Banco / Banco del Mutuo Soccorso

Di Terra

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Released in 1978, Di Terra is a transitional album between the end of Banco's creative progressive rock phase (ending with the 1976 LP Come in Un'Ultima Cena) and the beginning of the group's more commercial phase (the 1979 LP Canto di Primavera). The Italian band's second all-instrumental album (Garofano Rosso was a film soundtrack), Di Terra is a symphonic suite in seven parts co-written by Gianni and Vittorio Nocenzi. Putting together an orchestra and a rock band was not new in 1978 (Deep Purple had done it years before), but rarely have the two been so nicely integrated. Of course, the project sounds a bit pompous, but the Nocenzi brothers' writing eschews the Star Wars effects to concentrate on textures and melodies. The music evokes Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, Maneige, Rick Wakeman's Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (minus the chorus), and the instrumental side of Banco. "Io Vivo" contains gripping moments, while "Né Più di un Albero Non Meno di una Stella" flirts with fusion jazz. Most of all, this album puts under the spotlight the majestic playing of the two keyboardists. Fans of singer Francesco Di Giacomo will feel a little left out. Note that all song titles are part of a verse that reads like one sentence, "di terra" being the last two words.

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