Thursday, 17 May 2018

Odissea “Odissea” 1973 + “ Unione / Cuor Di Rubino” 1973 single 7" Rock Progressivo Italiano


Odissea “Odissea” 1973 + “ Unione / Cuor Di Rubino” 1973 single 7" Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Born as Pow-Pow in the Biella area at the beginning of the seventies, the group changed its name to Odissea in 1972 after the entrance of guitarist Ferrari, only issuing in the following year an album and a single with this five-piece line-up. 

The album is in a rather melodic-inspired progressive style, with eight tracks and the first side better than the second, good but not essential. The music is dominated by vocal parts, with very few instrumental breaks, and the overall feeling is similar to Jumbo’s first album (even in the singer’s voice). 
Two tracks from the album were released as a single, Unione being one of the best cuts along with the instrumental Crisalide, while Cuor di rubino, also on single, was based on a Jacques Prevert lyric. 

The group had a good live activity, supporting Genesis in their April 1972 Italian dates and playing at Festival d'Avanguardia in Mestre, at IX Mostra di Musica Leggera in Venezia, along with an Italian tour with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Rocky’s Filj. 

In 1974 singer Roberto Zola left Odissea for a career as soloist that never started, the others went back to play as backing band for singer Michele (which they had already played with in 1971) and with La Famiglia degli Ortega for some concerts in the USA. 
In 1976 Elio Vergnaghi (vocals) and Aldo Ambrosi (guitar) joined the group and Odissea played some concerts in Switzerland, but, when drummer Cerlati quit in 1977 they went back once again to play with Michele for many years. 
Ennio Cinguino (who had played in the 60’s with New Blues) and Alfredo Garone still play in the piano-bar circuit….italian prog….~


An interesting band and an interesting album, both disappeared behind the walls of the past glories. So Odissea is another of the many one-shot bands that enriched the golden years of the italian prog scene. 
Their music was not the most complicated around then but certainly had elements of peculiarity and uniqueness that should have guarantee a more wider recognition. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough to permit the release of a follow up. So, another excellent source of prog, suddenly, dried up. 

The songs’ patterns never tend to leave the “commercial” mood. This is the main feature, I think. The amazing mix between the folk-(light)-symphonic prog and the rough, deep and romantic vocals create an unique experience, somehow in a similar vein to the contemporary band Jumbo, even if without the vocal (and lyrical) excesses of mr. Alvaro Fella. In fact, generally, Odissea are more mellow and delicate in each of the eight compositions, thanks to a remarkable use of mellotron, piano and organ and the inspiring interplay of the electric guitar! Just listen to the excellent “Unione” (6,06 mns) or to “Crisalide” (4,45 mns) or to the mellotron’s explosions in “Voci” (4,04 mns) or to the fast and furious drumming closer “Conti e Numeri” (4,33 mns). 
Other tunes are more “conventional” but still recommendable to any lover of Rock Progressivo Italiano. 
All in all, a moderately recommendable album. I like it very much. …..~


How is it possible this band is so overlooked at a site full of RPI fans? This is a wonderful classic period RPI release which belongs in the collection of every RPI fan. Odissea from Biella are one of the many “one-shot” RPI bands who made up the amazingly deep bench of the early 70s Italian scene. There is very little biographical information out there but we do know the band played at the third Naples Festival, had a solid live activity, and even opened for Genesis and Banco. This makes sense as the band would seem to be influenced by those bands and also early Yes. There is also the wonderful Italian essence running through the album and I am reminded of other RPI on the softer side of things, of certain works by Battiato, Blocco Mentale, Franco Giannini, Mario Panseri, and Stefano Testa. Only occasionally are any of these comparisons relevant as Odissea has crafted their own sound, with themes both sad and uplifting, sometimes dramatic and often sentimental. 

Unlike many RPI bands who favored a heavily keyboard-dominated sound, Odissea places the guitar work of Luigi Ferrari on at least equal billing. Ferrari sounds like a fan of Yes Album-era Steve Howe and supplies the album with almost equal amounts of excellent acoustic and electric guitar. Meanwhile Ennio Cinguino bathes the album in generous amounts of piano, organ, and mellotron. He shades the work from soft and atmospheric with the tron to occasional Banks-like moments not unlike the Foxtrot era sound. The lead vocal is handled with great vitality by Roberto Zola, whose raspy throat is often compared to Jumbo’s Alvaro Fella. Vocally it is a fair comparison although the music is Odissea is not as wild as Jumbo. The rhythm section is also decent with the occasionally jazzy sections finding a driving bass reminiscent of Chris Squire. 

I suppose most of the tracks could be called light symphonic with brief bits of folk or fusion incorporated, the songwriting always interesting and melodic. The playing is intelligent and often very beautiful without being overblown. There are many musical highlights but my favorite was the joyous “Domanda.” It is not often I find myself compelled to type lyrics into Google Translator to find out what a song is about, but I had to do it here. The reason, a small child named Simona. The song is a dreamy blur of beautiful slide guitar over which Simona and Zola have a priceless exchange. While the translation I got was no doubt a clumsy one, as they always are, I was able to deduce that the child is asking Zola those universal questions little kids often ask, about God, the universe, where we come from. A song like this could be a disaster but here it works so very well. Charming and memorable, it’s another of those RPI tracks where the voices of children are put to good use. 

For many prog fans this might well be a 3-star “good” album but I have to give this one 4. I disagree with some of the opinions of this album, Scented Gardens in particular is brutal to Odissea. While it is not the most daring or brash of RPI albums, it is warm and lovely music that most RPI fans would really enjoy…. by Finnforest ….~


A group from Biella in the northern Piemonte part, Odissea emerged in 1972 from the band Pow Pow,when the quartet of Ennio Cinguino (keyboards), Alfredo Garone (bass), Paolo Cerlati (drums) and Roberto Zola (vocals, guitar) was joined by a second guitarist, Luigi Ferrari.They were quite popular at the time, even supporting Genesis and touring along with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Rocky’s Filj.Their sole self-titled work was released in 1973 on Ri-Fi. 
Though comparisons are easy to be found, Odissea’s sound was quite personal, like if a Psychedelic/Folk Rock group was joined by two GENESIS-inspired buddies on keyboards and guitars.Almost every track fits with this decsription, offering an alternation between acoustic textures with raw Italian vocals and a good amount of instrumental sections with keyboards in evidence.The folkier parts are characterized by dominant acoustic passages and the hoarse voice of Zola, close to the style of JUMBO, while they give their place to decent instrumental sections led by the great keyboard parts of Cinguino in a TONY BANKS vein, based on his work on organ and moog synthesizer (and less on his piano) and delivering plenty of Classical-inspired themes.The electric guitars have often a distinct HAKETT-ish vibe as well.The result is some pretty good combination of folky themes with Symphonic Rock soundscapes, that mostly work very well. 

Shortly after Zola left the band with the rest of the crew supporting singer Michele.Two new members Elio Vergnaghi (vocals) and Aldo Ambrosi (guitar) joined the band in 1976 and the new formation even performed live in Switzerland, before Cerlati quit and the remaining members returned back to supporting Michele for some more years. 

Among the very strong releases of the classic period of Italian Prog, featuring a couple of unrelated styles already previously played by other Italian bands like JUMBO, PFM or BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, but blended in a unique and original way, and a great addition to any prog collection.The album has seen some re-issues both in LP and CD format and thus it is quite easy to be discovered…3.5 stars…. by apps79 …..~


Very good RPI album that’s somehow gotten overlooked among all the other “one album wonder” Italian bands. Admittedly, it’s not at the level of the classics, and that cover is a bit nondescript, but if you love the genre, you’re going to love this. Odissea’s got all the unabashed sentiment, lush musical passages, and time and dynamic changes that RPI fans crave. 
Oh, and have you ever noticed how so many Italian albums feature a child’s voice? Well, Odissea does that, too…by..Phallus Dei …..~


Nice Italian progressive from the early 70’s. Nothing really groundbreaking here, just what you would expect when you think classic Italian prog. This is rather mellow and acoustic-oriented in a lot of parts, with occasional burst of energetic heavier parts. I don’t mind the singers voice at all but some may be put off by it as it is gruff, much like Jumbo’s singer (I would much rather have this than the obnoxious high pitched New Trolls falsetto-style singing though). All-in-all, pretty refined stuff…..by….thirstymoon ….~


The other progressive rock band on Rifi, the label most known for bringing Circus 2000 to the world. Odissea is generally considered a second or third tier Italian progressive work, but I disagree. All the elements of classic Italo-prog are at play here, minus some of the more overt instrumental gymnastics of their peers. The song structures and atmosphere all point to the classic 1973 sound. The gruff and husky vocals recall Jumbo, and I find them highly appealing and very much of their era. I’m not prone to use terms like underrated, but I think this is one case that does apply. The implication is that Odissea are a “soft prog rock” band, but this is by no means a lame singer-songwriter album, and there are plenty of heavy progressive rock moments to be found….by….ashratom …..~


The quartet born as Pow-Pow in the early ‘70s, composed by Roberto Zola (vocals, guitars), Ennio Cinguino (piano, organ, mellotron), Alfredo Garone (bass) and Paolo Cerlati (drums), with the input , in 1972, of the guitarist Luigi “Jimmy” Ferrari changed his name to Odyssey and immediately became part of the Italian tour of the Genesis and that of the Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. 
This notoriety soon led the band into the orbit of Ri-Fi and in May 1973 their first and only homonymous album was released. 
Musically, the work is a combination of melodic atmospheres and appreciable progressive flashes, with some reference to the creations of the Fruupps. Above all the work is based on the voice of Zola whose stamp, at first listen, strikes a lot for the similarity with that of Alvaro Fella (perhaps it is slightly less rough than the singer of Jumbo) and, at times, even with that of Mauro Pelosi , at the points where the latter pushes his voice. Also interesting are the guitar phrases and the impulses of the Cinguino keyboards. 
The opening track of the album is Union. After the first few seconds of the acoustic guitar, the entrance of the lively keyboard of Cinguino makes us immediately understand that it is not in the presence of naive. Following the alternation of segments tendentially melodic, with the voice of Zola really very expressive felliana, and other more rocking, with beautiful guitar riffs well supported from below, make believe that the song develops entirely on these levels. Nothing could be more wrong. In the second half of the song the band is unleashed. Piano, guitars, drums and bass give life to just over a minute of high-quality prog. Excellent work by Cinguino (a bit 'Gianni Leone) and with it the bass of Garone and the battery of Cerlati. In the final we return to the song. Definitely a great business card. 
As in the previous song also in New Games, new cards there is a melodic and intense veil, in the sung fragments, with interesting guitar phrases in the background never extremely “intrusive”. Intriguing guitar solo and use of mellotron present throughout the song. 
Crisalide is the only instrumental piece on the album. Even here there are some interesting passages, with changes of rhythm and appreciable keyboard and guitar evolutions, but the absence of Zola’s voice makes itself felt. 
The structure of Cuor di Rubino has the taste of songwriting, with the acoustic guitar that accompanies Zola, who interprets (and readjusts) a poem by Jacques Prévert, entitled precisely Cuor of ruby: I can say I love you / but I do not know / Of your ruby ​​heart / what have I ever done? / To love I played / without knowing how to play / Of your heart of ruby ​​/ what did I do? / The glass is split / the corked shop / the ripped satin / the trampled casket / what have I ever done? / I wanted to have you / I wanted to have you / I used to love / but I just cheated / From your heart of ruby ​​/ what I did / Now it’s too late / it’s all looted / The glass is split / the shop is plugged / the satin torn / trampled chest / what have I ever done ?. 

The very sweet start, almost a chime, of Question (even if it would have been better to put the title in the plural), introduces the first question posed by a little girl (the little Simona): Listen, I know how I was born, but the sun from who was born? Zola, on the same sweet melody, responds like this: Who believes, prays and hopes that it is a divine work / Who thinks a star broke and so many has generated […]. Later a new question: and the light ?. Again Zola: Who says “light is truth” sees her reflected in God / Who seeks new realities in science has its Messiah […]. In the middle of the song, always keeping the sweet climate as a fixed point, there is a short, slightly symphonic flash, with keyboards and guitars in evidence. In addition to the two previous answers, Zola added “but yellow is the wheat and the sea is blue, / the light paints life and we” and, rightly, the little Simona asks: But if all these colors color the things, what color do I have? This is the last answer of the singer: Who has faith or who has only reason, the answer can not give you. / Colors in you you will be able to find if you have the strength to search. 

The start of The morning awakening has a double call to Can-Utility and the Coastliners of the Genesis: the vaulting of the organ of Cinguino recalls a bit 'that of Banks present in the second part of the song of the English band, while the following segment, with vocals and guitar, he recalls the start of the song with Gabriel / Hackett protagonists (with the due proportions). Following the passage takes a more melodic turn, with Cerlati, however, that tries to give more vivacity. 
The intensity and drama of Voci is typical of a piece by Mauro Pelosi. Here, in addition to the minimalist atmospheres characteristic of the Roman singer-songwriter, we also find a mellotron that accentuates it…..hamelin prog….~


Line-up / Musicians 
- Roberto Zola / 12 string guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals 
- Luigi “Jimmy” Ferrari / electric & acoustic guitar, 12 string guitar 
- Ennio Cinguino / piano, organ, mellotron 
- Alfredo Garone / bass, 12 string guitar 
- Paolo Cerlati / drums 
- “little” Simona / voice



Tracklist 
A1 Unione 6:06 
A2 Giochi Nuovi - Carte Nuove 4:57 
A3 Crisalide 4:45 
A4 Cuor Di Rubino 4:16 
B1 Domanda 5:32 
B2 Il Risveglio Di Un Mattino 4:16 
B3 Voci 4:04 
B4 Conti E Numeri 4:34

Odissea “ Unione / Cuor Di Rubino” 1973 single 7" 

Line-up / Musicians 
- Roberto Zola / 12 string guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals 
- Luigi “Jimmy” Ferrari / electric & acoustic guitar, 12 string guitar 
- Ennio Cinguino / piano, organ, mellotron 
- Alfredo Garone / bass, 12 string guitar 
- Paolo Cerlati / drums 
- “little” Simona / voice

Songs / Tracks Listing 
A. Unione (5:48) 
B. Cuor Di Rubino (2:35) 

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