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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Guido Umberto Sacco

Music for Dodos

Review by Gary Hill

While much of this is classical in nature, it’s more a progressive rock set than pure classical. It’s all instrumental, but some of it is quite rocking. Other parts lean towards jazz. It’s all entertaining. It manages to keep from feeling repetitive or boring. Sometimes those two things are inevitable with instrumental discs, so I’m impressed.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Il quadrato magico (iridescenze)

At the very beginning I’m reminded a bit of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells.” The cut works out into a killer jam that combines jazz and progressive rock. It dramatic and has some powerful melodies. The piano drives it, but the other instruments don’t really take a back seat either. After a couple minutes it drops to just piano for a classical section. That seems to end and then it builds back out from there. Eventually other instruments join and we’re taken into another fast paced jam. This time I’m reminded just a little of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. It drops back to just piano for another interlude. Eventually we’re taken out into a full group treatment again, this one another potent jam.

Ricercare sulla cerchiatura del quadrato (omaggio a Conlon Nancarrow)
This piece is a strange, but very cool one. It starts tentatively on piano and grows out gradually from there. It’s a Rock In Opposition styled bit of weirdness that does get other keyboard elements added in at times, but not a full band treatment. It is very freeform and very strange. It is also very compelling.
Wildstyle (2nd Version)
Starting as a full band treatment, this one borders between accessible progressive rock, jazz and more. It’s a cool tune with a great groove. Still, it has a number of shifts and changes.
Turqueries: I.
World music, jazz and more converge on this. It has more powered up sections and mellower, more chamber group like movements. It’s a good piece of music. It’s also a nice change from the things we’ve heard thus far. There is a playful, more rock oriented section later, too.
Turqueries: II
Somewhere between jazz and classical, this feels like it could have been created in the 1930s.
Turqueries: III.
More of an energetic number, this has rock, jazz and classical built into it. It’s a dynamic piece with a lot of variations. It’s really playful in nature.
O Rei do Futebol (2nd Version)
World music, jazz and Rock In Opposition merge on this oddity. Parts of it are quite catchy and mainstream, while other parts are definitely in the chaos zone.
Suite delle maschere: I.
Classical strings create some wonderful melodies on this classical piece. There is a sad beauty to this.
Suite delle maschere: II.
Although this is created with similar instrumentation as the last piece, it’s more energetic and a little jarring. In some ways, it makes me think of some of the soundtrack music from the movie “Reanimator.”
Suite delle maschere: III
We’re back in gentle beauty and sadness territory with this classical piece. This emotionally powerful composition might be my favorite of the set.
Suite delle maschere: IV
Although this starts in mellow classical stylings, it works out to something closer to a bouncy jazz after a time.
Suite delle maschere: V.

Another classical piece, this is longer and more dynamic than a lot of the others. It has some excursions into weirder territory and some into more melodic zones.

Suite delle maschere: VI.
This classical piece feels rather uneasy. It has the texture of a soundtrack to a thriller movie.
Suite delle maschere: VII.
Very similar to the previous piece, this has a lot of fast paced melody.
Suite delle maschere: VIII
Intricate melodies dance around one another on this classical composition.
Inno all'aquilone (con la testa tra le nuvole)
Piano leads this one out, working between classical and soaring jazz styled melodies. Although this is strictly piano, we’re taken on quite a ride here.
Ordre XV from "Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin": II. Le dodo, ou l'amour au berçeau

This piano solo is very dynamic and quite pretty. It is intricate and delicate, too.


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