Il Ballo delle Castagne - Kalachakra. 2011 Italy

I'm always on the lookout for modern bands who incorporate psychedelic influences into their progressive rock, and it was clear by the few reviews I saw, plus my sampling of their first album on MySpace a few months ago, that Ballo delle Castagne are one such band. One only has to look at their label name to pick out a distinct Krautrock predilection. To date, I've only heard their new release "Kalachakra", which is distributed by the respected Black Widow label of Italy.

Given the sitar, echoed acid guitar and overall trippy effects, perhaps it's surprising that Ballo delle Castagne also possess an early 80s maudlin New Wave sound, especially evident in the vocal styling presented. In some ways, I'm hearing that most misunderstood debut album by the Italian group Runaway Totem - "Trimegisto". Ballo delle Castagne's second album, for me at least, improves significantly as it progresses on - losing some of the 80's song narrative, while bringing forth their 1970s Krautrock influences. The moody and atmospheric "La Foresta dei Suicidi" is probably the best track. I do have some problems with the production here, a bit hollow and thin sounding. Music like this needs a full woody sound to be effective. I feel that Ballo delle Castagne are on the cusp of something great, and I hope they persevere further, while adding stronger instrumental heft to their compositions. Still, I'm recommending Kalacakra wholeheartedly.

Highlights: 2. Tutte le Anime Saranno Pesate (4:43); 5. La Terra Trema (6:55); 6. La Foresta dei Suicidi (6:00); 7. Omega (5:55); 8. Ballo delle Castagne (3:54)

Personal collection
CD: 2011 Hau Ruck SPQR

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