Alessandro Longo 12 July 2004 Danze D'Incenso

Danze d'Incenso is Malaavia's debut album, released in 2004. Malaavia is an Italian band, author of a complex, original and yet accessible progressive rock. "We didn't want to do a typical prog-rock album. It couldn't have been an original one, in this period", said Oderigi Lusi, Malaavia's keyboardist.

Danze d'Incenso is a concept album, showing a "spiritual voyage to Middle East, considered a place where to find our roots and achieve some existential awareness, but also a real region stifled by wars and the Muslim laws", says Lusi. Therefore the lyrics, which are in Italian, express both philosophical concepts (inspired by Taoism) and political ideas against the ethic of profit and capitalism. The music agrees with this concept: it's a blend of symphonic progressive rock (in the vein of the old Genesis albums), Arabian tunes and experimental sounds, all made in order to be catchy and accessible. "It's a fusion of different musical expressions: Arabian, Western, Neapolitan ones, because we wanted the music to stress what we say with the lyrics: it's a spiritual voyage where different cultures meet", said Pas Scarpato, Malaavia's lead guitarist and vocalist. This fusion is characteristic of some old progressive Neapolitan groups: Osanna, Napoli Centrale, Saint Just, il Balletto di Bronzo. They inspired the music of Danze d'Incenso, which even features, as a special guest, Lino Varietti from Osanna. This blend sometimes occur in the same song, which might suddenly move from prog rock to Arabian tunes to something close to classical music. Olderigi studied classical music at university and performed classical operas for work, so there's also technical prowess on this album.

Danze d'Incenso is must-have for every progressive rock fan and collector, especially symphonic progressive fans interested in original melodies and concepts. It will soothe your ears, if you are sick of neo-progressive albums (those in the vein of Marillion and IQ). You might even like it if you usually don't listen to progressive and prefer other rock genres, alternative, for example.

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