Il Porto Di Venere – E Pensa Che Mi Meraviglio Ancora

Posted: 031021

Review Erik Neuteboom

As a huge fan of the Italian prog I was excited to read about this new project entitled Il Porte Di Venere hosting members who played with known Italian formations Finisterre, La Maschera Di Cera, Il Nomadi, Franco Battiato, Moongarden and Submarine Silence. The most known musicians are singer Maurizio Di Tollo (Maschera di Cera, Hostsonaten, Moongarden) and keyboard player Cristiano Roversi (Moongarden, Submarine Silence, Noisy Diners). The most interesting member is Stefano Zeni (acoustic - and electric violin: he graduated in violin from Trento Conservatory, attended the jazz summer workshops in Siena, and postgraduated in Jazz from Brescia Conservatory, the Italian Eddie Jobson? So high expectations about this new, very talented and experienced Italian formation, and its debut album, from September 2021.

Formidabile (10:45) : First a short intro with the sound of church bells, then a fluent rhythm with a vintage keyboard sound (Hammond and Mellotron), blended with fiery guitar, delicate violin play and pleasant Italian vocals. To me it sounds catchy and accessible, close to Neo-Prog, but with obvious Seventies undetones. Halfway the mood shifts to mellow with tender flute and warm vocals, followed by jazzy electric piano, intense violin and mellow sax horn. Then a swinging break with a long and fiery guitar solo, backed by propulsive percussion, how exciting! Finally a strong conclusion, embellished with inspired vocals, electric violin and Mellotron choirs. What a captivating first musical meeting with this new band, and what a variety, skills, musical ideas and dynamics.

Stop al Televoto (7:17) : After a short dreamy violin sound and sampled voices, an accellaration with a catchy beat follows, topped with a lush instrumentation: violin, sax horn and a funky bass, and ‘spoken vocals’. Gradually a more dynamic sound and narrative vocals, now in a fusion atmosphere, with sensational work on the (synthesizer-like sounding) electric violin. In the end another fiery guitar solo, blended with the narrative vocals.

Dahlia (8:02) : A dreamy climate with a whispering voice, tender cello, then the vocals turns into powerful and emotional, with mellow work on violin and keyboards, in an ambient climate, finally joined by expressive vocals.

Miserere Sovietico (11:59) : This epic composition starts with melancholical violin, then hypnotizing drum beats and soaring Mellotron flute, blended with inspired vocals, the dark atmosphere matches with the title. Next solo time featuring a heavy guitar solo, flashy Minimoog flights and moving violin, concluded with Mellotron choir drops, awesome. Halfway the climate changes to dreamy with tender piano and vocals, culminating in a slow rhythm with a wonderful spacey synthesizer solo, and a compelling, harder-egded guitar solo, concluded with a sumptuous final eruption, wow.

E Pensa che mi Meraviglio ancora (3:34) : This short mellow piece contains romantic vocals and acoustic guitar, then a slow rhythm with wonderful work on piano and cello, topped with sensitive violin play.

...E Ancora... (7:58) : A slow rhythm with a powerful saxophone sound, joined by sax horn, brass rules in this jazzy inspired track. In the second part a fiery and howling guitar solo, with frequent use of slide (evoking David Gilmour)., supported by majestic keyboards, pretty compelling.

I am impressed, this is why I love Italian prog, what a strong blend of variety, skills, adventure and own musical ideas, what’s next?!