[Review] Ske – Insolubilia

Ske is the solo project of the Italian keyboardist Paolo Botta, known for being one of the members of Yugen, who offers Avant-Garde Prog and Canterbury. The second new self-produced album “Insolubilia” was released on July 11, 2021 and contains 11 medium to long playing tracks. The lineup is full of guests from both the Italian and international Prog scene with high-level artists. The disc opens with “Sudo” which begins with interweaving between winds and keyboards which soon evolves on a tight and intricate rhythm increasing the intensity. Enriched by tempo changes and elaborate passages, with frenetic accelerations at times and more symphonic inserts, a summary of the album’s avant-garde atmospheres. “Insolubilia I” is the first part of the title track characterized by a dreamy piano intro, which gently guides us up to the middle of the song. A change in the central part brings us back to the more pulled sounds of Prog with fine synth textures, while the female vocal intertwines with the sweet melodies in the symphonic openings. A track in continuous evolution, highlighting an excellent compositional and executive technique of all the artists involved. the shortest track on the “Tor Cia” album is an experimental interlude of keyboards enriched with effects. Here we are at the second part of the title track “Insolubilia II” which opens with a pompous mellotron in the style of the 70s, and then develops a theme with Folk references. The most acoustic and traditional instruments and the fine female vocal intertwine giving life to a delicate and dreamy track with flute inserts. The intensity increases with the passage of the song and with the entry of the rhythmic session in the middle, and then evolves into an intricate but always very usable track with very technical and engaging passages. “Lo Stagno del Proverbio” combines the sounds of Jazz music with experimental ones and a touch of Chamber, creating a pleasant and delicate blend. With a solid rhythmic session and intertwining between electric piano and synth, “Akumu” opens up, alternating more symphonic and dreamy openings to intertwining and technical passages. The vocal adds to the melodies giving an airy touch to the sound, which makes the most of the singer’s singing skills. Very interesting also the flute in the second part and the rhythmic session rich in tempo changes for a track that closes in a musical crescendo. “La Nona Onda” begins with a delicate intro that at 1 minute with the entry of the drumming develops a Symphonic Prog track mixed with the more experimental features of Ske. In the central section with a gearbox the winds come into play offering solo cues, intertwining and leaving room for the keyboards and the electric guitar. The second interlude “Scogli 4” is a short passage with interlacing between harpsichord, bass and winds that pleasantly softens the tones. The title-track continues with “Insolubilia V” where the most Progressive and pompous sounds are combined with the RIO, with a first part where the keyboards take center stage. With intricate plots and continuous and frenetic tempo changes, it releases all the techniques of the artists involved and an atmosphere that is sometimes dark and powerful. It continues with “Insolubilia IV” which opens with the organ and the delicate female vocal and adds a dreamy touch to the sound. With very symphonic features, it is a soft passage in the first part that increases the intensity and becomes more elaborate in the second, adding a Folk touch. the title-track and the album end with “Insolubilia III” characterized by a piano intro, then developing by recalling the sounds of the previous parts. Symphonic and Jazz blend, with the delicate vocal once again combined with the melodies very well, while in the finale the song becomes more Heavy and dark. With a final of voice and orchestrations it closes this pleasant listening. A project that confirms and evolves the good things heard in the very intense and elaborate debut album, which enhances the technique of the artists involved. Progressive Rock, RIO, Jazz and Avant-garde merge giving life to a record with personal characters and with excellent and very original ideas. An intense listening from start to finish, recommended for lovers of the most intricate Progressive good sounds.

Tracklist

1. Sudo (3:44)
2. Insolubilia I (6:24)
3. Tor Cia (1:38)
4. Insolubilia II (6:54)
5. Lo Stagno del Proverbio (3:07)
6. Akumu (6:06)
7. La Nona Onda (7:00)
8. Scogli 4 (2:46)
9. Insolubilia V (6:56)
10. Insolubilia IV (3:50)
11. Insolubilia III (7:08)

Lineup

Paolo Botta (Not a Good Sign, Yugen) / Keyboards, Composition
Fabio Pignatelli (Goblin) / Bass
Luca Calabrese (Isildurs Bane) / Pocket Trumpet
Lars Fredrik Frøislie (Wobbler) / Harpsichord
Keith Macksoud (Present) / Bass
Tommaso Leddi (Stormy Six) / Mandolin
Nicolas Nikolopoulos (Ciccada) / Flute
Evangelia Kozoni (Ciccada) / Voice
Vitaly Appow (Rational Diet, Five Storey Ensamble) / Bassoon
Simen Ådnøy Ellingsen (Shamblemaths) / Saxophones
Alessandro Cassani (Not a Good Sign) / Bass
Martino Malacrida (Not a Good Sign) / Drums
Francesco Zago (Yugen) / Guitars
Maurizio Fasoli (Yugen) / Grand Piano
Valerio Cipollone (Yugen) / Clarinets
Elia Leon Mariani (Yugen) / Violin
Jacopo Costa (Loomings, Yugen) / Vibraphone/Marimba/Xylophone/Glockenspiel/Cymbalum
Maria Denami (Loomings) / Voice
Massimo Giuntoli (Hobo) / Harmonium
Pierre Wawrzyniak (Camembert, Oiapok) / Bass
Mélanie Gerber (Camembert, Oiapok) / Voice
Guillaume Gravelin (Camembert, Oiapok) / Harp
Pietro Bertoni (FEM) / Trombone/Euphonium
Thea Ellingsen Grant (Juno) / Voice
Tiziana Azzone (Il Giardino delle Muse) / Theorbo

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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