Under the acronym of O.A.K. (Oscillazioni Alchemico Kreative), the Italian musician, composer, and singer Jerry Cutillo has released “Lucid Dreaming and The Spectre of Nikola Tesla.” The album continues in the thematic paths already traced in the previous trilogy 2016-2020, namely “Viandanze,” – “Giordano Bruno,” – “Nine witches under a walnut tree.” According to the press release, O.A.K has alchemized prog witcheries, symphonic themes, acid folk ballads, and new millennium resonances.
For this album, Cutillo reconfirmed the usual team, namely David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator, Osanna, etc.) on saxophones, Jonathan Noyce (Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, Archive) on bass, and Alex Elena (Bruce Dickinson, Lily Allen, Evan Dando, Alice Smith) on drums, ideal for this new concept.
If you are familiar with this project, you are used to using instruments, mainly synthesizers and keyboards. The melody, lyrics, arrangements, flute, keyboard, and guitar performances bear Cutillo’s signature. As the album’s name suggests, the record is a prog-rock opera based on the story of electrical/mechanical engineer, famous inventor, and visionary futurist Nikola Tesla.
“Lucid Dreaming and the Spectre of Nikola Tesla” is a record of space-driven synths and keyboard, full of great vocals and some outstanding guitar moments, all supported by saxes and tin whistles, strings, and flute. Here, Cutillo’s vocal intonations closely resemble those of Jethro Tull‘s Ian Anderson. This vocal style brings a special twinkle of warmth, ideally suiting the elegant melodies of the sax. There is no doubt that you’ll be entertained and eager to return over and over again.
Every song has its inspiring and beautiful moments embedded with various atmospheres. The album shows Cutillor’s growth and development as an artist, as he is never shy of trying something refreshing and new. At the same time, he keeps one foot firmly on the grounds of his records.
‘Hypnotic Spiral‘ opens with dreamy impressions, slowly building into energetic melodies yet converging into a psychedelic electronic surroundings. While the song begins with lively symphonies, it alternates with darker passages. ‘White Wings‘ is beautifully crafted, appealing to Tull fans, flying through areas of symphonic beauty with an incredible sense of rhythm and dynamics. The track is complimented by solid guitar work and vibrant, powerful flute escapades. It is the ideal set-up for the record’s grand finale, ‘The Silver Cord.’ In the closing track, you’ll get drama and melancholy that walk hand in hand when Laura Piazzai‘s impressive soulful vocals reach deep into a lament of the gospel.
“Lucid Dreaming and The Spectre of Nikola Tesla” undoubtedly falls from one musical surprise to the next, yet it is best listened to from start to finish. Cutillo’s idea and musical approach to bringing Nikola Tesla‘s story to life has paid off brilliantly, and his effort is one of the best. This album showcases his progression as a musician and composer, creating an album that is recommended for all lovers of progressive sounds. Overall, this is an engaging album, and a pleasant listen, flowing with ideas developed and performed excellently by all the artists involved.
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