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Stefano Panunzi - 2005 - "Timelines"

(63 min, RES)


*****+
                 
TRACK LIST:                    
         
1.  Timelines 5:25
2.  Underground 4:22
3.  Everything for Her 5:57
4.  No Answer From You 5:06
5.  Masquerade 4:35
6.  Web of Memories 6:19
7.  The Moon & the Red House 4:21
8.  Forgotten Story 5:37
9.  Tribal Innocence 5:14
10. Something to Remember 6:38
11. I'm Looking For 9:52

LINEUP:

Stefano Panunzi - keyboards; vocals
Mick Karn - basses; vocals
Mike Appelbaum - trumpet, flugelhorn
Nicola Alesini - saxophone, clarinet
Giacomo Anselmi - el. & ac. guitars
Nicola Lori - el. & ac. guitars
Gianpaolo Rao - drums, percussion 
Peter Chilvers - string ensemble
                      

Prolusion. "Timelines" is the debut CD by Italian keyboardist, singer and composer Stefano PANUNZI. More than twenty musicians were involved in the album, some current and former members of several widely known bands (such as Porcupine Tree, No Man, David Sylvian and David Torn amongst others) included. It would be a long story to list all the performers, especially if together with their achievements, so I've included only the most active participants in the lineup above, without mentioning their belonging to any other projects. I believe it's more important to know the result of their joint effort on this particular recording.

Analysis. The album features an approximately equal number of instrumental compositions (six) and those with lyrical content (five, mainly in English), which is quite emblematical in this very case - considering the striking dissimilarity, revealing itself on different levels, between the two categories. The first two songs, the title track and Underground, each representing atmospheric Space Rock of a distinctively English brand, have somewhat embarrassed me by their generally provoking similarity with the most melodically pronounced stuff from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" and Porcupine Tree's "Signify" respectively. Like almost everywhere on the album, the music is both lively and colorful, but the aspects, which directly point to the originators of the style, somewhat mar the impression. To my great surprise, the rest of the material turned out to be free of any obvious influences, some tracks being abundant in innovative ideas which, though, didn't prevent me from quickly determining my least favorite track. The nearly 12-minute 'epic' I'm Looking For closes the album 'not on the finest note', figuratively speaking. Sung by Stefano himself in a kind of Anglo-Italian language, it's too plain and slow in its development, rarely exceeding the bounds of spacey Ambient, despite the effort of a guest cello player to impart a certain symphonic sensibility to the music. The remaining two songs, Masquerade and Web of Memories, following one another right at the album's core, are in many ways remarkable, opening some new horizons of the Space Rock genre with the attraction of elements of Space Metal and quasi improvisation. Stefano Panunzi and bassist Mick Karn are definitely the principal soloing forces on this recording, as their instruments are an important part of the picture of most, if not all of the tracks present. As for the other musicians, the guitarists Giacomo Anselmi and Nicola Lori shine on each of the songs, while the foreground of the instrumental compositions is often wholly in the hands of trombonist Mike Appelbaum and saxophonist Nicola Alesini. Everything for Her, No Answer From You, The Moon & the Red House and Forgotten Story (which features too few vocals to be considered a song) are the best tracks here, at least from a progressive standpoint, each combining the primary style with a much jazzier approach. This is the stuff that allows each of the participants an improvisational voice, and the brass players never lose this opportunity to use it in the best way. Tribal Innocence and Something to Remember are more groove-oriented, relying more on layered synth textures, although the trombone solos, covering most of the background, are still outstanding.

Conclusion. Stefano Panunzi's "Timelines" is a pretty consistent and enjoyable recording and is a very convincing debut effort, even though there is little to offer to the adventurous. Recommended, above all to fans of modern Space Rock and Space Fusion. The bands and performers mentioned in the Prolusion can serve as a decent additional reference point.

VM: February 20, 2006


Related Links:

Stefano Panunzi / RES Records


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