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BOKEH

Logos

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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andrea
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Bokeh" is a double album containing the remixed and remastered version of Logos' eponymous album from 1999 and the remastered version of the following "Asrava", from 2001. It was released in 2023 on the Andromeda Relix label and distributed by Pick Up Records. According to the liner notes, this is a photograph of the early years of the band, when their artistic identity was still out of focus but their project was full of fresh energies and enthusiasm. As you can guess from the art cover, the aim of the band was to look back at their youth and save those memories from oblivion trying to improve the sound quality of the old tapes but avoiding re-recording and overdubbing to let the magic of the moment linger...

The eponymous debut album was recorded in the spring of 1998 and self-released in a few physical copies the following year with an art cover by Luca Zerman inspired by the style of the painter Giorgio De Chirico. According to the official website of the band, it was recorded live in the studio with an old 8-track deck, with all the members playing together, except for the overdubbing of the voices and some guitar solos. From a sound quality point of view the result was very far from perfect, but the band is still very proud of it, in particular of the long suite "Il grande fiume", inspired by Herman Hesse's novel "Siddhartha" and of "Sentiero nel prato, porta nell'universo", which tells of the meeting between a child and an alien. Given the quality of the sources, the band couldn't do miracles but, in my opinion, the result is remarkable...

Logos' second album, "Asrava", was recorded in Verona between August 2000 and January 2001. The art cover by Luca Zerman tries to describe the musical and lyrical content, harder and darker if compared with their previous work. The overall sound quality is better since the band spent a lot of time in the studio working painstakingly to properly record all the pieces in a satisfactory way. Originally it was self-released in a few physical copies and, unfortunately, in 2001 it went under the radar but it's an excellent work and the new version offers to possibility to fully appreciating it...

On the whole, I think this double CD is an excellent chance to complete your Italianprog collection with two very interesting albums in a restored version and a beautiful packaging. It's a kind of gift the band made to their fans and I'm happy about it.

Report this review (#2976493)
Posted Friday, December 22, 2023 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In 2014, I took a chance on a Verona based band Logos and their majestic "L'Enigma della Vita" release, presumably because the title (The Enigma of Life) has always been a source of personal inspiration. The fact that the cover was extremely appealing also contributed greatly to relieve any apprehension. But when I heard the contents, 'I could scarcely believe all the pleasures Inside', to quote Dave Cousins of the Strawbs on Out in the Cold from the masterpiece Hero and Heroine album. I instantly fell in love, thunderbolts, and lightning, forevermore and remains firmly rooted in my all-time top albums of the 21st Century. To then follow up six years later with the similarly stellar "Sadako e le mille gru di Carta" was the proverbial cherry on the gelato! So much so that I went on a hunting expedition to search for the debut Logos album (from 1999) and its sophomore suite Asrava in 2001. In listening to these earlier efforts, it was abundantly clear that this group had their eyes on the prize right from the get-go, with impeccable vision and desire to express themselves very much in the classic RPI tradition. Patiently taking their time in fostering their already glowing reputation in the world of Prog, the continuously stable line-up of guitarist Massimo Maoli, keyboard wizard Luca Zerman, bass boss Fabio Gaspari and syncopation maestro Alessandro Perbellini took the rather audacious step pf revisiting these two earlier efforts and rearranging, re-mixing and remastering the entire 2 albums after nearly a quarter of a century, with new packaging, art work and fresh sound, a concept I admire deeply. Two separate CDs , each focusing on the respective albums demonstrate a deserved respect for their respect of past endeavours as well as providing their fans with something uniquely endearing.

CD1 Logos album explodes out of the launch pad with the hypnotic epic 18 minute + "Il Grande Fiume", an extraordinary convergence of refined melodies, dense atmospherics, and vivid imagery, just like the depiction of a major river that sprouts out of some distant glacier, inexorably growing in stature, as it finds the path of least resistance in order to reach the sea. When Gaspari snorting bass guides the stream, the continuous flow swerves through all kinds of tributaries, where splashing organ swells resonate, serenity found in occasional calm lakes expressed by fluid flute sounds. Passing through lush meadows, deep valleys, charming villages as well as larger cities, nothing can hold back the incredible urge to find the end of the line. The sweet vocals tell the tale with impeccable ton, accompanied by large doses of acoustic guitars in the more pastoral moments, yet unafraid the ramp up the energy when faces with various man-made barriers such as dams and bridges. When the electricity elevates the volume, eventually reaching bombastic levels of symphonic delight, swirling eddies of synthesized fortitude colliding with liquid waves of piano, the climactic final sequence exhilarates the drenched soul, the synth diving headfirst into the ocean. Impeccable. A solemn church organ introduces the rainbow colours of "Arc en Ciel" which will be reprised to finish off the debut album. A serene vocal sermon functions as an interval of reverence between the larger tracks to follow. Case in point, the near 10 minute "Sentiero Nel Prato, Porta Nell'Universo" coming across as a typical Italian RPI ballad, laden with folky theatrics until the growling bass, the stern organ and booming drums enter the fray, energizing the arrangement, yet undaunted in transitioning into gorgeous piano-led reflections. The wilder expressions are always nearby, keeping the pulse tense and exciting, until next dip into peaceful ponderance, just like the sun appearing through the rain clouds after a sudden deluge. A shorter song orientation is to be found on "Un Giorno", featuring some acidic synth from Zerman and strident Maoli electric guitar interplay as well a rather old school early RPI feel, with echoing vocals and spooky organ makes the feel intriguing. "In Una Nuova Terra" follows somewhat the same path, perhaps invoking more melancholic vocal intonations, but still armed with tormenting guitar colourations, aggressive piano, catapulting bass, and a fair amount of cyclonic rage. Out of the blue, as if emerging from a dense forest into a bucolic field, there is a brief moment of calm before exploding into chaos once again.

CD 2 Asvara. Unsurprisingly, the profound "Prologo" positions an obscure canvas, streaking synthesized echoes, ominous and disturbing gong banging notwithstanding, the impression is highly electronic, sorrowful, and even eerie. A perfect introduction for the enterprising instrumental "Ezra Pound" an avant-garde modernist poet, who had a rather controversial reputation, certainly intended as such. The music fits the description, with shifting esthetics, menacing bass lines, dense dispositions, and a harsh rhythmic pulse. Gaspari plays this insistent, effect- laden bass line, in close collaboration with the sledgehammer chop of Perbellini's rather manic drumming. Maoli adds the slivers of guitar insanity that verges on mania. "'99" is another epic piece, clearly in the more symphonic style with tons of mellotron, but in a rather more muscular mood mainly due to the pounding rhythms, the buzzing guitars and the relentless organ flaming through the arrangement. Plenty of polyrhythmic twists and turns, transitions ands shifts galore overtake the speakers, keeping the listener on a knife's edge (Hello Keith), unable to predict what will come next. Church organ offers brief prayers of salvation, signalling a new sonic direction, cleverly playful, the vocals offering a hint of Aldo Tagliapietra (Le Orme) style, almost angelic but the image ruined by a monetary evil bass flurry, a beastly drum harassment and a kneeling at the shrine bow. Rustic beauty is much needed after such a turbulent ride, "La Leggerezza della Liberta" has a strong PFM ballad feel, where simplicity is incarnate, just a suave voice and an acoustic backdrop, light harmonies, and poised thought. "Asrava" is in reference to the influence of body and mind causing the soul to generate karma and it's a surprisingly funky ride, with a virtuoso bass groove that one can almost sway to, perhaps even to the point of finding a sense of destiny and fulfillment. Jazzy guitar flicks with some superb effects, pulsating syncopations, at times very reminiscent of the Alan Parsons classic piece, "The Voice". Cinematographic in texture, this could easily be a soundtrack for an intense movie, the trumpet solo from Alessandro Foroni is utterly exemplary in finishing off this delight! A definite highlight track here, all instrumental but exhilaratingly seductive. The dreamy side of the band is exposed on "Terra Incognita", with plenty of aquatic effects, distant sounds and electronic sheen, courtesy of Luca Zerman's arsenal of keyboards and that choir mellotron that inspires the eventual transition into more athletic expanses. The voice is shuttered in echo, the chorus grandiose and the guitars appropriately razor sharp, before reverting to the liquid aural canvas. When the organ, bass and guitar resume their onslaught, the bluesy feel becomes apparent, once again a nod of respect to the past Italian RPI greats we all know and love. And finally, arrival to the terminal station of "Epilogo", a profoundly impactful finale, with an exquisite melody that reaches for the stars and the heavens beyond. Keyboards and a tired voice that still infuses deepest emotion and finality, and Maoli picking gently into the sunset. Lovely.

This wonderful gift only serves to further invigorate the legacy of Italian Progressive rock, showing that returning to one's roots is a source of not only comfort but ongoing inspiration. Logos continues to shine ever so brightly in our hearts and souls.

5 out of focus blurs

Report this review (#2988325)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2024 | Review Permalink
4 stars LogoS was founded in Verona in 1996 as an Italian progressive rock cover band of the 70s performing songs from Classic Italian Prog bands Le Orme and Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso. In 1999 LogoS released its debut album entitled Logos, followed by Asrava in 2001. Then it took many years (in 2010 the band opened for the known Biglietto Per L'Inferno at an Italian festival) before LogoS released the successor in 2014, the concept album L'Enigma Della Vita (CD and vinyl, see review), on the Andromeda Relix label. LogoS gained international acclaim and played at several foreign festivals, like the Dutch ProgFrog and the French Rock Au Chateau (along Ars Nova from Japan, and Pendragon). In 2020 LogoS released the concept album Sadako E Le Mille Gru Di Carta, I wrote about it on PA: "This is my first musical encounter with LogoS, and I am very pleased with the melodic and harmonic keyboard driven prog, the two keyboard players deliver lots of exciting work on Hammond and synthesizers." On this album LogoS feature the original band members Luca Zerman on keyboards and lead vocals, Fabio Gaspari on bass, and Alessandro Perbellini on drums, along Claudio Antolini on keyboards who joined LogoS in 2004. Guitar player Massimo Maoli has turned into one of the guest musicians. Late 2023 the band released remastered reissues of their 1999 and 2001 albums, this double-review is a focus on these efforts.

CD 1 - Logos (43:04) 2023 Remix - Digitally remastered from the original master tapes.

1. Il Grande Fiume (18:06) : Despite the long running time LogoS succeed to keep my attention, due to the flowing shifting moods (from a dreamy atmosphere to a swinging rhythm and sumptuous outbursts), the wonderful native vocals (mighty close to Le Orme) and the lush instrumentation: varied keyboards (Grand piano, Mellotron, synthesizer, strings), a tin-whistle sound, pedal steel guitar, and jazzy - and moving electric guitar play. What a wonderful 24-carat symphonic rock composition!

2. Arc En Ciel I (2:36) : This short track contains a majestic church organ sound and inspired vocals, a nice musical idea.

3. Sentiero Del Prato, Porta Nell'Universo (9:47) Lots of dynamics, from dreamy and up-tempo to bombastic, embellished with twanging guitars, howling electric guitar, tender piano, dazzling keyboard work and swelling strings. And what a great bonus the Italian vocals are.

4. Un Giorno (5:19) : Wow, so much is happening here: a mid-tempo featuring flashy synthesizer flights, then mellow with pedal steel guitar and dreamy vocals, followed by a bombastic atmosphere with powerful emotional vocals, blended with pedal steel guitar and synthesizer runs. Halfway through a catchy rhythm guitar, organ, fiery guitar work and a sparkling organ solo. And finally, a mellow climate with a slow rhythm topped with romantic vocals and fragile guitar work. Never a dull moment.

5. In Una Nuova Terra? (4:40) First dreamy with soaring strings, sensitive electric guitar and melancholiac vocals. Halfway a sensational break with an up-tempo featuring fiery guitar runs, sparkling piano, lush organ and powerful drum beats, this is more the 'Banco' side of the band, wow! Then the sound shifts between dreamy with tender piano and vocals and bombastic eruptions with guitar riffs and organ, this creates a lot of tension and excitement.

6. Arc En Ciel II (2:36) This is a reprise, again a duet with church organ and vocals, but now blended with a soaring string-ensemble sound and beautiful vocals, strongly evoking Le Orme.

Although at some moments the sound quality is not optimal, I am very pleased with this reissue, it will especially appeal to the fans of Classic Italian Prog and 70s symphonic rock, like me, haha.

CD 2 - Asrava (46:27) 2023 Remastered Version

1. Prologo (5:04) : This album starts with an instrumental with a lush electronic music sound featuring wonderful synthesizer strings and choirs.

2. Ezra Pound (7:15) : Next another musical story, lots of dynamics, changing atmospheres and surprising breaks, topped with strong work on guitar (from propulsive runs to powerful riffs) and keyboards (from flashy and freaky solos on the synthesizer to soaring strings and orchestral layers).

3. '99 (10:46) : More cascades of shifting moods and breaks, embellished with a lush instrumentation, from an accordion sound and Mellotron choirs to fiery guitar, soaring string-ensemble, funky bass and majestic church organ, topped with beautiful native vocals.

4. La Leggerezza Della LibertÓ (2:50) : Now back to dreamy with twanging guitar, soaring strings and romantic vocals, how beautiful it sounds.

5. Asrava (9:08) : The title track begins with a swinging rhythm featuring powerful guitar and organ, tight drum beats, soon a lush keyboard sound joins. Then the music turns into a dynamic and swinging kind of jam session featuring a funky bass solo, a sensitive electric guitar solo with wah-wah, electric piano runs and a trumpet solo.

6. Terra Incognita (7:49) : This mid-long track alternates between atmospheric, swinging and bombastic, very dynamic, and tastefully coloured with choirs, distorted vocals, fat guitar riffs, swirling Hammond runs, a sensitive guitar solo with swinging bass and a bombastic final part featuring guitar riffs and a Mellotron choir sound.

7. Epilogo (3:35) : Like the starter Prologo this concluding track contains mellow synthesizer flights, soaring strings and dreamy vocals. Finally, a tender acoustic guitar solo, simply wonderful.

This album sounds a bit more elaborate and better recorded than their wonderful previous effort, but also very melodic, harmonic, and tastefully arranged, with excellent work on keyboards and guitar, and beautiful native vocals, I am delighted about LogoS.

Both CD's get my four star appreciation.

Report this review (#2990377)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2024 | Review Permalink

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