Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Osanna - 1973 - Palepoli


01. Oro Caldo (18:30)
02. Stanza Città (1:45)
03. Animale Senza Respiro (21:36)

- Danilo Rustici / guitars, vox organ, electric piano, vocals
- Lino Vairetti / lead vocals, rhythm guitars, ARP 2600, Mellotron
- Elio D'Anna / tenor and soprano sax, flute, vocals
- Massimo Guarino / drums, vibraphone, percussion
- Lello Brandi / bass

 'Palepoli' is Osanna's crowning achievement, and a definite cornerstone in the hard wave of Italian prog - the band members themselves describe it as the first Italian opera rock ever (in their offcial website). The album consists basically of two sidelong suites, plus a brief reprise of 'Oro Caldo' intro that serves as an individual interlude. From the very beginning of the first suite 'Oro Caldo', you can anticipate that this is going to be a very special experience: the North African Muslim intro, with those hand drums, and those evocative, exuberant flute lines, with street sounds laid in the background... until an incendiary heavy bluesy rock section surfaces and contaminates the ambience with its infectuous red heat. The constant riffing of two guitars, the burning solos on guitar, flute and sax, the solid rhythm section, all of these elements are handled with finesse and attitude, while the softer side of Osanna's music is managed in the shape of acoustic- driven interludes between the heavier sections. The presence of layers of keyboards (mostly mellotron, but you can also hear some occasional organ chords, as well as weird synth effects) gives the overall sound an epic dimension. But the album's leit-motiv is not the power or rock per se, but the adventurous management of the diverse consecutive musical ideas: what you find here is a well crafted, lunatic collage of heavy rock, Mediterranean folk, psychodelia, electric blues, exotic Arabic colours, Wagnerian pomp and circumstance. The influences of JT, VdGG, Led Zep, and 69-70 KC are obvious, but not overwhelming. The musicians handle their inheritances with an inspired sense of originality, as well as skillful musicianship and devoted enthusiasm - particularly, D'Anna on saxes and flutes, and Guarino on drums and percussion, but the ensemble as a whole is simply terrific. Once you're finished with 'Oro Caldo', you're prepared to receive the other tout-de- force 'Animale senza Respiro': personally, I find this one less achieved in comparison, since it gets lost in meandering at times. But it is not without its brilliant moments: a few examples, the opening martial tune, the fiery drum solo near the end, and then, the symphonic closure, where the combination of organ and mellotron shines like a tower of gold. Maybe the sound production is a little "primitive", but it shouldn't distract us from teh fact that the music contained in this recording is amazing beyond words - who knows, maybe a more polished production work would have spoiled some of the essential fire of 'Palepoli'... A masterpiece!



  2. like you said mr drago a masterpiece! thanks