Alex Carpani — So Close. So Far.
(Ma.Ra.Cash Records MRC060, 2016, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-08-02
We managed to miss out on Carpani’s previous release, 4 Destinies from 2014, but I’m happy to report that 2016’s So Close. So Far. is a stellar example of modern progressive rock that honors the past without wallowing in it. Carpani’s songs are well written, consisting of ten tracks of moderate length — no epic suites here, just concise statements that do their thing and get out of the way for the next track. The artwork has a dystopian edge to it, with figures in gas masks, but the lyrics (almost all in English) don’t seem to coincide with that at all, instead consisting mainly of personal observations that apply to modern life. Vocal duties are balanced between Carpani himself and Joe Sal, and in general this sounds more like a band effort than a keyboard player’s solo album. Ettore Salati’s guitars in particular are given lots of great spots, whether it’s beautiful picked acoustic or soaring electric. Carpani’s keyboards are of course stellar, and the instrumentation and details of tone are chosen well. Many tracks take unexpected turns in the keyboard department, like the percolating sequence that runs through “Next Time.” There are occasional sampled voices from historical sources, though the connection between the voice and the song where it appears seems arbitrary. This is a really solid album, and it’s hard to find fault anywhere. I’d have to say that even though the vocals (both lead and backing) are outstanding throughout, it might be nice to get an instrumental workout thrown in the mix to see what these guys can do. My only real complaint is that Carpani is indulging in the modern trend of over-punctuating album titles (see Hand. Cannot. Erase.), presumably for some kind of emphasis.
Related artist(s): Alex Carpani
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more