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Rocco Zifarelli

Music Unites

Review by Gary Hill

I wasn't sure what to expect with this album. Well, it really blew me away. The blend of fusion, progressive rock, world music and more on this is creative, unusual and effective. I like this a lot. It varies quite a bit from track to track, but never fails to work well.

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Track by Track Review
Northern Line
The sound of a train coming into a station opens this. The cut works out into a jam that has some fusion in it, mixed with world music. The vocals are of the non-lyrical variety. In some ways this makes me think of Pat Metheny. The jazz elements get soaring and powerful as it continues. Later there is a spoken female voice that sounds like the voice of the station announcer. That is heard as a mellower, but no less intense jam ensues featuring some smoking hot guitar work. The whole thing explodes out into a seriously powerful jazz jam from there. That movement runs through for a time, reaching a peak and dropping off. Then a reprise of the opening musical concepts is heard. The train can be made out in the mix of this outro section. 
This has some cool electronic elements along with voice samples and more as it starts. It eventually shifts more toward an electronic fusion groove from there. There are more samples heard later, and the percussion on this track seems to be on overdrive for much of the number. There is a drop back to some tasty horn playing later along the run, though. As it rises back upward there is some killer keyboard work that creates a lot of drama and musical interest. The cut reaches a peak and then drops to some spacey zones to end, or more segue into the next number.
Le clan des Siciliens
Coming in mellower, sort of gliding out of the previous piece, I love the bass work as this gets underway. Some great expressive guitar work emerges later, but the bass continues to be a dominant force of the piece. It remains in the zone of mellower tunes, too. There are some more samples that show up here and there along this road. While this gets intense, it remains mellower than some of the other pieces throughout.
The Untouchables
Drumming brings this into being. The cut gets into some of the most crazed and hard rocking fusion of the whole set from there. There are definitely links to the types of sounds modern King Crimson makes. This is a powerhouse that's far more prog rock than it is fusion, but both sounds are present. This gets pretty crazed and freeform at times. There are samples about Al Capone.
Ballad for Mr. Kromback
A weird powering up effect brings this into being. From there an acoustic guitar driven melody emerges. The piece has plenty of fusion with hints of world music built into it. There are some non-lyrical voices, more like instrumentation in the mix, and the guitar really has a Latin Spanish vibe to it.
Essential Blues
Starting with a sample about parental discretion due to violent content, this works out to a killer funky jam from there. This has some serious funk built into it. It's a real powerhouse with some rather freeform elements. There are vocals that lean toward hip hop. There is some screaming hot guitar work, too. I love the bass work, as well. There are some crazed electronic elements at times. There is also a short drum workout.Then it works to crazed electronic weirdness in the mix. Freeform fusion jamming takes over further down the road in some seriously smoking hot ways.
With the Help of God, Shine
A mellower and more sedate musical texture drives this number. It feels more like a cross between moody prog and mellow fusion. This is a melodic and rather pretty excursion.
This has some cool electronic textures at its core. It's energized and tasty. I dig the rubbery bass work on it. It's a great combination of prog and fusion textures and really works well. There is a journey to world music at the end. There are vocals, but they are not in English or are not lyrical.
Aural (Reprise)
Acoustic guitar brings this in with a subtle magic. The cut remains an acoustic guitar solo throughout.
The Untouchables (Alternative Take)
This take of the previous cut seems to focus a bit more of the more rocking fusion sound, at least at first.
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