Thursday, 29 September 2011

A CHALLENGING GAME

Nichelodeon come from Milan and define themselves as a “chemical laboratory engaged in performing audio-visual crafts”. Indeed, this project is mainly the brainchild of Claudio Milano, vocalist and composer who started to work on it in 1997. In 2007 he gathered around him a first line up for some live performances and in 2008 a first self-produced live album was released, “Cinemanemico”. In June 2009 the line up changed and now features Claudio Milano (vocals), Francesco Chiapperini (sax, clarinet, flute), Andrea Illuminati (piano, melodica, bombarda), Andrea Murada (percussion, didgeridoo, noise effects, flute, vocals), Max Pierini (electric counterbass, ocarina) Luca Pissavini (viola, synth, toys, field recordings, duduk, theremin) and Lorenzo Sempio (guitars, synth).  

Nichelodeon 2010

In September 2010 the first Nicheodeon’s studio album. “Il gioco del silenzio” (The game of silence), was released on the independent label Lizard Records. It features many guest musicians and the overall sound is extremely rich and colourful. The sources of inspiration range from John Cage to opera, from Kurt Weil and Bertold Brecht to jazz-rock and psychedelia. Well, experimental music is not everyone’s cup of tea but in this case the result is a well balanced concoction of styles that gives strength to the poetical content of the lyrics while Claudio Milano's particular vocal style and his theatrical approach help to convey emotions.

The opener “Fame” (Hunger) features a troubled mood and an uneasy atmosphere. The music is obsessive, discomfort seems leading to madness, then the tension melts in a desperate invocation... “Light that knows the secret of my name, just tell me you exist, that life is too short to repress myself / Light that shines at the recall of my name, let me discover where you are, for I feel like sleeping / Let this hunger be quenched...”.


 “Fiaba” (Fable) is one of my favourite pieces on this album. It’s a kind of surreal and poetical description of a bombardment... “Lying in the sun like lizards, we suddenly were ballerinas dancing between the seeds that thundered / With the tails, souls never grew again / With a shout:- War! / The sun darkened us...”. The mood is almost dreamy and vocals soar like a prayer... “Free me from the hate inside of me... Free me from the hate that exists...”. 

“Claustrofilia” (Claustrophilia) is agoraphobic and tense. Sometimes it is difficult to keep up with the frenzy rhythm of a busy life and the desire to find an artificial shelter to shut out trouble is strong... “Like many dolls at the window on a plane that sooner or later will fall / Freer than ever, freer than ever, freer than ever, freer...”.  

“Malamore e la Luna” (Evilove and the moon) is melancholic and haunting. A romantic tango turns to nightmare depicting an ill and evil love... “Rare, thieving and greedy for life recklessness, our eyes, black holes looking through each other / What connects them is the alien frame that scares and bares and all the rest is waiting, deceit and cannibalism... Proud pantomimes of insane superstructures, we defend a mosaic of lies that we no longer distinguish from our skin / Behind our face only a blind emptiness is left to be kept / Ashen moon, shine! / Without hiding your veil / Let me be the rain to wash you and don’t hold your breath / Drop of glass, reflect now each of your longings for light / No longer scared of knowing how to shatter into a thousand drops of wrath...”. A great track! 


 “Amanti in guerra” (Lovers at war) is a touching reflection about love and hate. Two lovers try to find a shelter while confetti of stone are pouring down and in a nocturnal background you can hear a soaring dirge... “Mute silences have warmed hate as a child / But the shooter’s children, neither you nor I have ever mourned / Ah Israel! Ah, Israel! / Tomorrow we’ll find  the courage to tell ourselves:- I don’t know what I want, who am I, who are you? / Fear for a stroke of gunpowder is too cheap / No, it’s not worth your I love you / Will we ever be able to surrender and fly through the wrinkles that life is giving us?...”.

“Ombre cinesi” (Chinese shadows) is a surreal experimental track. It could remind of some Area’s experiments but in my opinion the result is not completely convincing... “I’ve dug galleries in long unfocused dreams between warm sheets of guilt at my wakening...”.

 “Apnea” (Apnea) is another experimental track featuring an uneasy atmosphere and breathless passages... “Never suggesting answers, not asking questions, it’s like building yourself a prison / Not acknowledging confines and limits is not the way out... You have to be in peace with yourself to learn how to love...”.


 “Il giardino degli altri” (Other people’s garden) starts like a mantra. It’s a kind of psychoanalytic journey which takes you back into childhood where you can listen to some nursery rhymes veined of a psychedelic, dark mood... “I put my dreams in a well / Then when evening comes secretly I look down on them from above and I feel fear / Fear of seeing them in the dark, drowning slowly / They are so deep, they are so far away...”.  

“La corsa dei trattori” (The race of the tractors) is a short instrumental credited as a ghost track that leads to “Se” (If), an experimental piece featuring lyrics taken from a famous poem by Cecco Angiolieri (1260-1312). Well, in my opinion the experiment was not successful and I think that this is the weakest track on this album.

“Lana di vetro” (Glass wool) is definitely better. It features folksy passages and pungent reflections about life and education... “How can we surrender to the recklessness of a child and invent ourselves mothers not to acknowledge our failures / If those who never die... Kill?”.


The last track “Ciò che rimane” (What’s left behind) is long and complex. It begins with a delicate piano solo, then the music takes different directions... “Let your reality explode, then swim in the depths of what’s left behind / Let the truth explode, then rush to drink what’s left behind...”. A beautiful and unconventional epic piece...

On the whole a few weak moments don’t waste this interesting and challenging work that lasts about 78 minutes. Along with the CD comes also a DVD including the live version of some tracks from the album and a “cine-concerto” featuring music inspired by the last episode of “Twin Peaks”. Well, I’m sure this will be an excellent addition to your prog collection...

You can listen in streaming to the complete album. Click HERE


Nichelodeon: Il gioco del silenzio (2010). Other opinions:
Olav Martin Bjørnsen: A defining part of their approach seems to be to explore the borderlands between melody and dissonance, with a more or less defined melodic motif used as a red thread while counterpointed by dissonant sounds and textures, or by using the latter as the compositional backbone and adding in fragmented melodic motifs and sounds. Elongated melodic themes broken apart by gradually evolving dissonant segments and insertions of noisescapes and cacophonous excursions with more than a few nods in the direction of free form jazz are other distinct traits to this production... The end result is somewhat of a varied affair. Nichelodeon does a fine balancing act between the melodic and the dissonant, between the pleasant and the unpleasant. At best the end results are stunning... (read the complete review HERE).
César Inca Mendoza Loyola: What a lovely avant-prog album this is, so full of richly developed textures and adventurous orchestrations: this one might as well be regarded as a cornerstone of Italy's experimental musical scene in the years to come. Influences from (or coincidences with) Opus Avantra, Art Bears, Tortoise and Area can be easily traced by the informed listener, but once and for all it is only fair to consider Nichelodeon as a voice of its own in the realms of contemporary avant-garde progressive music... (read the complete review HERE).
Assaf Vestin: If there ever was an album that needs full attention and headphone listening, this is it. Miss a beat (or a bit) and you can totally lose it and not be able to reconnect. This will not be an easy album to absorb and open up to, but a rewarding one, once you do... (read the complete review HERE).

Read the interview with Claudio Milano at Progarchives. Click HERE


More info:

DEADLY SINS

ASSENZIO is prog band from Bari that began life in 2004. The line up features Gigi Lorusso (guitar), Emanuele Manzo (bass), Lino Paglionico (vocals and flute), Fabio Prota (keyboards) and Cristiano Valente (drums). Their influences range from classic Italian progressive rock bands such as PFM, BMS and Area to newer and heavier acts. Assenzio’s debut album, the self-produced “’Avon”, was released in 2005 and is an interesting conceptual work inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins. Although it was completely recorded and mixed in the band’s home studio, the sound quality is very good and it’s really worth listening to...

Assenzio

The opener “Antitesi” (Antithesis) begins softly and introduces the “concept”. Acoustic guitar and flute set a dreamy atmosphere where in a distorted reality vices and virtues are fighting against each other... “I dare fancying inside of me a world full of innocent perversities / I build with my mind an ageless place... An unfair and charming antithesis of opposite egos is attracting me...”. You can listen to this track and legally download it for free, just click HERE

“Primo cherubino” (First Cherub), deals with Pride. It starts with a percussive and dark beating, then the electric guitar starts pulsing too... The music flows with many changes in rhythm while the voice of the singer draws the image of a vain king, a king of the night who comes to life at dusk like a vampire with the look of Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever... “I live only for the night / I die and arise only for those who look no one but me / My light shines high and irradiates my majesty like a lighthouse... You despise my vanity, subdued by your lack of qualities... My hegemony is absolute, it has no limits / I’m your king!”. You can listen to this track and legally download it for free from HERE.


Next comes “Beni Shahih”, a track about Greed. The incipit is powerful and full of energy, then the rhythm begins to swing while the vocals interpret a strange character who cuddles his little shining and clinking creatures... Try to think to Scrooge McDuck swimming across his money or to Gollum madly dancing on the edge of the abyss holding “His Precious” ring... “I want everything for me / I do not have anyone anymore / I hold tight to my chest my treasure / It’s like a soft pillow for me / It’s only mine and I want more...”. The greedy character hates other people, they are like threatening dark enemies who judge his words and his actions, he feels their inquisitive eyes upon him...  “Eyes that look at me / Eyes that stare at me / Eyes that judge me / Eyes that hate me... Leave me alone!”. Well, a great theatrical interpretation! You can listen to this track and legally download it for free. Click HERE.

“Passione e vizio” (Passion and vice) is about Lust. A piano solo sets the atmosphere... Imagine a man lying in an opulent ocean of shining gold, surrounded by wonderful women, indifferent to what happens outside his “shell”... “Passion and vice rule with overwhelming force the senses never saturated with lust / You are surrounded by the most charming creatures on Earth who delight your senses / You have fun without worrying about the storm...”. The music is complex and features every now and again spicy Oriental atmospheres and a peculiar guitar Latin sound à la Santana... You can listen to this track and legally download it for free from HERE.


“Tempesta” (Storm) is about Wrath. It starts with some aggressive electric guitar riffs and pulsing bass lines... “A red sky is burning tormented by rage / The threatening wind of resentment blows / The clouds on the horizon relish the duel... The roar of the storm spreads / The thunder and lightning break out from the sky... And anger can rule without mercy...”. The music and words depict wrath in a very colourful and effective way... “My eyes reflect the clouds / They are red like the sky that shouts blood... My scream explodes, it needs to resound... I seek relief in broken glasses...”. Well, an epic rage for an ordinary story of hooliganism! You can listen to this track and legally download it for free from HERE.

“Avida anima” (Greedy soul) is about Gluttony. Here the over-indulgence and over consumption of food, drink and other intoxicants is a way to fill the infinite emptiness of a weak soul, a way to compensate the lack of values that could make a man fragile and mean. On a funky rhythm the vocals interpret the languid madness of a man who changes his dreams into desires and the desires into greediness... “In every whim there’s happiness... My corrupted belly created my world... I cured the melancholy with the pleasure of the palate / And face to face with the mirror of my identity / I fill the void of my greedy soul with the frenzy of possession, with gluttony...”. You can listen to this track and legally download it for free from HERE.


“Parassita” (Parasite) is about Envy. The music goes through many changes in mood and rhythm while the lyrics compare envy to a parasite that can hide itself under your skin and can conceal its looks behind a black veil... “The hypocritical parasite smiles / Meanwhile it injects its poison / It grows slowly, hidden...”. You can’t see it, you can’t see the pain of the envious people in the background who would like take your place in limelight... “How can’t you see my pain? / Maybe am I invisible to your eyes? / You’re always there in the front, unattainable / I want to be you!”. You can listen to this track and legally download it for free from HERE

The last track “L’oppio degli ignavi” (The opium of the sloth) is about Sloth. It begins softly, after a piano introduction the vocals soar slowly... “Leaden desert, wrap me in an embrace of dynamic inertia / The nothingness is my friend, I let my life pass by...”. The music flows like the current of a raging river and leads you toward a fall. Poverty and want are lurking in the mud like a robber or an armed man while drugs addiction and escape from responsibilities drive you in the eddies of the Styx. Eventually you find yourself prisoner of your restless ego, floating aimlessly toward the vortex of oblivion... A great track and a perfect conclusion for a very good album! You can listen to this track and legally download it for free from HERE



At the moment the activity of the band is suspended and Assenzio’s members are involved in some side projects such as La Variante Chevac (Paglionico), U’Papun (Lorusso and Valente), Suoni Mudù (Lorusso and Manzo) and Mister Wilson (Prota). Gigi Lorusso is a teacher of sound recording techniques as well...


Assenzio: 'Avon (2005). Other opinions
Jim Russell: These guys rock hard although they never go into prog-metal. Hard rock, some crossover, occasional fusion, there is something for everyone... An absolute treat this work is. The downside of the self-produced work are the occasional production issues, but for the most part the sound is of a high quality... (read the complete review HERE).
Torodd Fuglesteg: The melodies are all great. My only gripe is the lack of a truly great song here which would set this album apart from the rest of the Rock Progressivo Italiano albums... (read the complete review HERE).


More info:

Assenzio:

La Variante Chevac:
U’Papun:
Suoni Mudù:
Mister Wilson:

LIVING IN THE PAST?

ARCHITRAVE INDIPENDENTE is an Italian prog band from Rutigliano, a town in the province of Bari also known as “la città dell’uva” (the city of the grape) because of the widespread vineyards that you can find in the sourroundings. The band was formed in 2005 by five young, skilled musicians in love with vintage sounds and analog recording techniques.

Architrave Indipendente

The line up features Oscar Larizza (electric bass, lute, classical and acoustic guitars, flute, synthesizers, organ, glockenspiel), Alessandro Mezzacane (violoncello), Emanuele Palumbo (piano, flute, organ, synthesizer, harmonium), Piero Palumbo (drums, percussion, xilomarimba) and Stefano Renna (acoustic and electric guitars).

 In 2009 they released an excellent debut album, “Azetium a 8 piste”, self produced, distributed and published only on vinyl (but if you have not a turntable don’t worry, you can ask them a digital copy on CD-R or download it with their permission). The album was proudly recorded using only analog techniques but despite the vintage sounds it is by no means a nostalgic operation or a “regressive work”. These musicians are not living in the past, on the contrary, their overall sound is fresh and their music and lyrics rich in ideas. The result of their recording sessions is an interesting concept album dealing with ecological issues. The art cover, the extended liner notes and the pictures in the inner fold contribute to explain the subject matter...


The opener “La spinta” (The thrust) starts softly, you can hear in the background the wind blowing and singing birds. Then the rhythm rises and from a strummed guitar pattern the notes of a violin soar embroidering evocative melodies. This piece is about the need to go back to your roots to find your own identity because the people who don’t know what happened in the past can’t grow up. The lyrics and music depict a small town where people don’t care about anything but money... Anyway there’s also a man strolling around who does not conform, who has travelled abroad and raises doubts suggesting that changing is possible. These doubts push you to dig in the history of the town... “There are some who believe and others who don’t...”.

Album cover

The first track leads to “Emplecton”, a long suite in three parts that in some way tries to describe the effects of the lack of a collective identity. The first part, the instrumental “Incipit, regressione e cerimoniale”, features a delicate acoustic guitar arpeggio, soothing keyboard waves and colourful flute passages. It sets a dreamy, bucolic atmosphere... On the second part, “Vassallo ignorante”, the dream becomes uneasy, the rhythm rises and you can imagine some ghosts dancing on the notes of a fiery tarantella just before a sudden stop and a nocturnal piano passage... The title of this suite refers to a building technique developed by the ancient Greek architects, who used it to build the walls of their cities. Now of the ancient walls of the town there’s nothing left but some scattered ruins. The vestiges of an old civilization had to give way to new vineyards and intensive crops and there’s no respect for the ancestors and their way of life anymore, threatening clouds of pesticides appear on the horizon and people don’t realize that ambition and greed can kill... “The soil under your feet pleads for mercy / It can’t give you more fruits / Fossilized county, wake up!... In your grapes the environment is drowning and you are still afloat, ignorant vassal!”. The third part of the suite, “Scherzo (di cattivo gusto) e ripresa” is a tasteful, complex instrumental coda, rich in ideas and featuring many changes in mood and atmosphere where the music seems to evoke the clash between the ghosts from the past and the dangers of modern life. It closes the first side of the album and you have to turn your vinyl now...



Side B opens with another complex suite in three parts, the excellent “Azezio”. The title refers to the ancient name of Rutigliano, the hometown of the band. The first part, “Calura d’agosto”, evokes a hot summer day in August and a beautiful bucolic landscape that invites you to dream and to think about the glorious past of this land...

Slowly in your mind the old town with its customs comes to life again in antithesis with the modern hectic reality... “From the countryside I can hear a voice singing / The prosperous red soil tells stories of ancient flourishing civilizations...”. The second part, “Sagra dell’uva”, is just an instrumental acoustic bridge where you can hear the voices of some people arguing in the background while an acoustic guitar carelessly weaves its arpeggios, indifferent to what is going on all around. Then comes the darker third part, “Ossa puto”, where the evocative music invites you to keep on dreaming all day long until the night falls...

Palying on the ancient ruins of Azetium wall

The title of the last track “Gli altarini di San Rocco” (The little altars of Saint Rocco) refers to an old tradition of Rutigliano. On August 16, the inhabitants use to set some little altars in honour to Saint Rocco and the band sarcastically compares the cult of the saint with the reckless exploitation of the soil and with the cult that now some people tribute to their brand-new tractors that they park “even in their living-rooms”. This piece features many changes in rhythm and mood and concludes a very good, committed album full of musical inventions and surprises...

Despite some ingenuities, on the whole I think that this work could be an excellent addition to your prog collection!

Architrave Indipendente: Azetium a 8 piste (2009). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: They have succeeded in the mission of delivering a stellar RPI gem as good as the classics of the 70s. Oscar has been studying the 70s RPI scene since he was 12 years old. His influences include De De Lind, Quella Vecchia Locanda, Paese dei Balocchi, Battiato, Osanna, Cervello, Pholas Dactylus, and many others. He shares my own conclusion that the bands least influenced by the English scene were the most interesting ones. It is a common misconception that the Italian scene was just an imitation of the English scene. While some bands are guilty as charged, the great Italian groups may have loved the English scene but clearly created their own sounds. When I asked Oscar to describe Architrave Indipendente’s sound, rather than trying to worry about genre labels, he just said “genuine” and I can safely say they are on the right track. Architrave Indipendente’s self-released work "Azetium a Otto Piste" is a warm and gentle feast of music that just knocked me out... (read the complete review HERE). 
Linus Wikström: What I like most about the whole package is still none of these parts in isolation; it’s the fact that despite the leaps and bounds between some of the different parts, it works so well together. There’s always a smart, unexpected degradation or twist that manages to segue into what’s to come. Sometimes quirky, but never in a way that distracts from the impressionistic and lush exuberance of the story-telling. As such, it’s both an adventurous and mature effort... (read the complete review HERE). 
Chris "Seventhsojourn":  This is some album to be just one album and it'll take many more listens for me to get my head fully around it. Produced in the old fashioned way, it's an album that endeavours to invoke the ghosts of the seventies RPI greats while scoffing at the more generic examples of the species. It's an important album, with an important message, that shouldn't be hidden away or reserved for only a small handful of listeners... (read the complete review HERE). 
Torodd Fuglesteg: The overall quality is very good throughout. The vocals are great, the band know how to play their instruments and the sound is very good (even on my turntable). There is no killer tracks here though and I get a bit confused about this two faced record with the two different styles. This is a very promising, good album though. It is well worth checking out... (read the complete review HERE)


More info about the band:


A BAND WITH NO NAME

SENZA NOME (the name of the band can be translated into English as “without a name” or “nameless”) are a young and very promising progressive band that was formed in 2003 on the initiative of Emanuele De Marzi and Stefano Onorati. They come from Marino, a small town near Rome in an area called Castelli Romani, the same small town that gave us Il Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. After an intense live activity featuring a particular theatrical approach, in 2008 they released a very interesting self-produced eponymous debut album. Their main influences are the Italian prog masters of the early seventies as BMS, PFM and Area but they add an original touch and poetical lyrics. The present line up features Emanuele De Marzi (vocals, guitar), Stefano Onorati (keyboards), Pierfrancesco Portelli (bass), Mirko G. Mazza (guitar) and Aurora Di Rocco (drums).

Senza Nome with Davide "Jimmy" Spitaleri and Rodolfo Maltese

The opener “Illusioni di un’anima lontana” (Dreams of a distant soul) is a kind of suite divided in three parts. On the first part “Tesi” (Thesis) you can perceive BMS influences melting in a dreamy acoustic ballad (but the quality of Francesco Di Giacomo’s vocals here is clearly missing!). “She’s so far / Her eyes are immense / And there are no borders / She can be everywhere she wants / Through the mountains / Or along the desert / This world is too small / For her dreams...”. The second part, the instrumental “Antitesi” (Antithesis), suddenly breaks  the charm with an aggressive “keyboards attack” (here BMS influences are even stronger) while on the third part “Sintesi” (Synthesis) a Latin rhythm is combined with interesting piano patterns... “She’s so far / Sometimes I feel pity for her / For her way of travelling and dreaming / For her way of fighting and hoping / For the way she deceives herself / Trying to change a world that cannot get better...”. Well, good musical ideas but, perhaps, a little bit confused.



The next track “Passi” (Steps) is a beautiful simple and delicate acoustic ballad which begins with recitative vocals declaiming some passages from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel The Little Prince, it’s the episode where the fox asks to be tamed and the song is about the need to “establish ties”, deep and sincere relationships... “From now on I will be with you forever... I will feel forever your steps inside my steps... In me there’s your immensity / That will give me advice / In every single thought / In every single moment / We’ll never be alone...”.

The long, complex “Tumore” (Tumour) is probably the best track on the album, in the vein of early BMS’ epics like “R.I.P.” or “Metamorfosi”. The piece is almost completely instrumental with many changes in rhythm. The short vocal part is dramatic... “To be / To appear / To feel pain / Living a life that you’ll never know / There’s a part of me that can’t stand it / Tumour of the Universe...”.


Next comes “Non sono mai esistito” (I was never born) where the band tries to blend Latin rock rhythms “à la Santana” with philosophical lyrics about the dichotomy between reality and unreality In my opinion it’s not on the same level of the other tracks...

The long, complex “Ulisse” (Odysseus) is another great piece, featuring an epic atmosphere with lyrics inspired by the adventures of the Greek hero depicted by Homer and a recitative part freely taken from Dante Alighieri’s “Divina Commedia”. There are many changes in rhythm and mood and some very interesting instrumental breaks... Good also “Si la do” (a short instrumental in the vein of BMS’ Traccia with a touch of “Area”) and the conclusive acoustic, delicate “Sopra a un pensiero” (Upon a thought).



The album features a beautiful art cover and a booklet with pictures and lyrics: not bad at all for a completely self-produced and self-distributed work (it can be purchased directly from the official website of the band, click HERE). On the whole the album is not flawless, but I think that it’s a very good work for an emerging band that deserves credit...

Senza Nome: Senza Nome (2008). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: This band might be a leader in shaping where Italian prog goes in the future I believe, not content to simply recreate the past (even though doing that can be enjoyable enough) but to wrap it in their own confident package. It's a very impressive piece of work... (read the complete review HERE).

More info about the band:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

SARDEGNA

It’s time now to set off and sail across the sea heading north west, to another Italian island and autonomous region, SARDEGNA, and its capital CAGLIARI. The city gave us in the past prog artists and bands such as Pierpaolo Bibbò (Official Website) and Gruppo 2001. Gruppo 2001’s keyboardist and singer Piero Marras (MySpace) is still active and is now one of the most appreciated singer-songwriters from Sardinia. The current prog scene from Cagliari features an interesting band, The Yleclipse (MySpace), who in 2008 released a concept album, Trails Of Ambergris, about the history of the island, freely inspired by the events of 1792-1793, when the French army tried to occupy Sardinia.


Other prog bands from Cagliari are Akroasis (Facebook), Julia Ensemble (MySpace), SVM Trio (Facebook), Grandmother Safari (Facebook) I Collegium (MySpace) and the emerging Entity (MySpace), Skull Cowboys (Facebook) and Sistema (MySpace). The other cities of the island have also their prog bands. IGLESIAS is home to Intermundia (Facebook), ORISTANO in the seventies gave us Salis while today it’s the time of a folk rock band called Nur (MySpace). Oristano is also home to Andrea Cutri (Bandcamp), guitarist and composer who in 2012 released a rock opera called Eterno divenire - L'amore di Barrett & BrowningSASSARI, in the north west part of the region, is home to Apollo Beat (Facebook), White Sunset (MySpace) and Capside (MySpace) while the province of NUORO has an emerging band called Getsemani (MySpace).


Our prog tour of Italy is coming to an end now. Almost every day new bands are formed or bands split up and you can be sure that every Italian prog tour will be different from the previous one. So, after a break in the beautiful Costa Smeralda, you can always take a ferry-boat from the seaport town of Olbia, cross the sea, land back on the Italian Peninsula and have another spin!

SICILIA

It’s time now to challenge Scylla and Charybdis crossing the Strait of Messina. We begin in this way our visit to SICILIA, an island and an autonomous region of Italy. First we visit the city of MESSINA, where William Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing is set. Here we can listen to Addamanera (MySpace), a band that blends folk and psychedelia in an original way, then to the solo project of Antonino Rampulla (MySpace), to the young Moon Fire (MySpace) and to some post rock bands such as Denied Light (MySpace) and The Morning Light (MySpace). Not far from Messina lies the town of Milazzo home to Taberna Mylaensis (MySpace), a band that should be of interest to folk prog lovers and active since 1975.


Then we head south along the coast until we arrive at the small town of Santa Teresa di Riva, near the beautiful ancient town of Taormina, where we can listen to Conqueror (MySpace), an excellent contemporary prog band that in 2010 released a beautiful concept album, Madame Zelle, inspired by the adventurous life of a woman called Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, also known as Mata Hari.


Still heading south, we pass through the town of Acireale, almost at the foot of Mount Etna, where an interesting emerging band called Mechanical Butterfly (Facebook) come from. In another town near the volcano, Belpasso, we can listen to an excellent band called Malibran (MySpace). Malibran began life in 1987 and in 2010 they released a very good new album entitled Trasparenze.


Next stop is CATANIA, the birthplace of opera composer Vincenzo Bellini. This is where prog artists and bands as Franco Battiato (Official Website), the neo prog Edith (MySpace) and the emerging Bill In The Tea (MySpace) come from. Still heading south we pass through SIRACUSA, a city founded by the ancient Greeks and rich in history. Its most famous character is the inventor Archimedes. Here we can listen to a particular, theatrical “folk metal” band called Fiaba (MySpace).


Then, heading south west we reach RAGUSA, the ancient Hybla Heraea, where we can listen to Randone (MySpace), an excellent band that in 2006 released an amazing concept album inspired by the history of this city, Hybla Act I. Our next halt is in the nearby town of Modica, in the Hyblaean Mountains, where we find an interesting folk prog band formed in 1994, Mas-Nada (MySpace).


We head north west now directed to the heart of Sicily, to CALTANISSETTA, where we find an emerging prog band called Neamatis (MySpace) while in the nearby small town of Mazzarino we can listen to Viola Drunken (MySpace), a band that blends hard rock and psychedelia with Italian “canzone d’autore” and touches of seventies prog. Their second album was released in 2009 and it’s a conceptual one, Di fate e streghe (Of Fairies and Witches).


Then we set our course south west, to AGRIGENTO, best known for an archaeological site, the Valle dei Templi, which inspired an album by prog jazz band Perigeo, La Valle dei Templi, featuring a beautiful art cover. This area, in the imaginary city of Vigata, is the setting for the crime stories of Commissario Montalbano, a character created by the famous Italian writer Andrea Camilleri. This is where a dark and “catacombal” prog project called Ultima Missa (MySpace) come from.


We head north west now, to the seaport town of Marsala, a place usually associated with Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Expedition of the Thousand and best known for its Marsala wine. The town is home to two prog bands, Braindead and Il Castello delle Uova (MySpace), while in the nearby city of TRAPANI we find a prog project called TP Overdrive (MySpace) and Un Certo Jhò (Facebook). Then we head east and conclude our visit to Sicily in its capital, PALERMO. In the seventies the city gave us Era di Acquario while today here we can listen to two very interesting contemporary prog bands, Bright Horizon (Facebook) and Coral Caves (MySpace). Worthy of mention are also the Canterbury inspired Homunuculus Res (Facebook) and the young Indicative (MySpace).