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Stefano Testa - Una Vita Una Balena Bianca E Altre Cose CD (album) cover

UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE

Stefano Testa

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.09 | 62 ratings

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Pirx the Pilot
4 stars Another bow to Mellow Records for this treasure of a reissue. Stefano Testa's 1977 release is a very warm and passionate album with HEART (no better way to state it than all caps). Although I will admit that my first couple of listens must have been quite unfocused, as I almost tossed the CD aside proclaiming it ordinary, outdated folk music. Thankfully I stuck with it, as even the greatest recordings don't usually click with me straight off. And it certainly didn't help in this case that my passion for music at the time excluded the more pastoral side of prog. Alas, one cold and rainy afternoon, I was walking home from work with this in my ears when everything fell into place.

Una Vita is the most evident progressive piece here, and a marathon at sixteen minutes considering the brevity of the other songs. Haunting flute bookends beautiful, shifting melodies, as the entire piece covers a lot of ground quite seamlessly. If I have one complaint, it is a technical one that is evident here and again later on the CD - the mix tends to favor (unfavorably) the low end, which muddies the kick drum quite a bit. Regardless, Una Vita is astonishing.

From here on the album is a little less conventionally progressive (whatever that means), but wonderful all the same. Risveglio is a tender piece with lush strings that is just too short. La Ballata Di Achab, in contrast to the rest of the album, has the feel of a sea shanty; although fun, I'll skip this one depending on my mood, as it runs counter to what comes before and after. Notturno is heavy on the guitar and flute, a very pretty composition. Difficile Chiamarti Amore is another sweet melody, but the backing vocals are a little nasal here, which I find fairly distracting. And there is little of interest to me in the first half of Il Dio Sulla Ferrovia, but pulls ahead to an accelerated second half with a great guitar outro. Finally, the heartfelt Ninna Nanna, rich with strings; honestly, I could weep listening to this under the right circumstances.

This is a mostly dreamy album that suits late night listens. Even if I'm not in the quiet, contemplative mood, Stefano's Una Vita will most certainly put me there. Not entirely progressive rock, but a stunning beauty nonetheless.

Pirx the Pilot | 4/5 |

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