Morte di un Amore is the debut solo album by Italian musician Nicola Randone. Italian musicians are well known for their progressive output and some are more innovative than others. Morte di un Amore (a Love’s Death) is something quite different again. The best way I can describe the style is to call it ‘progressive opera’ but even that is not entirely accurate. However, Nicola’s strong vocals are definitely operatic/theatrical in nature and feature prominently in the mix. I suspect he is a fan of Pink Floyd purely because I detect a number of sounds here and there that are similar to those used by Floyd for their Wish You Were Here and Animals albums. Keyboards (Giovanni Bulbo– also plays bass) vary from general symphonic orchestration to piano to typical Wakemanesque sounds and a lot in between. Electric guitar (Enrico Boncoraglio) sounds vary enormously too including a touch of Nick May’s Enid style. Nicola Randone also plays guitars, which I guess may include some of the electric guitar work as well as the acoustic elements. Riccardo Cascone (drums, percussion) holds the whole thing together with ease and contributes admirably to the sound effect elements on the album.

But while the overall picture is ‘progressive’, other styles are cleverly woven in such as reggae, soft and hard rock, and even a bit of pop.

The theme for the album, conceptually speaking, is as stated by the title ‘A Love’s Death’ and each track seems to cover a different aspect or story. Although the lyrics are printed in the CD booklet in Italian an English translation is provided on Nicola’s website (link at foot of page – once in, click just below the album cover). From the lyrics I can see that there is a lot of depth of feeling from anger to sorrow and perhaps regret and how one’s view of love can alter depending on situations and past experience. Now and then, wartime recordings of speeches are used along with the searching of a radio waveband that is perhaps overdone these days but it does add a hint of spookiness and doom. Often vocalists sing in English, but this is often a mistake where English is clearly not there mother tongue. Nicola has wisely chosen to sing in Italian that in no way detracts from the non-Italian speaking listener (such as me). On the contrary, it can be quite enjoyable following the printed Italian lyrics as they are sung.

The opening bars of La Giostra (The Roundabout) sound vaguely familiar to me – maybe I’m thinking of Home’s The Alchemist? The last track which happens to be the title track ends with a reflective eerie heartbeat and thunder leading to a ghostly melody and vocal played backwards – is there a message in there?

To appreciate this album it should be listened to in its entirety, as I am sure it is meant to be. The compositions are more complex than they initially seem and the changing textures and styles are very interesting.

Un lavoro di merito artistico, Nicola! (Which I hope means ‘a work of artistic merit, Nicola!)

Jem Jedrzejewski