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Celeste — Echi di un Futuro Passato
(Bandcamp no#, 2024, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-06-21

Echi di un Futuro Passato Cover art

It’s been a full 50 years (or maybe just a little more) since the band Celeste was born. Their first eponymous album (or Principe di un Giorno if you prefer) is a certified classic of Italian progressive rock, a soft pastoral rock sound that would be in great company with the earliest albums by PFM and one that has gone on to be released on vinyl and compact disc in a number of different countries — even a version with English lyrics exists. Two  more albums were recorded in the 70s, one an album of library music (I Suoni in una Sfera) and the other Celeste II (or Second Plus for those who bought it on CD decades later), but after the end of the decade, the de facto bandleader Ciro Perrino decided it was time to move on to other projects: San Tropez, La Compagnia Digitale, and a solo career which began in earnest with Solare in 1980. A new era for Celeste began in 2018, with five new albums released in the years since, of which Echi di un Futuro Passato is the fifth. It should be no surprise that much of the current sound echoes the symphonic grandeur  of those earliest years, as well as the jazzier inclinations that the band was exploring in the years that followed. The core quintet today is essentially the same as 2021’s Il Principe del Regno Perduto: guitarist Mauro Vero, drummer Enzo Cioffi, Marco Moro on all manner of flute and saxes, bassist Francesco Bertone, with Perrino playing Mellotron, Solina, Eminent, Hammond, Minimoog, ARP 2600, and vocals. Among the guests are Marco Canepa on piano, Paolo Maffi on additional saxes, Sergio Caputo on violin, and Ines Aliprandi on solo voice. The nine-minute opener “Pigmenti” introduces the sound, interesting in that the piece is entirely instrumental up to well past the midpoint, after which the vocals come in; but it’s the second number, the slow symphonic groove of “Sottili Armonie” that features just about every keyboard in Perrino’s arsenal, and is one of the album’s standout tracks. “Aspetti Astratti” takes the listener on a jazzy romp with orchestrations (yes, plenty of Mellotron since you asked) where the entire band acquit themselves superbly. The melody reigns supreme on the ten-plus minute “Attese Sottese” as it morphs through a number of different phases. It’s worth noting that most of the album’s seven tracks are entirely instrumental, even the vocal cuts (the aforementioned opener, the sprawling eleven-minute “Madrigale,” and the closer “Circonvoluzioni”) are mostly instrumental. It’s a long album, well over an hour for the CD and download, but thoroughly enjoyable beginning to end. Listeners interested in the version on green vinyl should email directly to ciroperrino1950@gmail.com.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Celeste, Ciro Perrino

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