Volo Magico, and I guess it has something to do with his deep immersion into the lyrical aspects, but again the deeper meanings of the Italian language is sadly lost on me - except for when he passionately sings: Amore!! Luna!! and I´ll tell you straight away, he does so with a fantastic intonation and feel, that you´ll feel transported back in time instantly, back when such things meant the world, and people could talk for days on end about amore and luna without turning fire-engine red in their faces.

My favourite parts of this album along with the charismatic singing, are the sudden outbursts of electric guitars ornamenting these long accumulating eastern psychedelic pieces - helping the music - transforming the track and setting it free with a pair of brand new wings. Another thing is the sound of the percussion on the title track. Man this bongo drum, or whatever it is, is just amazing! Sounds like an inverted wooden bathtub with a natural embedded echo effect - just to add that reverberating feel to the rhythm section. Sweet!

So come on you guys - come ride with me on this Italian elephant travelling all the way beyond the red eastern sunrise - to a place where pasta once originated, and Zen is something you aspire for - not something you can buy at the local Yoga centre for a quick buck.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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