Floating State -– White Flower
It is unlikely you will have heard of them, as they are a relatively new band. New, however, does not mean inexperienced. Reading their short resume makes me feel rather unqualified, academically. Two are studying engineering, two architecture, one percussion and the other, saxophone. All that and they have found time to gain piano diplomas, play in wind bands and orchestras and start studies in flute. When the Italians get involved in music they take it seriously and it shows on this, their demo CD.
The CD features four songs totalling some 30 minutes of the 90 minutes of material they are sitting on, awaiting a deal enabling them to release their first full album. The band emphasised that the recording quality was not quite up to standard having been mixed and recorded using two microphones attached to a PC though bass and electric guitars were connected directly to the PC. Nevertheless, the recording quality is better than that of many a studio album put out by some continental prog labels.
The first track Winds of Time has a flowing feeling about it. Two and a half minutes in, saxophone lets riff, reminiscent of Caravan in their early seventies heyday, then the pace speeds up, helped along with fast fusion type keyboard performance. Canterbury fans should find something here to give them a smile. Surprisingly, vocals on this piece generally follow the Uriah Heap school of thought providing an intriguing mix of styles.
The remaining three tracks consist of the White Flower Suite; the first movement, The Queen of Gloom, commences in a military minimalist style opening up into a brief Thick as a Brick stomp, but it is difficult to describe in words really. Lyrics tell a story of one’s hidden thoughts and feelings being revealed in one’s dreams, dreams aided perhaps by the imbuement of a drink called “kykeon” which sounds similar to Absinthe, with its psychedelic powers. The second movement, Jokers and Angels, opens with a piano solo intro opening out into a funky Renaissance type arrangement with the addition of some superb sax playing. Again, I am reminded of Caravan instrumentals at their jazziest and funkiest. Lyrics continue in dream mode, reflecting on the past or images of what might have been. The thing about dreams is that you can play out scenarios to determine the possible outcomes, yet the dreams can often appear disjointed with hidden meanings. The final movement, The Lotus Prince, which I’m guessing is the deep sleep one encounters after the main body of the dream has passed. Why Lotus? Well the lotus plant grows in mud/dirt yet somehow remains clean. In other words, the dream has come to its natural fruition and cleansed the mind and soul. I told you it was deep!
Lots of feeling, and depth both musically and lyrically (existential themes abound with references from 19th and 20th century authors such as Edgar Allen Poe and Indian philosophy). Lyrics are written and sung in English, so there is no awkwardness of translation that is so often found on Italian prog band albums.
One of my favourite Italian bands is Eris Pluvia with their intricate and delicate feel. Other prog lovers may be more in tune with P.F.M who have an altogether stronger sound. Floating State has the quality and diversity of both these bands (on the basis of this CD) and I look forward to hearing their future developments. Maybe Francesco will use his interest in making short movies and produce pictorial interpretations of their songs on video/DVD. Ahh, takes me back to the videos we used to make of Jadis, IQ, Now etc. Always wanted to make an in concert video interspersed with acting scenes but never got around to it. Wake up, I’m dreaming again!
FLOATING STATE are:
GIGI FERRI - ELECTRIC AND ACOUSTIC GUITARS (studies Engineering at Politecnico di Ban);
MIMMO FERRI - KEYBOARDS (got a piano diploma in 1999 at the Conservatoire of Ban and will soon graduate as Engineer at Politecnico di Ban);
MICHELE MOSCHINI - VOICE, RECORDER AND TIN WHISTLE (studies Architecture at Politecnico di Ban, singing and (recently started) flute at University of Ban Center of Music and Theatre and also sings in Bluesliver gigs (a seventies rock cover band));
BEATRICE BIRARDI - DRUMS AND PERCUSSION (studies percussion at the Conservatoire of Ban and plays in the baroque orchestra “Lyra di Amphione”);
FRANCESCO ANTONINO - BASS GUITAR (he also plays electric and acoustic guitars. Studies Architecture at Politecnico di Ban and is interested in directing short movies);
GRAZIA STELLA - CONTRALTO AND SOPRANO SAXOPHONES (studies saxophone at Ban Conservatoire and also plays with several winds bands
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