Locanda Delle Fate - A Volte Un Instante Di Quiete (1977)
Album: Locanda Delle Fate - Forse le lucciole non si amano più (1977)
Song: A Volte Un Instante Di Quiete
Edit: *Track 1 from this video* One of the most deterring things about Italian Progressive Rock is not that it is too technical or "progressive". The most deterring thing is that there is simply too much of it, and the level of musicality is shockingly high.
I got it in my head quite a while ago that rather than be deterred, I would simply start to isolate and take note of individual songs that stood out. Rather than single bands, or even single albums, I wanted to document any song that moved me, and began to listen to everything I possibly could, from old music, to foreign music, as sort of a personal quest to better understand what I like about music in general.
One of the earliest songs that set me on this path was this track here. It still seems crazy to me that a group of musicians could write a piece this complex that could remain melodically energetic across every dynamic they present. Then end up doing it all with live instruments using no help from midi or computers. It was perhaps the very last era of human analog performance, and the peak of what could be accomplished before the aid of technology became a standard. I think that mentality almost matches perfectly with the idea of many Italian Progressive Rock groups. There was simply this cultural build up of song writing concepts, and at the time, you either had to be a wizard on your instrument, or a fantastic song writer to be doing this stuff at a high level.
There is something to be said about anyone being able to create now, which allows for much greater cultural expression in general. But at the time, for artists like Locana Delle Fate, music was about achieving the highest level of performance and expression. It's a rarer and rarer thing to behold in this day and age, for better or worse. I can't perform anywhere near at this level, so I am completely dependent on technology to write music, for example.
Ultimately, when you pluck this song out of time, you simply have to marvel at how active the melodies are, for all instruments. I really don't want to over sell this song, but it might be too late. One thing I can suggest though, is try to listen to just a single instrument at a time, and notice how confidently each player is playing, and how none of them are fighting any other instrument. Everything works towards the same goal, and at unbelievably high performance and quality. For a band of players to be playing a song this complex, this smoothly, with this many instruments, is kind of remarkable.
It's a gem of gems in my opinion. Perhaps it will spark some of you to embark on a quest to document every song that moves you, as well.