MARCO RAGNI – LAND OF BLUE ECHOES – MELODIC REVOLUTION

Having enjoyed Marco’s 2018 album, ‘The Wandering Caravan’, I have now gone back to the previous release, 2016’s ‘Land of Blue Echoes’. He again provides multiple instruments himself, and has brought together a stellar cast of musicians, including the wonderful Peter Matuchniak on acoustic and electric guitars. Colin Tench also provides guitar on the opening number, “Between Moon and Earth”, which made me stop when I realised as it is nearly the anniversary of his sad passing. We had been swapping emails on Christmas Day in our normal jokey manner, and just two days later he was gone. Both Poms, both living away from the land of our birth, at opposite ends of the planet, he signed his off “Colin of the North”.

But, this isn’t one of Colin’s great albums, but again another masterpiece by Marco. He not only provides vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, Greek bouzouki and bass, but also  keyboards and piano. His ability to play multiple instruments enables to get the best out of those he is working with, with masterful arrangements. Drummer Jacopo Ghirardini  is a monster behind the kit, driving complex rhythms (or sitting there having a rest), while Peter demonstrates yet again that he can turn his guitar style to anything at hand. He can be delicate and restrained, Gilmour or Latimer-like, or he can turn on the overdrive and become far more powerful.

It is the multiple styles that makes this such an interesting album to listen to, with elements of Pink Floyd and (especially) Tangerine Dream giving way to some driving hard rock, all controlled and making perfect sense throughout. There are a couple of epics on the album, which comes in at more than 70 minutes long, and although there are long instrumental passages there are also some wonderfully delicate and powerful vocals from baritone Durga McBroom, which add to the feel of class which is prevalent throughout this release. Strong bass counter rhythms and melodies, Spanish guitar, it all combines to produce yet another compelling album from Marco which is well worth investigating. 8/10

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