......................................THE BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH
Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - Logo
. MARCH 2011
Comments:
Around the last forty years, have emerged many incredible band, coming from many places around the world. Here are a few countries that still preserve their traditions and roots in Progressive Rock style, England, Germany, Holland, Spain and Italy, but Italy is the only one which even today retains exactly the settings of the instrumental Progressive Rock developed in the 70s. Using the same references that consecrated icons like "Banco", "PFM", "Le Orme", "Osanna" and many others. The first thing that drew me to this conclusion is, the amount of Progressive Rock italian's bands, that ilustrate the musical scene today, all those bands that arose over the last twenty years, soon settle down, with an ability to create an unique and amazing progressive rock sound. I'm talking about the band Syndone, where musicians know exactly develop an intriguing, amazing, dramatic progressive rock, totally inspired by the style of the '70s. Their musical influences fit perfectly in with a symphonic sensibilities, very well dominated by a set of instrumentation, into a perfect harmony, where we can listen a dominant piano's sound, with atmospheric keyboards, hammond and moog, that fit perfectly by floating instrumental, together with some violin passages, creating a gloomy and atmospheric environment and a lush flute complementing the violin crossings, naturally you will be delighted with a impressive sound, that is very well balanced by many frequent musical interludes and also, a constant musical orchestration, with a lot of instrumental passages.  Across the ensemble, the vocal have a special flavour, singing in italian, is one of the main element in the arrangements, that adds incredible power into the arrangements, it is like a maestro of a great orchestra, leading all musicians in a single direction. "Melapensante" is a nice enough album, full of sensitive musicianship, where the musicians know how to mix subtle lyrics with inspired arrangements, a blending of many experience and styles, adding intriguing musical ingredients that come together to create a really enjoyable and rewarding listening. In fact, Syndone has produced a very varied album, covering all major nuances of the best Italian progressive rock style. You can bet your life, Syndone is one such group who everyone will like forever, and it must be part of collections of CDs from everybody who really enjoy the Italian Progressive Rock. Using as best reference the music from the band, follows in the same line such as the bands "Le Orme", "Jumbo", "Stormy Six", "Alphataurus", "Il Paese dei Balocchi", "Banco del Mutuo Soccorso", "Delirium", "Semiramis", "Quella Vecchia Locanda",  "Osanna", "Nuova Idea", "Arti & Mestieri", "De De Lind", "Cervello", "Latte e Miele", with a rich instrumental and a technical innovative skill. Brilliant, fantastic, and an amazing album and band, highly recommendable...

The line-up on Syndone are:
Nik Comoglio - Piano, Hammond, Moog Rhodes, Keyboards and Backing Vocals
Federico Marchesano - Electric Bass and Double Bass
Francesco Pinetti - Vibraphone, Symphonic Timpani and Keyboards
Paolo Rigotto - Drums and Percussions
Riccardo Ruggeri – Lead Vocals

Featuring:
Umberto Clerici, Paola Perardi, Claudia Ravetto - Celo
Beppe Tripodi, Marina Bertolo - Violin
Elena Favilla - Alto
Andrea Manco - Flute
Luigi Finetto - Oboe
Gomalan Brass Quintet - Brass
Pino Russo - Cl Guitar
Andrea Scagliarini - Harmonica

 

SYNDONE

Syndone is an Italian prog band born at the end of 1989 thanks to the composer and keyboardist Nik Comoglio. Nik planned to create a symphonic rock trio focused on keyboards, inspired by "ELP"; he involved Paolo Sburlati (drums) and Fulvio Serra (bass), concentrating on ideas and completely avoiding self-referential arrangements and above all any use of electric guitars, for too long an instrument too central and characteristic in any genre.

…“We were looking for a name that would suggest at the same time Sacredness, Turin, Spirituality¸and Grooves (like in an old vinyl record), so I thought of Syndone, with a Y to distinguish from the famous holy relic and to make it more international without being blasphemous. Anywhere you are, anywhere in the world, this name reminds of Turin… and I liked this”. (Nik)

The trio released two records with Electromantic Music: "Spleen" (1990) and "Inca" (1992), both produced by Beppe Crovella, the keyboardist of the legendary "Arti & Mestieri". Those two album received a major international exposure and received a wide consensus amongst the prog-rock critics worldwide. After a small number of live concerts, the band breaks up for personal reason and each of the musicians will follow an individual path.

Nik Comoglio carries on his work throughout different expressive environments, composes rock operas and “cultivated” records and in 2009 decides to start again with Syndone but, rather than initiating a reunion, he builds up a brand new band, a quintet of young and motivated musicians.

In late 2010 they release – again for Electromantic – "Melapesante", a concept album dedicated to the symbology of the apple, completely in Italian and mastered in the famous Abbey Road studios in London."

Malum is Latin for Apple.

Malum means apple and evil at the same time  evil intended as temptation, transgression, and sin. But mostly, for a long time, Apples were the symbol of seduction by Eros.

The use of the Apple symbolism in the biblical myths, in the Homeric times, in fairytales, in science, or, more recently, in advertisement appears as a summary of the steps of our collective morals discomfort towards instincts.

Apples are tasty, sugary and easily accessible fruits; they are as captivating as the young womens breasts and bottoms to which they were consistently compared in a thriving erotic literature, both lay and religious. Apples invite to be picked and eaten right away, without any commitment or tests to be passed.

The strength of Apples lies in their simplicity, availability, and lavishness as they only ask not to be left there to rot away.

Apples are ephemeral, they stand for fall, they summarise evil in the form of fire-breathing dragons or subtle and tempting snakes fought by courageous heroes.

Apples corrupt fantasies. Sexuality and imaginary life of the unconscious, represented by the Apple symbolism, have both been used by the Western culture to judge eroticism.

In order to pick the Apple, the Ego has to get rid of its armour, put on hold its defence of great ideals, and abandon its ideology of battle to rediscover short-lived sweetness.

Below a great interview with the Syndone band members:

Melapesante marks the return of Syndone after over fifteen years; what made you want to get back together?

Mind, Syndone 2010 is not a reunion but a new band with new musicians (as a quintet), each of us with an individual musical background. And it is this idea, to have a band as a basis to a recording project, that pushed me to try to restart working on this thread that has been hanging fir eighteen years, to try to create the most original music I could, because I think that originality in music is created by a group of people, a synergy of minds with as big a cultural baggage as is possible, each one giving in proportion to how much they have been assimilating during their career.
Melapesante is a concept album; how did you conceive the apple topic?
While thinking back to issues linked with apples in the Western culture, we found several small aspects that link back to our world and the development of our civilization: from Newton’s scientific discoveries to Magritte’s paintings, from Adam and Eve’s Garden of Eden to Greek mythology. Within the history of humankind, the apple has always been a symbol that, especially until the early twentieth century with the appearance of psychoanalysis and of new science, represented something negative, linked with sin, desire, with the unknown: an idea that we owe to our traditions and to our religious culture.

Here’s what we wrote in the intro to the concept:

Malum is the name of the Apple in Latin.

It indicates both the fruit of the apple tree and “evil”. Evil as in temptation, transgression and sin. But above all the apple has been, for a long time, a symbol of the seductions of Eros.

The symbol of the apple in the Bible, in Homer’s epic poems, in fairytales, in science or in advertisement seems to be summing up the evolution of the discomfort of our collective morale when faced with our natural passions.
The Apple is a tasty fruit, sugary and easily accessible; seductive, like the breast or the gluteus of a young woman to which it has been compared throughout erotic, religious and common literature, it sends out an invitation to pick it up and eaten immediately, with no commitments or tests to overcome.

The strength of the Apple is its simplicity, its readiness to offer itself, its availability asking only not to be left to rot.

The Apple is ephemeral; it is something that falls, a summary of all the evil the hero needs to face, under the appearance of a fiery dragon or in the sneaky disguise of a tempting snake. The Apple disturbs fantasies; sexuality and the unconscious, symbolised by the Apple, have been the two faces under which Eros has been shown for judgement in the western world.

To pick the Apple, the Ego needs to accept to lay its armour down, to suspend its defence of the big ideals and to choose to re-discover not-lasting sweetness ahead of the ideals of the battle.

What are the differences between Melapesante and your two previous albums, Spleen and Inca?
The differences are mainly two: the main one is that Melapesante is a mature record: artistically, in its composition and for what concerns the research beneath the sound. Secondarily, it is less pop/jazz than Spleen, better fitting in the genre, more orchestral and symphonic. It still partially recalls the ‘90s Syndone clichés; we didn’t want to completely renounce that peculiar sound we had created back then. For instance, we still don’t have an electric guitar, but we opened to different timbres with the use of a vibraphone or of different keyboards.

Furthermore, we need to remember that in the eighteen years since Inca, technology has made a lot of progress for what concerns recording, so much that sound itself has been improved immensely. The new microphone setups made the recording of vintage keyboards, vocals and acoustic instruments much more clear and deep, and this new side is very important. Anyway, we also needed to deal with something else: the obvious comparison people would of course have made with our two previous albums, that had a pretty decent success. For this reason we absolutely needed to make a step forward, both artistically and technologically to start from a level maybe not superior but at least equal to those records to climb up towards an optimal situation, better than the one we were in back then.

The first two records by Syndone were vastly appreciated abroad; how do you explain this success?
At the time I was looking for a new sound and was experimenting as much as I could with the effects on analogical synths – something I still do, actually – even if those were the times in which synths such as “Mirage” and Roland S50, that ended up opening a whole world of timbre possibilities, had been created.

I think that those experiments with analogical sound – and partially with digital sound too – were a key factor that awoke the interest of the foreign audiences, always very ready to listen to new bands. Of course we can’t forget the melodic pop style of some of the ballads that made those two records very easy-listening… many fans of “pure” prog criticised us because of them.

In this third record, Syndone renewed their line-up. Who played in the album?
Syndone are: Nik Comoglio on piano, Hammond, Moog and keyboards; Federico Marchesano on electric bass and double bass; Francesco Pinetti on vibraphone and symphonic timpani; Paolo Rigotto on drums and percussions; Riccardo Ruggeri on vocals.
Syndone are one of the big names in the Italian new-prog genre. What interpretation of the genre do you stand by, in 2010?
I think that talking of “baroque” rock is not a correct definition any longer. The fact that prog doesn’t rely on the immediate communicability other genres depend on don’t make it a disappearing genre like many say, not at all. Prog enthusiasts look for experimentation and challenging composition, for a new sound that transcends the limits but is scary for those who “always” expect a soloist playing distorted guitar. That’s why it is both loved and hated as a genre; as it is very hard to ideate, compose and even more to play live, many musicians ignore it aprioristically.

In the early ‘70s there were some great prog band that opened new roads for traditional rock, giving unconscious and sometimes subliminal suggestions to other genres, stuff that, if one pays attention, can be found ten or twenty years later in new pop arrangements or in t he sound of some rock album that the critics consider “innovative” but that are not innovative at all. Prog enthusiasts are very highly educated from a musical point of view, they love classical music, that has always been the genre at the forefront in the research of the limits of timbre and harmony in the tonic relation between instruments. It is therefore obvious to think to a constant drive forward of a style that seemed to have been swept away by punk in the late ‘70s but to which, consciously or not, we all owe a lot. Evolution can not die, certainties sometimes can!

Melapesante was released by Beppe Crovella’s Electromantic Music and was mastered in the world-famous Abbey Road studios in London. How did those two collaborations come to happen, and what experience do you car eto remember
Our experience with Beppe Crovella dates back to late 1989, when we met in his studio. I had some “prog” songs… and from that first collaboration Spleen, our first album, came. Then, pretty much two years later, came Inca… there have always been good vibes with Beppe because, as besides being a producer he is a musician too, he is very open to expression, to art, to music and to the musicality of each song. 

Therefore it was an experience I treasure.

For what concerns the mastering in London, well, as I was saying earlier, we recorded Melapesante with different technologies from our 1990 works, so we thought that it would have been a nice idea to wrap up the whole project in a world-famous location: the Abbey Road mastering studios, that also are the most advanced and prepared in their sector. So I made sure that part of my holidays was dedicated to some work by booking half a day in the Abbey Road mastering studios in London, with Andy Walter, for the final master.

Nik Comoglio, from rock-musicals and the contemporary classical music of Acqueforti to the vintage prog rock of Melapesante: how can all those souls coexist
I think they do because I always considered music as an inseparable unity, something that can not be split into genres, sales pitches or what have you. If the music is real, if it comes from an inner struggle, it can not be labelled, it can not be caged and above all it can not be copied… it becomes universal and can only be imitated. You are correct in talking about souls and not genres: there is only one soul.
The record market has deeply changed since the ‘90s; what are you expecting from this comeback?
Myself, I hope that this record will create some kind of bridge between the people who listened to our music in the 1990s and those who don’t know us yet. Sure, the market has changed and there are many more bands around. Thanks to the internet, the worldwide visibility a band can have is immediate… but as the awareness and the availability of a product are immediate, so is the loss of interest in case such product is not successful.

So, as I always say, it is necessary to start from “quality”, always the key to make any work of art durable.

New Release

"Melapesante"

01) Melancholia
......D'Ophelia
02) Allegro Feroce
03) Melapesante
04) Magritte
05) Giardino Delle
......Esperidi
06) Malo in Adversity
07) Mela Pensanti
08) Mela  Di Tell
09) Dentro L'inconscio
10) 4 Hands Piano
......Boogieprog

Recording at Discodarte Recording Studio, Turin, Italy, Mastering at Abbey Road Studios, London. Engineer Andy Walter. Produced by Beppe Crovella by Electromantic Music.
 

To get in contact or, If you would like any other information about the band, you must visit Syndone/Synpress 44 at MySpace.

For more information and every thing about the musicians and band, please visit SYNDONE HOME PAGEN
 
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