Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Racconto D'Inverno - Arpia (2009)

Arpia are an Italian prog band from Rome that have been active since 1984. The present line up features multi instrumentalist and composer Leonardo Bonetti (vocals, acoustic guitar, bass and keyboards), Paola Feraiorni (vocals), Fabio Brait (acoustic guitar) and Aldo Orazi (drums). "Racconto d'inverno" is their third album and it seems to mark a change in the musical direction of the band. It is conceived as a long acoustic suite where melancholic musical landscapes are drawn by male and female vocals. The rhythm section is never invasive, acoustic guitars are omnipresent, there are not spectacular solos but the music perfectly fits the mood of the lyrics and flows away describing with notes what Leonardo Bonetti described with words. In fact "Racconto d'inverno is not only a musical work but also a novel. They're like two faces of the same coin. It's very difficult to appreciate the mood and the atmosphere of this album without knowing what it's about.

The main sources of inspiration for this opera were "Stalker", a 1979 science fiction film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and "Raconto d'autunno", a novel by the Italian writer Tommaso Landolfi (1908-1979). According to Leonardo Bonetti it was impossible for him just to put in music and words the work of Landolfi and he decided to write his own novel to shape his feelings in a better way. The result in my opinion is very good and I enjoyed both book and music.

The plot is settled somewhere in the mountains of Northern Italy, not far from a border, during the period 1943-1945. After the Italian army disbanded, Northern Italy was poisoned by the conflicts between Nazi-fascists and bands of partisans... "Crime and Pride / Our lady the Black Death / Is marching without pain...". Desperation, death and hunger are the background for this work that tells the story of a desperate man, running away from this gloomy country looking for an escape. The fugitive arrives in a tumbling down villa built upon the ruins of an ancient abbey, a kind of labyrinth haunted by a strange presence... A man tries to help him to cross the border but they are trapped in winter weather and have to come back to the villa. Here dreams and reality melt while hope and love come out under the shadows of an impending death.

The titles of the tracks are just like the titles of the chapters of a book. The tracks are not separate entities but movements of a long suite while lyrics recall the story narrated by the book evoking images and feelings. The contrast between male and female vocals is the strength of a bold and complex album with a peculiar "unplugged" rock sound. ARPIA Racconto d'inverno music reviews and MP3

On the whole, an excellent album.

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Epilogo (2:41)
2. Gi├╣ nella forra (1:47)
3. Casa di blu (0:58)
4. La guida (1:28)
5. Cosa dice quella porta chiusa (0:53)
6. Dimmi chi sei (2:30)
7. Cosa dice quella porta schiusa (0:53)
8. Fame che ride (1:18)
9. Ladri e stranieri (4:49)
10. Soldati! (2:01)
11. Un lupo (3:29)
12. Canto antico (2:38)
13. Casa non mai vista (2:23)
14. Cristo guarito (3:10)
15. La lettera (1:52)
16. Gli scantinati (3:56)
17. Requiem (2:29)
18. Nessuno muore mai (1:37)
19. Non sono morto (2:21)

Total time: 43:05

Line-up / Musicians
- Leonardo Bonetti / vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards
- Paola Feraiorni / vocals
- Fabio Brait / acoustic guitar
- Aldo Orazi / drums

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