Sunday, 3 January 2016

THE HOUSE IN THE WOOD

Quella Vecchia Locanda were one of the many prog bands formed in Rome in the early seventies. They released their eponymous debut album in 1972 for the Help label with a line-up featuring Giorgio Giorgi (vocals, flute), Massimo Roselli (piano, organ, mellotron, moog, vocals), Donald Lax (violin), Patrick Traina (drums, percussion), Romualdo Coletta (bass) and Raimondo Maria Cocco (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals). The musicians had a strong classical background and their music is a very interesting blend of classical influences with rock and folk. The beautiful art cover tries to describe the content of the album, a concept about difficult relationships and solitude...


The opener “Prologo” (Prologue) depicts in music and words a desperate, bleak landscape of solitude and alienation, an old, decrepit house in a dark wood where even worms refuse to live, where love for life gets hate in return. The very first notes are picked up from Johannes Brahms’ piano trio, op. n. 8, then the music develops in a shifting way before calming down... “These walls are heatless and dark / You can find here nothing but pain / Light, I’m looking for you / Life, I’m running after you...”.

Un villaggio, un’illusione” (A village, an illusion) describes a desperate, frenzied running through burnt grass aimlessly, led by the thirst for life... “There’s a village out there / It’s open to everyone but not to me / My destiny is dreadful / I need someone beside me...”. A sudden change in rhythm underlines the fear of refusal and the sensation that bullets shot from the village could penetrate your body and turn the green grass red like fire...


Realtà” (Reality) is a beautiful dreamy ballad where the dread illusion melts and hope rises... “I can breathe / I can see the light... Pain, hate and love do not make any sense to me now / I look at the sky that resembles me / A storm starts raging / Shouts, lightning, wind... They do not notice the people who are suffering and envy their honey... I’m dreaming of something that could give you a real peace... Who can understand this reality?”.

Immagini sfocate” (Unfocused images) is a short, hypnotic track where an aggressive, psychedelic guitar riff emerges from experimental sounds... “I’m dreaming, I think so / All is dark around me / Only mysterious forces can explain...”. The psychedelic dream fades on the next track, the complex “Il cieco” (The blind man) where the sounds of life bring us back to reality and the lyrics describe meeting a blind man who needs someone beside him and asks for help...


Dialogo” (Dialogue) is a beautiful, complex track where classical influences blend perfectly with rock and a touch of jazz in the musical dialogue between the scared hermit banned from society and the blind man. New positive feelings come to life...

Verso la locanda” (Towards the inn) is another excellent track, bittersweet and dreamy, where the violin leads the way to the house of joy... “A thousand shadows are running in my direction / Come, my friend / The way is long but I will lead you / That’s the inn...”.

The final track “Sogno, risveglio e...” (Dream, awake and...) opens with a delicate piano pattern, then violin and flute come in... “The roof crumbles / The walls fall down / In theatre of the world...”. Here the melancholic, dreamy mood and a reprise of the initial theme could suggest that what is crumbling is the dreadful house of solitude in the dark wood...


You can read an interview with some members of the band HERE