[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(50 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Again Autumn 5:19 2. If 5:00 3. The Feebleminded Man 20:57 4. The Chapter 7:33 5. Riding the Deep 5:26 6. Thinking All 6:13 All tracks: by Bugliani. Produced by Cage. LINEUP: Alessandro Bugliani - piano, keyboards Claudio Franciosi - keyboards Andrea Mignani - guitars; flute Andrea Griselli - drums Fulvio Mele - bass; vocals
Prolusion. The Italian quintet CAGE should probably be regarded as veterans of the scene, as their history dates back to the distant year of 1985. From 1987 to 1992, the band actively gigged all over their motherland, and 1994 saw them start working on their first album. Soon, however, the men decided to go their separate ways in order "to do solo careers", but time has shown it wasn't such a good idea. The reunion took place in 2003, when the band (at long last) entered the studio to record the best tracks they had composed at the first stage of their activity; hence the title of their first official CD, "87/94".
Analysis. Cage performs a lush symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Classical Academic music, whose influence is obvious on each of the six compositions, above all due to the abundance (but not superfluity) of distinctive acoustic piano passages, courtesy of Alessandro Bugliani. The instrumental piece, Again Autumn, is striking for its picturesque majestically melancholic atmosphere, which is kept safe throughout the piece despite the constantly transforming modal structures, very well reproducing a general sense of the autumnal mood in all the diversity of its emotional nuances. The somewhat timid development of the middle section is more than compensated by its diverse harmonic basis, in combination with the carefully thought-out arrangement. The song If begins with an intense, dynamic and expressive instrumental theme, soon joined by bassist Fulvio Mele's clear and powerful singing. Especially ambitious is the finale with its polyrhythmic structure, the pronouncedly harsh guitar solos never destroying the overall, sad, mood of the work. The Feebleminded Man clocks in at 21 minutes, and while none of the songs is overloaded with vocals, this one is largely instrumental. A true epic, the composition is astonishing nearly from beginning to end, combining surging energy with transparence and fragility. There is an episode with dissonant arrangements near the middle, which, although interesting in itself, is somewhat out of place here, looking like an awkwardly rocky island, surrounded by a sea of tranquil symphonic waves. The remaining three tracks are just perfect. The Chapter showcases the mastery of guitarist Andrea Mignani, whose intricate solos come more often to the fore here than on the other tracks, while Riding the Deep (the second and last instrumental) is woven mostly of keyboard patterns, arousing some distant associations with ELP. The chamber-like beginning of the last track, Thinking All, gradually transforms into an original vocal-laden theme with innovative instrumental outlines. As nearly everywhere on the album, the music is complex, original and highly intriguing alike.
Conclusion. Overall, this release is worthy of every kind of praise and can be highly recommended to everyone into Symphonic Progressive Rock and beyond, the most experienced connoisseurs of the genre included. If the middle section of the first and the second track had been somewhat more diverse, I would have certainly added an exclamation mark to the rating. Top-20-2005
VM: October 17, 2005
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]