Exposé Online banner

Unreal City — Frammenti Notturni
(AMS 283, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-12-31

Frammenti Notturni Cover art

It seems like it’s been quite a while since I reviewed an album of classic-style Italian prog, so I’m happy to have this gem come up in my list. Unreal City has been in existence about ten years now, but Frammenti Notturni is the first of their albums I’ve heard. On one hand, they have the typical elements of symphonic Italian prog down: outstanding Classical-inflected keyboard playing (Emanuele Tarasconi) featuring piano, organ, and synths; a strong vocalist belting out Italian lyrics (Tarasconi again); melodic guitar work that rocks without resorting to cliches (Francesca Zanetta); a kick-butt rhythm section (Dario Pessina on bass and Marco Garbin on drums) that negotiates the compositions with energy and flair; and compositions that balance delicacy and power through varying sections. On the other hand, they also have much to recommend them that is much more their own, and lifts them above the level of a promising also-ran. Some of the instrumental sections have a hint of jazz fusion to them; guests provide violin and female backing vocals; and there are occasional moments of unexpected weirdness, like crazy analog synthesizer noises and an audio sample from Hitchcock’s Rope (James Stewart’s famous speech near the end). The real star here is the quality of the compositions. From the shortest tune (“Barricate” is under six minutes) to the longest (“La Grande Festa in Maschera” is over 13, and runs directly into “Le Luci delle Case (Spente)” to create a side-long epic) they maintain interest with imaginative changes and clever transitions, slipping into an odd meter here, changing key there, and so on. I can recommend Frammenti Notturni for anyone who’s into the Italian classics or would like to be. The style is not dead, and not moribund either.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Unreal City

More info
http://unrealcityprogband.bandcamp.com/album/frammenti-notturni

Latest news

2021-01-18
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

2020-12-09
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

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Imogene - Imogene – Certainly one of the ways for a band to achieve a distinctive sound is to feature an unconventional lineup of instruments. Imogene takes this tack by taking a typical b/d/g/k format and substituting...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues