If it seems like all I’m listening to lately are varieties of progressive rock, it’s because I mostly am. Spurred by my review of Cheeto’s Magazine and my post about Transatlantic, I’ve been both revisiting old classics and on a hunt for new, great progressive rock to satisfy my hunger. Fortunately, it seems as if the universe is obliging me, piling great release after great release at my doorstep. This time, via Heavy Blog editor Scott Murphy, I have been acquainted with one Gabriele Ragonesi, hailing from Florence, Italy. Italy has a well respected and illustrious relationship with psychedelic and progressive music so I was excited to check this album out. Lo and behold, Dark Passenger revealed to me a joyful ride amidst well articulated synths, lovely wind instruments, agile bass, and just an overall passion for great, psychedelic rock. Head on down below to partake!
Honestly, I could have chosen any track from this album; they’re all equally great. But the opening, self-titled track, with its immediately forceful and electric opening and its indulgent synth tones, is a really example of what this album does so well. Every single instrument is played by Ragonesi, a fact that’s pretty astonishing when you realize that they’re all equally complex. Weaving in between eccentric structures, Ragonesi paints a world that is wholly his own, as much as he pays tribute to classic like King Crimson or Pink Floyd. Everything sings with the joy of instruments well played and well recorded, every bit of the intricate, progressive rock shining through. This has to do with composition just as much as production; the disparate parts are written exceptionally well, complimenting each other in clear, interesting ways, as befits the genre.
Even though the influences on this albums are clear to hear, Ragonesi definitely has his own take and style of things; the way he layers synths on following tracks like the shorter “Black Sea” and the fantastical “Dream of The Unicorn” prove that Ragonesi is not just an imitator but an artist with their own voice working within these genres. If you’re after some well made, unique, and effective progressive/psychedelic rock, this is the place for you. Dark Passenger is a joyous and accomplished celebration of the genre and everything which works well about it.