Thursday, 15 October 2015

AND YET...

Fonetica began life in Mestre in 2011 on the initiative of composer and lyricist Fabio Bello who gathered around him a bunch of musicians who shared his passion for music and committed lyrics linked to the tradition of Italian canzone d'autore. After a good live activity on the local scene and some personnel changes, in 2014 Fonetica self-released a debut album entitled Eppure with a line up featuring along with Fabio Bello (guitar, harmonica, vocals) also Claudio Martinolli (guitar), Douglas D'Este (drums, percussion), Massimiliano Cadamuro (bass, flute, vocals), Riccardo Gallucci (keyboards, vocals) and Silvia Siega (vocals). Some guests helped the band during the recording sessions: Riccardo Scivales (keyboards), Alessandro "Unfolk" Monti (mandolin), Giorgio Cordini (bouzouki), David Boato (trumpet), Giannino Fassetta (bandoneon) and Giuliano Perin (vibraphone, piano) added some nice touches of musical colours to the overall sound and the final result is a good collection of passionate songs and ballads that are worth listening to, even if they are more in the vein of pop rock bands such as I Nomadi than to Premiata Forneria Marconi or Le Orme...


The album opens with three ballads full of positive energy. "Santa pace" (Holy Peace) starts softly, with a delicate sound of flute in the forefront, then the rhythm rises. It's a song against war, inspired by ideals of peace and love... Then "La strada del sole" (Sun Road) invites you to leave behind boredom, old habits and certainties to join the men and women who fight for a change on the streets of the world. Next comes "La legge del branco" (The law of the pack), a song against conformism, consumerism, empty fashions and trivial TV shows...


On "La scuola è morta" (School is dead) the rhythm slackens. It's a piece against the current state of the public education in Italy that depicts crumbling schools and the agony of a system that seems to be going downhill in general disinterest. Every now and again it reminds me of Eugenio Finardi but in my opinion this track is too "pedagogical" and not particularly inspired. The following "La nuova guerra" (New war) is better. It's an antimilitarist song with a dark, threatening atmosphere inspired by a book by Bertolt Brecht, Kriegsfibel (War Primer).

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"Inno (canzone politica)" (Anthem - Political song) is a reflective piece about the positive values that can be expressed through good politics. Politics is a word that too often is associated only with power, dirty businesses and corruption but here it means freedom, imagination, a white page where you can write down your ideas for a better society, a white canvas where you can paint a better world giving your contribute to the common welfare, overcoming the differences between left and right... The following "Le parole" (The words) is a nice melodic piece veined of light jazzy touches painted by the trumpet of the guest David Boato featuring lyrics about the need to communicate and the thaumaturgic power of words. It leads to the beautiful, dreamy instrumental "Pianeta blu" (Blue Planet)...

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"Aspettare" (Waiting) is a light, melodic song of hope that leads to "Posto in affitto" (Rented place), a piece dedicated to Trieste that tells of a serene period that the protagonist spent in that city. "Pioggia pioggia" (Rain rain) features Latin American flavours and celebrates the love for life through the metaphor of rain pouring down allowing mother nature to blossom. The closer "Eppure" (And yet) is based upon a poem by Luisa Moleri that evokes apocalyptic sceneries of war and nevertheless gives room to hope because peace is what really do want and need the humankind...

On the whole, I enjoyed this album, even if Fonetica's music is not particularly challenging or complex and I know that prog lovers could be a bit disappointed. And yet... Have a try!

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Monday, 12 October 2015

NEO-CLASSICAL ARMONIA

Armonite began life in Pavia in 1996 and in 1999 released an interesting debut album entitled Inuit on the independent label Mellow Records. After a long hiatus, in 2014 the band came back to life on the initiative of Paolo Fosso (keyboards) and Jacopo Bigi (electric violin), two classical trained musicians in love with rock and modern audio-visual arts. For the recording sessions of their new album, The Sun Is New Each Day, thanks to the new technologies who allow working via internet, the line up was temporarily completed with the contribute of British bassist Colin Edwin (from Porcupine Tree) and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt while the guest Marcello Rosa played cello on two tracks. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Paul Reeve in Cornwall, mastered by Geoff Pesche at the Abbey Road Studios in London and finally digitally self-released in 2015 on bandcamp with a nice art work by Cyril Rolando a.k.a. AquaSixio.


The album features nine relatively short instrumental tracks where violin and keyboards perfectly interact with each other weaving charming melodic lines backed by the tight rhythm section. The classical influences are strong but always mixed with gusto and extravaganza, there are no long suites and although the pieces are not overtly complex they are never banal and the music flows away without weak moments. According to the band, some of the pieces were conceived as short soundtracks and some videos were shot to complete in some way the music. It's the case of the nice opener "Suitcase War", suspended between classical tradition and modernity, where you can see in the video the band performing in a virtual, empty opera theatre with the help of a remote drummer...


The following "Connect Four" blends touches of electronica, a bit of folk and brushes of classical taste and leads to the frenzied "G as in Gears" that features a short narrative vocal part evoking a commuter's routine, then comes "Sandstorm" that conjures up Oriental sceneries and ethnic flavours... The overall sound is well refined and the songwriting brilliant and full of nuances, although every now and again light reminiscences of albums such as Jet Leg by Premiata Forneria Marconi or Florian by Le Orme could come to mind the band sound modern and not stuck in the past at all. 


The disquieting "Slippery Slope", the dreamy "Satellites", the hectic "Die Grauen Herren", the delicate, romantic "Le temps qui fait ta rose" and the conclusive, video-game inspired "Insert Coin" complete a coherent and cohesive set that in my opinion is really worth listening to.

The aim of the band is to play their music live as much as possible, that's why you can legally download the complete album for free: the musicians just hope that you will enjoy the music and spread the word out to help them to find gigs around the world, so... Well, have a try and judge by yourselves!

You can listen to the complete album HERE

More info: