Italian prog-rockers, “Finisterre” hearken back to the days of Britain’s beloved “Canterbury” progressive rock scene amid the stylizations witnessed by their predecessors and fellow compatriots, “PFM,” “Area,” Banco and a few others of note. With this live presentation recorded during the infamous, “ProgDay Fest” in Chapel Hill, NC this quintet renders a series of lengthy and relatively excitable pieces consisting of whispery themes and intermittent doses of romanticism, melded with hard-edged soloing and crafty time signatures. From the onset of the opener titled “In Limine,” the musicians convey a cheery outlook via Sergio Grazia’s whimsical flute passages, and keyboardist Boris Valle’s jazzy riffs. - The group’s straight ahead rendition of “PFM’s “Altaloma” is all about wailing guitars and surging rhythms framed around mini-themes and ethereal musings.
The band’s notorious live act comes to fruition on this release; especially during the thirteen-minute piece “Phaedra.” Here, the artists’ pursue driving beats and ceremoniously executed motifs, whereas the soloists strut their stuff while being introduced to the crowd. Meanwhile, the ensemble quotes a few bars of King Crimson’s “In The Court Of The Crimson King,” and “21st Century Schizoid Man” atop a fusion of acutely organized twists and turns. However, one minor qualm might be in order, due to Valle’s excessive utilization of the mellotron for sustained chord voicings and textural scenery, although this writer does hold a special place in his heart for this rather endearing yet somewhat problematic instrument fabricated upon strips of magnetic tape. Otherwise, Storybook signifies a delectably appealing addition to the slightly asymmetrical contemporary progressive rock scene. Recommended.
World music pioneer Adam Rudolph and his groundbreaking Go: Organic Orchestra join forces with Brooklyn Raga Massive to create the monumental new album, Ragmala – A Garland of Ragas (Meta Records). Ragmala bridges generations, cultures and traditions in a deep-rooted, forward-looking sound born of 21st-century innovation and hybrid voices. Epic in scale and ambition, the project features 40 world-class musicians including Gnawa master musician Hassan Hakmoun, legendary drummer/percussionist Hamid Drake, forward-thinking cornetist Graham Haynes, and tradition-blurring flutist...
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