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Campo Di Marte (Italy) - "Concerto Zero"
(2CD, Vinyl Magic 2000, a division of BTF)
******

Prolusion. I can only salute to the reformation of Campo Di Marte, whose eponymous output of 1973 is one of the very best albums ever released within the framework of Italy's Progressive Rock movement, to say the least. Most of the songs on the band's comeback album, "Concerto Zero", are either previously unreleased or completely new recordings. The production represents a highly impressive, non-standard digipack, which, apart from the LP-like liners with CDs inside, features two booklets with extensive information on the band and its creation.

Campo Di Marte - 1972/2003 - "Live 1972" (31 min)
******

TRACK LIST:

1.  Prologio Parte-2 7:55
2.  Alba 12:32
3.  Epilogo 5:42
4.  Prologio Parte-1 5:27

All music & lyrics: by Enrico Rosa.

LINE-UP:

Enrico Rosa - electric guitar; vocals
Paul-Richard Ursillo - bass; vocals
Alfredo Barducci - organ; French horn; flute
Mauro Sarti - drums; flute; vocals
Carlo-Felice Mareovecchio - drums; vocals

Synopsis. The first CD consists exclusively of the earliest, never previously released compositions by Campo Di Marte. Although four of the five musicians in the band are, in addition, singers, three of them contributed their vocals (mostly vocalizes, though) only to Epilogo (3). It's the main mastermind behind Campo Di Marte, composer, lyricist and guitarist Enrico Rosa, who also takes the duties of lead vocalist. However, the band lays special emphasis on purely instrumental arrangements. There aren't many vocals in their music in general, but especially here, in the works created in the morning of their activity. Representing a complex and diverse, but simultaneously, rather soft Symphonic Art-Rock, the aforementioned Epilogo is vastly different from the other songs. In my view, it would've been right to place it exactly at the very and of the CD. Like all of the genre-best representatives in the first half of the seventies, Campo Di Marte performed a highly inventive music, which, moreover, has a pronouncedly unique feel to it. The other three tracks: Prologio Parte-2, Alba, and Prologio Parte-1 (1, 2, & 4) are stylistically uniform and are about a fusion of harsh-and-heavy guitar Art-Rock and classic Symphonic Progressive, though improvisations, related to the Jazz-Fusion genre, are in places available here as well. The arrangements are above all notable for fantastically diverse and virtuosi solos of electric guitar and ever-changing interplay between them and those of the other instruments involved: organ, woodwinds, bass, and drums. Enrico Rosa showcases his talent (one of his many talents, to be more precise) as much more than a merely extraordinary guitar player. Generally, Campo Di Marte appears to be one of the most skilled and virtuosi bands ever to exist under the sun. The sound quality of the recording isn't prime, which isn't a crime in the least. Such a factor never prevents me from finding out the values and drawbacks of the music I listen to. No flaws here, just pure pleasure! Honest.

VM: March 4, 2004


Campo Di Marte - 2003 - "Live 2003" (43 min)
******

TRACK LIST:

1.  Primo & Settimo Tempos 10:02
2.  Back in Time 3:26
3.  Bluesy Rocky 6:07
4.  Italian Irish 5:02
5.  Secondo Tempo 4:07
6.  Terzo & Quarto Tempos 8:13
7.  Rock Barock 2:45
8.  Outro 3:51

All music & lyrics: by Enrico Rosa.

LINE-UP:

Eva Rosa - varied recorders; wind synthesizer
Enrico Rosa - acoustic & electric guitars; vocals
Alexander-Matin Sass - piano, organ, & synthesizers
Mauri Sarti - drums 
Maurilio Rossi - bass

Produced by Enrico Rosa.
Recorded 'live' by S. Salaorni & T. Schmidt.
Mixed by T. Schmidt at "The Crocodile Inn", Denmark. 

Synopsis. CD 2 consists of eight tracks. Five of them are new compositions, and three are renderings of the songs from Campo Di Marte's only studio album, one of which: Secondo Tempo (5) sounds quite different from the original. Overall, it is much in the vein of the new recordings and, just like all of them, is an instrumental piece. In other words, the CD features only two songs (1 & 6), and these are the only tracks on the entire album that sound familiar to me. Although each of them consists of two parts, which were originally separate tracks, they have much in common, so it won't be hard for me to describe them more or less briefly. The music is as brilliant as almost everywhere on the album and is a triple union of guitar Art-Rock, Symphonic Progressive and Cathedral Metal, though the first song is heavier, while the latter contains also elements of classical music. For more details, please read the review of the band's >eponymous album. Only one of the new compositions reminds me of the band's classic sound, which is presented on the aforementioned tracks. This is Outro (8), where most of the musical events are accompanied by an excellent theatric narration. Most of the other tracks are strongly involved with chamber music in general and the music of Baroque in particular. Back in Time and Italian Irish (2 & 4) represent a Baroque-related Chamber Music in pure form and, in addition, have a medieval and folksy feel to them. The music is constantly developing, yet, there is very beautiful interplay between passages and solos of acoustic guitar, solos of woodwinds, and passages of either piano or string ensemble. Secondo Tempo and Rock Barock (5 & 7) have been performed by the entire band and consist of structures typical for both of the guitar and symphonic kinds of Art-Rock and, still, chamber music. Generally, varied wind instruments and a classical guitar play an important role in the direction that the group has chosen after its reunion. Bluesy Rocky (3) is a good piece, but it has very little to do with any of the two styles presented on "Concerto Zero", while it's clear that the main destination of the album lies in linking the band's past and present and, perhaps, future, too. In full accordance with its title, the composition is heavy Blues Rock, though not without some essential progressive features.

Conclusion. "Concerto Zero" is more than an excellent album, which symbolizes more than the welcome return of Campo Di Marte, which, in its turn, is more than a merely remarkable and unique progressive outfit. In short, highly recommended!

VM: March 5, 2004


Related Links:

Enrico Rosa
Campo Di Marte
BTF Records


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