Tracks: Visioni, Il pentimento di Dio, Tutte le mie stelle, L’infinito, Un cieco, La Giostra, Strananoia, Amore Bianco, Morte di un Amore
More Info: www.nicolarandone.com & www.mortediunamore.it
Verdict (& Rating): Stylish Italian prog (80%)
Nicola Randone is an Italian artist performing progressive music. The songs are sung in his native language. Lyrics are an important part of getting the ‘big picture’ where progressive music is concerned. Thankfully, Nicola provided me with English translations of the lyrics. I won’t go into the details, except to say that they are thought provoking and far from being the ‘throw away bubble gum’ lyrics most rock fans will be used to.
The album starts with "Visioni" which is largely instrumental and being electronic-based reminds me of Tangerine Dream. The second track, "Il pentimento di Dio", couldn’t be more of a contrast. Although the expressive prog style vocals say something different, the basic music is reggae! I guess like many progressive acts, Nico feels the need to experiment just a little.
Describing Nicola’s vocals as being expressive, isn’t quite right. A better word might be theatrical. For example, on the gentle acoustic-based, "Tutte le mie stelle", the vocals seems to be storytelling, rather than merely filling in the space between the choruses.
On the next batch of tracks, "L’infinito", "Un Cieco" & "La Giostra", a more rock feel is on display. There are hints of Pink Floyd/Roger Waters, to all these tracks. Being a bit a rock-head, these are the tracks that I prefer.
Compared to the rather dark atmosphere to the previous tracks, "Strananoia", is a more uptempo lightweight affair. "Amore Bianco" is a tune that floats into the foreground. It is a slowish ballad with a suitably lush string sound to it.
In true progressive style, Nicola saves his ‘big epic’ for the last track on the CD. The title track, "Morte di un Amore" is a 15 minutes track. The track starts with some fluid guitar work. This track seems to have more bite to it than the others. At times the guitar work veers into Dream Theater territory. On a track of these epic proportions the language difference seems to drift into the background, as you soak up the music and the general atmosphere. About half way through, the sound drops to a barely audible pulse or heartbeat and you are lulled into the thought that the track is going to fade out on this. In fact it migrates into an eerie soundtrack before the album revisits the Tangerine Dream style electronic music of the opening track giving the whole album a sense of continuity.
Nicola has created an album that could almost be called a rock opera. The Italian language and Nicola’s expressive vocals make me think that just listening to the album won’t give you the full experience Nicola intended. A urge to see a video (with English subtitles, for me at least) is always there when I listen to the album. And I’m not sure that ‘rock’ opera is quite the correct term either. Yes, there are rock based tracks (and these Pink Floyd & Tangerine Dream sounding tracks worked best for me), the general theme of the album is much softer than the work ‘rock’ conveys.