1. Tutto un sogno (parte 1) (6:15)
2. Il vestito buono (6:21)
3. Il primo attore (6:13)
4. Tutto un sogno (parte 2) (9:05)
Eddy Fiorio – lead vocals, synth
Michele Zanotti – guitars, sax
Federico Lonardi – guitars
Thomas Pessina – keyboards, synth, backing vocals
Alessandro Danzi – bass guitar
Umberto Sartorii – drums
Il Rumore Bianco (White Noise) are a six-piece hailing from the historic Italian city of Verona, where they were born from the ashes of another project called Side C (who released two EPs between 2009 and 2011 before disbanding). In the summer of 2012, former Side C members Michele Zanotti, Thomas Pessina and Alessandro Danzi got together with the intention of forming a new band with a more eclectic, “progressive” direction, and recruited vocalist Eddy Fiorio, guitarist Federico Lonardi and drummer Umberto Sartorii – all dedicated musicians with extensive experience in spite of their young age. The band’s recording debut, a 4-track EP by the title of Mediocrazia, was released at the end of November 2013.
Though Il Rumore Bianco claim to have been inspired, first and foremost, by progressive rock’s classic era, Mediocrazia eschews the overtly retro sound of many recent releases. The typically grandiose, symphonic approach of many Italian prog bands is only marginally touched upon, leaving the stage to a wide range of sources of inspiration that, in some case, are tangential to prog – such as electronics and jazz, as well as Italian-style alternative rock. The different backgrounds of the band members are brought together to create a tight yet varied musical texture that supports thought-provoking lyrics dealing with the overwhelming presence of the media in modern society, and the resulting pervasive mediocrity that stifles the aspirations of genuinely creative people.
The EP is bookended by a two-part suite titled “Tutto un sogno”. The energetic, organ-drenched first part often hints at Deep Purple, though Eddy Fiorio’s voice – following the line of the music like an additional instrument instead of dominating it (as it often happens in Italian prog) – evokes a modern-day Demetrio Stratos; the song culminates in an exhilarating guitar solo backed by deep, rumbling organ. On the other hand, “Il vestito buono” combines an elusive vintage flavour with a more modern allure; organ, mellotron and ambient-tinged synth washes provide a lush tapestry for Fiorio’s expressive vocals and Lonardi’s multifaceted guitar, and an engagingly warm sense of melody balances the surges of intensity.
The influence of Area looms large over the sleek jazz-rock romp of “Il primo attore”, where Fiorio deploys all the power and versatility of his impressive pipes, and Alessandro Danzi’s bass throws a generous pinch of funky spice in the heady stew of elegantly sharp guitar, blaring sax and jaunty electric piano. The 9-minute second part of “Tutto un sogno” wraps up the album in style, though avoiding the excesses of the stereotypical “epic” – its atmospheric, muted intro gradually building up to a veritable explosion of sound in which all the instruments seem to strive for primacy, then slowly winding down to a spacey, slo-mo finale.
The use of the inherently musical Italian language and the innate flair for a good melody possessed by seemingly all Italian musicians imbues Mediocrazia with that sense of Mediterranean warmth that surfaces in the work of the otherwise edgy Area, as well as later outfits such as Deus ex Machina, D.F.A. (incidentally, also from Verona) or Accordo dei Contrari. All in all, in spite of its short running time, this is a surprisingly mature debut – with very few, if any, rough edges, and a very promising display of songwriting skills. Those who prefer their prog on the modern side, but are not averse to the presence of distinguishing elements of the classic Seventies style, will not fail to be intrigued by Mediocrazia – which is highly recommended to fans of the thriving, variegated Italian prog scene.