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Vedda Tribe (Italy) - Overall View

Prolusion. The history of Italy's VEDDA TRIBE counts only six years, during which they crafted two full-length studio albums. The band's eponymous debut outing was released in 1999, and its follow-up, "Good Night to the Bucket", just recently (both by Lizard Records).

Vedda Tribe - 1999 - "Vedda Tribe"
(45 min, Lizard)


1.  Il Passagio del Mar Rosso 8:27
2.  Nebbia di Lilliput 9:38
3.  Hypercube 9:28
4.  Democrazy 7:00
5.  Etemenanki 10:16

All tracks: by Vedda Tribe.


Filippo Guerini - guitars; vocals
Mauro Pamiro - keyboards, bass 
Flavio Leva - drums & percussion

Synopsis. "Vedda Tribe" consists of five rather long compositions ranging from 7 to 10 minutes. Among those with a completely structured music this is definitely the most originally sounding album I've heard this year. The flight of the band's fantasy is so high that it takes my breath away. The moods that prevail here are neither dramatic nor romantic, nor joyful nor sad nor even neutral. As if shades of some unearthly emotional palette, they have little in common with those we usually feel, and yet, they are easily perceptible and are even naturally touching sometimes. Of course, this is the music of 'spacey spheres', but, still, it's rather unusual even within this genre. Not counting those on the last track, to which I'll return below, the parts of keyboards, and these are predominantly piano passages, are exclusively (and distinctly) symphonic in character, whereas guitar solos concern both Space Rock and quasi-Jazz-Fusion and are usually as if laidback from the current musical events, regardless of whether they're fluid or harsh, fast or slow, etc. Most of the bass solos are also classically disciplinary, while those of drums are often too diverse and contrasting to be classified the same way. Generally, contrasts of various forms and nature make this mysterious, primordially original music sounding even more unique. The first four tracks are instrumental compositions with ever-changing eclectic arrangements, which, however, never lose their melodic coherence. Il Passagio del Mar Rosso, and especially Democrazy, which, with its rapid avalanche-like jams, has really somewhat a crazy feel to it, are harsher than the others and are more eccentric. The music is highly innovative and is a combination of Symphonic Space Rock, Space Fusion and Space Metal with some psychedelic and Classical music-related tendencies, the latter of which, though, become apparent only when a keyboardist plays pianos out of the context of the joint arrangements. Musically, Nebbia di Lilliput and Hypercube follow in a similar direction, and the sound is also rather dense throughout. However, the Metal component as such is absolutely absent. If for these two are typical various levels of the dynamics of the development of musical events, and Democrazy is the most intensive composition on the album, then Etemenanki is the only track here with moderately slow and rather quiet arrangements throughout. There are, however, the other differences between it and the rest of the material. Apart from the parts of piano, synthesizer, electric guitar, bass and drums, here appear those of vibraphone and mallet percussion, and also some vocals with one quatrain of the lyrics. The music is a classic improvisational Space Fusion, so unlike any of the first four compositions, Etemenanki can be subjected to some comparison. In this respect, the French outfit >
Jade immediately comes to my mind, though I am almost certain that these bands don't even suspect of the each other's existence. All in all, "Vedda Tribe" is an exceptionally original album and is a very enjoyable listening.

Vedda Tribe - 2004 - "Good Night to the Bucket"
(43 min, Lizard)


1.  Good Night to the Bucket 4:15 
2.  Interlude 3:01
3.  Young Meditation 6:25
4.  A Monkey's Arm 2:44
5.  Danadune 2:33
6.  Changes 4:46
7.  Touch and Go 5:02
8.  Uncle Bouzerant 4:50
9.  Coda 2:15
10. Better Try 3:42
11. Good Night to the Players 4:16

All tracks: by Vedda Tribe, except 7: traditional.

LINE-UP: same

Synopsis. Vedda Tribe's lineup didn't undergo any changes since their debut in 1999, while their instrumental equipment was replenished with modern synthesizers and an acoustic guitar. The total duration of "Good Night to the Bucket" is nearly equal to that of the band's eponymous album, but the number of tracks here is more than twice as large - eleven. Are you wondering what am I driving at by saying this? Nothing special. The quality of the music didn't suffer from these changes. The four longer tracks: Young Meditation, Changes, Uncle Bouzerant, and Touch and Go contain vocals, the first three being with good English lyrics. The latter is in Italian, and unlike the others it was sung by anyone else but Filippo Guerini (most likely by a female singer). Nevertheless, all the songs are largely instrumental, and here I must note that during the years, separating "Good Night to the Bucket" from their debut album, the band had time to fall in love with King Crimson and UK and such their songs as Starless, Indiscipline, Industry, Danger Money and Caesar's Palace Blues in particular. The implied influences are more obvious on the songs, and the slight resemblance between Filippo's singing and John Wetton just intensifies this impression. However, no one would blame Vedda Tribe for plagiarism. Minor influences don't oppose originality. The band still shines with an extraordinary compositional thinking, having just projected the others' discoveries through the prism of their own vision of music, which is still a unique Space Rock, at least substantially. Apart from the songs, a combination of classic Art-Rock and clearly modernist Space Fusion and Space Metal with highly eclectic arrangements and a dark hypnotic atmosphere is prevailing on Interlude, Coda and Better Try. On Danadune and Good Night to the Players there are only solos and passages of acoustic and semi-acoustic guitar constantly developing against a background of very slow, as if frozen, synthesizer passages, but how charming these unusual and, therefore, completely original Space Rock pieces are! The remaining two instrumentals: the album's title track and A Monkey's Arm are about a dark Electronic Rock. These have their merits, too, but unlike the other compositions, however, they are too overloaded with sequenced solos and effects, especially the latter, the only track whose presence on this album I would have called in serious question.

Conclusion. I was listening to Vedda Tribe's recording 'legacy' along with a few of friends of mine, and of course, we shared our thoughts on each of the albums. While hating most of the Neo, primarily for its highly derivative nature, they, however, are very enthusiastic about most if not all of the followers of King Crimson. Unanimously, they declared the band's latest effort a winner and expressed their strong conviction that, unlike its predecessor, it is 'doomed' to have a success and will be very well received by the Prog audience. While it's clear to me that it would be wrong to disagree with these remarks, Vedda Tribe's youthfully sincere debut is, nevertheless, a bit closer to the heart of such an adherent of originality as I. In any case, both the albums are highly recommendable. There is so much to be discovered!

VM: October 16 & 17, 2004

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