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Paolo Baltaro - 2009 - "Low Fare Flight to the Earth"

(45:58, Musea Records)


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Good Care 4:07
2.  Sunny Days 3:49
3.  I'm Checking Out 4:37
4.  Nowhere Street 4:11
5.  Manchester 4:49
6.  You'll Never Die on Me 3:21
7.  Low Fare Flight to the Earth 2:52
8.  Italian Guns 3:20
9.  Get Home 4:02
10. Goodnight Paris 11:15 (CD b/t)

SOLO PILOT:

Paolo Baltaro Ц vocals; instruments
With:
Barbara Rubin Ц backing vocals
Liana Attimonelli Ц backing vocals
Gianni Salvador Opezzo Ц guitars
Alo Sogno Ц guitar (1)
Davide Trevisio Ц guitars (3) 
Pier Michelatti Ц guitars (4)
Barbara Rubin Ц violin (1)
Walter Guabello Ц drums (2)
Emanuele Polato Ц drums (2)
Pier Michelatti Ц bass (3) 
Sandro Marinoni Ц sax (8)
Diego Marzi Ц Gatam (8)

Prolusion. Paolo BALTARO is an Italian composer and multi-instrumentalist, prior to this release best known for being the lead vocalist and main songwriter of the bands Arcansiel and MHMM as well as the bassist in SADO (Societa Anonima Decostruzionismi Organici). "Low Fare Flight to the Earth" is the solo debut of Baltaro and was issued as a vinyl and CD combo towards the end of 2008.

Analysis. When looking at Baltaro's background, it's obvious that he masters a great variety of stylistic expressions. Arcansiel is regarded as a neo-progressive outfit; SADO describes its music as a deconstructing metal-jazz band, while MHMM is a blues-based side project of the latter. For his first standalone venture Baltaro ventures out to rather different musical territory though. After a brief flirtation with the symphonic side of Pink Floyd on the opening number of his production, the remainder of this album comes across as a blend of radio-friendly AOR and mainstream-oriented progressive rock, with an emphasis on the former and embellishments from the latter. The compositions are pretty standard fare with verse segments followed by a chorus, where the former tends to be rather gentle with acoustic guitars and melodic electric guitar patterns providing the main melody and with either a piano-based theme or toned down drawn out guitar riffs providing additional textures, while the organ combines with slightly more energetic guitars and a slightly more embellished soundscape in the chorus sections. Nice, neat and predictable efforts, but without any subtle details or complexities that make me take any particular notice of these efforts. A select few of the tracks do provide a bit more than average fare though - the opening piece Good Care is a pretty good number that should appeal to fans of the mainstream-oriented material of Pink Floyd. You'll Never Die on Me features some raunchy energetic riff segments and a twisted instrumental section with fragmented and slightly dissonant sounds conjuring a pretty intriguing atmosphere, and Italian Guns is a captivating blend of mellow segments and hard-hitting riff cascades broken up by a Pink Floyd-inspired chorus section. The CD part of this double package features a 5 minute long bonus track that comes across as a mellow, blues-tinged take on Pink Floyd, another intriguing if predictable excursion. The following 5 minutes of silence and 15 seconds of garbled noises on this bonus track don't make much sense, besides being somewhat annoying whenever the CD player hits that particular part of the CD.

Conclusion. "Low Fare Flight to the Earth" is a very well made and well crafted effort from a technical point of view. The mix and production are pretty impeccable, and the combined vinyl and CD version of the album sold as one package should be appealing - especially for fans of vinyl records I presume. As far as a progressive rock-oriented crowd is concerned the music provided will probably be less interesting though; you'll have to look pretty hard to find any challenging segments on this production and the prog-oriented elements are first and foremost embellishments for a mainstream rock oriented venture. Only those who enjoy radio-friendly, melodic rock with some added details will probably find this effort enjoyable.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 4, 2009
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Musea Records
Paolo Baltaro


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