Thursday, 17 March 2011

Delirium - Il Nome Del Vento (2009)


A few years ago PFM pulled off an amazing comeback album called "Stati di Imagginazione" which struck me because latter day comebacks of some favorite English bands had always disappointed me. Now Delirium have returned with the remarkable "Il Nome del Vento" proving that the Italians have bested the formula for comebacks-- frankly I think the difference is that some prog giants see a comeback with dollar signs in their eyes, whereas Delirium are in it for the right reasons, first and foremost the love of music. Many prog writers have proclaimed the 3rd Delirium album to be the best of the '70s lot. While I've not heard their first two albums I can safely say that Delirium 2009 has impressed me much more than the '74 album did. This is a work that feels painstakingly crafted with mature composition and sophisticated, beautiful arrangements. The band is legit without a doubt: back are Ettore Vigo, Pino di Santo, Martin Grice, and Mimmo di Martino. Newer members include guitarist Roberto Solinas and bassist Fabio Chighini. They are joined by a string quartet and guests including the amazing Sophya Baccini among others. No shortage of talent! Lyricist Mauro La Luce was brought in and the perfectly representative cover art was painted by Anna Ferrari.

The album "Il Nome del Vento" (which if my awful translations skills are accurate would be "The Name of the Wind") is a skillfully blended and thoroughly fulfilling combination of sophisticated symphonic progressive rock and jazz-rock excursion. I have heard many attempts by today's decent high-profile bands at capturing something this ambitious, and even when the results are mostly good there can be some sections that make me wince a bit for reasons of either poor composition or iffy production/performance. You will find none of these kinds of bush league mistakes on Il Nome, this album is flawlessly executed. Carefully considered compositions, painstakingly perfect production, and immaculate performance from top to bottom. If there is any negative charge to be leveled at Delirium for this album it will come from those who feel they play it too relaxing, not wild enough for adrenalin loving prog fanatics--consider a quote like this from the book Scented Gardens written about 1974's Delirium 3: "All Delirium albums are pleasant enough but sound too common and pedestrian to be really interesting." [Scented Gardens of the Mind]. I have written often enough myself that even the high quality modern Italian prog albums lack the "avant-garde" surprises of the early '70s heyday. While that sentiment is true to some extent one should not write off an album like this because it is far from "pedestrian." True that much of the high-minded weirdness of the old days is gone but what remains is not "common" but exceptional this time around. Maturity is a word the band might not appreciate but the composition demands that I use it. These tracks are so beautifully written and perfectly arranged that I've realized sophistication isn't necessarily the harbinger of soft middle age I might have thought. Like Wyatt's recent "Comicopera" Delirium have infused a degree of elegance that few bands of any age pull off.

In attempting to describe moments of beauty for which words don't do justice, I would say that Il Nome almost has the classic symphonic influence of "Days of Future Passed," the occasional jazz leanings of a Robert Wyatt album, and the upscale rock of a Zuffanti project. (like I said, encapsulating an album like this is not fair but at least I gave it the college try!) The symphonic moments are my favorite when you have these glorious melodic passages rising from the piano, Hammond, or Mellotron. They are grand and stately, adorned with Baccini's lovely backing vocals, gentle flute and strings passages, lovely to the point of intoxication. The title track is the perfect example of this with Sophya's harmonies just heavenly. From these sections they will quite frequently veer into jazz-rock territory with saxophone often taking the lead for some extended workouts. The third component are the rock guitar leads which break through here and there to keep things from getting too laid back, and the bass playing is strong and bubbly throughout. During some of the rock sections with flute the inevitable Jethro Tull comparisons may pop up again but really this album sounds little like Tull to me. It sounds a lot like Delirium delivering the masterpiece that perhaps eluded them in the 1970s. This is an hour long journey that is going to please many progressive fans of all stripes. My favorites are of course the melodic lushness of the title track and the amazing blend of saxophone, flute, and piano jamming on the 10 minute highlight "Dopo il Vento." Every song is strong and the little details keep popping with each new play. I am truly grateful that these legends of the Italian scene were able to have the chance to make this music and that I was fortunate enough to hear it. This is one title to embrace in a relaxed manner. It's not a "type-A" personality album you want in rush hour traffic, it's really an album that begs one to pour a drink or two and listen to relaxed and without multi-tasking. Take in the high level of detail and care given to the performances. Listen to how effortlessly the string quartet is woven into the composition, how the performances just excel from everyone. Listen for the vocal debut of the young Valentino Vera who I believe makes his first appearance and does a wonderful job! Feel the optimism in the cycle of life that the band seems to exude throughout every inch of this project. It is music that feels reassuring, somehow wise, not something you feel everyday. This is without question one of the premier releases of the 2000s, a triumphant return for this outstanding progressive band and I imagine they must be thrilled with the results.

Black Widow Records scores another big victory with this Delirium return. They deliver the disc in a tri-fold digipak boasting great artwork, a beautiful 24 page booklet filled with color photos and lyrics, a bonus track, and even a bonus video. I've only spent a short time with this album thus far because I wanted to get a review up and get the word out about its release. I give them 5 stars based on a quick initial impression of about a week, but we'll have to see if that holds up over time. Sometimes they don't but I've a feeling this one just might. Bravo Delirium! DELIRIUM Il Nome Del Vento music reviews and MP3 (review from

Fantastic album by this Italian band, which just goes to prove that a bands earlier works are not always the best!!!!

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Intro (1:23)
2. Il Nome del Vento (6:01)
3. Verso il Naufragio (6:35)
4. L'Acquario delle Stelle (6:15)
5. Luci Lontane (4:14)
6. Profeta Senza Profezie (4:20)
7. Ogni Storia (5:02)
8. Note di Tempesta (4:29)
9. Dopo il Vento (9:40)
10. Cuore Sacro (8:49)
11. L'Aurora Boreale (4:26) (bonus track)

Line-up / Musicians
- Ettore Vigo / keyboards
- Martin Grice / sax, flute, keyboards
- Pino Di Santo / drums, vocals
- Roberto Solinas / guitars, vocals
- Fabio Chighini / bass
- Mimmo Di Martino / vocals (2)

String quartet:
- Chiara Giacobbe Chiarilla / violin
- Diana Tizzani / violin
- Simona Merlano / viola
- Daniela Caschetto Helmy / cello

Guest musicians:
- Stefano Lupo Galifi / vocals (6)
- Sophya Baccini / backing vocals (2, 4, 7, 9), piano (9) - online music store
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