Apostolis "Retromaniac" Psarros
Sistra is another band in the Psych/Prog field as the Psych Up Melodies label has gotten used to release, only this time the band is not so obscure. How is that? Simply because it is a creation of Psych Up's leader Fabricio Di Vicino, who is also a very good multi-instrumentalist.
Sistra were set up in Napoli around mid-00's and Di Vicino's main collaborators were female singer Gaia Vittozzi and keyboardist Salvatore Pisano. The album ''Bearing'' was recorded and produced between 2005 and 2007, eventually released in 2011 by Di Vicino as a digital download, getting also help by a few friends on electric piano, choirs and arranging.
Sistra's feet are deeply grounded in the 70's with Di Vicino and Pisano, both the main composers of the group, being inspired by the golden era of Progressive Rock and if you also like some trippy passages and psychedelic hints in your music, ''Bearing'' is the absolute fit for you. Sistra's compositions are rather short but carefully executed, incorporating influences from Psychedelic Rock, Space-Kraut Rock and 70's Prog in equal doses, eventually delivering twelve tight pieces, where every component comes on the surface depending on the approach. Add a female singer with a dreamy and quite personal style of singing, that seals the deal (even if some male vocals are also present) and you should get the picture. Some tracks contain evident traces of the early-70's Kraut Rock movement with distorted keyboards and spacey experiments in one-dimensional outlandish soundscapes. Others are closer to Heavy/Psych with strong use of electric guitars and a more rockin' sound overall, a lot like Czech pioneers SBB. A few of them even offer some delicate acoustic explorations, ''Oblivion'' even offers a nice, vintage harmonica part.The hugest surprise though comes from the opening tracks, where the clever use of organ and electric piano has a very Canterbury-like feel. In the end the album sounds quite flexible and multi-influenced with interesting ideas and decent performances.
The production of ''Bearing'' is quite good and clear, even if a more muddy sound here and there recalls even more the 70's years. I can see a great number of fans appreciating this release, but certainly lovers of trippy Psych/Prog should be the first ones to purchase it. Warmly recommended.