“...filled with the type of blazing solos, odd-metered time signatures, precisely executed unison bridges, hypnotic riffing, and dramatic chordal hooks that fans of high-energy fusion-tinged electric prog shouldn't miss.” – AllMusic
"UR is yet another thrilling ride, a beautiful ride, it is challenging then it is challenging in the most positive of ways, we’re talking flights of a Mahavishnu Orchestra nature, we’re talking beautiful details, undercurrents, counterbalances, we’re talking flow that flows against the flow and flows so well…" – The Organ (UK)
Leading up to its fifth studio album, Accordo dei Contrari had one simple yet ambitious goal: to make music that was “original, challenging, and beautiful at the same time”.
By that measure, UR- is a resonant success [and an impressive introduction to North American listeners]. Laced with sky-soaring melodies, complex polyrhythms, and dark riffage, the Bologna-based art-rock ensemble’s latest music – released in the band’s 20th year – invokes elements of the musical past while sounding distinctly Italian, undeniably sophisticated, and utterly new.
One obvious touchstone for Accordo dei Contrari is the ecstatic energy of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire. In fact, the title of UR-’s second track, “Così respirano gli incendi del tempo”, even makes a veiled allusion to the pioneering fusion ensemble’s masterwork; it translates as “This is how the fires of time breathe”.
Here, the musical story-telling is almost filmic—as it often is, according to leader and primary composer Giovanni Parmeggiani. “My writing takes inspiration from imaginary scenes or dreams,” the keyboardist explains.
A further key to Ur- can be found in the structural elements Parmeggiani builds into his compositions. He’s especially fond of basing certain passages—the new record’s “Secolo breve” would be a good example—on a repeated keyboard ostinato, something he describes as both a considered nod towards minimal composition and a playful elaboration on the hard-rock riff.
Parmeggiani admits that as Accordo dei Contrari’s bandleader and principal composer, he can occasionally “act like a tyrant”. Tyrant or not, Parmeggiani is also generous in his praise. “The present lineup is the best group I have worked with so far,” he enthuses. “Accordo dei Contrari now sounds more cohesive than ever, and it is a very solid band.”
released November 19, 2021
Marco Marzo Maracas electric guitar and 12-string electric guitar
Stefano Radaelli alto sax
Cristian Franchi drums
Giovanni Parmeggiani steinway piano, heavily overdriven and phased fender rhodes, organ, minimoog
Alessandro Bonetti violin (with Rambaldi amplifier) (1, 2, 3, 4)
Patrizia Urbani vocals (4)
Sergio Papajanni electric bass (4)
Carlo Facondini electric guitar (6)
Francesco Guerri cello (6)
All songs composed by Giovanni Parmeggiani
Recorded and mixed by Loris Ceroni.
Mastered by Udi Koomran.