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| Sithonia (Italy) - 1992 - "Spettacolo Annulato" ******!
(Mellow / MALS)

Насколько мне известно, у группы Sithonia всего три альбома, и "Spettacolo Annulato" второй из них. Музыкальная и лирическая составляющие "Spettacolo Annulato" тесно связаны между собой. Другими словами, это концептуальный альбом. Музыка предстает в стиле классического симфонического Арт Рока вдохновленного классикой, а это означает что все здесь предельно структурировано, гармонично и основано на сложившихся мелодических принципах, сформированных в классической музыке еще во времена Ренессанса. Для примера, похожее строение лежит в основе музыки Genesis в альбоме "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", а так же в альбоме "Relayer" группы Yes, где музыка футуристична, но по характеру является классической. Хотя некая особая театрально драматическая атмосфера и доминирует на всех четырех эпических трэках альбома, музыканты группы Sithonia нашли специфический и, безусловно, свой собственный подход к аранжировкам, пойдя особым путем в их создании, в отличие от многих современных групп, работающих в жанре Арт Рока. Чередование мягких и мощных, резко выраженных, и просто тяжелых аранжировок с частыми переменами темпа и настроения, типичны для всех четырех песен, а так же инструментальной композиции завершающей этот альбом. Одна из двух оставшихся инструментальных - Giorno per Giorno - очень короткая и состоит исключительно из проигрышей акустической гитары. Ее трудно воспринимать как отдельный трэк, она больше походит на вступление к следующей песне. Инструментальная Spettacolo Annulato (3) - единственный трэк альбома, где вовсе отсутствуют тяжелые элементы. Более того, большая часть состоит из сочетаний между партиями различных клавишных инструментов, включая соло, напоминающее виброфон. Поет Марко Джиованнини в основном один, но когда глава группы, Паоло Наннетти, присоединяется к нему, этот дуэт звучит неописуемо красиво. И, наконец, я бы хотел обратить внимание на то, что проигрыши как акустической гитары присутствуют на большинстве трэков, Il Racconto великолепно сочетает в себе соло акустической и электрогитары. Альбом "Spettacolo Annulato" группы Sithonia успешно проходит испытание времени. Прошло уже более десяти лет с тех пор как он увидел свет, а звучит он все по-прежнему свежо и интересно. Если вы не знакомы с Sithonia, не упустите случай сделать это сейчас.


(traduzione)

Per quel che so, i Sithonia hanno fatto in tutto tre album e “Spettacolo annullato” e’ il secondo. La composizione musicale e lirica di “Spettaccolo annullato” sono strettamente legate fra loro. In altre parole, questo e’ un album concettuale. La musica si presenta nello stile dell’Art Rock classico sinfonico che si ispira alla classica, e questo significa  che qui tutto e’ strutturato al massimo, armonico e basato nella composizione ai principi delle melodie formatisi nella musica classica ancora ai tempi del Rinascimento. Ad esempio, una struttura simile sta alla base della musica dei Genesis dell’album “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", nonché’ alla base dell’album “Relayer” degli Yes dove la musica e’ futurista ma caratterialmente e’ classica. Sebbene una tale particolare atmosfera drammatica domini in tutte e quattro le epiche track dell’album, i musicisti del gruppo Sithonia hanno trovato una loro specificità’,e indubbiamente un proprio modo (approccio) agli arrangiamenti avviandosi per un particolare percorso per la loro creazione a differenza di molti gruppi contemporanei che operano nel settore dell’Art Rock. L’avvicendamento degli arrangiamenti dolci e forti, considerevolmente marcati ma semplicemente difficili, con frequenti cambi di tempo ed umore, sono tipici per tutti e quattro i pezzi e anche per la composizione strumentale che conclude questo album. Uno dei due rimanenti pezzi strumentali – Giorno per giorno- e’ molto corto ed e’ eseguito esclusivamente da una chitarra acustica. E’ difficile considerare  questo un pezzo isolato, sembra di piu’ assomigliare ad un’introduzione del pezzo seguente. 

La strumentale “Spettacolo annullato” (3) e’ l’unico pezzo dell’album dove mancano del tutto elementi pesanti . Per di piu’ la maggior parte del pezzo consiste in combinazioni tra parti di diversi suoni di tastiere,incluso l’assolo, che ricorda un vibrafono.

Canta Marco Giovannini, principalmente da solo, ma quando il leader del gruppo,Paolo Nannetti, si unisce a lui, questo duetto diventa indescrivibilmente bello. Ed infine vorrei porre l’attenzione su come l’esecuzione della chitarra acustica accompagna la maggioranza dei pezzi. Il Racconto splendidamente combina in se’ l’assolo della chitarra acustica e dell’elettrica.

L’album “Spettacolo Annullato” del gruppo Sithonia  passa con successo la prova del tempo. Sono già passati più  di dieci anni da quando ha visto la luce, ma suona tutto, come allora, con freschezza ed interessante.

Se non avete ancora fatto conoscenza con i Sithonia, non lasciatevi scappare l’occasione di farlo adesso.

Hotel Brun

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

The previous album from Sinthonia was an excellent work; very much reminiscent of the seventies.

This one seems to be more basic if I may say so. At least this is the feeling I have while I listen to the first opening songs. Things get better with Comprate Le Stelle and the beautiful work from Sauro Musi on the electric guitar.

Most songs have a simple structure and if it wouldn't for some more intricate breaks (Ombra Nella Nebbia) it could almost be catalogued as Italian rock. Music is pleasant like during the short and jazzy Ruscelli but I am still expecting the brilliance of Confine which was released three years prior this last one.

Fortunately, there is one epic which kind of saves the day. The title track is more in line with what I was expecting. Melody at its best, emotion evenly as high, persuasive vocals and a definite seventies sound (ELP and Genesis). This is by far my favourite piece even if some déjà vu feeling can be noticed. It doesn't bother me too much and the pleasure is almost the same throughout.

Three stars for this album which could have been better if the quality of the epic would have been extended to the shorter songs.

 

Confine

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

Holy s**t!

If there is one impressive opening number, I bet you that Alba Di Spagna is one of them. Although it starts as a peaceful and medieval madrigal, it develops into such a BRILLIANT symphonic and bombastic part!

Such a power leaves me breathless: this track is equal to the great and fine moments from most of the great bands we all love. The closest one that comes to my mind in terms of grandeur here is ELP, no doubt.

Some moving vocals at last during the upbeat Porto d'Inghilterra are such a nice contribution to a thrilling song. The majesty of the genre is so genuine, so induced. The contrast of these highly melodic vocals is huge when compared to the powerful keyboards sections. It is another highlight of this album. The symphonic and wild combination is so exceptional. Did I say Genesis?

The most astonishing with this band is that you can listen to the most pastoral effects for a couple of minutes, and all of sudden be confronted to a huge and wild part. Such a contradiction exists during the fabulous Un Altro Momento. Indeed, another great moment.

This album is of course very much early Genesis oriented. Fluting, soft passages are here to remind us the good old days. And I have to say that this exercise is not at all disturbing. It is of course not the most highly creative Italian prog album but the whole is finely crafted and should please the fans of this lovely genre (to which I fully belong if you would have any doubt).

I have some other feeling when such a pop-rock song as Ultimo a Stare in Porta: a straight press next song during the first part and then, all of the sudden, it features a great sax section which is only an introduction to a fantastic and chaotic instrumental beauty. Such a dual song indeed!

Sinthonia is also playing with my nerves during the almost heavy Confine. A wonderful closing number which highlights significantly the wonderful character of their music. At times easily accessible, at times complex and harder.

I am quite charmed with this album which is IMHHO their best so far. Four stars. This band should need a bit more exposure on PA. Wake up guys, there are a lot more than PFM, Le Orme and Banco available!

 

Spettacolo Annullato

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

This second album of the band is a definite improvement in comparison with their debut. The pop-rock songs are non-existing any longer and this album has a dramatically more symphonic approach.

The twenty-two minutes long opening epic "La Recita del Silenzio" holds all the bits and bites that you can expect of such a track: crafted vocal harmonies and most of all lots of keyboards. There is an undeniable ELP influence while the most bombastic sequences are played, but I would say that they are quite well merged in the whole.

This lengthy piece is mostly a peaceful track which is very enjoyable throughout. But it lacks of grandeur to make it memorable.

I prefer "Pannolino" and especially the drumming work which is excellent: Orio Cenacchi playing off- beat all the time is the highlight but the fine and jazzy guitar from Roberto Magni is not shy either. I would have expected more from the instrumental title track but "Spettacolo Annulato" is just a repetitive and childish track which holds no emotion; melody is also weak.

In this respect, I could not be more charmed than with "Il Canto Notturno Della Stella" which brings us into the finest Italian prog territories: this means passionate vocals, fine instrumentation and some good musical contrasts (soft versus more powerful). It is my favourite song from the album.

The upbeat closing track is also another fine part from this album. It holds heavier passages and sounds almost neo-prog (especially during the synths section). This track is very well distributed between melodic (guitar) and bombastic music.

Seven out of ten for this good album.


 

Lungo il sentiero di pietra

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

This debut album form "Sithonia" opens on a heavier than usual song for this lovely genre but after some shaky moments, one gets back to the roots of a beautiful Italian symphony: complex keyboards play, strong vocals and a rather dynamic band. The music is very well accomplished and rather complex. It is quite eclectic (in the PA sense) to be honest and somewhat disturbing for the usual Italian prog fan that I am. So is the good "Achil Island" opener.

The story is of course different while one listens to the pastoral and early Genesis "Il Foglio Bianco". Sweet flute are the highlight of this gentle song. Some might call this an easy listening song, but it holds such a fine mood ...

For those who are thrilled by this band and their rather confidential debut, I would tell that there are some weak numbers as well. Some pop-rock oriented songs that don't necessarily have their place here ("Non Cercarli").

Vocals which are usually a strong point for most Italian bands, are not always top notch here. But this is due to the fact that this role is taken by more than one singer. If they are convincing during the tranquil "Confusi In Mezzo Ai Simboli", I can't say the same about the weak "Pubblicità".

"Confusi…" also features the best instrumental part of this album and it should be considered as the highlight. It is a wonderful tune for early "Genesis" lovers (FYI, I might be considered as one of those).

The majestic beauty of "Il Sogno…" adds another great piece of work to this album. Each aspect of the genre is almost featured: passionate vocals, intricate drumming (to be noticed during the second part) and pleasant keys. This is definitely another very good song here.

The most Italian song form this debut is probably "Folla di Passaggio". Sweet fluting, fine acoustic guitar: I guess that you know the combination. If ever "Trespass" is of your liking, this song might be considered as a jewel. But the whole album is a bit too much heading in this direction.

"Lungo…" is a good album. Three stars is the definition of such a work, right?


 

Spettacolo Annullato

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mandrakeroot

My review is produced using this release: Mellow Records MMP 115

Rating: 4,5/10

I don't know if "Spettacolo Annullato" between 100 years it will be remembered. "Spettacolo Annullato" is one of the albums that they make revive the Italian Prog. But like all the transition albums isn't very memorable. Because, relly, isn't bad but, for me, is only a transitional album between the nothing and the New Wave Of Italian Prog. The Prog is present and in heavy parts, but the music don't has the just edge. In fact you suffice to listen to the suite "La Recita Del Silenzio" for understand what I say. 50 mins for this album are too and in fact weigh down the listening. Also because taken one to one the songs have good or excellent quality. In fact the songs carry a surge of fresh air and with immense merit. But they do not work to have to all together.It is strange but truth... In every case the songs that I prefer are: "Pannolino", "Spettacolo Annullato pt.2" and "Il Racconto Di Una Sosta Imprevista" only that they play like a modern and out of phase version of Gentle Giant.

If you love the New way of Prog (specially Italian) is a good band. Vice versa I listener better albums and bands.

 

Confine

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by profil01

"Confine" was my first contact with Sithonia. What most impressed me it is the romantic side, the nice melodies and the rare but sharp incursions of guitar. Whatever give contrast to if they compare them with Finisterre. "Confine" is in my view classic of this group, the cd which it is necessary to obtain. I recommend it hard to all fans of Italian prog.
 

Hotel Brun

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by geezer

It looks like this was to be the farewell album of this Italian group. Sithonia plays traditional Italian symphonic prog that sounds very sophisticated. Their music might be a little simpler than most of the other acknowledged new Italian groups yet they still avoid all commercialisms. They remind me of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and La Locanda delle Fate with perhaps an even more romantic touch. A band that is definitely in the better half of the 90’s Italian groups. “Hotel Brun” is a great example of this. Their line-up is the usual prog line-up except that they have dual keyboards (mini moog, hammond, synthesizers). There are also some nice violin leads, which are credited to a non-band member Paolo Zuntini. . They had a very good vocalist in Marco Giovannini. Most of the tracks in this album are written by the keyboardist Paolo Nannetti and a non-band member Roberto Magni (he was the guitarist in earlier albums).

The highlight track is without a doubt the over 23-minute title track “Hotel Brun”. This is also the most progressive track. Here the band delivers especially some really beautiful runs with the dual keyboards. My other favourite track is “Ombra Nella Nebbia” written by the bassist Valerio Roda. A very nice track this one indeed.

Conclusion: Very good 90’s Italian progressive that should please fans of the Italian sound.

 

Spettacolo Annullato

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by lor68
Prog Reviewer

These guys participated a couple of "progressive gigs-festivals" near Como Lake in the early nineties, organized by my first ensemble of Lethe, and I know that their background- varying from the atmosphere concerning the Italian Pop Progressive scene, to the early albums by Steve Hackett (Do you remember his album "Voyage to the Accolyte"?!?)-has been always affected by this kind of stuff!! The production is a bit weak and sounds dated (except on their digital synths), nevertheless their use of two keyboards,accompanying the leading guitar,is remarkable... the harmonic solutions performed by the guitarist are the main part of their suites...of course it is not a complete emulation of Steve Hackett, but for sure their sound is resembling here his early albums!!Therefore you don't find bombastic solos, but the wall of sound is compact and the output is convincing many more listeners, as long as They keep on composing melodic albums with a symphonic approach at least (for sure the band Locanda delle Fate has been always another important music reference for them!)

Cause of the features above, I should prefer to give a "2 stars and an half" rating, as the melodic and rather interesting music lines by this ensemble from Bologna (Italy) sometimes are not completely developed...but it never minds, you can check this stuff out at least!!

 

Hotel Brun

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

For their fourth and last studio effort, Hotel Brun, Sauro Musi has replaced Roberto Magni on the guitarist's position, but things are "business as usual"; that is, the tracks show all the virtues of Italian symphonic tradition, assimilated by Sithonia's ability to write catchy songs and arrange them with finesse and distinction. The initial five tracks, which display a sense of romanticism more intense and direct than on their previous recordings, are conceptually linked under the concept 'Canzoni Crepuscolari': an appropiate title, since the sense of emotion displayed in these tracks feels actually quite crepuscular, like ballads or semi-ballads sung in a distant piano bar well past midnight. There's no way one can appreciate really these songs out of this global context, but certainly the most notable compositional ideas are condensed in tracks 1 and 3. The first two tracks bear a similar structure, which is based on a tota lrespect for the main motif and regard any other musical idea as a gently harmonized ornament within a concise architecture. Tracks 3 and 4 are the most complex in this 'Canzoni Crepuscolari' series: 'Comprate le Stelle' includes a soft yet effective jazzy vibe in its rhythm section, as well as subtly intrincate melodic shifts, while 'Ombra nella Nebbia' portrays a pleasant eerie ambience right from the lead violin intro. These tracks could and should have benefited from a longer expansion so their full potential be conveniently explored. Anyway, the creators themselves are the ones to ultimately decide what is and what is not convenient, so I guess I'll have to stop digressing. Track 5 is a beautiful ballad, not too long, but powerful enough musically to motivate emotion in the listener's heart: its magic comes from its jazzy vibe (a magic that would have been enhanced with a longer arrangement). Next, we find the namesake suite: a well-arranged series of well-written distinct songs, which keep the flame of evocative romaticism that the first five songs had effectively lightd on. After this one, the tender ballad in waltz tempo entitled 'Risvegli' serves as a beautiful closing (for both the album and Sithonia's musical history): the violin solo - played by a guest - really makes the song's finale soar into the mysterious side of the human heart. Generally speaking, Sithonia's career has proved to be one of the most interesting in the contemporary Italian progressive scene, with their first three studio works moving towards a more open sense of passion and refined extravagance, while this last one sets an increasing tendecy towards a calmer trend.
 

Spettacolo Annullato

Sithonia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

'Spettacolo Annulato' was my first experience with Sithonia, and I still remember how fairly impressed I was (and still am) with this enormous amount of melodic creativity, clever ues of textures and counterpoints, emotional richness, and lots of energy in the performances. Sithonia's ensamble incarnates the inheritance of 76-79 era BMS, Corte dei Miracoli, Locanda delle Fate, and some classic Genesis, too, making a modernized approach the overall progressive result of these combined influences. The presence of keybiards is somehow predominant, but not overwhelming - beside some occasional soloing, the elaboration of symphonic layers and constant countermelodies seems to be the general rule for the use of keyboards in this band, leaving most of the lead parts to guitarrist extraordinaire Magni, a player who can travel easily from PFM's Mussida to Hackett to some delirious Fripp, depending on the demands of the pertinent musical motive. The rhythm section is also oustanding, showing a great technique and capability to sustain the sonic energy displayed by their fellow instrumentalists. Last but not least, Giovaninni uses his vocal range with a genine sensibility, something like Corte dei Miracoli's vocalist, but more virile and less melodramatic. The opening suite 'La Recita del Silenzio' is a gem in itself, and apparently the nucleus of this album, since a couple of other tracks revisit some of its motives. 'Merce!' is the most peculiar section, since it bears a definite humour perfectly blended in a garden party-meets-circus ambience (vocal impersonations included) - this section can be loosely described as a hybrid of Genesis' 'Willow Farm' and any Banco's merry tune. Other highlights of this album are tracks 4 and 6 (the use of tempo shifts is so gentñe that it makes it hard to believe, really), as well as the closing instrumental, a real killer full of different ideas that Sithonia merge with incredible ease and huge exquisitness. The abrupt stop at the lead singer's shout is a weird, yet effective climax. Of all sung tracks, 'Panolino' is the least special, since it finds the band travelling on the border between symphonic prog and pop-rock, but still you can find some old fashioned progressive complexity in some passages. Track 3 is a precious instrumental that reprises motifs used in the suite: guitarists Magni leaves momentarily his stringed instrument in favour of an extra third keyboard. Definitely, "Spetatacolo Annulato" is a brilliant opus of the Italian progressive scene of the 90s.
 
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SPETTACOLO ANNULLATO

Sithonia fue una de las bandas mas interesantes y atractivas de la movida progresiva italiana de los 90s. Desgraciadamente, se disolvio poco despues de terminado el año 1998, tras la grabacion de su cuarto CD ‘Hotel Brun’, pero la calidad del material que ha aportado al negocio discografico bien merece ser mencionado y comentado.

‘Spettacolo Annullato’ es su segundo CD, y fue precisamente este el que empezo a llamara seriamente la atencion del publico progresivo de entonces, que empezaba a deleitarse con lo que entonces se denomino revival europeo.

Como para empezar a hacernos una idea sobre Sithonia, diremos que las influencias mas notables en su sonido son el BMS de la era 76-79, Corte dei Miracoli, y en menor medida, Le Orme y el Genesis de la fase 73-77. Las composiciones son bien trabajadas, tienen gancho y resultan especialmente atractivas, sobre todo por el inconfundible toque mediterraneo que tienen – ello implica que el tono emotivo esta bastante a flor de piel, pero no hasta dimensiones exageradas, sino que dicho tono es manejado sobriamente por el excelente vocalista marco Giovanninni, dueño de un registro ostensiblemente viril, manejado con una genuina emotividad. Tambien debemos mencionar la increible pulcritud con que se produce el dialogo mutuo entre los instrumentistas, quienes ciertamente muestran su destreza, pero sin nunca sobrepasar los confines de las melodias, sino mas bien trabajando preferencialmente con texturas y colores, mas alla de los ocasionales solos de guitarra y sintetizador. Aunque la presencia de dos tecladistas obliga a que sean precisamente los teclados los instrumentos que mas destaquen en la mezcla global, eso no conlleva que el sonido de Sithonia se base en la pirotecnia de pianos, organos y sintetizadores: tal como dije antes, el grupo trabaja en complicidad perfecta en torno a las exigencias mas ‘directas’ de las melodias compuestas.

Ante todo, Sithonia son fabricantes de canciones. La suite que da inicio al disco puede ser descrita como un conglomerado (bien armado e integrado, que conste...) de canciones, donde se alternan pasajes romanticos con otros mas energeticos, y otros momentos mas tirados hacia lo etereo: la magia romantica de Basnjia, la alegria medio circense de Merce!, y los exuberantes recovecos de Verso la Torre deben ser los momentos mas destacados de esta suite. ‘Il Canto Notturno...’ e ‘Il Racconto...’ tambien exhiben ideas melodicas bastante atractivas, y arregladas de manera ingeniosa. El instrumental que cierra el disco, ‘La danza del Gatto...’ contiene varios pasajes notablemente coloridos, terminando con una secuencia misteriosa, tenebrosa aunque no oscura, por causa del refinamiento multicolor que es tan esencial en el sonido de Sithonia. En suma, un disco hermoso, y valioso dentro de cualquier coleccion progresiva.

Cesar Mendoza

CONFINE

El tercer disco de la banda italiana Sithonia, titulado “Confine”, nos la muestra expandiendo los recursos melódicos propios de su estilo sinfónico melódico hacia confines insospechados de extravagancia y gallardía. Los pasajes donde campea la solemnidad y los momentos donde lo lúdico les abre caminos para jugar con los sonidos no son nada nuevos en el material de Sithonia, pero para esta ocasión el grupo se decidió por aventurarse hacia las potencialidades más bizarras inherentes a su propia propuesta, y el resultado final no puede ser más estupendo. Habiendo adquirido y disfrutado pro tantos años de discos tan hermosos y cautivantes como “Spettacolo Anullato” y “Hotel Brun”, me veo en la necesidad de evaluar a “Confine” como su trabajo discográfico más excitante y mejor logrado según los cánones del rock artístico. Tal como se registra en su disco en vivo “Folla di Passagio”, ya existía un par de ítems de este repertorio desde un par de años antes.

El disco comienza con una pieza tan magistralmente hermosa como es ‘Albi di Spagna’, cuyo pasaje inicial comienza con un dueto de guitarra acústica y canto (toda la letra se concentra en el primer medio minuto) en clave renacentista, uniéndose poco a poco los ornamentos de teclado, hasta que el ensamble entero extiende un motivo central para crear un clímax épico sostenido con mucha prestancia e ímpetu. !Qué tal apertura! Se va la solemnidad y se nos viene el humor dadaísta con la rara aunque agradable canción ‘Sinergie Interattive’: esta canción comienza con un ambiente propio de una caricatura (una entrada circense, una llamada telefónica respondida con sonidos onomatopéyicos por alguien que estaba roncando hasta entonces), hasta llegar al motivo recurrente, donde se alternan el rock psicodélico sesentero en 5/4 y el jazz cabaretero de la Belle Epoque, mezclado con interludios inspirados en la herencia de BMS. Es como una escena de inspiración urbana en una película de Fellini… pero en música progresiva. Con estos dos temas tan impactantes ya está garantizada la atención del oyente. ‘Piccole Vele’ nos lleva a rincones más relajados del corazón, siendo como es una semi-balada portadora de un halo inocultable de melancolía (aunque incorporando adornos intensos que añaden una aureola de sofisticado contraste). El instrumental ‘Pentolle Sullo Scalfalle’ mantiene en el disco la actitud introspectiva, con su ambientación parcialmente jazzeada bien llevada por los punteos de guitarra, en armonía con las líneas sinfónicas sólidamente dibujadas por las deliciosas orquestaciones de teclado. Los teclados duales y la guitarra saben explotar sus elementos sin llegar (siquiera de cerca) a crear saturación dentro del sonido global; por su parte, la dupla rítmica se porta con debida precisión y pulcra fluidez a lo largo de las diversas variantes de motivo y ambiente. Me atrevería a decir que se trata de la mejor pieza instrumental jamás compuesta por Sithonia.

‘Porto d’Inghilterra’ comienza con ruidos de tormenta, siendo así que la música comienza con polifonías de teclado semejantes, al menos hasta cierto punto, al GG tradicional. Una vez que se asienta el grupo en bloque, empieza a desarrollarse una serie de hermosos motivos en un viaje sonoro exquisito y fastuoso - la manera en que los momentos más cándidos se alternan y casi fusionan con otros más explícitamente densos es una marca del grupo. El instrumental ‘…Un Altro Momento’ ofrece un descanso frente a la fastuosidad precedente por dos frentes: primero con su preludio cristalinamente etéreo, basado en arpegios de guitarra clásica y acordes flotantes de piano, y luego con una segunda sección basada en un rock ameno, alevosamente frívolo a ratos, sazonado con sabores genesianos. ‘Piancandolli’ y ‘La Cella’ perpetúan el aura de sofisticado romanticismo de ‘Piccole Vele’, sabiamente ornamentado con una dosis de la garra tan bien ejemplificada en ‘Porto d’Inghilterra’. Aunque si de garra hablamos, podemos fijarnos preferentemente en el riff básico de ‘Ultimo a Stare in Porta’, el cual define la estructura básica de la pieza en un efectivo despliegue de polenta. La presencia ocasional de corales raras, un juguetón solo de saxo y un solo de órgano bastante disonante permiten al grupo jugar con la extravagancia, la misma que explota en el impromptu climático. ‘Il Segnale’ es una breve balada a voz y piano, conectada con el extravagante instrumental ‘Alla Corte del Gran Khan’ (mezcla de GG, BMS y Happy the Man): ninguna de estas piezas alcanza los 2 minutos de duración, pero no se sienten cortas, pues escuchadas de corrido crean un efecto general muy bueno. El homónimo tema de cierre abre con una secuencia de acordeón que retoma uno de los motivos del instrumental anterior para reiterar el humor demostrado en ‘Sinergie Interattive’. Hay una cierta agresividad en el modo en que los instrumentos interactúan en los pasajes más intensos, pero no se trata de una agresividad esencialmente rockera, sino más bien la propia de un circo donde las cosas parecen salirse un poco de control. De todas maneras, a mitad de la pieza, el asunto se pone más afín a la fastuosidad de ‘Porto d’Inghilterra’, hasta aterrizar en una breve secuencia marcada por la guitarra acústica.

Este disco es un logro artístico de gran calibre desde principio a fin, pero sólo para establecer algunas referencias específicas, designaré a la secuencia de los temas 1 y 2, ‘Ultimo a Stare in Porta’, ‘Porto d’Inghilterra’ y ‘Confine’ como mis momentos favoritos de “Confine”. Este disco es una de tantas razones por las cuales es justo mantener vivo el recuerdo de la finada banda italiana Sithonia, parte incuestionable de la crema y nata del progresivo italiano de los últimos 15 años.

César Mendoza

LUNGO IL SENTIERO DI PIETRA

Primer disco de Sithonia, banda procedente de Bolonia que formó parte importante del revival progresivo italiano de los 90s, ello a pesar de no contar con una celebridad tan grande como la que sí fueron obteniendo Nuova Era, Malibran, Finisterre e Il Castello di Atlante a medida que avanzaba la década. “Lungo il Sentiero di Pietra” es una muestra clara de la línea de trabajo que este grupo tenía en mente seguir: un progresivo sinfónico con fuertes tonalidades melódicas, tomando como modelos principales a BMS (etapa 1976-9), Locanda delle Fate y Corte dei Miracolia, añadiendo fuertes componentes del folklore mediterráneo, y también algo de balada pop con matices

suavemtne jazzeados. El lirismo y el espíritu romántico tienen fuerte presenciaen la música de Sithonia, pero lejos está esto de traducirse en una prominenciade sonoridades lánguidas: por el contrario, los inteligentemente armados juegosde teclados duales y los guitarreos de Magni se conjugan muy bien con el macizoestilo del baterista/percusionista Cenacchi para crear un esquema genuinamente enérgico. Paolo Nino Marcheselli es el vocalista del grupo solamente para este disco: su voz tiene eficacia y limpieza, pero tal vez no aporta esa calidez tanpersonal que Marco Giovaninni proporcionó al material del grupo desde los días de “Spettacolo Annulato” en adelante.

‘Achil Island’ comienza con un travieso juego percusivo donde se combinan jazz-fusión y academia moderna: la batería se hermana con los tímpanos, la marimba, los cencerros y otras percusiones básicas para crear un dinamismo efectivo. El cuerpo central comienza poco antes de llegar al segundo minuto y medio, con un despliegue de vivacidad controlada sobriamente desplegada sobre los ya bien instalados sabores jazzeros. ‘Il Foglio Bianco’ se traslada hacia un terreno muy diferente, uno de magia romántica y ensueño etéreo. La presencia de la flauta (en manos de un colaborador) resulta crucial para dar solidez a laambientación general de la pieza: el desarrollo de algún cuasi-clímax y los breves giros armónicos que acontecen en la segunda mitad producen una inequívoca sensación de vitalidad a través de la serenidad. ‘Non Cercarli’ acusa bastante la influencia del “Come in un’Ultima Cena” con algunos toques extra de “Corte dei Miracoli”: si tiene sentido lo que voy a decir, esta canción resulta “tremendamente italiana”. ‘Pubblicità’ tiene un compás y una cadencia muy semejantes a los del tema precedente: casi es un apéndice del mismo con su duración menor de 3 minutos. La inclusión de unos pasajes en 3/4 ayuda a generar variedad entre los predominantes compases de 4/4. ‘Confusi in Mezzo ai Simboli’, en muchos aspectos, tiene un espíritu afín al tema 2, incluso portando un sentido romántico más pronunciado. El uso de ritmos de inspiración Latin-jazz y texturas folklóricas son ingredientes vitales para el peculiar lirismo que esta pieza derrocha por todos sus poros. Una vez más, la flauta proporciona algunas líneas muy importantes dentro del esquema instrumental. ‘Il Sogno di Scindigher’ ahonda en los colores mediterráneos que habían sido tan destacados en los temas 2 y 5. Por otra parte, su interludio en5/4 hace virar la pieza hacia aires más solemnes, como si el grupo estuviese comenzando a “entrenar” para la composición y elaboración de lo que luego será su fabulosa suite ‘La Recità del Silenzio’ (del disco “Spettacolo Annulato”). También hay unos ocasionales juegos atonales que generan una sorpresa de densidad progresiva dentro del generalmente cálido mundo musical de Sithonia. El final de la pieza está marcado por atmósferas envolventes. Los últimos 5 ½ minutos están ocupados por ‘Folla di Passaggio’, tema cuyo prólogo consiste en una misteriosa polifonía de flautas. Con delicados arpegios de guitarra clásicaempieza el cuerpo central, una sonata de raigambre pastoral en la que la dupla de guitarra y flauta establecen coloridos de tenor bucólico, siendo así que poco a poco el ensamble va poniéndose en su lugar de forma gradual. El cierre del tema tiene una intención extrovertida, ostentando un colorido controlado.

He aquí la primera declaración de principios progresivos de parte del sexteto italiano Sithonia – “Lungo il Sentiero di Pietra” es un disco muy bonito, cuya magia intrínseca ya anticipa (aunque todavía se queda en un nivel no del todo cuajado) la exquisitez estilizada que el grupo posteriormente desplegará en sus

tres siguientes trabajo de estudio. Un buen comienzo, sin duda, y claro, un ítem interesante dentro de cualquier buena colección fonográfica progresiva.



César Mendoza

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