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Fabio Zuffanti - In / Out CD (album) cover

IN / OUT

Fabio Zuffanti

 

Crossover Prog

3.11 | 8 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Fabio Zuffanti is a multi-instrumentalist that has been designated as a Crossover Prog artists from Genova, Italy, who has been involved with many Italian bands. Taking a cue from "Jesus Christ, Superstar", Zuffanti was involved in writing a rock opera about Merlin back in the year 2000, and that started off his solo career. He has released 6 full length albums since then up to the album titled "In/Out", released in April 2019. In the past, Zuffanti has provided the vocals and played several instruments for his releases, and has recruited other musicians to help out.

This time around, Zuffanti is only playing bass, but composed the music on the album. Vocals are left to the interpretation of Fabio Cinti. Other performers on this album are Nicola Manzan on violin, Paolo Tixi on drums, Livio Magnini on guitars, and Giovanni Pastorino on keyboards. The album is made up of 9 tracks and has a total run time of 41 minutes.

"Ascoltate Attentamente Perché Sono Cambiate le Nostre Opzioni" (Listen Closely While I Change Our Options) is a simple track at just over 2 minutes, starting out with a simple deep synth and vocals (in Italian) which builds off of the theme and intensifies to a full band sound. "Fase Uno" (Phase One) begins with a fast moving keyboard loop which brings in a heavy guitar riff and percussion with the violin coming in playing a melodic line against the guitar/synth background. Vocals start 2 minutes in. The tempo slows after a while and electronic vocal effects are used against a slower moving middle section, which soon builds in tension when the drums get more complex.

"Gli Inconsolabili" is more of a pop style ballad which has a nice sound to it, but has a questionable use of electronic percussion, which would have been better is it were organic. Fabio's vocals are nice and fit well to this softer style. The title track "In/Out" follow and is the longest track at 8 minutes. The previous track flows directly into this track with a driving, steady beat and Italian lyrics start almost immediately. The vocals are more airy and somewhat mysterious this time, and the almost disco beat brings in a heavier drum and a guitar riff that is left somewhat buried under the layers of percussion. The music is danceable, but not really progressive by any means. At 4 minutes, heavier instrumentation comes in. Then everything breaks down at 5 minutes with a minimal electronic beat and a solo acoustic guitar and a new, lovely theme in the nice vocals, and even though this 2nd half is much nicer, it still really isn't that progressive.

"Violenza Domestica" (Domestic Violence) starts out with a heavy background and then suddenly switches to a steady tempo and a jazzy keyboard improvisation. It's good so far, but then some terribly processed vocal lines come in, sounding dark, but not really necessary. However, at 2 minutes, another change of mood as it gets more organic with heavy guitars, and then a sudden shift again before 3 minutes to a fast tempo, and then slowed down to a minimal sound at the end. For being just short of 4 minutes, this more progressive track really travels through a lot of moods and could have come off better the sections were expanded on more. "I-O Coda" mixes electronics and organic instruments with a bit of instrumental experimentation. This is actually an interesting track venturing into Progressive Electronic. Then there is an abrupt change to a very heavy section at 3 minutes.

After that somewhat harsh and experimental track, the next track "Se Ci Sei" (If You Are Here) feels out of place when this more accessible and slow pop song suddenly comes up. The song features the usual nice Italian vocals, acoustic guitar and violin. "In-Quieti" begins with electronic beats and a twinkling keyboard. It develops into a dark and mysterious sounding track with those airy and mysterious sounding vocals again, and synth and guitar loops, but staying with a more minimal sound which builds a bit as it continues. "Frantumazione" (Crushing) ends the album with an instrumental with various synth and guitar loops which go from different styles and interesting transitions.

This album is pleasant and quite accessible in some places, but it still ventures out into some experimental and interesting territory in others. Overall, it is a bit uneven, even though it has a bit of variety in there, it's probably not managed as well as it could have been. There are some harsh adjustments when moving from one track to another. "Fase Uno", "Violenza Domestica" and the more experimental "I-O Coda" are the best tracks and the others are good, just not great. The vocals are also quite well done, but they are over processed in some places that sound a bit cheesy. I can easily give this 3 stars though, and this could have been better with more development in some places and more progressive traits throughout.

TCat | 3/5 |

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