Marco Grieco is the real name of the man who is widely known as Macromarco. He’s a real orchestra-man. On his album Il Pianeta Degli Uomini Liberi he plays all the instruments (electric and acoustic guitars, synthesizers, Hammond organs, saxophones, cymbals, harmonica, bass, harp, drums) and he also performs all the main vocal parts. He is helped out only by Alfira Scorza, gifted with an interesting voice (additional vocals).
Marco Grieco’s debut was a few years ago: it was a musical Odissea based on Homer’s epopee. The album Il Pianeta Degli Uomini Liberi (“The World Of Free People”) is his ‘real’ rock debut. Let’s add that it’s a really staggering debut. It is impossible to notice that it is a work of just one man. The music that we hear on the album sounds as if it was performed by not one, but a few or even a few dozens of people, it is so diverse, comprehensive and persuasive. A real rock orchestra. Il Pianeta Degli Uomini Liberi is a piece of work composed and recorded with a true symphonic flow. Kept on a very high level, it makes one think of the best times of the Italian progressive rock of the 70’s.
I am very impressed by this album – it catches the attention of the listener from the very first to the very last minute. There is a lot of diversity here, although, as I mentioned, it is deeply rooted in the Italian traditional progressive style. However, there is no lack of more contemporary elements. While listening, we don’t have any doubts that the album was recorded in Italy and it is not simply because of the fact that Grieco sings in his mother tongue. The sounds are just so full of this “something” so typical for the Italian progressive rock scene and they are played by Macromarco in such a sensational way that we can do nothing but to admire, admire, admire…
The album begins with a “cinematic” intro entitled “Temporale” (“Storm”). This is less than a minute of ambient sounds with a subtle narration instead of singing and swiftly afterwards there begins “Via Col Vento” (“Gone With The Wind”). A good album opening, with sounds of telephones, fragments of conversations and the very sublime main theme, which immediately sticks in memory. The next compositions “Vado Lontano” (“I’m Going”) with its dreamy and peaceful mood is reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Us And Them”. A great ballad, which shows that firstly, Il Pianeta Degli Uomini Liberi is an exceptionally good album, and secondly that the atmosphere reigning on it will change dramatically with every track. Indeed, next composition “Zapping” that tells the story about loneliness in an empty hotel room, proves the latter statement. The atmosphere is dreamy but at the same time disturbing, almost nervous and uncertain. We are immediately thrown into a next track – very dynamic title song, sung by dozens of throats (I remind that there are only two people singing on the album) with a melodic chorus. And after it ends, there’s another change: Macromarco takes us on a ride through the classic Genesis’ sound. Linked themes “Five On The Fire” and “Ancora Sul Fuoco?” (“Still On Fire?”) encourage to draw comparisons with famous “Firth Of Fifth”. There is a dynamic piano introduction (in “Five On The Fire”) and a very epic second part with a breathtaking guitar solo (OK, not as breathtaking as the Hackett’s one), which make shivers go down one’s spine (in “Ancora Sul Fuoco?”). Progressive rock on the highest level. We can only applaud it with admiration and appreciation.
The second part of the album is also successful, although probably it’s a little bit less expressive as the first half an hour of the CD, but still, the high level is maintained. Macromarco plays and sings in a compelling way. Let’s look at a track “Rispondimi” (“Answer”). At a first glance it seems to be a romantic song for a beloved woman, but in essence it is a deeper thought about art in general and especially music, which in the past was inspired by the Muses. In this part of the album there are two ballad songs which deserve extra attention: “Falena” (“Moth”) and “L’umo Invisible” (“The Invisible Man”). The former is similar to Zucchero’s style and the latter comprises some deeper rock elements. ‘Genesis’ mood comes back in the recording “La Mia Isola” (“My Island”), which brings to my mind the track “It”, closing famous “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” masterpiece. At the very end the artist bring back the ambient atmosphere in the composition entitled “Vagito” (“Whimper”) which steadies the mood and is a pleasant ending of the material included on the album.
I think that it is one of the best albums of an Italian artist that I’ve had an opportunity to listen to in the 21st century (if not the best). It’s thought over in the slightest of details, beautifully performed, catching the attention of the listener in a surprising way and full of a vast array of diverse moods. There are lots of progressive magical “tricks”, which roots can be traced back to the achievements of the best Italian progressive bands, from a few decades ago. I must admit that I am under a huge impression of both Marco Grieco’s talent and his wonderful music’s performance. This album is definitely worth listening to. I am anxiously waiting for the next releases of this artist. I know that he is already working on the next ambitious project, which is to be entitled “Babel”.
Translation: Katarzyna Chachlowska