The Italian prog sextet Il Paradiso Degli Orchi is rooted in 2009, their eponymous debut album was released in 2011, delivering a variety of styles, from ethnic and prog to electronic and psychedelia. In 2014 the group started to collaborate with the known and prolific Italian prog musician Fabio Zuffanti, culminating in the concept album Il Corponauta. Late 2020, six years after the previous album, Il Paradiso Degli Orchi presented its new album entitled Samir. I am not familiar with this band but I am a huge fan of Italian prog since I started to listen to PFM and Banco in the late seventies. Especially the last two decades I have discovered many gems from the Classic Italian prog era (from Museo Rosenbach to Le Orme), and listened to tons of new Italian prog bands. I am fascinated by the blend of skills, adventurous minds and variety in the music in so many Italian bands, old and new. Listening to Il Paradiso Degli Orchi I quickly conclude that this is a typically interesting Italian prog band: adventurous and varied, good musicians, and lots of tension and dynamics in the music. It will not always be everyone's cup of tea, but for adventurous prog minds there is plenty to enjoy.
The first two tracks (between 4 and 6 minutes) turn out to be 'trademark' Il Paradiso Degli Orchi. Introinduzione delivers a dynamic sound with fiery guitar and powerful flute, in between a break with jazzy guitar, mellow flute and hypnotizing percussion. The Italian vocals are strong. Then the track Slowgun, also dynamic but more varied, from rock and mellow to experimental, embellished with pleasant work on flute, guitars, keyboards and powerful vocals,
Next the long titletrack Samir, the Arabian name is the inspiration for a captivating sultry atmosphere with Middle-East sounding flute, percussion and synthesizer. This strongly reminds me of the Arabian side of my beloved Rock Andaluz (like Azahar and early Medina Azahara). I am delighted about the rock guitar (including wah wah), in combination with sparkling flute and theatrical 'churchy' vocals, unique and exciting prog!
Now Mente, the most alternative and adventurous composition. From sumptuous with sparkling flute and heavy guitar to mellow with soaring flute, in between parts that sound experimental and psychedelic. In the end the music builds to a compelling and bombastic closing section with rock guitar and powerful vocals, like the climax of a rock opera.
Finally the track Ali Di Gabbiano, another strong example of the band, it's varied and
adventurous musical attitude. First tender classical piano runs, then slow rhythm with a tight beat, melancholy vocals, freaky synthesizer and soaring flute. Then a part with slightly distorted vocals. Halfway a break with Pink Floyd kind of slide guitar, followed by tender piano and flute. In the end a compelling climate featuring flute, rock guitar, freaky synthesizer, wonderful Italian vocals and delicate piano.
What an interesting prog this new Italian band delivers!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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