Il Ballo Delle Castagne -
Live Studio

(CD 2015, 39:03, Black Widow Records)

The tracks:
  1- Tema Di Gilgamesh(4:28)
  2- La Terra Trema(6:32)
  3- Il Viaggio(4:45)
  4- Odore Di Benzina(4:20)
  5- I Giorni Della Memoria Terrena(4:30)
  6- Areknames(3:31)
  7- Omega(5:21)
  8- Fire In The Sky(5:35)

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Il Ballo Delle Castagne are an Italian/Austrian band founded in 2007 by vocalist Vinz Aquarian, and guitarist/keyboardist Marco Gargegnani. After four studio albums, released since 2009, they released this short album Live Studio, which was recorded live at the Nadir studio in Genua, Italy.

The band's music is often classified as dark Italian prog, and dark it certainly is. The vocal of Vinz are half sung, half spoken and have a sinister edge to them. Added to this are the bewitching female vocals of guest singer Marina Larcher, which results on many tracks in a slightly occult (think druids and priestesses) feel to the chants and vocals, certainly on the opening track Tema Di Gilgamesh and Il Viaggio.

Musically, the band draws influences from classic Italian prog, krautrock, space rock and a dash of jazz, a cocktail that is not for everybody, but a very welcome change from all the Yes and Genesis clones we find in today's prog catalog. Space rocking guitars are accompanied by a wailing organ, underneath aforementioned vocals, and on tracks like Il Trema and Il Viaggio, the qualities of jazz influenced bass player Diego Ranchero really shine.

The album also contains three covers, of which I Giorgi Della Memeria Terrane is the most surprising one: a modified version (with Italian vocals) of Eloy's Appearance Of The Voice. 'The voice' of Aquarian certainly works here.
The other covers are Areknames, originally by Italian Franco Battiato, and Fire In The Sky, by space rock band Ya Ho Wa 13. These last two, as well as Il Ballo themselves were new to me, and I must say that this 'live' studio recording made me curious to other works of the band and of these other two bands. I can, on the right occasions, enjoy jazz rock, kraut rock and the less bombastic Italian prog, and did find myself enjoying this as well - even if not something I would play daily. Calling it refreshing doesn't fit the dark nature of the music, but compared to other releases, this is a special and different one. Try before you buy, because it is not 'common prog', but definitely at least worth a try for any prog fan.

Closing note: the release is limited to 108 hand numbered CDs, in a 7 sleeve, and a small number of promo copies (also hand marked as such).

**** Angelo Hulshout (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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