I looked long and hard for a record label for this album which, for a self produced recording, is of very high quality indeed, in terms of both recording and artwork as well as pretty impressive marketing (unlike a lot of stuff we receive with barely any information at all). Many independent labels could do worse than look at how these guys are packaging their work. Senza Nome (nameless) is an Italian five piece progressive rock band who formed in 2003. Having played many live gigs, released a demo cd and collaborated with other art forms including theatre, the band had earned their credentials well before they laid down the music on this, their debut album.
With that background it is perhaps less of a surprise to hear such a well crafted set of songs in a style that successfully blends the Italian prog tradition with more modern sounding idioms and instruments. Vocals are in Italian. A languid opening guitar solo rises above a rather tinny sounding synth initially but the two come together quickly with acoustic guitar joining the 12 minute composition. Emanuele de Marzi has a melodious, light vibrato which is easy on the ear, similar to Celeste in the opening part of this 3 part suite. The mood changes in the aggressive allegro instrumental section "Antitesi" which features interesting time changes and effective stop-start phrasing. After thesis and opposition, the summary synthesis (a la German philosopher Hegel's adoption of Socrates' dialectic) section is a melodic upbeat pop section.
A beautifully narrated section of the Little Prince by actor Fabrizio Rinaldi opens "Passi" to gentle acoustic guitar, keyboard washes and light percussion. A tasteful work, the blend of narrative and Marzi's tentative vocal is striking in its simplicity and effect. "Tomore" starts with a blazing guitar solo and develops nicely into a jazzy ELP feel to the rhythms of the piano, guitar and sax-emulation. Toward the end the tempo slows for the tender vocal part.
"Non sono mai esistito" adds further variety to the mix with a funky rhythm, chunky Hammond and inquiring bluesy vocal. I'm reminded here of many of the South American bands who adopt this style. By complete contrast, the band return to Greek mythology in "Ulisse", a 10 minute piece opening with marine effects, gentle acoustic guitar and harmonica which lead into another of those emotional Celeste-like songs which de Marzi does so well. This is maybe the most eloquent and well-developed of all the songs on the album, adding a Greek choir and narrative from Canto 26 of The Inferno to the mix of electric and acoustic passages which pepper the central instrumental part of song. Flavours of Lamb-era Genesis are touched on in the moog and acoustic guitar parts.
"Si la do" shows the band being playful with the solfa system of music theory and I can only assume we are dealing here with classically trained musicians rather than self taught although the biopics don't say. Either way, the crazy mixed up guttural and soprano vocals, RIO-style juxtaposition of chord sequences and the intertwining of a melody line make for an interesting bit of musical skulduggery including a brief nod to Area's Demetrio Stratos in the closing vocal. The final song is a short acoustic piece featuring a guitar and piano duet, underpinned by a warm bass motif.
This gem can be picked up for just 8 Euros from their website (www.senzanome.net) which is a bargain in anyone's terms.
Suite: Illusioni di un' anima lontana
6. Non sono mai esistito
8. Si la do (also included as a video)
9. Sopra a un pensiero