Thanos "ProgCaliph" Patsos
Chamber prog or the "Apocalyptica of Prog"? Whichever way, the terms might give you an idea but are not sufficient in describing GnuQuartet's marvelous 30min "Karma".
The Italian quartet, consisting of Francesca Rapetti (flute & beatbox), Roberto Izzo (violin), Raffaele Rebaudengo (viola) and Stefano Cabrera (cello) present 5 covers of signature-prog compositions and a surprise own composition in "Stereotaxis". The takes on Zappa, Yes, Genesis, Floyd and New Trolls classics stick fairly close to the original versions but the magic of the instruments and the band's skills give a new life to the recordings and grasp the listener's attention from start to finish. And yes, there are guests on this release: vocals in "The Great Gig in the Sky" delivered with a soul by Durga McBroom-Hudson and guitar solos by Andrea Maddalone on "Concerto Grosso 1/Tempo, Allegro".
Further to the impressive covers, we have here a GnuQuartet composition that deserves special mention: "Stereotaxis" is the best moment of this release, with a dark, enchanting first half with absolutely touching melody, giving its place to more up-tempo, (allow me the expression) flaming violin/cello passages with flute interludes that left me speachless. The meeting of prog and classical music in all its splendour, "Stereotaxis", had it been composed by Genesis or Jethro Tull, would have probably been considered as a classic right down to our times. I am expecting to hear more of their original compositions: if you have no interest in the covers, this only track is enough to convince you to go for the whole thing!
Without any doubt the best surprise of 2014, GnuQuartet's (In Prog) "Karma" is a must for any prog fan, even if there is virtually no rock here.
Best moments (if I have to): Stereotaxis, Concerto Grosso 1/Tempo, Allegro, Peaches en Reggalia