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(180 min DVD, PPAC)
TRACK LIST: Isildurs Bane ******! 1. Arch 1:25 2. Heal 1:32 3. Good 3:10 4. Open 2:06 5. Dark 4:50 6. Eyes 6:59 7. Idea 9:06 8. The Asylum 8:37 9. Cage 5:16 10. Unity 3:31 11. The Pilot 5:14 The Voyage 20:52: 12. The Adventure of the Whirling Delirium 13. A Telescope & a Hot Air Balloon 14. Wild As a Toad 15. Magnificent Giant Battles Periferia Del Mondo ***** 1. Luci Da Un Universo Neonato 1:25 2. Percezioni Della Memoria 1:54 3. Un Borghese Piccolo 8:56 4. Incanti E Perplesissta 5:10 5. Can Stop 5:32 6. Periferia Del Mondo 9:46 7. Brand-Y 5:10 8. Solo Clarineto 1:43 9. L'Infedele 7:28 La Torre Dell'Alchimista ****** 1. Risveglio Procreazione E Dubbio-1 5:40 2. Acquario 5:14 3. La Persistenza Della Memoria 2:20 4. Idra 1:31 5. Risveglio Procreazione E Dubbio-2 9:36 6. Io Gnomo 4:45 Fernando Guiomar ****** 1. Ibero 16:12 Extras: 1. "Outside Looking In" 2. "The Place Where Music Breathes" Produced by Luis Loureiro.
Prolusion. GOUVEIA ARTROCK is an international annual Prog Rock festival, held in the town of Gouveia in Portugal. On this DVD, is captured last year's event (in its entirety, as far as I know). The participants are: Isildurs Bane (Sweden), two Italian groups, Periferia Del Mondo and La Torre Dell'Alchimista, and a native musician, Fernando Guiomar. The review of the Gouveia Artrock 2003 DVD can be read by clicking here.
Analysis. The festival was shot with several moving and stationary cameras, with the use of various light and smoke effects, so the DVD is a pretty enthralling sight visually. As for the quality of sound and picture, I think it would be non-topical to touch these details each time when writing about such products of modern technologies as DVDs, unless a material was shot and recorded before the digital era. The band in the state of the eternal quest for new creative explorations, continuously transforming their style - that is ISILDURS BANE. They appear as a sextet here: keyboards/ guitars/ bass/ drums/ percussion/ violin/ vocals. The concert lasts 70 minutes, totaling fifteen titles, four of which: The Adventure of the Whirling Delirium, A Telescope & a Hot Air Balloon, Wild As a Toad and Magnificent Giant Battles are live versions of some parts of The Voyage suite from the double CD album of the same name (which preceded the MIND concept series), and the other eleven are renderings and variations of / on the eponymous tracks from "MIND Vol. 4: Pass". All the versions of the stuff from "The Voyage" represent instrumental Classical Music performed by dints of a Progressive Rock quintet and are Isildurs Bane at their most intricate and adventurous. Brilliant compositions, but they aren't as strikingly different from the originals as renderings of those from the band's latest studio effort, which are (in this form) changed nearly beyond recognition. The quantity of textures of light Classical music, which was a primary direction on "Pass", was greatly reduced; gone are elements of traditional symphonic Art-Rock; the vocals vanished from some of the originally vocal-based sections without leaving a trace, as if they had never been there at all, while others popped up in new places. My personal favorites among the renderings are Cage and Dark, the group's most intricate and compelling compositions since "MIND Vol. 2". What's important about Isildurs Bane's performance is that the music, regardless of whether it's complex or accessible, marvelously appears to be simultaneously materially minded and surrealistic. Next up was PERIFERIA DEL MONDO, a quintet (sax, clarinet, flute & vocals/ keyboards/ guitar/ bass/ drums), who play nine compositions of differing complexity, although most of their music bears remarkable similarities to early Chicago, especially in the vocal-based sections, save the vocals. Solo Clarineto is surely just the clarinet solo, but is highly impressive. The first two numbers, and also Brand-Y, are a full-band instrumental Jazz-Fusion built around a few completely fixed themes. A lot of what they do on these has a driving Rock element, but (or, maybe, as a result of that) there is not enough variety to satisfy. The same words are relevant regarding the song: Un Borghese Piccolo, where most of the lyrics are narrated. The other four songs: Incanti E Perplesissta, Can Stop, the title track and L'Infedele are excellent, each featuring long instrumental sections with highly progressive arrangements, the latter being most likely not from this band's repertoire, because it's symphonic Art-Rock, radically different from the rest of the material, both in harmony and construction. Overall, this 45-minute set is good stuff, but not essential. LA TORRE DEL'ALCHIMISTA are on stage for 25 minutes, during which they play six compositions. For their performance, the quintet (keys/ bass/ drums/ flute/ vocals) expanded the fest's stationary keyboard equipment (two multifunctional modern synthesizers) with their own mini-Moog, Hammond and Rhodes. They are very tight and accomplished while lashing through a high-energy set of songs (Risveglio Procreazione E Dubbio parts 1 & 2 and Acquario) that feature a good combination of instrumental workouts and vocal sections and plenty of killer keyboard bits. One of the three instrumentals: Io Gnomo is much in the same vein, while the other two: La Persistenza Della Memoria and Idra are little concertos of Classical music for piano. Their symphonic Art-Rock is exciting and is rather original, but not without some distinct hints to the classics, particularly to ELP. Along with Isildurs Bane, Fernando GUIOMAR is one of my favorites on this DVD. The 16-minute Ibero is a piece of Classical music, performed on acoustic guitar and is a gem. Fernando (who is certainly a classically trained musician) is a master mood-creator, floating effortlessly from movement to movement, never forgetting of the emotional component of his composition. The Extras include two documentary films. "The Place Where Music Breathes" is about the town of Gouveia, where the festival takes place, and its environs, with drawings of people, nature, architectural monuments etc. "Outside Looking In" depicts the atmosphere backstage, in a crush-room and in the vicinity of the concert hall. There are also brief statements from some of the participants and the audience, all of which, though, remained incomprehensible to me.
Conclusion. The DVD features English subtitles. Not in its menu, but if you look for the Subtitles feature in your DVD player command or click the right bottom of your mouse (playing in a computer), you'll find the options to Subtitles. Don't deprive yourself of the pleasure of seeing this amazing concerto.
VM: September 13, 2005
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