O.A.K. (Oscillazioni Alchemico Kreative )
(2018 - Acrostelle/Immaginifica - EU)
[2 LP + CD: glossy gatefold album]
A massive performance of stellar progressive rock compositions in the lush 70's Genesis, with variations of Jethro Tull (esp track 4) and VDGG styles, across a double album set with grand artwork by Ed Unitsky. All the music is composed by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Cutillo, except 'Danse Macabre' (by Saint Saens). With a heavy duty bow to Italian progressive acts such as Banco, PFM, Formula 3 and the ilk, other influences like Caravan and a sprinkling of other progressive greats are all included. To make it all even more appealing, a gold card list of musicians appear:
Jerry Cutillo: Voice, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass, ebow guitar, mandolin, tubular bells/ David Jackson (VDGG): Saxes/ Richard Sinclair (Caravan, Camel): Voice & Bass (8)/ Sonja Kristina (Curved Air): Voice (6)/ Maart Allcock (Jethro Tull): Bass (9)/ Derek Wilson (Goblin): Drums (1, 6)/ Jenny Sorrenti (Saint Just): Voice (11)/ Valentina Ciaffaglione: Voice (6)/ Pat Rowbottom: Bass (4, 10)/ Anna Maria Manzi: Vocalisms (5)/ Alexa Trinity Bersiani: Backing vocals (13)/ Francesco De Renzi: Grand Piano & Hammond organ/ Giacomo Pettinelli: Drums/ Charles Yossarian: Drums/ Fab Santoro: Bass/ and Mirko Valtulini: Timpani.
The music is so authentic in the old progressive rock school, and we all know those pinnacle years. If this had been issued back then, we'd still be bragging about it, and it certainly would be seen as a classic. It is that good. My eyes went directly to Richard Sinclair and his part on side three's (track 8 on CD) opening 'Dreams of Mandragora', although it is not Canterbury, but more at the Genesis/Camel atmosphere, with still the thrill of hearing Richard mostly talk, and play bass. Jenny Sorrenti does a spine tingling lead vocal on 'Wittenberger Fuchstanz' (track 11 on CD). Jerry adds vocals to the chorus and this song goes down as worth the price alone. All out perfection.
Thank goodness for someone such as Jerry , who makes the beautiful concept album still. He adds some beautiful flute all among the titles, that move from Ian Anderson, John Hackett, Peter Gabriel, and Ian McDonald. He also plays abundant amounts of grandiose keyboards with no shortage of organ and mellotron in the vein of Tony Banks. Every musician is at full throttle, and wisely picked. This is progressive rock opera at it's best. It is not just nostalgia, but brings the past to the present with all that is great. 'Sandali Rossi' (track 13) is gorgeous and a glowing hi-light of the album. This one will be played over and over. All the songs on side four (tracks 12,13,14 on CD) never let up with the strength of Jerry's compositional skill. The opening cut on side one 'Campo dè fiori' is amazing enough to draw you in (I posted a link from You Tube with this intro for you to hear), and the ending cut is a reprise where orchestral arrangement and tubular bells come in. Francesco De Renzi's Grand piano is superb.
The album concept is about Giordano Bruno, a philosopher, mathematician, cosmological theorist and poet. His life ended when he was burned as an heretic by the Roman Inquisition in the year 1.600. This is by far Jerry Cutillo's best work. He has been in the music world a long time, even trying the punk scene for a time, but always staying with his true love, the progressive rock genre, he formed O.A.K, back in 1993, and although different stages of the group shifted from covers to originals, it was actually 2015 before the official and all self penned material came about with 'Viandanze'. In 2018 we have O.A.K's second and magnificent double album 'Giordano Bruno'. RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 2 - 2019