Italian multi-instrumentalist, Guido Voza, who plays the guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, has presented his 14 track concept album, entitled “Circle”. The album is inspired by the first chapter of the novel “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche, and particularly on part one, which deals with the ‘Three Metamorphoses’. In the novel, Zarathustra is a sage and a prophet who has a great love of humanity. Because of this love, he desires to leave the solitude of his mountain home to teach others the great truth he has discovered: the truth of the overman. The overman is someone who is free from all the prejudices and moralities of human society, and who creates his own values and purpose. The people reject him as a madman, however, and Zarathustra realizes that his teachings must take a different route.
In the ‘Three Metamorphoses’, there are three stages of progress toward the overman: the camel, the lion, and the child. In the first, one must renounce one’s comforts, exercise self- discipline, and accept all sorts of difficulties for the sake of knowledge and strength. Second, one must assert one’s independence, saying “no” to all outside influences and commands. Lastly comes the act of new creation. Guido Voza’s rock influenced cinematic soundscapes takes us through all of these phases as if we are listening to a soundtrack of a movie.
If you’ve been waiting since the late ’70s, listening to hundreds of new groups and recordings during that time, trying to capture that old feeling of sitting down with album’s like “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” or “Close to the Edge”… something that took you on a journey to a higher place where musical genres and boundaries melted away for the greater glory. Where rare albums like those were addictive for you, because they required many listens to unravel deeper mysteries and joys.
Guido Voza’s “Circle” is one of very few recent albums to succeed fully in the same way and on virtually every level for me. I realize how much I’d missed sitting down for a spell with such engaging music that shines from that captivating higher place. Every element here seems just right, flowing seamlessly, and the world suddenly seems better. Hard to describe such music without sounding a bit unhinged with excitement, but that’s the feeling you’ll get from this effort.
Trying to explain exactly why “Circle” stuns me would be an overwhelming task, and better left to your own individual interpretations. Suffice to say that the masterful balance of composition, musicianship, and production strikes me most of all, with a special nod to the brilliant guitar, strings and percussion throughout. The insightful soundscapes, the extended instrumental excursions, the lush melodies and harmonies, as well as the constant attention to the swing of emotional highs and lows, are all coming from that great place above. Every note and beat matter here. Even a quiet backing guitar is a thing of beauty.
For a while now, and even on his previous thematic “Maya” album, Guido Voza has certainly proven himself to be a master composer, arranger, performer, producer, engineer, and virtually every other role that applies. While I’ve definitely enjoyed his previous efforts, this one’s special. I think that “Circle” is likely a recording he’ll long be remembered for, it will probably become a milestone in his career, the moment his many roles and skills merged into something larger and magical. At least that’s my take after two weeks of totally addictive listening.
I nominate Guido Voza as ‘Renaissance Man of the Year 2016’ for his exceptional ability to channel the heart of the ’70s progressive masters with his own contemporary vision and skill, where electronic meets electric. While its classic progressive roots clearly run deep, “Circle” is in the end a unique masterpiece firmly planted in the present tense and in many genres.
That is if you consider genres a thing – from the infectiously percussive “A New Beginning” with its burning electric guitar melody, to the almost classical, piano-driven “Metamorphisis: Lion”, onto the bone crushing rock of “Lordship in Wilderness, Pt.1 and Pt.2”, without forgetting the softer ambient sounds of “Meatmorphoses: Camel, Pt.1”, and the soaring twin guitars on “What is Heavy” – this album by Guido Voza is a remarkable gift for lovers of progressive instrumental music.