I am a huge fan of Italian prog since the late Seventies, but in this decade I have been oblivious of DAAL, until I got the two 2018 releases from this stunning duo to review. Well, after listening to both albums I conclude that this first 2018 album Navels Falling Into A Living Origami (atmospheric, experimental and sound collages, with a wide range of instruments) sounds totally different from the later 2018 release entitled Decalogue Of Darkness (see review, Mellotron drenched with strong echoes from Anekdoten, along King Crimson).
DAAL is an experienced Italian duo, the name is derived from their surnames Davide Guidoni (drummer in bands like Tapobran, Nuova Era and Ozone Player) and Alfio Costa (keyboards in bands like Tillion and Dark Session, and the Colossus Project). Between 2009 and 2014 DAAL released five studio albums, two box sets and three singles. But four years later DAAL surprised the world of progrock with the release of two albums within one year, first Navels Falling Into A Living Origami and then Decalogue Of Darkness.
DAAL mentions that Navels Falling Into A Living Origami is a hybrid project: a partly completely rearranged published material, and a partly material previously unpublished. The album features one long composition (close to 50 minutes), divided into a series of varied sound collages.
Well, what an adventurous and varied musical journey, from Old School symphonic rock and classical to avant-garde and electronic music, so many shifting moods, alternating atmospheres and surprising breaks and musical ideas. DAAL makes an impression, but you have to be up for this mainly pretty experimental music.
In the first and final part of this very epic composition DAAL showcases its appreciation for Pink Floyd: first with fragile David Gilmour kind of guitar runs (evoking SOYCD) and finally with twanging guitars and exciting Gilmourian slide guitar, concluded with majestic Mellotron flights. In between DAAL delivers very adventurous musical landscapes.
From a psychedelic climate featuring sultry violin work and an Arabian sound with the Oud (the father of the European lute) to compelling experimental work in the vein of classic Italian prog band Il Balletto Di Bronzo.
From fat synthesizer sequencing evoking Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream to an interlude with lots of melancholic Mellotron violin, soft piano runs and fragile electric guitar.
From intense fiery and howling electric guitar with a lush Mellotron and dark synthesizer layers to warm twanging acoustic guitars and ominous Grand piano play (The Lamb atmosphere).
From sensitive electric guitar and warm piano work (evoking Eighties Camel) to soaring keyboards and pulsating sequencing, in the vein of Seventies Klaus Schulze.
It's amazing how DAAL enables to create this kind of new progressive music, based upon legendary prog but blended with a cascade of interesting own musical ideas. It's not always my cup of tea (I am not very much into avant-garde and experimental), but I am impressed!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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