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Raoul Moretti - 2016 - "Harpness"

(66:58; Raoul Moretti)


TRACK LIST: 1. Sharpness 4:34 2. Das Unheimlich 2:34 3. Mi Alma Viajera 2:00 4. Near Death Experience 4:09 5. A Kaleidoscoping Mind 5:38 6. The Black Swan 3:24 7. Universi Paralleli 2:47 8. Obliviousness 4:21 9. Reflections 5:17 10. Breakaway 3:32 11. Sharp-Eyed Man 3:07 12. Sweetly Violent 1:52 13. Violently Sweet 5:46 14. Hazy Ideas 3:54 15. Sockpuppet 3:03 16. Just an Illusion 3:20 17. Rebirth 7:40 LINE UP : Raoul Moretti - electroharp, electronics with: Michele Bertoni - bass, percussion, effects, organ, piano, bodhran, guitarssynthesizers Marco Tuppo - synthesizers Walter Demuru - electronics Diego Soddu - electronics Gianluca Porcu - electronics Erica Scherl - violin Valerio Corzani - bass, electronics

Prolusion. Italian-Swiss composer and musician Raoul Moretti is an instrumentalist that has been active for a number of years, and with a reputation for exploring the possibilities of his instrument in unusual manners. He started to explore his ideas in the recording studio back in 2014 or thereabouts, and has a handful of albums to his name in addition to various collaborations. The album "Harpness" dates back to 2016, and was self released.

Analysis. The more exclusive fact about Moretti as an artist is that the harp and the electric harp are his chosen instruments, and solo albums focusing on that instrument aren't the most common productions around. Especially when this instrument is used in settings beyond classical music. If the music explored on this album falls within the progressive rock universe is a case up for debate of course, as rock music elements are few and far between here, but the manner in which the compositions play out here will certainly interest many that also have an interest in certain types of progressive rock. The greater majority of the compositions here comes across as a bit more ambient in terms of form and execution, albeit ambient music with some unusual properties. We get liberal amounts of dark drones and light drones that both produce a cosmic feel, often with a haunting quality, and I rather guess the harp in general and the electric harp in particular is more in use than what we can actually identify on most of these creations. The reverberating sounds present in many of these escapades are likely suspects, and the more striking clear plucked instrument notes present will obviously come from the harp. But the drones, some occasional fuzzy sounds and the liberal array of both delicate and more dramatic noise effects appearing throughout are harder to place in terms of origins. Some will most likely be electronic effects, others may well be the harp explored in a really non traditional manner. For me this is an album all about the moods, atmospheres and landscapes explored and not all that much a case about the instruments in use though. And the greater majority of these compositions revolves around moods and atmospheres with a cosmic or an otherworldly feel to them, sometimes combining these traits too. And many of them are really well assembled too, with plenty of moments of brilliance in solid creations and some creations elevating the listener experience also to a higher and more engaging level. Which is not at all what I expected from an album revolving around the harp as an instrument.

Conclusion. When Moretti is described as an unconventional instrumentalist, this album documents rather firmly why that is the case. The music is probably more compelling than what many would imagine, with mysterious and haunting landscapes transporting the listener out into space and into galaxies far away, and not always galaxies with a warm and welcoming feel to them either. If you have a fascination for music with a very distinct cosmic feel that operates inside of an experimental ambient noise context, "Harpness" is an album that deserves a bit of listening time.

Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room

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