Melodic Revolution Records Series (#2)
Marco Ragni | Land Of Blue Echoes | 2016 Album Review
Label Melodic Revolution Records
Release Year: 2016
Genre:Progressive/Psychedelic Space Rock
Marco Ragni – Vocals/Electric & Acoustic Guitars/Bass/Piano/Keyboards/Greek Bozouki
Durga McBroom – Vocals & Backing Vocals
Peter Matuchniak – Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Jeff Mack – Bass
Jacopo Ghirardini – Drums
Vance Gloster – Keyboards & Organ
Colin Tench – Electric Guitar
Hamlet – Keyboards & Bass
Between The Moon And Earth
Money Doesn’t Think
Canto D’ Amore
Nucleus parts 1-8
Queen Of Blue Fires
If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed – Stanley Kubrick
There is a lot of truth to that quote by the late great filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. This especially holds true with certain progressive rock conceptual albums as well. Marco Ragni’s Land Of Blue Echoes seems to paint a contemporary science fiction film in the theater and arena of the mind of the listener. Much like Mother From The Sun which we examined in the first installment of this Melodic Revolution Records series, Land Of Blue Echoes also is a very well written and well crafted conceptual album containing elements of traditional progressive rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock and classic rock.
Marco always seems to mix all the elements mentioned into his own distinct Italian flavor of progressive rock. Marco Ragni also seems to continue the rich Italian progressive rock that seems to not get enough credit ahead of its Prog Rock Britannia or German ‘Krautrock’ contemporaries. The major difference from Mother From The Sun and Land Of Blue Echoes is that Mother From The Sun was a more autobiographical concept album as compared to the lighter science fiction subject matter on Land Of Blue Echoes.
Land Of Blue Echoes is both a visual and audio delight that touches all the senses. It has more of a film score approach and display’s Marco’s ability to enter into the world of soundtracks. Marco manages to do all this with a unique perspective where it does not ever sound like what every other artist or band is doing. Marco’s style is totally distinct and you know it is him when you hear him. Now a little look at the Earth with its relationship to space in Land Of Blue Echoes.
Between The Moon And Earth starts out this epic voyage into space with a spoken word effect as if it were right out of a science documentary. Soon a blend of psychedelic and progressive rock takes the track into more of a instrumental simulating a true voyage through space.
Horizons continues as an instrumental into interstellar space with wonderful fluid bass/drum rhythmic sections and neo progressive keyboards. Around the 2:30 mark the track takes a spoken word section that makes for what life is perceived as on earth. The beautiful lush isolated piano and fuzzy distortion on the guitar provide for a melodic sense of a desolate land around the subject. About the 8:00 mark the percussion adds for an additional effect that continues with the well executed layers Marco is known for. From there the track takes the listener on a melodic roller coaster of various time signature chord progressions in and out. The unpredictable twists and turns make for a highly interesting listen. The guitar solo around the 11:11 mark is one of remarkable psychedelia progression.
Land Of Blue Echoes the title track to the album instrumentally explores a more old school fuzzy distortion within the stringed section with the guitar. Lyrically it is a testament to just how well researched Marco Ragni is in the subject of astrophysics and science fiction. In the arrangement of the album it is a little epic within the album.
Money Doesn’t Think starts off in a funk style groove almost in the vein of a progressive Parliament Funkadelic and George Clinton of the latter 1970’s. It soon kicks in much like the era of Syd and psychedelic Floyd ala Meddle and Atom Heart Mother era. It soon takes on the predominant funk and groove laden fusion progression and passages. This is really a fun listen and could possibly be a gateway track for newer listeners discovering Marco Ragni for the first time.
Canto D’ Amore . starts out almost in the vein of a Dead Can Dance old world medieval 16th century renaissance with a modern psychedelic twist. It is very folk based in the stringed section. The track also takes a slight yet subtle romantic nuance about it with the emotional vocals of Marco himself.
Deep Night takes on a really strong and heavy ambient passage from the get go. This track also features the legendary Durga McBroom from legendary Pink Floyd albums as Darkside of The Moon. Her voice lends such beautiful soulful layers. It is a moving piece and one that will certainly have appeal with older progressive rock audiences. Lyrically it pulls on the heartstrings.
Video Courtesy of (Marco Ragni Official YouTube Channel)
Beltane is really heavily folky sounding with a almost Celtic style of the Greek Bouzouki. Marcos voice conveys spot on emotion in harmony with the lush acoustical and semi electric guitar layers in the stringed section. Marco’s vocals are also executed with such conviction you are drawn in subtly into a melodic paradise of modern progressive bliss. The guitar solos are some of the best in all of prog today. They are very atmospheric and allow the listener to get accustomed to the layers.
Nucleus Parts 1-8 starts out with a heavy space rock vibe before the crunchy distortion of the guitar comes in and takes it to a straight away progressive hard rock area. Once again Durga McBroom adds a feminine yet soulful presence in the vocals with chants. Durga has a very uncanny ability to convey such deep emotional conviction within her voice. Marco comes in with just as equal emotion in his vocals. Between the fine instrumental musicianship in harmony with the soulful vocals, this track takes on a mini album/ep within a album. The fact that it is a 22:46 track gives the listener and even newcomer to Marco’s music a little example of a lot of his world class songwriting and musicianship. It is a intelligent expression of art through the filter of music. The vocals harmonies could even move the so called non traditional progressive listener with just their classic rock quality added to them. Nucleus parts 1-8 is also like a mini melodic novel lyrically. Peter Matuchiniak really adds a exclamation point on the lead guitar with layers and atmospheres appealing to the classic and progressive purists. This track really has a little bit for everyone with its journey.
Queen Of Blue Fires is a track based around introspection and one who is isolated. The character in it seems content with his or her view from where he or she is. In its isolated lyrically content it is perfectly complemented and offset with a very upbeat and uptempo instrumental portion that is beautifully accented with a nice vintage Hammond organ style anchoring it.
It certainly seems that Marco Ragni always changes gears and is able to provide a different album yet under his own distinctive sound with every release. He continues a rich yet highly underrated Italian progressive lineage that rivals anything coming out of the United Kingdom with Prog Rock Britannia or Germany with Krautrock. His ability to attract other world class guest musicians also serves as a testament to his great talent. Much like with Mother From The Sun, Land Of Blue Echoes has once again impressed. I give this a 5/5 for sheer originality and careful attention to melody and harmony.
Video Courtesy of (Melodic Revolution Records Official YouTube Channel)
Writer: Robert ‘Uncle Prog’ Brady