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(70:37, Agla Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Dodecahedron I 7:45 2. Dodecahedron II 5:10 3. Dodecahedron III 6:57 4. Dodecahedron IV 5:50 5. Dodecahedron V 4:37 6. Dodecahedron VI 8:13 7. Dodecahedron VII 3:02 8. Dodecahedron VIII 4:32 9. Dodecahedron IX 5:51 10. Dodecahedron X 5:11 11. Dodecahedron XI 5:14 12. Dodecahedron XII 8:15 LINEUP: Alfio Costa – vintage keyboards; samples Davide Guidoni – drums; samples With: Roberto Aiolfi – bass Ettore Salati – guitars; itchemba, kehru Alessandro Papotto – sax, flute, clarinet Vincenzo Zitello – harp, flute Marcella Arganese – guitars Luca Scherani – bouzouki Sylvia Trabucco – violin Chiara Alberti – cello
Prolusion. The Italian duo DAAL was formed back in 2008 by Davide Guidoni (drums) and Alfio Costa (keyboards), with the latter the main person as far as crafting material goes. They've contributed to a number of thematic albums instigated by the Finnish Colossus organization, and from 2009 and onwards they have steadily released studio albums as well. "Destruktive Actions Affect Livings" from 2011 and "Dodecahedron" from 2012 is their third and fourth albums respectively.
Analysis. Just one year after the splendid exercise in electronic progressive rock "Destruktive Actions Affect Livings" was, Daal presents us with "Dodecahedron". A production that from the onset signals a darker and rather different trait than its predecessor with its black disc case sporting gray symbols spread around a 12-sided crystal, the latter what inspired the name of this CD presumably. And while we're treated to a fair share of electronic details on this album too, they have more of a subservient role on this occasion. Instead symphonic oriented cascades have a more prominent role this time around, with a number of guest musicians supplementing Costa's various keyboards and synthesizers and the skillful and often fairly imaginative rhythms of Guidoni. The haunting sax motif amidst cosmic sounds and Mellotron washes of the first part that develops into a more spirited and majestic run is a nice indicator of what to expect, the gentle acoustic opening theme leading on to a warm Pink Floydian oriented affair on the following part indicating that this is indeed a creation that covers a vast and eclectic territory. The next part alternates frail cello and piano interludes with powerful guitar and keyboard constellations, while the fourth part develops from an initial jazz-oriented start through cosmic-flavoured intermediate stages to something of a chamber rock affair. A diverse opening of an album, and the diversity continues as the following parts are unveiled too. Mystical sounds and something of a free jazz inspired take on the fifth part, a folk-oriented atmosphere developing into a Pink Floydian construction ebbing out with cosmic sounds and harpsichord on part six, harp and flute on top of a gentle percussion motif supplemented with futuristic synthesizer details follows, and for the eighth part a circulating synth motif is backed by cosmic sounds and a contrasting plucked guitar prior to a shift into a chaotic, layered arrangement with a prominent Mellotron display that ends up in a more simplistic but effective bass, drums and Mellotron driven conclusion. The ninth part may be described as a symphonic-oriented space rock composition with some instrument details that inspired thoughts of the Canadian trio Rush, while the gentle piano and frail sax supplementing a delightfully warm and organic jazz-oriented bass guitar is a venture into a completely different realm again and a delightful one too, I might add. A mournful cello backed by dampened but intense rhythms of a subtly tribal flavor complemented by careful cosmic electronic effects makes for an earthen yet cosmic and mystical eleventh part, while the twelfth and concluding one is a somewhat more elongated affair alternating between a frail piano and violin based theme and majestic symphonic constructions of a successively darker and haunting nature that shifts to a frail, folk-tinged theme prior to an electronic driven, careful cosmic conclusion. Twelve parts inspired by twelve different stories, from what I understand, accompanying the listener on a dozen journeys of at times vastly different nature. Engaging and fairly demanding for the avid listener, but easy enough on the ears and the mind to be compelling also for listeners who prefer not to go into the music with full concentration.
Conclusion. Diversity is the key word to describe Daal's "Dodecahedron", a dozen of instrumental compositions covering sometimes subtly different and sometimes vastly different musical grounds. A certain affection for keyboards, synthesizers and cosmic, electronic flavoring may be needed to be able to enjoy this album, an overall eclectic and fairly broad interest range probably a necessity. A rewarding journey that comes highly recommended to progressive rock fans who enjoy fairly demanding and diverse productions in general, and in particular those who prefer their music to be instrumental.
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