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Sezione Frenante - Nuove Dimensioni CD (album) cover


Sezione Frenante

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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4 stars Many of the members from the Rock Progressive Italiano band "Sezione Frenante" played in the band known as "Nuove Dimnesioni" which was founded in 1974 and disbanded in 1978. The new incarnation formed in 2006, and under the name of Sezione Frenante, have released 2 albums; their debut album in 2014, which consists of both old and new compositions, and in May of 2019, they have released their 2nd album named after their old band name "Nuove Dimensioni". The line up for this album consists of Alessandro Casagrande (drums, percussion); Mirco De Marchi (piano, Hammond organ, mellotron, moog and synth); Sandro Bellemo (bass); Antonio Zullo (guitars); and Luciano Degli Alimari (vocals). Deborah Barbiero provides backing vocals on 4 tracks, Mauro Martello plays flute on 3 tracks and Francesca Rismondo plays cello on 2 tracks. The album is made up of 8 tracks with a total run time of just over 50 minutes. Most of the tracks are around the 6 ? 7 minute mark with a few that are shorter and one that is over 10 minutes.

"Nuove Dimension" means New Dimensions in English and is an album whose songs center around a protagonist who studies the origins of the universe, the depths of space, the nature of time and the fate of black holes. Since this story is based on science fiction and future possible technologies, he is able to hear, see and study harmonies that come from the depths of space and tries to discover what place humans have in this universal plan.

The first track is "Kosmos" which starts with airy effects that denote a great expanse, and an oscillating sound of chords from keys. The bass starts to sneak around the atmospheric chords. The sound slowly builds as a guitar accompanies a melodic and mysterious synth melody and synth textures. Cymbals finally bring in the progressive drums that hammer out a stop/start rhythm until a steady beat gets everything in motion around the 3 minute mark. The guitar builds on the melody established earlier by the syth and they continue to back up the melody. The progressive drums come back in later as the guitar continues to build upon the melody, then high flying synths take over the spotlight. After 5 minutes, guitar and synth join in together to complete the build of the track.

"L'era di Plank" starts off with hollow keyboard notes and the vocals start. The vocals are deep and almost operatic sounding, at least the melody has that attitude, even with the wordless vocals shared by the lead singer and the guest backup singer. The band finally kicks in after 2 minutes with a progressive sound and the vocals continue with even more intensity as organs and guitar build excitement. The vocalist definitely has a strong voice and stays in a lower register, but ventures to higher passages without having to strain, but still evoking emotion. After 4 minutes, the tempo speeds up and the guitar establishes a pattern supported by organ and then another guitar improvises over everything, later echoed by synths. Just before 6 minutes, it slows back to the original tempo before bringing everything to a dramatic and progressive close.

The last track immediately changes to "Fuso delle necessita" (Spindle of Needs). This starts with a fast progressive tempo and the flute brings in the vocals and continues to add support through the track. This has a catchy rhythmic pattern and feels like it was meant to be a single as it also has the right timing for one. The same pounding riff continues pretty much through the entire track to the section where things finally become softer for the ending. "Principe del Vuoto" (Prince of the Void) begins on a more pastoral note with acoustic guitar, flute and bass. Vocals are more pensive and ballad-like with a lovely synth playing soft and high in the background, a nice and effective touch that is popular in Italian Progressive music. The music continues to be pastoral, but the drums pound out a rhythm that end up bringing in the band, still featuring the flute and now the cello. The style remains ballad-like and lovely however. Later, with the same vocal melody, the beat changes to a strong 3 / 4 meter giving some variation to the theme. Just before the 5 minute mark, there is a sudden change in everything as the tempo gets faster and guitars and organs build in intensity to a synth solo. Soon the guitar follows the synth note for note. Vocals come back in at 7 minutes but the band continues with the intensity without returning to the ballad style that the track started with.

"Orizzonte Degli Eventi" (Event Horizon) starts off upbeat and aggressively progressive. Vocal and instrumental sections trade back and forth both returning to common themes. Suddenly things build quickly and the tempo picks up for a longer instrumental section. This reminds me a lot of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" as far as the transition to the longer instrumental section is made. Of course, it isn't quite as chaotic sounding as the KC classic, but the pattern is pretty much the same. After 5 minutes, the song returns to it's original theme and vocals soon return.

"Venere" (Venus) comes next. This one starts with a jazz-funk vibe played by guitars as a cool synth solo plays. After playing through its theme, the vocals start, this time backed up by the guest vocalist from time to time. This is a moderately fast tempo and has a mostly accessible sound, but still with progressive elements. The synth melody is used a lot through the track and helps to bring an anchor to the music. It has a very nice, laid-back feel to it, and the guitar solo on the last half is a nice touch too. The mood is quite upbeat throughout this track, possibly even contending to be another single, even though it almost breaks the 6 minute mark.

"E Nata una Stella (Giostra a Catena)" (A Star is Born (Chain Carousel)) is the next track and it has a duration of a little over 10 minutes. It starts pensively with an organ, bass and spacey synths. Vocals begin as the bass continues supported by sustained synths. At two minutes, drums come in as the tempo and instrumentation pretty much remain the same as the 2nd verse plays through. A small chorus of voices sing wordless vocals when the lyrics stop, and the music builds until a guitar plays a solo. Before 5 minutes, there is a sudden increase in tempo and meter change as the melody changes and vocals begin again. Synths play a recurring melody between verses. After 6 minutes, there is another tempo and meter change as things get a little heavier, synths tie in the melody to this section and then an organ solo followed by a guitar solo make things continue to intensify and things intensify as the guitar brings it all to a climactic finish. It's an odd choice to decide to let this song fade out.

The last track is "Nomadi Vallieri" which is a definite nod to progressive folk as the song remains light and playful with flute and cello along with acoustic guitar create the folk atmosphere.

This album is quite enjoyable with a nice balanced use of both guitar and keyboards providing the progressive sound, and the percussion driving the music into different tempos and meters. The vocalist has a deeper register, but that is fine because he also sings with a story teller's style that makes you listen, even when you don't understand a lot of the words (the lyrics are in Italian). The voice is pleasant and supported by backing vocals occasionally. The musicianship is spot on and the musicians work very well together, transitions are smooth, and the use of instruments are well balanced. Overall, it is an excellent album full of interesting music which mostly stays progressive, but ventures into more accessible territory on a few occasions, which is okay because those songs are high quality. 4 stars.

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Posted Sunday, May 26, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Nuove dimensioni" is the second album by Sezione Frenante, a band from the province of Venice whose roots date back to the early seventies. It was released in 2019 on the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records with a renewed line up featuring Sandro Bellemo (bass), Alessandro Casagrande (drums, percussion), Luciano Degli Alimari (lead vocals), Mirco De Marchi (piano, keyboards) and Antonio Zullo (guitars) plus the guests Deborah Barbiero (backing vocals), Mauro Martello (flute) and Francesca Rismondo (cello). According to the band, this is a concept album about the origins of the universe, the depths of space, the nature of time and the fate of black holes with lyrics inspired by quantum physics, astronomy, ancient history and mythology. The beautiful art work by Walter Marin tries to describe its musical content...

The instrumental opener "Kosmos" sets the atmosphere. It starts softly, the mood is dreamy, then the rhythm rises evoking a long, epic journey across the mystery of the universe. There are no lyrics, but the liner notes give a clue of what the music is about... From ancient times, man has turned his gaze to the sky, hoping to steal its secrets, marvelling at the alternation of light and dark. Now, thanks to previously unavailable technologies, he can hear, see and study the harmonies coming from the depths of space... If the world is just a teeming of ephemeral quanta, an immense interplay between space and elementary particles, what place do we human beings have in all of this?

The title of the following "L'era di Planck" (Planck epoch) refers to an era coming immediately after the Big Bang, the event which began the known universe. The music and vocals conjure up the image of a little seed, dynamically balanced, silent and motionless in the absolute void. Since remote times it blossoms breathing in the nothingness. By chance, a magnetic current runs across that nothingness and unchains a reaction, pressure surges and you can imagine an empire of gas where protons, neutrons and photons randomly collide one against each other in an infinite chaos, creative furnace of new elements, planets, life...

An explosion leads to the next piece, "Fuso delle necessitÓ" (Spindle of necessity) whose title refers to a model of the workings of the universe elaborated by the ancient Greeks where the sun, moon, five planets and fixed stars revolve around the earth. Here the music and lyrics evoke the Myth of Er, a legend about the cosmos and the afterlife that ends Plato's Republic. Er, dead in battle, rises from his funeral pyre to tell about his journey through the cosmos where he could see the souls of the dead in march towards their fate. Then he describes shining columns of light and the celestial spheres of the astral plane revolving around Ananke's spindle...

"Principe del vuoto" (Prince of the void) starts softly, by acoustic guitar and flute, then the vocals evoke an ever present music expanding in harmonic planes where space and time blindly follow the rhythm and notes, soundtrack of ancestral events... But the harmony is disturbed by a different kind of notes, the notes that form the aura for the prince of the void, a merciless, hungry black hole that swallows the stars and breaks the astral fabric...

The dark, threatening "Orizzonte degli eventi" (Event horizon) conjures up the image of a lonely, breathless star and its explosion in an immense field of forces that suddenly invades the void. Other stars, old planets and comets are scared and try to escape from the dark monster that swallows everything around him, the black hole where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The feared boundary of no escape is called the event horizon...

The mood of the following "Venere" (Venus) is definitively lighter. Here the music and words give voice to a jealous planet with a female name, the name of a Goddess. Venus looks enviously at a celestial stone full of life, the Earth. She can't give birth to any living being and so, during the night, she listen to the dreams and hopes of terrestrial lovers that at dawn she handles to the sun... All in all, aren't we all children of the stars, children of the night that turns around us?

The long, complex "E' nata una stella (Giostra a catene)" (A star was born - Swing ride) is a charming track that depicts in a very original, surreal way the birth of a star and the formation of a galaxy. Here the lyrics are like brush strokes of colour on a black canvas conjuring up rainbow arches and column of light, shining creatures, little lively spheres, living stars... The new star is compared to a rotating Chair-O-Planes that travels across the galaxy, dancing with its sisters in a perpetual motion. This star is not the most beautiful nor the brightest one but it could be a source of life, your life!

"Nomadi velieri" (Nomadic sailing ships) ends the album with a funny description of the solar system with all the planets that turn stealthily around the sun hiding mysteries, drawing ellipses, rotating lightly but remaining always together like a deployed fleet of nomadic sailing ships in the sea of the universe. Their evolutions are like the paces of a baroque dance...

On the whole, a wonderful album full of excellent music and sense of humour where boredom has no place.

andrea parentin -

Report this review (#2650938)
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2021 | Review Permalink

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