[AltrOck Productions, 2017]
Intro: Dimitris Kaltsas
Translation: Alexandros Mantas
05 / 07 / 2017
Accordo dei Contrari were formed in 2001 in Bologna. After numerous line-up changes, the route that the band would follow was defined right from the start by their debut album, the sublime Kinesis (2007). The way they approached prog / jazz-rock featured an added emphasis on improvisation and polyrhythms, while their music emanated a live feeling that was pioneering at the time and they went even further with the addition of Canterbury dashes to their sound in their second – and personal favourite – album Kublai (2011). AdC that came next lived up to the band’s high standards and it would take three years until Violato Intatto would be released. Accordo dei Contrari may fly under the radar of the best part of the audience, but for those who follow closely their steps, everything they do offers plenty to investigate.
Prog / jazz-rock the way we love it
On the fourth album of Accordo dei Contrari there is the first change in the line-up which was stable on their first three albums. Consequently, the equilibrium of the quartet Marco Marzo (guitar), Giovanni Parmeggiani (keyboards), Cristian Franchi (drums) and Daniele Piccinini (bass) was disturbed by the replacement of the latter by Stefano Radaelli (saxophone, bowed zither). It would be an educated guess to say that this particular change would take the band to jazzier than rockier territories. However, this is not the case. The style of the band is prog / jazz-rock as ever, characterized by heaviness and free of fusion babbling; instead it is rock phrases that are on the lead in impeccably designed improvisational surroundings. The dynamism, the astonishing tightness between the band members and their prodigious skills were more or less expected, but every new release of Accordo dei Contrari impresses the listener anew. Moreover, there is more than meets the eye (or should I say ear) in this very album, impossible for the listener to absorb during the first (or second) listen. The intelligent prog in balance with jazz-rock, immersed in adventurous environment, blow the listener out effortlessly, be it quiet parts or fiery explosions.
If there is an obvious flaw in Violato Intatto, this is hands down its extensive duration. 73 minutes are way too many for instrumental music (with the exception of E Verde E L’Ignoto Su Cui Corri halfway through the record where there are vocals parts by Gabriele Di Giulio) crammed so full of ideas, even for the seasoned listeners. Some tunes were perhaps overstretched (for instance Di Eccezione In Variante, Marienkirche, Il Violato Intatto) making it somewhat difficult to listen to a really brilliant album, where the absence of the bass can be “paradoxically” deemed as ingenious in the end. I would pick as standouts from this outing Shamani with a beautiful basic melody and unique atmosphere in which Alessandro Bonetti’s violin is a major contributor, the marvelous Idios Kosmos with a contemporary heavy and jazzy approach, the Canterburish Usil with its enjoyable undulations and of course Eros Vs Anteros where all of the musicians unfold their talent.
Comparing the hitherto previous releases to Violato Intatto, while the latter hasn’t sink in for good, it seems safe to say that is superior to the very good AdC, while it is on the same level with the impressive debut of the Italians. My wish is to see Accordo dei Contrari live in Greece somewhere in the future, because it is an extraordinary band when on stage and, if possible, that the successor of this album will overshadow even the great Kublai.
7.5 / 10
The first striking change compared to the recent past of the band from Bologna is the permanent addition of the saxophonist Stefano Radaelli, allowing an intense classic jazz feeling to permeate the outcome, while their technocratic and immaculate style remains completely intact. The ingredients of the recipe are once again well-played and powerful instrumental jazz-prog flawlessly delivered, as well as amazing rhythm changes and swifts of mood, always with experimental leanings. The leaders Giovanni Parmegianni and Marco Marzo on the keyboards and guitar respectively make jaws drop with their ingenious compositions, while special mention deserves the drummer Cristian Franchi for his performance, given the absence of the bass on the entire album. As highlights, I would pick Shamash where there is also the addition of the violin, Monodia, Idios Kosmos, Usil, Eros Vs Anteros as well as E Verde E L’Ignoto Su Cui Corri which is beautifully coloured with the vocals of Gabriele Di Giulio. Had they omitted some parts so that the duration of the album was not so lengthy (about 72 minutes), we would speak of a record that would be notches better.
8 / 10