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Cantina Sociale - Balene CD (album) cover

BALENE

Cantina Sociale

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.53 | 15 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Reaching already 15 years in the music league,CANTINA SOCIALE are another interesting entry in the prog world coming from Italy.The band was formed in 1996 in the small city of Asti in North-Western Italy by Elio Sesia and Marina Gentile (guitars), Gianni Grasso (bass and tenor saxophone), Carla Viarengo (alto saxophone), Rosalba Gentile (keyboards) and Graziano Viola (drums).By the time of their first album ''Balene'' from 2002,vocalist Iano Nicoḷ had already joined the group with famous Beppe Crovella,helping out on keys..According to Marina Gentile,they were inspired by the discovery of a 3.5 million years old fossil whale around Asti,with the album trying somehow to re-determine the relationship between people and mother nature.

STYLE: This is quite a bizzare album.While using a variety of vintage instruments,''Balene'' sounds so fresh and modern.That's maybe due to the very clear production,the sometimes distorted vocals and the use of synth effects.On the opposite,heavy mellotron sounds and flutes can be often heard throughout the listening.Despite featuring two guitarists,CANTINA SOCIALE's sound is strongly based on keys,the rhythm section and a couple of additional instruments like sax and flute.Guitars play mainly a supportive role ,adding an atmospheric dose at parts.Some good solos and breaks are of course also present.All tracks are arranged in a slow-tempo and contain a strong lyrical taste along with a Meditterenean/Balkan influence,with Iano Nicolo delivering a decent performance.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: A bunch of influences coming from both old and new prog school guarantee an intricate result: PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, KING CRIMSON, AREKNAMES, AREA,MEN OF LAKE are good reference points if you add a strong ethnic character to the music.

PLUS: Partly original,the album shows a band with personality.Great vintage keyboard sounds.The beautiful saxes and some guitar parts show a strong Balkan influence of great interest.Nice performance by Nicolo behing the microphone,a brand new but well-worked voice.

MINUS: Two guitarists in the line-up,but hardly are they on the front,to make the sound even richer.The marriage of vintage and modern sounds in not always succesful.Two many different styles,which are hard to follow.

WILL APPEAL TO: ...Fans of RPI,who aren't stuck in the symphonic/jazz past of the country and would like their music to have an ethnic feeling.Anyone who has loved AREA's early releases.Lovers of Experimental Music as well as Mellotron hard-die fans.

CONCLUSION: CANTINA SOCIALE are a good band.Their first step into progressive fields is defintely positive and is characterized by their own-established style.However they need to work a bit more more on the thin balances of this very challenging sound.This is a recommended effort which I enjoyed a lot...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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