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Prolusion. Hailing from Italy, RANEST RANE is a "live soundtrack band", according to its musicians themselves. To create an album, they choose one or another of their favorite films and then write their own, alternative version of a soundtrack for it. “Shining” (yes, without ‘The’), their second release to date, is their take on “The Shining”, Stanley Kubrick’s horror movie based on the eponymous novel by Stephen King.
CD 1 (58:42)
TRACK LIST: 1. I Viaggio 2:46 2. Il Colloquio 7:14 3. La Neve Coprira Tutte le Piane Aride 1:55 4. L'Overlook 2:50 5. Mr. Halloran 7:50 6. Colazione 2:11 7. Il Labirinto 7:43 8. Qualcosa in Questo Posto Cambier 4:04 9. Danny e Jake 4:31 10. Incubo 5:13 11. Cambiamento Definitivo 6:34 12. 237 5:52 LINEUP: Daniele Pomo – vocals; drums, percussion; trumpet Riccardo Romano – keyboards, programming Massimo Pomo – el., ac. & classical guitars Maurizio Meo – el. & double bass
Analysis. The first item of this double CD release is made up of twelve tracks, of which the longest four, Il Colloquio, Mr. Halloran, Il Labirinto and Cambiamento Definitivo, all find the band standing at a musical crossroads of sorts, as it sticks to two styles without giving preference to either of those. In all cases I sense the landscapes of Pink Floyd-style symphonic Space Rock, which is present about half the time, and then follows the spaciness that may attract fans of Tangerine Dream (which isn’t featured in our band lists, since we don’t regard the group as a progressive one), covering the second half of each of the pieces, instead of being interspersed among the sections of a full-band sound, sounding very monotonous throughout. Additionally, it abounds in monologs and dialogs that very much remind me of those from the movie, although everything is in Italian. The tracks’ former segments are much better musically, albeit in terms of composition the band doesn’t shine with resourcefulness there either, first doing vocals-based arrangements and then instrumental ones, instead of alternating those with each other (after dividing them into sections, of course). The latter two peculiarities are typical of four more tracks, L'Overlook, Qualcosa in Questo Posto Cambier, Danny e Jake and Incubo, all of which, though, are creations of the former genre, featuring no ambient landscapes or narratives either. The music is still influenced by Pink Floyd, though on a couple of the pieces, there are a few moments that sound as if lifted off Camel’s “Breathless” due to Massimo Pomo’s guitar playing, whilst otherwise the man normally appears as David Gilmour’s apprentice in absentia. The vocals of Daniele Pomo (who is a drummer above all) don’t always seem to fit, delivered for the most part in romantic Italian traditions, whereas the music is typically English and is often dramatic, at times even dark in mood. Besides, his singing adds a certain level of accessibility even to the most varied of the songs. All in all (considering also that I don’t comprehend the lyrics), if the vocals were left out completely I don’t think the music would suffer a lot. So I believe it is no wonder that my favorite tracks on the album are I Viaggio and 237, the first of which is largely instrumental, and the latter is free of singing at all. As for the remaining two pieces, Colazione and La Neve Coprira Tutte le Piane Aride, both of them are kind of mellow ballads, but are too short to be properly developed, the former using a drum solo as its intro.
CD 2 (59:27)
TRACK LIST: 1. La Neve Copre Ormai Tutte le Piane Aride 5:43 2. La Festa dell'Overlook 8:57 3. Il Tempo Labile 4:41 4. Il Mattino ha l'Oro in Bocca 5:08 5. Fammi Usire 4:49 6. L'Intervento di Grady 3:53 7. Redrum 6:53 8. Ora Nessun Nemico Passer 5:05 9. In Fuga nel Labirinto 3:10 10. Vittima di se Stesso 4:41 11. Oltre Tutto 6:29
Analysis. Much of growth and refinement has taken place on Disc 2 since :-) the first one, which sort of hinted at what these musicians could do, as if it was recorded a few years earlier than this one when the band wasn’t mature yet. It still didn’t manage to do so without monologs and dialogs, but those appear infrequently. On four of the disc’s eleven tracks, namely La Festa dell'Overlook, La Neve Copre Ormai Tutte le Piane Aride, In Fuga nel Labirinto and Il Tempo Labile, much of the music is full-blown, at times pretty heavy, symphonic Art-Rock with a clear allegiance to the English classics of the ‘70s. While some aspects of these compositions remind me still of Pink Floyd, others evoke Van Der Graaf Generator, and even King Crimson’s “Red” comes to mind on some occasions while listening to the former two, the first of them featuring an original countermelody ‘courtesy’ of trumpet and organ. Only the latter piece reveals quasi-electronic landscapes in the style of Tangerine Dream, spreading all over its last third, but I accept them, especially considering that its previous contents are really eventful. There is improvement in the vocals as well, since they have become more expressive, emotionally dramatic in most cases. Besides, they’re used less often overall, and never overwhelm the elegant and lush arrangements, so I can clearly hear what is going on in the background when Daniele sings. This allows the musicians to work through more shifts in theme and dynamics (plus in style: find out about the matter below) than anywhere on the first disc. The guitar playing is more diverse too, varying from Pink Floyd-style lead lines to some clearly original soloing to the riffing of the darker prog-metal variety, such as on Redrum. Much of the music on this track (and some of vocals as well) bears a strong resemblance to King Diamond, and while otherwise the musicians develop sympho-prog arrangements, those are pretty dark as well, reminiscent of classic Van Der Graaf Generator. Surely an exception to the band’s sound, this is its very best composition to date, a masterwork with a capital “M”. Let’s move further. Impressive in its own way, Ora Nessun Nemico Passer consists for the most part of what comes across as symphonic ambience. Fammi Usire contains no vocals with lyrics – only a few vocalizations. It would have likely been viewed along with the above four tracks if a Moog solo that runs almost all through it had been more varied, whilst it’s almost as cyclic as a sequenced one. The all-instrumental Vittima di se Stesso is considerably more diverse, abound in pace changes, but should be listed separately as well, because it’s mostly influenced by Pink Floyd, as also is Il Mattino ha l'Oro in Bocca (a good, complicated art-rock ballad), as well as both of the remaining tracks, L'Intervento di Grady and Oltre Tutto. Here is one important detail. Unlike those from the first disc, all of the transitional pieces here, such as the last-named three, create a smooth shift into the more elaborate ones that follow or precede them rather than appearing as ballad-like sketches.
Conclusion. If the first item of this “Shining” might equally appeal to folks inside the progressive rock circle and those outside the prog camp (the Pink Floyd phenomenon rules), the second one, sounding a lot more ambitious, is destined mainly for the latter category of music lovers. Anyway, as it is the album is at once a too long and uneven musical journey to start on it once again. I’d been happier if the band had released it as a single CD on the basis of its second half.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: November 20 & 21, 2012
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