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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Marco Ragni - Land of Blue Echoes

I’ve always keep an eye out for labels including Melodic Revolution Records to see what will give my ears a big surprise and hear what magical boundaries has come to mind. Whether it will be from Unified Past, Corvus Stone, Kinetic Element, The Minstrel’s Ghost, or Murky Red to name a few, I know something special is awaiting and lurking to know it’s going to be great. One of the artists that have blown me away is Marco Ragni.

Marco Ragni’s adventure into music begin when he was 6 years old when his mother got him a Farfisa Organ. He became fascinated by the work of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and the Psychedelic scene in California of the late ‘60s followed by the Progressive Rock sound of the 1970s. He released two albums in the late ‘80s that captured the Psych sounds (Kaleido and Illumination in 1987 and 1988). He was in two bands including Deshuesada, Heza, and Mokers from 1990, 2000 and 2006.

In the summer of 2009, he decided to go solo and founded his own indie label Crow Records and released his first real solo album entitled, In My Eyes followed by the autumn of 2010 with 1969. He then released in 2012, Lilac Days that brings the modern sounds of the psychedelic music. It wasn’t until June of 2014 he was signed to Nick Katona’s label Melodic Revolution Records and collaborated with lyricist and his wife, Alessandra Pirani and did a rock opera about a story between Man and Nature’s relationship with Mother of the Sun.

This year, he’s released a new album from the label entitled, Land of Blue Echoes. Now mind you, I’m very new to Marco’s music and from the moment I put the CD on, I was embarking on an adventure to another world, another time, and another universe that I’ve never seen before.

Along Marco, he brought some help from people such as drummer Jacopo Ghirandi (Stalag 17), Vance Gloster (Gekko Projekt) on Keyboards and Organ, Fernando Perdomo (Dave Kerzner Band) on Lead Guitar, Hamlet on Keyboards and Bass (Transport Aerian), Jeff Mack (Scarlet Hollow) on Bass, Peter Matuchniak (Gekko Projekt) on Electric/Acoustic Guitar and of course Colin Tench (BunChakeze and Corvus Stone) on Guitar, and 1987 Pink Floyd and Dave Kerzner backing vocalist Durga McBroom.

When I’ve heard about this, I knew this is something worth checking out. And right away it’s a breathtaking, magical, and adventurous beauty that will make you think of the Progressive Rock sounds and Space Rock that comes to mind. Between Moon and Earth, is the voyage into the Milky Way introduction with atmospheric ‘60s psychedelia doubling guitars and a mission towards the Moon to give it a different time signature as you as a listener, go through the stars and the planets for the first time as you prepare to throttle through the cosmic landscape.

Think of the sounds of Agitation Free’s 2nd. From the pastoral and haunting Mellotron view of the soothing 15-minute and Hawkwind essence before delving into Clavinet homage to Kerry Minnear as Durga’s vocals come in with singing and spoken with a mysterious twist for Horizons.

Since I’ve mentioned about Minnear, Marco himself takes the Fusion approach and stays on top form. Here on Money Doesn’t Think, he takes it into a funky groove as the Clavinet, Slapping Basses, Sliding Bluesy Guitars, and mysterious rhythms come to mind. From Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Gentle Giant, and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters-era.

On Canto D’amore, Marco takes a break from the electric instruments and move into the dreamy and gentle chamber flamenco classical guitar textures with a double-tracking remedy in the midsections as they soar into various locations. Marco takes the listener to those deep, darker tunnels and show that have a deeper, heavier boundaries. Durga herself is mesmerizing on her vocalizations and still has the chops.

It’s evidential on the sensitive and cavernous beauty, Deep Night. It has the eruptive guitars with a shattering punch and a few twists that capture the early Floyd and Yes boundaries. All then getting ready to fasten your seat belts for the 8-part suite of Nucleus that clocks in at 22-minutes and 47 seconds. Here, the circle comes fully complete.

It goes through the motions of melodic, heavy, space, jazz and psychedelic. Both Durga and Marco themselves do the vocals and it’s a chilling experience. The two of them work together very well sharing on the arrangements on where they would go to next. There are moments in where it can be atmospheric through the vocalizations in the ambient section in the last four minutes of the piece that resembles Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel.

Not to mention, the ticking clock sounds on the instrument followed by the eerie organ sounds before the Mellotron ends in the styles of the Foxtrot-era of Genesis that gives it a warmth and touching reminiscent for Watcher of the SkiesThis is my fifth time listening to Marco Ragni’s Land of Blue Echoes. Melodic Revolution Records have taken me by surprise of delving into the music of Marco’s sound and vision of storytelling. 

And it’s makes you take on a trip to remember when. This is one of the albums that will make you think of the bands such as: Agitation Free, Gentle Giant, early Genesis, Pink Floyd, and the Rock Progressivo Italiano-era of the golden-era of the 1970s. And for me, it feels like that Marco himself has finally come full circle. 

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