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R-Evolution Band - 2013 - "The Dark Side of the Wall"

(66:39, Wide Production)


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  In the Flesh? 3:11
2.  The Thin Ice 3:48
3.  Another Brick in the Wall-1 3:21
4.  The Baddest Days of Your Life 0:56
5.  Another Brick in the Wall-2 3:06
6.  Mother 5:29
7.  Goodbye Blue Sky 2:44
8.  Empty Space 0:57
9.  Young Lost 5:28
10. One of My Bad Days 1:48
11. Funeral of Queen Mary II 1:50
12. Cold as a Waltz 1:41
13. Another Brick in the Wall-3 1:01
14. Hey You 3:32
15. Is There Anybody Out Here? 2:25
16. Nobody 4:03
17. Well Meet Again 2:26
18. Bring the Boys Back Home 0:38
19. Comfortably Numb 2:31
20. The Show Must Go Latin 1:25
21. In the Flesh? 2:10
22. Run Like Bells 2:55
23. Another Rock in the Wall 1:12
24. Waiting for the Worms 2:11
25. The Trial 5:11
26. The Dark Side of the Wall 0:40

LINEUP:

Gabriele Tardiolo - guitars, bouzouki, lap steel
Vittorio Sabelli - clarinet, saxophone; vocals
Marcello Malatesta  keyboards; programming
Graziano Brufani  bass 
Oreste Sbarra  drums 
With:
Angel Malak  vocals 
Ilaria Bucci  vocals 
Claudio Mariani  guitars 
Pasquale Farinacci  violin 
Paolo Castellitto  viola 
Antonio Iannetta  cello 
Antonio Salvador Conte  percussion 

Prolusion. The Italian ensemble R-EVOLUTION BAND was formed in 2010, and released their debut album "Versus" the following year. "The Dark Side of the Wall" is their second full length production, and was released through the Italian label Wide Sound Jazz Productions imprint Wide Production in the late summer of 2013.

Analysis. As one might surmise by the title of this CD, this is a case of a band that has chosen to do their own take on Pink Floyd's classic "The Wall", and as further indicated by both the title of the album as well as the song names, some of which have been altered, this isn't a case of a band trying to replicate the original either. The band actually describes it as "the first anti-tribute" of this highly influential production. Just what to make of this album, and how to describe it as well, is something of a challenge. To some extent I think it would be fair to state that the album is more of a puzzle than a collection of bricks assembled into a wall, as there are quite a few proverbial bricks here that just don't fit the wall that has been built. On the other hand, you might say that these are wall decorations, breaking the purebred monotony of a perfectly built wall, which one might say is a fitting feature on a disc described as an anti-tribute to "The Wall". Still, this one is a challenging creation in that department as well, as it is in so many others. The recurring feature is jazz. Jazz-oriented bass motifs, many instances of distinctly jazz-tinged rhythms and liberal use of clarinet and saxophone soloing all add up to a production that should most likely be sorted under jazz in the record stores. There are exceptions of course quite a few of the classic Pink Floyd songs that alternate between a jazz-oriented sound and instances where recognizable snippets of the main themes of the original are visited for instance, while on other occasions the mostly instrumental versions featured on this album take on more of a careful, smooth movie soundtrack expression. Well Meet Again is a perfect example of the latter. Then again we have Mother, alternating between a sparse blues arrangement and more of a lounge jazz sound, while Another Brick in the Wall-2 apparently takes inspiration from punk and extreme metal, alternating that aggressive sound with a more sedate lounge jazz oriented style. Goodbye Blue Sky, on the other hand, sounds more like the earliest incarnations of A-Ha, with a joyful synth pop foundation, eventually developing into more of an exotic sounding, folk music flavored construction. While Funeral of Queen Mary II has a sacral touch with a majestic church organ dominating the proceedings. But the jazz is the common denominator throughout, and when it's not in the shape of smooth, harmonic lounge jazz is is in the shape of sparse arrangements featuring one or two instruments, in the guise of decomposing arrangements with more of a chaotic and dissonant touch, and fairly often alternating between these, some of the more familiar motifs and themes from the original composition and stylistic inclusions that sound oddly out of place. A touch of reggae on Run Like Bells for instance, or the 30's sounding jazz score alternating with Sicilian sounding plucked instruments in a Poirot meets The Godfather opening of The Trial, which then shifts into a slow hard rock take on the original song that collapses onto a defragmented chaos for the conclusion. Ultimately we're left with a collection of oddly shaped bricks that form a rather strange and puzzling wall. Nowhere near as solid as the original version, at times as dazzling but in a dramatically different manner, at other times downright confusing. I will give my credits to a band that has the courage to reinvent a classic album such as "The Wall" in such an extreme manner though, and it speaks volumes about a band that has the courage to do what they want to do.

Conclusion. R-Evolution Band comes across as a creative group of people who make music for the liberal minded jazz fan. They choose to utilize a fair number of stylistic elements outside of jazz for their music, but always with a foundation in jazz or a jazz-oriented style of music. Recreating "The Wall" in such a manner makes this specific production one with a limited audience I'd guess, but if you tend to enjoy jazz bands with a liberal view of that style of music and also have "The Wall" as a treasured album in your collection, then I would guess that "The Dark Side of the Wall" is a CD you will find intriguing.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 5, 2014
The Rating Room


Related Links:

R-Evolution Band
Wide Production


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