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Picchio dal Pozzo: A_Live

Picchio dal Pozzo is a progressive rock band from Italy who have been around since the mid-70s but have only released a handful of albums. Playing on their new release entitled A_Live are original members Aldo De Scalzi (keyboards, electric bass, vocals), Paolo Griguolo (vocals, tenor flute, electric guitar) and Aldo Di Marco (percussion) along with new member Dado Sezzi and the avant-prog band Yugen.

I was unfamiliar with this band as I have not heard a lot of Italian progressive rock but after listening to A_Live it is an area I need to investigate further. Originally the band was Italy's answer to the Canterbury scene and I hear that to some extent. This is hard stuff to categorize but I suppose avant prog is as good a label as any although there are elements of classical, jazz and pure progressive rock with lots of dreamy atmospheres and gorgeous melodies. The keyboards are used to build layers of sound whereas wood instruments, provided by Valerio Cipollone of the band Yugen, give these songs an added texture and a jazz rock foundation on which these songs are built.

The album was recorded live on November 16, 2008 where the band closed out the AltRock Festival. The album includes songs from the first PdP release as well as an unreleased track entitled "Lindbergh", an unusual ballad with nice acoustic guitar and Scalzi's unique vocals. Before that song there are eight other rather good ones starting with "Merta" with its melodic acoustic guitar and dreamy keys before the intensity level increases. The woodwinds add a slight dissonance giving the song a touch of the avant-garde. "Cocomelastico" features many twists and turns going from bustling background sounds to lush keyboard laden soundscapes to jazzy guitar underpinnings all over the course of six and a half minutes. The dreamy "Off" features exceptional piano while the ambitious "Il Presidente" has keyboards and guitar veering in different directions while intricate drum patterns and interesting vocal melodies course there way through.

One of the album's wildest songs is "Adriatico" where woodwinds and strange effects along with distorted guitar chords and neat percussion makes for a great listen. If that is not strange enough for you how about the trippy "La Bolla" featuring smatterings of piano and a beautiful melody that turns into unmitigated chaos as a cacophonous of improvised sound builds and eventually dissipates into dreamier pastures.

A_Live is one of the more unique progressive rock albums I have heard this year. If you are into Italian prog and want something a bit different Picchio dal Pozzo may suit you just fine.

Track Listing:
1. Merta (7:32)
2. Cocomelastico (6:29)
3. Off (4:17)
4. Il Presidente (9:06)
5. Adriatico (10:05)
6. La Bolla (9:55)
7. Uccellin Del Bosco (4:55)
8. Napier (7:28)
9. Lindbergh (7:11)

Added: December 1st 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label Official Site
Hits: 1629
Language: english

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