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Universal Totem Orchestra, Italy

News:  Universal Totem Orchestra are celebrating their latest album release Mathematical Mother, and playing the odd festival. The album itself is brilliant IMO, and is at, or near, the top of my favorite releases from 2016 - and of all the 2010 decade! Don't miss it.


Location: Rovereto (north of Verona in the mountains near Trento)

Overview: Universal Totem Orchestra are an offshoot group of Runaway Totem, and features a larger scaled group and a trained soprano vocalist. Their music is heavily influenced by Mekanik era Magma, with a dose of heavy instrumental prog fusion. All 3 of their albums to date are fantastic.

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November 2016 Roundup

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Homunculus Res, Italy

News: New album out February 15th (was slightly delayed and is now available as of March 8). Title is Della Stessa Sostanza dei Sogna.

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Location: Palermo, Sicily

Overview: Homunculus Res are a tremendous new Canterbury styled band from Italy that have perfectly captured the spirit of another era. Brilliantly mixing melody and complexity, with a jazzy undertone.

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Kharmina Buranna, Peru

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Overview: Though from Peru, Kharmina Buranna remind me quite a bit of the 1970s Argentine progressive rock scene. They squarely fit the "retro prog" category and play a direct mix of early 70s styled blues rock mixed with classic era Yes, and a dose of 70s Italian progressive rock.

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Website Samples
Location: Tokyo?

Overview: Gerard are a long running symphonic progressive rock band lead by keyboardist Toshio Egawa. I presume they are still a functioning unit, though the last activity I could find is 2015. Not sure if they have a Facebook page, but I couldn't find one if they do. Their Fan Page recently shut down. My history with the band goes back to their very beginning, and I once owned their first two albums on LP. I sold them years ago. In addition, I have heard Irony of Fate and Pandora's Box, but never owned them. I currently only possess The Ruins of a Glass Fortress and Live in Marseille. No matter if I ever buy more Gerard, or not, for certain this album will be a keeper deep into my lifespan.

UMR notes

Astrolabio, Italy

News: Astrolabio are still quite active on Facebook anyway, and touting their 2nd album from 2016. I still haven't heard it, but did finally manage to get a few notes out on their debut.

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Location: Verona

Overview: Astrolabia was formed from the ashes of a band called Elettrosmog who released a couple of demos in the mid 2000s. They are yet another fantastic band playing the Italian retro prog style. Their first album L'isolamento dei Numeri Pari received high marks from me, though unfortunately I didn't get a chance to pen any notes down. Next time. But it left a strong enough impression for me to add them to the A-List,and I look forward to the new album.

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Il Bacio della Medusa, Italy

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Il Bacio della Medusa - s/t. 2004 private; 2006 Black Widow (CD; LP); 2015 AMS/BTF (mini-LP)
Il Bacio della Medusa - Discesa Agl'inferi D'un Giovane Amante. 2008 Black Widow (CD; LP);  2015 AMS/BTF (mini-LP)
Il Bacio della Medusa - Deus Lo Vult. 2012 private (hard bound book CD); 2015 AMS/BTF (mini-LP)

In the wake of discussing all of these fantastic new Italian progressive rock bands from 2013, I think this would be a good opportunity to address one of the groups who's been operating in this field for almost a decade now. Il Bacio della Medusa sort of slipped in without notice until their second album arrived, and even then few paid much heed. This is about the period I was introduced to them, but wasn't able to give the albums the attention they deserved. Last year I rectified that by buying all 3 albums on CD and absorbing them properly. So it's about high time I get a band page going here.

----Il Bacio della Medusa

Il Bacio della Medus…

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Location: Copenhagen

Overview: Papir are a guitar trio with keyboard accompaniment, that combine no-nonsense cosmic psychedelic jamming with the spirit of the original early 70s Krautrock movement.

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