What a lovely album. A symphony of 12-string guitars, Mellotrons and Moogs, soprano saxophones, flutes, violins, bagpipes and percussion gently flows from the speakers as Hostsonaten's third album, Springsong, peacefully unfurls 45 minutes of natural, spiritual and melodic bliss. This instrumental collaboration with several musicians is the brainchild of bass player Fabio Zuffanti, who founded the Italian progressive/symphonic rock band Finisterre in 1992. In fact, many former Finisterre members were involved in the project. Musical reference points begin with Clannad, Nightnoise and Trespass-era Genesis, but extend way beyond the boundaries of those bands.
These nine songs need no titles - especially such lengthy ones as "The Wood Is Alive With the Smell of the Rain" and "Evocation of Spring in a Fastdance" - as they meld beautifully into each other, creating an aural environment filled with sunshine and peace. Every so often, Zuffanti tosses in an ethereal electric-guitar solo or flourishes of Mellotron and Moog. For the most part, though, Springsong stays true to its classical, jazz and Renaissance roots - yet with a progressive, epic twist. About the only element that seems out of place on this album is the bizarre spoken-word passage at the end of "She Sat Writing Letters on the Riverbank."
Springsong's packaging enhances the listening experience with an attractive white paperboard case and inside sleeve, along with 10 cards featuring colorful and intricately detailed illustrations taken from The Bible of Borso D'Este, an artistic treasure from the Renaissance period. Each card represents a song (plus one for the album as a whole) and includes the names of all musicians playing on a specific track. From packaging to playback, Springsong is a record to be cherished and savored.