Barock Project: all around the world

“We wish to reach the ears and hearts of people that possess a deep love for prog.”

“Bologna is home to pop cover bands – a true prog scene is almost non-existent here,” snorts Barock Project’s founding keyboard player and bassist Luca Zabbini, who’s based in the same area as neo-proggers Deus Ex Machina. His statement is a bold one given the re-emergence of progressive music elsewhere in Italy during the last decade or so, but by Zabbini’s own admission, Barock Project have been one of the key bands proudly representing the scene in their home town since late 2003. Now they’re making grand waves outside it too.

For the last few years, Zabbini has been joined by vocalist Luca Pancaldi, drummer Eric Ombelli and guitarist Marco Mazzuoccolo; the four-piece played together on 2012’s Coffee In Neukölln. They combine baroque with rock, jazz and prog and hang the resulting melodies from a pop music structure to create a sound that pays tribute to ELP, Jethro Tull and Genesis, as well as Dream Theater and New Trolls.

After spending the best part of several years in and out of the studio, the band are ready to unveil their fourth album Skyline. It’s something they’re extremely pleased with and rightly so. They’ve even enlisted the help of New Trolls’ frontman Vittorio De Scalzi on flute and the design talents of Charisma Records artist Paul Whitehead for the cover. Where their previous releases have come out through various labels, this time they’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of a number of their prog peers and put out the new 10-track themselves, with assistance from the management company Stars Of Italy and distributors The Merch Desk.

It’s a daunting task but Zabbini has complete faith. “In my opinion, Skyline is the best album we’ve ever done. Giving birth to it was a laborious process and we all are so proud of it. Our main aim has always been to spread our music abroad. We wish to reach the ears and hearts of people in countries that possess a deep love for prog.”

Barock Project are currently piecing some tour dates together for later in the year; their next show will be at Rome’s Experi Fest at the end of May with more to be announced soon.

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Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.