Quasar Lux Symphoniae - Mit - 1999
There are records that in a shameless way show their content before opening them. Their external image is so significant that in some way, with a simple glance, they give many hints in relation to their concept. In the case of this CD, the presentation of which, with a double box and a cover revealing an important load of mysticism that uncovers the conceptual character of the work, and even more if you know the musical antecedents of these Italians called Quasar Lux Symphoniae, suspicions become facts.
Lovers of works of great drama and extreme epic poetry, that could be considered as somewhat exaggerated, present the progressive society with a good literary-musical work again. Only remembering their previous works we can make ourselves a clear idea of what waits for us in this new CD
In 1994 they made their entrance with a big work called "Abraham-one act rock opera" (2CD). A monumental work with a thread that as one can sense, is based on biblical passages and that somehow transforms it into a work somewhat atypical in the prog world, for its religious character. The use of big vocal groups and the operatic staging covered the good musical characteristics, strongly influenced by ELP. With "The unlightening march of the argonauts" (1996) they abandoned the big concept, although they were still influenced by their previous work, and concentrated more on compositions, being able to focus their effort in a more musical and less theatrical work.
The components of Quasar Lux Symphoniae have changed gradually since their first album, caused by the needs of their massive theatrical staging. The components have moved around a nucleus of thinking heads, authors of most of the compositions: Marco Bertolissi (voice), Fabio Giacomelo (acoustic guitar), Paolo Maestrutti (bass), Fabrizio Morassutto (drums), Paolo Paroni (keyboards, director of string quintet, expected in this context), Roberto Sgorlon (electric guitar, electric violin) and Annalisa Malvasio (voice).
In their third work, as I commented earlier, they present us a double box-set where we meet a CD and an extensive booklet in which, apart from the typical list of musicians and songs, a long narration occupies most of its 55 pages. A story of a good literary quality with a wealth of shades and a healthy dynamism that makes the reading (in Italian) anything but difficult. A story that, due to its surrealist features, becomes a progressive novel.
This is the history of Mit "the wayfarer", a walker and investigator belonging to a fictitious kingdom called Gaida, who becomes entangled in a hallucinating trip in search of the secret of happiness. In the road he meets an entire series of surrealist characters that help him to carry out his objectives.
Characters such as Lift, a small man that will guide him along with a bird called Vot. The plot and the characters enjoy the features of a teenager novel and remind a lot from stories like The never ending story or In the labyrinth. The giant Gur and his wife Corduroy give him the definitive hints that take the main characters to a gentleman (Gilan), which will drive them toward a ghastly river that will discover the mystery of the happiness with his answer. A mystery that is disclosed in the three qualities of the companions of Mit. The Friendship of Lift and Vot; the Love of Gur and his wife Corduroy; and the Art, word with which they define the gentleman Gilan's silence hiding for so much time the great secret. In a first moment and when beginning the reading, the sensation is of being before a similar story to that of Rael in "The lamb lies down on Broadway", but neither the tortured mind or the hostile environment of the former has something to do with the history of "Mit".
Once the literary part has been described, we now concentrate on the musical one, which according to the musicians, emerged after the literary part, being based and influenced directly by the narration. "Secretum" (4:49) opens the CD in the best way, showing the great power of Paolo Paroni's keyboards with a composition that begins in an encircling way to gradually increase the intensity to become a benchmark of epic and lyricism. The drums follow suit, complementing the keyboards and remembering the best times of ELP. After the first contact we meet the first letter "A" (2:19) with a dynamic and cheerful rhythm, where the acoustic guitar starts to be seen as an important piece of the album as well as the voice of Annalisa Malvasio in opera registries. A great test of Ms. Malvasio vocal aptitudes is given in "Le refuge du temps" (5:29), where she travels around the composition giving form with its voice to a song led again by the acoustic guitar, with a similar rhythm to the previous one in the beginning. This changes radically later with quick keyboards and an aggressive electric guitar, alternating moments of great intensity with other more relaxed ones. "The silent breath" (2:01) gives entrance to the guitar quintet, cello, viola and violins. A pure pearl, a delicate and melancholic composition guided by the chords of the acoustic guitar and that creates a short, classic and wonderful piece. This acoustic beginnings continue in "Words in the shadow of life" (2:55) dominating 80 percent of the song and only leaving a small space to the splendor of an intense electric guitar with a sound totally Hackett. The pieces happened around quickly, jumping from one to another almost without leaving time to be enjoyed. The truth is that all the compositions are relatively short. "A" (3:15) the second letter of the three this musical story has, brings us a relaxed listens with a load of classicism, where a solitary Grand piano and the voice of Annalisa occupy the whole song, with a calm, melodic and sad composition. "Pana's dream" (2:46) is the repetition of the previous song, but this time the piano gives way to the acoustic guitar with a more dynamic rhythm. "The search" (7:21) displays the full power of the group, with the most spectacular composition in the CD. Disturbing keyboards open the song, being immediately followed by a galloping spectacular guitar. The intensity comes up and down constantly, with moments of rage where the keyboards shine with great intensity and others where the voice and the guitar lower the tone until becoming nearly speechless.
We arrive at the third "A" (2:22) where the string quintet is the master elaborating another delight for the ears. Very similar to "The silent breath" with a very smooth listen with violins loaded with mysticism. In "The lord of fire" (3:47) the combination of violins, guitars and keyboards acts with great intensity and merge with perfection, transforming it into a piece of great virtuosity. The shortest song in the CD is "The voice of the highland" (1:01) based on the voice of Annalisa accompanied by a guitar. Its minimum duration makes it almost imperceptible. Just the opposite is "Flowing down the river" (3:12) where some immense keyboards together with a very powerful drum make us enjoy it a lot, direct and pleasant with an excellent melody. We come almost to the end with "The glance of Gaida" (7:22) the longest composition in the CD Neoprog style with great dynamism and space for constant changes, a Genesis like guitar and keyboards wrapping the other instruments and giving them a fantastic intensity, amongst the best in the album. "Happiness" (2:32) closes the work with the same force than the previous song with a more relaxed end, leaving us floating with an acoustic guitar that seems to refuse to finish, something sad but that leaves a good taste in our mouth.
A work of great progressive strength where two artistic elements, literature and music, melt to perfection. Very advisable for the lovers of the classic progressive style, since the references to ELP or even Isildurs Bane are constant. Quasar Lux Symphoniae have known how to moderate the excesses of their first work and to focus their efforts towards a more coherent music, allowing us to enjoy their art in this progressive world.