The Italian band Greenwall is the brainchild of keyboard player and vocalist Andrea Pavoni. So far he released the albums Il Petalo Del Fiore E Le Altre Storie (1999), Elektropuzzles (2000) and From The Treasure Box (2005) with this outfit already. Now he comes up with the album Zappa Zippa Zuppa Zeppa.
During the making of Zappa Zippa Zuppa Zeppa, Greenwall consisted of Andrea Pavoni (keyboards), Alfredo De Donno (keyboards), Michela Botti (lead vocals) and Fabio Ciliberti (bass). Furthermore several guests contributed; they were Stefano Marazzi (drums), Bruno Zoia (contrabass), Pier Paolo Ferroni (drums), Alessandro Tomei (horns), Umberto Spiniello (drums), Andrea Moneta (drums), Riccardo Sandri (guitar), Silvia Ceccarelli (vocals) and Massimo Leoni (vocals).
The album is without a doubt a very diverse album on which several musical styles come to the surface. Progressive rock, jazz, pop, avant-garde, classical music, it's all present! Therefore the subtitle "A various and eclectical journey" was very well chosen. Reviewing all fourteen tracks is something which isn't easy, and therefore I won't do so. You certainly have to be in the right mood to understand what they're all about. You can't play the album in the background and meanwhile do other things that have to be done. The listener has to be focused all the way to get the whole picture. Even when you are focused, I know lots of people that have the urge to turn the album off after a they have heard a couple of tracks. The music made by this band sometimes is so complex, that you just can't understand every second they play straight away. This certainly doesn't mean the music isn't good enough to listen to. No way. All of the musicians are very qualified musicians, who fully understand what they are doing on their instruments, but sometimes you just don't get it handed to you on a plate, ready to be digested. You'll have to try a little bit harder this time. I think the best albums released in the past were made in this way.
Take for example the opening track Superpezzi; it's completely a capella. A style of music that's not appreciated by every lover of progressive rock music, but you'll have to admit it was done very cleverly when you hear it. The scat version of the same song moves more towards a style which could labelled as a jazzy piece of music. Again, a style that won't be loved by everybody. But still it was done very creatively! Very smart also, was the way they made an Italian version of a song which for the first time appeared on an album made by Sting. I Hung my Head comes from the1996 album Mercury Falling and was translated into Ma Le Mele No. It became a fine Italian mainstream pop tune. Lovers of true progressive rock songs will have to pick a track like La Cula. It has some relaxed instrumental music, performed mainly on congas, piano and acoustic guitar. The ballad Due Finestre Una Collina, is another fine prog tune, with strong parts performed on guitar and keyboards. The longest tracks, Prelievo and the bonus track Il Petalo Del Fiore, are more musical highlights, which contain strong, progressive rock influences. Lots of influences from several neo-progressive rock acts as well as classical musical parts and avant-garde influences are included. Finally, I have to mention that the instrumental L'Avventura Del Soldatino Bianco is a fine song as well. The track connects several influences taken from folk music and fusion with progressive rock music in a very good way.
When you buy Zappa Zippa Zuppa Zeppa, you'll get almost eighty minutes of music, but that's not all; a DVD is included as well, on which one whole hour of footage can be enjoyed. It includes the original video of Superpezzi, plus the director's cut. A video documentary called NO TITLE THIS TIME is included as well. It's about the interaction between the music and the images in the booklet and on the cover. In particular with the artwork by Serena Rglietti. The section, Interviews, is a sort of "making of" of the CD, containing lots of interviews with the musicians involved. Thanks to the English subtitles, the non-Italian speaking people among us can understand the footage as well. Nicely done is a photo slideshow which illustrates a cover version of King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic - Part 1. The almost fifteen minutes long film The Wedding, is about a track that was released on the compilation album Kalevala back in 2002. You can enjoy the recording of this track; a track which sounds like a classical piece of music, with lots of influences taken from jazz and progressive rock. A demo version of the track Un Figlio, recorded in 2005, is included as well. Finally, the bonus track Sigla! ends this DVD. Well, I guess watching the entire DVD just once was probably enough for me to tell you that it didn't add much extra to the music you hear on the first disc. Some of the videos were very well done, but without the second disc, I would probably have had the same musical enjoyment.
This leaves me to the final part of this review; to give a score to the whole package including the audio on the CD, and the videos on the DVD. Well, the music was pretty good, even though it was hard to compare them with anybody else, and therefore I didn't! After hearing the songs several times, I finally discovered the real beauty of them. This, I unfortunately couldn't say about the videos. Maybe I'm simply not much of a connoisseur of artistic videos. Anyway, all this resulted in a score that fits this entire musical artistic project in the best possible way.
***+ Henri Strik (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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