Hostsonaten - Springsong

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Sublime Label
Catalog Number: 122001
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:36:00

Something about pastoral idyllic settings seems to have ingrained itself into the very heart of art throughout the centuries, so that their nature has been forever imprinted on large canvases, depicted in detail by many timeless writers, and constituted the cornerstone of entire musical works. Fabio Zuffanti, better known for his work with Finisterre, is one man whose creative temptations have been inevitably breached like those of many others before, and Springsong is a paean to the infringement. A joyfully pagan celebration of spring in sound, it is two thirds bucolic and one dramatic; Zuffanti's very own interpretation of what he warmly portrays as "the season of birth and re-awakening."

A pagan celebration? Well, not quite. Perhaps a pagan peasant boy's celebration seen through the eyes of a romantic interpreter that is halfway between the endearingly interesting works of a Chopin and the terribly distasteful and artificial paintings of the French Academy in the nineteenth century. That is, the listener is faced with the pain of knowing that for every beautiful moment of music, an incredibly puerile one is just around the corner, childishly prowling on the party for the exact moment on which to spoil it. And it is a shame, because some of the material contained on Springsong is stunningly gorgeous, with its apex being the moodily sparse and melancholic "She Sat Writing Letters On The Riverbank." With Boris Valle on piano and Sergio Caputo on violin, the instrumental unfolds slowly while a string of samples from Andrei Tarkovski's The Mirror brings to mind the grainy picturesque character of that superb film and surreptitiously prepares the stage for the more driving nature of "The Underwater And 2nd Reprise."

Oh, before I forget, do mind the fact that the Chopin reference was nothing more than a literary reference before you continue. Especially when taking into consideration the dead weight that this album carries in the dreadfully kitschy flute melodies of a track like "Kemper / Springtheme," and which keep recurring throughout the entire record, much to the dismay of their more musically eloquent counterparts. And adding to the downside is the fact that, much like Finisterre itself, the symphonic elements to be found among the dominating chapters of more folk-oriented joyfulness belong someplace else in time; approximately thirty years ago. Except in the case of Hostsonaten, the throwback fails to work appropriately half of the time, and instead comes off as not much more than a pale imitation of legends like Genesis then.

Thus one is faced yet again by that oh-so-common ailment that seems to be spreading like an epidemic among new progressive rock releases; namely heavy inconsistency in quality. And Springsong is a perfect example of its confusing effects, as one is often brought to a state of almost disgusted shock after being previously hypnotized by beauty, both conditions pastoral in essence and yet both worlds apart, much like spring itself and its interpretations in their unending range of possibilities and divergent avenues. On that account perhaps, Zuffanti has succeeded in constructing an aural portrait of the pastoral season. On creating a record that corresponds to such an ambition, however, he has only come halfway through.

Similar artists: early Genesis, early Pink Floyd

In The Open Fields (4:57) / Kemper/Springtheme (5:36) / Living Stone And 1st Reprise (3:30) / She Sat Writing Letters On The Riverbank (3:47) / The Underwater And 2nd Reprise (3:28) / Lowtide (3:20) / The Wood Is Alive With The Smell Of The Rain (4:20) / Evocation Of Spring In A Fastdance (2:40) / Toward The Sea (13:18) a. Blackmountain, b. 3rd Reprise, c. Springland

Fabio Zuffanti - 12 string guitar, bass, acoustic guitar
Edmondo Romano - soprano saxophone, low whistle, tin whistle, recorder, French bagpipes
Boris Valle - piano
Sergio Caputo - violin, derbouka, ziff
Federico Foglia - percussion, drums
Stefano Marelli - classical guitar, bass, 12 string guitar, electric guitar, e-bow
Francesca Biagini - flute
Agostino Macor - piano, organ, mellotron, moog
Roberto Vigo - piano, stringsynth, Protools

Hostsonaten (1997)
Mirrorgames (1998)
Springsong (2002)
Springtides (2005)
Winterthrough (2008)
Autumnsymphony (2009)
The Complete Seasoncycle Suite (2011)
The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Chapter One) (2012)
The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Chapter One) - Alive In Theatre (2013)
Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 749
Language: english


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