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Band: Beppe Crovella

CD Title: “What’s Rattlin’ on the Moon?”

Band Website:  www.beppecrovella.com

Label: Moonjune Records

Label Website: www.moonjune.com

Release Date: 2010

 

When you begin to list the most influential progressive rock bands you don’t have to go very far down the list before you hit Soft Machine. The band’s legacy is a powerful one. So perhaps it should not be that surprising to learn that when MoonJune mastermind Leonardo Pavkovic suggested to Arti e Mestieri keyboardist Beppe Crovella that he create a CD of compositions inspired by the work of Mike Ratledge the idea was quickly acted upon. The result is the disc What’s Rattlin’ on the Moon? With the sub-title – A personal vision of the music of Mike Ratledge. For many in the prog world the music of early Soft Machine was quite inspirational and you get a glimpse of why this was so as you listen to this disc.

 

There are a total of 16 tracks here and as the liner notes indicate the first ten are directly linked to Soft Machine pieces while the next six were recorded after the main body of music was done. This is essentially a keyboard solo from Crovella and to keep in the mood of the project he’s using only analog gear that includes Hammond organ, Wurlitzer and Hohner electric piano, Farfisa and Mellotron. The musical style is one that leans to jazzy improvising based on a clear and steady interpretation for the existing work being covered. All through the first ten compositions, some of which carry the original song titles, there is a sense of familiarity as Crovella inserts little riffs or musical motifs from the original but then crafts it into a more experimental pallet. With no rhythm section, it’s left up to the keyboards to carry the load, but then again there is no pretense to rhythm here. The music is constructed in such as a way as to give the listener a reflection of the originals, a mirror if you will of how Ratledge’s music rattled around inside Crovella’s mind. Within each track he is constantly moving from keyboard to keyboard never hovering very long, changing the tone, changing the textures. Sometimes the music is spacey and flowing other times raw and aggressive. The overall intent here was to take these original musical selections and reinterpret them and to that end Crovella succeeds wonderfully. 

 

There’s any number of reasons why you may want to pick up What’s Rattlin’ on the Moon?; it may be the loads of Mellotron work on display, it may be the Soft Machine link, or it may even be the connection to Italy’s Arti e Mestieri but first and foremost I think the reason might be that this disc is full of some very thought provoking music. Beppe Crovella has opened up his heart through his hands onto the keyboard and created a fascinating collection of compositions that not only entertain the emotions but also stimulate the brain.

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