Beginning his career under his full name, this album is understandably more centered around the talents of multi-instrumentalist Nicola Randone than on latter, more group-oriented releases. While very clearly being influenced by older Italian progressive groups and the likes of space-rock era Pink Floyd, Randone makes an impressive first effort with ‘Morte Di Un Amore,’ that features a bit more punch than is expected for your average debut, but lacks some of the cohesion and direction that would be found on a masterpiece.
‘Morte Di Un Amore’ certainly falls within the realm of Italian prog rock, but it ends up pushing the envelope out of the prescribed sound, moreso than any album that Randone would release in the future. The album begins the way it ends; with an extended space rock jam filled with vocal tape loops and a synthesizer sound that makes it sound like it could easily be a long-lost B-Side from Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here.’ Beginning ‘Morte’ on a very mellow note, the album finally kicks off with it’s second track, ‘Il Pentimento Di Dio.’ This is where I (and hopefully, many other listeners to this album) realized that this was a much different creation than other Randone music I have been exposed to. The trademark syncopation and tropical drum patterns instantly brought the label of ‘reggae’ to my mind, and I can’t say that I’ve heard that style of music ever brought into the lens of progressive rock before. Some upbeat vocal melodies brought about by the pleasing tenor voice of Nicola Randone with the trademarked ‘reggae’ instrumentation make it a very catchy and pleasant track. Halfway through, I am further surprised by the addition of Gregorian Chants, which seems the strangest combination of styles to make, but somehow, the sounds compliment each other.
The next three tracks are very much in the typical style of Randone; melodic, mellow, symphonic and a bit quirky around the edges. While there’s not much out of the blue to comment on these tracks, they are all pleasant to listen to, and don’t deter the album at all. With the opening of ‘La Giostra’ (the sixth track) however, the listener is dosed with a much more memorable piece of music. Nazi speech samples play over a beautifully sombre piece of instrumentation. When that’s through, some of the best vocal work on the album kicks in, working very well with the ethereal and melancholic soundscape. Much in a Randone fashion however, the music has short moments of optimism, which keeps the music from getting too depressing. The outro to this track is very unique; featuring an accordion and a fast paced vocal line that sounds a bit too theatrical to be singing about ‘Auschwitz’ (the context of the word however, remains a mystery to those who do not speak Italian!)
‘Strananoia’ (the next track) is a very poppy and upbeat track that is very theatrical and one of the more memorable tracks on the album, featuring a slower tempo epic middle-section. After that comes ‘Amore Bianco,’ which once again won’t surprise anyone who has heard the symphonic prog stylings of Randone before, but it is a very calming and heartfelt listen before the final track.
The final track (self titled as ‘Morte Di Un Amore’) might appear at first glance like a full-blown epic with it’s sixteen minute time length. However, about half of that time is devoted to a reprise of the space jam that was introduced in the first track. For what it’s worth however, the first seven minutes (the actual song) of the track are among the best on the entire album. Beautiful symphonic flourishes abound throughout this track, leading up to an energetic and proggy climax before petering out into silence and the ensuing spacy ambience. While I do find the soundscaping at the end enjoyable, it passes me moreso like the music to the album’s ‘ending credits,’ so to speak; the sort of music that people would listen to as they left the theatre; if this album were treated like a film.
At first, ‘Morte Di Un Amore’ sounded to me like it was a bit stretched out and lacked the cohesion that a really great album would have. With further listens however, it becomes very possible to disregard some of the flaws the album might have, and take ‘Morte’ for what it is; the inaugural work of a very talented artist trying to find his proper sound. As it stands, ‘Morte Di Un Amore’ is the most song-based, yet most experimental piece of music that has been released under the Randone title. A fantastic debut album.