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Marco Ragni - Oceans of Thought CD (album) cover


Marco Ragni


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.66 | 11 ratings

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3 stars Marco Ragni is a psychedelic/space rock artist from Italy. He has been active in the music industry for several years being mostly attracted to psychedelic music. In 2010, he released his first solo album and has released 7 albums since then. His 7th album is called "Oceans of Thought" which was released in June of 2019. Most of his album include him as the main performer with several guests to help out. On this album, Ragni does the vocals, guitars, keys and bass. The other core members of his band for this album include Peter Matuchniak on electric guitar, Dave Newhouse on woodwinds, Jeff Mack on fretted and fret-less bass and Chapman Stick, Maurizio Antonini on drums and Jojo Razor on backing vocals. The album consists of 9 tracks ranging from 3 minutes to almost 10 minutes.

The album starts out with 3 shorter tracks around 4 minutes each. "Flashlights" begins with gentle acoustic guitar, but suddenly switches gears when the band kicks in with guitar, synth and woodwinds. A short vocal interlude starts halfway through with a mix of Marco's and Jojo's vocals. A sudden blast of guitar improvises off of the main guitar theme. "Dizziness" emphasizes different keys and more brassy woodwinds. Vocals come in quickly and then the guitars bring more intensity to the track. The music softens and the percussion stops as the music goes more acoustic with guitar and flute, then strengthens again. At 3 minutes, the music softens again with acoustic guitar and more vocals, with more layering and harmonization. Marius Halleland plays lead guitar on this track and also on the next 3 tracks. Next, "Hammil's Thoughts" starts with piano and a symphonic synth effect. The vocals are more emotional on this track. It remains slow and thoughtful to the end.

Now the next three tracks are around the 6-7 minute mark. "The Wind Blows Anyway" starts off mellow with acoustic instruments and more emotional vocals from both Marco and Jojo. During the 2nd verse, the drums kick in giving more energy to the track, but remaining at a moderate pace. Synths are also added to the mix. The percussion drops off again and the pattern repeats a few times without much change. An instrumental interlude comes in before the 5 minutes mark. But the music remains pretty standard without any hint of psychedelic or space rock for that matter. Layered vocals come in at the end. "Regain Control" continues in the same style as the previous track with acoustic guitar and layered vocals. Drums and glittering synths come in, but the music still moves along in a moderate and straightforward manner, with maybe a slightly more complex melody, but mostly unmemorable. Things get a little more interesting when the long, instrumental break comes in before 3 minutes with a good guitar solo, and a bit of progressive changes, but it falls apart when the vocals come back in, striving for a folk influence, but feeling not very authentic with the flat melody. The title track "Oceans of Thought" comes next. Starting with a nice piano introduction, vocals and strummed guitar comes in. The track has a more rhapsodic flair to it, but still no sign of psychedelic or space rock. There is a sudden change in vocal timbre as they get deeper and more ominous. A moderate beat comes in and a nice guitar solo makes things even better. This intensifies as it goes along, then softens again bringing back the vocals. This track is much better and is a highlight among the tracks thus far. Another great solo finishes off the track.

Next is a short interlude called "Under a Big Red Sun" lasting just over a minute only. This is a nice acoustic solo. The two following tracks are both over 9 minutes each. "Voice in the Dark" again starts with a smooth acoustic guitar with the vocals bringing in the woodwinds and synths with a pensive melody. There is also a sitar playing in there, but even it's mystical sound doesn't bring in any psychedelic sound. However, the melody, even though it is not really complex, it is at least interesting. Keyboards follow the vocal melody and do most of the support here with drums anchoring everything. A sudden tempo change brings in another good guitar solo based around the main theme before it gets a bit darker and improvises more freely. The tempo slows again, but the guitar continues. The rhythm drops out when the wordless vocals come back with only acoustic guitar, and then more lyrics. After another verse, the sitar comes back in, and then an over-emphasized vocal brings the band back in, with more guitar. Again, the tempo speeds up as before. This is probably the closest to a space rock style as it comes, but I would still be hesitant to name it that as it seems too structured.

The last track is "Open My Arms". It begins with a lone piano and soon vocals come in. The rest of the band comes in about a minute later, but things remain at the same moderate sound that the album is replete with. The rhythm backs off again for a repeat of this pattern. The vocals get more emotional on the 2nd go round. After the second verse, it gets more atmospheric, but all levels out soon enough for another moderate beat and more guitar. But, there still is no psychedelic or space rock sound here, just mostly straightforward rock with a little progressive flair here and there. Bjorn Riis also guests on guitar on this track, but it doesn't bring the track any more life in the end.

The overall feel of this album is definitely not the psychedelic or space rock sound that this is labeled with. I know I have mentioned that several times during this review, but I just wanted everyone to come into this album expecting that when the music is actually quite accessible and straightforward. The guitar and piano solos are nice, but there really isn't a lot of substance to this album, nor is there anything that stands out. It's good music, for the most part. A few of the melodies are a bit uninteresting and tend to meander a little bit. The best track here is the title track, but the others are only just all right.

TCat | 3/5 |


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