Tuesday, June 26, 2018

OAK: Giordano Bruno - A Rock Opera (2018). My review...

  Starting this piece, I must admit that a few months ago I had no idea about the Italian project Oak (Oscillazioni Alchemico Kreative), until I found out about their new Rock Opera Giordano Bruno. The name of the album attracted my attention, so I tried to find more info about it. When I saw the names of the musicians that are participating in it, I knew that I had to get it! And so I did.

  Let’s take it from the start: 

  Oak is the project of the Italian composer, lyricist, singer and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Cutillo, who decided to write a Rock Opera about the life and the tragic end of Giordano Bruno; an Italian philosopher, poet, mathematician and cosmological theorist who was accused of Heresy by the Roman Inquisition and he was burned alive in 1600. Quiet a strong main theme, eh?

  Now let’s take a look at the musicians who are participating in the album. Further than Jerry Custillo and his band, we also see some great names of Progressive Rock, such as Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) on vocals, Martin Allcock (Fairport Convention/Jethro Tull) on bass and guitars, Richard Sinclair (Camel/Caravan) on bass and vocals and David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator) on sax.

With such a strong story and with an all-star band like that, how is it possible to create something less than wonderful? It just can’t happen!

  Jerry Cutillo created a great album, by paying attention to every little detail, which is a real treat for the senses. Where to begin? From the wonderful cover? The lyrics, that are in 4 languages? (English, Italian, German and Latin), the inner album sleeves, that have the lyrics translated even in Japanese? Or is it better to skip all these things and just concentrate on the music? This is the most important thing after all, correct?

  So, the music of Giordano Bruno can be characterized as “old-school” Progressive Rock, with many Jethro Tull influences and a few Van Der Graaf Generator influences in some parts as well, (mostly because of David Jackson’s sax).

  The compositions vary from simple ballads up to very complex Progressive rock songs, depending on the theme of each song. Since the music is following the life of Giordano Bruno, the rhythm and the pace of the album is changing all the time, including some very soft and melodic moments, but on the other hand some powerful and intense ones.

  (I was also very impressed when I saw some videos of their live performances, where they are using dancers and actors in order to give a more theatrical tone to their music).

  All the songs of the album were composed by Jerry Cutillo, with the exception of the Dance-Macabre, which was composed by Camille Saint-Saens, the famous French composer and pianist.

  I am not going to mention the songs of the album one by one, because I see it as a whole piece of work. And that’s the way it should be heard. From the beginning ‘till the end. Yes, there are some “stronger” and some “weaker” moments maybe, but the overall outcome is excellent!

  In my opinion, this is a pure work of art! Nothing more, nothing less. Congratulations to Mr. Cutillo, not only for trying to create something so difficult and beautiful, but also for succeeding in it!

The only problem I have to point out is that, Giordano Bruno is not available in CD format. You can buy the double vinyl edition, which includes a CD, or the digital one.

  Favourite songs (so far): Circe, Diana Morgana, La cena delle beffe , Dreams of Mandragora, Danse Macabre, The Globe.

  Giordano Bruno is a “must-have” album for every Progressive Rock fan. Try to find and listen to it. You won’t be disappointed!

My Rating will be between 4.0 and 4.5 stars (out of 5.0)


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