Wednesday, 16 August 2017

ROBERTO DIANA

CD Review

Raighes Vol2


The follow-up to the first volume by Roberto Diana is a seriously class album where the musician can show off his easy, yet complex style of playing which, when it comes to the guitar, is reminiscent of the great Martin Simpson.


Roberto Diana
Picture by Giulia Cartasegna
This is especially so with opener Limbara’s Eye, the gentle and precise picking of the strings is mesmerising from the off and evokes the tunes of another great acoustic guitarist and composer John Williams.

The track is far too short and just as you have relaxed into the subtle tones it has gone.

Just so you don’t get too comfy Diana shocks you upright with his reverberating electric guitar intro to Screaming to the Moon. There is a touch of Hendrix about the methodology but it’s a little less edgy.

He comes back on the acoustic for Empty Rooms which is another thoughtful and genteel tune. The economical use of the chords along with the mixture of soft and harsh strumming give this track real character akin to a musical conversation.

Diana picks up the pace for Walking in London where he constructs a musical map of the bustling capital, even throwing in sitar-like tones on the vichitra veena.

With his strings Diana paints a picture as complex as the streets, buildings and lives he meets during his stay of one of the world’s most famous cities.

His opening to the Other Side of the Mountain does bring to mind the style of Ry Cooder but has the flow and mixture of something more akin to a Fleetwood Mac offering.

The tune is more fractured than previous ones so it never really allows you to settle into it as he uses his music to relate his setting off on his personal adventure through life.

Dreaming on a Plane is exactly what happened according to Diana, he translated this song to his guitar after imagining a duel between a saxophone and banjo. If you listened carefully you can hear the banjo’s voice occasionally chipping in.
The unusual vichitra veena


Nuraghes is very much a link to Diana’s Sardinian roots, which is the meaning behind the album’s title, and you get the feel of both the exotic and the ethnic as he brings the strands of sounds together for this piece.

One again you can’t but help but think of fellow guitar maestro Simpson with the intro to Last Goodbye but it soon sounds like Cooder is back in the house with the haunting slide guitar coloured by the wonderfully lingering sound of Jimmy Ragazzoni on harmonica.

There are incredibly subtle touches too, such as the almost imperceptible sound of Isha on tanpura.

Her Sunshine Smile starts off gently with the notes falling like individual raindrops at the beginning of a storm. The tune is inspired by a love story and it has an emotion where you can see where Diana is coming from.

He really gets a chance to show his skill on the guitar strings with Looking For. It is a thoughtful and musing piece where his style is not unlike Ewan McLennan the Scottish guitarist whose method is strongly influenced by classical guitar.

It seems Diana created a flash mob scenario when he came up with Airport Dance. The story he tells is that after running out of things to pass the time while waiting for a flight he took out his guitar and starting playing.

A French girl was inspired to dance to the tune and the action spread to the rest of the airport, stopping only when he was due to board his flight.

You can almost visualise the motion building as the tune progresses and see the need for movement slowly filtering through crowd from the single girl caught up in his music.
Diana's latest album

Diana’s versatility and creativeness is undeniable and this album covers a wide spectrum of sounds, styles and genres, so much so that you can never say you don’t get your money’s worth from him.

Raighes Vol 2 is a pretty complex piece of musical work but for all that it’s very easy to listen to and even easier to get caught up in the visions the musician creates using sound like a painter’s pallete.

While keeping firmly to his roots at the same time Diana takes you on a musical journey but in such a way that it comes with open doors so not only can you follow the path he has written but you can also find your own way through.

Raighes Vol 2 is available now from the artist’s website.