Gruppo Autonomo Suonatori -
Omnia Sunt Communia

(CD 2021, 49:58, Black Widow Records - BWR 238)

The tracks:
  1- Alice Springs(4:33)
  2- La Regina(7:25)
         - a. Il Sogno
         - b. La Regina
  3- Preludio I(2:19)
  4- Preludio II(4:09)
  5- Il Sacco Di Bisanzio(5:44)
  6- Beatrice(9:16)
         - a. Intro(3:25)
         - b. Beatrice(3:14)
         - c. Beatrice Pt. II(2:36)
  7- Il Richimao Della Sirena(7:16)
  8- Omnia Sunt Communia(9:16)

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A lot of great progressive rock acts come from Italy. The list of them almost seems to be endless. Most people know the famous names such as Banco, Le Orme and Premiata Forneri Marconi. But there is much more out there if you look carefully on the internet. Just throw your bucket in the well and you will take in a lot. This well seems to have no bottom. One of the names that will come up might be Gruppo Autonomo Suonatori also known as G.A.S., and their debut album Omnia Sunt Communia. An album which was released in 2021!

First some history lessons; Strangely enough they already started in 1997 from an idea by Claudio Barone (lead vocals, bass, mandolin and bouzouki). He previously played in a Le Orme tribute band in the early 70s named Trio Pop. Weird name indeed for a Le Orme tribute band. Soon after that G.A.S. was born with the help of 70s musicians along with other young musicians. After a few line up changes, from the early 2000s onwards, the band started playing many gigs with the current band. Which includeds the already mentioned Barone, Simone Galleni (guitar and bass), Andrea Imparato (sax and flute), Valter Bono (drums), Thomas Cozzani (synths) and Andrea Foce (piano and flute). It's important to tell that the band has often legendary guests from the Italian 70s prog scene such as Lino Vairetti (Osanna), Martin Grice and Ettore Vigo (Delirium) and Tony Pagliuca (Le Orme).

Unfortunately all those names mentioned above are not included on Omnia Sunt Communia. Instead they have Andrea Cozzani as a guest on bass guitar on an album that is released twenty-four years after the band started. But as they say but better late than never.

It was certainly worth the wait. Because the album includes eight differently sounding tracks which are most of all very enjoyable. That is if you are into music which includes, next to the average progressive rock instruments such as synths and electric guitars, saxophones and flutes. Instruments which not every devotee of progressive rock might enjoy.

Having said that we go now on a musical journey through the album. The opening piece Alice Spring is a song that has many classic progressive rock and Canterbury influences thanks to a good balance between the use of winds and the musical influences of bands such as King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator and Camel. Next one La Regina is a short suite that is divided into two parts. It's a romantic, symphonic, melancholic and enveloping track, the most intimate part of the band, where the sweet notes of a piano echo strong emotions, then the voice accompanied by acoustic guitar chords and folk arias and this time Le Orme and Premiata Forneria Marconi come to mind. The next two tracks Preludio I and Preludio II are instrumental interludes between folk and Renaissance music with mandolins, flutes and acoustic guitars. Folow up Il Sacco Di Bisanzio is a mix between between progressive rock and Renaissance arias again. Next up Beatrice is another small suite that is divided into three movements with lots of influences taken from all kinds of musical genres. For example you hear progressive rock next to space rock, folk, tribal rhythms and again Canterbury. The latter influences are also also very present in The Siren's Call. Seven long minutes you have a abundant of great progressive rock and superlative keyboard work that make this instrumental one of the highlights of the album without any doubt. Finally the title track closes the album in style. You can hear majestic and epic progressive rock atmospheres and a very expressive pipe organ is the icing on the cake.

Recommended for those who love progressive rock with influences taken from space rock, folk, tribal rhythms and Canterbury music. As always try to hear for yourself before you decide to get this great album. Gruppo Autonomo Suonatori, a great new name in the long list of progressive rock acts coming from Italy. Hopefully lovers of progressive rock won't have to wait another twenty-four years for a follow up release!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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