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Murple Il Viaggio album cover
3.91 | 27 ratings | 2 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Il Viaggio (3:33)
2. Alexandra (5:33)
3. Nani e Clown (7:45)
4. Angelika (5:12)
5. Per una Volta (5:48)
6. La Battaglia (3:28)
7. Sirene (3:20)

Total Time 34:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Claudia D'Ottavi / vocals
- Pier Carlo Zanco / vocals, piano, keyboards, arranger
- Mauro ArnÚ / guitar
- Mario Garbarino / bass
- Duilio Sorrenti / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Cesare Pietroiusti

LP AMS ‎- AMS LP 80 (2014, Italy)

CD AMS ‎- AMS 239 (2014, Italy)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MURPLE Il Viaggio ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MURPLE Il Viaggio reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by andrea
4 stars Il Viaggio (The journey) is the third album by Murple, a Roman band whose roots date back to the seventies. It was released in 2014 on the independent label AMS/Btf with a renewed line up featuring historic members Pier Carlo Zanco (piano, keyboards, vocals), Duilio Sorrenti (drums, percussion) and Mario Garbarino (bass) along with the new recruits Mauro ArnÚ (guitars) and Claudia D'Ottavi (vocals). After a long hiatus, the band came back to life in 2007 and in 2008 released a long awaited second album, Quadri di un'esposizione, followed by a good live activity. In my opinion this new work is better than the previous one, here the mix between vintage and modern sounds is more calibrated and all the new compositions are convincing and well performed. Forty years have passed since the wonderful 1974 debut album Io Sono Murple, but the band is still alive and kicking and the new members are able to give new energy to the overall sound with excellent results.

The opener "Il viaggio" (The journey) begins by a short acoustic guitar intro. The guitar is played with a bottleneck and this is rather unusual for an Italian prog album... Then the other instruments come in and conjure up the black and white images of an old railway station. The lyrics compare life to a metaphorical journey where everyone has a train to take. There are so many rails, stations, connections, the other passengers are ever changing, someone gets out while others come in... No one can know where his journey will end but one day you will hear your train slackening and you'll arrive in a black and white station lost in the mist, from where you won't set off any more...

Next comes the beautiful, mysterious "Alejandra". The title seems to refer to a charming woman of Hispanic ancestry while the music blends dark keyboards passages with more solar parts where electric guitar and synthesizer bring a touch of joyful lightness evoking the suggestive evolutions of a dance under the full moon.

According to the band, the following "Nani e clown" (Dwarfs and clown) was composed in 1973 and performed live at the Be-In festival in Naples. Starting from an old tape, the band re-arranged and properly recorded it in the studio breathing a new life into this piece that describes in music and words an acrobat who walks on a tightrope during a circus show. Dwarfs and clowns are his only family and he enjoys the spotlight when he puts his life at stake for the delight of the public... The music goes through many changes in mood and rhythm underlying the acrobat's feelings and the emotions of the crowd gathered below him... Excellent!

Next comes the calm, dreamy "Angelika", an instrumental track that could make you think of a wonderful woman in the ethereal, breathtaking atmosphere of a Nordic landscape. It leads to the melancholic "Per una volta" (For once) where the music and lyrics depict a proud, vain man without ideals who is wasting his days looking for something that does not exist... The charming voice of Claudia D'Ottavi warns him to change and to break down the wall that he has built around him before it's too late.

Then it's the turn of "La battaglia" (The battle), a sumptuous instrumental track with baroque echoes and a lively pace that conjures up the image of an army on its way to the battlefield... Then the ironic "Sirene" (Sirens) ends the album. A beautiful voice warns you that nowadays sirens are not half-women and half-fish as in the old lores and legends but they can still threaten and kill evil men with their spells. They were born from a beautiful woman in love, cheated by her husband who pushed her from a high cliff. Instead of dying into the sea, the woman was transformed into a siren... Now her spawn look like every other woman but they're hungry of vengeance: beware! If you listen to their singing you'll die!

On the whole, this is a very nice album that's really worth listening to (despite the dangers evoked by the final song!). The art cover by Cesare Pietroiusti portrays the shapes of three men, three ghosts coming from afar but still able to give us some excellent music. I really hope that this will not be the last leg of their journey and I'm looking forward to Murple's next work.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The chances of a `comeback' album of sorts from a vintage Seventies RPI band delivering hugely unexpected music was very unlikely - safe and predictable symphonic prog perhaps, but not much more. So what a delightful surprise it is to discover that `Il Viaggio', released in September 2014 and being only the third album in forty years for Roman band Murple, also holds some very unique and unexpected sounds! The group released an album back in 1974 that in some ways became a bit of a minor gem, `Io Sono Murple' due to its lengthy and colourful instrumental passages, and they returned in 2008 with the pleasant if unspectacular `Quadri di un Esposizione', but this new album sees a slightly altered line-up exploring new styles and directions, delivering their best work since their Seventies debut. While there's still an emphasis on vintage keyboard-dominated symphonic instrumental elements (of course!), this brisk 35 minute album also races through a mix of strong folk song-writing with an interesting approach to vocals, often giving the band a new identity altogether, allowing then to offer something more fresh and vital. Murple reborn if you will!

Rumbling dusty country acoustic guitar strains announce the title-track opener - not the sounds one would normally expect to hear on an RPI album! Don't worry, Italian prog devotees, before long a skittering relentless beat and the more typical shimmering organ and fizzy synths enter `Il Viaggio', but you're in for another surprise - a fascinating combination of both a male and female vocal singing in unison! Original Seventies member/keyboard/piano player Pier Carlo Zanco is joined by newcomer lady Claudia D'Ottavi, and the pair have such contrasting yet equally fascinating voices that unexpectedly come together perfectly. Overall it's quite an accessible piece, a pleasing tune made more interesting by some tasteful instrumental elements.

However, it's `Alejandra' that moves a little closer to the sounds of Murple's little 1974 jewel `Io Sono Murple'. A pleasing mellow instrumental, Duilio Sorrenti's punchy drums snap over droning organ, Mario Garbarino's murmuring bass slinks behind Mauro Arno's bluesy guitar wailing and the whirring Moog in the victorious finale lifts the piece high into clouds of symphonic heaven. A sprinkling of fancy piano to introduce `Nani e Clown' suggests a more romantic mood, but the almost eight minute piece darts through everything from galloping P.F.M-like prances with regal majesty, rambunctious drum outbursts and sweetly chiming guitars with dreamy bubbling Moogs. A drowsy vocal from Pier Carlo is eventually joined by Claudia's spirited proclamations. Next instrumental `Angelika' presents a beautiful mix of sadness and love, with mysterious and gently melancholic verses rescued by a warmer, almost fanfare-like repeated chorus and some lustful electric guitar soloing in the finale.

`Per Una Volta' is a straight-forward but tastefully stirring male/female vocal piece with warm acoustic guitar and sparkling piano, plus a lively instrumental run in the closing minute (shame about that fade-out though!). Instrumental `La Battagglia' is a medieval call- to-arms soundtrack full of regal pomp, driven by thick chunky bass, snarling guitars and imposing organ with wavering synth trills that effortlessly move between heroic and whimsical. Then, despite some darker lyrics (check out fellow reviewer Andrea's translation!), album closer `Sirene' is a pleasing and breezily melodic folk tune, acoustic guitar mixing with pan-pipes and sweetly murmuring bass, with brief moments of classical prettiness throughout as well. Perhaps a strange piece to close the album on, but a charming song all the same.

While plenty of the usual RPI sounds emerge throughout, this is not some lazy clone of past sounds, nor a band simply repeating the kind of music they used to deliver. Murple sound full of creativity and originality here, embracing new styles with enough of the symphonic synth-driven flavours of their older work, but reaching in refreshing new directions with great confidence and, perhaps for the first time, really giving themselves a truly distinctive identity. It means `Il Viaggio' is a beautiful little album that many Italian progressive listeners will likely end up falling in love with very easily!

Four stars.

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