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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Slivovitz

Hubris

Review by Gary Hill

Combining world music with fusion, RIO and other elements, this is a cool disc. If I had a complaint it’s that while they do change things up the album seems to be group in an odd way. The songs that are more cohesive and accessible are all at the end with the more experimental ones coming earlier. That makes the disc seem a lot more monolithic than it is. Had they moved the songs around a little this would be a stronger disc. All that said, though, it’s still quite potent. It should be noted that not all the tracks have vocals, but many do and all are in the group’s native Italian.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Zorn a Surriento
Bass starts this and weaves some cool melodic lines before any other instruments join. Percussion enters to augment the song as the bass continues to create some cool music. Then horns and the female voice join bringing world music elements to the proceedings. A weird burst of sound breaks things up in an interesting way. Then they move out into a killer jazz based instrumental section from there. Horn screams over the top as the bass drives it in amazing ways for a while. It drops back to the earlier world based section to continue from there. That takes it to a drop back bit to end it.
Caldo Bagno
A “shishting” voice and percussion starts this off. Then a tribal sounding choir of voices joins as this continues in a very definite jungle tribal type of arrangement. World music is all over this swaying beast. We get a real African inspired treatment here – vocals and all. They bring in prog rock music from there, though and the cut is reborn in that image – feeling a bit like Renaissance. Then it shifts more towards jazz, but basically all these elements are merged into one tapestry. We get a return to the full on tribal later, but with some jazz chordings over the top. From there it explodes out into jam band type fervor with some killer guitar soloing over the top. As saxophone solos later the track becomes more jazzy, but there is perhaps some taste of Pink Floyd in the midst even then. As this continues we get a section of scat singing.
Mangiare
Percussion begins the track and then a funky bass enters with lots of popping. As guitar joins it’s noisy and we launch from there in a RIO styled jazz fusion journey. As it gets a bit metallic later there is a spoken vocal line and the whole thing resembles Frank Zappa quite a bit to me. This sort of Zappa-like sound is merged with the RIO elements that preceded it as the track continues. Then it drops way down for a mellow treatment. They take us through a few alterations and adaptations as they carry forward. It drops way down for the closing segment. 
Errore di Parallasse
The melody (but not the instrumentation) that opens this somehow reminds me a lot of Yes. The cut is based on a world music meets jazz sort of instrumental arrangement. This is one of the more cohesive numbers on show. It’s also one of the most instantly accessible. Still, it’s a highlight of the set, too. That said, this does get some alteration and reinvention. There’s a killer jam band meets fusion kind of section mid number. 
Né Carne
The motif that opens this is arguably one of the most purely progressive rock ones on show here. The jazz stylings join very shortly afterwards, though – and we’re off on another cool ride. At times I’m reminded of the jazzier end of King Crimson on this composition. 
Né Pesce
This seems to come straight out of the other one, but is a mellow, fairly ambient, musical journey. After a short time, though, percussion begins to show off. After a time this explodes out into a soaring, melodic jazz based journey that’s awesome. The remainder of the cut seems to work by doing variations on this particular theme – dropping it down and times and then bringing it up again at other points. 
Dammi un Besh O
World music merged with jazz opens this and the cut is essentially working variants on that particular them. There are some healthy dosages of classical music in the midst of this tasty beast and some vocals, as well. There is also a bit of flamenco woven in at points. It gets pretty fiery here and there, too, but overall seems very organic and cohesive. 
CO2
The overall concept of world music mixed with prog and jazz hasn’t changed all that much here, but yet, this might be my favorite track on the set. It’s just got some great musical themes driving it and seems to be one of the most effective numbers of the whole set. It’s a great piece of music. Some of the saxophone work here is among the best on the CD. 
Sono Tranquillo Eppure Spesso Strillo
Bring the funk! This one starts off very funky and as they bring the alterations and drama it is very much like something you might hear from Frank Zappa. There seems also to be some more pure funk at points on this. It’s another killer tune – and a definite change. We get male vocals on this in addition to the female ones we’ve heard at other places in the album. 
Canguri in 5
Another melodic, and less crazed number, this is a good instrumental. It continues the group’s favorite approach of combining world music with jazz in fine fashion. 
Tilde
More funk opens this instrumental and they take us on another killer jazz journey from there. This is another that’s more accessible and cohesive. There’s still a good deal of world music in the midst here. This one incorporates some jam band styled stuff at times, too. It gets pretty frenzied right at the end. 
Sig. M Rapito del Vento
This one’s basically a two parter – with a space in between the two jam. The music here’s not really all that different from the last cut. That said, when it’s this good you can live with a little repetition.
 
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