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Nichelodeon - NichelOdeon

NICHELODEON "BATH SALTS" + INSONAR "L'ENFANT ET LE MÉNURE"

Nichelodeon

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.68 | 12 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Sometime ago I was asked to review this massive four CD package wrapped up in a nice cardboard box with two boolets containing lyrics as well as several drawings and pictures. I really don´t know why I was chosen to do it, given the fact that RIO/Avant-prog is hardly my cup of tea. I´m much more a "traditional" prog lover, who´s a sucker for nice melodies, as my review list might have shown to anybody who have cared to visit it. Anyway, claudio Milano was very kind to send those CDs and I decided to take the challenge.

It was not an easy task for me as you might have guessesd. The music inside those two double albums (each one previously released separetly, one by his band NichelOdeon and the other a side project called InSonar) is definitly intricated, bold and challeging. This is no background music at all! It demands all your atention and, at first, it sounded way too freakish for my taste. However, upon a few more spins I found it to be quite interesting and ended up enjoying the material. It´s certainly a grower: you have to listen carefully to the complex layers of sounds and its unsual musical structures (or lack of it). But unlike most avant gard material I´ve heard so far, the weirdness of some passages, the atonal musical parts and some pure experimentation rarely, or never, sounded gratuitous or self indulgent. The often inclusions of some more melodic and "straight" parts made it all the more balanced and digestable.

Of the two CDs, the InSonar is definitly the more experimental and difficult to get on to it. Still, it is very interesting, including some clever and very original versions of songs from others, like his take on the old french song Plaisir d'Amour or even David Bowie´s already unsual Warsawa . Milano is, definitly, a great singer and he has an awesome technique that may sound be a little over the top to most, but works very well for this kind of material. He is probalby the most accomplished and daring vocalist I´ve heard since the late Demetrius Statos. The long list of musicians playing in here is quite irrelevant, since even if you know some of the names on it (like Hawkwind´s Nik Turner and PFM´s Walter Calloni) the music inside has nothing to do with those aforementioned bands (and others). However, I found the music here to be quite mesmerizing and trippy, taking you into a journey through a lot of human feelings, good or bad. I did not get the lyrics, since my italian is quite poor to say the least, but even if I believe those words are an important part of the whole, you still can enjoy the ride without really getting into them. The performances are spotless and some instrumental parts are quite intriguing and beautiful in their own way.

Both record benefit form a crystal clear sound and production. That´s quite an achievement since both records have a wild variety of styles and atmospheres that really demand some fine sound engineering to get it right.

Conclusion: a very fine and unique work of a terrific singer and songwriter. It´s not easy to listen to so many different moments in a row, but it´s something quite rewarding if you pick up a few parts each time. While most avant prog/RIO stuff sounded pointless and just without any musical consistency to my ears so far, Milano´s work strikes me as a well balanced, profound and pleasant record overall, even if at times it does have some parts I couldn´t really get it. It was a very interesting experience and I´m glad I had the opportunity to listen to such unique piece of art.

I recommend these CDs to anyone who appreciates the style and to anyone who wants to get to know it.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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