Mirko Pirozzi (b.1978) is an Italian composer and musician who plays piano, guitars and bass. He has worked with many independent artists and record labels from across the world and has released two solo albums ‘Mozambeach’ (2015) and ‘Mozambazar’ (2014). During June 2016, Pirozzi dropped his third full-length release, the twelve track progressive-rock album “Planets”.
The talent, the power, the orchestration and the arrangements in this collection of new music are top notch and emotionally moving. The addition of the incredible skills by JAMES KNOERL: Drums, ENEKO: Violin, FALIQ AURI: Flute, THIAGO MATEIRA: Trumpet, NATE MADSEN: alto sax, STEVE GIDDINGS: Pedal steel guitar, JONAH ROCKS: Drums on ‘January’ and BARRY CALLISTER: Vocals make sure that this is not a predictable digital recording.
“Planets” has moments of very high energy and complexity, yet retains a burnished, bittersweet ambiance that will touch you very deeply. After several listens I come away feeling as though Mirko Pirozzi is just a monster on this album. His playing is just incredible. The music and the imagery are also immense.
From the furious guitars of “Flying” to the somber pianos of “Trees”, you will find many emotions overflowing with differing tones, timbres and textures. These two aforementioned songs, together with “Girls”, “Alligator” and “Lights”, are probably the album highlights in terms of accessibility.
Mirko Pirozzi heads into uncharted territory on “Planets”, pushing the limits of instrumental rock music to where most young musicians no longer aspire to go. What it all means is anyone’s guess, and it may be nothing more than a mosaic of instrumental workouts and pretentious pronouncements. Remarkably, none of that’s really important.
What is important is the faith that Mirko Pirozzi’s music inspires in the musicians playing on it, and by extension, its audience. You get the sense that Pirozzi approached this album as a sort of magnum opus (until the next one anyway), and it’s this spirit of elevated creativity that fuels “Planets”.
The album starts with a clear beginning, in the spirit of creation with a psychedelic sound that soon explodes into life and from there Pirozzi and the band fuse wall to wall instrumental passages. The arrangements themselves are at best bone and sinew that slowly builds the meat around it, bar after bar. When the band does reach sublime heights, it’s often on the strength of Pirozzi’s stalwart guitar and keyboard paying, resolute in a maelstrom of sound.
To defuse any would be pomposity of the previous tracks you will find the alt-country track, “River”, to be savored as a cherished oddity on this album. The closing track “The Wall Of The Fairies” returns to the haunting grounds of the previous progressive rock songs, and will remain a favorite among fans. “Planets” marks the arrival of greatness in the annals of Mirko Pirozzi releases.
It is a reminder that he walks tall at a time when music is no longer played but programmed, when the closest anyone gets to playing a keyboard is the keypad of an iPhone! “Planets” is a highly recommended record for all prog-rock and instrumental rock fans and for all newcomers to the world of real instruments and musicians!