Saturday, 1 March 2014
MARCO DE ANGELIS - "The River - Both Sides of the Story"
Marco de Angelis is an Italian composer, musician, arranger and producer with almost thirty years of experience in music. Soon or later, the musical input accumulated inside his mind should have to find an outlet to escape out in the form of some artistic expression - that is “The River - Both Sides of the Story” - a conceptual piece that presents a consistent theme throughout the various phases of its creation, execution, recording and future representation. It is not a collection of songs, but a homogeneous and coherent body of work in which lyrics, music and arrangements fuse together harmoniously within the visual and suggestive concept of a “river”, which represents the real life, sided by its two river banks, which represent the dualism in which all human beings exist. Traveling on the river, one can make a trip of self-discovery, choosing to stop on one bank or another, or can just be dragged by chance into its whimsical flowing. “The River” was independently released in 2013 and features Marco de Angelis (guitar, bass, keyboards, and Chapman stick), Marcello Catalano (vocals), Cristiano Micalizzi (drums) and gest singers that form a women’s choir. In spite of his Italian roots, the music of de Angelis has nothing to do with Italian Progressive Rock, being rather aligned with the British Style. The songs are a blend of sophisticated British Pop-Rock and World Music covered with a Neo-Progressive luster, having a resemblance with the works of “Peter Gabriel”, “Paul Simon”, “Marillion”, “Fish”, “Phil Collins”, “Simply Red”, “Coldplay”, and the latest albums of “Genesis” & “Pink Floyd”. Although the compositions emphasize the song-format (by privileging Catalano’s sensitive lead vocals), the arrangements are also adorned with beautiful passages of pianos, and have solos of synths and guitars in Neo-Prog style. Cristiano Micalizzi on the drums shows a rich rhythmical palette that includes Rock, Jazz, Brit-Pop, and World Music ethnical beats, and makes a great duo with the impressive bass of de Angelis. The moods go from slightly lively to slightly cool or melancholic; and the female backing vocals (that sing short and long “uh’s” and “ah’s”) recall “Pink Floyd” and “Paul Simon”. “The River” features 12 tracks. “Radio” (0:21)/“Tell Me Why” (5:21) is lively, driven by World Music beats and backing vocals that recall “Gabriel” and “Paul Simon”, and has Neo-Prog guitars that recall “Marillion”. Other songs have a stronger Pop-Rock appeal, but never give out the melodic solos of guitar and synths. They are “One Love” (5:21) – which recalls “Marillion” (of the last days with “Fish”), “Genesis” (pop phase), and has an instrumentation more like “Asia”; “Snowbound” (4:47) – a ballad driven by acoustic guitars, symphonic string arrangements, and keyboards that recalls “Fish” and “Coldplay”; “Never Look Back” (4:26) – a rhythmically groovy song reminiscent of “Peter Gabriel” funky-phase, but that for some reason also recalls me of “Kansas”; “Take It Away” (6:28) - which is Techno, also resembling “Peter Gabriel”; and “Fly High” (6:54) - a sunny and soaring ballad like “Genesis”, “Phil Collins”, and “Simply Red”. Intermingled with those tracks there are some introspective and slightly melancholic songs such as “Black Stare” (5:04) - driven by pianos, recalling “Marillion” (with “Fish”), ascending to a pop-commercial end; “This Time” (6:31) - another “Marillion” with “Fish” kind of song that grows with more drama later; and “Regrets” (7:51), which has a touch of “Pink Floyd”, “Phil Collins”, and “Marillion”, ending with great melodic guitar solo. The song “What Do You Feel Now?” (6:17) tends to the Electronic Progressive style, having sound effects and instrumental passages influenced by “Eno”, “Parsons”, “Pink Floyd” (with highlight for the vocals and bass), and even “Manfred Mann” (on backing vocals); while the closing track “Our Trail Of Tears” (9:20) begins Popish (think of “Phil Collins” or “Simply Red”) and grows like a “Marillion” song of the “Hogarth” phase, being crowned with a typical Neo-Prog solo that vanishes into a man’s speech thanking the audience for winning a prize. “The River” is a solid work by Marco de Angelis, but as the music stays on the bordering line between sophisticated British Pop-Rock and typical Neo-Progressive style, a shall recommend this album only for fans of “Marillion”, the latest albums of “Genesis” & “Pink Floyd”, the solo works of “Peter Gabriel”, “Fish”, and “Phil Collins”, and fans of “Simply Red”, “Coldplay”, and “Paul Simon”. Band members and collaborators involved in Marco de Angelis/The River are: Marco de Angelis - Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Chapman Stick; Marcello Catalano – Vocals; Cristiano Micalizzi – Drums. Guests: Désirèe Petrocchi; Simona Rizzi; Susanna Stvali; Fabiola Torresi; Sara Berni - Backing Vocals. All songs written and arranged by Marco De Angelis, except: “Our Trail Of Tears” written by Marco De Angelis / Puzzle. All lyrics by Marco De Angelis, except: “Tell Me Why”, “Black Stare” (Marco De Angelis / Odette Albani); “Our Trail Of Tears” (Marcello Catalano) & “Snowbound” (Sham Hinchey). Produced by Marco De Angelis; Recorded, Engineered & Mixed by Marco De Angelis; Acoustic guitars session recorded by Maurizio Capitini; Additional post-pro mixing by Fabrizio Facioni. Recorded at Soundtrack Studio & Revolver Studio; Mastered by Sue Brown at The Crypt Mastering... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta).