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

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Iconoclasta - La Granja Humana – Though I’ve been reading about them in Exposé for years, this is the first Iconoclasta I’ve actually heard. I’m going to leave aside the concept-album aspect of Granja Humana (Human Farm in...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues