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23 Jul 2017

Saint Just "La Casa Del Lago"1974 Italy Prog Folk Rock









Saint Just "La Casa Del Lago"1974 Italy Prog Folk Rock

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 Their second album is in a very similar vein as their debut, means a very nice blend of celtic (singer Jenny Sorrenti has grown up in Wales) as well as mediterranean folk, psychedelic and some classical elements. Most characteristic feature of SAINT JUST's music is certainly the voice of Alan Sorrenti's sister which is as unique as his, at times rather exalted and onomatopoeic. I can imagine people having trouble with very high-pitched vocals might need a few listens to get used to it. Obviously this was the case with my fellow reviewer. Nevertheless I don't think this is a reason to give this actually very beautiful album a low rating.
Tristana opens despite its title with a rather up-tempo nice instrumental section by keyboard and electric guitar before Jenny comes in with her dominant expressive voice. Then there is a part with furious violin and wordless vocals and a pure acoustic finish. Very impressing opener.

The wonderful second track Nella Vita, Un Pianto is initially more in a discreet and a very folk-typical vein with lithesome tunes by violin, acoustic guitar, harp and some reluctant keys in the back. Both celtic and mediterranean folk are merged in a perfect way here. After about 4 minutes both music and vocals are becoming much more "allegro" and at this point I'd like to mention the awesome musicianship presented here including an excellent rhythmic section. This one is for sure the best track and together with the opener highlight of the album.

Viaggio Nel Tempo is a very typical more up-tempo celtic folk song, just with Italian vocals, very often without any lyrics and with two voices by Jenny and Tito Rinesi . As well a very nice one.

The title song begins with a short atmospheric intro, before guitars starting to play and Jenny's voice comes in. After a while the wordless vocals are moving a bit into the back and instruments (guitar, piano, harp) are coming into focus. Actually I can hear more different types than are listed in the line-up. There's definitively something like a clarinet or soprano sax involved as well, maybe by keyboard but it sounds rather natural. Really an awesome interplay between the different instruments. That's the third highlight of the album.

Messicano is a very quirky song, again mostly with wordless vocals, excellent guitar play and rhythmic section. There's as well a nice part with harmonica included.

Finally the short La Terra della Verita closes in a rather relaxed and acoustic vein with Tito Rinesi on lead vocals supported by Jenny Sorrenti. A very nice epilogue for an excellent album.

SUMMARY: Although this one might not appeal to everyone right from the beginning, which was the case as well with me, I would still highly recommend it to any lover of original and unique prog folk in a slightly more prude vein. It's absolutely an album that will grow on you with each repeated listening and after you got used to the vocals. I would say definitively worth 4 stars!....by hdfisch ......

 I'm quite impressed by the technical skills and the rich catalogue of expressions delivered by this cult 70's prog folk collective. However I must recognize that as many Italian prog essays, this one gets the price of kitschy melodies and old fashioned style...but anyway let's make abstraction of it...the album starts with the wonderful and colourful "Tristana" written as an energic rocking folk ballad, including a dreamy, nostalgic like atmosphere (the acoustic side & female vocal) and almost psychedelic moves (the guitars and the hallucinatory sax solo break that reminds me Clearlight). "Nella Vita, Un Pianto" opens with a mysterious, lunatic and evocative guitar / cello duet, a pleasant introduction rapidly followed by emotional female vocals. The track progressively gets into a more freak 'n roll vibe with a faster tempo and an insistent groove. The symphonic like dimension tends to be cheesy in the second half of the title + some misplaced vocals. The self title track deliversa gentle folkish "trip" with a lot of lalalala and sensual Italian vocals. A good mention to the piano parts that provide fine improvisations. The song contains also a nice jazzy feeling dominated by technical lead guitars and floating sax solos. A pleasant listening for the relaxed, groovy tempo. Nothing really transcendant despite that is nicely made (especially the improvised parts and their enchanting atmosphere).....by philippe .......

SJ's Casa Del Lago is sadly the second and last album of this band, even if the line-up is very different than that of the debut album, having augmented from a trio (losing the sax) and now being a quintet, including a full-time drummer. The music is obviously fairly different than the excellent avant-folk rock of the debut album, here drawing more on a symphonic jazz-rock with a fairly present violin and a mellotron. Again released on the Italian branch of Harvest, with the famous lakeside-house picture amputated by five squares of lake water under the sun as the sleeve artwork, CDL is a stunning album that breaks quite a few clichés about the Italian prog scene.

The opening Tristana features some nearly incomprehensible singing (impossible to understand the lyrics by listening to her) from the otherwise great voice of Jane Sorrenti (makes me think of Jane Relf), some great lead guitar and bass work, good percussions, excellent drumming and a solid violin, plus a sax solo, but has a weird outro that doesn't fit at all the main body of the track. The following 11mins Nella Vita, Un Pianto has a different slant, using some flamenco overtones and often dramatic jazz rock, with a good measure of symphonic thrown in via the mellotron, but the violin as well. An excellent track only surpassed by the title track.

The flipside is made of four shorter tracks, the first of which, Travel In Time, is a quieter affair, with the drummer preferring percussions, but stays well within the general direction of the album. The 6-mins+ title track is really more of the same plus two undeclared wind instruments (clarinets), but then again since "the same" is so good, we shall not deny our pleasure. Messicano (Mexican) is a very different conga-filled affair that develops a Central American feel, mixed with some African guitar work and, strangely enough, harmonicas. It's a little strange, but provides some welcome change of atmosphere at the right time. However the closing Earth Of Truth is definitely more surprising, with guitarist Rinesi holding the main vocals (Jane is very present in the background), but the acoustic piece is so sparse, that it brings you back slightly to the debut album. While I might have chosen to place either Tempo or the title track to close the album, moving the last two tracks up a notch in order to have the album's end more in line with the general direction, because ending the album with such a bizarre non-representative track is a bit weird.

Although a different beast than its predecessor, CDL is certainly no less worthy and it might just top it, many progheads even preferring this one. It's a bit too bad that SJ only stopped after two albums, as I'm sure more albums would've kept the band progressing. In either case, while there are still some folk overtones on this album, don't be fooled with its progressive folk belonging, due mostly to the group's debut album. One might also see a bit of a parallel between Madrugagada and Saint Just, as both had a folk prog album for their debut, then followed it up with a much jazzier-rock second (and last) album....
by Sean Trane ..............

La Casa del Lago came out just a year after Saint Just’s eponymous debut album. In 1973, the band was a very special trio, comprised of Jenny Sorrenti (voice), Antonio Verde (guitar) and Robert Fix (saxophone). They had a contract with Harvest (the same goes for Jenny’s brother Alan Sorrenti, who debuted with Aria the previous year), and managed to make a name for themselves in the vast Italian pop scene of the early ’70s.

While touring around Italy, they holed up in a ‘casa del lago’ – house by the lake – where they wrote two albums. While they might not have known it at the time, La Casa Del Lago would be their final album. Robert Fix departed from the group and Saint Just took on a few more members, adding drummer Fulvio Maras and guitarists Tito Rinesi and Andrea Faccenda. The result is a decidedly more rock-oriented LP on which rises the soaring, ethereal of voice Jenny Sorrenti.
We can only imagine what other classics Saint Just could have written had they continued on their way. Unfairly overshadowed by certain ‘conservative’ opinions on the beauty of its predecessor, this is a beautiful album to be rediscovered and re-evaluated!...Light In The Attic............

La casa del lago was the second and last album by Saint Just. It's just about as good as their S/T debut. This album is a bit less folk influenced than it's predecessor. The highlights of this second LP of theirs are the first two songs "Tristana" and "Nella vita, un pianto". Both of those are pretty good songs. The B-side is clearly weaker I think but it's pretty OK too.

I could rate this album with either three or 3,5 stars. It's still pretty unbalanced totality so I'm gonna go with three stars. La casa del lago is slightly better than Saint Just's first album. Both of their albums are quite decent but this band isn't one of my favourites when it comes to the 70's Italian prog rock.....by....CooperBolan .........

More overtly prog than the first album; while at first listen I preferred the more experimental sound of the first, self-titled record, over time I've come to prefer this one; while it's less likely to take unexpected turns and shifts in mood, it is overall a better-composed album and the expanded lineup of dedicated band members benefits the album. The previous review may perhaps overstate the "folkiness" of this record, though; while there's definitely a strong folk element, the listener should not go in expecting Bert Jansch. It's a totally electric album.

Anyway, Saint Just are in my book one of the most underrated bands of the Italian prog scene, and any lover of Italian prog, folk or no, should have both their albums in their collection.....by.....rushomancy ........

Their second album is in a very similar vein as their debut, means a very nice blend of celtic (singer Jenny Sorrenti has grown up in Wales) as well as mediterranean folk, psychedelic and some classical elements. Most characteristic feature of SAINT JUST's music is certainly the voice of Alan Sorrenti's sister which is as unique as his, at times rather exalted and onomatopoeic. I can imagine people having trouble with very high-pitched vocals might need a few listens to get used to it.
"Tristana" opens despite its title with a rather up-tempo nice instrumental section by keyboard and electric guitar before Jenny comes in with her dominant expressive voice. Then there is a part with furious violin and wordless vocals and a pure acoustic finish. Very impressing opener.
The wonderful second track "Nella Vita, Un Pianto" is initially more in a discreet and a very folk-typical vein with lithesome tunes by violin, acoustic guitar, harp and some reluctant keys in the back. Both celtic and mediterranean folk are merged in a perfect way here. After about four minutes both music and vocals are becoming much more “allegro” and at this point I’d like to mention the awesome musicianship presented here including an excellent rhythmic section. This one is for sure the best track and together with the opener highlight of the album.
"Viaggio Nel Tempo" is a very typical more up-tempo celtic folk song, just with Italian vocals, very often without any lyrics and with two voices by Jenny and Tito Rinesi . As well a very nice one.
The title song begins with a short atmospheric intro, before guitars starting to play and Jenny’s voice comes in. After a while the wordless vocals are moving a bit into the back and instruments (guitar, piano, harp) are coming into focus. Actually I can hear more
different types than are listed in the liner notes. There’s definitively something like a clarinet or soprano sax involved as well, maybe by keyboard but it sounds rather natural. Really an awesome interplay between the different instruments. That’s the third highlight of the album.
"Messicano" is a very quirky song, again mostly with wordless vocals, excellent guitar play and rhythmic section. There’s as well a nice part with harmonica included.
Finally the short "La Terra della Verita" closes in a rather relaxed and acoustic vein with Tito Rinesi on lead vocals supported by Jenny Sorrenti. A very nice epilogue for an excellent album.
Although this album might not appeal to everyone right from the beginning, which was the case as well with me, I would still highly recommend it to any lover of original and unique prog folk in a slightly more prude vein. It’s absolutely an album that will grow on
you with each repeated listening and after you got used to the vocals. I would say definitively worth 4 1/2 stars!.....by...hdfisch ........

"La casa del lago" came out just a year after Saint Just's eponymous debut album; in 1973 the band were a very special trio, consisting of Jenny Sorrenti (voice), Antonio Verde (guitar) and Robert Fix (saxophone). They had a contract with Harvest (as well as Jenny's brother Alan Sorrenti, who debuted with "Aria" the previous year), and managed to stand out in the vast Italian pop scene of the early '70s.

Unlike many other musical realities, they had a concrete support from the record label, which allowed them to play a lot around Italy, and to take shelter in this 'casa del lago' - house by the lake - where they wrote this second and last album. Robert Fix had left the trio, and Saint Just then turned into a full band, with the addition of drummer Fulvio Maras and guitarists Tito Rinesi and Andrea Faccenda: the result is a decidedly more rock-oriented LP, with many different influences, on which rises again the ethereal Jenny Sorrenti's voice, that has nothing to envy to the more well-known folk singer of the time (Sandy Denny, for example).

Unfortunately, "La casa del lago" is already the last Saint Just's record - if we exclude some recent sporadic returns to the scene - and we can only imagine what other classics they could have written if they went on their way. Unfairly overshadowed by certain 'conservative' opinions on the beauty of its predecessor, it is a beautiful album to be rediscovered and re-evaluated!...........

SAINT JUST was a seventies Italian progressive group but not really reminiscent of the typical Italian sound. Influences from folk, psychedelic and classical can be heard in their music. The most remarkable instrument in their music is the vocals of Jane Sorrenti that float above the music. Her vocal delivery is definitely an acquired taste. The group released only two albums and the line-up is very different in these two albums. In the 1st album there were only three official members of which the saxophonist Robert Fix was not included in the 2nd album. For their 2nd album the remaining members Jane Sorrenti and Antonio Verde (classical guitar, bass) added electric guitarists Tito Rinesi and Andrea Faccenda as well as a drummer Fulvio Maras.
The first self-titled album, released in 1973, is more acoustic than the predecessor “La Casa del Lago”, released in 1974, which is more in the classic Italian tradition and therefore more easily accessible. Both albums are considered very good.....ProgNotFrog...........

Saint Just is formed in Naples in 1973. In the golden age of the Italian prog. They start as a trio: there is Jenny Sorrenti (Alan's sister, also in the early 1970's engaged in progressive stage), guitarist Toni Verde and saxophone player Robert Fix. After an enthusiastic first LP, produced alongside Alan Sorrenti and Tony Esposito, fired in '73 by the EMI (Harvest section, the same year as the "Dark Side of the Moon") and welcomed by critics and alternative audience as Original and artistically refined documentation of the folk Italian genre (with medieval and Renaissance references) through rarephalous atmospheres and progressive technique, the Saint Just found, after the unexpected abandonment of Fix, to be a duo. That was how the Sorrents and Green, band companions and united sentimentally, closed in a house on Lake Bracciano to write a new record.
The house soon turned into a common fricchettona. The atmosphere translated from work records "La Casa Del Lago" is bucolic and arcane, farther from the baroque and mental experimentalism of the first disc (adored by the prog rock rock band as Italian philosopher of the era) but More complex and more refined in terms of poetic inspiration and instrumental engagement.
The sound becomes dilated, precious meditative. The fans of the prog accused (and accused) the Saint Just of having opted for more pop solutions or less articulate than previous experiments, but in fact, the final result communicates a new production maturity, expressed through a form of control and a 'Aesthetic harmony in which folk content and psychedelic research are interspersed with grace, never going beyond technical or emotional or self-indulgence or self-indulgence.
Jenny Sorrenti reveals a special vocality, made of tall and crystalline registers, through which he expresses enthusiasm ("Mexican") or mystery ("Tristana", "In Life, A Fall"), and is more aware of his expressive means. Arrangements are emanating from the most Byzantine or rigidly neo-classical prezioses of the past, while not giving up the dramatic and symphonic form (as in the song "In Life, A Fall", a suite for strings, winds and woods arranged by Vince Tempera, Who collaborates in all the songs of the album) and historical references (the name of the group is a tribute to the famous French revolutionary Louis de Saint Just, dead guillotined at twenty-seven years during the repression of robespierism). There are always sharper esoteric moments where music abandons any structure code, to become an enchanted tale of feelings and feelings. Middle Ages, folk folk dance, baroque music, psychedelic rock, californian ascents, progressive and acoustic delicacy a Pentangle (with distinct echoes from Third Ear Band and Steeleye Span) blend in a mild embroidery of dreamy suggestions and atmospheres, with great evocative value .
This is the band's record that encourages us to advise you, the second chapter, unfairly cataloged as "minor" compared to the epic published the previous year. After this episode of studio and a live year (culminating in the exhibition at Park Lambro in Milan for the Nude King party), the Sorrenti / Verdi duo will explode sentimental and artistically. The one will focus on collaborations with pop artists (such as Pino Daniele and Francesco De Gregori) and pseudo-Celtic folk music research, and the other will experience production (with Alan Sorrenti and Pino Daniele) and then jazz (with Lol Coxhill), and then the solo career (inaugurated in 1977 with an electro-acoustic experimental disc, where jazz, electronic, folk and rock are contaminated in an acid jazz ante-litteram) and finally work on artistic production and label management Most dance and pop). Both will continue to recall the magic of the house's years of the side, but without ever recalling or replicating the delicate poetry of that enchanting season of visions and mysteries that have survived.......di Giuseppe Franza......

Offering a wonderful mixture of progressive rock, psychedelic folk, classical music and avant garde, and featuring the wonderful voice of Jenny Sorrenti (sister of Alan), 'La Casa Del Lago' was released in 1974, just one year after Saint Just's eponymous debut-album. This edition on BLUE VINYL comes with reproduced artwork. Essential for fans of Italian prog, artrock, acid-folk and all other sophisticated early '70s sounds!..........

Line-up / Musicians
- Jane Sorrenti / vocals, 12-string guitar, percussion
- Tony Verde / bass
- Tito Rinesi / vocals, guitars, percussion, harmonica, autoharp
- Andrea Faccenda / guitars, piano, organ, harmonica
- Fulvio Maras / drums, percussion
Guests:
- Alan Sorrenti
- Gianni Guarracino
- Tony Esposito

Tracklist
1 Tristana
2 Nella Vita, Un Pianto
3 Viaggio Nel Tempo
4 La Casa Del Lago
5 Messicano
6 La Terra Della Verità

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..