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Alan Sorrenti - Aria CD (album) cover


Alan Sorrenti


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.91 | 106 ratings

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4 stars It´s a bird! It´s a plane -No, no, no hang on a minute you were right the first time...

I was talking to Pierre (our local duck in the RPI den) about this record, and rightly so, he said that one should look at Alan Sorrenti not as a singer, but as a bird. Words of wisdom right there, and ever since that conversation took place, I´ve listened to this album with a big smirk on my face and countless images of storks and ibises flying around my head. It´s his voice that makes this comparison apt, and I promise you once you´ve heard this album, you´re not likely going to forget it anytime soon. This guy probably has one of the most charismatic and unique voices ever to ornament the face of any rock music.

Going through these different "voices" within his voice is like looking for individual blades of grass on a green meadow. There seems to be an endless amount of them. Just to give you an idea of this guy´s enormous vocal talents, I´ll name a few styles of his. First of all he has a gentle touch, when the song craves for it and he can sound almost female-like with gentle whispers and sensuousness oozing out of the phrasings. On several occasions, I´ve sponsored quite the crush on him, only to be ripped out of my newly found love with the sudden change of his singing - now turning into frantic and demonic yells. These high pitched squawks of Sorrenti might lead you into believing, that he´s only a mere Hammill impersonator, but that is far from the truth. Hammill never had this vocal range, and furthermore I don´t think he´ll ever be as eloquent in Italian. That being said, there is definite signs of Van Der Graff Generator in this music. Sorrenti does frequently use that theatrical way of wrapping his lips around the words, and the music accompanying this spectacle could also make your mind wander towards the organ lead cacophony of VDGG, but here the similarities end. Comprised by a hefty dosage of acoustic guitars with a medieval flavour - almost resembling the old jester with his lute - jumping around in sheer exuberance and carelessness, Aria is heavily rooted in the Italian folk music tradition. It´s chuck full of evil sounding rock n´ roll organs, heavy breathing wind instruments and the bass lines to back this up, - but still the soul of this recording is to be found in the old Mediterranean folk musics. Adding to this theory of mine, is the way that French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty plays his instrument on here. People who´ve heard this guy with Zappa or on his solo albums, will probably associate Ponty with those kinds of musics, but just remember that Aria is the zany and otherworldly bridge that unites such genres as classical, folk, rock n´ roll and the avant guarde, - and in this wonderful mess he doesn´t sound out of place, but rather fits in like a disguised cuckoo in the chicken coop.

Getting back to Monsieur Sorrenti and his tender vocal phrasings, people need to understand just how much out of the ordinary this album must have sounded like back then. Italy is first and foremost known for its impeccable and refined usage of melodies. Be that in their traditional folk music or inside the world of classical composers - this has always been a defining trademark of theirs. Try listening to the differences between Wagner and Puccini with a classical connoisseur, and almost immediately you´ll be facing these huge differences in both temper and angular design, but firstly in the sweet and melodic way that Puccini´s music presents itself. This is a highly melodic nation of people, and to have a young guy with obvious vocal talents come out of the blue with clear connotations to the wild and blurry avant guardistic and abrasive sides of the human voice, obliterating and alternating the well-known acoustical guitar ballads and traditional folk laden musics all at once with the flick of a switch - and with a voice of a thousand eagles............... - must´ve been quite the change. I for one would love to have experienced this first hand in down town Naples with a bottle of red wine by my side.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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