Title - Ambigram
Artist - Ambigram
For those unaware, “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.”
Never was there a more appropriate definition to introduce to the world the release of their eponymous debut album, for Ambigram is a new quartet supergroup composed of 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. 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.
Indeed, it is a complex, and yet at all times enjoyable album that is a pleasure to listen to and, above all, decidedly engaging upon each subsequent listening.
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)
With the voice of lead singer Francesco Rapaccioli bringing the emotional side of Prog to a new level, where lyrics span from suburban crimes to mythological journeys, with a deep bond to the sea, exploring its haunting meanings from Odysseus lost in the Aegean Isles to Argonauts search for symbolism, this mesmerizingly artistic new album opens on the mid-tempo, new school Marillion-imbibed A Mediterranean Tale which is followed by the atmospheric, funky AOR of Cerberus Reise (and which also sounds a little Scorpion’s-esque), and then comes the blending of moods, tones, psychedelic guitar work, hard drums, and even an underlay of organ and synthesizer within the epicly forthright Pig Tree, and a rather heartwarming Sailing Home (that features Paola Folli on dual vocals).
With each and every song beautifully interlaced with intricate guitar and synth work along with infectious melodies, all coming together to showcase an impressive range of prog / AOR rock stylings, next up is the AOR melodic bounce Imaginary Daughter which is in turn backed by the free-flowing rhythms found within L’Absinthe (which also features Paolo Tofani performing an incredible guitar solo), then we get the innovative musical machinations behind Patchwork, the album rounding out on the rock guitar work of Pearls Before Swine, the album coming to a close on a Radio Edit of Cerberus Reise.
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)
The band was born early this millennium, 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 four 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.
This is Ambigram and you’ll hear about them pretty soon, trust me!
Official Purchase Link
Ambigram @ Facebook
Ambigram @ Bandcamp