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(51:48, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. BSD 10:42 2. Utopia Planitia 11:46 3. Agosto 8:57 4. Amigdala 9:07 5. Perigeo 11:16 LINEUP: Stefano Avigliana – guitars Dario Hakim – synthesizers Emanuele Telli – keyboards Moscatelli Massimo – drums Mazzarini Ettore – bass Marco Marini – voice With: Elisabetta Marchetti – vocals
Prolusion. The Italian band IL GIARDINO ONIRICO (IGO hereinafter) was formed in 2008, initially as a four-man unit, but fairly soon expanding to the six-man strong ensemble they are today. Following an initial self-released production, "Complesso K" from 2010, the band signed to the Italian label Lizard Records, which released their official debut album "Perigeo" in 2012.
Analysis. The main impression I get following my inspection of IGO's full-length debut album is that this is one of those productions that is more about the journey itself than it is about a specific style of music of one kind or the other. My feeling is that the styles explored aren't really all that important, and that in many cases this is a band that at a different time might as well have replaced many of the various styles they visit with something completely different instead, and that the manner in which these compositions came to be is a direct result of the moods the members wanted to explore and incorporate at a specific point in time. A description that probably doesn't make much sense, unless you have listened to this CD yourself admittedly. One might arguably state that this is a band with a subtle foundation inside the prog-metal part of the progressive rock universe. If there are any constants at hand here, it is that some form or other of progressive metal or a style close to it will be visited sometime on each of the five compositions on this album. It's not that this is a dominating feature as such, but it is a recurring one, and as such it does add an identity to this production. Another recurring feature is that all of the songs open with a spoken voice supplemented by effects of varying kinds, generally cinematic in nature. Apart from these details this production is an instrumental one, although some non-verbal operatic female vocals do add a majestic presence on a couple of occasions. As far as the rest is concerned, we're have five long creations that cover a lot of ground. The opening three creations in particular, that smoothly end effectively wander in between dramatic progressive metal, pastoral sequences, cosmic-oriented interludes, tranquil jazz-inspired escapades, retro-tinged organs, guitar riff constellations and what sounds pretty much like vintage symphonic progressive rock at times too. Even with room for a pastoral interlude. Multiple styles, each visited and explored with ease, the transitional phases and the more sudden shifts all handled in a smooth, efficient manner. The latter two tracks present a slightly different case however. Both of those compositions feature a greater degree of recurring elements, and especially the brilliant Amigdala comes pretty close to the kind of music one often associates with Porcupine Tree, with a driving bass, layered keyboards, adding a cosmic tinge, and with firm but delicate guitar details, expertly flavoring the soundscapes. And at least to my mind, these two tracks are the most intriguing on this production, perhaps because they do manage to have a bit more focus than the rest.
Conclusion. IGO comes across as a fairly eclectic band, able to and with the talents to explore multiple styles with an expert hand, and impressively so by incorporating multiple styles into each and every compositions. As harder edged sequences either bordering on or residing safely within the progressive metal realm are a recurring feature, a certain affection for this kind of music is needed to be able to enjoy this album, and a taste for bands like Porcupine Tree wouldn't be amiss either. If you can subscribe to this, and suspect you'll enjoy a band that may venture everywhere from jazz to cosmic-tinged ambient sections as well, "Perigeo" is a production you probably should spend some time getting familiar with.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Jan 19, 2014
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