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(51:15, Galileo Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Morning in AntiQua 5:20 2. Tales from Solitude Suite 13:39 3. L'Amore 3:41 4. Nessie Revealed 3:34 5. Falling 9:17 6. Dimlit Tavern 5:18 7. Nirayed's Secret Diary 3:13 8. AntiQua 5:46 8. Evening in AntiQua 1:27 LINEUP: Cristiano Roversi – guitars; keyboards; drum machine Aldo Tagliapietra – vocals; guitars Bernardo Lanzetti – vocals Mirko Tagliasacchi – bass Gigi Cavalli Cocchi – drums With: David Cremoni – guitars Erik Montanari – guitars Leonora – vocals
Prolusion. Italian composer and musician Cristiano ROVERSI is probably best known as a member of the Italian band Moongarden, while others may recognize his name as a member of Submarine Silence and Mangala Vallis. But he's also found the time to establish a solo career, releasing his first solo album back in 1999, the follow-up appearing four years later. Nine more years would go by before his third one appeared. "AntiQua" is the name of this album, which was released on the Swiss label Galileo Records in 2012.
Analysis. While progressive rock by and large is regarded as a genre that embraces the notion of challenging perceptions, boundaries and genre conventions, not all music released under this umbrella fits those expectations. For starters, a specific approach can be explored before it ceases to become challenging within the context described, but there's also quite a lot of music that resides in the outer parts of the progressive rock universe that never was made to challenge any notions at all. Material that to a much greater degree explores certain moods and atmospheres of what one might describe as a less demanding variety. It is within this context we can place Roversi's third solo album "AntiQua". With light toned, melancholic acoustic guitars as something of a key feature throughout, Roversi and his musical guests take us on a journey of a softer and gentler kind, one that gives rise to associations of gentle summer evenings and melancholic memories. The careful landscape unveiled on Morning in AntiQua is as good an example as any, with careful rhythms, symphonic backdrops and a longing guitar solo carefully added to the initial gentle guitar and piano motifs. Even the one slight deviation from this approach, Tales from Solitude Suite, shares many of the same characteristics. This epic-length, three-part composition is more of a gentle symphonic rock construction at heart however, and as long as you can tolerate the vast amounts of dramatic vibrato that characterize the lead vocals of Bernardo Lanzetti it is a stunning one too, still fairly gentle as such endeavors go, mind you. There's even a couple of pieces with more of an ambient, new age-inspired character to them present. Nessie Revealed, which admittedly incorporates a dampened, symphonic insert of toned down dramatic proportions book-ended by a more dream-laden, dark and mystical ambient construction of brooding quality. And Falling, where the ambient excursion is supplemented by vocals before a shift transforms this composition into a gentle symphonic creation slowly growing in intensity to become another instance of elegant and careful yet majestic symphonic progressive rock. Nirayed's Secret Diary is arguably the most purebred of the ambient creations, but again sporting features that make it something more than a traditional piece of new age material. The gentle art of beauty is an expression I think covers the contents of this album. Roversi has a knack for creating careful moods and atmospheres containing enough details to maintain tension and keep the listener attentive, and while it would be hard to present this as an album of innovative or challenging music, it is a fine example of truly well-made music: dream-laden, rich in mood and atmosphere throughout, and the cover art depicting a young boy in awe of stories told by an ancient, gnarly sailor sums up this production perfectly for me.
Conclusion. Cristiano Roversi's third full-length solo outing "AntiQua" focuses on careful, gentle moods, with acoustic guitar as the main instrument feature, carefully supplemented by keyboards, synthesizers, Mellotron and organ in various constellations with toned down, elegant and fairly richly layered songs, slowly and carefully developing from an initial frail beginning as the main approach utilized. A dream-laden affair, and those who enjoy the gentler escapades of bands like Camel should probably find this one a tantalizing experience.
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