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Astrolabio / Elettrosmog - L'Isolamento Dei Numeri Pari CD (album) cover

L'ISOLAMENTO DEI NUMERI PARI

Astrolabio / Elettrosmog

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.97 | 75 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars With a replacement drummer brought in back in 2009, Verona proggers Elettrosmog have now morphed into Astrolabio, and it's very exciting to discover that their debut album (after a practice demo recording back in 2012) is without question one of the most exciting Italian prog albums of the year! `L'Isolamento dei Numeri Pari' is full of colour and variety, the band defiantly incorporating modern influences while remaining respectful to several important 70's Italian bands, and all of the eleven tracks on offer display pinpoint precision song-writing with the dazzling instrumental qualities that progressive music fans demand. Astrolabio consider their music `degressive rock', meaning lovingly retro flavoured while refusing to over-produce and polish their music to pristine perfection. Therefore, the band have a frequently raw sound, with all the compositions being performed with incredible confidence. Prepare for a modern take on the unexpected direction changes of De De Lind, the rough charm of Biglietto per L'Inferno and the pleasing style of P.F.M.

With a title that translates to `The Isolation of Even Numbers', I was expecting some grand elaborate concept theme woven through the album! Turns out every even numbered track on the CD is merely 6 seconds of silence before the CD clicks over to the next track - interesting, and kind of silly! Asking the band about this, they responded that they merely wanted to be unconventional and determined to do things in their own unique and different way, while offering a sense of humour too, something frequently absent from the progressive genres. Going by the sense of fun the band show throughout many spots on the disc, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were actually secretly hoping stuffy prog fans will tear their hair out trying to work out the grand concept of the disc - and guilty I was of this, I must admit...and I can't afford to lose any more hair!

The album blasts off right from the start with `E'Stato Detto Tutto', a punchy little rocker with wild acoustic/electric bursts, huffing flute, nimble piano, delirious warping keyboards and frantic stop/start percussion. Michele Antonelli's devilish vocals cover everything from snarling temptation to other-wordly treated Le Orme-style weirdness. This cracking and addictive track is simply the greatest opener on a prog album all year, needed to be heard by those listeners who like their RPI reckless and spiky. `31 Aprile' then takes a surprising turn into a debauched sweaty electronic groover in the style of Gary Numan, all hip shaking beats and Michele's repetitive saucy guitar riffs! So many unexpected diversions for `Brie-Collage'. The band wanders through a wilderness of swampy guitar licks, Massimo Babbi's gentle synth breezes, dusty singer-songwriter introspection and bluesy smolder, then the piece lurches to life with a disorientating psychedelic stomp. This one gently unfolds over eight unhurried minutes, and the unpredictable turns remind of the classic vintage RPI album from De De Lind.

`Aurora' is a fleeting and delicate acoustic guitar lament, `Fotografic' a drowsy country ballad with some strangely Marillion-styled trilling keyboard solos throughout and cheerful P.F.M rollicking runs too! Michele's raspy vocal almost resembles alt-rock country icon Ryan Adams, and his lazy slide guitar gives it a blissful acid-fried early Floyd sound. `Sono...' mixes driving rock with loopy psychedelic colour, with some classical piano bombast and boisterous group vocals, then `Corso di Eurostima' is a stirring acoustic guitar ballad with a gentle violin backing that brings a soothing P.F.M quality. Very upfront synths constantly bombard `Servito', but it's the ten plus minute epic `Non Ricordo' that deserves more attention. A placid dreamy acoustic opening around subtle synth washes and a soothing vocal, then the piece snarls to life with heavy grunting electric guitars and Alessandro Pontone's forceful drumming. The band then burns through a perfectly executed improvisation with jazz-fusion guitar licks, glistening electric piano and Paolo Iemmi's swallowing bass, the synths taking on an almost ethereal droning tone behind them. The finale has a delightful flute outro that enters lonely and quickly turns hopeful and reassuring, and it's a sweet, surprising way to close a piece where the entire band demonstrates supreme taste and restraint. There is a quick cover of an Italian beat-pop era song with special guest Raffaello Regoli of vintage RPI band Cormorano to follow, but it's really more of a cute bonus track.

With eye catching and colourful artwork that instantly reminds of P.F.M `L'Iisola Di Niente', Astrolabio have delivered a grand and impressive work that I truly believe has a timeless quality, an album that instantly leaves a strong impression and shows off the talent and diversity of the band to great effect. Along with the recent albums by Logos, Entity and Il Fauno di Marmo, they've delivered one of the defining Italian progressive releases for the first half of 2014. Exceptional work all round, and if Astrolabio are already this good, imagine how much potential they have and the possibilities they may still deliver in the future?

Five stars.

(Oh, and any band who has the cheek to sneakily work in guitar licks from King Crimson's `21st Century Schizoid Man' and Jethro Tull's `Aqualung' during their own tunes are either pranksters, or have plums the size of planets! Bravo, gentlemen!)

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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