I have to admit that when I received his latest CD AntiQua (2012) to review I was a little worried and I’ll tell you why. Back in 2009 I received the Moongarden latest CD (at that time), A Vulgar Display Of Prog (2009), to review, and that album for me was a big disappointment. Cristiano being one of the key members of the band and the Producer of the album I thought that AntiQua (2012), his third solo album would walk the same path.
In a first moment AntiQua (2012) is absolutely interesting and fresh. The first track ‘Morning In AntiQua’ and its acoustic 12 string guitars show it. And then Bernardo Lanzetti from Mangala Vallis (former Acqua Fragile) and from my favorite Premiata Forneria Marconi album Chocolate Kings (1975) appears on the track ‘Tales From Solitude Suite’ doing vocals and also writing the lyrics. This is a totally amazing track with lots of acoustic guitars and pianos, everything played by Cristiano himself.
My heart was lighter to see that many great Italian names were on the record and the album was different than I expected.
However, my worries turned out to be true on the third track ‘L’amore’. It was very sad to hear one of my favorites musicians of all times, Aldo Tagliapietra (from Le Orme), singing in a track that is basically an electronic and nonsensical beat. If Cristiano had stripped this electronic beat out of it, the song would have been a classic Italian Prog with a classic voice and acoustic guitars.
And then tracks like ‘Nessie Revealed’, ‘Dimlit Tavern’ and ‘Nirayed’s Secret Diary’ just finished confirming my worries. They are untied from the rest of the album and sometimes with too much electronics on them, which for me doesn’t work at all.
In general, AntiQua (2012) is far from being a bad album as tracks like ‘Morning In AntiQua ‘, ‘Tales From Solitude Suite’ and ‘Falling’ show, but the general feeling is that it could be a bit more tight. Maybe a bit more of effort to make it as a unit, the way it is feels like a concept album that was just thrown away in a tape without any concerning to the general feeling of the album.
The wonderful cover is from Ed Unitsky who already worked with many Prog bands such as Manning, Moongarden, The Flower Kings, Unitopia and The Tangent. It shows a magical world that started to be drawn by Cristiano and his guests, but ended up not finishing the story…