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Flora - 2010 - "Traiettorie di Volano"

(47:11, Lizard Records)

1.  Ed Hopper 4:18
2.  Volano 3:50
3.  Trasparente 4:36
4.  Baltico 3:30
5.  Insalata n.5 2:51
6.  Edimburgo 3:19
7.  It's All Right 4:40
8.  Marco 3:37
9.  Rami 4:53
10. Come Costruire un Albero 4:48
11. L'attesa 6:49


Pietro Beltrami  keyboards 
Pina Muresu  saxophone 
Fabrizio Lusitani  guitars 
Michele Tizzoni - drums
Paolo Nicastro  bass; vocals
Claudia Nicastro  vocals; glockenspiel

Prolusion. The Italian act FLORA has been around since the late 90's, changing both stylistic expressions and line-ups a number of times prior to stabilizing both a few years after the millennium shift. "Traiettorie di Volano" is their third full length production, and the second to be released by the Italian label Lizard Records.

Analysis. There are many types of music that is covered by the large umbrella called progressive rock, covering all kinds of flavors from the light and fragile to the compact, massive and majestic, and with arrangements from the relatively simplistic ones to highly complex and challenging affairs demanding a lot from the listener. In the case of Italian act Flora we're dealing with a band on the outer edges of the art rock universe, exploring a style I'd personally place within the pop art category. Music easy to fathom, not highly demanding of the listener and relatively simplistic, but incorporating subtle nuances and details that take the songs outside of the common mainstream approach. A few variations aside, "Traiettorie di Volano" is a disc that is rather uniform in style. The arrangements and overall sound is a singular one, easily identified as being from this band and this album. Not highly original in any single detail, but this particular blend is one I haven't encountered too often previously. Even so this is music that feels and sounds familiar on initial inspection to most, especially those who happen to tune in to FM radio now and then. The songs are all relatively short, with just one piece stretching beyond the five minute mark. The themes are light and fragile, and while contrasting darker textures do appear now and then, it is in a dampened manner, making them as unobtrusive as the songs they are a part of. Groove-laden motifs come courtesy of bass and drums, sometimes energetic and at other times as ethereal as the additional instrumentation, always positive and uplifting in general mood and atmosphere. Gentle swirling guitar licks and a light, wandering piano are essential features throughout, both of which at times evoke a post rock feeling. The tangents tend to have more of a jazz flavor to them however, harmonizing in tone but subtly contrasting in expression the motifs laid down by the gentler guitar theme. But occasionally the guitar will take on a slight touch of fusion too, and often the piano will complement this by altering to a less freely wandering mode of expression, closer to what one might describe as mainstream. The ever so slight jazz orientation will occasionally be given extra focus by way of the saxophone, and while never resulting in compositions with a distinct jazz or fusion nature, nuances of one or both are a common but not ever present feature of Flora's musical exploits. With both male and female lead vocals to cater for the vocal duties, there's a good variety for this part of the proceedings too. The end result are songs light in mood and spirit, easy on the ears and the mind but with subtle details and nuances that should please listeners who enjoy looking for and savoring minute details in the music they listen to. Moods and melodies are at the forefront however, and as enticing and beautiful as the tracks on this disc are, they will not satisfy the cravings of those who prefer their musical enjoyment to come from efforts of an intricate, innovative or challenging nature.

Conclusion. Gentle melodies and arrangements referencing post rock and jazz in various compositional details are what Flora provides on its third full length effort. The songs are generally positive and uplifting, ever so slightly mainstream oriented in style and approach, but also incorporating elements of a more sophisticated nature in an elegant manner. Pop art is my chosen description for such endeavors, and this disc will most likely find favor among others familiar with that idiom.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 16, 2011
The Rating Room

Related Links:

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