Mansoro - Everyday Fate

Mansoro – Everyday Fate

Marco Mansoro is a Brazilian multi-instrumentalist, in his own words, writing “songs that create a positive energy and cause a feeling of faith in the good things in life”. Everyday Fate is an instrumental album that was released via Bandcamp in December 2023. He has previously made a series of albums and singles available to stream from his website, a mix of instrumentals and songs on which he also performs his own vocals.

Since studying music at the Lia Salgado Conservatory of Music, not far from Rio de Janeiro, he has invested time and effort in developing his knowledge of the techniques of music production and upgrading his home studio as well as honing his song-writing skills. Releasing this latest work on Bandcamp is, potentially, a stepping stone to more recognition and reaching a wider audience.

This album is a sophisticated, artistic, and thoughtful collection which is wholly original. Despite his melodic prog influences (the usual suspects are name-checked in the biography on his website) his music does not rely on coarse imitations of tones or on replicating the virtuoso noodling that many of the new generation of melodic prog bands find difficult to avoid. Strangely, there is also a lack of any obvious Brazilian influence here. What we do get is melodic prog mixed with mellow musical theatre stylings. If the song arrangements weren’t so interesting and ‘progressive’, the style and tone could come across as a bit ‘new-age’. It is keyboard-centric but with just enough variation in the instrumentation and with some superb guitar parts, and other surprises, in the mix.

First track Eternal is an exuberant piece of electronica. A simple melody played out on keyboards develops from ambient beginnings into an agile, foot-tapping piece full of the joy that Marco is aiming to encapsulate. The structure of it is a well-worn template, but there is a satisfying and rewarding freshness to how Marco weaves the instruments around each other and plays with the melody and tempo.

The piano styling that recurs across the album takes centre stage on the second track Wings. The tone won’t be to everyone’s taste, but to Marco’s credit the song is developed by strategic use of electric guitar and synth phrasing. No One is Alone is a much better example of the way that Marco intelligently layers sounds over the base of a piano melody. As a result of this meticulous alchemy there is an intriguing mix of simplicity and complexity in the way that the song develops.

Marco isn’t one to overreach himself, so the songs are concise and a minor criticism would be that there isn’t a cinematic quality to these instrumental pieces. His focus is on the explorations of themes, and he executes this superbly, but I hope that he can build on this and may be more ambitious in the future.

For example, Angels Know it All begins with an ethereal choir to set up a more brooding, slower tempo melody picked out on acoustic guitar. Synthetic strings and percussive elements are used to alter the atmosphere but the track fades out after four minutes and this seems like an opportunity missed, since the stage has been set for a drama that never gets a chance to be played out.

The seven and half minute Steps in Time does provide the scope for a more expansive piece, and Marco makes the most of his progressive sensibilities. The main melody is not the most compelling part of the track, but the initial phase of the piece transitions into a more interesting ambient soundscape that develops firstly via electronica and then with electric guitar, before the guitar is used to great melodic effect to revive the opening melody and Marco closes it out properly with climactic guitar chords.

The track sequencing feels like a demonstration of the development of Marco’s progressive and melodic instrumental journey. With Hypnotized we get our first taste of minor chords. Acoustic guitar and synthetic strings set the scene and, at last, there is a sense of sadness, darkness, and an edge to the story-telling. Not much happens as the song plays out, but in this case, there is just enough nuance about the instrumentation and the progression of the melody to make the piece incredibly compelling. Maybe it’s the contrast to what has gone before, but it packs a real punch despite the under-stated nature of the delivery.

Marco reverts to the piano for the opening passage of Among the Living. I am pleasantly surprised to hear a throwback to a riff from the Motors 1980 track Tenement Steps that is surely just a happy coincidence, but is a most surprising and welcome diversion, if you like that sort of thing. The joy is certainly back, and Marco throws the proverbial kitchen sink in with an astonishing range of instrumentation. Thankfully, it doesn’t feel overdone, there is a natural flow as the sounds weave in and out whilst the piano keeps the melody going.

The final piece is the title track Everyday Fate and it has a calm appeal. It almost strays into smooth lounge-style territory at some points, but Marco always manages to pull something more interesting out of the hat. He delivers another marvellous melodic guitar solo in the middle section and then gradually winds things down to a dignified end.

I was truly taken by surprise by the consistency of the quality of this album, it’s a highly engaging playlist that works on many levels. Bearing in mind that this project has been entirely self-produced by the artist it is a highly commendable first official release. If you like your Prog to be melodic then Marco Mansoro’s Everyday Fate is well worth a listen.

01. Eternal (4:48)
02. Wings (6:14)
03. No One Is Alone (4:29)
04. Angels Know It All (4:21)
05. Steps Of Time (7:33)
06. Hypnotized (5:07)
07. Still Among the Living (7:12)
08. Everyday Fate (5:38)

Total Time – 46:22

Marco Mansoro – All Instruments

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Brazil
Date of Release: 4th December 2023

Mansoro – Website | Bandcamp | YouTube