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L' Estate Di San Martino - Talsete Di Marsantino CD (album) cover


L' Estate Di San Martino


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.99 | 147 ratings

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5 stars Talk about a majestic slice of classic RPI , mixed with the latest modern symphonic tendencies and words are hard to come by. Insanely orchestrated, never boring, between sheets of pastoral folk, stormy sequences and fluttering flutes, woodwinds, brass and that masterful rebel, the saxophone ?.. Truth is, this one shines from the very get-go and never releases the pedal, scouring into a magnificent wonderland of style and texture. The various instruments have a huge organic feel that is quite unexpected and the wealth of musical ideas even within a single piece is masterful. Obviously if you include guest artists Steve Hackett and Banco's Francesco di Giacomo, you get a pretty clear idea that this will be an adventure in dreamland, with strong emanations of classic RPI, superb miniature pieces that recall Penguin Café Orchestra and Ant Phillips and full-blown Genesis-style symphonics.

"Silbo" sets the slithery mood from the very beginning, a hoarse flute scouring the airwaves. "Archivista" is where this album really hits the mark: a luminous guitar phrasing is supported by some brilliant drumming and rolling bass, all masterfully combined in a sensuous symphonic sheen. The sexy sax is blazing out in front of the undulating beat and the intensity is tangible as the brew becomes intoxicating, tossing in vocoder effects, whirring synths (including a dizzying choir mellotron finale) and a shuffling beat. This is primo stuff! What a breeze, when music is so effortless and brilliant, as exemplified on the languid "Fretta", an indescribable gem that resonates deeply with any audiophile. A barrage of acoustic guitars weave a web of delicacy that provides the foundation on which flute, soprano sax, electric guitar and assorted ivories can paint the harmonic skies, as vocalist Conny Rausch wails in a very 60s style. Effortless, dynamic, cinematographic, expressive and possessing that magical mixture of freshness and elegance that affect ones pleasure nodes. The simplicity of the electric guitar section is truly masterful.

"Il Cielo Per San Lorenzo" keeps things nicely minimalist with Riccardo Regi's 12 string electric guitar swerving amid Stefano Tofi's spectral keyboards in a style very reminiscent of classic Anthony Phillips. A sparkling and crystalline composition with discreet orchestrations and ornate piano work.

Wait until you hear Hackett's slithering lead on "Ely", a bare minute + of sonic genius. Tofi lays down a synthesized carpet for Steve to roll around on and the sonic master does not disappoint! Riveting,frightening and spectral.

"Long Now Clock" is anomalous, smoggy and atmospheric in an oddball way, bordering on experimental, with a celebrated stance of unwavering poise and ingenious juicedom, infusing Nickleharp, a strange Swedish instrument that stretches the boundaries of violin and viola. This creative side is what makes this release so attractive, an RPI comfort zone that is stretched to the hilt. The yearning guitar aches for some reassurance and fades, deeply relieved.

"Hallucigenia" confirms the talent of drummer Sergio Servadio, who positively rocks on the intro to this complex and demanding piece, as the mood settles for some brilliant piano musings, incorporating some lovely jazzy moves and then exploding into a bright section where the recorder played by Marco Pentiricci reigns supreme, amid the colossal drum fills. Throw in a little guitar synth and acoustic 6 and 12 strings to add some spice and flavor. Definitely hallucigenic. "Bang!" is a playful 12 second sonic experiment. Cute! The title track has a fretless bass solo to murder for, within all its other delights and its one of slayer cuts. A woozy synth solo launches this one into the night sky, swerving into a neo- tropical shuffle (them congas), soon to be united with piano madness and booming bass and blooming into a sensational composition.

"Mono Lake" is another massive highlight track, simple and effective, organ-fueled and just a plain brilliant instrumental. Stefano Tofi's stirring butterfly synth solo is damning, tugging on the heartstrings and delivering heavenly bliss. A straightforward beat, two note bass, boom-boom drums, that wrenching organ and a mood for excitation, as the guitar confidently mouths the melody. Brooding, sulfurous and raging.

"Otto" has the Banco fatman singing in his unusual tremolo, with Riccardo Regi's acoustic guitars weaving the way, catering nicely to another patented Hackett outburst. All screeching power and impossible sustain. Oh yeah, and balls to pull it off, Fripp would be proud.

The final track, "SENO" is a perfect bedtime story killer, goodnight sleep tight affair, a sensational concluder that has all the ingredients from raucous guitar, howling choir mellotron (my fave sound ever), blistering sax salvos and tight, tight playing within almost complex arrangements. This is no commercial music by any stretch, quite the polar opposite with perhaps too much music to absorb even after a few auditions, mighty as this music will appear to any unexpectant fan.

2 bonus tracks: "Res Gestae": If you want to bask in lengthy Italian speak, nothing better to get your girlfriend hot and bothered than by this husky Latin lover voice, oozing into your sexual spirit, babe! Unless of course, that is deemed to be too "progressive"! Claudio Cardinali narrates for 7 minutes, its very funny and very weeeeeeird. The second features Bernardo Lanzetti's love it or leave it special voice in a spirited little rumble, very RPI and very agreeable. Formica's fretless wobbles mightily once again, especially in the finale where the mood gets fiery intense.

This is a musical recording that inspires utter confidence and creativity, firmly influenced by a variety of regal prog choices (Genesis, Ant Phillips and Hackett, as well as the more exploratory forms of current Italian prog like Hostsonaten, Zaal, Maalavia, La Coscienza di Zeno, Labirinto dei Specchi, GTV, Daal etc..

Masterpiece that will stand even the test of time?..Finn, trust me on this?.

5 radar solos (you can read them also in both directions)

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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