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A Spirale (Italy) - 2004 - "Come Una Lastra"
TRACK LIST: 1. Mojave 6:39 2. Giappone 3:44 3. 31 Salvitutti 3:48 4. Addensantesi 4:54 5. Out of the Blue 6:11 6. Shitting Everywhere 3:10 7. Tutto si Versa Fuori 4:25 8. Requiem 6:34 All tracks: by A Spirale. LINE-UP: Massimo Spezzaferro - drums Maurizio Argenziano - guitars Mario Gabola - saxophone & clarinet Anita Furlani - viola & violin Produced by A Spirale. Engineered by A Cartolari.
Prolusion. "Come Una Lastra" is the debut by A SPIRALE. All the members of this Italian quartet are at their early twenties.
Synopsis. What arrested my attention first of all is that according to the CD booklet and its press kit alike, such an important if not necessary instrument as bass isn't part of the band's equipment, and there is the unexplainable absence of violoncello, guitar synthesizer and bass pedals. The saxophone is alto, and the other wind instrument isn't a bass clarinet (sorry for the awkward phrase). Yet, in spite of all this, the bass-like solos are clearly heard on each of the eight tracks, at least in places. In any case, the sound is firmly dense everywhere it has to be dense. Of course, I'm implying all intensive arrangements, and Addensantesi is the only track here that is moderately calm in its entirety. There are no harsh guitar solos and powerful drums here, and are, instead, passages of semi-acoustic guitar and solos of congas in ever changing interaction with the parts of clarinet and violin. The music is strikingly unique, as well as everywhere on the album, but being made up of the more familiar structures, is easier recognizable and determinable and is a chamber symphonic Rock with elements of RIO and some Oriental flavor. The composition at the end of the album, Requiem, is something average between the classical and avant-garde kinds of Academic music with elements of Noise Rock (which can be found also on Mojave and Out of the Blue). In the teeth of its title, the track doesn't have a mournful feel to it and even has less dark colors and shades in its musical palette than the others. There are some differences between the remaining six compositions, and I'll point them out below. Overall, however, all of them are entities of the youngest progressive genre, which I call Fifth Element instead of using the widespread, but rather indistinct term New Music. The fraternal direction is RIO, yet, it isn't the sole determinant in this case, being just one of the constituents of the general stylistics, which is too polymorphous and unusual to be squeezed into the framework of any of the traditionally determinable progressive genres. Here, the Classical academic music-related chamber Rock, RIO, a dark Techno Metal and some atypical features are all blended into the unique whole. Some traces of folk music of an uncertain origin are nearly on each track, but they are obscure, with the aforementioned Addensantesi being the only exception in this respect. Out of the Blue and Tutto si Versa Fuori are less heavier than the others, while Mojave, Giappone, 31 Salvitutti and Shitting Everywhere have some absolutely killer guitar riffing, which I really didn't expect to work so well with violin and clarinet. On a structural level, it's something like Henry Cow's "Western Culture" meets "Into the Pandemonium" by Celtic Frost or Finnegan's Wake at their heaviest, but with even harsher and faster arrangements. The music is often wildly eclectic and intensive, especially when moving through a barrage of twisted and frenzied key changes. In all, however, the quantity of harmonious and angular melodies on the album is approximately equal.
Conclusion. It's great to know that the new generation of serious progressive musicians does really exist and follows the best traditions of our beloved genre by the dictates of their hearts and regardless of any difficulties, thanks to which it will never sink to oblivion. "Come Una Lastra" will bring a lot of pleasure to anyone acquainted with the magic of gradually getting into highly complicated music. I am bowing to A Signale for bravely paving new progressive paths, and all my best wishes go to their further creation.
VM: October 6, 2004
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