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TRACK LIST: 1. Mad Minstrel 6:38 2. Canzone della Bambina di Triora 8:26 3. The Flight of Phoenix 5:05 4. Silent Revolution 5:06 5. The Butterfly 3:45 6. A Friend of Mine 5:39 7. The Night of Beltaine 4:08 8. The 3:26 9. The Wood of Memories 9:18 All music: by Sad Minstrel, except 2 & 5: traditional Italian & Irish songs (arr. by SM). All lyrics: by Sad Minstrel, except 2: SM & Carpaneto. SOLO PILOT: Sad Minstrel - - vocals; electric & acoustic guitars; keyboards; - MIDI-bass; drum programming; whistle Produced by Sad Minstrel. Engineered by V. Vera at "Mediatech Communication", Genoa.
Prolusion. Sad Minstrel is the nickname of Fabio Casanova, the former keyboard player of the Italian band Malombra (on the band's first two albums). "The Flight of Phoenix" is his first work on a solo path.
Synopsis. Although "The Flight of Phoenix" is a completely original album, the contents of it aren't submitted to integrity (in many respects), so it would be incorrect to view them without dividing them into parts. Mad Minstrel, the album's title track, and Silent Revolution (1, 3, & 4) are the bright representatives of >Modern Art-Rock with melodious, very beautiful, but accessible music. There are interesting and, thematically, diverse instrumental arrangements, but each of these songs lacks for changes of tempo. Canzone della bambina di Triora (2) is the only track on the album with Italian lyrics. This is a very nice folk song lushly enriched with passages of string ensemble, but it features the same drawback as the tracks I've named above. Very much like in the case of >Mythologic, closer to the middle of the album the music suddenly changes towards a considerable improvement, which includes the active inculcation of the parts of acoustic instruments into arrangements. All of the other tracks, starting with the fifth one, are notable for the alternation of mildness and intensity in music and a lot of diverse, always tasteful and inventive interplay between passages of classical guitar and solos of whistle. The only instrumental piece on the album: The Butterfly (5) is also a folk song, but unlike Canzone della bambina di Triora, it is rich in elements of Classic Progressive and contains even those of Classical Music. The remaining four songs: A Friend of Mine, The Night of Beltaine, The, and The Wood of Memories (6 to 9) fully correspond to the meaning laid in the conception of "sad minstrel", and Casanova's theatrically dramatic vocals are here especially expressive. All of these are the best tracks on the album, and it's hard to choose an absolute winner among them.
Conclusion. It may sound naive, but I did expect something in the vein of Jethro Tull from Sad Minstrel. However, it turned out to be that the music on the album is hardly comparable, and originality is the main virtue of it. If you like your music bright, "The Flight of Phoenix" will be definitely for your taste.
VM: October 30, 2003
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