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Randone Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1) album cover
3.99 | 40 ratings | 9 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ultreia (7:16)
2. La Cabra Negra (6:16)
3. l Canto Della Vita (7:14)
4. Mariposas (4:01)
5. Soy Peregrino (2:51)
6. Qui Ed Ora (7:06)
7. El Trovador Enamorado (3:39)
8. Rosa (7:09)
9. So Close So Far Away (7:05)
10. Hasta La Vista, Diego (6:01)
11. La Iglesia De La Virgen Blanca (4:54)
12. Santiago (6:49)

Total Time 70:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Maria Modica / lead & backing vocals
- Nicola Randone / vocals, acoustic guitar, ukulele, keyboards, electronics, co-producer
- Marco Crispi / acoustic & electric guitars
- Livio Rabito / bass, jaw harp, backing vocals
- Riccardo Cascone / drums

- Carmelo Caruso / baritone vocals
- Beppe Crovella / vintage keyboards, co-producer
- Massimiliano Sammito / flute, harmonica, percussion
- Enrico Giurdanella / crystal singing bowls

Releases information

First act of a trilogy called "Canzoni sulla via", a rock opera inspired to the "Camino de Santiago" (Way of St. James)

CD ElectRomantic Music - ART 1414 (2014, Italy)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RANDONE Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1) ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RANDONE Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via - Atto 1) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars The future lies in the past. Obviously. We are all products of the past, so are the things we make. Music, art or buildings are all based on what came before, knowledge and experiences handed down over the years. I think that keeping the past alive by using whatever one feels strongly about and shapping it into something relevant and furthermore alive, something contemporary, that is art. And art is life. I was approached by Nicola Randone, asking me to give the band's latest effort a spin or two. I was very pleased and felt honored. At the same time I knew nothing about the band and, sad to say, I had not even heard their name prior to this request. Anyway, I put the disc through my earphones and that was a rush, I can tell you. I exppected little but got hooked at the very first notes. The birds singing, the chorus singing over gentle guitar. It was all so captivating. They even pulled out the old jew's harp. And then the distorted guitar set in, side by side with keyboards. "Ultreia" is a fabolous way to kick things off. Mellow, dramatic, epic, folky and all things one associates with RPI is put down in this track. How do you top that? Before I go any further I must say that this album is a very eclectic yet cohesive album that goes through every mood and genre you can think of in prog. Classical, rock, folk, jazz and beyond. I hear Osanna, PFM, New Trolls, Rovescio Della Medaglia and others but amidst all those great names stand an entity named Randone, a band in their own right, shining ever so brightly. Marvellous. Now I will continue. "La cabra negra" has a hardrock or metal feel to it, with great fretting. Still it holds sections with moods and soundscapes that builds into a highly interesting and captivating song. "Il canto della vita" is one of my favorites on the album. It is so beautiful it makes my eyes water, without me knowing what it is all about. I suppose, as an amateur linguist, that it could be translated into "The song of life". Extraordinary track. Everything is just perfect. Emotive and beyond beautiful. I will not go through every track, because there are 12 of them. I will only say that every track is very well made and there is not a single track that could be labeled bad or inferior. I do have my favorites, the songs I find superior, and there are others I enjoy but skip aswell. I think that Randone has made an album that would appeal to just about anyone into prog but certainly all those who love RPI. There are so many things to discover and get acquainted with. Every instrument, I must say, is played to perfection but the keyboards are outstanding. The way they are played makes my keyboard heart jump for joy. Exquisite! All in all, this is an album that manages to take the best from the past and merge it together with all the best from now. This is a magnificent album made with so much love and devotion. At times I feel overwhelmed by it all and that is good, actually.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was also contacted by Nicola Randone and found myself very honored to be doing a review of his latest and sixth opus. I have been aware of his career and even came close to pulling the trigger on his past album Hybla Act 1, due to the high ratings and blushing reviews. But for whatever motive, the gun never went off, a sad realization when one witnesses the passionate charm of this marvelous 2014 release! Nicola continues the fine tradition of Sicilian RPI artists such as Malibran, Conqueror, Coral Caves and the legendary Franco Battiato. The ever-lasting main RPI characteristic is the intercourse between symphonic classicism and Italian folk songs (canzone) which gives the music a dense power and a glorious historic tradition, and Randone certainly comes through in living colour. Nicola also handles keyboards, ably assisted by the famous Beppe Crovella of Arti+ Mestieri fame, a supremely talented player who adds some blitzing lines on Hammond organ. There is a lot of support vocals as well, from opera soloist (Carmelo Caruso) to female lead (Maria Modica) as well as Carlo Longo providing harmonic assistance. Lead guitarist Marco Crispi flashes some sparks when required and the Rabito-Cascone rhythm section is rock-solid. This 2014 release is the first act of a trilogy called "Canzoni sulla Via" (Songs on the Road") searching to define the experiences of author Nicola Randone's pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a spiritual journey that transcends religion. Hence some of the tracks have Spanish and not Italian names, an interesting twist. I will go through each track, as each piece represents a phase or juncture in Nicola's voyage. Storytelling, a fine Italian tradition!

The rousing title track "Ultreia" showcases Nicola's theatrical voice, here growling, there cajoling, always telling some deeply felt emotion. Birds, thunder and pastoral singing, with flute and Jew's harp in tow start off this number, detonated by a synth and guitar line that repeats the gloriously grandiose theme. Nicola has a tremulous voice, a tad like Alessandro Corviglia of la Maschera di Cera fame, which gives the various themes credibility and profound expression. Wailing backing voice, rippling piano, voice effects that include breathless panting and as many twist and turns than a roller coaster. A bluesy guitar spot just kills this one! Amazing piece that introduces some bleating goat effects.

"La Cabra Negra" (the Black Goat) is fueled by some testosterone riffs, a harder edge and inspired playing. Colliding rhythms mathematically precise until the main theme kicks in, featuring a rousing male/female duet that explodes out of the speakers. Smoking organ tirades, spooky synths, more Jew's harp and unexpected leaps and bounds, this is one hell of a ride! The guitar solo offers some liquid speed, hints of Vai or Satriani (two Italian American guit-slingers) that catches by surprise. Wow!

The rapturous "Il Canto della Vita" (Song of Life) is an effortless ballad with flute fluttering mightily, a thoroughly gorgeous track that sustains the feeling with a dizzying guitar solo that drips with sizzle and spark. The shrieking keyboard backdrop initiates a sense of chaos among the linear sentiments expressed by both male and female voices.

The supremely delicate "Mariposas" (Butterflies) follows suit, a supremely well-crafted adventure with slight medieval tinges amid the deep modern orchestrations (that sensational wind-swept synth lead!), the guitars and bass carving slivers of Mediterranean passion (Spanish speed riffs). This is a highlight track of the finest RPI caliber.

Laden with all kinds of voice effects, the short "Soy Peregrino" (I Am a pilgrim), is a shockingly poignant onslaught, bitter guitars up-front and devastating, but an unfathomable operatic voice enters the fray to sling this one into maximum overdrive. The guitars screech, the drums pound and the mind wanders way beyond the horizon.

"Qui Ed Ora" (Latin for Here and Now) is another exalted affair, male and female vocals tenderly intertwined, sublime mellotron squalls, slightly dissonant keyboard and guitar utterances, all coalescing to titillate the senses. This is where traditional old-school RPI meets edgy modern treatments (whooping synths, gurgling bass and loopy rhythms) to delicious effect, a truly progressive expression of creative genius. Bombastic, opulent and compelling, the arrangement takes complicated routes as opposed to the straight line. Fascinating!

"El Trovador Enamorado" (The smitten troubadour) relates to the famed "Chanson de geste", those epic medieval love poems expertly delivered by the troubadours of the times. Sung in Italian, the theme expressed is the classical yearning for love, the ultimate in spiritual journey.

"Rosa" is Maria Modica's platform to sing her heart out in a typical Italian song style, the voice forward and confident, slashed by violin-led orchestrations, rifling organ and sweet bombast. Crispi gives his axe quite a glistening workout, drizzling sparkling notes all over the place, sudden ukulele and ribald feast singing kick in as if participating in some camp-fire sing along. The whistling traveller seems to be engulfed in his own little bubble.

Hah! An English title "So Close, so Far Away" though sung in Italian, you have to love the chutzpah! Nicola's tired and raspy voice catches the mood perfectly, a happy weariness that impels the tired traveller to keep on the road, on his quest to find some inner and unknown salvation. Beppe Crovella literally abuses the Hammond organ, giving it a torrid Greco-Roman wrestle. Crispi is no slouch on the fret board, shoving this piece along with gusto and I daresay some vitriol. Tremendous feeling by all involved. Glockenspiel to finish off. "Dove vai?".

The grandiloquent "Hasta la Vista, Diego" has a muscular Schwarzenegger-like bass propelling this one forward, exuding a crunchy, hard-assed and urban mood, almost close to fellow Italian maestros Universal Totem Orchestra. This is no mellow fluff but a cinematic blur of genius, everything flowing with raging Orff-ian splendor, that slight dissonant zeuhl hint we all love. The music displayed is totally unpredictable, utterly creative and manically personal. A romantic piano lovingly relaxes the television announcer into a perfect fade away. Brilliant!

"La Iglesia de la Virgen Blanca" (Church of the White Virgin) is a more linear rock song, a gifted piece lush with guitar pyrotechnics, bombastic orchestrations and thrilling synthesizer forays. That Carmelo Caruso voice certainly evokes a Mephisto-like feel, as if the devil was chasing his tail. Holy molly, what a pot-pourri of emotions, all wrapped in a tremendous shroud of creativity!

This bleeds directly into the final masterpiece, "Santiago", a lush paradise where a stirring mellotron coalesces with ornate piano and that booming opera voice once again, giving this send-off some exalted foundation, buttered with a vast arsenal of slick little details, as vocalists Caruso and Modica exchange passionate vows. Its highly woven material, finely detailed and complex.

Repeat listens will flesh out even more detail, which will only provide countless future returns, the hallmark of a true prog winner. Once again, I must lash myself 100 times for not being aware sooner of such a talent! If there was an artist deserving of more attention than Randone certainly fits the bill. Time for me as well as all of you, to catch up with this innovative and original RPI stalwart.

4.5 Travelling minstrels

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the first album I have heard from this Italian group named after founder Nicola Randone. Ultreia is the first in a trilogy of albums. This was inspired by a trip through the Pyrenes mountains on the border of France and Spain. The band has been around since the early 2000s and I watched a concert from 2005 I believe the band posted on YouTube; it seems the Jew's harp was always a part of the band's sound. Nice addition, I like it. The music here is generally modern RPI stuff with some very metal guitars at times. Talking and nature sounds can be heard throughout the album. Maria Modica does the female vocals while Carmelo Corrado Caruso does male operatic vocals.

"Ultreia" opens the album with a preview of the traditional Argentine song "Soy peregrino." One of the better tracks, some kind of symphonic prog with a shuffling beat. Symphonic prog metal during the 'chorus' part. "La cabra negra" starts off in prog metal territory before switching to folky symph prog when the vocals arrive. Very prog metal guitar soloing and drumming is followed by some cool synth sounds. "Il canto della vita" starts off very accessible and ballad- like before changing halfway to a more sombre sound with a flute solo and then a ripping guitar solo. Later male and female vocals alternate along with some cool choir sounds from the Mellotron.

"Mariposas" is an instrumental with narration at the beginning. One of the highlights of the album. Lots of variation in the playing. Features some great analogue synth soloing as well as some fast, intricate guitar playing. "Soy peregrino" is here performed symph metal style with the vocals done operatic. "So Close, So Far Away" has an English title but the majority of the lyrics are in Italian. Starts off as an acoustic guitar based ballad. Later changes to a fusion-y part with organ and synth before some metal guitars show up.

"Hasta la vista, Diego" is another highlight. Cool synth riff at one point. Some nice tuba(?) as well. Some vocals here but they are wordless. Nice piano at the end with a television in the background. For me the first half is stronger than the second half, but the best moments are found throughout the album. Recommended to those who enjoy modern RPI. I will give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Good music, a skilled band and very good songs, but this time what matters more is the concept. Journey. This is what the first act of this trilogy is about. A bit of history can help the understanding. St. James (Sanctus Jacopus in Latin) becomes Sant'Iago in Spanish. Centuries ago he walked to the actual "end of the world", (Finis Terrae) and watched a spectacular clear sky full of stars so that the place he was is now called "Compostela" (Campus Stellae - Starfield).

Since then thousands of pilgrims have walked from the Pyrenees, the mountains at the border between France and Spain to that remote place at the end of the known world called Santiago de Compostela.

This is why the album is so full of voices, emotions, sounds and the sense of the journey which includes wonder, fatigue, and a sort of spiritual renaissance. I don't know if Nicola Randone, the project's mastermind is a faithful Christian or not, I have personally spoken with people who walked the Way, and there are Atheists and Mulims who have done it.

Now let's go straight to the album. "Ultreia" is a mysterious word that the pilgrims use as "hello". The first song "Ultreia" starts from a traditional song, but as often happens in prog, it also works as Ouverture including some of the recurring musical themes which will pop-up here and there later in the album.

My favorite song is personally "la Cabra Negra". I'm not sure to have correctly interpreted the lyrics, but I think it represents the temptation, the Devil of Fatigue trying to make the pilgrim stop and give up.

"Il Canto Della Vita" (The song of Life) has a very easy musical theme which appeals immediately and persists in your mind after the listening, but the central interlude, sad and dreamy, gives the idea of the rest after an ordeal, the last moments at the end of the day before falling asleep. The flute and the march rhythm mixed with some electronics give me this idea, at least.

"Mariposas" starts from the main theme but in minor chords. The spelling voice describes the sensation of walking, "fixing the colour of Mariposas in your heart". The keyboards (I think played by Beppe Crovetta from Arti E Mestieri) have a big part in setting the mood with vintage sounds in a Wakeman's style. I have also the impression of a Theremin. Very good guitar, too.

"Soy Peregrino" is one of the most rocking tracks. As in classic rock its length doesn't reach 3 minutes, heavy guitar and hammond are the base of a spanish song. In the last seconds this sort of progressive metal turns into acoustic. A very good song.

"Qui ed Ora" (Here and Now) is a connection to the other Randone's work that I know: Linea Di Confine. The melody and the dissonances in between remind to that work. Anyway, the vintage sound of the keys (a Moog maybe?) has a bit of PFM. After 5 minutes, the wind introduces few moments of dark atmosphere, like a n incoming storm, but it's just a moment. The coda has a very positive sound, quite like a hymn.

A dark love song, a moment of rest in the night. Paying more attention to the lyrics, it's not clear if the woman he speaks about is a real woman or if there's anything religious inside. Maybe both the things. The a-cappella singing with an operatic female voice and the sound which seems a theremin are an unusual moment in this album.

"Rosa" (Rose) Seems to be a real character. A woman who helps the pilgrims and likes hearing their stories. "They come to ease the pain and fill the silence inside me" she says. It's a very melodic song which sounds very RPI,

"Hasta la Vista, Diego". It may be somebody met on the Way (The walk of Santiago is also known as the Milky Way). He says something in Italian with a strong Spanish accent. Then comes a good instrumental part which contains a bit everything. This is prog. No other words are needed. Again the influence of classic RPI is evident in the keyboard parts. The guitar instead, may fit in an Ayreon's album. This is the most complex song and one of the best for sure.

"So Close, So Far Away" is opened by acoustic guitar and harmonica, like a Country western song. It's something that was common in the late 60s in Italy, when many artists were strongly influenced by Dylan. But the Country flavor goes away soon. Another melodic song in classic RPI stile. The vocals are not too dissimilar from Ivano Fossati (former Delirium) but the melody can remind to "Le Orme", but the instrumental part is astonishing. A heavy prog interlude and the return to the melody. It represents a moment of doubt "can this Way be only an excuse to proceed far from you" This seems to be the meaning of the song's title.

In a city called "Victoria" there's the church of the White Virgin (La Iglesia de la Virgen Blanca), Is another sort of checkpoint in Nicola's journey. A mystic moment or just when he has finally given up to a lost love? Whatever it is, this song is very dramatic.

"Santiago" is the goal, where both the journey and this album end. We know that it's not the end of the story as this is just the first chapter of a trilogy. Operatic male vocals introduce a song with an unusual signature with several changes. It gives an idea of confusion. Like the pilgrim is asking himself about the true reason of the journey. This complicated song seems to me a bridge to the next chapter which will arrive in 2015: a sort of "to be continued":

I hope Randone will mantain the promise of releasing two more albums about the "camino". If you want to enter a bit more easier into the right mood for the album, give a look to the booklet. It's available in several languages and a photo in particular impressed me: Nicola on a bed with a small window on his back, likely in a hostel, with his guitar close to him. That snapshot says a lot.

Not less than 4 stars for me. 5 if it was for the concept only. The spirit of the Milky Way filters out of the tracks. This means that the music has reached its target.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In 2012 Randone released independently the archival album ''Single and unreleased'', containing the three cuts, with which the band participated in various prog compilations, plus two cover songs from the repertoire of Le Orme and Peter Gabriel.Nicola Randone started working on a trilogy called ''Canzoni sulla via'', the first part of which was to be titled ''Ultreia'', inspired by Randone's pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostela.He added Marco Crispi on guitars and Maria Modica on female vocals and with the help of some guest musicians (yes, Beppe Crovella was again among them) the band launched the new effort in early 2014 on Electromantic.

''Ultreia'' practically defines the long journey of Nicola Randone and his band through time, it contains hints from his early works as well as more recent echoes by his following albums, which had a slightly operatic view.Great arrangements overall, farily falling into the Symphonic Rock genre, with occasional folky colors and a strong vintage attitude, washed by the use of Hammond organ and the Mellotron.''Ultreia'' is an album full of rich sounds and attractive orchestrations, balanced between energy and calmness and containing all these elements every prog fan loves in Italian Prog: Warm vocals, Classical influences, complicated structures, a thematic development and dense musicianship.I love the irritating male vocals of Nicola and his premature effort on revisiting P.F.M.'s and LE ORME's unique sounds, but the modern touches are more than welcome, the clean production and the intelligent display of grandiose synths in the process.The atmosphere is a bit similar to I GIGANTI's legendary ''Terra in bocca'', passing through dynamic plays with nice guitar, furious organ and sharp synthesizers to more atmospheric textures with some lovely Mellotron parts and measured use of acoustic sounds.Maria Modica comes as another surprise and his collaboration with Nicola results to series of melodramatic, sensitive and romantic vocal lines, the absolute support to an otherwise extremely well-crafted work, instrumentally speaking.

One of the best releases of 2014 and among the highlight's of Randone's discography.Italian Prog at its best, full of lush keyboards, modern twists and retro references.Highly recommended.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This Italian Progressive Rock Band (from Sicily) is led by singer / main songwriter /acoustic guitarist/ keyboard player / programmer Nicola Randone, who some months ago sent me a private message in the Prog Archives Forums with an announcement of the availability of this, their new album called 'Ultreia', which was released in 2014. I could download a digital copy of the album from a link which was included in that private message so I could listen to this album. Fortunately, the downloaded files included scans from the booklet of the album, with some of them having the notes, the credits and the lyrics of the album translated to the Spanish language (and to other languages too, including English). So, it was easier for me to understand the concept and the lyrics of this album because I don`t speak, write or read in the Italian language. The booklet was designed by Nicola Randone himself, and it also has some very good photos taken by him (Nicola Randone is a graphic designer too).

This is the first album that I have listened from this band. The band consists of Nicola Randone , Marco Crispi on electric guitar, Livio Rabito on bass, Maria Modica on vocals, and Riccardo Cascone on drums, plus other four guest musicians.

The full title of this album is "Ultreia (Canzoni Sullavia Atto 1)". So, as the booklet notes say, this is the First Act of a trilogy.

This First Act is a narration of a Spiritual Journey experienced by Nicola Randone while he was travelling (he did it twice) along the 'Pilgrim`s Way to Santiago', a way which takes nearly 1000 kms. and goes from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Nicola Randone narrates with his lyrics and with the music (mostly written by him with some help from some members of the band) his experiences along this journey while having contact with nature and also with other human beings. It seems that this journey leaves in the pilgrims some very good spiritual and personal experiences which makes them grow as persons. The journey took him about three or four weeks until he finally arrived to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The lyrics are mostly written as poems and I liked most of them.

Musically, this album has very clear influences from the Italian Progressive Rock style, with the lyrics being written and sung in the Italian language (but sometimes also including some lyrics written and sung in the Spanish language). It also has some influences from Italian and Spanish Folk music and even some Classical Music influences in some parts, with some 'Operatic' vocals. Nicola Randone is not the only lead singer in the band as Maria Modica sings lead vocals in some parts. There are some influences from other Italian Progressive Rock bands like P.F.M. and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, and the electric guitars playing also has some influences from some Heavy Metal bands, with some guitar parts sounding very influenced by artists like Yngwie Malmsteen, sounding very well. The band also uses some vintage keyboards like the Mellotron and maybe also a Moog Synthesiser, giving to the music some influences from the early Progressive Rock of the seventies. Some songs also include the use of some flute, harmonica and jew`s harp. They also include some sounds from nature and some voices in conversations (some in the Spanish language).

I think that the album as a whole is very good, very well produced, recorded and mixed, and it has very good contributions by all the musicians who participated in its creation. I think that the creation of this album really took them a long time and it really was a hard work, as it has a continuity reflected in the presentation of song after song without interruptions. I also have to say that I like the cover and booklet design very much as it illustrates very well the content of the music and of the lyrics of this concept album.

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am unforgiven, I know - this review comes with great delay but time seems to be running with great pace, even if you are on the Camino de Santiago. Randone's "Ultreia" is my first experience with the band and one of the few with modern RPI. It is based on Nicola Randone's experience of the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage of which I was largely unaware. "Ultreia" is part one of three of a series of albums that Randone are preparing.

The concept of the "Way of St. James" is inseparable from the music, the lyrics and the vocals on this album. The very personal experience of Nicola Randone is embroided on every aspect and I would recommend reading the lyrics to fully understand the expression of this record. Irrespective of this, the theatrical and passionate character of the vocal performances (male and female) are driving the quality here, along with the plethoric and diverse use of a number of keyboard sounds and different instruments, including flute, harp and harmonica among others.

"Ultreia" sounds like tradtional RPI but played in a modern way and examples of this can be found in "Mariposas" with the hammond sounds and fusionesque clean electric guitars or in "Qui ed Ora". The remake of the traditional "Soy Peregrino" with the operatic vocals of Carmelo Corrado Caruso and heavy guitars makes it a total, but rather short, highlight of the album. The influence of classical music on Nicola's guitar playing is evident and this blends nicely with the very optimistic, even if at times melancholic, atmosphere. This optimism primarily appears at the opening and closing stages of the album with more dynamic tracks, while the middle part generally hovers around lower tempos. Symphonic prog metal makes its appearance on "Hasta la vista Diego", another highlight, and the middle part of "Rosa", proving the diversity of the music, making it an album with no obvious weaknesses but perhaps an acquired taste...

Symphonic, operatic, vintage, modern and optimistic, "Ultreia" is worth going the way to explore it, even for those not very acquainted with RPI, like me.

4+ stars

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian project RANDONE is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Nicola Randone, and first appeared on the scene in 2002 with the album "Morte Di Un Amore". Since then Randone has been a stable and active creator of music, with one collection, a DVD and 6 studio albums released under this moniker to date. "Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via ? Atto 1)" is the most recent of the latter, and was released through Italian label Electromantic Music in 2014.

When dealing with Italian artists exploring progressive rock, you are bound to encounter the expression RPI at some point. This three letter expression is short for Rock Progressivo Italiano, and signifies that for at least some people, there is a marked difference between at least some progressive rock made in Italy and progressive rock made in other parts of the world. There has been calls for similar subsections in some progressive rock environments of course, but so far Italy stands alone as a nation in being given their very own subgenre in progressive rock, and one that only applies to some rather than all artists originating from that nation at that.

Those who are in favor of this specific description, and that has an understanding about what it signifies to them, should treasure this album by Randone, as it does fulfill most if not all of the criterias I have been quoted will make an artist or an album to be placed under this niche umbrella. Stylistic variety, clear and distinct references to vintage progressive rock and, most important of all, the use of the Italian language for the lead vocals.

This is an album that orients itself firmly towards keyboard driven progressive rock, where both the organ and the Mellotron are used liberally throughout, with splendid support from what mainly sounds like other vintage keyboards. Occasional jazz-oriented instrument details have their place here, and an even more frequent detail added to the proceedings are folk music, both by way of instrument details and vocals, but also with some key arrangements having a more firm folk-oriented direction. That there's space and room for dramatic, operatic type lead vocals here isn't all that surprising, and that occasional orchestral touches are added in is also a good and somewhat expected but still effective detail of note. That some beefy and occasional fiery electric guitar details are used liberally as well, up to and including some guitar solo runs with more of a shred style touch, is perhaps a bit more unexpected I guess. The use of what sounds like electronic instrument details, at times in a rather dominating manner, may be another detail that isn't as common on productions of this kind, but by and large they work well in this setting.

What may be a bit more detrimental, at least for those not fluent in the Italian language, is the cinematic nature of this album. A feature increasingly more dominant are interludes of spoken voices, in form coming across as sampled dialogue of the kind you'll find in movies where ordinary people are talking to themselves, to others or with others, with appropriate daily life sound effects. Not just at the start and end of songs, but also as interludes within the songs. I get a strong cinema movie feeling at times with this album, and as this is the first of what presumably is a series of albums, there is a concept explored here and a story being told that will remain hidden for those not fairly well versed in Italian I guess. Presumably this perhaps not so slight detail will be a strong positive for any Italian progressive rock fans, but as I am not fluent in that language myself I just have no way of knowing how well this is executed.

All in all I find "Ultreia (Canzoni Sulla Via ? Atto 1)" to be a well made and versatile production, in substance and style adhering fairly closely to my understanding of the elements needed for residing inside the progressive rock subgenre RPI. Besides those who have a specific interest in this subset of progressive rock, I would guess that symphonic progressive rock fans with a fairly versatile and liberal taste in music of that orientation might want to have a go at this one.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The name "Randone" is the name of the Italian musician Nicola Randone which has made some records now and his sixth one came last year, a little more than exact a year ago and it is called "Ultreia". His first record was released 2002. This record has a nice cover with a stone formation on a fie ... (read more)

Report this review (#1378655) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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