Private Press Italy Is available in 3 different versions: 48mins
Digital streaming on Bandcamp
And as a limited edition on vinyl.

Rating 85/100

The impact of the lengthy Covid 19 pandemic affected us in all in many different ways. But for most, it was the interruption to the daily routine of going to work. The sadness due to the severance of social interconnections with our friends and family. Massive changes to our lives and the opportunity for reflection.

For Massimo Pieretti, Keyboard player, teacher, and composer such reflection took the form of a comprehensive music project in the shape of an autobiographical concept album. The entire scope of the project though, far exceeds the basic role of just composing and laying down the tracks for further attention by others. For this, his debut album, Massimo, with able assistance from his friend ‘Gianluca del Torto’, composed the music wrote the lyrics, engineered, and produced the entire affair. But that is only half the story for, after laying down the basic tracks, the mammoth task of assigning vocalists and support musicians to bring the dream alive was the next stage to be undertaken. Massimo quotes “I asked many musicians for their mutual help and the response was generally overwhelming, however, I also, in the process, took a few doors in the face.”  “The real technical work was not so difficult (presuming by this Massimo means the transfer and integration of the various contributions from remote locations), the difficulty, at first was to convince my selected artists, to provide their contributions in the style that was required.” But, Massimo continues to say” I’m very proud of how it worked out and I thank all of the contributors”

From a musical perspective, it is a project that lies somewhere between being, a) A rock opera in the style of the ‘Ayreon’ outfit (i.e.; the musical projects by Dutch songwriter, singer, musician, and record producer ‘Arjen Anthony’). And b) a project combining many genres of progressive rock with folk and classical music. Immediately coming to the fore and particularly enjoyable are the multi-piano sequences for which the album is packed.  Oodles of nice warm keyboard sentiments grace the proceedings both in led and colourful and expansive fills. The instrumental meshing together of the complex time changes associated with progressive rock combined with the more melodic elements of popular music is seamlessly achieved throughout. More particularly how the various contributions of guitar and organ wonderfully combine to create an air of exquisite joy as the music floats around and about you. Such joyous feelings are further enhanced by the beautiful female vocals especially on ‘Is it that girl’ and ‘Out of this World’.

Throughout the fifteen-track 48 min long album there are many nice unexpected surprises, such as the short orchestrated passages that grace the proceedings and which intertwine between the mixtures of different vocal contributions throughout the various tracks. Subsequent plays reveal many instances of ingenious multi-layering expanding the music to a new level. There is even included a lone Rap-styled passage that transforms into a short but glorious moment of heavy rock guitar splendor,

From a review perspective, the sheer fact that the project is autobiographical in concept makes the true meaning of the lyrics hard to fully absorb during the initial appraisal process. Fortunately, Massimo has provided the listener with a guide or key booklet to explain the personal meanings behind the prose (for me something to read later)

A question that is sure to be levied by the Italian music press is the fact that the entire affair is sung in English. This is a point which I put forward to Massimo and for which he clarified as follows;” No because ‘A new Beginning’ is a whole project that I thought in English there is not a line in Italian in any place of the booklets. I want to express a very polec message about the Italian musical situation of this particular moment (many years)”

Clearly, the extraordinary musical talents and charismatic personality for which ‘Massimo’ is blessed have contributed greatly to the realisation of this project as a beautiful piece of art. His involvement over the past 20 years with different bands in Italy mostly, in and around Rome, has provided a huge database of musical contacts and friends in the business. A quick name check would include bands such as Statale 66, Shiny Diamonds, Shaman’s Soldiers, Gianna Love band and now he is working with the gothic metal band Noage fronted by my new musical partner Germana.

Summary: This is an album full of wonderful musicianship that can be appreciated on two levels. Firstly as a collection of nice melodic songs with good hooks and excellent vocals. However on a deeper level and after several plays an appreciation of musical composition comes to the fore, especially the ingenious layering of instrumental and vocal contributions.

Massimo Pieretti – Music, lyrics, keyboards, programming, backing vocals,
Gianluca Del Torto – El.bass, rhythm guitars, lyrics;
Ciro Afeltra, Lorenzo Cortoni, Elena D’Angelo, Daniela Del Ponte, Marco
Descontus, Nikeef, Germana Noage, Kate Nord, Daniela Papale, Francesca
Pelliccia,Maria Chiara Rocchegiani, Raymond Francis Weston Jr – Vocals;

Roberto Falcinelli – Lead and rhythm guitars, soundscapes;
Ivan Avicolli, Gianni De Chellis, Luigi Pistillo, Mauro Rosati – Lead and
rhythm guitars;
Elena Laurenti – Violin, Stefano Azzolina – Viola, Gianni Pieri – Cello;
Marco Orfei – Woodwinds & Soprano sax;
Riccardo Sandri – Mellotron;
Fabrizio Russo, Emanuele Zazzara – Freetless bass;
Leonardo D’Angelo, Alessio Palizzi, Matteo Santi – Drums & Percussions;
Francesco Mattei – Sound engineer;
Maria Serra – Cover and illustrations

Massimo extends ‘Massive Credit’ to his friend ‘Gianluca del Torto ‘who assisted greatly in the assembly and construction of this music project.