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Prophexy - 2013 - "Improvviso"

(62:12, Musea Records)


****+
                 

TRACK LIST:   

1.  Tritone 7:50
2.  Babba 8:26
3.  La Rotonda Della Memoria 4:02
4.  Stralci Di Quotidiano 8:23
5.  Paradigmi Mentali 9:11
6.  Trickster 5:52
7.  Ce Vite Sulla Luna 5:20
8.  Disassociation 5:25
9.  Golf Girl 7:43

LINEUP:

Luca Fattori  vocals 
Stefano Vaccari  drums 
Gabriele Martelli  guitars 
Diber Benghi  keyboards 
Alessandro Valle  bass; flute
With:
Richard Sinclair  vocals; bass

Prolusion. The Italian band PROPHEXY started out back in 1999, and was then a band focusing on metal as their genre of choice. As the band developed and its line-up with it they would soon start seeking out territories of a somewhat different kind however, and by the time their second album "Alconauta" was released in 2008 they had settled firmly within a progressive rock context. "Improvviso" is the band's third full length album, and was released through Musea Records imprint Musea Parallele in 2013.

Analysis. When Prophexy has their take on being third time lucky, they do so in a somewhat odd manner. They record a live album featuring some known and some new songs, add a couple of cover tracks into the mix and flavor the songs more or less liberally with improvised sections. An uncommon approach for sure, but one that in some manner or other feels like a logical step for this band. If such a description can be at all applied to a band that sounds like a subtly avant-oriented mix of Jethro Tull, Gong and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum that is. If there is a trait that defines Prophexy as a band then there's variety. Their compositions constantly alter means of expression, and in a live setting with improvised sections this aspect is given a further emphasis. They do have room for tranquil moments, sporting careful wandering guitar textures, backing flute soloing of the kind that comes with an automatic Jethro Tull association, but never as a feature elongated enough to define the compositions in question. It wll always be surrounded with passages of a wilder nature. Partially asynchronous guitar riffs are backed by hectic rhythms, odd sounding keyboard details and bass motifs that may or may not have a jazz-oriented expression. Peculiar piano motifs supplement eerie keyboard textures. Aggressive guitar riff dominated constructions are combined with appropriate keyboards and rhythm section opting for a dramatic, bombastic mode of delivery. Disharmonious excursions and atonal-oriented sequences are just as common as the harmony and melody based ones if not even more so. A touch of metal here, occasional forays into calmer realms bordering lounge music, odd sounding material with more than a trace of avant-garde and RIO to it, as well as the aforementioned constructions that hone in on a band like Jethro Tull in sound. An eclectic amalgam of music, unpredictable to the point of being chaotic with theatrical, Italian language lead vocals on top. It is a disc I should like I guess, but somehow the music here doesn't manage to engage me. Too chaotic perhaps, too many odd details or just too much going on for me to be able to really immerse myself in the music. There are many fine experiences throughout admittedly, a number of parts that I find highly compelling, in a number of different styles too. But as a whole these compositions don't quite manage to hit home with me I'm afraid. Richard Sinclair makes a guest appearance on the final two tracks on this disc, both of them cover versions of material from his old band Caravan. Like the rest of the album these performances just don't manage to gel in my head, if anything I find them to sound ever so slightly strained. Like someone trying a bit too hard perhaps, which is a fitting conclusion for my thoughts about this entire album I guess.

Conclusion. Prophexy is an entity that should appeal to those with a taste for variety, unpredictable developments, improvisational details and material that fairly easily merits a description as challenging. A certain taste for the avant-garde is probably needed, as should an appreciation for a band that occasionally pairs the challenging off with accessible details far removed from any avant with or without garde. A suggested key audience might be those who enjoy their Gong or Jethro Tull just as much as a band like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 2, 2013
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Musea Records
Prophexy


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