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Il Rovescio Della Medaglia - Contaminazione CD (album) cover


Il Rovescio Della Medaglia


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.18 | 288 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Il Rovescio della Medaglia were one of the many bands of the Italian prog scene of the early seventies. They were from Rome and after two albums in a hard rock style, "La bibbia" and "Io come io", in 1973 they collaborated with composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov and lyricist Sergio Bardotti for a third album in a more symphonic style. The result was a very peculiar concept album blending classical music and rock entitled "Contaminazione di alcune idee di certi preludi e fughe del Clavicembalo ben temperato di J.S. Bach" (Contamination of some ideas from some preludes and fugues from the well-tempered clavier by J.S. Bach). The line up on this album features Enzo Vita (guitars), Stefano Urso (bass), Gino Campoli (drums), Pino Ballarini (vocals, flute) and Franco di Sabbatini (keyboards) but in studio the band interacted with a baroque orchestra directed by the Maestro Luis Enriquez Bacalov himself with excellent results.

The album tells the story of an imaginary character, a Scottish guitarist called Jim McCluskin that, back from a journey in Nepal, believes to be the "avatar" (the incarnation) of another imaginary character, a Scottish musician called Isaia Somerset, supposed to be an illegitimate son of Johann Sebastian Bach who abandoned him during his stay in Britain. The guitarist is hospitalized in a psychiatric structure where he is haunted by his crazy musical dreams. The plot is ironic, all the tracks are linked together and the music flows without interruptions drawing a kind of well crafted "divertissement".

The opener, "Absent For This Consumed World" is a short instrumental introduction that leads with a drum roll to the ethereal and melancholic "Ora non ricordo pił" (Now I can't remember). "Now I can't remember what kind of music I used to play / I saw white and I fell over / It's the imagine of an imagine... I run after my music / My music is running forward, away from me / Like dark never touch light / Where time comes to life and immediately dies / She is there and she's waiting for me / She is calling me...".

Next comes "Il suono del silenzio" (The sound of silence). Don't worry, it's not a cover of Simon & Garfunkel but an experimental track where classical passages of harpsichord, organ and violin are mixed with a vibrant and pulsing rhythm section. In the mind of the protagonist a question comes up... "Maybe, am I the son of Bach?".

"Mi sono svegliato e... Ho chiuso gli occhi" (I woke up and... I shut my eyes) tells of a sad awakening... "Why am I here? Why did they shut me here? Because for them I'm like a strange child...". From a lullaby take off a desperate electric guitar solo in Jimi Hendrix style... The protagonist wants to go back into the world of dreams... "I woke up this morning and... / I shut my eyes...". Well, definitively dreams can be better than reality...

The short and frenzy "Lei sei tu: lei" (She is you: she) depicts a troubled dream where music becomes a beautiful woman inviting the protagonist to follow her in another world where she is waiting. Next comes "La mia musica" (My music), a sweet and romantic love song dedicated to the charming woman that incarnates the music... "She is there... And in the light of thought even the faintest souvenir becomes clear / I run after her when she runs away / To have her one more time... Sing on the roof / And I'll call you swallow / Sing on the bank / And I'll call you sea / I can hear thousands voices / They sing the secrets hidden into the soul / They sing the thoughts of a free spirit / It's for me that they are singing / It's for you... Now she is here / Now she is mine...".

The mad rock guitarist believes now to be Isaia Somerset, the illegitimate son of Bach and on "Johann" the contamination of styles is perfect The interaction between rock band and baroque orchestra is absolutely brilliant... "Johann Sebastian Bach had twenty-one children / He loved twenty of them / But one was abandoned in Scotland...".

"Scotland Machine" blends classical music and rock with Celtic echoes... When the protagonist awakes he's driven into cell number 503 that now is free and all for him... "Cella 503" (Cell 503) is an instrumental where we find a peculiar Spanish flavour mixed with baroque music, then a rock part precedes a closing section featuring a powerful organ solo. Then comes "Contaminazione 1760", another short instrumental featuring only flutes.

"Alzo un muro elettrico" is one of the best tracks on this work, where you can find tasteful reminiscences of Brazil... "I build an electric wall / A sky of organs is opening / She is there / Now I'm again myself...". "Sweet Suite" begins with a church-like organ, then a short reprise of "Alzo un muro elettrico" follows... "Now I'm again myself!". The fiery and passionate instrumental "La grande fuga" (The grat fugue) is a perfect "gran finale" for this amazing album.

An English version of this album was also released for the international market, but I prefer the Italian one. A must have for every prog lover.-

andrea | 5/5 |


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