Ifsounds — An Gorta Mór
(Bandcamp Melodic Revolution, 2018, CD / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2019-03-25
Ifsounds is the Italian prog band consisting of Fabio de Libertis (bass guitar), Runal (lead vocals), Dario Lastella (guitars, keyboards, synths, and vocals), Lino Mesina (drums, percussion, and vocals), and Claudio Lapenna (acoustic and electric piano, keyboards, organ, and vocals). Their latest album, An Gorta Mór, is about the Great Irish famine of 1879. The album contains four relatively short songs plus the title track that clocks in at 22 minutes. The music is a mixed bag of excellent music touching upon melodic progressive rock (“Mediterranean Floor”), aggressive complex rock (“Techno Guru”), gentle folk prog (“Violet”), and gritty hard rock (“Repitilarium”). The title track, "An Gorta Mór," is a suite of nine movements: I. “Emerald Island,” II. “Phytophthora infestans,” III. “Bridget O’Donnell,” IV. “The Great Famine,” V. “Doolough Lake,” VI. “The Docks of Limerick,”VII. “Regina Oceani,” VIII. “Long cónra,” and IX. “Ghosts in America.” To help with this excellent concept piece they enlisted guests Lino Giugliano (keyboards and organ on “Reptilarium,” “The Great Famine,” and “Doolough Lake”), Alessandra Santovito of Hexperos (vocals on “Regina Oceani"), Francesco Forgione of Hexperos (bhodrán on “The Docks of Limerick”), Vincenzo Cervelli (vocals on “The Docks of Limerick”and backing vocals on “Ghosts in America”), Matteo Colombo (violin on “Emerald Island” and “The Docks of Limerick”), and Marco Grossi (backing vocals on “Ghosts in America”). This long suite begins cheerily with birds chirping, leading into a pleasant folk ballad with a catchy melody. As they progress through the movements the music alternates between acoustic melodies and progressive rock until we reach “The Docks of Limerick” with Matteo’s beautiful Celtic violin trading lead lines with Dario's electric guitar as they set sail for the US. Sailing over silent seas on “Regina Oceani” Allesandra’s beautiful operatic soprano soothes the passengers as her voice soars off into the heavens. They all join in on a mail chorus as the ship reaches America along with a tasteful guitar solo that fades into the final sounds of the tolling ship’s bell. An Gorta Mór is a superb release worthy of all the praise levied on it!
Related artist(s): Ifsounds / If
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.