Astrolabio is a four-piece from Verona, Italy founded at the end of 2009 and built on the ashes of Elettrosmog, a well-known band in that region. After the release of the self-produced CD Temperato Demo(dé) (2012) and after playing several gigs in 2013, they were asked to be part of a Nirvana tribute CD. In 2014 they signed a record deal with Andromeda Relix. The current band members are Michele Antonelli (vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, flute), Alessandro Pontone (drums, percussion), Massimo Babbi (keyboards) and Paolo Lemmi (vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards). By the way; an astrolabio is an antique instrument to determinate the position of the stars.
Right from the beginning of E'Stato Detto Tutto the busy music bursts out of my speakers! Imagine Jethro Tull in overdrive, but off course in the Italian Ferrari version. It contains many lyrics, but also nice flute play and a guitar solo at the end of the song as a kind of statement for the musical style Astrolabio are likely to present. The second song with the funny title 31 Aprile sounds quite similar to the first one: lots of guitars, keyboards, flute and electronics. The eight-minute piece Brie Collage is the first one I could really appreciate mainly because of the relaxed intro and the calm spoken lyrics. Slowly the intensity increases with a guitar solo and many synthesizer sounds. Then suddenly there's peace with Auroro, a short acoustic guitar solo.
Fotografic is another interesting song containing the traditional approach of prog with guitar play in the vein of Pink Floyd, spoken words and a flute solo. It's a kind of lethargic song, difficult to describe but yet typical Italian prog. Next is Sono Io O Sono Te (Parquet) which isn't the style of music I like; it sounds just too chaotic to my ears. The next piece is so much better: slow but with an early Pink Floyd feel sounding similar to one of the shorter tracks from the album Meddle (1971).
Corso Di Eurostima is another short acoustic interlude. The best song in my opinion is Non Ricordo, a ten-minute long epic containing electric guitar riffs, many synthesizer sounds, flute play and spoken words of Michele Antonelli. Un Minuto Di Silenzio Per Il Systema Bancario Internazionale is a long and funny title for a short 'song'. During a minute you'll hear bleeps of a Bancomat and then it's over. In the final rock song Pugni Chiusi guest singer Raffaello Regoli shows his vocal capabilities. The short hidden track at the end reveals a telephone answering machine with a female voice.
The music of Astrolabio is full with fresh and original ideas. They call their music 'digressive rock', a kind of rock that resembles the golden years of prog, but without the stereotypes and clichés. After listening to their debut album, I can only agree with this term.
*** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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