I was contacted on social media and invited to hear this album, released completely independently by Massimo himself as an outlet for his own music, but also seemingly as a kind of therapy for feelings and issues in his own past. This makes this rather gentle album all the more profound really as a journey into new adventures, ‘A New Beginning’ an apt title in that respect. Massimo is a music lecturer and teacher in Rome and he has played in various progressive groups in Italy, his own music is actually rather sensitive and beguiling, it certainly has excellent keyboards (unsurprisingly enough).
This short album is best heard in one continuous setting as it will take you on Massimo’s journey to contentment and completeness. It also makes political comments about Italian society along the way, in addition, it seems a lot of the songs are reflections on relationship issues that Massimo has experienced over the years. The music ranges in style from short vignettes to more pop based structures. Throughput the album there are some good keyboard tones and sounds employed to good effect. Out Of This World uses a sample taken from Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film The Great Dictator to good effect to address the need for democracy in Italy after the era of Ille Duce (Mussolini)
In the information sheet that comes with the album Massimo gives some information that is pertinent to the album. He states “It is a largely autobiographical concept album, through which I tried to express my point of view on today’s society by taking a cue from my own personal problems and life experiences. Of the songs, the most autobiographical ones are Oh Father, Growing Old, Things To Live And To Die For and Family and Business. Other tracks like In November, Is That Girl Right? and Out of this World reflect my passion for cinema and film music. Finally the tracks A New Beginning parts A and B and I Hope You Will Always Be Here With Me are representative of my background in progressive music and my respect for others and environmental concerns. There is also an effort to present circularity in order to merge genres, my important academic studies and previous plays.”
Whether or not this succeeds on that score is possibly up to you, the listener, to decide but, in any respect, Massimo has crafted a deeply personal album with definite progressive elements and some fine keyboards in a very lush sounding recording. He has also started work on a second album that will utilise the talents of John Hackett, Nick Fletcher and Laura Piazzai, to name but three and I eagerly await that one too.
The album opens or commences with the brief but exciting synthesisers of Intro that gently swirl and create an atmosphere of warmth. Oh Father is a recollection of memories of Massimo’s father and the lessons he taught and showed about life and love. It seems the relationship was a difficult one, fraught with conflict but now, looking back with hindsight, Massimo understands his father’s interest was in shaping him. In November is a gentle song, although it has a good guitar line played throughout which sounds exquisite really, as does the the intro and opening section of Growing Old which reflects on ageing, the track is aided by a gorgeous fretless bass which definitely adds to the atmosphere created. Next is the song Is That Girl Right? which reflects on a relationship Massimo experienced, one that seemingly didn’t work out the way it was hoped or expected to.
Out Of This World is a political diatribe against inequality and division. This is followed by a jazzy Interlude with sax, piano and fretless bass that is short and segues into the next track, Things To Live And Die For, which sounds a little like an 80’s song but by whom eludes me at the moment. Family and Business has a harder edge provided by the excellent riff and Bowie-like vocal, it’s a proper rocker and one I really enjoyed. A New Beginning Parts A & B seems to be a call to treat each other with kindness, decency and dignity and also to care for our environment. I Hope You Will Always Be Here With Me is a plea for companionship on life’s journey, its better together than alone. The album proper ends with Intro Reprise which is, you guessed it, a reprise of the elegant opening tot he album and works really well to bring things to a close. The bonus tracks on this album are reworked, stripped down versions of the album tracks In November and Things To Live And Die For with a more spartan approach, This allows the beauty of the songs to shine through more clearly, although some might prefer the original, more layered, versions.
To be honest and fair whilst I have enjoyed this album, I don’t feel that it is one that I will reach for often, rather more one to listen to quietly later in the evening. For now though, there is plenty of thoughtfully considered musical performances on offer on this album. Massimo Pieretti I applaud this fine effort.
Released 1st September, 2022.
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