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(69:07, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Eclissi-1 8:23 2. La Maschera della Visione 5:58 3. Fantasia 8:58 4. Nel nulla Etereo Soggiogato dall'Ignoto 7:01 5. Purpurea 10:00 6. Follia 19:12 7. Eclissi-2 9:36 LINEUP: Gabriele Marroni guitars Diego Armando Samo keyboards Andrea Valerio piano, synthesizer Raffaele Crezzini drums Filippo Menconi bass With: Paolo Carelli vocals, narration Michele Sanchini cello Matteo Canestri bass Lucio Pacchieri drums Giovanni Ferretti pianos
Prolusion. The Italian band LABIRINTO DI SPECCHI was formed sometime around 2005, and since the release of a demo tape the same year they have been working on their full-length debut album. The end result is the CD "Hanblecheya", which was released by Lizard Records towards the end of 2010.
Analysis. My main impression is that few artists ever make a daring, breakthrough innovation in sound. Some are carefully expanding existing approaches; others utilize previously explored ideas in subtly innovative constellations. But unless you listen to a vast selection of music on a constant basis these slight expansions will pass you by. And after a few years of nuanced development you may then stumble upon a band that has its own nuanced expansion of an approach or idea, where you're unfamiliar with the perhaps twenty or thirty previous nuanced developments by other artists. And due to that, this artist will be a representative of a brand new approach as you experience it. And for many listeners, I suspect that Labirinto Di Specchi might have such an effect. The main premise of this band, as I experience it, is to explore the dynamics of the electronic instruments utilized alongside acoustic instruments in tightly interwoven arrangements, the old teaming up with the new or vice versa, ancient musical traditions utilized in a contemporary setting. And this is a band that does excel in just that, with an almost ever-present backdrop of fluctuating futuristic-sounding synths, with partial replacements by ones with more of a symphonic expression. And contrasting this backdrop we have mellow wandering guitar motifs or carefully performed acoustic guitars, wandering piano patterns and clever, highly effective cello motifs. At times we have all of these together, more often a few or just a single one of these, pretty often without a rhythm department beneath, resulting in finely crafted, almost ambient passages with a strong atmosphere and a certain cinematic tinge to them, in particular when the sole vocal presence, a dark narrative spoken voice, is present. But as pleasant as the above may be, and perhaps even coming across as something from the new age department, there are some additional aspects to note. Harder-hitting impact themes for starters, with dark resonating riffs effectively added to the proceedings, and also rich arrangements featuring clever use of swirling, textured instrument motifs to add a distinct post rock touch to these compositions. Blend in all of these elements in freely flowing, subtly developing creations with an emphasis on careful additions and removals of sounds, and compositions that tend to avoid sudden dramatic shifts or transitional phases to move the song on to the next stage. That is what this CD is about, sometimes challenging, with a minor plethora of slightly atonal, conflicting details, sometimes pleasant and harmonic. A vibrant, contemporary constellation of dream-laden music made for the eclectic mind, sophisticated musical journeys that happen to pass by some ambient territories on their way around the progressive rock universe.
Conclusion. As tantalizing and intriguing as Labirinto Di Specchi's exploits are, they won't appeal to everyone. If you have a taste for electronic and acoustic instrument interactions you will have an advantage, but apart from that, those who generally appreciate ambient, dream-laden music just as much as textured post rock excursions and futuristic-sounding psychedelic music should all have a fairly good chance of enjoying this album. Progressive rock for an eclectic mind of a rather particular nature, one might say.
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