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Alio Die - Opera Magnetica (with Aglaia) CD (album) cover

OPERA MAGNETICA (WITH AGLAIA)

Alio Die

 

Progressive Electronic

3.96 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
4 stars The most prolific studio artist in Prog Electronica and perhaps in all of Prog World (well, okay, maybe not THE most prolific [Buckethead, Tangerine Dream, John Zorn, Acid Mother Temple]), Stefano Musso released (to my knowledge) six albums in 2017, including this one, with long-time collaborator Gino Fioravanti who goes by the working name of AGLAIA. It's very difficult to find fault with any of Stefano's projects as they all succeed in transporting the listener to dream-like places, all have mood-altering effects. What's truly surprising to me is the way Stefano can vary the methods he uses to achieve such results, the instruments and effects he uses on his instruments in order to offer variety to his sound palette.

1. "Shape of the Wind" (16:00) a calm, serene, somewhat moody weave of ethereal keyboards, treated strings and percussion, the floating feeling evoked throughout is certainly in line with the song title. (9/10)

2. "One Second Before Dark" (18:12) opens with a loop of four ascending notes, slow attacking and long decaying in the mid-octave range, playing over the sounds of water lapping at a sandy beach. In the second minute the water sounds get louder--too loud for my tastes. I love the somnambulistic ENO-like loop. Other higher notes and incidentals join in during the fifth minute followed by others of lower pitch in the sixth as the water sounds fade into the distant background. With the spectrum of sound broadened, and each layer kind of meandering in their own way (even polyrhythmically [if you can call this "rhythmical"]), the song begins to unleash tension, keeping the listener alert and on the edge. In the fourteenth minute the wave sounds return, this time providing a calming effect--in opposition to the effect of the weave of multiple layers of independent instrumental streams. Brilliant! Sounds of zither strings being scraped or tuned become involved in the sixteenth minute and remain to disconcert through to the end as the music slowly fades out, down beneath the calm waves. (9/10)

3. "Wake of a Silver Water" (22:08) low key, low impact "water music" uses slow-floating drone sounds over the trinkling sounds of lapping water (and other "outdoor" percussives). I sometimes find nature sounds almost distracting rather than soothing when Stefano incorporates them. The melodic and harmonic weave created by the musical instruments is very peaceful, reminding me of sitting in the quiet courtyard outside of the Great Mosque at Cordoba (despite the water sounds). In the second half of the tenth minute another more metallic multiplicity of sound enters, thickening the sonic field. I might have liked to see/hear/feel a little more change and development over the course of its 22 minutes, but as a calming piece of background music, it doesn't get much better than this! (9/10)

While this is a masterpiece of prog electronic music, I think it more of a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. If you want to meditate, do yoga, dream, astral travel, or just have something nice in the background while you cook or read, you can't go wrong with this one!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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