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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Finisterre - XXV - 2019


    

... revisiting the music of this debut album is a blissful experience ...

Well this one is a special album for me. Finisterre was/is one of the many interesting projects of Maestro Fabio Zuffanti and one of my favorite Italian bands. But all the credits for the original compositions are going of course to composer / Keyboardist Boris Valle. Sadly the band still resides on my bucket list of bands I would like to see performing live on stage. First of all I would like to thank my friend and drummer of the “XXV” lineup Andrea Orlando for supplying a physical promo copy of “XXV” to progVisions. The title “XXV” refers to the year 1993. Finisterre was formed in Genova 25 years ago. Because of this festive event the current lineup of the band re-recorded their self titled debut album from 1995. A classic album full of modern Italian Symphonic and Progressive Rock music. Revisiting the music of this remarkable debut album is for me a blissful experience. The album is released on the Italian AMS Records label. A label that is growing into the most important label for the Italian Prog Scene. They do this with beautiful produced and manufactured cardboard LP sleeve digipak editions. Each of them quality products and highly appreciated by the fans. Saying this the album has been released in digital, CD and Vinyl formats.

Agostino Macor - synthesizers, Mellotron, combo organ with fuzz, glockenspiel; Stefano Marelli - guitar, lead vocals, choirs; Andrea Orlando - drums, tambourine, wind chimes; Boris Valle - piano, Wurlitzer, organ; Fabio Zuffanti - bass, lead vocal in “Cantoantico”

Guests:
Osvaldo Loi - viola, violin; Marco Moro - flute; Edmondo Romano - clarinet, soprano sax, ocarina; Luca Scherani - accordion

Choir:
Sopranos: Maddalena Bagnasco, Laura Palazzini, Elena Nieddu, Annalisa Pisoni Cimelli
Altos: Daniela Salmeri, Monica Palazzini, Luana Lapini, Ambra Tocco
Tenors: Claudio Castellini, Fausto Sidri, Alessandro Vallebona
Basso: Davide Care, Luca Scherani, Simone Dagnino

Finisterre made in a span of 25 years 4 excellent studio albums (“Finisterre” - 1995, “In Limine” - 1996, “In Ogni Luogo” - 1999, “La Meccanica Naturale” - 2004), a handful of live albums and the double compilation set “Harmony Of The Spheres” (2002). No mediocrities here, every Finisterre album is treasured by the fans.

On the new “XXV” version you can find all the original compositions of Boris Valle in the original running order plus a revisiting of the opener “Aqua”. Well maybe you have to say that the song is split in two half’s because the original version is almost a minute longer and the new reprise is 1:33 minutes long. It is an atmospheric piece of music that is keyboard oriented with beautiful and delicate guitar parts on top. I won’t compare every old and new version to each other, but in those 25 years the recording equipment is of course completely different and we can now enjoy a much greater transparency in the music. This brings the music alive, you can hear every little detail. At last we can the compositions in their full glory ... those gems are revealing their true beauty now .. it seems like there is a veil removed. Luckily the band is respecting the original compositions and is representing the music in a respectful manner. After that atmospheric and fluid “Aqua” opening the band is presenting with “Asia” a lovely uptempo piece of Symphonic Rock with great keyboard, guitar and flute passages that is working towards a fine climax with a nice guitar solo. In the next song “Maciaacqua, Macinaluna” the band shows use some Jazz and classical influences that are placed next to aggressive guitar work that brings the name of Jimi Hendrix to your mind. But the middle section is pure beauty with delicate and passionate sung vocals that are accompanied with classical piano work. Later on those beautiful melodies are returning with a soaring guitar and lovely Mellotron strings to give us a beautiful ending. In the following short track “... Dal Caos ...”  the band is experimenting with the world of free jazz. Drummer Andrea Orlando is shining in this piece that has a freaky ending with some King Crimson and jazz influences. The contrast with the beautiful guitar and flute melodies of the following “SYN” is great. This long piece of music with a duration of more than 15 minutes is the centerpiece of this remarkable (debut) album. Also in this long piece of music with great diversity you can find rock, jazz and classical influences. Halfway the song the beautiful guitar and flute melodies will transport you to Prog heaven. Then the music becomes more jazzy with freaky saxophone and clarinet work of guest Edmondo Romano. Those parts are then combined with delicate and melodic parts with nice flute melodies. There is so much going on (do you notice all the voices of the choir?) in this classic RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) piece. In the end the beautiful melodies are returning and are working nicely towards a wonderful climax. The last two minutes of this song are just breathtaking. This epic piece of music is followed by two pieces of music that includes beautiful vocal parts. In the intriguing and sometimes jazzy piece “Isis” we hear the voice of guitarist Stefano Marelli and in “Cantoantico” bassist Fabio Zuffanti is responsible for the lead vocals. The later is a more than 10 minutes long piece of typical Italian Prog with beautiful Mellotron strings, melodic flute melodies and intriguing synth and guitar solo’s. This great piece of music is one of the highlights of this album. Before the album ends with the reprise part of opener “Aqua” we can listen to “Phaedra”. A classic Finisterre song that includes great drumming, diverse guitar work, delicate piano parts and lovely keyboard strings . This Symphonic Prog piece that has also some jazz influences is slowly working towards a climax. As said before the album is now ending with a little Aqua part.

If you are familiar with Finisterre ‘s self titled debut from 1995 you will be in for a treat. Because of the current studio techniques this respectfully re-recorded album sounds amazing. Especially in the field of transparency, you can hear every little detail of the music. It is like a veil has removed from the music. This debut album from a bunch of young Italian musicians that were interested in the Prog of the seventies is full of ideas and influences. There are a lot of Rock, Jazz and Classical influences on this album. Maybe this album is not as consistent as later albums but everything is already here. You can find the most beautiful melodies on this album. This is a classic RPI album full of first class Symphonic Prog that is already showing us a glimpse of all the beautiful stuff that would be released by the band on later albums. Just listen to my personal highlights, “Macinaacqua Macinaluna”, “SYN”, “Isis”, “Cantoantico” and “Phaedra”. This re-recorded debut album, a little RPI gem, is highly recommended by progVisions.

Douwe Fledderus - August 2019
rating - AMS Records

 

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