Torre Dell'Alchimista, La - La Torre Dell'Alchimista

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Kaliphonia
Catalog Number: KRC025-SIAE
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:42:00

What is immediately apparent regarding Italian progressive rock band La Torre Dell'Alchimista is that they are strongly influenced by the like of Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- Emerson mostly -- as well as Jethro Tull -- Anderson mostly. What this means is that the two dominant sounds in their music are the keyboards of Michele Mutti, who plays Hammond C3, Fender, and Mellotron (among others in his set up) and the flute of Silvia Ceraolo. Italian influences like Le Orme and Banco can also be heard on their self-titled debut. La Torre Dell'Achimista are a quintet of, besides Mutti and Ceraolo, Davide Donadoni on bass (and alto clarinet on one track), Michele Giardino on vocals (acoustic guitar on a few tracks, too), and Noberto Mosconi on drums (acoustic guitar for a track).

There is a lot of skill and great interplay on display here, but I do feel their overall performance needed to be tightened up a bit, as first noticed on the opening track "Eclisse." Mutti seems to rush over his keyboard parts, "slurring" some of the phrases. They seem to have taken a little more care with the title track, though certain parpy, high-pitched (I want to say squeeky) keyboard phrases have a ring of familiarity. Giardino has a pleasant voice, refreshing in its plainness, as it blends well with the instrumentaion. Not "in" as in disappears, but "in" as in part of whole. "La Torre Dell'Alchmista" is a sweeping track, romantic and smooth, with an appealing warmness. There is a feel of pastoral Genesis here, but for the vocals and keys.

"Il Volo" is a gentle, fragile piece where the lead instrument is flute, accented by subtly placed acoustic guitars and keys. It is light an airy -- knowing they are to play at NEARfest in June 2002, I can imagine this one played live, a respectful hush coming over the audience. Notes hang in the air like sprites. The alto clarinet that is featured in the latter portion of this track, gives the piece an entirely different mood - more jazzy, warmer and richer, and more down to earth. They seem to be two different tracks. Maybe the overall strongest piece here.

Classic organ sounds dominate "L'Apprendista," which repeat for "I Figli Della Mezzanotte" which at times at the beginning made me think of...Styx. Yes, Styx. But this is far from being arena rock. It is here I think of a looser, younger Banco without the enigmatic Francesco Di Giacomo on vocals. As a side note, in May of 2000 (just as Ceraolo was joining), the band played at a performance by Banco guitarists Maurizio Pizzardi & Rodolfo Maltese, that also featured Francesco di Giacomo. Fans of David Lanz or even, um, John Tesh, will appreciate "La Persistenza Della Memoria," where Mutti plays a very lyrical piano, very classical at times. Not a perfect performance, as the bass notes seem to run over each other. Similiarly, we can say almost the same thing about "Acquario," though here we have more of a jazzy performance rather than contemporary instrumental.

Formed in 1997, this band has had time to work up a very promising debut. With a little more patience, I see this band sitting quite comfortably alongside the more prominent names in Italian progressive. Those going to NEARfest this year are in for a nice treat, I think.

Eclisse (6:01) / Delirio (In Do Minore) (4:00) / La Torre Dell'Alchimista (6:48) / Il Volo (5:53) / L'Apprendista (6:50) / I Figli Della Mezzanotte (4:48) / La Persistenza Della Memoria (3:06) / Lo Gnomo (4:26) / Acquario (8:10)

Silvia Ceraolo - flute
Davide Donadoni - bass, alto clarinet (4)
Michele Giardino - lead vocals, cori, acoustic guitar (1, 8)
Noberto Mosconi - drums, acoustic guitar (4)
Michele Mutti - Hammond C3, Fender piano, piano, keyboards, synthesizer, and mellotron

recently added to the line up:
Elena Biagioni - vocals, keyboards

La Torre Dell'Alchimista (2001)
USA ? You Know? (2005)
Neo (2007)

Various Artists - Gouveia Art Rock 2004 (LTD'A appear on 6 tracks) (DVD) (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: April 7th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 533
Language: english


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