Baro Prog-Jets - Utopie

(CD 2021, 51:04, Ma.Ra.Cash Records)

The tracks:
  1- Non Sento(4:24)
  2- Utopia(14:52)
  3- Phase I(6:14)
  4- Phase II(10:00)
  5- Runaways(15:34)

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An explanation by the band for the weird name: “Baro Prog-Jets is the name referring to Italian multi-instrumentalist Baro's dreams of his own progressive rock compositions taking flight!” Website info. “Baro (born Alberto Molesini) started to play in the mid-Seventies, inspired by the progressive music from Genesis, King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd, ELP and Frank Zappa. He took up playing musical instruments, and eventually founding the formation La Sintesi that would perform in Verona, before disbanding at the end of the Eighties. But even at that early age, Baro was writing and recording, via rudimentary means, the first versions of ambitious concept works, although these would remain uncompleted for some time yet... Fast forward to now, and the artist has finally completed several of his once only dreamed-about works, in 2019 released in a special double-CD edition entitled Lucille A Giada. It is a forty-four minute, multi-part suite in the classic and grandiose vintage RPI manner, and Topic Würlenio is comprised of shorter political and social themed songs, but both discs offer a varied and colourful collection of lavish progressive rock music. And now in 2021 Baro Prog-Jets has released a new album named Utopie, as a duo with drummer Gigi Murari, along guest musicians on piano, guitars and bass.”

Listening to this album I notice that Seventies Yes is an obvious inspiration, due to the vocal harmonies, growling bass and Steve Howe-like guitar play. Especially in the two strong Old School Prog epic compositions Utopia (lots of flowing shifting moods, excellent interplay, a fluent and dynamic rhythm-section, embellished with vintage keyboards like the Hammond and Minimoog) and my highlight Runaways (tension between dreamy and bombastic, awesome Hammond and Minimoog sound, omnipresent piano and fiery guitar runs).

The short Non Sento (only track with Italian vocals) delivers a powerful, often swinging mid-tempo, pleasant vocals and hints from Yes and Frank Zappa (jazzy and eclectic touch).

The song Phase contains a slow rhythm with a tight beat with spacey synthesizer flights, blended with sparkling jazzy-oriented piano, the final part is bombastic, lots of fine musical ideas.

The mid-long Phase II is another good example of the interesting musical ideas Baro Prog-Jets presents on this album: moment obvious Yes or Frank Zappa, the next moment (as here) a pretty original sound. After a short but majestic Mellotron violin intro and dreamy (slightly theatrical) vocals the music becomes more bombastic, the atmosphere is a bit ominous, coloured with guitar and keyboards, finally a dreamy climate.

The final piece is Iron Garden (a 'bonus track Runaways edit'). First dreamy, featuring Mellotron violins and sensitive Howe-like guitar runs, lots of tension, then a slow rhythm with a hypnotizing atmosphere, blended with bombastic eruptions, and vocal harmonies. The dark sound of Relayer by Yes comes to my mind.

To me this music sounds as interesting blend of Old School Prog and varied own musical ideas.

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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