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Ballo Delle Castagne

Surpassing all other Kings

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual, but quite interesting album. It runs quite the gamut, but is always a bit left of center. There are songs that feel well rooted in Italian progressive rock. Other tunes seem to have more psychedelic and space rock vibes. Most of it is at least partly theatric, though. It’s also all quite good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Tema di Gilgamesh

After a short strange introduction, this powers out into a heavy, but dramatic and theatrical bit. It drops down from there to some electronic weirdness. The vocals come in over the top as this moves forward. Those vocals are distinctively Italian in style. The music is almost like an electronic operatic sound. Female vocals contrasting with the male ones bring a more mainstream (but barely) prog sound. This works out into space rock at the end.

Il Risveglio
Keyboards start this, but then it fires out into a jam that’s got a heavy psychedelic vibe mixed with more traditional progressive rock and some of that operatic Italian sound.  While far from run of the mill, this is much more mainstream than the opener. It’s also quirky and potent. There is some great almost surf styled guitar work built into it. Some space rock emerges later, too with some ethereal female vocals.
Il Viaggio

Jam band meets psychedelic, surf and a lot of other sounds in this groove oriented jam. It’s quite retro in texture and quite cool. This is more mainstream than either of the previous tunes, but still far from anything pop oriented. It has some cool female vocals and some great psychedelic jamming.

Rorate Coeli

Weird keyboards open this and hold it. It’s very much space rock. Then around a minute forty we get some processed spoken vocals over the top reinforcing that space rock element. Those quickly go away, though and leave us with more of the same waves of sound. That sound eventually takes it to the ending.

Konigin der Nacht

Weird horror movie type sounds serve as the backdrop for some oddly frantic piano playing. Then vocals are sort of spoken whispered over the top as the music shifts towards more dramatic and rather foreboding. This reminds me a lot of the band Halloween. This is dramatic, theatric and tastefully strange. It’s one part space rock, one part creepy and all cool.

Il Segreto

Powering in with a more mainstream progressive rock approach, there is still a rather dark and twisted angle to this. This is one of the harder rocking numbers here and has a real driving, pounding percussive sound. It breaks out to a different psychedelic meets mainstream prog section later that’s quite cool. In fact, that’s one of the most effective passages of the whole set.

Aquarius Age

This driving instrumental is one part psychedelic, one part mainstream progressive rock and one part space rock. It’s all tasty, though.

Fire in the Sky

Hard rocking sounds with a bit of a 1960s indie rock vibe, mixed with Hawkwind like space opens this. This is really one of the least dynamic jams of the set. That said, it’s not a bad thing. In a lot of ways this feels a lot like Hawkwind with a bit different air to it.

Eoni

Intricate and pretty melodies are heard here. In a lot of ways, as it works through several shifts and changes, it reminds me a lot of early Genesis.  The vocal based section later maintains some of the same vibe, while modifying it.

Apocriphon of Gilgamesh
The proggy, theatrical styled music of this tune is accompanied by quotes from George W. Bush. This is really a dramatic and powerful piece of music that works through some changes. Later in the piece we get a soundbite from a marine.
 
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