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Angelo Branduardi - Gulliver, La Luna E Altri Disegni CD (album) cover


Angelo Branduardi


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.95 | 11 ratings

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4 stars My "Branduardi desert island disc".

When I changed my collection from vinyl to CD at the start of the 90s, I wasn't happy with what was available from Angelo - in fact, I wasn't ready to buy any of his discs if I couldn't get this one. It was top of my list. And it will always be. It's such a miracle of astonishing beauty condensing everything I love about this artist, it's his strongest collection of songs ever.

Everything about this record is absolutely right - the songwriting, the ( rather sparse ) arrangements, the performances, the feel... not knowing this until its re-release in 1980, I already liked Branduardi very much but with the quality of this "new album" he simply nailed me on the floor and conquered all of my heart ( I bought "Concerto" afterwards to discover that it was a collection of old songs ). Could this be ? Such an improvement over everything I had heard of the artist before ? The essential and the magical all on one album ?

Well, it can - if it's the "legendary first one" on which an artist is able to gather the best of what he has with no time-pressures. The one that comes out to make the statement: "This is who I am, and I am here". In spite of having been his second release, "La Luna" was that album - and ( sorry for repeating myself ) - I did not know about it at all. It's beating out all the "classic" ( and more successful ) ones with a single stroke. And all it took was the songs and the right people to play them at the right time.

If you're a guitar-player who likes great performances on classical guitar - get ready for a revelation called "Confessioni di un Malandrino" - others have said it before, this is the most outstanding track, but that doesn't mean the others are "lesser ones". "Gli alberi sono alti" ( like "Confessioni" in minor key ) is another one on which the classical guitar-playing is breathtaking - and once more: a great melody ( familiar to folkies ) showing us what a gifted pair of players Maurizio Fabrizio and Angelo Branduardi are. They're melting into one ! And: Branduardi's voice never sounded better than on tracks like those, the simple and spell-binding "La Luna" included. Watch the moon after the sun went down and listen to the music - your soul will immediately go with it. "Rifluisce il fiume" is another track based on great guitar-playing that could have easily fit in "Alla Fiera dell' Est", it's got a more complex structure in major key and it's a bit more joyous.

"Tanti anni fa" has a slight jazz-vibe in the chorus and is the most uplifting song on the album - beside "Gulliver", while on "Notturno" and "Primavera" the experimental approach is in the foreground and the jazz-vibe is being evolved without overstraining the contemporary listener - the most proggy moments are to be found here, but no matter how fine they are... I don't think of those tunes as being the best on this flawless album, I even prefer "La Danza" - another spell-binder at the end, a joyous chant with children's voices repeating a charming, lovely melody for a dance in the evening. Medieval flair again.

"Donna Mia" - classical piano ballad and lovesong, great melody again, taking Branduardi's voice to the edge - but he doesn't stumble. It's great how this song starts upon the piano and carefully evolves with organ and violins - the whole album is a perfect example of "not doing any more than what the songs need in order to shine" !

The only "new" one, "Gulliver", has a well known traditional melody. But never before ( and never again ) has it been that enchanting - Paul Buckmaster's assistance in arranging this one has been priceless throughout, and though it's slightly different to the other tracks it fits in so well, supplying an obvious "single" to what had already been an album that could have been sold as a "best of" preceding his commercial breakthrough, made to convince the listener that there was plenty going on before and success came rather coincidentally with "Alla Fiera dell' est". Luisa Zappa's Lyrics re-telling the fairy-tale of Gulliver within a few words are brilliant as well - but I didn't understand a word then, I simply went along with the music. It remains Branduardi's best single of all the many catchy tunes he came up with during his career. It should have been a big hit - but as far as I know it wasn't. The cover-art of the re-vamped LP is related to the story of that song and it's a great artwork of its own.

It's one of the best albums I know. A colleague in the music-store in which I used to work announced to make her holiday in Italy and I asked her to look for it. She came back with the CD for me - I had it before EMI released it in Germany about half a year later. I'd give the album 6 stars if I could - but with only 5 stars possible and this being a "progressive-rock"-site... well, if you only want one album of Branduardi, this is the essential purchase, but forget about the label, it's singer/songwriter/folk/medieval/classical yes yes yes but anything but "prog" imo. Rating therefore has been sadly lowered to 4 stars.

rupert | 4/5 |


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