MAURIZIO BRUNOD, GIORGIO LI CALZI, BORIS SAVOLDELLI – Nostalgia Progressiva

Caligola 2019

Reverential, if refractory, reading of art-rock classics from a trio of conspirators who failed to rein in their fantasy.

MAURIZIO BRUNOD,
GIORGIO LI CALZI,
BORIS SAVOLDELLI –
Nostalgia Progressiva

Possessed by many voices, Boris Savoldelli may want to keep the output of any collective he’s involved in minimal – only to prove such an intent impossible. Having reimagined a certain PINK FLOYD album as "The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky" a few years ago, the Italian singer is expanding his reach again here, and again does so in the company of a couple like-minded compatriots able to complement vocals and, at the same time, shift focus to the instrumental element the chosen numbers offer. Giorgio Li Calzi’s brass and Maurizio Brunod’s guitars bring in a different dimension to this record’s KING CRIMSON-dominated panorama, created in a single day, as the group interpret familiar tunes and let previously hidden textures permeate every piece on display – starting from the magnificent “Formentera Lady” where many layers are interlaced in a breathy soundscape and stricken with percussive samples until tribal chants produce a scat – yet it’s other tracks that render the context unexpectedly riveting.

The change in perspective happens once the cobweb-lite “I Talk To The Wind” breaks gives way the groovy “Roots” which – alongside the delicately robotic take on “Taranaki” sitting between the sparse, albeit arresting, “Starless” and the stately “Moonchild” – would presumably be the first cover of NUCLEUS’ classic period. This is when the trio’s vision, voiced with a “Schizoid” riff, will snap into view, and when the dark side of “Radio Activity” will embrace KRAFTWERK’s inherent, vibrant balladry. Whereas “Shipbuilding” doesn’t stray too far from a Costello/Wyatt transparent template, while distilling the ensemble’s melodic method, “Matte Kudasai” has spanked Adrian Belew’s acoustic reverie to reveal its fusion undercurrent before sending invisible seagulls towards “Tomorrow Never Knows” to infuse The Fabs’ psychedelic trip with mental, electronica-tinctured stumble. As a result, after LE ORME’s “Gioco Di Bimba” is cleared of caramel residue in favor of nostalgia, an air of reverence should disappear and show the Italian artists’ intuitive understanding of prog’s need to develop.

And that’s what they do, propelling it to the future, impressively so.

****

August 20, 2019

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