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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Celeste: I Suoni In Una Sfera


1) Hymn To The Spheres; 2) The Dance Of The Sounds; 3) The Gates To Consciousness; 4) In The Darkside; 5) Last Flight Of The Mind; 6) To Embark On A Love Affair; 7) The Rediscover Of The Traditions; 8) A Vision; 9) The Thought Flies High Again; 10) Eftus; 11) Favole Antiche; 12) Nadissea.

Once the floodgates are open, they usually stay open. Unfortunately for Celeste, it is not like they spent enough time together to be able to rival Zappa. It turns out, however, that they did manage one extra feat during their brief common tenure — namely, record a complete soundtrack for an Italian movie called I Suoni In Una Sfera, allegedly directed by Enry Fiorini (at least, so the Italian Wikipedia tells me). Nobody ever saw the movie, and there are reasons to suppose that it was never finished; the soundtrack, however, is quite physically real, with most of the individual tracks credited to Ciro Perrino, and judging both by the title and by the nature of music, it was intended to convey a cosmic-psychedelic atmosphere.

Which, by the way, it does — so, technically, Celeste are now the proud owners of three different albums in three different genres: pastoral symph-pop, lite jazz-fusion, and psychedelic-ambient. No mean feat for somebody as totally unknown as these guys, right? Except, of course, the music here is, as usual, so smooth and suave that it is unlikely you will ever remember anything other than a general feel of being wrapped in sweetness a-plenty. The record goes very heavy on organ-imitating synthesizers, with already the title track establishing a Cosmic Gospel feel (all that is lacking is a choir of little castrated angels to duplicate the melody); but there is plenty of pastoral flute, romantic piano, gentle folksy acoustic guitars, and echoey smooth-jazz saxes to diversify the mood as well. And in a way, this might just be the single best Celeste album of 'em all be­cause... you guessed it... there are no vocals anywhere in sight. Just the way the doctor ordered before silly ambitious people overrode the prescription.

Actually, sweetness aside, the boys did some serious work here, writing (or ripping off from clas­sical sources) plenty of different themes — including an Albinoni-stylized funeral march (ʽLast Flight Of The Mindʼ), a slightly Morricone-influenced bluesy piece with Jethro Tull-like flute (ʽThe Thought Flies High Againʼ), and a long medieval ballad, heavy on classical guitar but adding flute, synth fanfares, and what-not (ʽFavole Anticheʼ). If only the main themes of all this stuff were a little more memorable... but it would be unreasonable to expect from a movie sound­track that which turned out to be unachievable on a proper studio album. The best I can say is that every single track here sounds tasteful and pleasant — although the production and mixing leave a lot to be desired. (Apparently, moving to Abbey Road Studios was not an option.) Consequently, I give the record a modest thumbs up, and with this, we say a final farewell to Celeste.

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