Home            Artist links            Label link

Finisterre Project - Hostsonaten

Artist: Finisterre Project
Title: Hostsonaten
Label: Mellow Records MMP 320
Length(s): 63 minutes
Year(s) of release: 1997
Month of review: 03/1998

Line up

Fabio Zuffanti - bass, synth, classical guitar, vocals
Stefano Marelli - guitars
Osvaldo Giordano - synths, mellotron
Fabio Casanova - minimoog
Boris Valle - piano, minimoog
Edmondo Romano - soprano sax, alto and tenor recorder
Francesca Biagini - flutes
Marco Cavani - drums, percussion, programming
Claudio Castellini - vocals, backing vocals
Carlo Carnevali - vocals and narration

Tracks

1) Sinfonia Della Luna Part 1 1.47
2) Hostsonaten 41.22
3) Remember You 7.32
4) The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner Part 1 12.35

Try a sample of the album in MP3 or RealAudio

Summary

Finisterre has been a favourite of mine among the Mellow bands. Just before they left the label they recorded this album where most of the music was written by Zuffanti, but also some covers. There might be differences of opinion with regrds to the title of this album since it is spelled Hostonaten and Hostsonaten, but since sonate is a music term I have taken to the latter. Still if not done on purpose (why?) it's quite messy.

The music

The first track is actually written by one Hayashi and I found that this song is part of the title track of an album by the Japanese band Mugen. I do not know this track, but it sounded very familiar and I'm afraid this is not because I secretly heard some Mugen stuff somewhere. When I pressed stop, I could still continue the melody, but I can't figure out what it is. The song is played by fluite and recorders solely and features as an intro to the forty plus minute title track. If this track does not feature everything the band has to offer than what might? Opening with a great melody on the piano, introducing the theme, we continue with a few acoustic guitars and the theme returns on the flute. The sound of the music is very open and the music is quite atmospheric and moody. After some more acoustics the drum enter the stage after which the flute/piano (played percussively, the piano that is, not the flute) take over again. Some more majestic and bombastic parts are also present in the form of loud guitar solo's laced with heavy organ sounds. The suite Hostsonaten is divided into eight parts (they might have made these all separate tracks). After the instrumental part Sunset we get a dreamy part, Starfields, that has a pastoral quality. The vocals are accented, but it's not disturbing. Old Genesis is truly evoked here with the lalala's reminding of the days of Trespass. This pastoral feeling I keep during the following slow guitar solo, but it becomes shriller and more powerful when the drums set in. The theme of the song now returns in what seems to be the next part, The Forest. this part contains a moving guitar solo that refers to more modern prog. The following keyboard solo sounds a bit dated, though. Ghosts Of Summer Evenings is the next part with plenty of mellotron and the dreamy, melodic vocals of Castellini. We are now almost halfway and it seems we are diving deep down into the sewer, the water, a cave, a dank place. After some keyboardruns the saxophone of Edmondo Romano speaks for the first time and now also the flutes returns. This part has some more rhythm and can be likened to melodic jazzrock. It seems the musicians are restraining themselves, afraid to let the climax come to soon. This is pretty standard varied progressive rock with some dated keyboards, mellotron, but it has to be said, nice melodies. Various rhythmic changes this a relatively hectic part of this cd. Quietness returns with the flute and acoustics. This is the penultimate part, called Seascape. We are just at 25 minutes now, so the last parts are together quite long. This is quite a pleasant, dreamy part with plenty of mellotron and percussive piano and again very appealing melodies. The sound is a bit folky here. The shredding guitars that come afterwards are a total surprise, but here the guitarist really lets himself go in an orgastic mix of keyboards and driven drums. The conflict is solved in what must be Morning. This part has an uplifting and a melody that I'm sure will bring many people to tears. It's maybe sad they don't take it to the end of the song. It would have been a worthy end. After a short acoustic part the tension builds up again, with heavy guitars and an melodic, fluent solo played overneath. The (ELPish) keyboards also put in their five cents and bombastically, almost chaotically the song is concluded. Thus ends this Collection Of Autumnul Dances.

Remember You is the third track on this album. It was written by Akihisa Nakamura (anybody know him?). This song is rather slow and a bit boring. The vocals have the same sunny afternoon quality. The additions on flute are tasteful, but for seven minutes it contains way too few ideas. The song becomes more involved at the end and the flute playing is quite passionate, but it's no high flyer, this song.

Closing the album is The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner of which we find only part 1 here (at least according to the booklet, not according to the backinsert). The lyrics are those of the original poem. This song not too short track alternates at first between moody verses and a more involved chorus, with double vocals, that unfortunately sound a little ill-timed and in fact the vocals are a bit well wavery at times on this track; not very clear. This song is quite nice with some nice melodies, musically a bit on the folky side and with some nice tensionbuilding on the piano in the middle. The shards of guitar are also a very nice touch and something we hadn't experienced yet. The song works up to another one of those climaxes with lots of things going on and then dribbles down to nothing.

The artwork is both classic and classy. Very nice.

Conclusion

The band Finisterre is known for blending classical music with rock and can sound both melodic and neo-classical and sometimes downright chaotic. For this, the band can be likened to The Enid and in fact Robert John Godfrey is mentioned as an inspiration. The title track is not what I would call stunning, but the melodies are very good and there is a sense of direction in what happens, especially if one tries to follow the music, using the titles of the parts. Musically the acoustic parts smell of old Genesis, they share this typical atmosphere. When the flute enters the stage, the sound is more directly Italian, while the electric guitar parts remind more of modern progressive. If I would have to choose something that would come near this effort, then one should look into the direction of Camel's Snowgoose, but also the quite heavily used mellotron is not to be forgotten. The recording is okay, but the sound is not as clear as People who found Finisterre too (neo-)classical in their olden days may now take a listen once again and maybe now they will enjoy the melodic music on this album. To be honest, after a first listen I did not think much of it, but behold, even my opinions can change.
© Jurriaan Hage