Area: Live 2012

Italian veterans put the progressive into prog.

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Italian band Area re-formed in 2009, and the slightly avant-garde political acerbity that separated them from their proggier contemporaries is firmly in place on this celebratory two-disc set.

Disc one offers an entertaining, ruggedly spirited trawl through their classic 70s-era repertoire. However, it’s the trio format on disc two which illustrates the musical depth available to this still intriguingly powerful entity.

Paulo Tofani’s guitar work bites deep and hard into the eastern vibes of Encounter #1, but the three-piece scores over the ensemble in the space it allows Patrizio Fariselli’s acoustic piano work. As a soloist, his gift with a lyrical flourish is occasionally reminiscent of Keith Emerson and Keith Jarrett, without in any way being overshadowed by such comparisons.

The dialogue between his chord work and Ares Tavolazzi’s expansive acoustic bass work on Encounter #2 and Aten are spellbinding highlights. With exotic atonal electronic forays and ruminative hat tips to jazz, it could be all end up an indulgent mish-mash, yet Area’s astute grasp and control of these diverse elements ensures keen precision and focus are unerringly maintained.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.