“Ambigram” an English term coined in 1986 by Douglas Hofstadter: “Calligraphic design that has two or more clear and distinct interpretations. The two readings are usually generated through the change of point of view that can be obtained through rotations and symmetries or other expedients.” (Wikipedia)
Never was a more appropriate definition to introduce to the world the release of their eponymous debut album. Ambigram, is a new super – band composed by Italian leading musicians who have very deep roots in progressive and underground music. Among them also appears, in the production phase, the giant of Prog Greg Lake (Wherever he is now, for the help given in developing this project over the years). Embedded in the meaning of the name itself, Ambigram is also a record that lends itself to be read and enjoyed with different narratives and fruition levels; it is a complex but enjoyable album that is a pleasure to listen to and, above all, decidedly engaging at each subsequent listening ….
The definition, which lead vocalist Francesco Rapaccioli most loves to use to describe their music, is ‘pro aggressive’ rock … do not be fooled by the pun: The basis on which their sound is nourished is a solid rock with haunting melodies inspired by the classic British school, with classy arrangements. Francesco’s lead vocals are supported by the “rhythm machine”, expertly conducted by Gigi Cavalli Cocchi (drums) who marks the times with power and elegance; Beppe Lombardo’s guitars, accompanied by Max Marchini’s bass, have the ability to make each piece unique. Throughout the work we perceive a very accurate research and study of detail, thank also to the precious cameos of brilliant guests who collaborated on the project: Area’s legendary guitarist Paolo Tofani (guitar solos on track 6-7), the super vocalist Paola Folli (vocals on track 4), Camillo Mozzoni, La Scala Orchestra’s former 1st Oboe (oboe on tracks 2,7), keyboard’s wizard Max Repetti and, last but not least, Marco Rancati and Avant/Prog rising star Annie Barbazza on background vocals.
The voice of Francesco Rapaccioli brings the emotional side to a new level where lyrics span from suburban crimes to mythological journeys with a deep bound to the Sea exploring its haunting meanings from Odysseus lost in the Aegean Isles to Argonauts search symbolism.
Beware you don’t get lost at sea, too.
We are really cracked on Ambigram…
1. A Mediterranean Tale
2. Cerberus Reise
3. Pig Tree
4. Sailing Home
5. Imaginary Daughter
8. Pearls Before Swine
9. Cerberus Reise (Radio Edit)
Produced By Ambigram except “A Mediterranean Tale” co-produced by Greg Lake.
Francesco Rapaccioli – lead and background vocals
Beppe Lombardo – guitars
Gigi Cavalli Cocchi – drums and percussion
Max Marchini – bass guitar
Annie Barbazza (vocals); Max Repetti (piano, keyboards), Marco Rancati (bkg. vocals)
Paola Folli (vocals on 4)
Camillo Mozzoni (oboe on 2,7)
Paolo Tofani (guitar solo in 6,7)
Recorded by Alberto Callegari @ Elfo Studios
Mixed by Alberto Callegari and Francesco Rapaccioli @ Elfo Studios
Mastered by Tommy Bianchi @ White Sound Mastering
All songs by Barbazza/Cavalli Cocchi/Lombardo/Marchini
published by Poggeidon Edizioni Musicali
photography: Franz Soprani
Special thanks to Greg Lake, wherever he is now, for the support and help in developing this project over the years. We deeply feel to dedicate this music to his memory.
Also Thanks to Bunker 54 Recording Studio and Max Cavalli Cocchi
Ambigram’s Historical Facts
The band was born early this millenium, when Beppe Lombardo got back from Finland to his hometown of Piacenza where he teamed up again with old mate Max Marchini. The two spent many sofa evenings sharing guitars and getting the basis to this project. Then the band underwent many changes of personnel trying to accomplish and perform what is now Ambigram. Deeply convinced that Progressive is more an attitude to the music than a genre, many friends joined and left: too bluesy, too Jazzy, too Rock, too Pop… They don’t want to be nostalgic although 60s and 70s music is alive and well in their hearts. They needed a dramatic improvement from their collaborators in both musical skill and creative imagery.
Then famous drummer Gigi Cavalli Cocchi said yes to Max after inviting him and the band immediately changed. Old school days mate Francesco Rapaccioli, 360° musician, producer and talented vocalist, then turned professional, also accepted (after former vocalist Marco Rancati quit): the right recipe was eventually found and, as Greg Lake pointed, the good fairy appeared.
All the songs were re-arranged and produced as a collective effort with Greg Lake in person helping on the first track. The 4 Ambigram opened the door to some friends whose collaboration spiced the menu bringing it on an even higher level: from the impressive vocal talent of Paola Folli to Greg Lake’s discovered singer Annie Barbazza, who also took part in compositions. From the cubist visionary guitar solos of Area’s Paolo Tofani to keyboard wizard Max Repetti and La Scala Orchestra former 1st oboe Camillo Mozzoni.
This is Ambigram and you’ll hear about them pretty soon and loud.