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review from octopus-4 (Prog Archives)

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First of all this is more than an album. The CD comes into a plastic envelop inside a book. The book and the CD are about the same concept but they are totally different.

The book has its origin from a short story published by Nicola Randone (Nicola is a male name in Italy) on his website that’s about the end of a love for somebody very important for him. The story was written in the form of a fairytale located in Norway, a land where he has spent some time. Later he added new chapters and they have become a book. The writing style reminds to Peter Hoeg, with the characters moving to different levels of reality, similarly to Zelazny’s Amber princes. It’s not a fairytale, neither SciFi even if you can find the main character “throwing stars into a black hole”.

The album approach is totally different. The songs are still about that love story, or better, its end. Both the book and the album are the result of an introspective work taken from different points of view.

Said so, the music.

“S.I.B. (Prologo)” – (Prologue) is an instrumental which starts with some low volume noises followed by a synthetic flute, then for a couple of minutes the music is at the level of the best PFM. When it stops, coming back to where it started, Randone speaks “there’s no pleasure without sufference and there’s no sufference without pleasure, only when you understand it you can enjoy pleasure and accept sufference”.

“Primo Dell’Anno” – (First (day) of the Year) Is strongly melodic, between Battiato and Le Orme. Fans of RPI, this is your pot at least for two minutes, as the last is occupied by the trivial noise of the year’s end celebration.

“Differenze” – (Differences) is introspective and shows all the influence that Le Orme seem to have on Randone. The love it’s about is ended because of “differences”. He sings “This dark sky doesn’t let me look inside myself”. While the singing and the lyrics appear influenced by Le Orme, the instrumental parts remind again to Battiato, specially the keyboards and the final part of the song.

A note: I’m used to compare an artist to somebody more known in order to give the readers an idea, I’m not saying that’s cloning anybody.

“Promesse” – (Promises) starts with a phone and some speaking. It’s a poetry, too long to be translated here. The music is slow and melodic with a good hammond base. The lyrics are about the promises made before that end. The arrangement is remarkable even if this song is a bit too melodic for my tastes. Quite sad, too. “if they could bring you to me, they would be more than just four notes and two words cried in the night”.

“La Cella Degli Amori Estivi” – (The Jail Of Summer Loves) sounds very close to Battiato and surprisingly Nicola’s voice on this song makes me think to Angelo Branduardi (not in the chorus). Good acoustic and classical guitar in the interludes. Still melancholic but not sad as the previous one.

“Speranze” – (Hopes) is particular. The signature and the singing are unusual. It’s grotesque. It seems to represent the useless illusions of the main character. The instrumental part which follows is very good and very proggy.

“Emanuela” – is like a letter to the woman who left him. Musically is still very close to Le Orme, with good parts of acoustic and classical guitar also this. Another song that who is used to RPI will surely like a lot, specially the chorus.

“Linea di Confine” – (Borderline) is about suffering and introspection. “She’s not wrong, she has her reasons….” The song is uptime and very pleasant but not very “innovative” from a musical point of view.

“Dovresti Non Scordare” – (You Shouldn’t Forget) has a piano base and reminds a bit to Branduardi in the singing style. It’s the song that fits better with my tastes.

“Buona Notte” – (Goodnight) is very melodic, maybe too much, but it is a sort of lullaby so it’s how it has to be. In the second half of the song there’s a surprise. A true lullaby starts after some dreamy sounds. It’s a Sicilian traditional that’s amazingly arranged. I don’t know for sure but this may be the first time that it’s recorded by anyone.

“Preghiera Di Un Re” – (A King’s Prayer) is one of the few songs with a direct connection to the book. The vocals are almost whispered. This is the melodic side of RPI.

“Ritorno” – (Homecoming) has the eclectism of the early Battiato in the lyrics’ metric and the odd signature. It’s one of the few songs in which an electric guitar can be heard and the most complex from a musical point of view.

“22 Aprile” – (April 22nd) is another sad love song. It’s mood is between the RPI of the early 70s (i.e. Banco and PFM) for what concerns the melodic line and the lyrics and Battiato of the 80s in the electronic arrangements.

“La Caduta della Mia Stella” – (The Fall Of My Star) is another reference to the book. I’m not sure that it’s the same kind of stars that a character throws into a black hole, here is more a messenger, a true falling star in the summer night’s sky. The stanzas are very dark and the chorus is very melodic. In the last chorus, the story of the “King watching the ashes” is the kind of imagines described in the book.

“Amori” – (Loves) Is just a love song, or better a song about loves. Totally out of my pot, sorry. However the arrangement is impressive.

“Epilogo” – (Epilogue) is light. The sadness has gone. “Now that I catch the pieces of my heart and my pain, nothing remains else than a light melancholy”. The pain is gone, the story ends and life goes on. “I won’t search for anything else than my music”. It’s light also from the musical point of view. 12-strings guitar and piano make the base. a coda of piano and voice closes the album.

It’s an introspective album. Good but you have to be in the right mood for it. I’m not a fan of this subgenre so having had the wish to listen to it several times and having appreciated many of its parts means that it can be good for everybody, not for RPI fans only.

For this reason I round up to 4 the 3.5 stars that I think it deserves. The only advice that I give you is that it is totally melodic. Don’t expect anything heavy else than the atmosphere.

http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=1404

Nicola Randone, alias Art, è Scrittore, musicista compositore, leader della band Randone con all'attivo 7 cd ed 1 dvd LIVE sotto edizione discografica Electromantic Music. Qui pone frammenti di vita, espressioni dell'anima, lamenti del cuore ed improbabili farneticazioni intellettuali.

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