La Maschera di Cera — La Maschera di Cera
(Mellow MMP 428, 2002, CD)
by Jim Chokey, Published 2002-09-01
When this CD first started spinning in my player I thought there had been some mistake. I was expecting to hear La Maschera di Cera, the new project by Finisterre’s Fabio Zuffanti; this, however, was clearly some long-lost Italian classic. In fact, the mistake was mine: I simply was not prepared for how completely La Maschera di Cera would resurrect that 70s Italian sound. Even the instrumentation reflects the era. Keyboardist Agostino Macor only plays period instruments like Mellotron, piano, organ, Moog, and the old VCS3 synth. With a gruff yet passionate voice, singer Alessandro Corvaglia is no less evocative of the vocals found in classic Italian prog. The same is true for Andrea Monetti (flute), Marco Cavani (drums, percussion), and Zuffanti himself (bass, acoustic guitar) — all play in a thoroughly convincing retro style. There are four tracks on this LP-length album. The sidelong piece that shares the album’s name is perhaps the most impressive, but all are excellent. Loaded with classic keyboard sounds, powerful and passionate vocals, and lots of flute and acoustic guitar, the whole CD exemplifies the same combination of romantic melodicism and driving energy that made 70s Italian symphonic so great. Stylistically, I’m most reminded of Biglietto per l’Inferno, Museo Rosenbach, and Metamorfosi. Some may argue that this album is backwards-looking and stuck in the past — but, when that past itself is so good — and when a band does such an outstanding job of bringing it to life again — why complain? My highest recommendation!
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more