Deus Ex Machina: Imparis (CD/DVD)
Deus Ex Machina formed in Balogna, Italy in 1985, are by no means new to the Italian progressive music scene as this is their eighth release. The album was recorded at Le Triton recording studios in Paris. While they were at it, the band also decided to make a live DVD to go along with the studio album. This band plays it's own unique style of progressive jazz rock and fusion with some avant garde thrown into the mix, making direct comparisons difficult. Oh sure, I suppose I hear some King Crimson in places, a little bit of classic rock, maybe even a hint of Steely Dan in some of their more jazz rock moments and in the way they use electric piano adding vibrancy to the music . However, they do not really sound like any of those bands, and that is what makes them unique. And hey, any band that sings in Latin surely must be one of a kind.
It must be said, these musicians are all virtuosos on their respective instruments. Included in the band are Buonez Bonetti (violins), Maurino Collina (guitars), Alberto Piras (vocals), Porre Porreca (bass), Fabrizio Puglisi (keyboards) and Claudio Trotta (drums). Each member contributes to the band's sound as this is a group effort every step of the way. The music played here is extremely intricate, whether it's the sound of an electric guitar adding punch and not to mention the occasional ripping solo, or the violin creating layer upon layer of instrumental bliss. Keyboards are also used extensively, especially the electric piano, creating a jazzy atmosphere in many of these songs. The bass is steady and occasionally comes to the forefront and is more prominent in the mix. The vocals of Piras are another strong point. Whether singing in a deep rich tone, or offering a more delicate vibe, he is able to convey the necessary emotion this music demands especially when his voice takes on a bluesy quality.
While many of these songs include varying changes in rhythm and tempo, there is still room for some nice melodies, especially those provided by keyboards and violin. While guitar also ups the melodic factor it often provides an angular attack, creating complex rhythmic patterns or weaving sinuous lines. Keyboards are also important to the band's sound, creating bold splashes of colour and textures, especially in their jazz fusion explorations.
Piras' blues inflected vocals on the first track, "La Diversita di Avere un'Anima" really pulled me in adding the needed emotion the song demands. Some classic rock guitar chords and a cool organ riff get things going before the pace slows down with Steely Dan-like keyboards and a fantastic guitar solo making this one of my favourites. More jazz fusion tinged rock can be found in "Il Testamento dell'Uomo Saggio" and again electric piano is one of the highlights as well as a short but sweet synth solo. Some wild violin play adds a touch of experimentation to the overall sound. The melody from "La Fine del Mondo" is truly moving with warm acoustic guitar matching the warmth of Piras' voice. Again the violin skill of Bonetti is top-notch. One of the more poignant offerings and another album highlight.
The bonus DVD is a nice addition to the overall package. The concert footage is of good quality, both sound and video. The performance is excellent, and the songs translate well to the live enviromment. This concert is all about the music as there are no extravagant props, just basic lighting. It would have been nice to include some audience footage but this is only a minor quibble. Also included is an informative interview and various extras that are worth a look.
Deus Ex Machina have released a winner here and I look forward to more of their work. If you are into jazz rock and fusion and appreciate outstanding musicianship this should be an auto-purchase. Well, what are you waiting for?
1. La Diversita di Avere un'Anima (7:53)
2. Giallo Oro (12:04)
3. Il Testamento dell'Uomo Saggio (6:34)
4. Cor Mio (5:13)
5. La Fine del Mondo (14:48)
6. Cosmopolitismo Centimetropolitano – live (11:56)
Paris Live Concert
1. Rhinoceros (9:39)
2.La Diversita di Avere un'Anima (8:21)
3.Giallo Oro (11:13)
4.Dove Non Puo Esserci Contraddizione (10:04)
5.Il Pensiero Che Porta Alle Cose Importanti (7:46)
6.Cosmopolitismo Centimetropolitano – drum solo (5:09)
7. Cosmopolitismo Centimetropolitano (11:56)
1. DeM speak (22:30)
2. Fabrizio plays - Giallo Oro (5:44)
1. Paris backstage (6:00)
2. Excerpts from Manresa, Spain 2002 (16:55)
Il Pensiero Che Porta Alle Cose Importanti
3. Excerpts from Chapel Hill, USA 1996 (9:27)
4. Excerpts from Italian TV, 1996 (4:20)
Res Publica II
5. Ad Montem, 1993 videoclip (4:56)
Added: February 26th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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