Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Promenade - Noi al dir di Noi CD (album) cover



Rock Progressivo Italiano

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars There's obviously something in the water over in Italy, all these young bands, in their short time together making music, offering instrumentally skilled fresh albums well beyond their years with an enviable understanding and knowledge of so many of the defining Seventies symphonic groups from their country, but given a modern youthful approach as well! Alongside Ingranaggi della Valle, F.E.M and Il Paradiso degli Orchi (in addition to many others), we now have a fledgling band from Genoa called Promenade, formed in 2014, and their debut album, `Noi al dir di Noi', offers plenty of complex and romantic RPI-flavoured symphonic arrangements and light jazz-fusion diversions performed with honed precision, with a charismatic spirited vocalist, that fuses the fanciful majesty of a group like Premiata Forneria Marconi with an enthusiastic energy.

Right from the start, `Athletics (which might as well have been titled `Prog-Rock Gymnastics!') is one of the most attention- getting openers to appear on an Italian prog album throughout 2016, an almost eleven-minute schizophrenic instrumental that powers through an exhausting range of frantic themes, usually delivered with whirling sax, nimble jazz-fusion-flecked guitar races and dizzying keyboard runs! It sets a very high standard early on, but fortunately the vocal-driven pieces that follow are all equally superb, with the dreamy `Il Secondo Passo' given flight by keyboardist Matteo Barisone's breathy and swooning vocals, the warm romantic purr of `L'albero Magico' given a shimmering 80's King Crimson-era guitar sheen, and prancing violin themes, flute, sax and harpsichord-like effects dance through the sweet melody of `Roccoco'.

`Kernel' effortlessly jumps back and forth in tempo, loaded with jazz-fusion-styled trickling electric piano, Stefano Scarella's murmuring bass, Gianluca Barisone's electric guitar bite and Simone Scala's wild thrashing drum bursts. The final two pieces of the album are the longest since the opener, `Pantera' (again, offering that 80's Crimson chiming maddening guitar slickness) is gently grooving with ambitious multi-part vocal arrangements, especially impressing with emotional extended guitar and nimble synth solos in the finale, and the completely exquisite `Crisantemo' slows down for a more thoughtful closer, a softly melancholic near-orchestral reflection of aching violin and gloomier piano carefully revealing a lurking late-night jazzy playfulness.

Refreshingly vinyl length and also presented with superb covert art, `Noi al dir di Noi' not only showcases a young group offering a music debut of supreme maturity and great taste well beyond their years, but it's amongst the most endlessly melodic, unashamedly romantic, vocally rich and instrumentally sophisticated Italian/pure RPI discs of 2016.

Five stars for an essential modern release of Italian progressive music, well done Promenade!

Report this review (#1650142)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Another great find for Italia's risk-taking, forward-thinking music label, AltrOck Productions! These creative musicians have a cool confidence that belies their youth.

1. "Athletics" (10:32) a fast-paced, complex instrumental opens the album as if to say: "We can play!" And, boy! can they! (9/10)

2. "Il Secondo Passo" (6:43) a scaled down, gentler song, with very delicate play from all band members and a great, understated vocal from lead singer, Matteo Barisone. Beautiful. The best song on the album. (10/10)

3. "L'albero magico" (4:33) starts out as another gentler song with some really nice guitar and fretless bass (Chapman stick?) interplay. The drum work also really shines on this one--not for its flash or demonstrativeness but for its solid support and subtle contributions. A top three song for me. (9.5/10)

4. "Roccocò" (5:48) Harpsichord! Renaissance minstrels/troubadours! A very fun 'period' piece--complete with farmers market noises and orchestration! (9.5/10)

5. "Kernel" (4:16) opens with lots of gentle arpeggi and soft drum play in a kind of celebration of 1970s jazz-lite. Once the vocal and lead guitar parts enter and take over, the rest of the band amps things up (especially the drummer!) and accelerates to all-speed ahead. Still some quirky pauses, temp shifts and sound samples liven this one, making it quite unpredictable. ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS-like. (9/10)

6. "Pantera" (6:47) more fast-picking guitar and intricate bass and drum play over which Matteo sings in a style that seems both out of time and yet old. Amazing how fresh and refreshing this music is! I am quite reminded of the Chilean band AISLES with their twin masterpieces from 2010's In Sudden Walks, "Summer Fall" and "The Maiden." Another top three song. (9.5/10)

7. "Crisantemo" (7:53) sounds almost like a classical music piece from the Romantic era as written by COLIN TENCH. (9/10)

A five star masterpiece of progressive rock music and quite likely my favorite AltrOck release of 2016!

Report this review (#1652999)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Thomas(tszirmay) I can't message you or anyone on the site here or even comment in the forum which sucks but for some reason I can still do reviews. I'll delete this opening monologue in a day or so but everytime I try to post I get an "error 400 bad request header too long". Your Wilderness review was incredible Thomas, had me in tears.

PROMENADE are a young band out of Italy and this is their debut from 2016. The music is quite complex and RYM even has an Avant tag attached to it plus there's some jazz excursions but mostly I'd say this is challenging music that will keep even the most seasoned progger occupied throughout. The vocals aren't my style, kind of light but there's nothing wrong with them at all. For me it's the enjoyment factor that hits home when I rate albums and this is a record that I actually spun once in December but put it aside not really enjoying it. Now that I've spun this many, many times my opinion still hasn't changed but I do know the album quite well now. They are a four piece band with sax, it's often smooth sax though which I don't like. There are several guests adding strings mostly but also flute and bassoon.

"Athletics" sees the band making a statement right off the hop. An instrumental of musical athletics that blows me away. How can all these sounds seem to be mashed together yet make sense? I like when we get a scream around 2 1/2 minutes, the enthusiasm, and later to end it as we get an approving vocal outburst about what they just did. It's really cool how this song unfolds and changes throughout but man can they play. Quite the opening statement.

"Il Secondo" is mellow with guitar melodies as the vocals join in almost speaking, lots of atmosphere too. He then starts singing around a minute in. It comes almost to a stop 3 minutes in then the sounds slowly build. Some smooth sax too along with some excellent drum work as the vocals return. The vocals are the focus until after 5 1/2 minutes when the smooth sax returns. I want dissonant sax! "L'albero Magico" is light with percussion and intricate sounds. The drums and vocals join in and the bass sounds very upfront which is good. The electric piano is better though after 3 minutes.

"Roccoco" opens with harpsichord? Run! What follows is this happy romp into traditional sounding Italian music which I don't like but thankfully we get another change. Then it all comes to a stop almost as samples of farm animals and more take over. Then this mash of sounds arrive meshing together, vocals follow. I really like the guitar and strings around 3 1/2 minutes. "Kernal" is led by the vocals but as usual we get a lot of complexity and interplay with so much going on. Fast paced vocals before 2 minutes but they will step aside as the piano, drums, guitar and more lead the way as it becomes fuller sounding to the end.

"Pantera" has these light vocals and sound but there's lots going on as usual. I really have trouble enjoying this despite it being very proggy. A calm as the vocals stop before 4 1/2 minutes and some jazzy bass arrives. The vocals are back followed by a laid back guitar solo. "Crisantemo" opens with a match being lit, spark it up! Dramatic piano melodies kick in along with more depth. It turns even fuller before 1 1/2 minutes followed by a change. A horn joins in but soon it's piano only after 2 1/2 minutes then strings and fragile vocals join in. I'm not into this but then he starts to sing and the sound turns brighter. A nice relaxed guitar solo before 6 minutes before we get this mellow conclusion to this song and album.

For some strange reason I kept thinking of the music Dan Britton does and how complex it is with avant flourishes. Like the music here it's often a tough listen but the appreciation level is high. Many have this high on their "Album of the Year" lists for 2016, and I wish I could be another person praising this album to no end, but clearly this just isn't my thing.

Report this review (#1680136)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Promenade are obviously a group whose members have a deep appreciation for their country's progressive rock lineage, with this album combining the symphonic flourishes of the likes of PFM, Le Orme, or Banco with jazzier playing of a sort that Area or Arti e Mestieri might have dabbled in. Tastefully done, the compositions are given room to breathe without being allowed to run on for too long, and the band are disciplined enough to keep the album to a digestible 46 minutes rather than waffling on needlessly. Between their chops, their passion, their playfulness, and their careful quality control, Promenade have turned out a really nice little package here.
Report this review (#1681224)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Promenade are a young band from Genoa with a solid classical background and a deep love for progressive rock. Formed in 2010, after a long, painstaking work and a good live activity on the local scene, in 2016 they released an excellent debut album entitled "Noi al dir di Noi" on the independent label Altrock/Fading Records with a line up featuring Matteo Barisone (vocals, keyboards), Gianluca Barisone (guitars, backing vocals), Stefano Scarella (bass, sax, backing vocals) and Simone Scala (drums, percussion). Some guests such as Damiano Baroni (violin), Francesco Bagnasco (violin), Gigi Magnozzi (viola), Giacomo Biagi (cello), Giovanni Aquilino (flute) and Jacopo Bagotti (bassoon) gave their contribute during the recording sessions and the result is powerful and fresh, a perfect blending of symphonic influences in the best Italian tradition (Maxophone or PFM come to mind) and Mediterranean jazz rock in the vein of Arti e Mestieri. The lyrics do not tell stories but are more like pastel touches of colour on the musical canvas and with the wonderful art work by Libero Ruglio they help to conjure up a magical world where imagination rules.

The long, sparkling opener 'Athletics' is an amazing instrumental track where virtuoso passages and good musicianship give free rein to pyrotechnical explosions of positive energy while avoiding the traps of self-indulgence. It's a kind of manifesto where the members of band feel free to showcase all their inventiveness and ability to create dreamy music landscapes.

On 'Il secondo passo' (The second step) the band describe in music and words all their love for a music that can draw you in a fantastic world of notes and dreams where daily acts become just still images of a rite with no beginning nor end. Inspired notes fall down like touches of colour on a white canvas creating a beautiful tableau that drop after drop comes to life lightning the senses...

'L'albero magico' (The magic tree) is a dreamy, ethereal piece that combines melody and jazzier passages. In some way here the music and words celebrate the magic of the nature and the strength of its elements. In your dreams you can get lost by diving in deep water circles, burning your identity or following the scent of a flower like a swinging, coloured butterfly... Every now and again the music of this piece reminds me of Maxophone.

The following 'Roccoc' is a brilliant divertissement that blends rock and baroque music with a funny, ironic touch. The music and lyrics evoke the calm of a castle and its court where you can feel safe and free from distress and worry, almost achieving a state of ataraxia. You are free too play the music you prefer and in the meanwhile there's somebody else who cares for you and even thinks for you. Eventually you're nothing but the prisoner of a fairy tale and your autonomy is lost...

Then it's the turn of 'Kernel' a nice piece that could recall PFM from their "Passpart'" period. The title refers to a software that is the core of a computer's operating system while the music and words evoke the dangers of internet addiction. You can imagine the riders of the cubic table chasing a dummy with cables in the head between nets and connections...

'Pantera' (Panther) is jazzy and sensual. It deals with the painful memories of a past love, the sense of void that leaves a broken romance and the faded colours of a solitary life in the company haunting ghosts and fragile dreams under the moonlight. You're still looking for a thought that could touch the soul in the vain search for a love that's sliding away'

The melancholic final track, 'Crisantemo' (Chrysanthemum), is a beautiful piece where music and lyrics evoke the sense of dismay and incompleteness that you can experience in front of the mystery of death. A silent night, burning candles, pale smiles, promises written in the wind, fresh tears, forgotten heroes, abandoned children, broken hearts, uncertain steps' In the dark you can see nothing but the burn out sparkles of a merciless dream.

On the whole, I think that this is an excellent album that should find a place in the collection of every Italian prog lover!

Report this review (#2077767)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2018 | Review Permalink

PROMENADE Noi al dir di Noi ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of PROMENADE Noi al dir di Noi

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.