Legendary Italian progressive rock band Il Rovescio della Medaglia has a new album titled “Tribal domestic”. Il Rovescio della Medaglia returns to a more symphonic, well-defined progressive music. It features many influences from the “Contaminazione” era.
Guitar player Enzo Vita brought back Il Rovescio della Medaglia’s original vocalist Pino Ballarini.
Nuova Era, one of Italy’s essential progressive rock bands from the late 1980s and early 1990s is back with “Return to the Castle”. This time, Nuova Era sings in English for the first time. “Return to the Castle” contains 75 minutes of symphonic progressive rock,
“Return to the Castle” includes band leader and composer Walter Pini, along with vocalist and guitarist Alex Camalti.
The group’s debut album “Il passo del soldato” (1995) is considered Italian progressive rock classic.
Il Castello Di Atlante – ‘Arx Atlantis‘ (Aenima Recordings, 2016)
This is the new album by Il Castello Di Atlante, an Italian progressive rock band that has been around since 1974. “Arx Atlantis” brings back many of the original musicians.
Il Castello Di Atlante is deeply influenced by the early progressive rock bands form the UK and Italy. On “Arx Atlantis” the group opens the album with a hard rocking progressive piece titled ‘Non Ho Mai Imparato.’ However, the album heads in a different direction starting with track 2. ‘Il Vecchio Giovane’ begins with high energy drums, violin and synths. Four minutes into the piece, the sound gets more captivating with notable piano work, call and response vocals and, to top it off, a memorable great Genesis-style guitar solo and splendid violin, guitar and keyboards interplay. This second part sounds like the real deal, excellent rock progresivo italiano.
The progressive rock direction continues on track 3, ‘Ghino e L’Abate di Clignì’, featuring wonderful violin, keyboard and vocal work.
Track 4, ‘Il Tempo del Grande Onore’ shifts to folk-rock and pop hooks. The highlight here is a fine synth solo.
The grand piece is the final track, ‘Il Tesoro Ritrovato,’ an epic that contains all the tasty ingredients that we like about symphonic progressive rock: delectable guitar, synth and violin interplay; classic Italian prog vocals featuring two vocalists; piano and violin duet; and an epic conclusion.
The lineup includes Aldo Bergamini on guitar and vocals; Dino Fiore on bass; Andrea Bertino on violin; Davide Cristofoli on piano and keyboards; Massimo Di Lauro on violin; Paolo Ferrarotti on keyboards, vocals and drums on track 5; Mattia Garimanno on drums. Le Orme’s legendary Tony Pagliuca appears on keyboards on track 3.
Although Il Castello Di Atlante was formed in the mid-1970s, the group did not release its debut album until 1992.
The set will also be available in a 4-LP vinyl format.
1 River of Life
3 Photos of Ghosts
4 Old Rain
5 Il Banchetto
6 Mr 9 ‘Till 5
7 Promenade the Puzzle
8 21st Century Schizoid Man (Live)
9 La Carrozza Di Hans (Live At Reading Festival)
10 Mr 9 Till 5 (Live)
1 L’isola Di Niente
2 Is My Face On Straight
3 La Luna Nuova
4 Dolcissima Maria
5 Via Lumiere
6 Is My Face On Straight (Live)
7 Cleveland Keyboard Jam (Live)
1 The Mountain
2 Just Look Away
3 The World Became the World
4 Four Holes In the Ground
5 Is My Face On Straight
6 Have Your Cake and Beat It
7 Four Holes In the Ground (Live)
8 La Carrozza Di Hans (Live)
Italian multi-instrumentalist Marco Ragni recently released a superb new album titled “Land of Blue Echoes.” Ragni is deeply inspired by psychedelic and progressive rock. He talks to Progressive Rock Central about his music and career.
Angel Romero – What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Marco Ragni – The main element of my music is emotion. I always try to write and play what is in my heart… Then I love so much to create a landscape as a painter while describes your imagination in a painting. I’m an impressionist! I love to melting acoustic and electric elements. My music is passionate as me.
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
My main musical influences are: Pink Floyd, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, PFM, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Steven Wilson, Motorpsycho, David Crosby, The Beatles, Gentle Giant, Ozric Tentacles and all the progressive and psychedelic scene of sixties and seventies.. I listen to this music since I was a child.
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
My first recordings was funny and totally experimental!! I used a four analogical tracks with cassette… I’ve composed a lot of psychedelic songs. My evolution was both from the point of view of the recordings and the composition. I studied a lot, especially, how to compose a song, how to record a song and how to mixing a song. I tried to use my knowledge to get what I was trying musically. Sometimes I will have succeeded!
Unlike other Italian artists, you sing in English. Why English and not Italian?
Because I wanted to be international and ’cause I always loved English as the language used in music. Sometimes I write in my language for example as “Canto d’amore” of my last album “Land of Blue Echoes” but usually I love English. Maybe one day I’ll record an entire album in Italian language.. What do you think about it?…
From my point of view, Italy has one of the finest and most original progressive rock scenes in the world. Why do you think Italy produces so many first-class artists?
I don’t know really, but I think Italians have a great taste that comes from our “culture of beauty” and from the Opera. We have many great Conservatories (Schools of music) and people are very creative and crazy! I think it’s because we need to express in music all that is beautiful around us, but there’s also a magical way that I can’t understand…
What instruments do you use?
Mainly I use guitars (especially acoustic 6 and 12 strings) and keyboards. I love so much mellotron and bass and sometimes I play bouzouki (a typical Greek or Irish instrument, I use Greek), lap steel guitar and ukulele (baritone). Rarely play the flute..
What effects do you use?
I’m a slave of delays, reverbs and phasers! All from Boss. I love so much to use a “backward delay”, a must for all the lovers of psychedelic music of 60s. It sounds like the Beatles’ Tomorrow never knows” or Hendrix’s “1983” or “Axis bold as love” for example . I use this delay to create a backward guitar, especially when I play lead. It’s funny!
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
I would like to have David Gilmour, Steve Hackett, Steven Wilson or Jonathan Wilson… But I think would be cool to have any musician of the psychedelic period.. It’s a dream, my dream. I’m trying to have one in my next album.. By the way, an EP called “California” is coming out (early October) and I’m also working on a new album. A concept prog rock Opera with a single 50-minute suite.. See ya soon folks!!
In My Eyes (Crow Records, 2010), this first studio album was remastered with bonus tracks.
Live at the house of thunder, with the Velvet Cactus Band (Crow Records, 2011)
Progressive Rock Central talks with Italian composer and keyboard master Nik Comoglio, founder of Syndone, one of Europe’s finest progressive rock bands.
AR – What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
NC – The most important thing is the interaction between rock and classic. Syndone has always tried to merge this two components of music as best as it can, so that a real “Symphonic Rock Sound” could born. By my experience I’ve noticed that people likes more when this two genres are well defined in the album. So when there is “classical” it should be “very clean”; when there is “rock” it should be much dirty. This formula works better than a studied melt like we did in “La Bella è la Bestia”.
Then the other important element goes through the composition and the orchestration. Syndone is trying to rejuvenate and improve the progressive style using a clear defined musical score in which the “obbligato parts” are strictly the base for the whole sound. I think that, in Eros & Thanatos, the orchestra has been very important to drive our music towards a real symphonic rock album.
Last thing: the vintage keyboards! The sound of the old synthesizers recorded with new microphones and new recording techniques have helped us to create and define a huge new sound even without electric guitar.
AR – Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
NC – My musical influences come mainly from Jazz and Classical music. When I was a kid I always listened to my father’s old jazz LPs… then I progressed to the classical and the contemporary music discovering Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Mussorgsky, Debussy, Ravel, Webern, Berg, Berio and so on; from there I moved towards progressive and rock music. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Gentle Giant, PFM, ELP, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Queen… I grew up with them! They opened my mind to the melodic texture while jazz and classical drove me to learn the harmony and the unconventional music signatures.
AR – Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
NC – We must go back to 1989. We were in the middle of the “New Prog” revival. I had a phone call from Beppe Crovella of Arti & Mestieri who asked me if I had some progressive material to recording. After a brief meeting with him I put together some ideas which were good at that time. Then a band was needed so I asked for a drummer and a bass man in order to form a “live trio line up”. We went to Electromantic Studio and in around a week (after a quick rehearsal) we made the album “Spleen” (1990). After two years in 1992 we recorded “Inca” always released by Electromantic.
After “Inca” we disbanded for some personal reasons as it happens in the most of the split groups but, first of all, for several problems and big arguments connected with the production of that period.
My music evolution began as an autodidact when I was fifteen; then, years later, I progressed studying piano and composition with Maestro Azio Corghi. I loved to analyze Bach and Mozart’s masterpieces scores and the opera of the most composers of early 1900s as well. My first gig was at the age of seventeen in a rock cover band.
AR – Your most recent albums are all concept albums. How do you come up with these ideas?
NC – It’s Rik’s [Riccardo Ruggeri] job mainly… He creates the lyrics and the album’s concept theme. I generally give him the rough basic line of a tune (in midi files) during the preproduction, letting the music inspires him to a new song or an idea of a new song. So that’s it! He always writes the lyrics very close to the impressions that my music evokes in me; this is the way we’ve been working together from Melapesante… we never changed because it works!
AR – In my opinion, Italy has one of the finest and most original progressive rock scenes in the world. Why do you think Italy produces so many first-class artists?
That’s true! Italy have had a lot of great progressive bands, especially in the “age d’or” (around the mid of ‘70ies) in which to be a progster meant to be an innovator, to be among the vanguard. Anyway, in Italy there has always been a big classical musical background among musicians (especially inherent to melody) coming naturally from the opera, from melodrama and from popular music. I think that this ancient kind of melodic music have influenced through the years the most part of Italian musicians who late have dedicated themselves to jazz, pop and progressive music.
AR – What keyboards and other instruments do you use?
NC – I generally use vintage keyboards: Roland Juno 60, 106, Jx8P; Wurlitzer and Rhodes electric pianos; Hohner Clavinet D6; Hammond A100/M102; Minimoog model D (or the new Voyager); Oberheim Matrix 1000; and in last album (Eros & Thanatos) a new Dave Smith Prophet 8. I like the huge sound!
AR – And what effects do you use?
NC – I never let the sound of my keyboards clean. Generally I love make my sound and “to dirty” it with effects like phasers, distortion and fuzz pedals. Even the amplifiers are important for the final sound… I have an old Marshall JCM 800 combo and a vintage Fender Twin.
AR – If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
NC – Speaking for myself, more than a band to work with I would prefer a single artist to work with and to create something new… I always would love to work with David Byrne of the Talking Heads.
AR – Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
NC – Not for the moment… we just came out with a new album (that’s Eros & Thanatos) which took two years of work. Now we are looking to the promo gigs.
Italian progressive rock band Doracor has a new album titled Passioni Postmoderne di un Musicista Errante…
Doracor is the progressive symphonic rock project of keyboardist and composer Corrado Sardella. Passioni Postmoderne di un Musicista Errante… is his most ambitious project yet, a 2-CD set inspired by Robert Lanza’s theory of biocentrism, and in particular on the subject of memories and experiences coming from present and past lives.
Corrado invited numerous guests, including Red Canzian (I Pooh), Kostas Milonas (Paradox, Sunburst), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth, Mangala Vallis), Alessandro Corvaglia (La Maschera di Cera, Delirium), along with other musicians of the Italian and international scene.
The album artwork features steampunk futuristic imagery of a computer game called “Machinarium”.
Syndone – Eros & Thanatos (Fading Records/AltrOck Productions FAD-021, 2016)
Italian progressive symphonic rock band Syndone has been releasing consistently great albums. Their latest, Eros & Thanatos is a concept album about love and death.
Syndone’s sound continues to be characterized by the use of various types of keyboards, vibraphone, counterpoints, off time signatures, delightful Italian classical musical influences, and the intensely dramatic vocals of singer-songwriter Riccardo Ruggeri.
Keyboard maestro and composer Nik Comoglio uses pipe organ, distorted electronic keyboards, and masterful orchestrations, including magnificent mellotron. The band includes two additional keyboardists: Marta Caldara on mellotron and Gigi Rivetti on piano and electronic keyboards.
In addition to the classic progressive rock instrumentation, the sound on Eros & Thanatos is enriched by the use of a classical string ensemble, the Puntorec String Orchestra.
Two high profile guests appear on the album. Progressive rock legend Steve Hackett (Genesis) plays a knockout electric guitar solo on the epic last song, “Sotto un cielo di fuoco.” The other guest is Ray Thomas (Moody Blues) who plays flute on “L’urlo nelle ossa.”
The lineup on Eros & Thanatos includes Nick Comoglio on keyboards, pipe organ and orchestration; Riccardo Ruggeri on lead and backing vocals, vocoder, 12 string acoustic guitar; Marta Caldara on vibraphone, piano and mellotrón; Gigi Rivetti on piano and keyboards; Maurino Dellacqua on bass and Taurus bass; and Martino Malacrida on drums and percussion.
Special Guests: Steve Hackett (Genesis) on electric guitar and Ray Thomas (The Moody Blues) on flute.
Additional musicians: Tony De Gruttola on acoustic guitars and Pino Russo on classical guitar and oud.
Puntorec String Orchestra conducted by Fabio Gurian.
Eros & Thanatos is yet another beautifully-crafted masterwork by Italian progressive rock band Syndone.
Italian symphonic progressive rock band Barock Project announced today that, after ten years in the band, vocalist Luca Pancaldi will be leaving the band. The departure comes right after the newly released double live-album release ‘Vivo‘.