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(43:01, Black Widow Records / SPQR)
TRACK LIST: 1. Passioni Diaboliche 3:42 2. Tutte le Anime Saranno Pesate 4:43 3. I Giorni della Memoria Terrena 4:42 4. Kalachakra 7:08 5. La Terra Trema 6:55 6. La Foresta dei Suicidi 6:00 7. Omega 5:55 8. Ballo delle Castagne 3:54 LINEUP: Marco Garegnani Ц guitars; keyboards, Moog Jo-Jo Ц drums, percussion Diego Banchero Ц bass Vinz Aquarian Ц vocals With: Caterina Cecchinato Ц vocals Marco Cavaciuti Ц violin
Prolusion. The Italian quartet BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE was formed in early 2008, initially founded by Vinz Aquarian and Marco Garegnani the previous year, but not formally realized until Banchero and Jo Jo joined the ranks. They made their debut with "Ballo delle Castagne" in 2009, and "Kalachakra" from 2011 is their second full-length production.
Analysis. Some bands are rather hard to classify within the strictly defined boxes that many critics and fans like to place any given artist in. This Italian act isn't among the trickiest ones in that department, however. That they are a part of the art rock universe is for sure; that their general placement resides within the psychedelic realms somewhere is a fact few would dispute. Their overall sound is one that does inspire thoughts of the 70's, and as such the outfit does fit the description as being retro-sounding too. That they flavor their various excursions with aspects of and details from other musical realms altogether might make the nitpicking perfectionist flounder just a little but, hey, we are dealing with progressive rock here. And, as such, including a few musical surprises and unexpected twists does come rather natural to the territory. As far as psychedelic productions go, Ballo Delle Castagne has managed to add in quite a bit of variety on this relatively short album. Dark tones, guitar riffs and a circulating organ motif take the center stage on opening effort Passioni Diaboliche in a track with enough ominous touches to the themes explored to correspond quite nicely to the associations given by the title. Next up is a more distinct psychedelic-oriented feature sporting cold synth textures, treated vocals and gentle guitar motifs, taking a detour to a more folk-inspired landscape as it unfolds, while circulating bass and drum motifs form a solid foundation for gentler guitar and keyboard textures in the hypnotic landscapes explored on I Giorni della Memoria Terrena. Title track Kalachandra flirts with raga-inspired details rather extensively before ending up with a more symphonic-oriented finale reminding one more of 70's German masters Eloy that is, while La Terra Trema is a more blues-oriented creation with vintage stoner and heavy psychedelic art rock used in an effective blend. La Foresta dei Suicidi opens in a fragile, haunting manner with gentle piano voices and fluctuating keyboards creating a mood fitting the song title quite nicely, enriched by an increase in pace and intensity as it unfolds, yet staying well within the borders of what I'd describe as atmospheric or perhaps cinematic music. Omega opens as a gentle psychedelic number sporting subtly resonating, drawn-out instrumental details prior to flirting slightly with the bass-driven sound of 70's Eloy before revisiting more of a heavy psychedelic sound in the final movements, while final effort Ballo delle Castagne opens with folk-inspired rhythms backed by a fluctuating electronic texture that develops quite nicely into a vintage-oriented psychedelic art rock piece with driving bass and steady drums the foundation for dampened, carefully drawn-out soloing, again with some minor Eloy tendencies, first and foremost by way of the bass guitar. It is an interesting musical journey, and the band does explore parts of the vintage-inspired art rock universe not too many others take on, namely the eclectic one. Not sticking to a formula and seemingly dedicated to incorporating unexpected musical twists, their take on this type of music adheres to the description progressive quite nicely.
Conclusion. Ballo Delle Castagne has created a strong album with a distinct and almost idiosyncratic sound with "Kalachakra". A strong feeling of unity of mood and atmosphere is probably the main reason for an album slightly sprawling in style appearing to be a concise and unified creation. Fans of psychedelic art rock should take note of this one, in particular if they enjoy vintage-oriented material covering a broad musical canvas. Top-20-2010
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