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От Michael Baryshnikov (2:5023/24.3243) к All

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Hello All!

Залиты диски Notabene:

Очень интересная новая (для меня всё, что моложе 10 лет, новое) итальянская прогрессив-рок-группа.
Играют, в общем-то, "классический РПИ 70-х", но местами и в порг-металл ударяются.
Так или иначе - гитары, орган, меллотрон, красивый мужской вокал - что ещё надо? Ах, да - композиции по 15-20 минут.
Кстати, _очень_ неплох "скрытый" трек (6+ минут!) на первом альбоме.
Жаль, что они больше ничего не выпустили - большой потенциал виден невооружённым взглядом и слышен невооружённым ухом.

NotaBene biography

After the dissolution of their former group LITHOS in September 2003, drummer Gustavo Pasini and bassist Gianluca Avanzati created NOTABENE. The addition of keyboard player Daniele Manerba and then guitarist Silver Pes allowed the band to perform live gigs. In March 2004, after quite a lengthy search, they found the perfect vocalist in Andrea Alberici. Finally, during a concert, they met violinist and trumpeter Rocco Vitiello who became the band's official sixth member. They recorded some impressive demos and in November 2005, Mellow Records released their first official CD. Since then, violinist/trumpeter Vitiello and guitarist Pes have both left while new guitarist Giampietro Maccabiani has been welcomed aboard.

Their style is pure, classic Italian symphonic prog (BANCO, IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO, et al) with a marked touch of jazz (use of trumpet and violin). What makes them unique is how they manage to fuse both symphonic and jazz elements and make it all sound so natural, as if the two were meant to go hand in hand. All tracks contain vocals (in Italian) but the focus is definitely on the music, and particularly the musicianship which is tight throughout. The compositions are compelling, intricate and suitably dramatic. More than a promising debut, the album is amazingly mature and offers a brand new way of looking at Italian prog.

Definitely recommended to fans of vintage Italian prog.

(c) Lise (HIBOU), PA

On august 2003 Luca e Gustavo, rhythm section of a prog metal band called LITHOS, decided to create a new band, with jazz rock influences, as SOFT MACHINE or Miles Davis in early seventies, then they met young keyboards player, Daniele Manerba. Soon after some jam sessions, Gustavo said they need a guitar to increase their sound, so Luca took contact with Silver Pes, a good guitarist he joined last year in a band of a rock singer named Flai.

The quartet wrote and arranged some new songs and a cover, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", did a lot of concerts and record the first demo cd on first days of December. This cd had good reviews on magazines as Metal Shock and Rock Hard, but the band still thought the first problem was to search a lead vocalist. After some auditions, on March 2004 the band choose Andrea Alberici, good blues vocalist, with a tipical Italian rock style. During a concert at the fest of May the first, Luca met Rocco Vitiello, trumpet and violin player, and during a little storm, who interrupted the exhibition of his band, Luca asked Rocco if he was interested in a different kind of music (remember that Rocco played some improvising parts in a punk school band!!!!). So the band became a sextet, and did a lot of interesting gigs, and recorded the new demo cd on October 2004, out on January 2005 .

In march the band was contacted by the label Mellow records, and after some discussions, they decided to remix the demo on a very professional studio, and the demo become the debut album, out in November 2005. This Italian band is a great find for the Mellow label. On their 2005 debut, NOTABENE play a 1970's style Italian symphonic prog with touches of jazz-rock. They have an excellent singer along the lines of LOCANDA DELLE FATE's Leonardo Sasso, and the lyrics are in Italian. They add violin and trumpet for spice, and the shortest track is about 7-minutes long. Let's pray NOTABENE isn't another one-shot wonder!

(c) Gianluca Avanzati, PA

Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
Rock Progressivo Italiano, 2007
(c) Review by andrea

NotaBene were formed in Brescia in 2003 on the initiative of Gustavo Pasini (drums, percussion, vocals) and Gianluca Avanzati (bass), both former members of a band called Lithos. After a first eponymous album in 2005 and some line up changes, in 2007 NotaBene released their best work so far, "Sei lacrime d'ambra" (Six tears of amber), on the independent label Mellow Records. On this album the line up features, along with Gustavo Pasini and Gianluca Avanzati, Andrea Alberici (vocals), Giampietro Maccabiani (guitars, mandolin) and Daniele Manerba (keyboards, vocals). NotaBene's sources of inspiration range from classical to jazz, from the prog masters of the seventies to Italian melody and "canzone d'autore" but the band managed to shape an original sound blending new ideas and reminiscences from the past. The result is quite good and on this work music flows away steadily conveying feelings and emotions, without weak moments.

The opener "La revolution bourgeoise (parte I)" starts bringing echoes from the seventies... Breaking news report the murder of the Italian poet Pier Paolo Pasolini. It happened one night in Rome in November 1975, during the "years of lead" when every day shootings in the streets, riots and hard slogans used to poison Italy. Music and lyrics try to drive you back in time. What's the legacy of those days of ideological fighting? Disillusion rules by now... "We are slaves of an illusion and of our holes of memory / We've lost the last train trying to find a faith in which nobody believes anymore...".

Next comes the long and complex "Le mistificazioni dell'ombra" (The mystifications of the shade) that starts depicting the bleak reality of a loser who lives into the shade and dislikes other people. Then the light of hope turns on... "There's no need to live in the dark / Stop grudging, it's dawn by now / It's a sunny day, if you want it...". Let truth lead your actions... "Ego veritas, tuarum actionum dux sum!". The instrumental coda is excellent.

"Maschera di cera" (Mask of wax) is an introspective track about the need to hide themselves from other people because being sincere is not convenient. Sometimes we have to put on a mask of wax to protect our fragility, it's easy to get lost in this life where there are so many nuances... "Mask of wax drip down from the face / I can see a new look that I don't know / Perhaps it's just a natural changing / A mutation that I can not accept...".

"Sei lacrime d'ambra" (Six tears of amber) is bittersweet and dreamy. It features clear classical influences and many changes of mood and atmosphere. Lyrics depict the disappointment for a reality that exploits people and then throws them away, worn out. The wish to leave is strong and you look at the sky. Suddenly a mysterious shadow comes down inviting you to fly away taking with you nothing but your dearest dreams... "Souls here can happily fly / No condemns nor judgements because of what you are / Freedom to express yourself at your best / Respect and passion for everything...".

"Il treno di Obuda" (The train to Obuda) is a beautiful suite in five parts. It's a tribute to the Sziget Festival, one of the most important music and cultural festivals in Europe that is held every year in August in Hungary, on an island on the Danube, Obuda, close to Budapest. The suite tells of a boy who sets off with his backpack and goes to Obuda by train carrying with him his dreams while tiredness and troubles are left behind. The journey leads to the magic of the island... "It seems a theatre without walls / A big stage made of living dreams...".

The last track is the second part of "La revolution bourgeoise (parte II)". It's a long and complex suite in four parts dealing with the generational gap. What's left of the ideological struggles of the seventies? Well, after so many years spent running after illusions and dreams you realize that youth is gone and that the sleep of reason generates monsters... "I believed to have jumped into the future / But eventually it was just the usual illusion / Now I look back and I laugh a little bit / They have persuaded me that reality is different...". Finally the truth hits hard and takes you back to your roots, you look in the mirror and what you see is not a boy but a man... "In the mirror I can't see my face / It's my father's face... And then I can hear the cry of a baby / He wants me, yes, I'm his daddy / I know that this is the whole story / The beginning is the end...".

On the whole a very good album and an excellent addition to every prog collection!

WBR, Michael Baryshnikov.

--- wfido
* Origin: FidoNet aka 2:5020/35.323 (2:5023/24.3243)

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