Press Resources

A digital promo kit, containing a Mind Colours Medley, some infos and some pictures, is available for download at this link:

Here are some reviews about "Mind Colours":




PROGARCHIVES, by Andrea Parentin

SoulenginE were formed in Milan in 2007 on the initiative of guitarist Ettore Salati (who is also a member of RedZen and of the Alex Carpani Band) and keyboardist Fabio Mancini who had just left their previous band, The Watch. Later the line up was completed by bassist Nando De Luca and drummer Giacomo Pacini and the band began to work on new compositions blending vintage sounds and new ideas with a wide range of influences going from progressive rock to jazz, from fusion to psychedelia. After a hard work, in 2012 they released their first full length album on the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records, Mind Colours, featuring a nice art work by Davide Guidoni that in some way tries to catch the spirit of this work, a variegated mix of musical colours and dizzy reveries. The album is almost completely instrumental but never boring and the all the members of the band showcase a great musicianship.

The excellent opener "Polheim" begins softly with a strummed acoustic guitar pattern and a dark organ background, then the rhythm rises while keyboards and electric guitar begin to embroider charming melodic lines. Polheim (Home at the Pole) is the name that Roald Amundsen gave to his camp at the South Pole when he reached it with his expedition on December 14, 1911 but this piece was also used to comment Dante Alighieri's immortal poetry in the Musea's tribute to his Divine Comedy. In particular, this track is related to the verses of Purgatory ? Canto VI, where the Sommo Poeta compares Italy to a vessel without a pilot in a storm, a country that has became savage and unmanageable on account of the greediness and selfishness of its political class. Anyway, close your eyes and let the music drive! You're embarking on an adventurous musical journey through time and space.

Next comes the dreamy "Third In Line" featuring delicate piano passages and a spicy flavoured finale, a kind of oriental delight. It leads to "Rain Flower", sprinkled with Latin rock echoes that could recall Santana, then it's the turn of the calm, jazzy "On The Other Side", an evocative piece full of soft nuances.

The atmosphere of the following "Down The Street" is nightmarish and tense. It depicts a personal crises and features English lyrics written by Ettore Salati and Ettore's brother Giorgio (a.k.a. Joe Sal) on vocals. It is linked to "No Way Out", a nervous, short instrumental. Then comes the dark "No Rewarding".

"Asleep" is another piece featuring English lyrics and the guest vocalist Joe Sal. It's a reflective track that draws the imagine of a man who has to get out of his dreams to take his responsibilities... "I've been asleep / And I never thought how could it be / To be awake / See the light, feel the sounds...". It leads to the beautiful conclusive track, "Challenge To An End", a long, complex piece featuring another guest, Davide Gandino, on flute. Well, on the whole I think that this is very good album that it's really worth listening to. Have a try!




Il nuovo progetto portato avanti dagli incontenibili Ettore Salati, chitarrista di Red Zen, Alex Carpani e The Watch e Fabio Mancini, tastierista anche lui in forza ai The Watch è all’insegna della fusion, del progressive e del jazz rock, passioni che da sempre accompagnano le attività musicali dei due. Con loro una sezione ritmica di elevato livello formata da Nando De Luca al basso e Giacomo Pacini alla batteria, perfetto motore capace di supportare energicamente le fughe soliste di Salati e Mancini. Il rimando più immediato può essere quello ai Brand x ma la qualità dei componenti è talmente tanta che appare anche riduttivo giocare ad inseguire nomi. Polheim (inserita anche in Dante’s Purgatorio, un album compilation della Colossus) apre il platter con i suoi oltre sette minuti in cui i SoulenginE si inoltrano in territori fusion e jazz rock difficili da cavalcare se non si ha tale padronanza dello strumento. Third in line ha un iniziale atmosfera incantata vicina ai Genesis per poi esplodere in un prog rock dove lasciare ampio spazio alla corsa sfrenata di Salati e Mancini che portano il brano vicino a quanto fatto con i Red Zen (recuperate il loro Void). Splendida Rain Flower con i giochi chitarristici di un irrefrenabile Salati e le ritmiche indiavolate che solidificano la materia. On the Other side ha uno spirito decisamente più jazz mentre con Down the street (in cui compare anche un deciso Joe Sal alla voce) e No way out la band torna a camminare decisa verso un suono energico e vitale. Più vicina al progressive settantiano è No Rewarding, complicata e piena di cambi di tempo e di atmosfera. Torna Joe Sal nella ballad Asleep, contornato da tastiera, flauto e chitarra acustica, per quello che è il brano che più si stacca dal clima generale. Ottimo anche il finale di Challenge to an end, long track atmosferica e dalle palpabili linee sinfoniche tanto care al prog seventies. Un elaborato esordio (anche se il termine è un po’ riduttivo per musicisti con questa esperienza) quasi interamente strumentale che tocca la fusion dei già citati Brand x e in parte anche dei Return to Forever ma che attinge tanto dal caro progressive inglese di Genesis, ELP e Yes. Nulla di nuovo insomma ma il risultato è comunque un disco raffinato, suonato con la dovuta perizia e assolutamente piacevole.



TROISIEME EPOQUE, by Stephane "Alias" Gallay


Comme quoi tout arrive: ce Mind Colours, des Italiens de SoulenginE est une découverte enthousiasmante à mettre au crédit de Progarchives. Bon, je suis un peu méchant, mais mes derniers achats sur la recommandation de ce site s’étant souvent révélés décevants, je me méfiais.

Alors, certes, le rock progressif de SoulenginE n’est pas furieusement original, rappelant un peu ce qui se faisait au début des années 1980 (les tous débuts du néo-prog, avec les premiers Marillion, iQ ou Pendragon), mais dans un style modernisé, quasi instrumental et surtout très enthousiaste. Ce qui est enthousiaste m’enthousiasme souvent.

Mind Colours propose neuf morceaux de longueur moyenne, pour un total de cinquante-quatre minutes; comme mentionné, il s’agit d’un album principalement instrumental, aux sonorités vintage, mais à la production moderne. Seuls les morceaux « Down The Street » et « Asleep » sont chantés, mais il ne faut pas croire pour autant que c’est dû à l’absence d’un chanteur de qualité.

SoulenginE signe donc, avec Mind Colours, un album de très bonne tenue, même s’il n’est pas très original, qui se distingue principalement par des claviers de très haut vol, qui rappellent un peu du Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Je ne peux que vous conseiller d’y jeter une oreille, par exemple sur la page Bandcamp du groupe, qui vous permettra également de l’acquérir à vil prix.

Under The Radar, by Tom


While not the most representative nom de plume they could have selected, SoulenginE deliver a finely crafted instrumental selection of progressive rock compositions. Formed by members of The Watch, it would appear SoulenginE are yet another creative outlet for a band that has become notorious (and highly lauded) for their ability to embody all that is great about classic Genesis. And while the band can probably never distance themselves too far from penning a Nursery Cryme, I think the average progressive listener will be very pleased with this instrumental set. So have no fear, you are much closer to the made-up dance step of the Genesis Foxtrot than the disco imagery one immediately associates with Soul Train, er... Engine. Lots of mellotron, Moog, soaring guitar, time-signature-change goodness to be found within. Overall conclusion - and maybe a bit too esoteric here - but I'd say SoulenginE is to The Watch what Submarine Silence was to Moongarden. Basically a more retro and instrumental outlook of their raison d'etre.


DPRP, by Joel Atlas

In 2007, Ettore Salati and Fabio Mancini, former members of the Italian prog band The Watch, enlisted musicians Nando de Luca, a bassist, and Giacomo Pacini, a drummer, to join them in a new endeavour called SoulenginE (the capitalization of the final “E” is unexplained). The new band then spent the better part of 2008 and 2009 arranging pieces for their debut release, Mind Colours, which was recorded in 2010 and, finally, mixed and mastered the following year. The band's multi-year efforts have created some fine music.
Mind Colours finds its primary influences in early '70s symphonic prog and electric jazz fusion, but, occasionally, a quick tempo switch or bubbly guitar lick pays apparent homage to the Canterbury scene. Most of the songs on this CD - the better ones - are exclusively instrumental.
The keyboards are mostly in charge here, while the guitar - usually electric - plays a closely supporting role. The regular and intricate dialogue between the two instruments is consistently interesting. Particularly impressive is the diversity of keyboard sounds: played on the CD are acoustic piano, Hammond, Mellotron, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, and Moog. And, in an instant, a new keyboard will chime in and morph the tone of the song from soothing to raucous. Notable keyboard influences appear to be Jurgen Fritz, of Triumvirat, or Keith Emerson. Similarly, the guitar may at one moment be soaring and mellifluous and, at the next moment, rambunctious and feverish. The influence of Steve Hackett abounds.
Unfortunately, the supporting cast is either hardly heard or heard too much. Although the keyboards and guitar remain distinct and free-flowing, the bass - unless soloing - is overpowered by the other instruments. The drumming, which at times somehow seems to have been added as an afterthought, can be clunky and even jarring.
The quality of the songwriting does not quite match the generally high quality of the musicianship. The compositions - all by Salati and Mancini - are not particularly remarkable (but for the time changes), and the progression of the repeating guitar or keyboard lines can be predictable. Many spins of the CD have still not etched a particular tune in my mind.
In the opener, Polheim, the guitar initially floats over brisk keyboard runs accompanied by hard-knocking drums. The keyboards and drums steadily propel the tune forward and, at times, in unexpected and unsettling directions. Next comes Third in Line, which offers up some compelling, Steve Hackett-like guitar passages. Rain Flower, in which an early guitar solo tips a hat to the signature guitar sounds of Canterbury's Phil Miller, is a complex, delightful piece full of surprises. On the Other Side, a jazzy, relaxed piece, then provides a refreshing reprieve from the fast-paced stimulation. Two later, excellent tunes - No Rewarding and No Way Out - at times harken back to the instrumental portions of Emerson Lake and Palmer's Tarkus. The low points are Down the Street and Asleep: on the first, the harshness of the vocals simply do not jive with the fluidity of the music; on the second, the singing is more tolerable but is slurred and seemingly strained. The closer, Challenge to an End, which both begins and ends peacefully, displays a real grandness that epitomizes strong symphonic prog.In the end, Mind Colours is a worthy debut. With a more-coherent theme, deeper hooks, more-nuanced drumming, and the deletion of vocal pieces this CD could have been significantly better. Nevertheless, the excellent lead instruments, the sum of which is greater than its parts, will undoubtedly lure me back for further listens.
Conclusion: 7 out of 10

DONATOZOPPO.IT, by Donato Zoppo

Il primo nome che ti viene in mente sono i Brand X. Perchè i SoulenginE, nel muoversi – agilmente, con classe e senso della direzione – a cavallo tra jazz-rock e progressive, sembrano agganciarsi proprio al patrimonio di Jones e Goodsall. Ma ad ascoltare bene “Mind Colours” scopri che c’è molto di più, perchè rilevante è il passato di due membri della band. Fabio Mancini ed Ettore Salati li ricordiamo per la militanza nei The Watch: il primo ha anche all’attivo un impegno con la ELP Tribute Band e un’attività solista in area colta, il secondo si destreggia tra Alex Carpani Band e RedZen, ai quali in qualche modo si avvicina questa creatura.

C’è una buona dose di art-rock genesisiano/emersoniano nelle trame di “Mind Colours”: l’apertura sognante di “Third in line” è differente dall’impatto fusion dell’opener “Polheim”, la passeggiata canterburyana di “On the other side” si distanzia dallo spedito dinamismo di “No way out” ma ogni brano condivide lo stesso amore per il guitar-playing hackettiano, per l’imprevisto tipicamente progressive, per il lavoro di cesello tra incanti, pathos e velocità. Il gruppo ha fatto una scelta di fondo sulla strumentazione (spicca il parco-tastiere di Mancini) dosata con intelligenza e ama partire in medias res, evitando perifrasi tipiche del prog più indeciso: la superba “Rain flower” (il brano più rappresentativo dello spirito eclettico del gruppo), “Down the street” e “No rewarding” hanno dalla loro parte la rapidità, la sicurezza, la maturità di musicisti navigati.

Al tempo stesso anche per i SoulenginE si ripresenta il “vizio genetico” dei tanti gruppi che aprono il tessuto prog alle dinamiche fusion: talvolta si perde il filo del discorso e nonostante la band abbia una marcia in più per affiatamento ed eleganza, non è facile rinvenire una personalità definita. Ciò non compromette il valore di questo debut-album, pregevole e consigliato.

CONTRAPPUNTI, by Riccardo Storti

Fino a qualche anno fa con The Watch, il chitarrista Ettore Salati e il tastierista Fabio Mancini, insieme a Nando De Luca (basso) e Giacomo Pacini (batteria), hanno formato un nuovo ensemble progressive dalle caratteristiche assai particolari.
Il range stilistico prediletto muove i propri passi da una forte radice "sinfonica" per poi scorrere (e correre) verso altre matrici come il jazz rock e una psichedelia dalle tinte leggere. La macchina del tempo vira verso gli anni Settanta e, dando un occhio alla strumentazione, soprattutto a quella di Salati (chitarra a dodici corde, chitarra a doppio manico, pedaliera dei bassi), si pensa subito ai Genesis. Ma non è proprio così. La risposta anche nel parco tastiere settantiano di Mancini (Hammond, mellotron, piano elettrico Wurlitzer e moog) che supera, in parte il pregiudizio Genesis (soprattutto se pensiamo al ductus organistico emersoniano).
Mind Colours si lascia ascoltare con vero piacere. L'architrave del disco si regge su armonie tipiche del progressive europeo, ma anche sul gioco dialettico degli interventi solistici del duo (No Way Out, No Rewarding).
I Genesis consegnano ai SoulenginE la base armonica (modulazioni) e ritmiche (poliritmia): Polheim ha una chitarra hackettiana su un elettrico 7/8; Asleep è una ballad alla Trespass, però la band riesce a superare l'imprinting originario per assemblare composizioni dalle ascendenze ricollegabili ai Camel (Third in Line e Challenge to an End), Hatfield and the North (chitarra alla Phil Miller, quella in Rain Flower), Perigeo (On the Other Side), Kansas (Down the Street e non solo per la similitudine del titolo... ), E.L. & P. (No Way Out... le dita sul bianco e nero... ), Banco del Mutuo Soccorso (No Rewarding).
C'è modo e modo ad essere derivativi e, quando si decide di esserlo, bisogna saperlo fare. Con classe, soprattutto. Questo è il caso dei SoulenginE, capaci di dosare perizia tecnica, reminiscenze storico-musicali e attenzione al linguaggio armonico.
contrAPPUNTI, Anno X, n.1 primavera 2013, pag.23




Il progetto SoulenginE ha preso vita a Milano nel 2007, allorquando due valenti musicisti quali il chitarrista Ettore Salati e il tastierista Fabio Mancini, entrambi provenienti da una band importante come i The Watch,hanno cooptato il bassista Nando De Luca e il batterista Giacomo Pacini per un brano - Rain Flower - inserito in una compilation italiana.
Da quel momento il quartetto ha deciso di far sul serio e l'8 marzo 2012 ha rilasciato in download digitale un E.P. di 4 brani, preludio di un cd a lunga durata: Mind Colours uscito, a livello mondiale, per Ma.Ra.Cash Records il 23 Ottobre dello scorso anno sia in cd “fisico” che in download digitale.
Sound con chiare reminiscenze seventies con riferimenti fusion, jazz-rock e toccate e fughe canterburiane, tutto realizzato con grande sensibilità artistica e capacità tecnica.


When it comes to symphonic prog, even symphonic prog with a very modern twist, we can always rely on the Italian bands to “deliver the goods.” A very quick listen to the new release from SoulenginE entitled Mind Colours will most certainly confirm that line of thinking. This quartet is made up of Ettore Salati (electric, acoustic, 12-strings and double-neck guitars, bass pedals, dulcimer), Fabio Mancin (Hammond organ, piano, Mellotron, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Moog), Nando de Luca (electric, acoustic, fretless bass, acoustic guitars) and Giacomo Pacin (drums, percussion). Both Salati and Mancin have spent time in The Watch but the music they create here although in the same genre is very different.

Mind Colours is fifty-three minutes long consisting of ten mostly instrumental tracks displaying a classic early to mid-Genesis inspired symphonic prog. But in true Italian fashion, SoulenginE take that inspiration and add a hint more classical influences. Most of these compositions might be considered “longer” for Italian symphonic prog clocking in at anywhere from five, six or seven minutes. Compositions feature great guitar and keyboard interplay, fascinating starts and stops with lead lines dominated equally between the guitars and keyboards. Lush Mellotron and Hammond sounds provide ample accents or provide colour as transitions from one song element to the next. The music is busy and yet not overly so as they do take time for soft and delicate jazzy flavoured interludes. There is a lot going on as the musical and instrumental virtuosity is high. This is a band out to show they can play but within that they rarely lose sight of the tunes core melodies returning back-to-theme often within the composition’s confines. Did I mention these are instrumentals? Each track has ample musical change-ups, twists and turns, never staying in one place too long. They even delve into some pretty impressive jamming along the way.       

Mind Colours is a very well crafted set of tunes. SoulenginE can clearly play, and they play well together.  Needless to say if you enjoy symphonic prog with an Italian flavor I strongly recommend you investigate SoulenginE. Mind Colours features some great music and some excellent playing.



En esta ocasión nos toca hablar del grupo italiano SOULENGINE, el cual está conformado por Ettore Salati [guitarras eléctrica, acústica de 12 cuerdas y de doble cuello, pedales bajos, dulcémele], Fabio Mancini [órgano Hammond, piano acústico, mellotrón, pianos eléctricos Wurlitzer y Fender Rhodes, sintetizadores Moog], Nando de Luca [bajos con y sin trastes, contrabajo, guitarra acústica] y Giacomo Pacini [batería, percusión]. Varios de ellos han formado parte de THE WATCH y colaborado en discos de otras bandas amigas compatriotas (DAAL y ALEX CARPANI BAND, por ejemplo). La historia dicta que los orígenes de SOULENGINE se remontan a mediados de 2007, a partir de un encuentro entre Salati, Mancini y De Luca, quienes estaban interesados en explorar nuevas maneras de revitalizar el ideal del rock sinfónico fuera de las pautas de los grupos y proyectos donde estaban habitualmente asociados. La semilla de estas exploraciones rindió sus frutos a fines de 2012 con el disco “Mind Colours”, al cual prestamos atención hoy. El ensamble es esencialmente instrumental, pero aún así se da maña para incluir un par de temas cantados en el repertorio del disco: en estas situaciones, el cuarteto cuenta con los servicios del invitado Joe Sal a la voz.

Los primeros 7 ½ minutos del álbum están ocupados por ‘Polheim’, pieza que capitaliza a la perfección los legados del CAMEL clásico y el GENESIS 76-78 con una soltura que se siente muy contemporánea, y es justamente en este último detalle que se nota también la influencia de SPOCK’S BEARD de los tres primeros discos y las confluencias con su compatriotas de THE FORMER LIFE. La dinámica y pulcritud melódica inherentes al desarrollo temático de la pieza en cuestión garantizan su efectividad como apertura colorida del repertorio global. Luego sigue ‘Third In Line’, pieza que remodela el aura optimista del primer tema para darle una tonalidad un poco más pausada, tal vez un poco más introvertida, pero sin perder el punche de trasfondo. ‘Rain Flower’ es un tema especial dentro del repertorio del disco por dos razones: la primera es que inicia la inclusión de elementos jazzeros en el bloque sonoro elaborado por el ensamble; la segunda es que muestra marcados contrastes de ambientes y atmósferas en su ilación de motivos, incluyendo un envolvente interludio cósmico y un par de pasajes guiados por electrizantemente robustos solos de guitarra. Con ‘On The Other Side’, el grupo se focaliza en el susodicho factor jazzero, prodigándose en una idea melódica bellamente cándida, envuelta en un clima ensoñador que evoca sensaciones propias de un viaje sentimental o una reflexión serena sobre un momento de melancolía. ‘Down The Street’ es la primera ocasión donde hay presencia de canto; en cuanto al esquema instrumental y la estructura compositiva de los motivos, se sitúa en una cruza entre ‘Polheim’ y ‘Rain Flower’. A partir de aquí, ‘No Way Out’ entra a tallar para completar la idea con un poderoso despliegue de jazz-rock muscular que parece un híbrido de NIACIN y TRIBAL TECH.

‘No Rewarding’ sigue reforzando la sólida mezcla de estilizaciones sinfónicas y swing jazz-rockero que se ha venido remodelando continuamente desde ‘Third In Line’, además de insistir en la explicitación de contrastes dramáticos que tan buenos resultados había dado en ‘Rain Flower’. Podemos decir lo mismo de ‘No Rewarding’ con toda justicia. ‘Asleep’ (la segunda pieza cantada del disco) vira hacia una dirección totalmente diferente: una balada pastoral basada en múltiples ondulaciones de guitarras acústicas y fondos etéreos de teclado, una estrategia muy Genesiana que conocemos en bandas más recientes como IL TRONO DEI RICORDI y THE WATCH. La presencia del flautista invitado Davide Gandino ayuda mucho en la consecución de este efecto general. Para terminar el álbum tenemos a ‘Challenge To An End’, tema que dura 10 minutos y pico: su patente apuesta por climas calmados en las ideas melódicas centrales y el pulcro manejo de atmósferas solemnes en el tratamiento de la mayoría de ellas permite a la banda acercarse un poco más al modelo del PINK FLOYD de la era “Wish You Were Here” a la par que preserva sus relativamente recurrentes conexiones con los patrones Cameliano y Genesiano. La pieza fluye en su continuum de una forma muy “ligera” a pesar de las inclinaciones a la fastuosidad que muestra en varios pasajes: no se nota casi que sea la pieza más extensa del álbum.

Para concluir la idea general de esta reseña no nos queda sino decirlo de forma directa y clara: SOULENGINE se ha lucido tremendamente en éste, su disco debut. “Mind Colours” es una delicia asegurada para los fieles amantes del prog sinfónico, y en general, de la música progresiva que es meticulosamente melódica y sanamente ecléctica. ¡Recomendado!

PROGARCHIVES, by Roland113

Well this is a pleasant surprise.

So, I arrived at work this morning and wasn't sure what I was going to listen to, pulled up Progstreaming and saw an option for a band that I'd never heard. The cover looked cool so I gave it a whirl.

Holy smokes, Mind Colours is fantastic. Five minutes into the album I realize that I've stumbled onto a gem. Every musician in this band is top notch and the rhythm section melds together fantastically. The first song, Polheim, has moments of Genesis interspersed with moments of Return to Forever.

Fabio Mancin is obviously a virtuoso keyboard player and has a fantastic sense of backing rhythm vs solo madness. He can do both and the important thing, is that he knows the right one to play at any given time. Ettore Salati's guitar blends perfectly with Mancin's keyboards. I would describe his style as a combination of Carlos Santana, Steve Hackett and a modern shredder (sorry, no one comes to mind at the moment).

The rhythm section of Nando de Luca and Giacomo Pacin are firing on all cylinders and sound like they've been playing together for years. Pacin, in particular is incredibly intricate, the cymbal work in No Rewarding made me sit up and say wow.

All in all, this is a great addition to anyone's collection. It's a tight combination of Symphonic and Fusion with an amazing rhythm section to balance out a pair of vets on the lead instruments.


ARTISTSANDBANDS, by Valentino Butti

Dopo aver abbandonato in momenti diversi il progetto The Watch, ritroviamo il chitarrista Ettore Salati ed il tastierista Fabio Mancini in questa nuova avventura chiamata SoulenginE.
Se l’esperienza The Watch” era in ambito Genesi  old-style, con i SoulenginE i due (con Nando De Luca al basso e Giacomo Pacini alla batteria) cambiano registro  dando vita comunque  ad un album molto ben fatto.
9 i brani elaborati per questo esordio e, fra questi, due solamente sono impreziositi dalla voce (dell’ospite Joe Sal), preferendo, il gruppo, concentrarsi su trame strumentali anche complesse, senza peraltro mai tralasciare un apprezzato mood melodico.
Il primo brano della raccolta, “Polheim”, è il bel biglietto da visita della band, già presente nella compilation Colossus dedicata al Purgatorio dantesco: un continuo intreccio tra chitarra e tastiere ed un’ ottima sezione ritmica che sposta le sonorità verso un jazz-rock sostenuto ed ispirato.
Le buone impressioni sono confermate nella successiva “Third in line” introdotta da una splendida e lunga sezione al pianoforte in cui si innesta poi l’elettrica di Salati e la frastagliata ritmica. Sono poco più di 5 minuti ma ricchissimi di sfumature. Piacevoli escursioni jazz-rock ed un finale segnato da un lungo “solos” hard rock di chitarra ben delineano i molti volti di “Rain flower” e le varie anime del quartetto.
Delicatissima e virginale “On the other side”, direttamente dai seventies l’hard rock di “Down the street” (il primo brano cantato) il cui finale confluisce nella furiosa ed un poco auto indulgente cavalcata strumentale di “No way out”. Incalzante l’incedere di “No rewarding” in cui emerge prepotente l’amore per il progressive anni ’70 (tastiere pesanti, trame complesse, sensibilità melodica spiccata, cambi di atmosfera) senza, peraltro, la tendenza a strafare che colpisce a volte qualche band esordiente ( anche se qui parliamo di  musicisti di lungo corso).
Carezzevole il secondo brano cantato “Asleep” giocato su chitarre acustiche e a 12 corde, flauto, sottofondo di tastiere e la voce di Joe Sal. Episodio più convenzionale ma tutt’altro che insipido o minore. Delizioso anche il brano che chiude l’album “Challenge to an end”, prevalentemente acustico e soffuso nei primi minuti, con delle pregevoli aperture sinfoniche nella seconda parte.
Esordio sicuramente degno di nota quello dei SoulenginE, in cui la convivenza di più anime musicali origina un sound sufficientemente originale e decisamente coinvolgente ed emozionante. Un’altra conferma della vitalità del prog nostrano. Qualora ce ne fosse ancora bisogno.

AGORAVOX, by Bernard Dugué

Encore une formation progressive nouvelle en provenance d’Italie. Les musiciens de SoulenginE sont apparus sur les radars de la scène symphoniste avec un CD signé chez Ma.Ra.Cash, label spécialisé dans le prog italien qui a su nous faire découvrir quelques perles comme ce Mind Colors joué et composé par quatre virtuoses de la musique progressive parmi lesquels figure Ettore Salati, l’un des membres fondateur de The Watch, formation très réputée chez les fans de prog et connue pour interpréter sur scène des reprises du Genesis de la belle époque. Salati a depuis quitté le groupe et se retrouve au sein de ce groupe en très bonne compagnie pour jouer cette musique si raffinée dont les Italiens sont devenus les leaders incontestés depuis quelques décennies.

SoulenginE s’est constitué en 2007 autour de Ettore Salati et Fabio Mancini qui se connaissaient de longue date puisque Mancini jouait avec The Watch. Le bassiste Nando de Luca et le batteur Giacomo Pacini se sont joints aux premiers pour signer un titre paru sur une compilation italienne. On aurait pu penser que cette collaboration n’était que transitoire or ces quatre musiciens en ont décidé autrement, assumant un destin commun, signant un nouveau titre sur une compilation, repris sur Mind colours paru en 2012 et premier opus de cette formation dont la virtuosité s’entend dès l’écoute du premier morceau. C’est en fait du pur prog, expérimental et pour l’essentiel instrumental. Aucune facilité mélodique et une recherche permanente dans la composition qui progresse en différentes figures, prenant un aspect assez baroque, avec des ruptures inattendues, des breaks, des fioritures subtiles, mi symphoniques mi jazzy, exécutées brillamment par Mancini, claviériste sachant donner une notes classiques ou jazz en maniant le piano, laissant entrevoir une solide formation classique, bref rien de commun avec des musicos de spectacle utilisant deux doigts pour pianoter sur un synthé et donner l’impression qu’un groupe se produit sur scène (suivez mon regard). SoulenginE sonne comme un quatuor de musique de chambre rock.

Sur scène, le quatuor devrait déchirer comme on dit. Comme signe distinctif de ce CD on retiendra la virtuosité du guitariste dont le jeu aérien et fluide s’inscrit parfaitement dans un esprit prog. Le claviériste n’est pas en reste. Quant à la rythmique, elle fait plus qu’assurer, avec notamment une batterie qui, comme dans les meilleures formations progressives, constitue un quatrième instrument et non pas un simple métronome comme dans les groupes de pop rock. Cette musique complexe diffuse souvent un style à la Canterbury. Autrement dit un esprit classique et symphonique mâtiné de passages un peu jazzy mais progressifs. Ce n’est pas du jazz rock. On trouvera quelques similitudes avec National Health ou même Spheroe, formation française ayant sévi à la fin des seventies et quelque peu mésestimée. Troisième remarque, la structure complexe des morceaux avec des passages envolés joués avec dextérité et célérité, entrecoupés par des séquences calmes, intimistes, qu’on croirait composées pour écouter dans un piano bar à trois heures du matin, grisé par la nuit et les boissons qui l’accompagnent.

Que dire de plus sinon que ce CD s’inscrit dans le meilleur du prog de 2012 et qu’il est magnifiquement joué par des instrumentistes à la technique parfaite mais sans démonstration technique. Rien que de l’inspiration et de la composition dont on ne se lasse pas et qu’on peut sans hésitation écouter en boucle. Cette musique est étrangement belle et jamais ennuyeuse. La production laisse à chaque instrument sa place et que demander de plus.

PROGARCHIVES, by Thomas Szirmay

SoulenginE is a new instrumental kid on the sympho-prog block that just may make some huge inroads in the future, featuring 4 incredibly adept musicians formulating a tried and true style that actually sets new frontiers with wickedly tight playing, breakneck turn-on-a- dime contours and an overpowering sense of achievement emanating from the plastic. There are some trilling Hackettisms are on display here as guitarist Ettore Salati tortures his axe with frivolous disregard for normalcy. We are also witness to drummer extraordinaire Giacomo Pacini, who likes to shove the pieces along with deft bashing in a semi-jazz-rock style. Together they really excavate nicely on the opener "Polheim", a thrilling introduction to their sensational talent. Every single subsequent title will have its own idiosyncrasy, each well within its own sphere of sound, much to the listener's immediate delight.
Keyboard man Fabio Mancini's flamboyant piano decorates the romantic symphonic prog of "Third in Line", whilst being unafraid to churn the raging organ up a notch and incorporate it into the fire. Certainly the Genesis emanations are obvious but there is so much more at work here, with dabs of classic Focus, Greenslade, Banco, Billy Cobham, ELP, Colosseum II, DiMeola, RTF, etc?
Sterling bassist Nando de Luca organizes the rollicking "Rain Flower" into a tight jazzy groove, best exemplified by a bluesy guitar quiver from Ettore and waspish synths fluttering in the background. Change of pace with some magical mellotron moments and Boom! back into the groove with a whiplash guitar solo, loaded up with manic wah-wah and sustained notes, the delirium settles in.
"On the Other Side" keeps things initially sedate and dreamy, the suave Fender Rhodes electric piano (what a beautiful instrument!) braising nicely, showing equal amounts of grandiloquence and restraint, dazzling fretless bass rumbles and a genuine essence of creative release. The ELP-influenced "No Way Out" infuses intense turbulence, showing off their rather considerable chops, as if to show:"Hey, we can play with the best of them!", sizzling interplay, terrific soloing, crashing beat and rapturous speed quantify this little ditty.
"No Rewarding" is a tempestuous affair, very close to Colosseum II , in that it proposes a heavy form of jazz-rock that skirts the outside edges of insanity, clicking on all cylinders and evoking dense symphonic visions. All four musicians shine brightly and seemingly, effortlessly.
Two vocal tracks also adorn this album and they are, in my opinion, not as interesting as their all-instrumental work, the only weak tracks on the set-list. "Down the Street" has the Hammond heating up and some screeching English vocals and a harder, more classic heavy rock approach even though the instrumental mid-section is bloody glorious. "Asleep" is sentimental and somehow a bit at odds with the previous material, perhaps a little too simplistic for my ears.
The debut finalizes brilliantly with the sweeping 10 minute+ "Challenge to An End", perhaps the finest piece here, replete with tangible inventiveness and artistic genius that are elevated to the highest echelon, introducing some trembling flute (oh, how Italian is that?), spacious sonic realms and sheer elegance.
A magnificent and compelling debut, SoulenginE is a crew to follow, perhaps eschewing the microphone altogether and forging an all-instrumental future, proving once again the majestic artistic creativity emanating form the "boot". Perhaps the loveliest artwork cover in recent decades only adds to their charm.
4.5 psyche shades





Although the neo-progressive rock movement is most closely associated with British acts like Marillion, Pendragon, and IQ, Italy's The Watch has gained a reputation as one of the genre's more impressive outfits over the past decade. For this reason, many listeners may want to check out SoulenginE, which is a new act featuring ex-members of The Watch (guitarist Ettore Salati and keyboardist Fabio Mancini) as well as a tight rhythm section consisting of bassist Nando de Luca and drummer Giacomo Pacini. SoulenginE's 2012 debut Mind Colours may bear little resemblance to The Watch's theatrical and Genesis-inspired take on the progressive rock genre, but its satisfying mix of symphonic prog and fusion should certainly appeal to fans of the style.
The music on Mind Colours is largely instrumental apart from the hard-rocking "Down the Street" and the spacey ballad "Asleep", and most of the tunes rest somewhere between classic symphonic prog and seventies' fusion. Giacomo Pacini's jazzy drumming is usually what gives the music a Return to Forever or Mahavishnu Orchestra-oriented vibe, although Fabio Mancini's keyboard palette contains plenty of Rhodes tones that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a seventies' fusion record either. Lots of symphonic textures and mildly heavy organ and guitar sections round off SoulenginE's sound, and I ended up being quite surprised with the level of originality that this ensemble managed to achieve while staying within the confines of retro prog; although very little is offered here that wouldn't have been possible in the seventies', the band's charming mix of different styles makes for an entertaining listen every time.
In terms of songwriting, Mind Colours also satisfies, with the wildly complex "No Way Out" and the epic symphonic closer "Challenge to an End" standing as my favorites. This is simply a quality product from nearly all fronts, and although the production sounds a bit rough around the edges, I think most listeners should be able to overlook the mediocre sound quality and enjoy this great offering of modern progressive rock.
Track Listing:
1. Polheim (7:35)
2. Third in Line (5:18)
3. Rain Flower (6:11)
4. On the Other Side (5:06)
5. Down the Street (5:13)
6. No Way Out (3:01)
7. No Rewarding (6:48)
8. Asleep (4:40)
9. Challenge to an End (10:08)
Added: December 18th 2012
Reviewer: Jeff B



PROGARCHIVES, by Rivertree


I came across this quartet two years ago due to a promo EP containing two songs, which both made it on this album btw. Ettore Salati (guitars) and Fabio Mancini (keyboards) were former members of symphonic prog outfit THE WATCH featuring Simone Rossetti, the charismatic singer/front man. Initially the impression came up, that SOULENGINE are standing for an intersection between jazz fusion and symphonic. However, after listening to the entire album now, I'd say the focus is on the latter obviously. Overall I find the songs a bit straighter and rockier than what I've heard from THE WATCH repertoire, which shows clear Genesis references as a trademark and manifests them as brilliant tribute players by the way.
So besides the few relations I've mentioned, the SOULENGINE band is a rather independent affair, to make it clear. The opener Polheim belongs to their very early material - okay, the guitar appears Hackett reminiscent, but Giacomo Pacini's drum playing on the other hand has a significant jazzy drive. Overall this song bears great dynamics, is an excellent introduction. Rain Flower comes from the same direction. Even if we can enjoy a nice guitar solo here, this is more keyboard focussed though, while utilizing multiple instruments, including Rhodes piano. And again - counting in the following On The Other Side - this points to the already mentioned jazzy touch.
The sentimental ballad Asleep comes with vocal contributions by Joe Sal and finally Challenge To An End closes the album as the awaited long-distance runner. I would say this pretentious flow brings them close to Genesis respectively Big Big Train now, rich in melody and mellotron. Davide Gandino has a guest appearance on flute. My favourite tune here, so much feeling, spirit. With 'Mind Colours' they have put an entertaining debut on the table, (nearly) instrumental symphonic basically, featuring some jazz fusion leanings to realize anyhow. Recommended!

MLWZ, by Artur Chachlowski

Historia włoskiego zespołu SoulenginE jest stosunkowo krótka. Założyli go panowie Ettore Salati (g) i Fabio Mancini (k), kiedy to przed 5 laty opuścili szeregi popularnej w naszym kraju grupy The Watch. Ich grę można było usłyszeć na albumach „Vacuum” (2004), „Live Bootleg” (2006), „Primitive” (2007) i „Live” (2008) (choć nie na wszystkich występowali razem). Gra w zespole Simone Rosettiego oscylującego na pograniczu genesisowskiego cover bandu nie była szczytem marzeń obu panów i, po dokooptowaniu dwóch muzyków: Giacomo Paciniego (dr) i Nando de Luca (bg), założyli własny band, któremu nadali nazwę SoulenginE.
Ich pierwszym przedsięwzięciem było nagranie utworu „Rain Flower” na składankę zawierającą muzykę młodych włoskich grup rockowych. Utworem tym zwrócili na siebie uwagę menadżerów firm Colossus i Musea, którzy zaprosili SoulenginE do zamieszczenia jednego nagrania na tematyczną kompilację „Dante’s Purgatoria”. Wybór padł na utwór „Polheim”, który otwiera także debiutancki pełnowymiarowy krążek zespołu zatytułowany „Mind Colours”. Kto zna specyfikę albumów wydawanych w kooperacji Colossus/Musea, ten wie, że podstawowym ich założeniem jest, że zaproszone zespoły mają grać na tradycyjnych instrumentach z lat 70., a wykonywane przez nich utwory mają być zaaranżowane w taki sposób, by nawiązywały wprost do korzeni muzyki rockowej sprzed czterech dekad. Tak właśnie brzmi nagranie „Polheim”, tak zresztą brzmi reszta utworów wypełniających debiutancki album Włochów.
Grupa SoulenginE gra w przeważającej mierze instrumentalną muzykę (są od tego dwa odstępstwa – utwory „Down The Street” i „Asleep”, które śpiewa zaproszony w charakterze gościa Joe Sal, i od razu zaznaczę, że są to dwa… najsłabsze punkty programu tego wydawnictwa), będącą wypadkową muzycznych wpływów i inspiracji dwójki liderów SoulenginE. A ich lista jest wyjątkowo długa: progresywny rock, jazz, fusion, psychodelia, a nawet muzyka klasyczna. Wszystko to osadzone jest w bogatym i gęstym aranżacyjnym sosie, którego nuta utrzymana jest w klimacie lat 70. Co więcej, we wszystkich dźwiękach składających się na 9 utworów stanowiących program płyty „Mind Colours” usłyszeć można prawdziwą wirtuozerię muzyków tworzących zespół, a także ich dbałość o to, by ich gra nie była zwykłą „sztuką dla sztuki”, a wypełniona była emocjami i wysokim stopniem melodyjności.
Gdybym miał porównać to, co usłyszałem na albumie „Mind Colours” z twórczością konkretnych, znanych powszechnie wykonawców, to wskazałbym na zespoły Brand X, SBB, Mahavishnu Orchestra i trio Emerson Lake And Palmer. Myślę, że liczne interakcje jazzu i rocka, genialne partie organów Hammonda i melotronu, erupcje gitarowych riffów i natchnionej, a zarazem finezyjnej pracy sekcji rytmicznej w wykonaniu członków grupy SoulenginE pozwalają na to, by ich twórczość porównywać, oczywiście przy zachowaniu odpowiednich proporcji, z dokonaniami wymienionych wyżej legend. Jestem przekonany, że muzyka tych wymienionych wyżej słynnych grup była prawdziwym drogowskazem dla SoulenginE w trakcie komponowania i nagrywania materiału na płytę „Mind Colours”. To słychać.



BABYBLAUE, by Nik Brückner

Italien scheint uns ja zur Zeit mit Progressive Rock zu überschütten, als wären die seligen 70er nie vorübergegangen. Nicht dass das Zeug alles besonders gut wäre, das würde ja auch der menschlichen Erfahrung zuwiderlaufen, aber manchmal findet man eben auch eine Perle in all dem Mittelmaß. Diesmal heißt sie Soulengine.
Soulengine ist das Hirnkind von Ettore Salati und Fabio Mancini von The Watch, einer weitgehend unerträglichen Genesis-Cover-/Klonband, die man besser nicht kennt. Weil die beiden das wissen, haben sie während ihrer Zeit in dieser Band gemeinsam eine ganze Reihe eigener Songs geschrieben, in denen all ihre Lieblingsmusiken zusammenflossen: Klassischer Prog, Jazz, Fusion, Klassik und Psychedelia.
Als Pacini und de Luca zu dem Projekt dazustießen, hatte man endlich eine richtige Band zusammen, und die vier brauchten nun nur mehr fünf Jahre, um die Songs für "Mind Colors" fertigzustellen, zu arrangieren und aufzunehmen. Oder besser: Stücke, denn gesungen wird hier nur zwei mal: auf "Down the Street" und "Asleep", und zwar vom Gastvokalisten Joe Sal.
Die Musik ist nicht allzu kompliziert und rockt ordentlich, bewegt sich aber unzweifelhaft im Prograhmen, wobei sie sich vor allem an Genesis orientiert. Allerdings hauptsächlich klanglich, generische Genesismusik gibt es hier nicht viel. Allenfalls mal an Stellen, an denen Fabio Mancini fleißig vor sich hin arpeggiert. Aber Genesis waren kompositorisch viel stärker am Kunstlied des 19. Jahrhunderts orientiert als es Soulengine sind. Diese Musik arbeitet zwar mit dem (stark in Richtung Rock abgewandelten) Klanggewand des Vorbilds, die Musik aber, die auf diese Weise vorgetragen wird, ist viel stärker fusionorientiert. Damit schlagen Soulengine genau den Weg ein, der in den letzten Jahren immer wieder ein erfolgreicher Ausweg aus den ausgefahrenen Bahnen des klassischen Retroprogs war, seit ihn die Flower Kings mit ihrem wegweisenden, aber leider unwiederholt gebliebenen Album "Unfold the Future" aufgezeigt hatten. Bands wie The Tangent, Beardfish oder District 97 blieb es vorbehalten, die Möglichkeiten dieser Kombination auszuloten, und "Mind Colors" ist in dieser Hinsicht kaum weniger erfolgreich. Allenfalls die fesselnden Gesangsmelodien und/oder die penetrant fräsenden Ohrwürmer bleiben, naja, nicht aus, aber ein wenig unterrepräsentiert, würde ich sagen.
Das ist in diesem Fall aber nicht schlimm, denn die Musik ist eine Freude für die in den letzten Jahren vom allzu Gleichen doch recht strapazierten Retroprogger-Ohren. Wer wie ich unter den immer gleichen Schlüssen, die weniger berufene Bands aus Genesis gezogen haben, litt, der wird hier von frischer Musik erfreut, die nicht ganz so schmusig-gefällig ist, wie das etwa IQ oder The Watch für allenfalls zumutbar halten. Aber die Big Big Trains, Unitopias und Galahads dieser Welt sind zum Glück nicht die einzigen maßgeblichen Genesis-Exegeten. Und so gibt es alle halbe Jahre mal ein Retroprogalbum, das nicht nur irgendwelchen schon mal gegessenen Eintopf neu und künstlerisch erfolgarm wieder aufkocht, sondern den Retroprog mit mal ganz anderen, weniger voraussehbaren Zutaten aufmischt und ihm so die Würze verleiht, die ihm ansonsten leider allzu oft abgeht. "Mind Colors" ist so ein Album.

HARD SOUNDS, by Denis di Nicolò


Ecco un altro gruppo prog interessante proveniente da Milano, i SoulenginE esordiscono con questo 'Mind Colours' presso l'etichetta Ma.Ra.Cash, label sempre molto attenta nel cercare e sostenere nuovi gruppi progressive in rampa di lancio. Ascoltando il disco è assolutamente tangibile l'amore di questi quattro ragazzi per le storiche band progressive degli anni '70 (italiane e non), tant'è che a volte il disco sembra un buon resoconto di tutto quello che di buono ci fosse in quegli anni dal punto di vista strettamente progressivo (il tutto condito da una discreta dose di professionalità e tecnica). I nove brani contenuti in questo disco sono in prevalenza strumentali (escluse un paio di canzoni) ed oltre a mostrare una capacità tecnica invidiabile presentano quindi svariate influenze musicali che ,purtroppo, a volte rendono il sound (e lo stile del gruppo) un po' troppo disomogeneo e impersonale. L'inizio è affidato a "Polheim", un brano che inizialmente si affida alla chitarra acustica ed a dei fraseggi di tastiera che ricreano certi orpelli di moog tipici di gruppi come Yes e soprattutto Emerson Lake & Palmer, ricreando molteplici cambi di tempo e di atmosfera,anche se forse a lungo andare si ha come l'impressione che al brano manchi un pò di identità musicale. Se il primo brano presenta tinte più fantascientifiche e ariose, il seguente "Third In Line" cambia totalmente faccia richiamando a sè scenari ed atmofere pianistiche decisamente più sinfoniche ed intimiste come quelle del Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, mentre "Rain Flower" acquista sonorità leggermente più jazzate (in modo particolare nella chitarra di Ettore Salati) sciorinando sia arrangiamenti aggressivi, sia dilatati (nel bridge centrale evidenti richiami ai King Crimson per quanto concerne l'uso del mellotron), mentre il finale si fa quasi fusion. A metà strada tra Soft Machine e Perigeo è invece "On The Other Side", un brano pregno di atmosfere jazz tipicamente notturne che profumano di sigaro e whisky (ottimo lavoro del piano), mentre con "Down The Street" (primo brano cantato del disco) il gruppo vira un po' bruscamente in uno un pezzo genesiano fino al midollo, con conseguenti sonorità sinfoniche e maestose (da segnalare anche l'assolo di Salati, sulla falsariga di quelli di Hackett). I restanti brani non presentano grossi cambiamenti di percorso, anche se a nostro avviso andrebbero almeno segnalate "Asleep", costruita attorno ad un buon lavoro di voce, chitarra acustica e tastiere (molto d'atmosfera e poste quasi sullo sfondo), e la finale "Challenge To An End", una traccia assolutamente atmosferica e sognante ricca di suggestioni folk e fiabesche ricostruite egregiamente attraverso l'uso del flauto e del mellotron.


Erik Neuteboom's words:

"The band sent me a promo EP (released in 2008) with two tracks. First Polheim (unmastered version) that sounds dynamic and alternating with elements of ELP (Hammond organ), Genesis (bass pedals and violin-Mellotron eruptions), Mahavishnu Orchestra (excellent interplay in jazz rock style) and Rush (synthesizer drops, bass pedals and exciting interaction between guitar, keyboards and rhythm-section). You can hear that the musicians are experienced with lots of interesting musical ideas, a very pleasant first musical encounter with SoulenginE! The other composition is their single Rain Flower (demo version): it starts with a captivating combination of jazz rock sounding electric piano and guitar and bombastic Hammond organ, followed by a harder-edged guitar solo, halfway the atmosphere turns into mellow with soaring electric guitar (use of volume pedal) and violin-Mellotron eruptions, then a splendid build-up with tasteful work on guitar and keyboards, a funky bass and in the end a fiery electric guitar solo with wah-wah pedal in a compelling climate, this is very dynamic music.

I am looking forward to their debut album, what a very promising new Italian progrock band!"

                                                            (Erik Neuteboom - Background Magazine)