Milan, March 2014, all day.

A shy spring appears at the third floor window of the building where I work. Traffic, public transport coming and going, the shouting from the street and the constant coming and going of people passing through via del Lazzaretto heading towards the Central Station or towards Corso Buenos Aires.

I’m 31 years old, I’m hundreds of kilometers away from where I was born and Milan has become my home for three and a half years, but I don’t like it very much. I never really liked her, even though for two years I had a certain sense of curiosity and openness towards her, the kind you feel towards places you don’t know yet but are somehow attracted to, where you think you’ll settle down. and be able to get away from yours. Despite some of the possibilities that it has unquestionably offered me, I agree that yes, I have settled in, but Milan no longer holds any fascination for me.

I have a different rhythm compared to that urban context devoured by concrete, immersed in a frenetic, efficient, hyper-productive and economically pulsating scenario, but which fuels in me a certain sense of detachment, extraneousness and alienation. I have another sense of beauty and I try to explain it to those, not a few, who tell me that Milan is beautiful.

Really beautiful? In relation to what? And how come, if one part of me keeps me here, another part dreams of leaving?


L'immagine può contenere Umano e Persona

It’s an ordinary Wednesday at the office. I’m at the PC and, between one practice and another, I wander absentmindedly online and come across a review of an album by a band I don’t know. The album in question is “Lost in the dream” by The War On Drugs. It says: “Take 60 minutes. And get lost in the dream.”Intrigued, I put on my headphones, open the player a little skeptically and start looking for information on the band. I don’t have high expectations, actually. Never heard of, never had much faith in music criticism, always in a frantic search for new forms of musical excitement. “It will be yet another thing pumped up by the sector press”, I think to myself. I’m blatantly wrong. After a few minutes, what I thought could only be background music captivates me completely. Wonder takes possession of me and I enter a state of dreamlike trance.

From the first notes of the opening songs, the thing that strikes me is the purity of the sound: liquid, layered, airy, full of echoes, reverberations and effects that are decidedly unusual for my ears. It’s like a blanket of sound, in which the space-environment keyboards wrap around refined embroideries between piano and guitar, transporting me into a suspended and timeless atmosphere.

I try to find parallels, to look for handles in my memory as a listener that help me better decipher what I’m listening to. I hear references to Springsteen, Dire Straits, Tom Petty, a certain dreampop that, up until then, I have always held in low regard. But all comparisons do not stand alone. This is not a carbon copy or a derivative work, as all the sources of inspiration, although evident, are expressed in an absolutely unique form.If in fact, on the one hand, there is a certain sense of familiarity with the classicism of stars and stripes rock, on the other hand it borders on psychedelia, in a folk style expanded by ethereal atmospheres and ambient and shoegaze codas. And then there is the voice of the singer, Adam Granduciel, which emerges clearly from that sound mixture, with its delicate timbre which makes everything even more dreamy.



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I La guerra alla droga. A sx, il cantante e leader del gruppo Adam Granduciel


I am stunned by that beauty to the point that, when the moment of the fourth track arrives, “An ocean in between the Waves”, I feel something inside me explode, fall into a thousand pieces and recompose in an unknown form. In that epic guitar ride, I feel the incessant bass punctuating the beats of my heart, the rhythm of the drums making me take my feet off the ground, while it’s all a twirl of synths, flangers, delays and guitar tremors.



When, in the heart of the song, I hear these lines:

I’m in my finest hour
Can I be more than just a fool?

I’m so breathless that, without realizing it, I find myself with tears in my eyes. Blurry frames flow through my mind that evoke distant places, overhangs overlooking the ocean, dusty and bumpy roads in boundless spaces, miles to travel on the run in a Cadillac towards an elsewhere that was exactly my dream as a teenager.


…How did I end up here?


The song turns me upside down, opens internal wounds and, at the same time, sutures them. I stare into the enchanted void, my body is there but my soul is who knows where, vibrant with emotion. I no longer hear that the phone is ringing, that people are talking loudly around me and I don’t care much about the fact that, from time to time, my colleagues ask me questions and I reply to them in monosyllables, listlessly, while my listening continues, in a roller coaster of sensations.



Between intense moments and softer ones, granting caresses like punches in the stomach, in the obsessive attention to detail and goosebump-inducing solos, the album maintains its splendor in every single second until its epilogue.

When it comes to an end it’s like coming out of a trip, or opening your eyes after a deep sleep. You look at the clock and realize that an hour has already passed. Routine looms and you have to get busy, even if you would need a depressurization chamber similar to the one reserved for astronauts returning from a space trip. An aseptic room, where the dream gently abandons the slowly fading body.

This is “Lost in the dream”: a journey that kidnaps you and takes you away, dragging you to an unspecified place in the depths of your mind, plunging you into a limbo of memories and nostalgia for places that perhaps you’ve never even seen. It’s like a sudden passage given by a stranger towards a destination full of an ancient, yet new meaning, to which you believed you were no longer destined but which, in your heart, you hoped to reach sooner or later anyway.

“Lost in the dream” is, without metaphor, a true act of love towards music. Few records, nowadays, can become an instant-classic and captivate us from the first listen.

This masterpiece turns 10 years old and its beauty remains there, intact, like a gem still unknown to the masses.

It is a milestone of the new millennium imprinted in a snapshot untouched by the passage of time.

If you’ve never listened to it before, do yourself a favor: listen to it as soon as possible.

You will not regret it.

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