Eddie Lascu 12-April-2008 Waterline

Alex Carpani was born in 1970 in Switzerland from an Italian father and a French mother (great ingredients when it comes to musical influences). Showing a great interest for music as early as when he was 6 years old, Alex was encouraged by his parents to pursue his talent. We don't know whether a meeting with Keith Emerson was instrumental (Alex and Aaron, Emerson's son were classmates in Switzerland), but Alex took on the piano and became a very talented keyboard player. Graduating in Musicology at the University of Bologna he moved on and specialized in music for film at a very famous Italian school of music. His focus shifts quickly, starting in 2000 with electronic music presented in multimedia shows with fractal animations, followed by a trilogy of music and poetry dedicated to the human mind's alienation and moving later to compose music for theatrical productions. And this leads us to his latest project, an album of progressive rock.

Being the ever perfectionist, Carpani has teamed up with the very best in the branch to record his magnificently crafted compositions. “Waterline” started as a concept instrumental album, the theme being dedicated to the fine line that divides the world that emerged from the water and the world that is submerged. While the project was developed, vocals were added and the singer is none other than Aldo Tagliapietra (Le Orme). Going over the list of the musicians who have contributed, one comes to realize it's a real “who's who” of progressive rock. Among others, we get to hear guitarists Tony Spada (Holding Pattern), John Thomas (Shaun Guerin Band, Clearlight, Graham Bonnet Band) and Lindsay Boullt, bassists Ken Jaquess (Atlantis, K2) and Dan Shapiro (Clearlight, Shaun Guerin Band), drummer and percussionist Neil Bettencourt (Clearlight). A special mention must be given for Cory Wright (sax and flute) whose contributions are nothing short of amazing. Such a great project had to have a cover to match. Mr. Paul Whitehead (Genesis) adorned the album with one of his wonderful paintings. The album was produced by Dan Shapiro and the word on the street is that it took three years to finalize the production. I believe that the long time in productions is reflected in the high quality of this album.

The music is undeniably rooted very deep into the great Italian traditions. This album can be placed without any hesitation into the pantheon of Italian progressive masterpieces, even though it was only released in 2007. Carpani's style of playing is reminiscent of PFM and Le Orme at the peak of their careers. His compositions are complex, offering a lot of interplays between Carpani's keyboards, the various guitars guest on the album and Cory Wright's pastoral flute (“Song of the Pond”) or jazzy sax (“A Gathering Storm”). He reviews some of the genres that influenced him early in his career (listen to the spatial electronic intro to “The Waterfall”) but almost always leads the song back into the realm of progressive rock. At a time when concept albums are as frequent as total solar eclipses, it is amazing that musicians of high calibre can get together and record music that was composed around an artistic concept.

I hope this will not end up being one of those masterpieces that are criminally ignored by the public at large.

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