Sithonia — Confine
(Mellow MMP 271, 1995, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, 1996-08-01:
Sithonia have actually been around quite a while. This I believe is their fourth album since they started roughly around the same time Nuova Era did. Sithonia are moving more and more into that classic 70s Italian sound while remaining tonally contemporary. It seems to me that with every album they make a small step in the right direction, streamlining their sound and focusing their better moments. Confine is certainly their best to date as it has some really tremendous themes and developments. My only gripes here are that at times some of the music seems like filler and that the playing can be somewhat amateur in the rhythm section department. On the other hand, they've decided to keep their lyrics Italian, which helps their already strong vocal department. There are a lot of good ideas here, some quite impressive and I think they've got about an 80 to 20 ratio of great music to filler. Confine is quite a good album and an addition to what is becoming an exponentially improving Italian scene. To be classed with Garden Wall, A Piedi Nudi, Deus Ex Machina and Finisterre as among the better Italian contemporaries.
by Mike Ohman, 1996-08-01:
Sithonia certainly stand apart from their neo-prog contemporaries. Their influence draws mainly not on Genesis, but on classic 70s bands from their native Italy like Metamorfosi and Biglietto per l'Inferno. That, coupled with the fact that they sing in their native Italian, makes Sithonia sound less like a new band than like an old band that never broke up, just updated their style and got some new equipment. One thing that sets Sithonia apart from many neo-proggers is the use of acoustic keyboards (piano and accordion) and guitars in addition to the usual electric/digital equipment. These acoustic passages have a timeless quality – thanks also in part to Marco Giovannini's very Italian sounding voice – that many other bands with their high-tech assault seem to miss. Sithonia also seem to have a sense of humor (the Italian Grobschnitt), incorporating at various points in the album a wacky Moog melody, an artificial, wordless telephone conversation, and a 60s flashback featuring what appears to be a Farfisa combo organ! My only problem is with the guitarist's electric guitar tone: the same slightly distorted, slightly reverbed tone that's used by... oh, I don't know... just about every other neo-prog guitarist out there. Aside from that, a very enjoyable recording.
by Alain Lachapelle, 1996-08-01:
This fourth album by Sithonia, a modern Italian band, brings an up-front approach to their style, underlined by lots of chordal guitar work supported by keyboard pads, contrasting a bit from their previous studio offering, Spettacolo Annullato. This time around, and following the atmosphere found on their live CD Follia di Passaggio, the feeling is globally heavier although we find here and there more tranquil moments. The difference is also exemplified by the tendency to spring forth without notice from a smooth passage to a more consistent riffing. Mind you, heavy prog this ain't. But it's got a steady presence supported by a solid rhythm section. Following this more aggressive approach we find guitarist Roberto Magni (co-composer) in the forefront quite often and almost always in the background textures. The keyboard work of both Paolo Nannetti (also composer) and Oriano Dassaso range from bringing supporting atmospheres to rhythm assistance to up-front duets. This two-keyboard approach gives Sithonia an ample sound, but not overly complex. Since the material is mostly song-based (in the progressive sense) the keyboards are there for both texture and colorful sonic arrangements. The rhythm base of Valerio Roda (bass) and Orio Cennachi (drums) is driving everything safely home. This is an album that grows on the listener upon multiple listenings. It seems as if the music is not giving itself away on first listen. The feelings expressed, the musical essence unfolds themselves slowly but surely. The pieces are grouped under the theme of confinement, averaging about fiveminutes each. A lot of chord and rhythmic changes are found in each and although the basics appear as "songs" in the first place, there is room, within these boundaries, for musical explorations. In fact, despite their short duration, each piece gives the impression of being positively longer than they actually are, due to the many developments. Since the words seems so important to convey the conceptual feeling of the work, it'd have been nice to have a translation (maybe this could be a suggestion for a web page?). People who liked previous Sithonia offerings won't be disappointed at all as Confine extends in the same direction as before, while new listeners will find a music that has every prog element making it dynamic while retaining the essentials of the Italian approach: a heart-felt melody and rich arrangements.
Related artist(s): Sithonia
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Carmen - Fandangos in Space & Dancing on a Cold Wind – It's about time that these albums received a proper re-release after the butcher job the German Line label did with them in the late 80s (large parts of tracks missing, track indexes in the wrong... (2007) » Read more
Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble - Live in Buenos Aires – One of Rick Wakeman’s several visits to South America gets the DVD treatment with this unique packaging of DVD and separate CD. Damian Wilson is Rick’s newest singer and his lead vocal captures... (2003) » Read more