La Curva Di Lesmo is a side project by Fabio Zuffanti (Finisterre, Hostsonaten, La Maschera Di Cera) and Stefano Agini (La Coscienza Di Zeno). It is a concept album based around the erotic comic strip series that launched back 51 years ago by the late Guido Crepax on the character Valentina who is based and inspired by the looks of silent film actress Louise Brooks. The music that duo created, is to share the elements of mystery and the darker side of the character.
Released last year on the AMS Record label, the album is an emotional, strong, and fascinating concept that would have made Guido Crepax himself very proud of what Zuffanti and Agini have done. And with help from people such as members from Analogy, Latte e Miele, il Tempio Delle Clessidre, and Saint Just to name a few, it is an album that will be played for years and years to come. When I first heard about it and listened to some samples of the album, I knew this was the album I was looking for and I bought it and I fell in love with it.
The textures of Progressive, Electronic, Avant-Rock, Orchestral, Pop, and Folk, blend in very well together. For example on the 17-minute composition of L’isola Delle Lacrime, is one of the most electro-experimental turned soaring pieces that capture the late ‘70s/early ‘80s that Fabio and Stefano created. An homage to the late great David Bowie’s Low-era, which starts off as a surreal atmospheric introduction between Electronic Drums, Organ and Moog creating a spooky melody that reminded me of Warszawa.
And then Jenny Sorrenti of Saint Just and Max Manfredi of Latte E Miele come into the picture on the vocals, knowing that it’s a special moment before the dooming guitar rhythm and riffs by Laura Marsano, brings the elemental wonder of Tony Iommi. Jenny sings beautifully on her vocals and reaches those notes higher in the different areas of the song that she reminded me of Doris Norton and Annie Haslam combined into one in a surreal interesting way.
The last 7-minutes of the track begins with an operatic rock between Max and Jenny duetting with each other and it just hits you very well for the goosebumps and chills on where they hit the note before the driven forces with the thumping tempos come in. I can hear the Celtic Folk with an electronic vibe thanks to the flute of Edmondo Romano of Eris Pluvia. Unexpected, but at the same time just for me, one word: Wow!
La Posa Dei Morti in which opens the album off, Beatrice Antolini who gives an astonishing performance to start the composition through her beauty and ecstatic vocal arrangements as the warmth and vivid surprising keyboard work between Mellotron, Moog, and Organ, it’s almost like opening the doors to see what will happen next to see what will give us a real special treat. And Beatrice who is a part of the Indie underground scene in Italy, she nails it down to a “T”.
The closing 26-minute five-part suite Ho Rischiato To Di Vivere, begins with ominous organ sounds, militant funeral drum beats, hypnotic keyboards, and mellotron-like vocalizations before Claudio Milano of NichelOdeon comes in with his voice that almost gives it a darker atmosphere. His voice reminded me at times of Alessio Calandriello of La Coscienza Di Zeno and it just took me to a level that I’ve never heard before in my entire life. Then we delve into the essences of the late ‘60s adventure into space between Guitar and Moog that has a psychedelic twist to the piece before a stirring piano piece comes into play.
Through the mysterious orchestral rock vibration thanks to the string arrangements, followed by a hard guitar-lines, keyboards, and vocal-lines through the instrument, makes me almost saying more of the composition. Fabio and Stefano brought a lot of energy and amazement with this side project and the help from the various band members along with Beatrice Antolini, it is a spectacular dark, and mind-boggling album they brought here.
I really enjoyed this album and I hope they do a follow up for the Valentina stories because it’s almost a continuation on what happens next. Even though it ran from 1965 to 1996, it would be neat to see where the character goes into next and the music itself is like the soundtrack, score and movie inside your head. I imagine that the Valentina stories could have been used for the adult illustrated fantasy magazine, Heavy Metal, but off-topic, this is Italian Prog at it’s best!