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LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO - Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy
La Coscienza di Zeno biography
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO (CDZ) is a modern Italian progressive band that formed in Genoa in 2007. CDZ is named after a well-known Italian novel, the title of which translates into English as ''Zeno's conscience''. The book is largely concerned with the paradoxes of human behaviour and is considered to be the first psychoanalytic novel. It represents the journal of the unreliable narrator Zeno Cosini as he undergoes psychoanalysis, and this contrasts with the efficacy of CDZ's seventies-inspired musical narratives. CDZ initially played a modern style of progressive music that was influenced by the giants of UK prog rock. In fact, while they were working on their debut album last year they recorded a track for the YES tribute project ''Tales from the Edge''. However with the departure a couple of years earlier of the band's original guitarist, Matteo Malvezzi, CDZ's sound drew closer to that of the classic Italian bands such as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, although modified with a slight Neo-prog edge. The various members of CDZ themselves have a fairly illustrious pedigree and number the likes of NARROW PASS, IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE, FINISTERRE and MALOMBRA among their former bands.
The band underwent a further change of direction during 2008 with the arrival of keyboards-player Stefano Agnini from new wave band VICO DELL'AMOR PERFETTO. With Agnini on board, CDZ recorded a song for a Mellow Records compilation that showcased the talents of new Italian progressive acts. The band's repertoire centres largely on re-workings of Agnini's songs, and his rich texts form the main parallelisms between the Zeno novel and the music of CDZ. While the band's first stimulus is to dedicate itself to producing music founded on the legacy of the past, they also have a particular regard to writing refined lyrics and are driven by a self-conscious desire to create distinct atmospheres. Agnini has subsequently quit as a full-time member but his texts are no less important therefore he continues to collaborate with the songwriting. During the years 2008 and 2009 guitarist Davide Serpico and keyboardist Andrea Lotti joined, and in May 2010 recording of the band's debut got underway with the following line-up: Gabriele Guidi Colombi (bass), Andrea Orlando (drums, percussion), Alessio Calandriello (vocals), Davide Serpico (electric and acoustic guitars), Andrea Lotti (piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar), and Stefano Agnini (piano, keyboards), with Luca Scherani (keyboards) later joining in 2012.
Released in May 2011, the self-titled album is a broadly symphonic work although it is punctuated by that familiar Italian eclectic spirit. The obligatory complex structures contain some surprising twists and feature lush, fulsome arrangements. According to the band's official site the album grows with repeated listens, ''gradually revealing the rewarding complexity of its construction.'' That assessment matched my first impression of CDZ, which was one of indifference. However if slow-burning music is one of the peculiarities of prog rock then it is key to CDZ, and slowly but surely the album reveals that it has much of the quality of the music it seeks to emulate. Highly recommended to fans of symphonic progressive music.