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Malibran - 2002 - "Oltre Lignoto"

(52 min, Mellow)

TRACK LIST:                             

1.  Si Dira Di Me 12:20
2.  Oltre Lignoto 8:03
3.  L'Incontro 2:48
4.  Cerchio Mobile 5:14
5.  La Via d'Acqua 2:52
6.  Verso Sud 2:12
7.  Mare Calmo 4:50
8.  In Viaggio 10:00


Giuseppe Scaravilli - vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards; percussion
Gianluca Cutuli - flute, piccolo, saxophone
Benny Torrisi - piano, keyboards
Jerry Litrico - electric guitar
Angelo Messina - bass
Vito Germena - violin (2, 3)
Antonio Longo - cello (2, 3)

Prolusion. "Oltre Lignoto" is the fourth studio CD by veterans of Italian progressive scene, MALIBRAN. Here are the titles of their previous studio albums: "The Wood of Tales" (1990, was reissued on CD with three bonus tracks in 2002), "Le Porte del Silenzio" (1994) and "La Citta Sul Lago" (1998), none of which I have heard.

Analysis. Malibran draw their inspiration mainly from '70s symphonic Art- and Space Rock, with variable success blending the artifacts of the genres with their own vision of things. The band's primary benefactors are Pink Floyd and The Alan Parsons Project, though their influences are not obvious everywhere on the album (on three tracks, to be precise: first, fourth and seventh). The album's opener, Si Dira Di Me, is the longest. That being said, it's a quasi suite, consisting of several different sections, which are good, when taken separately, but are somewhat lacking cohesiveness when viewed in the track's overall context. Giuseppe Scaravilli is the possessor of a strong voice with a wide timbre diapason, but his singing at times seems to be excessively disengaged from the general storyline. The one who really shines here (as well as everywhere on the album) is Gianluca Cutuli. His solos on flute and sax are always diverse and emotional, bringing a lot of expression to the music wherever they are. With an equal amount of refined melodies and eclectic arrangements, the title track and L'Incontro are excellent pieces of music. Both feature two session musicians on violin and cello and have a strong chamber sense in places. The rhythmically pronounced Cerchio Mobile follows the direction The Alan Parsons Project paved while making their instrumental compositions: those striking for their unique and instantly recognizable sound, e.g. Pipeline, Lucifer, A Dream Within a Dream, etc. There is nothing new in the music's foundation, but this matter doesn't prevent the piece from being highly attractive. The next two tracks, the short La Via d'Acqua and Verso Sud, aren't very interesting, but the worst is Mare Calmo, which is played in 4/4 from start to finish and is incredibly derivative, in addition: 100 percent Pink Floyd. The final composition, In Viaggio, is another excellent track and is probably the most emotional. Scaravilli's primordially smooth vocals are full of drama; the instrumental arrangements are highly diverse and inventive, particularly those built around the lines drawn by keyboards and flute.

Conclusion. Counting all the pros and cons of "Oltre Lignoto", I think it's a good album overall, but I believe there were better ones among those Malibran released previously. If you are not a nitpicker and feel nostalgia for a distinctive '70s sound you might want to check it out.

VF: November 15, 2005

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