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(96:26, Melodic Revolution Records)
TRACK LIST: Part One: The Rise and Fall of Human Heart: 1. Into the Wheel of Time 9:13 2. Sea of Vibes 15:52 3. Panting 1:03 4. Haven of Marble 17:45 5. Faint Memory 4:32 6. The Light Is Burning 2:23 7. Get out of Here 2:11 Part Two: The Awakening of Conciousness: 8. Far Beyond the Line 22:09 9. The First Time I Saw the Sun 1:42 10. Skies Painted By the Wind 8:18 11. In the Air 3:14 12. Breathing 1:19 13. Northern Light 4:00 14. Mother from the Sun 2:45 LINEUP: Marco Ragni vocals; guitars, bass; keyboards, programming With: Giovanni Menarello guitars Enrico Cipollini guitars Davide Gazzi guitars Luigi Iaccobone flute Enrico di Stefano saxophone Pamela Anna Polland vocals Alessandra Pirani vocals Silvia Mazzetto vocals The Bizarre Talisman Choir vocals
Prolusion. Italian composer and musician Marco RAGNI has been a presence in the Italian music scene for a quarter of a century or thereabouts, and following a couple of decades in various band constellations he decided to venture out as a solo artist a few years back, launching his first solo album back in 2010. "Mother from the Sun" is his fourth studio recording, released towards the end of 2014.
Analysis. What becomes clear fairly early on when listening to this production is that Ragni appears to have a strong connection to two or possibly three different kinds of music that he seeks to include on the material explored on this CD: 60s-style psychedelic pop, 60s folk-oriented psychedelic pop and rock, and at last psychedelic progressive rock as it once was explored by the likes of Pink Floyd, with something of an emphasis on the latter. The psychedelic pop aspects of this production primarily come to the fore in the shorter songs, as some of them have that light-toned and elegant mainstream pop/rock music tinge to them, and with a certain naive quality that looks back to the spirit of the untainted parts of the 60s. As with what I'd describe as the folk-oriented parts of this production these compositions are dominated by vocals and wandering, plucked guitar motifs. This aspect of the music here appears to be something of a calling card for Ragni's music in fact, as acoustic or electric plucked guitar details tend to be featured in a minor or major capacity throughout, and more often than not with psychedelic aspects by way of echoing notes or odd choices of timbres either as a secondary supplemental dimension or provided by the primary instrument in that particular context. In some of the shorter as well as most of the epic-length compositions, there's also room for sequences with more of a folk-oriented and often pastoral feel to them, with elegant flute details and subtle orchestral supplemental details added to the aforementioned mellow or light-toned guitar details. Not all that different from the vintage psychedelic pop/rock oriented passages, but with additional elements giving these sequences a more distinct folk-oriented flavor that mildly separates those two aspects of the sound explored. Both of these are paired off with a style, sound and approach that should come across as rather familiar to fans of Pink Floyd, in some of the shorter tracks and in all of the longer ones. The gentle and often loose wandering guitars will gain a firmer and subtly harder expression, supplemental motifs by way of dark toned electric guitar riffs, dream-laden guitar solo runs, slide guitar details and an array of keyboards are brought in for this aspect of the compositions, alongside a steady ongoing bass and drums foundation if not already present. Ragni's material will rarely be as majestic or dark as Pink Floyd were in their heyday, as there's just about always room for some light-toned playful or elegant guitar details that prevent the compositions from becoming as gloomy as Pink Floyd had a tendency to be, and Ragni's take on this specific sound has a tendency to feature some kind of fluttering psychedelic details to a much greater extent as well, but the origin of the sound is still of a kind and nature that can't be mistaken for anything else. Another aspect of Ragni's material, and then mainly his longer compositions, that does set him apart ever so slightly from the aforementioned progressive rock giants, is his use of interludes of a more ambient and cinematic nature, emphasizing that his take on this style of music tends to avoid the somewhat dark and haunting moods one would normally associate with an artist seeking inspiration from this particular source.
Conclusion. Marco Ragni is a seasoned composer and musician, and "Mother from the Sun" is an accomplished affair that comes across as a solid and well-executed production on just about all levels. The compositions can have a tendency to be a bit too loose in structure at times, although this will first and foremost be an issue for potential listeners outside of the progressive rock crowd, and hence a minuscule issue due to that. If you have a soft spot for artists seeking inspiration from Gilmour-era Pink Floyd this is most likely an album you should seek out, and in particular if music of this kind with a lighter mood and a few more gentle psychedelic details sounds like a good thing to you.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 6, 2015
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