Italian neo-progressive rock act Notturno Concertante has been active for over 35 years, with their debut album “The Hiding Place” released by Musea in 1989. The group’s newest release is this year’s “Let Them Say” out via Luminol Records. The group recently took part on our Progotronics 28 compilation, and about the new release keyboardist and songwriter Lucio Lazzaruolo speaks for Prog Sphere.
Define the mission of Notturno Concertante.
Playing to have fun, to grow musically, hoping to find people who are mentally open, not anchored to more or less outdated patterns.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your new album “Let Them Say” and the themes it captures.
Often the pieces are born from an individual idea, which is then enriched by the contribution of the other composers. Most of the time we have a rough idea of how the piece could evolve, but not infrequently the pieces can change direction during the recording phase, so that within the same song you can listen to various musical references (rock, jazz , world, etc.), depending on how taste dictates, trying to assemble everything with balance.
What is the message you are trying to give with “Let Them Say”?
If you are referring to the title it is a sort of invitation, also addressed to ourselves, to continue on your way, without being too influenced by what others say. In this regard, a phrase of an Italian writer often comes to mind: “Don’t give me advice, I can make mistakes on my own”. The phrase Let them say, in short, refers both to music and to the life of each of us.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
There is generally a starting idea, which can be a sequence of chords, a melodic idea around which the piece is built, in a very empirical way. There are additions or subtractions of parts. Not infrequently we play the pieces live and then gradually introduce corrections or new parts. I think it all happens flexibly. In the end we let ourselves be guided a lot by our musical instinct, if we can define it that way.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
I guess so. All our music focuses on a careful balancing of the structures and the single parts that compose it. Obviously, the work of replaying and reworking is fundamental and no less important is the mixing of the tracks, to ensure that all the components emerge clearly, without suffocating the others.
Describe the approach to recording the album.
Many songs were born on the classical guitar, then loops, samples, parts played with acoustic instruments were added. As I said, during the recording phase, significant changes were sometimes made compared to the original drafts or to what we initially had in mind. Furthermore, we have been able to count on the contribution of very good soloists who have provided added value to our compositions.
How long “Let Them Say” was in the making?
It took some time, especially since we can’t devote ourselves full time to music. In Italy with a certain type of musical proposal, moreover instrumental, it is difficult to have a great response and therefore to be able to live from one’s music. Let’s say that very calmly, in five to six years we have completed the album. The final part was carried out, obviously at a distance, during the lockdown period.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
There is not only one influence, but quite a lot, I would say. At the beginning certain influences on our music were quite clear, we really liked English progressive rock (mostly the Genesis of the Gabriel era and King Crimson), just to understand. In reality we still like that music now, but for some time we have been trying to propose a more personal discourse, which takes into account various influences and re-elaborates them in a personal way. I listen to a little bit of everything, classical music (which I also sometimes play), jazz, rock, world, etc.
What is your view on technology in music?
Is critical. It has allowed us to do a work that I think sounds pretty good, at an affordable price. I think technology has brought about a kind of democratization for musicians: today it is much cheaper to make products of a certain quality. We have our own small studio where we record a bit of everything. However, the other phases of the album creation (mixing and mastering) were carried out in professional studios.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
We would love to, but I think the time for messages in music is over. The only message is to try to capture people’s attention with what we do, because sometimes music needs to be listened more carefully.
What are your plans for the future?
I collaborate with Giovanna Iorio, an Italian writer based in London. For her I made various soundtracks of some installations in various parts of the world.
As Notturno Concertante we are at a fair point with the realization of another instrumental disc, which will be very different from Let them say. It will be based on two classical guitars and drums. We are already presenting these new pieces in some concerts. Maybe this time in a couple of years there could be a new cd of the Notturno Concertante. Fingers crossed…
Let Them Say is out now via Luminol Records.