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Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy

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Alan Sorrenti biography
A very important artist from Naples, ALAN SORRENTI released his first album in 1972 on Harvest. He had a Welsh mother and had lived in Wales as a child.

"Aria" is a very good album, with two different sides: the first only contains the long title track, a dreamy suite starting with acoustic guitar and based on the marvellous, instrument-like voice of Sorrenti, and culminating in the final part with a memorable violin solo by Jean-Luc Ponty. Side 2 is softer, with three tracks, two of which ("Vorrei incontrarti") also appeared as a single. The album was successful in Italy, and Alan Sorrenti was one of the few solo artists to compete with other prog groups in the open air festivals of the time. The album was also released abroad, but to little success.

A second album, with the long title of "Come un vecchio incensiere all'alba di un villaggio deserto" was released a year later. It was based on the same formula as "Aria", but probably lacked the fresh impact of its predecessor. Once again a side-long title track was complemented by some shorter, softer tracks, this time with help from Francis Monkman (Curved Air) and Dave Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator), along with Neapolitan percussionist Toni Esposito.

His third, self-titled album is usually considered the least convincing of Alan's early production, despite some very good tracks, his style slowly shifting toward more a more mainstream song format. The remake of the traditional Neapolitan classic "Dicitencello vuje", included on the album and also released as a single, was seen as treason by his early fans, and, while it gave the album very good sales and a high chart placement, it caused the artist to be boycotted in many summer festivals.

After a two-year break, a new Alan Sorrenti came back in 1976, with a more commercial style, influenced by dance music, and totally breaking with his past experience as a prog artist. Sorrenti's long career ended with an album released in 1992 - though in 2003 he released an album by the title of "Sott'acqua", containing previously unreleased material.

Michael (Micky) and Raffaella (Raff) Berry

Why this artist must be listed in :
The RPI/ISP team can to the conclusion that though his prog output is small in proportion to output. His work is important in the grand scheme of what PRI is and should be included to reflect the importance of his prog albums in the 70's.

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Ala Bianca Import 2010
Audio CD$10.72
$10.71 (used)
EMI Music Italy 2005
Audio CD$8.06
$8.06 (used)
Figli Delle Stelle: Best ofFigli Delle Stelle: Best of
Dv More 2013
Audio CD$16.35
EMI International 2012
Audio CD$63.24 (used)
If You Need Me NowIf You Need Me Now
Vinyl$12.23 (used)
L.a. & N.Y. by Alan SorrentiL.a. & N.Y. by Alan Sorrenti
Audio CD$285.91
Come un vecchio incensiere all'alba di un villaggio deserto by Alan SorrentiCome un vecchio incensiere all'alba di un villaggio deserto by Alan Sorrenti
Audio CD$63.63
Figli Delle Stelle [Capitol] by Alan SorrentiFigli Delle Stelle [Capitol] by Alan Sorrenti
EMI Mktg
Audio CD$69.98
Come Un Cecchio Incensiere All'Alba Di Un VillaggiCome Un Cecchio Incensiere All'Alba Di Un Villaggi
Btf 2016
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Alan Sorrenti Di Notte 8 Track Vinyl Album USD $14.97 Buy It Now 1 day
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ALAN SORRENTI Non So Che Darei German 45PS 1980 Eurovision USD $2.96 Buy It Now 3 days
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ALAN SORRENTI Tu Sei L'unica Donna Per Me German 45PS 1979 USD $1.48 Buy It Now 4 days
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Alan Sorrenti Sienteme, It's Time to Land vinyl LP Harvest Records EX USD $55.00 Buy It Now 11 days
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ALAN SORRENTI discography

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ALAN SORRENTI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 93 ratings
2.90 | 23 ratings
Come un Vecchio Incensiere all'Alba di un Villaggio Deserto
2.97 | 13 ratings
Alan Sorrenti
2.08 | 5 ratings
Sienteme, It's Time To Land
1.39 | 9 ratings
Figli Delle Stelle
1.27 | 7 ratings
L.A. & N.Y.
1.23 | 3 ratings
Di Notte
3.50 | 2 ratings
Angeli Di Strada
3.50 | 2 ratings
Bonno Soku Bodai
3.50 | 2 ratings

ALAN SORRENTI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ALAN SORRENTI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ALAN SORRENTI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
2.00 | 2 ratings
I Successi Di Alan Sorrenti
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Made In Italy
0.00 | 0 ratings
Le Pi Belle Canzoni Di Alan Sorrenti

ALAN SORRENTI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.14 | 2 ratings
Vorrei Incontrarti
2.09 | 3 ratings
Una Luce Si Accende
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dicitencello Vuje
3.00 | 1 ratings
Le Tue Radici (7")
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Figli Delle Stelle (7'')
0.00 | 0 ratings
Donna Luna
3.00 | 1 ratings
Tu Sei L'Unica Donna Per Me
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love Fever
3.00 | 1 ratings
Non So Che Darei
2.00 | 1 ratings
Prova Con Me
0.00 | 0 ratings
La Strada Brucia & Corro
0.00 | 0 ratings
Desire Is Law
0.00 | 0 ratings
Paradiso Beach
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sottacqua (7'')


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aria by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 93 ratings

Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars ALAN SORRENTI was and is a singer and composer who was born in Naples, Italy to a Welsh mother and spent as much time in the city of Aberystwiyth, Wales as in his native born Italy. As a result SORRENTI became fluent in both Italian and English languages and culture. While he would release a very sizable discography since his debut album in 1972, in 1976 he abandoned his early flirtations with progressive and psychedelic folk rock of his first few albums and jumped into full-on dance music. ARIA is his debut and fits firmly within the eclectic progressive rock arena that displays a whole plethora of musical influences including a healthy dose not only freak folk that meets psychedelic rock but shows his affinity with the progressive Italian rock scene as well as the most obvious influence of all, namely, early 70s Peter Hammill in the form of Van Der Graaf Generator. In fact SORRENTI almost perfectly mimics Hammill's vocal style only with an Italian flair. Understandable that SORRENTI would have been exposed to VDGG as Italy was the country where they experienced their greatest success. ARIA is in a way paying homage to the great UK eclectic prog band that found its home in a distant land.

The 19 minute and 45 minute title track begins the album and not only swallows half the album but mimics many a great of the day with not only Hammill style vocal acrobatics along with his singer / songwriter skills that were so prominent in VDGG but also the progressive freak folk instrumentation of Comus which comes to mind as the instrumentation comprises mostly of acoustic guitars accompanied by the brilliant violin playing skills of guest musician Jean Luc Ponty. There are also plenty of Hammond organs and mellotrons to create a thick lysergic atmosphere that enriches all the twists and turns of the song structure. While the VDGG and Hammill comparisons may lead one to expect a rock experience, this is first and foremost a psychedelic folk album that never once delivers an electric guitar riff or solo but rather incorporates a rich tapestry of acoustic and classical guitars and on this title track even ventures into the gypsy foot stomping territory of Spanish flamenco all the while SORRENTI's vocals do their own little dances around the melodic developments.

While the musical deliveries on ARIA are top notch, it is truly SORRENTI's vocals that are the star of the show here. As the liner notes explain: "SORRENTI's voice is treated with effects that compliment his experimental tendencies. Lines rise to crescendo and echo wildly in space. Falsettos tremble and vibrate. Lyrics disintegrate into exultation where SORRENTI's voice mutates into a musical instrument. Words are gently warbled, caressed, cosseted, vibrated and violently expunged. Styles of music melt and congeal together." I couldn't possibly top this first-rate description of the vocals, so i won't even try. The fact is this album comes off as if it were a long lost psychedelic recording of Van Der Graaf Generator. This is a dilemma for me as i find the album quite the brilliant experience but am a little put off by the blatant Hammilisms expressed in every musical cadence throughout the album despite the lyrics being totally penned in the Italian language. Some remaining short tracks to have more of an Italian feel and less of the VDGG textures. "La Mia Mente" actually has more of a Robert Plant feel.

Overall i'd have to say that i dig this album more than feel any sense of animosity. Yes, the influences are more than worn on the sleeve and stand out strong and bold, but SORRENTI actually has a more varied vocal style than Hammill and the music despite feeling like a counterpart in some alternative universe of the VDGG experience still manages to be captivating and complex with many instrumental workouts underneath the strident and bravado filled vocals that dominate the soundscape. The listener is treated to a plethora of keyboards and acoustic guitars, bow bass and trombone, trumpet and synth harp. Despite my usual resistance to give albums that take the influence thing a little too far, i have to admit that i find this particular release more than mesmerizing. This really is worth hearing over and over again.

 Figli Delle Stelle by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
1.39 | 9 ratings

Figli Delle Stelle
Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

1 stars I remember I was just introduced to Alan Sorrenti through his album "Sienteme". It was not my pot but I was still regarding him as an interesting singer-songwrites with a jazzy feel in the vein of Napoli Centrale and the other jazzy-prog acts from Naples of that time.

I remember when I heard the title track for the first time from the TV. The speaker introduced Alan Sorrenti and I was excited to see that kind of artist in a top-of-the-pops-like TV show....

Ther was a reason unfortunately. As well as New Trolls did in the same period, Alan Sorrenti tried to recycle himself and make some more money by attacking the pop mainstream market with a Bee-Gees like falsetto. There is no track on this album of his previous things. The reason why I'm reviewing this album is to make people avoid wasting time and money on it.

As I have written time ago about a Camel album, I think that a bad review can be of help even for the artist. If one thinks that all the Sorrenti's production is like this will surely miss his good debut and the three decent follow-ups. This one is a plastic disco-pop album with very few goodies, mainly in some remains of jazz-blues flavor totally jeopardized by the poorness of the songs. A weak attempt to be mimic of the most successful pop bands of the time and an early anticipation of the poorness that the 80s would bring to the world.

He sold a lot of albums but as it often happens with huge mainstream successes, it was question of just a season then he has been forgotten. I have seen Sorrenti on TV taking part to a "nostalgia" show. He still sings "Figli delle Stelle".

Avoid this album but give some attention to the previous ones, not all his works are good for the waste as this.

 Aria by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 93 ratings

Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jeromach

5 stars It's been a long while that a not yet known to me artist was able to really impress me, in fact Captain Beefheart and Amon Dl II were the last and that's been some time ago.

Yes, I have discovered good music meanwhile, able to indeed impress me, Andre Demay's Generic, Farm's Farm, Pell Mell's Marburg, Yezda Urfa's Boris, Gryphon's Red Queen to Gryphon Three and Harmonium's "cinquime saison" to name just a few. Still, no new Beefhearts or Dls, until....

It did start with Enzo Capuano's "Storia Mia Scritta" I need to say. Discovered just a little earlier than Aria, a marvellous album that I seem to have played 55 times last three months. Capuano did really trigger my extended interest in RPI, music that I of course knew and appreciated through PFM and the like, but never really in a way that I could place it in my personal top 5 of musically interesting genres. But as so often appears, there's a near bottomless pit of yet to be discovered musical gems, and unlike Alice, who landed at a certain moment, I'm still falling and still discovering. Progressive music in a way is like science; at the moment you think you've discovered the last to be known secret of your quest it just only reveals the next uncountable number of roads to the solution you then know is further away than ever. Scientifically it's frustrating perhaps, musically it's a gift :).

So, and then you encounter Sorrenti and his "Aria". I learned to distinguish between "no","nice for the archive" and "store for later checking" by just listening to short fragments of music while trying to wade through large numbers of albums, because there's simply not enough time in any human life to listen to every single piece of progressive music. Aria made the "checking" list. Interesting at first glance, different, piano, violin, an unheard before style of chanting, layered harmonic dissonants (Beefheart taught me dissonants can be very harmonic, thanks so much captain for showing me this hidden beautiful world!), indeed, worth a further check.

And yes, I found one. One of the few pieces of musical artistry that really stand out. A debut album, even adding to the magic. Magnificent in my humble opinion. And can I explain why? Tell you why it's worth to give it a try? No, I can't. I don't know why particularly this music so impresses me, it's like soup, the whole can taste so well, while also the ingredients are known, but why specifically the combination tastes so well is difficult to say. Does it matter? No.

Well ok, one hint then; is it weird that - while the piano play on La Mia Mente is so intense - you seriously consider how to get INTO the left loudspeaker? And no, I don't use nothing (good music can open up your mind anyway).

NotAProghead's remark on wives, girlfriends etc. proved to be right; this is the only one album ever that made my wife in the 20 years that I'm with her came to me to ask (demand) me to switch it off. The music already baffled me in that it did so much to me, but that it also could invoke this kind of requests amazed me even more, no reward apparently unless you seriously give it a chance.

Masterpiece, five stars.

 Come un Vecchio Incensiere all'Alba di un Villaggio Deserto by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.90 | 23 ratings

Come un Vecchio Incensiere all'Alba di un Villaggio Deserto
Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Alan Sorrenti's trip into the Experimental Rock fields continued a year after ''Aria'' with the album ''Come un vecchio incensiere all'alba di un villaggio deserto'', again released on Harvest and recorded at the Island Studios in London between February and March 73'.A very special line- up surrounds Sorrenti, like drummer/percussionist Toni Esposito, Curved Air's Francis Monkman on synths, piano and guitar and Van Der Graaf Generator's David Jackson on flutes.

Despite the upgraded line-up the music remains in the same vein of Sorrenti's debut as well as the album's structure, including the sidelong eponymous 23-min. track.The first side is atonal, depressive and very lyrical Experimental/Folk Rock, highlighted by Sorrenti's unique vocal workouts.In this album Sorrenti's approach comes even closer to the emotional side of PETER HAMMILL and the music is mainly driven by his acoustic guitars.There are though plenty of piano exercises, smooth flute parts and haunting violin strings, that ensure to create a very cosmic and almost frightening atmosphere.The sidelong suite of the second side finds Sorrenti at his more extreme phase.This is not actually what I would call music, this is a completely dissonant and cacophonous collection of sparse sounds, full of Sorrenti's wordless vocals and cries along with dominating percussion and acoustic guitars, while the few singing parts have a cosmic theatrical approach with floating synths, pianos and flutes, which add a sporadic orientation to the composition, that as a whole is a rather painful experience.

From this point pn Sorrenti's career took slowly a more commercial approach from album to album, resulting to a succesful career until the mid-90's, even including a performance at the Eurovision song contest.His second album lacks the balanced delicacy of ''Aria'', the first side is listenable with some interesting moments, the second one though is sure to please only fans of extreme Experimental/Avant-Garde expreriences...2.5 stars.

 Aria by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 93 ratings

Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Its a bird! Its a plane -No, no, no hang on a minute you were right the first time...

I was talking to Pierre (our local duck in the RPI den) about this record, and rightly so, he said that one should look at Alan Sorrenti not as a singer, but as a bird. Words of wisdom right there, and ever since that conversation took place, Ive listened to this album with a big smirk on my face and countless images of storks and ibises flying around my head. Its his voice that makes this comparison apt, and I promise you once youve heard this album, youre not likely going to forget it anytime soon. This guy probably has one of the most charismatic and unique voices ever to ornament the face of any rock music.

Going through these different "voices" within his voice is like looking for individual blades of grass on a green meadow. There seems to be an endless amount of them. Just to give you an idea of this guys enormous vocal talents, Ill name a few styles of his. First of all he has a gentle touch, when the song craves for it and he can sound almost female-like with gentle whispers and sensuousness oozing out of the phrasings. On several occasions, Ive sponsored quite the crush on him, only to be ripped out of my newly found love with the sudden change of his singing - now turning into frantic and demonic yells. These high pitched squawks of Sorrenti might lead you into believing, that hes only a mere Hammill impersonator, but that is far from the truth. Hammill never had this vocal range, and furthermore I dont think hell ever be as eloquent in Italian. That being said, there is definite signs of Van Der Graff Generator in this music. Sorrenti does frequently use that theatrical way of wrapping his lips around the words, and the music accompanying this spectacle could also make your mind wander towards the organ lead cacophony of VDGG, but here the similarities end. Comprised by a hefty dosage of acoustic guitars with a medieval flavour - almost resembling the old jester with his lute - jumping around in sheer exuberance and carelessness, Aria is heavily rooted in the Italian folk music tradition. Its chuck full of evil sounding rock n roll organs, heavy breathing wind instruments and the bass lines to back this up, - but still the soul of this recording is to be found in the old Mediterranean folk musics. Adding to this theory of mine, is the way that French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty plays his instrument on here. People whove heard this guy with Zappa or on his solo albums, will probably associate Ponty with those kinds of musics, but just remember that Aria is the zany and otherworldly bridge that unites such genres as classical, folk, rock n roll and the avant guarde, - and in this wonderful mess he doesnt sound out of place, but rather fits in like a disguised cuckoo in the chicken coop.

Getting back to Monsieur Sorrenti and his tender vocal phrasings, people need to understand just how much out of the ordinary this album must have sounded like back then. Italy is first and foremost known for its impeccable and refined usage of melodies. Be that in their traditional folk music or inside the world of classical composers - this has always been a defining trademark of theirs. Try listening to the differences between Wagner and Puccini with a classical connoisseur, and almost immediately youll be facing these huge differences in both temper and angular design, but firstly in the sweet and melodic way that Puccinis music presents itself. This is a highly melodic nation of people, and to have a young guy with obvious vocal talents come out of the blue with clear connotations to the wild and blurry avant guardistic and abrasive sides of the human voice, obliterating and alternating the well-known acoustical guitar ballads and traditional folk laden musics all at once with the flick of a switch - and with a voice of a thousand eagles............... - mustve been quite the change. I for one would love to have experienced this first hand in down town Naples with a bottle of red wine by my side.

 I Successi Di Alan Sorrenti by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
2.00 | 2 ratings

I Successi Di Alan Sorrenti
Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

2 stars You! Yes, you! Indeed, I'm talking about you. You're not going to love this album, I'm quite sure about it. Not that this album is extremely bad. It's just not Prog, only Pop. This happens because of policy of ProgArchives to add complete discographies (so with such prolific artists, this kind of things happens). Some simply concentrate more on Pop albums that on what's revolving here on 'chives.

It's enjoyable, when you want to just relax and listen "easy" music. But that's not enough for this album to get high rating. I wonder how high ratings it gets on "normal" music servers. That doesn't matter much. Actually, it's doesn't matter at all here.

2(-), for pleasant, yet anti-Prog album. It's not offending and/or leaving me in disgust though.

 Aria by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 93 ratings

Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Dark Nazgul

5 stars A breath of fresh Aria

My Rating: 9/10.

Before taking the path of commercial success with songs like "Figli delle stelle" and "Tu sei l'unica donna per me", Alan Sorrenti wrote prog music. Have you ever listed to "Figli delle stelle"? If you are not italian, as I am, I think not. Well, I don't want to judge but ...ehm... I don't like this song very much 'cause it's nothing more or less than 70's disco / 80's pop or something.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that Alan Sorrenti had to his credit a couple of prog album! And now imagine my surprise when hearing "Aria" the first time I realized it was a very good album. And when, at the second hearing, I thought that the title track suite was a masterpiece. Today I listened to this record probably at least thirty times and I can safely say that Aria is my favorite suite of Italian prog with Banco's "Il Giardino del Mago".

A delicate guitar arpeggio introduces Aria, the suite of nearly 20 minutes which is the highlight of the record. The voice of Sorrenti is soft initially but soon, when the music becomes more frantic, it turns and becomes rougher, and more intense and dramatic tones emerge suddendly, in a style very close to Peter Hammill. Acoustic moments alternated instrumental crescendo with typically Mediterranean percussion style and great demonstrations of virtuosity of Jean Luc Ponty on the violin. Note that the keyboards do not have large space in favor of other instruments much closer to latin tradition. The lyrics seem to be related to a mental trip, a dream or something, until the final part of the song, where is a sudden return to reality: Attraverso i vetri della mia stanza io guardo fuori, e fuori piove / e nelle gocce sospese alla ringhiera vedo le perle della tua corona / Aria, in ogni angolo della mia stanza io ti sto cercando / Aria, sull'asfalto bagnato della mia strada io ti sto inseguendo e tu ti stai sciogliendo / Aria, io sento che ti sto perdendo (Through the windows of my room I look outside and outside it's raining / In drops hanging from the railing I see the gems of your crown / Air, in every corner of my room I'm looking for you / Air, on the wet om my street I'm chasing you and you're melting / Air, I feel that I'm losing you).

The second track, Vorrei Incontrarti is a delicate acoustic ballad, much more simple and melodic, very relaxing and beautiful. The final two song are more complex: La Mia Mente, with a lot of piano and mellotron parts, reminds me the Hammill style quite clearly and so well the final track Un Fiume Tranquillo, that stands out for its large use of wind instruments. In conclusion a great album that will appeal to fans of ethnic and folk prog, maybe a little less to fans of symphonic prog and other groups of the 70's italian scene, too much oriented towards a music dominated by keyboards.

A masterpiece of italian prog: after many hearing (and you need a lot of hearing to understand this work), I give 5 stars to it.

P.S. For VDGG fans only: If you want to hear the "italian answer to Peter".... what are you waiting for?

Best song: Aria

 Una Luce Si Accende by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1973
2.09 | 3 ratings

Una Luce Si Accende
Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Nice ten-minute single!

Italy has provided us with some of the best voices in the world, well I know all is subjective and everyone has its favorites, but at least within the realm of progressive rock, I am sure some Italian singers are really recognized and loved by people of different parts of the globe. One of them, whose voice actually is hated by another considerable amount of people, is the mighty Alan Sorrenti, who was born in 1950 and whose first two albums are a clear example of experimentation towards progressive rock.

Anyway, that long introduction was just in order to add a few words to this short review. His second album which I really like was entitled "Come un Vecchio Incensiere all'Alba di un Villagio Deserto" and released in 1973, one year after his debut and brilliant "Aria". This second album features five songs including the title track which lasts over 20 minutes, but well, this review is not about that album, but about its single. "Una Luce si Accende" was the chosen one as the single song, so this "album" starts with that piece, and finishes with "A te che Dormi" also taken from the mentioned studio album. Both complete nine minutes of nice music.

The first one is a beautiful composition that has a cello creating a cute atmosphere, accompanied by Sorrenti's voice and his acoustic guitar. Seconds later piano enters and adds a new essence to the existent atmosphere. At half the song, it changes and explodes, his voice is sublime, strong and sensible, while the music sounds too experimental and builds new images. Then the track slows down again and for a couple of minutes, but again explodes and turns weirder. It finishes with a nice violin sound, an excellent song.

And the second track is shorter and less experimental. Acoustic guitars with soft vocals all over the song, maybe the experimentation comes with the vocals, where he is not pronouncing words but just sounds.

As almost all the singles I have reviewed, this one receives also two stars, despite I really like the first song, I believe nine minutes of music cannot be considered a good addition for any prog lover, I would actually recommend it only for Sorrenti and RPI lovers. Anyway?

Enjoy it!

 Aria by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 93 ratings

Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Genius to some, dreadful to others--I understand both views

Alan Sorrenti was born in Wales and later worked from Naples, releasing a few prog albums in the early 70s before switching to commercial pop in 1976. He is the brother of Jenny Sorrenti of Saint Just fame, and his debut Aria is notable for featuring the famed violinist Jean-Luc Ponty as a collaborator.

Aria is an experimental album featuring vocals that can only be described as a free-form experiment, they dominate the music like some animated avant-garde poetry reading over folk/chamber music. Actually the music is more of a dark cloaked, ethnic folk and acoustic blend, with generous keys, creating a murky pool over which Sorrenti lays down vocals that are among the most interesting you will ever hear. As someone used to Italian vocals which have a reputation for being difficult (though rarely deserved in my opinion), I can tell you that this album will test your limits for vocal histrionics. Here Sorrenti's baying at the moon makes Peter Hammill sound like Cat Stevens. If that sounds harsh I suppose it is because I don't really like the Sorrenti vocals, though I'll endure them for the unique music presented here. The centerpiece track "Aria" opens very quietly and acoustic, you might think you're in for something like "Rivendell" or "Granchester Meadow." But it changes quite quickly as melancholic piano and cymbals are added along with the beginnings of Mr. Sorrenti's long, hallucinogenic vocal trip. He basically turns his voice into an instrument and he moves up and down the register in a way that can seem random, he explores places which seem out of his natural range, and he provides and endless repertoire of unusual noises, bleats, and groans. And he keeps it up almost constantly which is one of my biggest complaints. More restraint or some longer places to breath would have helped the overall piece. Then again, if you like his spiel here you are in for a treat. Bass and violin soon follows as the piece gets more tension filled and spooky. I think if you cranked this album on the big speakers in your garage, a neighbor would have the police there in about 5 minutes. Horns and organ make appearances as well as the track either overstays it welcome or you get lost in the waves, there's no easy way to predict who will like this and who will not. Side two is broken in to three shorter tracks which offer more diversity but still suffer from the overbearing vocals. There is beautiful melody and interesting progressions here but it is sometimes a challenge to follow them through the vocals. I enjoy difficult music and can find beauty in harsh places as you will know if you read my reviews, but I'm just not sold that Sorrenti is as amazing as others think he is:

"Creating a blend of folk with a melodic, avant-garde jazz backdrop, Sorrenti has rendered a vocal tapestry on par with anything Van Morrison or Peter Hammill has had the energy to commit to tape. Aria is a blend of the most sophisticated form of symphonic folk I have ever heard. At times Sorrenti weaves his way through his tunes like an emblazoned Peter Hammill with VdGG, only to recess back to the solitude of a melancholy troubadour, evoking images of a soul in suspended animation." -Fantasyman, RYM

This is an atypical RPI album that was as bold and challenging as other acclaimed works like Battisti's "Anima Latina" or Battiato's "Sulle Corde di Aries." While not a favorite of mine I recognize the tortured genius (or is the pointlessly irritating and self-absorbed)? I can only recommend the album to those interested in the most challenging approaches to music, to lovers of the weird and the avant-garde. At the end of the day I feel it has the potential for brilliance, but rather than tempering the vocal a bit he just drives it into the ground. It's a tough album yet still a good one, and perhaps more. Read my friend LinusW's wonderful review which while different from mine I completely accept---there is beauty here, it's just going to take me more time to find it.

 Aria by SORRENTI, ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 93 ratings

Alan Sorrenti Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Can't tell whether this is a rarity or a major classic in the Italian prog history but at least I was was very pleased to hear it, without knowing anything about the artist in advance. There are relatively many reviews on this (so, it is a classic, I suppose?) - I'm just giving my own first impressions. The album consists of the near-20-minute epic title track and three tracks between 5 and 8 minutes. Quite soon I had one specific artist in my mind: PETER HAMMILL/ VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, especially on the wide range of singing (which has been compared to TIM BUCKLEY's most far-out works too) and on the overall attmosphere, which is a bit eerie and haunting. What a great harmony between the cover art and the music!

Unlike in VDGG there is no sax, but Jean-Luc Ponty's appearance as a violinist gives more or less the same flavour. You hear also hammond, accordion, trombone, trumpet and synth harp, but the vocals and acoustic guitar of the leading man remains in focus. The music has some kind of spontaneity and deep emotional impact just like Hammill in the early VDGG. Some parts are not so 'nice' listening but the interest is kept pretty well all through the epic, as well as on the three shorter tracks. One really needs to listen to this music many times before knowing it well. Hopefully I'm still to find many more levels and emotions in this album.

Thanks to micky for the artist addition. and to for the last updates

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