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(50 min, 'Do-Re')
TRACK LIST: 1. Nascita 3:34 2. Back in Time 3:32 3. Boston 7:36 4. Classical Path 7:46 5. Italian Irish 4:37 6. Open Doors 2:36 7. Black Cats 4:49 8. Danza Appassionata 4:52 9. Night Vision 5:47 10. Rock Barock 3:52 11. The Incredible Journey 1:16 PERSONNEL: Enrico Rosa - acoustic guitar Eva Rosa - recorders; wind synthesizer
Prolusion. A follow-up to "Classico Atypico", "The Incredibly Journey" is the second album by ROSAE - a married duo of Enrico and Eva Rosa living in Denmark, although Enrico is probably more known to Prog lovers as the founder and bandleader of the remarkable vintage-era Italian band Campo Di Marte. More related reviews on this site: here, here, here and here.
Analysis. While Enrico plays a handcrafted acoustic guitar throughout "The Incredible Journey" too, the arsenal of woodwinds Eva uses here is much larger than that on "Classico Atypico" and includes alto, tenor, bass, Renaissance soprano and Bressan alto recorders, plus a wind synthesizer (only on two tracks). Nonetheless, since there are no overdubs on this new Rosae effort either, it is sonically almost like a twin brother of its predecessor. Musically however, it is another story almost altogether. Unlike "Classico Atypico", "The Incredible Journey" is stylistically a highly diverse album, none of its eleven tracks being a work of Classical music of the first water, but then almost all of them concern directly Progressive Rock - exactly! Although located at the disc's polar positions, the only two compositions that are for the most part performed by Enrico alone, Nascita and the title track, have much common ground between themselves, each drawing a picture typical of classic acoustic guitar pieces adopted in Sympho Prog, yet not evoking any of the artists who ever succeeded in that field - be it Steve Howe, Steve Hackett, Anthony Phillips or anyone else. Night Vision and Italian Irish both would've been mentioned along with the previous two had they in places not been notable for their explosive, rockingly-raging rhythms. There are several cuts here whose hardness is almost physically perceptible, but one of these, Black Cats, rocks throughout. This tune is based on repetitive guitar riffs, and since the recorder solos are often done in unison with those, the comparisons with Hard Rock are inevitable which, in turn, is something marvelous. I must confess:-) I've never heard acoustic Hard Rock until now. The latter words are also relevant regarding Danza Appassionata. I gave three successive listenings to this track, and yet could not find any better definition for it than acoustic Jazz Rock. The complex, stylistically polychromatic Boston and Classical Path are the richest in improvised solos, which however doesn't mean these are prevalent here - not at all. The latter piece is especially diverse and unpredictable, now steering towards Baroque music, now bringing to mind Jethro Tull, now sounding like pure Jazz. What strikes me most of all is that, throughout their adventurous stylistic digressions and stirring improvisations, Enrico and Eva never lose focus of the integral beauty of each of their most unusual compositions, meaning the three described last, and also Rock Barock which, despite its title, is a (brilliantly executed) variation-improvisation on Flamenco. Where Baroque music feels really more or less comfortable in are Back in Time and Open Doors, though the former often finds it intermixed still with Spanish tunes, whilst on the latter its nature is changed almost beyond recognition, appearing as a sort of sophisticated take on West European traditional medieval music.
Conclusion. Rosae carve a niche in acoustic progressive music that few can fill, and their new album is just another showcase for their really matchless talent in covering (and combining!) probably all the existing musical forms - from Classical music through Jazz to Progressive Rock in all its stylistic variety. Although virtuosity is definitely not something Rosae are lacking, the listener never feels the musicians are rivaling with each other. Highly recommended.
VM: January 12, 2007
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