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Lelio Padovani - 2005 - "The Big Picture"

(34 min, 'LP')

TRACK LIST:                             

1.  Escape 2:48
2.  The Novel 4:35
3.  On the Beach 3:53
4.  The Brave Melody 5:37
5.  Serena's Diary 3:51
6.  The Big Picture 5:43
7.  22 November 3:32
8.  Into the Unknown 4:27


Lelio Padovani - electric, acoustic and synth guitars; programming
Max Scaccaglia - bass (3)

Prolusion. This is the third release from Italian guitarist and composer Lelio PADOVANI, following "A2A" (2003) and "Unknown Evolution" from three years ago.

Analysis. Unlike "The Big Picture", which Lelio performed practically alone, both of his previous albums featured an expanded lineup, with bassist and drummer complementing the picture:-) During the absence of bass guitar, Lelio more or less effectively compensated by the intensive use of guitar synthesizer, but the drum machine inevitably imparted a certain synthetic feel to the stuff. As for the music as such, this is mainly a 'guitar hero' Rock/Metal/Fusion, but unlike many other works in this field, here I find something more serious than the showcase of technical skills, where the composition is usually sacrificed to soulless virtuosity. The pieces are rather short, but most of them are both tight and eventful, with no unnecessary repetitions. Escape and The Novel are effectual combinations of symphonic and improvisational harmonies, with rapid, yet, cleverly done guitar solos and memorable melodies. However, both lack emotional contrasts, as the mood remains unchangeable throughout. The overall palette isn't abundant in lush colors either. Lelio should have at least occasionally changed the timbres of his guitar and synth guitar's sound. On the Beach is a solid composition, notable for the inculcation of keyboard-like passages into the fabric and the charmingly angular time measure, 5/8. It would've been better had the track been placed in the fourth position, because what follows is The Brave Melody (my least favorite track here), which reminds me of the sort of etude performed by the music college student while passing a test in technique. The censorious remarks said regarding the first two tracks are even more topical in this case. The content of the album's second half is much more impressive. Here the acoustic guitar queerly interlaces its solos with those of the electric one, the 'keyboard' background is lush, the rhythmic measures are almost exclusively odd, and, what's probably most significant, the emotional constituent of the music manifests itself nearly everywhere. These details are typical for each of the remaining four compositions: Serena's Diary, The Big Picture, Into the Unknown and 22 November, the title track being probably the winner.

Conclusion. Lelio Padovani is a gifted composer and guitar player. He is able to achieve a solid success with his music. First however, he should return the permanent rhythm section to the lineup and acquire a keyboardist. "The Big Picture" is musically a decent album, but I am almost certain that it's not the best one from Lelio's general discography. This is the case when the proverb "One body is nobody" doesn't seem to be fully inappropriate.

VM: September 1, 2005

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Lelio Padovani


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