If Kscope had to choose the group which best represents its slogan with its music, it would probably choose Nosound.
In fact, for fifteen years by now, the Italian band, led by the singer and guitarist (but also composer, producer and sound engineer) Giancarlo Erra, has been proposing a refined and sophisticated sound, influenced by the post-rock of bands such as the Sigur Ros and by the less fricking and more emotional prog of the Pink Floyd and the first Porcupine Tree, garnering excellent reviews and a significant and day-by-day increasing interest of a tough audience with discriminating tastes.
(by all means the highest point reached by Erra and companions by now), on the next 2nd September Scintilla will come out, fifth full length of the band, defined by the same leader – who has accompanied the fans’ wait with an exhaustive “logbook” on Facebook in which he analyzed every single song – a different and difficult album, which could not reach the listener at the first moment, but which he is extremely proud of, considering it the best work of his carrier.
And having listened to it in advance, we have no choice but to agree with him.
The opening Short Story immediately gets the point and the meaning of the album’s title in its two minutes and a half: a lukewarm start, with a progressive overlap of instruments advancing in a ride that, just like a scintilla, soon after the explosion fades in an amount to nothing, leaving the listener puzzled, but still interested in being totally involved in the rest of the work.
The following Last Lunch and Little Man confirm what has been for several years the musical trademark of Nosound, far from the endless instrumental of Sol29 and with long and structured sung parts in which Erra tells, like an aedo, about regrets, recollections and remorses, supported by an excellent and cohesive instrumental partnership in which Marianne De Chastelaine’s cello (who has to be considered more than a simple occasional collaborator by now) stands out, as also in the rest of the album.
Right when the direction of the album seems to be traced, Erra and companions totally upset everything, raising the qualitative rate to levels never reached before not only in Scintilla, but probably in all the catalog the group has produced by now.
In Celebration of Life is, in fact, a deep cut in the listener’s soul and heart, a heartbreaking but hopeful piece, with Erra and Vincent Cavanagh of the Anathema singing with a united voice, after a first, slow and dreaming instrumental part, the hymn to life written by Alec Wildev, a young Polish boy prematurely dead of cancer. Steven Wilson and Mariusz Duda had already collaborated for the single, sold for beneficial purposes, interpreting Wildev’s words, closing in this way a circle involving his four favorite musicians working together in his name and in his memory.
Fantastic have to be considered Erra’s solo (the singer here confirms again to be an excellent guitarist) and the piece closing with the cello and Paolo Vigliarolo’s acoustic guitar; they both ask us to look forward and continue the journey of our life.
And also Scintilla continues its journey with us, giving us soon its second jewel, Sogno e Incendio, ballad for piano with an enigmatic, hermetic and evocative text, written and sung – in Italian - by Andrea Chimenti with two noteworthy solos again by Erra. The record keeps on excellent standards with Emily - according to Erra his album’s favorite song, as well as the best in the carrier of the band – a little gem lasting a little longer than three minutes, that speaks about a character – Emily, of course – who represents for the Roman musician the “mirror of a personal sentiment of feeling lost” and “the ideal person to better know all the aspects of my past”.
Here again – and we will not get tired of saying it – De Chastelaine’s cello stands out on the whole, and she proves to be more and more incisive and decisive in performing Scintilla in the best way, exactly as in the following The Perfect Wife, piece which sounds enigmatic even from its title, alternating sweet arpeggios and moments of apparent calm together with a strong refrain in which every little glimmer of light perceived by our survival instinct towards a twisted reality is totally swept away, in favour only of our sorrow and our anger.
This because the person who causes pain is often indifferent to it and does not feel guilty; the person who is struck by pain, on the other hand, remains alone and masks his/her situation with behaviours that are just a clumsy attempt to hide what he/she is really feeling, which is the central theme of the minimalist and sarcastic Love Is Forever, song dedicated to everyone who shows a perfect life on the social (networks) to the detriment of the demon inside his/her soul.
The sweet ballad Evil Smile is the following piece, supported by Giulio Caneponi’s drum (at his debut in studio with the Nosound) and by Vigliaroli’s acoustic, which introduces the closing title-track Scintilla, the calm after the storm of emotions and recollections that, sweet or bitter could they be, will be forever part of us, although we must not surrender to them.
Scintilla is a record which is more difficult from an emotional point of view rather than from a musical one, because it makes us look back to what there was in our lives and now is no more here, but at the same time it is not limited to a mere self-pity, but hides in the ending its real message.
Because when Erra’s voice leaves room to a piano and a section of horns and drums introducing a march finally transmitting serenity, we have nothing else to do a part thinking that we cannot look back anymore, but we have to start again, look forward and live. Because, after all, life is a mere sequence of events and emotions in an extremely limited lapse of space and time, that huge universe in which we have to find our place and our meaning.
Because, after all, life is nothing else than a scintilla.
Review by Marco Del Longo, Translate by Roberta Zoratto