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Rustichelli & Bordini

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Rustichelli & Bordini Opera Prima album cover
3.76 | 88 ratings | 20 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side one:
1. Nativita (8:10)
2. Icaro (7:40)
3. Dolce sorella (5:18)
Side two:
4. Un cane (5:17)
5. E svegliarsi in un giorno (5:15)
6. Cammellandia (8:49)

Total Time: 40:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Paolo Rustichelli / Hammond C3 organ, pianos, ARP & VCS3 synthesizers, mellotron, vocals
- Carlo Bordini / drums, percussion

Releases information

LP RCA CR-10060-ERS-28010 (1987, originally released in 1973)
Special limited re-issue for Edison European Rock Series (Tokyo, Japan)
CD RCA - ND 74115 (1990, deleted)
CD BMG 74321-98510-2 (2003)

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the addition
and to Cesar Inca for the last updates
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RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI Opera Prima ratings distribution

(88 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI Opera Prima reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This morning I played this record and decided to make a review for this site. To my huge surprise this duo was not included so I had a mission! Rustichelli & Bordini was a duo who made this wonderful album that turned out to be their swan song. The cover picture is very original: a nude and bald heavy weight man who tenderly holds a baby in his arms. To me this is a metaphor for the music, ranging from warm to bombastic.

1 - Nativita

This album starts with a swinging rhythm featuring inventive drums, a warm bass sound and lush keyboards with Hammond organ, Mellotron and piano. The climates alternate from mellow with soaring violin-Mellotron and classical inspired piano to swinging with lots of Hammond. The interplay between the keyboards is wonderful and the rhythm- section sounds great.

2 - Icaro

A mid-tempo song with splendid play on the Hammond (featuring a church organ like sound), a jazzy piano part and strong vocals with an emotional undertone.

3 - Dolce sorella

Again we can enjoy a wonderful lush keyboard sound delivering classical orchestrations, synthesizers and sparkling piano. The vocals sound melancholical and fit perfect to the bombastic atmosphere.

4 - Un cana

The first part contains beautiful classical piano, then a full symphonic climate, emphasized by synthesizers, Mellotron and piano along emotional vocals.

5 - E svegliarsi in un giorno

This track features many Hammond organ floods and strong vocals, it carries you away to progheaven !

6 - Cammellandia

First bombastic organ, fat synthesizers flights, then an ominous sounding violin- Mellotron and dynamic drums. The climate turns into bombastic with propulsive drums and a lush Hammond and Mellotron sound, gradually the Mellotron becomes more and more omnipresent and is blended with the Hammond and drums in an exciting way! In the end the atmosphere returns to mellow with tender piano and strange sounds.


Review by loserboy
4 stars Mellotron. mellotron. and more mellotron, garnished with organ , side of C3 Hammond and sautéed with piano. "Opera Prima" is a symphonic concept-story opera written back in the golden era of early 70's Ital-Prog centered around the warm analog sounds of keyboards. In many ways "Opera Prima" stylistically approaches the fine work of IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI and some fringe elements of ELP. Rustichelli performs all the lovely keyboard work while Bordini supports with his classic and complex percussive and drum, talents. This is richly textured music, which is full of grandeur and highly skilled performances. The warm keyboard sounds are simply to die for with loads of heavy analog symphonia! Vocals are slightly guttural (deep & dark) but well done and nicely suits the music. There are no guitars or bass played on this album and to be honest is not missed. The re-mastered transfer to CD is fantastic and offers great sound quality which really brings out the fullness and richness of sound. Overall "Opera Prima" contains some truly unforgettable progressive rock moments and is an essential recording for lovers of 70's Italian Symphonic prog.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "...white wings flying will not have your smile anymore..." (from "Icaro").

What a pleasure to have this wonderful record in my progrock cd collection! Another excellent and compelling one-shot band from the italian scene of the seventies. I'm very proud of such a richness of bands and artists, many of them being quite obscure for the italian people ourselves! I've got Opera Prima in the recent and elegant BMG 2003 paperlseeve reissue. The sound remastering is very clear and convincing, the only remark I can move is that of the sometimes too lighter drums. It seems not due to the remastering session, I think.

Paolo Rustichelli and Carlo Bordini were a very talented duo of musicians who decided to elaborate what would habe been their unique album combining only two kinds of instruments: keyboards in all their pompous and soft variety (organ C.3 Hammond, Mellotron, Arp V.C.S. 3, piano) and drums always well played even if sometimes they deserved to be more loudly recorded. It's a pity that such a talented duo didn't manage to catch enough airplay. This was a common thing in Italy in those times, by the way! Carlo Bordini was next the drummer of the Cherry Five album.

Excellent the cover art, figuring a big hairless naked man who embraces his young clone...

Two instrumental and longer tracks: the opener "Natività" (8,13 mns) and the closer "Cammellandia" (8,47 mns). Both excellent but not at the same level of the other sung pieces. That's because of the particular and catching vocals provided by Rustichelli. His memorable rough voice is a perfect trademark for the album itself.

The peak of "progressiveness" is rapresented by the impressive "Icaro", an ode to the mythic character from the ancient greek legends. The man who builded wings to fly and tried to touch the sun. The heat of the sun helted the wax which holded together all the feathers. Icaro died falling to the ground.

Another great favourite of mine is "Un Cane" (A Dog) with very nice lyrics about that animal, rapresenting free man. Outstanding and powerful keyboards. Perhaps the most favourite of mine!

"Dolce Sorella" (Sweet Sister) and "E Svegliarsi un Giorno" are the other sung tracks. The second one is better. The first one is more melodic and romantic oriented.

In conclusion, I think the four stars are not really enough, but I can't really rate Opera Prima with five stars. It is in these cases that we need to give also half ratings. 4.5, almost a mastepiece of italian progressive rock or, at least, a particularly excellent and memorable one.

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Paolo Rustichelli (keyboards and vocals) and Carlo Bordini ( percussion) recorded in 1973 their only record 'Opera Prima'. The duo is inspired by ELP and produces a powerful symphonic prog with great dynamics. The only weak point are the vocals of Rustichelli.

'Nativita' the instrumental opener gives the direction with heavy organ chords, synth bass in the intro, followed by a first slow theme with a nice flute synth voice and a second more aggressive theme with great drum & keyboard interplay, before a reprise of the first theme on piano ends the track.

'Icaro ' starts with a recitativo part supported by organ chords, that leads into a bluesy medium tempo groove and a first theme where Rustichelli forces too much his vocals for my taste. A rhythm change leads to an organ/bass/vocal riff followed by an ELP- like groove with jazzy organ washes and a great Emerson-style organ solo and ending with the reprise of the first theme.

'Dolce sorella' opens with a citatation of Wagner's 'Tannhäuser' opening theme on organ and builds up a beautiful main theme (a variation of the 'Tannhäuser' motif) supported by organ and vocals, and followed by a moog solo and the track ends with an Emerson trademark Fanfare.

'Un cana', a slow blues opening with a piano theme, a countermelody for a second piano, a great track if not for the overstressed blues vocals of Rustichelli.

'E svegliarsi in un giorno' starts with a synth lead, organ chords and a bluesy first theme, followed by an organ solo and great drumming by Bordini. A highly syncopated section ,again with fantastic dynamics, leads into a reprise of the first theme.

'Cammellandia ' the last track opens with a beautiful piano intro, followed by a fanfare-like organ riff (with regards to ELP) and a great development for keys and drums. After a slower section an alterrnating part of organ riffs and drum rolls. The track ends with piano and a synth lead.

A great symphonic prog record !

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Keyboard heaven.

The cover photo never fails to get a smile when I look at it. This Italian album from the classic period is pure keyboard heaven and I believe that vintage keyboards and drums are the only instruments used here.

The leadoff "Nativita" is probably my favorite track with equal parts elegance and drama. Paolo has great command of the keys and arrangements and if it's true he was only a teenager when this was made in 1973 it is all the more impressive. Carlo Bordini is a very talented drummer and the playing is splendid. Paolo is ripped for his singing voice just about everywhere I read both in print and on the net. I have to say that his gruff vocals don't bother me to the extent they apparently do others..I've heard FAR worse. "Un Cane" opens and closes nicely with the first 90 seconds and last minute being beautiful majestic solo piano. And the closer "Cammellandia" is a decent track which wraps things up well.

The sound on the Japanese CD is remastered and fabulous, bringing those old keyboard sounds to new life. I can't say this is an essential Italian title though as it is a bit one-dimensional due to the lack of other instruments. And frankly, while enjoyable, the material here is just not to the level of many of the other great Italian bands. In other words, don't start your Italian prog collection here. Recommended big time though for all lovers of keyboards = 4 stars, for everyone else this is high 2/low 3 star territory.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This is a rather minimalist line-up for a band playing Italian symph. Usually, we get some wind or chord player, a duo of keyboards or some fine guitarists. Nothing as such here. What we get is a keyboard player (who incidentally also sings) and a percussionist.

This doesn't mean that the music is minimalist though. Keyboards lovers, this album is yours: there are lots of bombastic and pleasant moments which automatically remind the good old ELP, but what is ruining this effort are the dreadful vocals: a desperate rasping voice (but some other reviewers seemed to appreciate this ''feature'', so.).

I wouldn't speak about highlights on this work, just a bunch of good songs which are flowing easily, without hurting any musical sense. Church organ sounds, heavy keys and intriguing mood are the components of the closing track ''Camellandia'' (nothing to do with a potential ''Camel'' land). I particularly like the mellotron section (but this is no surprise). The good point is that this is an instrumental track.

The second best number is the opener ''Nativita''. Like ''Camellandia'', it features some fine mellotron lines and it is quite upbeat at start and varied. From frenetic to emotive: this instrumental will lead you there. Since these two songs only are almost good for half of this album, one cannot complain too much. Still it would have been inspired to play some more of these pleasant tracks during the whole of this work.

This being said, there are no weak numbers per se, but ''Icaro'' is not very consistent and I am quite irritated with the voice of Paolo Rustichelli. It ends up in some jazzy interplay between both musicians. If you are missing some fine melody, I recommend you to listen to the emotive ''Dolce Sorella'' (sweet sister). A very sweet ballad indeed.

It is a good album (at least I consider it as such), but I wouldn't go over three stars to rate it. It would have been another affair if someone like Franceso DiGiacomo (''Banco'') would have been in charge of the vocals. Under these circumstances, a song as Un Cane'' would have been a masterpiece; because the potential was there; definitely.

Review by DamoXt7942
4 stars Will you be overwhelmed by their skill? Or be happier with their natural faces?...I was smilin' in spite of myself!

PAOLO RUSTICHELLI and CARLO BORDINI are two well-skilled young musicians in Italy. This Opera Prima is the one and only album by them two. At that day PAOLO was only 16 years old but in this work he has an atmosphere of a great keyboardist. What a great boy! I guess most of Italian-rock freaks should tell 'bout Nativita' at first. Indeed such a heavy keyboard play can push and kick us away strongly, and the rhythm section (to tell the truth, this is PAOLO's key-bass plus CARLO's percussion.) can strictly and smoothly hit beats. But, believe me, I consider the highlight of this album is the song Icaro. Maybe everyone says why. PAOLO's loud and gaudy (sorry!) voice has real human nature. His vocal is not so nice but absolutely appropriate for their this work. I love his unrefined voice, and this might have really Italian flavour. Furthermore, the attractive point of this album is easiness to listen and understand. Full of pleasant melody and sound is here, and we can feel very little Italian progressive air. The last track Cammellandia has progressive wave but this wave is not hard and eccentric. For these reasons, almost all of Italian-rock freaks can enjoy this, I suggest.

Finally, I'm sure the most attractive keypoint is that two big men would make this album WITH THEIR NATURAL FACES. That is, They could feel happy and pleasant for making and playing, not have difficult thoughts for them. Maybe it's very difficult for us to find such an album with happiness and skilled play.

At first, listen to it. You'll be happy, like me and us. :)

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Opera Prima by Italian duo Rustichelli & Bordini is an excellent keyboard-dominated symphonic album from 1973. The simplest way to describe the music here is to imagine ELP with the addition of a Mellotron and a gravel-throated Italian vocalist. This album is almost up there alongside Tarkus and Trilogy, and wipes the floor with just about everything else ELP did. The main issue with Opera Prima seems to be the vocals, which are something of an acquired taste. To be blunt keyboards player Paolo Rustichelli has a particularly gruff, ugly singing voice. However if you can get over the vocals you'll be rewarded with some of the richest keyboard textures in the RPI canon.

The album opens with an instrumental track, Nativita, which basically consists of an A-B-A structure but with several variants and transitions within that framework. The first A-section is like a fanfare initially played on piano and synth, but then joined by organ chords and Mellotron. A brief Emersonian jazz organ statement leads back to a variation on the first theme, with organ taking the lead this time around. Piano and Mellotron then introduce the serene B-section, with synth providing a melodic bass line. A transition passage climaxes with a piano arpeggio that heralds a reprise of the A-theme, this time with aggressive organ to the fore. The track finishes with a brief coda that combines the two main themes.

Icaro begins with some moody organ, until Rustichelli can unfortunately be heard clearing his throat before starting to sing. Ouch! The tempo picks up with a stirring organ melody, drums and burbling synth-bass. We then get a typical hard-rock beat complete with cowbell. Up to this point in the song Rustichelli's voice has been bearable. However in this section he sounds like one of Saruman's orcs! I kid you not. Think of the Piltdown man from Tubular Bells... yeah, that bad! Some Jon Lord inspired organ embellishments then lead into another ELP type of jazzy improvisation. This starts with organ and piano playing in breakneck counterpoint, backed by Mellotron; Rustichelli then goes on an elaborate solo using a variety of organ timbres. Bombastic organ, Mellotron and vocals bring the song to a close.

Dolce Sorella is a lovely ballad with church organ and acceptable vocals, even if these are a bit high in the mix. Actually once the drums start playing the vocals are just about right. A squelching synth line then introduces an ELP inspired melody that is to die for. Beautiful. Another verse then piano and organ duet to finish.

Track 4, Un Cane, begins with a lovely piano theme (sounds familiar... The Endless Enigma?) before drums crash in along with the vocals and a juicy synth line. This is a fairly straightforward slow-paced song, although there's some super pitch-bend synthesizer towards the end.

After a mellow organ introduction, E Svegliarsi In Un Giorno gets underway with synthesizer, drums and vocals. After a couple of verses there's some Mellotron-flute and buzzing synth, and we then get another superb ELP-type passage with organ and more synth. A military drumbeat and Mellotron slow things down momentarily, before a final verse brings the song to a close.

Cammellandia begins with a majestic piano melody; organ then takes up the melody with synth and drums playing a syncopated beat. The track then goes through an extended virtuoso section with Rustichelli finally succumbing to a bit of overkill. Mellotron-cello introduces a strange little section... I'll swear I can hear a dog howling here! This is followed by another organ and Mellotron passage, and the piece finishes with more strange sound effects.

If you ever wanted to hear what ELP might have sounded like with Mellotron then this is your chance. However Rustichelli & Bordini aren't mere ELP clones. This is one great album. I didn't actually realise just how good until I started trying to analyse the tracks for this review. All things considered, Rustichelli's voice isn't so bad after all either, with the exception of his singing on Icaro. In my opinion this is a 'must have' album for RPI fans. For everyone else I'd rate it as 4 stars.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As a youth, being already a talented piano player and composer in the early 7s, Paolo Rustichelli became enamoured of the sort of artistic rock that the colourful realms of progressive rock offered to rock fans and the music industry. Once progressive rock stood as a fertile garden of young bands in Italy, he joined forces with drummer Carlo Bordini in order to bring in heir own contribution among those provided by their country's big prog names such as PFM, Le Orme, Banco, etc. while they were at it, Rustichelli worked on the dissemination of the ARP synthesizer in the rock circles. "Opera Prima" is the final result of this effort, and indeed it happened to be a real gem to be sought after and dearly treasured by any true lover of the progressive genre. As I see it, there's no other way around it. The album kicks off on a very enthusiastic note, with the lovely 'Nativita'' providing a dynamic vibe that owes a bit to ELP and solo Wakeman, but is mostly related to the idiosyncratic Italian sound that had been developed within the worldwide symphonic rock trend. Just like a more robust version of Le Orme mixed with a better version of L'Uovo Di Colombo, plus somehow predating Corte Dei Miracoli, the duo delivers a magical mixture of explicit energy and romantic nuances, fluidly conveyed through the motif and mood variations ? 8 minutes of pure progressive glory. 'Icaro' follows, starting as what seems to be a power ballad but soon evolving into something rockier, even talking it into a raw spot (Rusticelli's singing is a very big help at keeping things raw). The emergence of a wild Baroque organ-driven interlude and the introduction of a jazz-oriented jam afterwards create a solid enrichment for the basic motif's development. 'Dolce Sorella' does fit the symphonic power ballad's framework, with noticeable allusions to the standards of Procol Harum and Yes, but of course, since this is a typically Italian sounding band and keyboards are the only protagonists, the sonic scheme stays closer to BMS and Le Orme. 'Un Cane' gets the album's second half started: with a prologue dominated by grand piano, the overall ceremonious overtone is guaranteed right away, and so, when the main body is installed, the track happens to be closely related in mood to the preceding one. 'E Svegliarsi In Un Giorno' doesn't follow a dissimilar pattern actually, although one can notice (or at least, that's how I picture it) that the ongoing mood is a bit less romantic and a bit more extroverted. Also, the compositional development is a bit more sophisticated, which is mostly due to the use of synthetic fanfares and Gothic-like mellotron washes somewhere in the middle. The final track ''Cammellandia' starts with a beautiful piano sonata, whose simplistic motif brings the key to the whole compositional architecture, which indeed is not too complex, but it is cleverly based on coherent moods and. The connections with Le Orme and ELP are somehow easy to notice, and there is also a scary element to this track that I may not have found alien in a Goblin album? but again, Goblin didn't exist by then yet, so we can sense something a bit pioneering here as well. So, all in all, what we have here is a very substantial album in musical terms through all the bombast patently delivered in the ever present synths (ARP and VCS 3) and mellotron inputs. "Opera Prima" is an excellent progressive opus, and as such it should be valued by any prog collector who intends to be really proud of their collection.
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Opera Prima is a fairly obscure Italian symphonic prog album from the duo of keyboard player Paulo Rustichelli and drummer Carlo Bordini. Sadly this album released in 1973 remains their only collaborative effort. Bordini is perhaps better known to RPI fans for playing in the pre- Goblin outfit Cherry Five. Rustichelli following in his father Carlo's footsteps has gone on to compose Italian film scores amongst his achievements.

This is a keyboard dominated record; in fact the duo are the only musicians to play on the album. The music ranges from sublime passages of restrained piano to more bombastic Hammond fuelled moments, the sound palette widened with the use of synths and often reminiscent of ELP. The standard of playing is not surprisingly excellent as in the main are the compositions, surprisingly mature considering the young age of Rustichelli, the only downside being some decidedly rough vocals.

Despite being an excellent album I wouldn't consider this one of the more essential releases in the RPI genre, but lovers of symphonic keyboard fuelled prog will no doubt find much to enjoy here.

Review by friso
4 stars Rustichelli and Bordini - Opera Prima (1973)

Another vinyl record I was able to get my hands on thanks to my prog-buddy Erik Neuteboom. In Holland the RPI scene is hard to get on vinyl, so I was excited to get this record.

R&B consists only of two member (who would have though that with such a band-name..?). Paolo Rustichelli plays Hammond C3 organ, ARP VCS3 synthesizer and does the vocals, Bordini plays the drums. Both are great musicians with a lot of capabilities. But hey.. and album with only keys and drums, wouldn't you we miss the guitars and bass? Actually I did not. The sound of Opera Prima is already bombastic enough! The tasteful use of key- instruments and the warmth in the recording gives this album a great sound.

The vocals. I have good and bad news. The good news is that he doesn't sing to often. Well.. the bad news shouldn't come as a surprise then: the vocals aren't that likable. A reference to Peter Hammill isn't out of place here: rough, painful, haunting vocals sung in Italian by a not so gifted vocalist. This brings me to my following point: this might be a very very appealing album for those who like RPI and VdGG.

The compositions. The compositions are highly technical, sophisticated or/and bombastic. One could find VdGG to be a good reference for the intense experience of the chord progressions. On the second track I heard some chord progressions reminding me a bit of some of Focus' tracks (like Round Goes the Gossip). Furthermore there are some jazz-rock influences during solo progressions.

Conclusion. As mentioned before, this is keyboard haven. Normally I don't like key oriented albums like Keith Ermerson's or Rick Wakeman's, but this is another league. The music is confronting, haunting and has a certain abstract magical vibe during some moments. The vocals aren't that good, but at least they sound honest and unpolished -> which is good! This could be seen as an important contribution to the RPI genre and a nice Gem for collecters in general of the symphonic prog genre. Fans of VdGG might find a good introduction to Italian prog. Four stars!

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The roots of this duo can be found in the Roman group Cammello Buck, found in 1971 by guitarist Pino Belardinelli, bassist Mauro Morlacchi, drummer Carlo Bordini and teenager keyboardist Paolo Rustichelli, son of Film Score composer Carlo Rustichelli.The group played in May 72' at the first Villa Pamphili Pop Festival and was signed later by the Delta label, featuring new bassist Pasquale Cavallo from Panna Fredda.Story says the management forced them to continued as a keyboard/drum duo and that's what happened, but the only album of the remaining Rustichelli and Bordini came out on RCA in 1973 with the title ''Opera prima''.

The duo sounded actually a bit like LE ORME circa-''Felona e Sorona'', playing a muddy, dark, symphonic-oriented Prog Rock and having obviously a keyboard-centered sound with strong Classical influences and occasional E.L.P.-like jazzy flashes.Rustichelli was armoured apparently with a Hammond organ, a Mellotron (which sounds often like a string synth among the mess of dual and triple keyboard exercises), an acoustic piano and a couple of synthesizers.Now, you won't even care about the absence of a bassist or a guitarist, because Rustichelli has been the central figure of a dense and emphatic album, full of organ solos, Mellotron waves and synth flashes.Other good reference points could be LATTE E MIELE during the softer moments and even IL BALLETO DI BRONZO, especially in the album's more complex keyboard/piano instrumentals.Do not expect an instrumental release, Paolo Rustichelli was also responsible for the harsh vocals appearing every now and then, another reason the album had a haunting atmosphere, except for some poetic singing lines at a couple of Classical preludes and interludes.The tracks are mostly long with some impressive Classical melodies, plenty of twists and complex ideas and, of course, some bombastic symphonic movements, always led by no less than two keyboard instruments and a solid drumming.Rustichelli was about 18 years old during the album's recordings and his fantastic performance along with his mid-aged, already mature voice make this whole work a pleasant surprise.

After playing in Napoli and Rome, the duo faded away.Bordini went on to join Oliver, which became Cherry Five, releasing one album with the band, before working as a session drummer.Rustichelli released some solo, keyboard-centered albums during his career, but his activities mainly focused on composing Film Score Music, as his father did before him.

Grandiose Italian Symphonic Rock with bombastic keyboard parts in the vein of LE ORME, CORTE DEI MIRACOLI and LATTE E MIELLE...but only performed on keyboards and drums.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by GruvanDahlman
3 stars RPI is an interesting genre amongst all that is progressive rock. It's a fun genre, aswell. When I say "fun" I mean entertaining, demanding, complex and enjoyable. That could be a description of so many bands but when it comes to RPI there is one word that need to be emphasised: drama. In most cases, I think, there is a huge dose of dramatics in the Music. Opera is surely associated with Italy, so no wonder, then, that the antics of the classical stage follows alongside the proggers of RPI.

Drama is in no shortage on this sole album by Rustichelli & Bordini. It is full of drama and emotion, twists and turns. Musically I find there is not much to complain about. Based around keyboards and drums one can't help but draw similarities to ELP, Quatermass, Aardvark, Greenslade and other bands daring enough to question the otherwise omnipresent guitar. To create a full sound the keyboard player needs to exploit his or hers instrument to the full. It is not simply enough that the player is in charge of a plethora of sounds, he or she needs to explore and expand upon it's possibilities. Paolo Rustichelli does that with grace and innovative playing.

Whilst the music is inventive and progressive enough, with that RPI flavor in full swing, the vocals leave me turned off. Sometimes I find that the singer tries to hard, maybe to disguise his or hers lack of vocal powers, with the result that the singing becomes overly harsh or strained. In the case of Rustichelli & Bordoni just that happens. Rustichelli sounds forced and unnatural. That is a shame.

In conclusion I feel that the music is great but the vocals gives me shivers and not in a good way. The music gets four stars but the vocals are only worth two. Based on that I will award "Opera prima" three stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I want to dedicate this review to my old friend Finnforest(Jim) who is one of the resident RPI experts and someone I've conversed with on here for 10 years or so. And hey being from Minnesota he might as well be Canadian. This is an album I checked out early on in my journey through Prog and initially I took a pass on it, just not being a big fan of the cover art or the title of the album. Well I eventually picked it up and I'm so glad I did. They were a duo only with no guests. Rustichelli is the keyboard man playing piano, synths, mellotron and organ along with singing and man can he sing. Bordini is the drummer and after this lone album he would eventually join CHERRY FIVE playing on their amazing debut. Rustichelli is the composer as well and after this he would eventually make film music following in his dad's footsteps. No guitar or bass and ELP seems to be the inspiration.

"Nativita" is the opening instrumental that is so impressive. Pulsating piano with drums and some depth to start as the mellotron sweeps in. Organ to the fore around a minute and soon it's pulsating as well. There's a calm just before 2 1/2 minutes and it's quite beautiful with piano and mellotron, very uplifting. The organ is back as the sound kicks back in but then another calm arrives as contrasts continue. It kicks in again before 5 minutes as the pulsating organ continues. An almost silent calm follows then it kicks back in more powerful than ever. Mellotron as well. A final beautiful calm arrives 7 minutes in. A great start.

"I Caro" is my favourite track on here. Organ to start as laid back vocals join in. Great sound here when that organ kicks in hard after a minute with drums as the vocals step aside until after 1 1/2 minutes when he returns with passion and character. A lot of people don't like his vocals but man what character! Organ is the focus after 2 minutes as the vocals stop. Piano joins the organ and drums. A change after 3 minutes to a catchy rhythm and an amazing vocal display. A haunting calm after 4 1/2 minutes then it kicks in again after 5 minutes to an uptempo organ, drum and piano section. I like the organ before 6 minutes and the vocals return a minute later returning like a king they are so dramatic.

"Dolce Sorella" opens with some relaxed organ as reserved vocals join in. Drums join in as well as it picks up some as the vocals and organ continue. When the vocals stop and the organ becomes more prominent it really reminds me of ELP after 2 1/2 minutes. The vocals and that laid back sound are back before 3 1/2 minutes then it ends in a dramatic manner with piano, synths and more.

"Un Cane" opens with piano as vocals and a fuller sound arrive before 1 1/2 minutes. Man I know his vocals are an acquired taste but I'm so into them. Piano only after 4 1/2 minutes like the intro.

"E Sveglarsi In Un Giorno" starts out with organ as synths and drums kick in quickly then vocals. Check out the vocals before 2 1/2 minutes(haha). Synths to the fore before 3 minutes as the vocals step aside. A calm before 3 1/2 minutes with drums and organ, mellotron too. Nice section. Synths to the fore again around 4 minutes then the vocals are back!

"Cammeliandia" is the closer and longest track at close to 9 minutes. Relaxed piano to start then it kicks in with pulsating organ and upfront drumming a minute in. This continues until it settles before 4 1/2 minutes. A haunting calm arrives a minute later then mellotron after 6 1/2 minutes becomes the focus then back to the pulsating organ although the mellotron will return once more.

A very solid 4 stars although I considered 4.5 stars. Rustichelli really is the star here with his incredible keyboard work and vocals. The latter often sounds like he's about to cough up a huge hair-ball but I'm so into them.

Review by andrea
4 stars Cammello Buck was the name of a Roman band that took form in 1971 with a line up featuring Paolo Rustichelli (keyboards, vocals), Pino Belardinelli (guitar), Mauro Morlacchi (bass) and Carlo Bordini (drums). The band had a good live activity and in 1972 was in the bill of the Villa Pamphili Pop Festival. With Pasquale Cavallo (from Panna Fredda) replacing Mauro Morlacchi, they signed a deal with the Delta label but, unfortunately, the band just managed to record some demos and two pieces for the score of the 1972 film "Don Camillo e i giovani" d'oggi directed by Mario Camerini. In 1973 Paolo Rustichelli and Carlo Bordini dropped the name Cammello Buck and went on as a duo releasing under their names an interesting debut album on the RCA label, entitled "Opera Prima", completely based on keyboards and drums, with a few vocal parts...

The beautiful opener "Natività" (Nativity) is an excellent instrumental piece where dreamy, relaxed parts are blended with frenzied jazz rock passages giving form to an almost mystical atmosphere that, in some way, I think is well represented by the image on the art cover...

Next comes "Icaro" (Icarus), a long, complex track where the music and the hoarse, almost surly vocals of Paolo Rustichelli evoke gloomy, metaphorical labyrinths and the desperate desire to escape from them taking off in a vortex of rage and fear in a bold attempt to reach the sky. Two white wings are flying up and up until they suddenly fall down like and angel cast away from paradise in tears that prays for God's mercy...

The ethereal "Dolce sorella" (Sweet sister) begins by a church like organ solo introduction, then the music and words conjure up an atmosphere of hope and almost religious expectation with vocals soaring like a prayer to a white goddess, a sweet sister that you can find into your heart and into your mind, a merciful force that can light up your dreams and help you in case of need...

"Un cane" (A dog) begins by a delicate piano intro. The mood is melancholic, the music and lyrics draw the image of a man who walks alone in the street, free as a dog... The man stops in a parking lot and finds his home under the sky, in the dark. He's just a homeless that nobody helps. Nobody cares of him, not even those who profess to be Christians and call themselves true believers...

"E svegliarsi in un giorno" (Waking up one day) comes from the repertoire of Cammello Buck and a first version of this piece was included in the soundtrack of the aforementioned 1972 film with English lyrics and another title, "To wake up in the morning". It's a good track with hermetic lyrics that evoke rage and fear, faith and hope and, most of all, the desire of a new start in the morning, when the world of dreams slowly melts giving way to the threatening insolence of the real world...

The long, complex "Camellandia" starts softly by a dreamy piano pattern, then the rhythm rises driving you through imaginary landscapes full of colours and of exotic flavours. It's a beautiful instrumental piece that ends the album with a strong cinematic atmosphere...

On the whole, a very good work! Unfortunately, the project didn't last long and Paolo Rustichelli and Carlo Bordini parted ways soon after the album was released. So, their first opus was also the last...

Latest members reviews

3 stars Another keyboard-driven masterwork, this time delivered by future movie soundtrack composer Paulo Rutichelli, and Cherry Five drummer Carlo Bordini. Like modern-day duos The Black Keys and The White Stripes, this pair manage to make a huge amount of noise for two people, and the lack of other instr ... (read more)

Report this review (#491531) | Posted by coasterzombie | Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Album released in 1973 "Opera Prima". The content is keyboard symphonic rock. The performance is consistently high-tension. There is classical grace though it is an energetic performance because consideration to the tone is complete most. It is a magnificent ensemble like the orchestra. To beg ... (read more)

Report this review (#72000) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is one of the many fine one-offs from the Italian prog scene. Let me just say this. If you like the Mellotron, this is a must-have. Easily one of the greatest Mellotron albums of all time. This is what '70's Mellotron drenched prog is supposed to sound like. Despite being comprise ... (read more)

Report this review (#57109) | Posted by | Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ***1/2 This is the only album by this Italian keyboards/drums duo. The fact that these are the only instruments, itself, makes this album interesting. It's not hard to guess that the music is mostly a keyboards show-off by Paolo Rustichelli. At times, the keyboard work reminds me of that from Me ... (read more)

Report this review (#42564) | Posted by geezer | Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hi there; this album is a really great addition (great job, dear Erik Neutboom) to this wonderful progressive rock site! Undoubtly one of Italy´s best, with stunning and thunderous keyboard work, mainly Hammond organ. This masterpiece should appeal to every fan of 70´s classic prog rock, ital ... (read more)

Report this review (#42501) | Posted by elpprogster | Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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