Il Segno del Comando — Il Volto Verde
(Black Widow BWR 161, 2013, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-05-21Il Segno del Comando first came together in Genoa, Italy 1995 and released their self-titled debut LP in 1996. Six years later they released their second album and then went inactive in 2010. Through the efforts of Black Widow and bassist Diego Banchero the band reformed to record and release Il Volto Verde. This new disc is inspired by Gustav Meyrink’s novel of the same name. The cover art is a suitably unsettling and esoteric accompaniment to the music. Il Segno del Comando cites their mixture of Italian progressive jazz, rock, and dark soundtrack music as influenced by Goblin, Jacula, and Il Balletto di Bronzo. I do detect a strong Goblin vibe throughout, starting with the opening track “Echi dall’ignoto” and continuing through the closing track “Epilogo.” I am not so sure about Jacula in that I don’t detect the Satanic influences so prevalent in their music. But there are some great organ solos akin to Il Balletto di Bronzo. Il Volto Verde is a fairly complex concept album. To achieve its ends, Diego recruited new band members as well as several guests: Claudio Simonetti (Goblin), Gianni Leone (Il Balletto di Bronzo), Martin Grice (Delerium), Freddy Delirio (DEATH SS), Paul Nash and Maethelyiah (The Danse Society), Sophya Baccini (Presence and Aradia), plus others from Osanna and Delerium. Over the course of the album the music shifts from 70s sepulchral music to contemporary and aggressive progressive rock, stopping off in the acoustic realm from time to time. There are some very beautiful acoustic and electric guitar passages, as well as spooky analog synths. This is not retro Italian prog music, though it could easily complement any 70s horror movie. I find it very interesting that with the resurgence of Italian progressive that newer bands are not only paying homage to the masters, but they are also involving them directly in recording and performing the music. All in all, another great release from Black Widow.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more