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(44:07, Altrock/Fading Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Ritroso 5:26 2. Il Giro del Cappio 5:22 3. Libero Pensatore 5:12 4. Quiete Apparente 1:37 5. Impromptu Pour SZ 1:10 6. Lenta Discesa all'Averno 5:12 7. Il Paese Ferito 5:52 8. Cavanella 3:09 9. La Staffetta 4:01 10. Come Statua di Dolore 7:06 LINEUP: Alessio Calandriello vocals Stefano Agnini keyboards Luca Scherani keyboards Davide Serpico guitars Gabriele Colombi bass Andrea Orlando drums Domenico Ingenito violin With: Melissa Angioloni violoncello Simona Angioloni vocals Joanne Roan flute
Prolusion. The Italian band LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO was formed back in 2007, and released their debut album four years later, in 2011. Since then the musicians have established themselves as a quality provider of Italian progressive rock, and their second album, "Sensitivita" saw the light of day in 2013. "La Notte Anche Di Giorno" is their third studio recording, released through the Italian label Altrock Productions imprint Fading in 2015.
Analysis. I understand that one of the premises of this band when they initially formed was to record material that celebrated the sound and spirit of the older guard of Italian progressive rock. But even if that isn't a fact that had been stated, this entire production is one with a firm basis in the values of yesteryear. There's a vintage character that runs like a red thread throughout this production, on just about all levels. The music here is one residing safe and sound within the heartland of symphonic art-rock and is explored with an affection for the prog of the 70s. The compositions and arrangements come across as well thought-out and planned to minute detail, alternating between different modes of pace and intensity in an elegant manner throughout. Frail piano interludes, sparse sequences with one or two instruments supplementing each other, transitions building moods and atmospheres up or down, and a liberal amount of richly layered arrangements with elaborate keyboard-driven lead motifs with supplemental details by guitars, violin or flute. As well as a few magnificent crescendos along the way, combining all instruments in more majestic and, on rare occasions, haunting landscapes. If you love vintage symphonic progressive rock then this album is one that should be firmly on your radar. Violin and cello details add mournful, haunting, jubilant and uplifting details to the proceedings, as well as a melancholic touch here and there, all depending on tonal range, pace and intensity. The flute is used to provide frail supplemental details, and is important whenever the band decides to include an interlude or sequence with more of a pastoral character. Occasional lapses into chamber music-inspired landscapes occur; a more prominent effect is to venture out into folk-tinged or jazz-tinged territories, although rarely, if ever, to the extent of leaving the symphonic progressive rock foundation behind. There's a spirit of adventure in this material, of transcending boundaries, but always in a careful manner and generally opting for the tried and tested rather than deciding to break new ground. And when done as well as in this case, that is a quality description rather than one longing for something not present. That this CD consists of two suites, each the length of a vinyl album side, adds to the vintage characteristics of this recording, and the retrospective nature of the creation is further emphasized by mix and production: The lead vocals are dominating whenever present, while the instrumentation is dampened throughout, mixed in a manner that gives the entire album a warm, organic and analogue-sounding character. There's no contemporary, loud instruments at hand here, and if the album has been mixed in this manner to appeal stronger to those with an affection for vintage progressive rock or if it is a case to prepare for a possible vinyl edition of the album, I don't know. Most likely it's a case of both, and I highly doubt that this feature is an accidental one.
Conclusion. La Coscienza Di Zeno comes across as a band tailor made to cater for those with a strong affection for vintage symphonic progressive rock, and then of the more careful variety with a focus on melodies, harmonies and generally compelling arrangements that shy away from overly dramatic effects. As many of the quality bands did back in the 70s they will incorporate elements from both classical, folk and classical music as natural elements in their compositions, and at least in the case of this specific CD side-long, multi-part suites is the order of the day. An album that comes with a warm recommendation to anyone who finds that general description enticing, and in particular to those among them who prefer music of this kind to have Italian-language lead vocals.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 2, 2015
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