Museo Rosenbach—ZARATHUSTRA (1973)

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Review By Logan Kono

Assigned by Roland Bruynesteyn

Italian progressive rock is bold, and like this album, it’s niche disposition of being stuck in obscurity allows it to sound a lot different than rock – even a lot of other progressive rock of the time. One possibility for the unique sounding musical ideas might be the fact that the singer, Giancarlo Golzi is the drummer (and percussionist who played the timpini) which leads to excellent dynamics. I keep using vague words like “unique” so let me explain how this album sounds different than most progressive rock that I myself listen to (and I consider myself a “mainstream” progressive rock fan, if there are those type of people) – Primus, Jethro Tull, Rush, Tool, King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant etc. I’m sure these bands ring several [Xanadu] bells. There are NO memorable hooks that stick with me from this album – yet on the other side of this – the album does not conform to a particular style (there is even a certain eccentric punk esque breakdown at the 27 minute mark that is awesome and has some kick-ass serenading Italian vocals on top).

The mellotron is fun – Jon Lordy improvisational Frippian atmosphere, and the keyboards are almost as unrestrained as the frontman.The drums are indulgent, as they should be if this ambitious Italian drummer wishes to tackle vocals at the same time. Which he does (with overdubs, I don’t quite know how many but some are obvious and necessary. There is no way you can sing operatic Italian long phrases while playing the drums like a madman as he does on this record). The drums are untamed, produced almost like drums from that progressive German band, Can. Very loose – it almost doesn’t work with the classic Italian vocals. Guitar and bass take a backseat to drums and the keys on this one. Although they are pushed back, I do enjoy some crunching minor chords throughout – and the bass is usually in a walking pattern that keeps the thing grounded enough to listen to.

Do not listen to Museo Rosenbach if you want hooks or anything to keep long-term, but if you are a fan of theatrical Italian vocals (I never thought I’d be recommending something like that in a progressive rock context), progressive 70’s rock, give Zarathustra a try. This band obviously didn’t care about commercial appeal – and decided to go crazy on a drum set and a keyboard in a very, very Italian way. I give it 7 Classic Italian Subs out of 10.

Author: Graham Warnken

I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me. Or you could just, y’know, load another webpage.

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