Sithonia — Confine
(Mellow MMP 271, 1995, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, 1996-08-01:
Sithonia have actually been around quite a while. This I believe is their fourth album since they started roughly around the same time Nuova Era did. Sithonia are moving more and more into that classic 70s Italian sound while remaining tonally contemporary. It seems to me that with every album they make a small step in the right direction, streamlining their sound and focusing their better moments. Confine is certainly their best to date as it has some really tremendous themes and developments. My only gripes here are that at times some of the music seems like filler and that the playing can be somewhat amateur in the rhythm section department. On the other hand, they've decided to keep their lyrics Italian, which helps their already strong vocal department. There are a lot of good ideas here, some quite impressive and I think they've got about an 80 to 20 ratio of great music to filler. Confine is quite a good album and an addition to what is becoming an exponentially improving Italian scene. To be classed with Garden Wall, A Piedi Nudi, Deus Ex Machina and Finisterre as among the better Italian contemporaries.
by Mike Ohman, 1996-08-01:
Sithonia certainly stand apart from their neo-prog contemporaries. Their influence draws mainly not on Genesis, but on classic 70s bands from their native Italy like Metamorfosi and Biglietto per l'Inferno. That, coupled with the fact that they sing in their native Italian, makes Sithonia sound less like a new band than like an old band that never broke up, just updated their style and got some new equipment. One thing that sets Sithonia apart from many neo-proggers is the use of acoustic keyboards (piano and accordion) and guitars in addition to the usual electric/digital equipment. These acoustic passages have a timeless quality – thanks also in part to Marco Giovannini's very Italian sounding voice – that many other bands with their high-tech assault seem to miss. Sithonia also seem to have a sense of humor (the Italian Grobschnitt), incorporating at various points in the album a wacky Moog melody, an artificial, wordless telephone conversation, and a 60s flashback featuring what appears to be a Farfisa combo organ! My only problem is with the guitarist's electric guitar tone: the same slightly distorted, slightly reverbed tone that's used by... oh, I don't know... just about every other neo-prog guitarist out there. Aside from that, a very enjoyable recording.
by Alain Lachapelle, 1996-08-01:
This fourth album by Sithonia, a modern Italian band, brings an up-front approach to their style, underlined by lots of chordal guitar work supported by keyboard pads, contrasting a bit from their previous studio offering, Spettacolo Annullato. This time around, and following the atmosphere found on their live CD Follia di Passaggio, the feeling is globally heavier although we find here and there more tranquil moments. The difference is also exemplified by the tendency to spring forth without notice from a smooth passage to a more consistent riffing. Mind you, heavy prog this ain't. But it's got a steady presence supported by a solid rhythm section. Following this more aggressive approach we find guitarist Roberto Magni (co-composer) in the forefront quite often and almost always in the background textures. The keyboard work of both Paolo Nannetti (also composer) and Oriano Dassaso range from bringing supporting atmospheres to rhythm assistance to up-front duets. This two-keyboard approach gives Sithonia an ample sound, but not overly complex. Since the material is mostly song-based (in the progressive sense) the keyboards are there for both texture and colorful sonic arrangements. The rhythm base of Valerio Roda (bass) and Orio Cennachi (drums) is driving everything safely home. This is an album that grows on the listener upon multiple listenings. It seems as if the music is not giving itself away on first listen. The feelings expressed, the musical essence unfolds themselves slowly but surely. The pieces are grouped under the theme of confinement, averaging about fiveminutes each. A lot of chord and rhythmic changes are found in each and although the basics appear as "songs" in the first place, there is room, within these boundaries, for musical explorations. In fact, despite their short duration, each piece gives the impression of being positively longer than they actually are, due to the many developments. Since the words seems so important to convey the conceptual feeling of the work, it'd have been nice to have a translation (maybe this could be a suggestion for a web page?). People who liked previous Sithonia offerings won't be disappointed at all as Confine extends in the same direction as before, while new listeners will find a music that has every prog element making it dynamic while retaining the essentials of the Italian approach: a heart-felt melody and rich arrangements.
Related artist(s): Sithonia
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
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