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Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno - Per... Un Mondo Di Cristallo - 8.5/10
This is a concept album about an astronaut who on his return to Earth finds nothing but a deserted wasteland. The music shows great variation, and is often heavily influenced by jazz. Instruments used are amongst others church-organ, piano, flute, violins and cello. Sometimes, they sound like Semiramis, much because of the vocalist. Moreover, some moments sound almost like excerpts from Osanna's Palepoli and Il Balletto di Bronzo's Ys. The latter moment is of course the highlight of the record. The atmosphere is, as one would expect from the concept, quite spacey, sometimes dramatic, and not exactly merry. A great record.

Renaissance - Scheherazade and Other Stories (75) - 9/10
Probably Renaissance's best record. The first thing that strikes you with this band is the wonderful voice of Annie Haslam. The bass playing of John Camp is also first-class. Renaissance's strength is their ability to play extremely pleasant and harmonious music, and Haslam's voice on top of this is so beautiful that it could make your head explode. The absence of sharp edges could have made them boring to listen to, but they are not. Even the 7 minutes long "Ocean Gypsy", which is essentially a melancholic pop song with a refrain and everything, is impossible not to like. The highlight of the record is Renaissance's 25-minute interpretation of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade". I must admit that I haven't heard the original, but rumors are that the two versions are quite different. At least, Renaissance's version - with a full symphony orchestra - has a distinctly Russian sound, in addition to the compulsory Oriental. The entire track, and especially the parts with vocals, are impossible to describe; it's so beautiful that (cliche warning) words are useless. There were not really many prog bands which succeeded in making harmonious, pleasant music without getting boring. But Renaissance are right up there with the Italian band Celeste and the Canadians Harmonium. This record will probably prolong your life with a year or something.

Rovescia Della Medaglia, Il (RDM) - Io Come Io (72) - 4.5/10
Sorry, but I don't have a lot of nice things to say about this record. It lasts for 29 minutes. The music is hardly prog, but rather hard rock with electric guitar, bass guitar and drums. The occasional Italian vocals are not particularly good. At least, there is a symphonic structure and very little repetition. Some parts are of course half-decent or even decent (the opening of "Non Io"), but it is difficult to imagine that this was released by the same band that recorded the infinitely better Contaminazione. So even if you adore that one: Save your money.

Rovescia Della Medaglia, Il (RDM) - Contaminazione - 7.5/10
A fusion between classical music and rock. The compositions are not interesting enough to make this a masterpiece, as some claim it is.

Rush - 2112 - 6/10
Nice, but too close to plain heavy-rock.