1. Why did they make this album? What was the passion or message that forced them to produce what they have? Or, simply what was their motivation for the themes they chose on this album?
“10 years in the making, Fjieri's debut album Endless represents the satisfying conclusion to a meticulously executed labor of love.” “The band, led by Stefano Panunzi and Nicola Lori, are joined by an impressive cast of guest musicians, including Mick Karn, Tim Bowness, Andrea Chimenti, Peter Chilvers, Nicola Alesini and Porcupine Tree members, Gavin Harrison and Richard Barbieri.” “Co-produced by Barbieri, the album artfully combines Ambient and Progressive Rock influences to create a sophisticated sound that incorporates delicate atmospherics, rich melodies, looping rhythms and hard-hitting riffs.” “Recalling aspects of Rain Tree Crow, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Eno, King Crimson and No-Man, Endless is a powerful debut statement from an Italian band (http://www.myspace.com/fjieri, 2009).”
2. What message are they delivering through their lyrics and music?
1. A Reality Apart – Cool quiet opening with synths, drums and keys, but don’t get fooled because the momentum builds like a tiger about to spring. Cool drums, synths and percussion as the rhythm builds. Almost a JFK sounding voice is heard in the background warning of the threat coming. Nice instrumental opening with eerie echoing female vocals in the background adding to the effect. The drums really play a key role on this opener. The grinding guitar riffs fill the room or your headphones.
2. A Big Hope – The story begins as the narrator describes the developing events. Very nice dreamy keys, drums, and synth effects before the melody of the piano sets the tone in motion for this song. The guitar riffs are perfectly placed and well supported with strings and that wonderful sound of the soft patted drums. Then a solid power guitar riff, heavier drums and that piano – like melody.
3. Ad Occhi Chilisi – Italian lyrics and Andrea’s vocals supported by keys and soft drums. Nicola’s guitar riffs rocket throughout the piece. The sax and clarinets add an elegant touch to this song. The fretless bass is solid throughout helping to add dimension to the sound.
4. Marcinelle – Foreboding synths and keys open this song with chimes and grooves which really sound fantastic through the headphones. More of the story is described, as if from a radio, in Italian. The rhythm and melody build as the guitar riffs launch and grind, surrounded by the dynamic synth and keyboard orchestration. Taking you away to another place as the song builds and develops. The keys and synths are perfectly placed and so unique and original.
5. Breathing the Thin Air – Knew this would be good before I heard it. My favorite song on the album. Tim Bowness definitely knows how to choose his projects well. This adds to the dynamic sounds he has captured with No Man and his other projects. Building on a stellar masterpiece of a discography.
The quietness is interrupted by softly played drums and reverse guitars, then that calming acoustic guitar. Tim’s vocals reach through to create the effect of emotion that few can achieve. The listener is drawn into the story and song as Tim almost whispers the powerful lyrics. Drums and the surrounding keys, synths, and grooves fill the air with the sound of power. Tim delivers the line, “now no one’s left to care.” Then the explosion of keys, synths, drums and Laura’s cello blast through to fill the room with sound. “Day after day.” Another powerful cello statement from Laura and those wonderful surrounding string and synth effects along with that power piano sound just take you back in time, “You mark your time watching old cable shows.” Nice female backing vocals helping to close out the song. You don’t want this one to end. It’s that good.
6. Endless – Another great Tim Bowness song and the title track. Developing the story, full of emotion, with the support of some incredible synths, fretless bass, and keys. “Drifting through the evening, in search of brighter light.” The power of the guitars really climb, but they don’t leave the keys behind, they are right there supporting. Somehow Bowness’ vocals climb through the dynamic sound. Just incredible synth and keys everywhere. The listener is dazzled like I used to be with some of my favorites. Bring the best of Steely Dan jazz together with say Rush drums, guitar and bass power and you might get close to this sound. But this is very different and wonderful.
7. Soul Eaters – Haco’s lyrics and vocals add another wonderful dynamic to this debut album. Synths and cool effects open this before the drums and guitar jump in and build a rhythm. Very jazzy until the power chords pick up and rock this one. Haco is a wonderful addition to an intriguing guest vocalist list. Bringing to the attention of the unaware, the talents of her beautiful voice.
8. The Breath of the Earth – With a title like that, you know this one will be powerful. The song sounds like a continuation of the running rhythm from Soul Eaters, but then things take a different turn. The eerie sounds of the keyboards and sequencer foretell the power that is imminent. The drums, roaring guitars and fretless bass overwhelm you with sound and make this the best instrumental selection off the album. Must be listened to at high volume for full appreciation of all the intricacies in the sounds.
9. Lotus Flower – After the last piece they leave you with a quiet closer. Or that is how it begins. Cool synths, soft drums, piano – like keys, guitars and enough sound to fill any auditorium. Drums building rhythm supported with synths and stunning keys. Leaving you with the memory of what you have just experienced and inviting you back for more.
3. Does this music improve, change, or add to the genre? What does the listener receive from listening to the music?
For a debut, this band has really put together a solid start. Excellent guest vocalists and fellow musician friends to round out the dynamic surround sound they provide in this ambient jazz art music. Friends working together to try to create excellent, memorable, timeless music, and they do it successfully and with absolute class.
I received a brochure of the studio they produced this album in and I am certain it had an incredibly powerful effect on the way they performed and mastered this disc. No stone was left unturned. It may have taken ten years, but it was worth every minute of painstaking time put into it. The listener can appreciate the power and majesty of this album from the first note to the last.
4. Does it have longevity? Is it something a fan will like to play again and again?
Each song can be enjoyed separately or as part of a soundtrack of life. There are ups and downs and hard and soft parts which make it a complete album, not lacking any emotion or experience. Allowing the listener to be immersed in sound and a break from their day to day concerns.
Rating: 10/10. I don’t see how they could have improved this. The music is exceptional and surrounds you with original and dynamic sound. They have been added to my list of bands to watch and listen for in the future. I only hope it does not take as long for the next release.
Reviewed by Prof on February 25th, 2010