The United States is beginning to feel the instrumental power of Italian band Armonite, who have signed with Cleopatra Records for their new album, And the Stars Above. The duo features composer/keyboardist Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi, with the additional work of drummers Corrado Bertonazzi, Emiliano Cava and Jasper Barendregt. Add in the bass work of Colin Edwin and Alberto Fiorani, and Armonite has a powerhouse of talent to bring their eclectic music to life.
The 12-track album is akin to a movie soundtrack, with only a few lyrics and more showcases of instrumental playing. When a voice does emerge, it tends to be ghostly and floating, always submitting to the playing of the violin and keyboard.
Armonite began as a project between Fosso and Bigi in the 1990s, and then it went dormant for a few years. In 2015, they resurfaced and used their old name for their new adventures. Their first album in this resurgence was The Sun Is New Each Day, and now they have their second effort for fans.
Recently, Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Fosso about the new album. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.
What can fans expect from And the Stars Above?
As with the previous album, And the Stars Above is an instrumental mix of electric violin, keyboards, bass and drums. But the sound of this album is more oriented to soundtrack music with textures that feel very immediate. It’s a journey through 12 tracks, starting with ‘The March of the Stars’ inspired by Dante’s Paradiseand ending with ‘Ghosts.’ The album also features two bonus tracks — a polyrhythmic piece for piano solo, ‘The Fire Dancer,’ and the string quartet, ‘A Playful Day.’ We’re confident this is going to be a great release, with a rather peculiar view. The Sun Is New Each Day had a heavy compact sound. And the Stars Above is groovy, with different vibes across a bunch of genres. There’s something indie in this new sound that we’ve never explored before, and it’s kind of sexy for us.
When did you two realize you wanted to collaborate and form a band?
I was tired to only work in music administration, the most aseptic side of music, far from the creative process, and so Jacopo, he had been working as a classical performer for so long that we needed a project of ours that we really liked. With this idea in mind, we formed a new band, Armonite, while borrowing the name of our old one.
Does love for this style of music go back to when you were a child?
Back to when [we] were teenagers. Through our teenage years, we joined a few local bands playing a variety of genres and artists, from pop rock to prog rock, from the Beatles to Dream Theater. At the end of the ’90s, while still in college, we would play in a band called Armonite. We released an album in 1999, performed a few dates live and then split up. In 2015, we formed a new band while borrowing the name of our old one.
Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
The Beatles, Deep Purple, Yes, Rush, EL&P, Jethro Tull, Queen, Metallica, Pantera, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Dream Theater, Queensryche, Spock’s Beard, Porcupine Tree, Yanni, Vangelis, Andrew Lloyd Webber — just to name a few that spring to mind, plus classical and world music as well. This is still the most of our dictionary.
What do you hope will come from your collaboration with Cleopatra Records?
Armonite‘s instrumental music is perfectly in line with the spirit of the label, especially now that Cleopatra expanded in the movie industry. With the film division Cleopatra Entertainment, the company has distributed, developed and produced several films, most of which have a strong horror and/or music component. I’ve always been a great lover of movies and video games. I was just moving forward to the composition of soundtrack music, so this collaboration comes right on cue.
What’s your live show like? What can fans expect at a concert?
Our show is a mix between originals from our albums and covers in violin rock. We’ve published the videos of a few soundtrack renditions from the most popular video games and movies: Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, The Exorcist, Suspiria, Skyrim, Final Fantasy, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, The Witcher and many others.
By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
Armonite’s new album is And the Stars Above. Click here for more information.
The new album from Italian progressive rock band, Armonite, featuring violinist Jacopo Bigi and keyboardist Paolo Fosso!
Includes guest appearance by Colin Edwin of iconic UK prog-rockers Porcupine Tree!
1. The March Of The Stars
2. Next Ride
3. District Red
4. Plaza De España
5. Clouds Collide
6. Blue Curaçao
7. By Heart
9. By The Waters Of Babylon
10. The Usual Drink
11. What’s The Rush?
13. A Playful Day (For String Quartet)
14. The Fire Dancer (For Piano Solo)