“From A Distance” is the second effort of the Italian band Not A Good Sign (great name for a progressive band!). In 2010 Paolo Botta and Francesco Zago began to write music, and Zago provided the lyrics too. Soon Guidi Colombi and Alessio Calandriello, from La Coscienza Di Zeno, joined the band. The drummer Martino Malacrida completed the line-up in 2012. In 2013 Alessandro Cassani became the new bass player. Early 2015 Francesco Zago left the band and was replaced by GianMarco Trevisan. You can hear the new guitar player on one track of this new album. So this album is a farewell statement of Mr. Zago because most of the music is written by the two founding members Francesco Zago and Paolo Botta.
Paolo "Ske" Botta - keyboards; Alessio Calandriello -vocals; Alessandro Cassani - electric bass, double bass, vocals; Martino Malacrida - drums; Francesco Zago - 12 strings & electric guitars
Jacopa Costa - vibraphone, glockenspiel ( tracks 1,2,4,7,8 ); Eleonora Grampa - oboe, English horn ( tracks 4,5,10 ); Maurizio Fasoli - grand piano ( tracks 4,5,8,10 ); Gian Marco Trevisan - electric guitar ( track 3 ); Margherita Botta - heart ( track 5 )
The album opens with the hectic opening of opener “Wait For Me”. But in those first five diverse minutes of the album you also find beautiful melodies full of melancholy. That's the strong trademark of the band, beautiful arrangements and complex time signatures in the same compact song. The vibraphone in the slow ballad “Going Down” reminds me of the slow parts in the music of Syndone. The vocal melodies, the arrangements and the beautiful synth parts are blissful ... I just love this delicate song. “Flying Over Cities” is again a very diverse track. A combination of up tempo complex parts and melodic parts full of melancholy.
“Not Now” is also a beauty with passionate sung vocal parts and a what brooding atmosphere and great guitar parts. After those aggressive guitar parts follows a delicate classical theme on grand piano and oboe in “Aru Hi No Yoru Deshita”. This album has a beautiful balance. After this atmospheric and classical track the band comes with a piece of complex jazz fusion and Crimson like guitar work of Mr. Zago. This piece is called “Pleasure of Drowning” and has complex time signatures and is heavily influenced by Mr. Fripp's band King Crimson. It is followed by the two longest compositions of the album, “I Feel Like Snowing” and “Open Window” which are more then 7 minutes long.
“I Feel Like Snowing” is one of my favorite tracks of this wonderful album. A diverse track with great melodies and beautiful and passionate sung vocal parts by singer Alessio Calandriello who for the band Not A Good Sign is singing in the English language. A piece full of delicious keyboard and guitar parts. “Open Window” has a mysterious opening and some Anekdoten references. But it is difficult to find those references because the music of Not A Good Sign is very authentic and modern. But on the other side it has some roots in the symphonic and progressive rock from the seventies. A delicious melting pot of prog classical and jazz fusion. “Open Windows” is working towards a nice epic and abrupt climax. And is followed by the beautiful and melancholic “The Diary I Never Wrote”.
Have to mention the wonderful keyboard work of composer Paolo Botta on this album. Nowhere freaky stuff but he is always finding the right sounds for the composition. The album closes with the delicate and classical piece “Farewell”. The instruments of the guests (vibraphone, oboe, glockenspiel, English horn and grand piano) who are playing on seven of the ten compositions are skillful integrated into the music.
What a beautiful album. “From A Distance” the second album of Not A Good is a must for RPI lovers and the open minded (prog) music lover. The album is released on the Fading Records label, a sub label of AltrOck Productions. Prog fans who discovered already the Fading Records label have to listen to this title also, you will like it. The album is beautifully in balance by a perfect running order of the tracks. Personally I think that the band can extend their fanbase with this album because there is so much melody in each track. As earlier mentioned, the music is a delicious melting pot of prog, classical and jazz fusion. “From A Distance” is a great farewell statement of Mr. Zago. Highly Recommended!