Monday, May 2, 2016

Stormy Six - 1977 - L'Apprendista

Stormy Six 

01. Buon Lavoro! (5:12)
02. L'Apprendista (5:39)
03. Carmine (5:53)
04. Il Barbiere (7:39)
05. Cuore (5:51)
06. Il Labirinto (8:25)
07. Rosso (3:02)
08. L'Orchestra dei Fischietti (6:29)

Line-up / Musicians
- Franco Fabbri / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, vibraphone, xylophone
- Umberto Fiori / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Carlo de Martini / violin, viola, mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Tommaso Leddi / mandolin, violin, acoustic & electric guitars, piano
- Luca Piscicelli / bass, vocals
- Salvatore Garau / drums

- Gianfranco Gagliardi / keyboards
- Renato Rivolta / saxophone
- Leo Dosso / bassoon
- Pino Martini / bass (3,4)
- Bruno Fraimini / percussion (5)
- Cristina Pederiva / viola (7)
- Andrea Vicario / cello

Stormy Six were the italian wing of the original RIO movement with a tendency to noticeably change style between records. Before one even scratches the surface of this album there is an obvious sense of pastoral folk about it, yet this belies the true depth of composition and thought put into each of these songs.
There is no obvious "lead" musician here and the songs lend themselves towards ensemble play, like a certain more popular english band this reviewer won't mention or make comparisons to - this music makes good account of itself and as this is a five-star review, Stormy Six are the only band allowed on the stage. ;)

L'Apprendista is recorded in such a way as to make it sound entirely acoustic - the bass guitar sounds more like a plucked double-bass and electric guitar is used sparingly throughout. The vocals are clear and not overpowering and the balance of the music is impressive with much the same clarity of a live record, although perhaps that is only because the music is so energetic - one can imagine oneself witnessing this in person. (if one were prone to flights of fancy, in a rustic kind of situation - although Stormy Six's music would make for very psychedelic barn dances.)

Each of these compositions is slightly longer than your average pop song but none feel extended - solos last appropriate lengths of time and repetition is not too evident; besides, there are so many configurations of instruments within this band that verses can be varied creatively and endlessly.

There are awkward moments to be found on "L'Apprendista" - there are prolonged moments of calmness (not to be confused with periods of inactivity) and progressions rarely follow the path of least resistance. All this demands a little suspense of musical rationality from the listener (the band aren't listed under avant-garde for no reason) but these efforts are rewarded each time. In summation, listen to this album before you die