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Aviolinee Utopia - Aviolinee Utopia

Artist: Aviolinee Utopia
Title: Aviolinee Utopia
Label: Mellow Records MMP 322
Length(s): 45 minutes
Year(s) of release: 1997
Month of review: 03/1998

Line up

Christian Logli - saxes
Giuliano Lott - vocals, cymbals, ocean drum
Narcy Parillo - bass
Andrea Pergher - guitars
Giacomo Plotegher - piano, keyboards
Michele - ciech drums, cymbals, percussions
Some viola and violin by Giuliano Eccher

Tracks

1) Ultraleggero I 1.11
2) Timone Del Cielo 4.47
3) Marsiglia 7.29
4) Integralisti Alegrini 3.44
5) Ripetizioni 5.09
6) Ultraleggero II 4.38
7) L'altra Parte 4.15
8) Ritmo 5.39
9) 1 Cmq. Di Cielo 8.31

Try a sample of the album in MP3 or RealAudio

Summary

I heard from Mellow Records that this album won the Darwin Award 1997, making it the best Italian progressive record of 1997.

The music

Opening with acoustic guitar and melodic flute on Ultraleggero I, it seems we are in for a lyrical Italian CD. Timone Del Cielo however opens with neurotic guitar a la KC Discipline period. The vocals of Lott are quite okay, but when backing vocals are used, it becomes a little chaotic. On the other hand one is not far off the mark when one dubs this song, chaotic. Logli wrings quite a few notes from his saxes, that hitherto are probably unusable. The vocal melody is not very straightforward and he varies a lot within his singing. He is not very strong in the lower regions, but he likes to "move around" when singing. His vocals are best when he sings loud and it seems that the singer sings very freely. He also draws out his notes quite long. After evoking a city landscape with the necessary samples, this is another not too straightforward and flowing track, with a repetitive riff on the guitar and again drawn out, loud vocals. After a minute or two the music takes a turn, becoming more exciting and driven, mostly by the percussion. After another distinct change, the song ends very well with the repetitive strings of Giuliano Eccher's. Integralisti Algeria has short lyrics, but I can make heads nor tails of them and this is not just because it's Italian. It seems that the band is showing that Italian is closed under permutation (figure out for yourselves what THAT means). A great track by the way with tight playing, a good guitar solo, very speedy percussion and emotional singing. We then break into a heavy rocking part alternated with a jazz-tinged vocal part. Ripetizioni opens with laid-back lounge jazz and aahhh'ing by the singer. The song is rather jazzy on the whole with a large sax presence, while the guitar plays a hidden role. The songs ends wonderfully with a compelling tune on the sax. Ultraleggero II is like its predecessor an instrumental. A soft one, offering an oasis among the chaos that the songs of this band often harbour. Repetitive and because of the presence of the sax, there's again this jazzy atmosphere. But relaxing this time. L'Altra Parte opens a bit like Ripetizione. The vocals are spoken this time and here are quite a lot of lyrics to this otherwise not very long track. A nice moody track, but not very typical progressive (in case that is what you are after). The music here is a bit modern and mostly built on atmosphere. The song ends chaotically, and then abruptly. After the subdued pianic opening of Ritmo and some soundscapes we get some interplay between sax and vocals after which we get a typical VDGG part on the sax. What seems to be a low cello accompanies the singer on the intro of 1 cmq. Di Cielo. The vocals sound very live on this intro. The continuation is quite hectic with lots of things happening and screaming guitars attacking from all sides. Again, the band manages to put a lot of different musical ingredients into their music, but not forgetting to include some good melodies. The track ends loudly with lots of keyboards and saxes.

The artwork is tasteful.

Conclusion

A hard album for me to review. The band knows its way, certainly does not play overt or easy music and in fact tries to evoke as many emotions as possible, but I have to warn that the music can be quite chaotic and aggressive. One might think in this line of the more jazzy variant of King Crimson (Edhels?) or VDGG, but the description typical Italian progressive, but jazzier than most goes a long way as well. The vocals are very expressive. The best Italian album of 1997? I'm not sure (I've heard quite little besides), but I'm not surprised. Powerful and compelling, but since the music is not very accessible and is sometimes downright chaotic, taking a listen (to the music or a second opinion) is advised. I, however, am impressed.
© Jurriaan Hage