Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Musicanova: Festa Festa (Fonit Cetra, 1981)

Eugenio Bennato and Carlo D'Angiò created Musicanova in 1976 after leaving Nuova Compagnia Di Canto Popolare, the Neapolitan band which settled the trend of folklore revival which would lately give rise to Il Canzoniere Del Lazio, Carnascialia and so on.
The purpose of Musicanova was to step aside from pure revisitation and move towards a (slightly) more rock direction and new compositions, faithful to the traditional style, which would enrich and make revive the local repertoire. Their style could be compared to the one of contemporary English and French "electric folk" bands such as Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Malicorne. Musicanova have a distinct Southern-Italian feeling and strong Mediterranean inflections which are reflected by Arabian-influenced minor harmonic scales and Teresa Di Sio extraordinary vocals. Their music focused much on the use of mixed compound meters but never fails to be tuneful and lively, thus confirming its refinement.
"Festa festa" is their last album and surely not their best. It's still good and pleasurable, though the absence of Teresa Di Sio is a notable defect. Its sound is more up-to-date than the one of their previous albums: atmospheric synths give many songs a rather "rainy" feeling and the overall mood's much more melancholic and minimal than usual. Some production elements foreshadow the stereotypical "Eighties" sound (sluggish basslines, reverberations, saxophone).
Their two masterpieces, the self-titled 1978 album and "Quando turnammo a nascere" (1979), can be download from the blog Italian Folk Music.

  1. Vento del sud
  2. Canzone della fortuna
  3. Ex voto
  4. Canzone per Iuzzella
  5. Te saluto Milano
  6. L'acqua e la rosa
  7. M'è venuta 'na voglia
  8. A la festa
  9. Nannaré
Download (320 kbps)

Friday, May 23, 2008


Addamanera: Nella tasca de il zio (Trovarobato/Lizard, 2005)

Addamanera are a band from Messina. Mariposa may be considered their closer relatives: besides recording from the same label, they both advocate they play "compoundable music".
In fact their style is some sort of Canterbury/folk/pop hybrid with a strong nonsensical element. They bear resemblances to Franco Battiato, Ivan Graziani, Picchio dal Pozzo, but the explicit influences would be many more. All of them are fused in a very playful and brisk musical pot pourri which never sounds daffy, pretentious or out of focus. "Nella tasca de il zio" is a very refined and carefully structured album, reflecting a definite progressive spirit and skillful musicianship.

  1. Neurogenesi
  2. Gli altri non sapevano niente
  3. (Qualcosa a qualcuno) bla bla
  4. Il piromane
  5. La barca
  6. Libellule
  7. Lemonjelly
  8. La reale forma del vaso
  9. Il vaso
  10. Viandante
  11. Langue

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Aidoru: 13 piccoli singoli radiofonici (Snowdonia, 2005)

Now here we have something very peculiar. Aidoru sound like dozens of bands and like no one else at the same time. Their music is overtly in debt with Kid A-era Radiohead, some post-rock (Disco Inferno? Starfuckers? Gastr Del Sol? I don't know), Air, Robert Wyatt, kraut-like stuff (everyone from Neu! to This Heat), but they rework all these influences into a personal avant-pop pastiche taking all this variety to its best. The 13 "radiophonic" (no radio station would ever play them of course) songs range from Chopin "cover" versions ("Preludio 28 n° 2") to dancey electro-punk ("Ni-Roku"), awkward heavy dilatations ("Ossicine"), Branduardi spoofs ("Angelo-gnomo") and many other oddities.
Guest artists include former Quintorigo singer John De Leo and actresses Morena Tamborrino and Mariangela Gualtieri.

  1. 90 (la paura)
  2. Nothing Infinity Reality
  3. Io guardo spesso il cielo
  4. Giorni
  5. Se dormi
  6. Ossicine
  7. Angelo-gnomo
  8. Parole Porte Parole Ali
  9. Ni-Roku
  10. Preludio op. 28 n° 2
  11. Fas 3 Bis
  12. Phase Difference
  13. Se la parola amore

Monday, May 19, 2008


John De Leo: Vago Svanendo (2008)

First solo album by former Quintorigo singer John De Leo. "Vago Svanendo" (I drift and fade away) appearently doesn't step away from the group's nevrotic chamber-rock formula, but in fact shows a more definite singer/songwriter approach and more experimental leanings, specially concerning the role of the voice. The songs rely on a surreal imaginary in the vein of Vinicio Capossela or "Ottocento" by Fabrizio De André, with a broad use of nonsense, free associations and onomatopeic worplay.
Unluckily the album's quite uneven: besides the most meaty songs, there are too many divertissements and fillers which make about half of the album almost forgettable.

's my review for the webzine www.ondarock.it

  1. Intro: 4 Piano Notes
  2. Freak Ship
  3. Vago svanendo (lasum sté)
  4. L'uomo che continua
  5. Canzo
  6. Tilt (C'è Mattia?)
  7. Spiega la vela
  8. Big stuff
  9. Bambino marrone
  10. Le chien et le flacon
  11. Sinner
Download re-up

Friday, May 16, 2008


Å: omonimo (2006)

Free-rock trio Å's first (and only, at least until now) CD was also the first release for the series "Zeit" by the new cult label Die Schachtel, specialised in improvised and experimental, border-line music. It was received extremely well by indie rock press, to the point that the band's even been considered over-hyped.
Just two years later, there's not that much talk about the band, but the music's still as good as it were when it was released. Some passages may remind either This Heat, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, AMM or other radical electroacoustic improvisers, but even if it's a bit unfocused, the album is quite original and pleasurable (if you like the genre).

Here's an interview to the band (in Italian).

  1. My Memory Is Like A Film. That Is Why
  2. I Am Really Good At Remembering Things, Like The Conversation I Have Written Down In This Book, And What People Were Wearing, And What They Smelled Like, Because
  3. My Memory Has A Smell Track Which Is Like A Soundtrack. And When People Ask Me To Remember Something I Can Simply
  4. Press Rewind And Fast Forward And Pause Like On A Video Recorder, But More Like A Dvd Because I Don't Have To
  5. Rewind Through Everything In Between To Get To A Memory Of
  6. Something A Long Time Ago. And There Are No Buttons, Either, Because
  7. It Is Happening In My Head

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Gang: Le radici e le ali (1991)

After three Clash-insipired LPs with English vocals, in 1991 Gang came up with "Le radici e le ali", which marked a big change in their sound and quickly became a reference for dozens of bands such as Modena City Ramblers, Yo Yo Mundi, Bandabardò. It was a folk-rock album focusing on third-world, internationalist themes and rebellions which predated Mano Negra's patchanka style: thanks to its many guest musicians (Antonello Salis, Mauro Pagani, Daniele Sepe, Massimo Bubola among the most prominent) it ranges from punk-influenced torchsongs to ska, jazzy and world-music episodes. The constant element is a somehow "choral" spirit which makes the music enthralling and strengthens its political charge.
Speaking about results, the album's not really uniform: while most of the upbeat tracks are very skilful and soulful, some other songs are a bit gross.

  1. Esilio
  2. La lotta continua
  3. Socialdemocrazia
  4. Le radici e le ali
  5. Bandito senza tempo
  6. Ombre rosse
  7. Chico Mendes
  8. Sud
  9. Johnny lo zingaro
  10. Chicco il dinosauro
  11. Oltre
  12. Che dare?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Turi: Salviamo il salvabile (2001)

Calabrian rapper Turi is one of the finest MCs in Italy. His style is heavily marked by his calabrian inflection, though he strictly raps in Italian in every song except for "A cui?". He has an extremely serried flow, complex rhythm/syllabe patterns, often making use of feminine rhymes and chained alliterations. The prosody may remind British rapper Braintax.
The lyrics are mostly self-referential in a classic hip-hop style, but they don't epitomize the stereotypical "crew" aesthetics. Some of them focus on Southern Italy instances, problems, traditions ("Non scordare").
The album features several duets and sober, jazz-influenced loops which give it a pleasurable waggish tone.

  1. Intro
  2. Salviamo il salvabile
  3. Papale papale
  4. Risveglio
  5. Pane a chi non ha denti (feat. Kiave)
  6. Non scordare
  7. S.O.S. (feat. Manifest)
  8. Luce - interludio
  9. Brutto colpo
  10. A cui? (feat. Ciccio il Milordo e Luca Giurleo)
  11. La migliore sensazione
  12. Microfoni in fiamme (feat. Macromarco)
  13. Movimento - interludio
  14. Viaggio misterioso
  15. Outro

Monday, May 12, 2008


La Crus: omonimo (1995)

La Crus's first LP is a peculiar but perfectly coherent hybrid: smoky, acoustic songs, sulky vocals, Portishead-like beats and some quasi-industrial loops. The result is an album dominated by lazy, smoky, daunted atmospheres, with a distinct Italian feeling given by the melodic style of the songs and their frequent fanfare-music incursions. Guitars, voice, trumpet and loops are the main elements of this beautiful, morose record.

  1. Natura morta
  2. Il vino
  3. Notti bianche
  4. Nera signora
  5. Angela
  6. Soltanto un sogno
  7. La giostra
  8. Buco di pietra
  9. Lontano
  10. Dov'è finito dio
  11. Tarab
  12. Vedrai
  13. Ricomincio da qui

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Alice: Il sole nella pioggia (1989)

After a longtime collaboration with Franco Battiato, Forlì-born singer Carla Bissi begins a musical partnership with singer/songwriter Juri Camisasca (which is now something like a cult artist, but was almost forgotten at the time). The mood is impressively mystic: a strong world music feeling (think of Peter Gabriel around his fourth album) combines with meditative and esoteric lyrics in the vein of later Battiato. The sound is deep, synthetic, suasive, enriched by the refinate styles of classy guests such as trumpetists Paolo Fresu and Jon Hassell, Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri of Japan, XTC's Dave Gregory. "Now And Forever" is a duet with Van Der Graaf Generator's singer Peter Hammill. "Le ragazze di Osaka" is written by Eugenio Finardi, but the most entangling refrain is probably the one of "L'era del mito". The album is nothing less than a masterpiece, anyhow.

  1. Il sole nella pioggia
  2. Cieli del nord
  3. Visioni
  4. Tempo senza tempo
  5. Le ragazze di Osaka
  6. Orleans
  7. Anin a gris
  8. L'era del mito
  9. Le baccanti
  10. Now And Forever

Friday, May 9, 2008


Max Gazzè: La favola di Adamo ed Eva (Virgin/EMI, 1998)

Max Gazzè's songwriting's very sprightly and tuneful, but his melodies are always elegant and askance. He has a velvety, high-pitched voice which makes impossible not to recognise his style. There are some excellent songs here: tender, airy... But the album's not very balanced and there are some weak tracks. It's not a good reason not to listen to it, though: these are the cases the "skip" button's really useful.

  1. La favola di Adamo ed Eva
  2. Una musica può fare
  3. Cara Valentina
  4. Raduni Ovali
  5. L'amore pensato
  6. Nel verde
  7. Comunque vada
  8. Come si conviene (Bon pà)
  9. L'origine del mondo
  10. Vento d'estate
  11. Autoironia
  12. Colloquium Vitae
  13. Casi ciclici
  14. Due apparecchi cosmici per la trasformazione
Download (192 kbps) re-up

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Claudio Lolli: Ho Visto Anche Degli Zingari Felici (EMI, 1976)

A very good singer/songwriter album, with the songs forming a continuum which ends right in the way it begins. There are some jazzy elements (saxophone, flute, wah-wah here and there), but the style is very essential. Excellent lyrics, good melodies and great songs. The mood is breezy, just subtly melancholic. It reminds alternatively of Francesco De Gregori or Fabrizio De André, but aside from comparisons Lolli's definitely original.

  1. Introduzione
  2. Agosto
  3. Piazza, bella piazza
  4. Primo maggio di festa
  5. La morte della mosca
  6. Anna di Francia
  7. Albana per Togliatti
  8. Conclusione
Download (192 kbps, re-up)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Quintorigo: In cattività (2003)

Quintorigo: sax, violin, cello, double bass and very histrionic vocals. They are a rock band. They cover such things as "Higway Star" (Deep Purple) and "Clap Hands" (Tom Waits) but no, luckily they're not the Italian Apocalyptica. They're sound is nervous and jocose, edgy, theatrical but always very funny and elegant. The lyrics are crazy. So bad they waited till their extraordinary singer John De Leo left the band to cover Area's "Luglio Agosto Settembre (Nero)", which was evidently written with Quintorigo in the mind back in the Seventies...
"In cattività" isn't their best album in my opinion, but it's fairly good all the same, and ablings it's the only one I actually have with a decent bitrate. Enjoy it!

  1. Illune (ninna nanna)
  2. Neon-Sun
  3. Clap Hands
  4. Bogliasco
  5. U.S.A. e getta
  6. Myxectbo e Ckopocts
  7. Dimentico
  8. Night And Day
  9. Deux heures de soleil (deux)
  10. Raptus (il signore inesistente)
  11. Rap-tus
  12. Darn That Dream
  13. Illune
  14. Illume + Zahra (ghost track)
  15. Raptus (ghost track)
  16. Illume (ghost track)
Download re-up

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Daniele Sepe: Malamusica (1987)

Daniele Sepe's breezy, mediterranean jazz is full of playfulness and surprises. Ranging from compound-meter sections in the vein of Area to caricatural liscio sketches which may remind Stormy Six just as Stefano Bollani, Sepe's music keeps on evoking the typical Seventies R.I.O.-oriented band... with out ever sounding "rock"!
This first LP has a very "fanfare" sound and never ceases to intersect the paths of traditional folklore revival ("Tammurriata nera") with a brilliant ironic attitude. Something between Nino Rota and Frank Zappa...

  1. Al Fatah
  2. Salsiccia e friarelli
  3. Gorbaciov
  4. Capotango
  5. Tammurriata nera
  6. Gente distrutta
  7. Una vez
  8. Guignol's band
  9. Descrizione di conferenza 1 (con intervento)
  10. Descrizione di conferenza 2 (con passaggio di figura femminile)
  11. No quiero mas
  12. Marcia delle mele marce
  13. Skarpetta
  14. Louise
  15. Napoli sotterranea
  16. Carmela
  17. Una gita a marechiaro

Monday, May 5, 2008


VV.AA.: The Letters - An Unconventional Italian Guide To King Crimson (Mellow, 2004)

This is three-CD compilation released by Mellow Records as a King Crimson tribute. Among the performers are some of the most prominent contemporary progressive bands, with a wide variety ranging from the old-fashioned spaghetti-prog of Germinale or Malibran to the jazzcore ardour of Anatrofobia and Caboto.
Some of the cover versions are quite calligraphic while others reshape the compositions more deeply (Nema Niko and Comfort bring in some electronica, Mariposa show their chamber-punk attitude - and their awful English pronounciation, Mosaic Orchestra almost have a fanfare sound), but they're all substantially faithful and well-played, with many great renditions and a very good overall result.


CD #1
  1. Stefano Bollani - Frame By Frame
  2. Germinale - Doctor Diamond
  3. Nema Niko - The Talking Drum
  4. Spirosfera - Cat Food
  5. Roversi Caimi Menotti - Discipline
  6. Soundvision - One More Red Nightmare
  7. Anatrofobia - The Sailor's Tale
  8. Tilion - One Time
  9. Taproban - Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part 2
  10. Three Of A Charming Pair - Inner Garden I & II
  11. Prophexy - The Great Deceiver
  12. Giardini d'autunno - Formentera Lady
  13. Psychonoesis - Starless
CD #2
  1. Goad - Epitaph
  2. Costa Mombrini Piazzi - Lady Of The Dancing Water
  3. Jet Lag - Pictures Of A City
  4. Ubi Maior - Prince Rupert
  5. L'imbroglio - Providence
  6. Malibran - I Talk To The Wind
  7. Floating State - Exiles
  8. Notturno Concertante - Cadence And Cascade
  9. Greenwall - Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part 1
  10. Caboto - Moonchild
  11. The Slowmovies - Matte Kudasai
  12. ZAQ - In The Court Of The Crimson King
  13. Mariposa - Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream
Cd #3
  1. Mosaic Orchestra - Red
  2. Comfort - We'll Let You Know/Fracture
  3. Nodo Gordiano - Lament
  4. Aria Palea - The Great Deceiver
Download (re-up):
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Frankie Hi-NRG MC: Verba Manent (1993)

First album by Turinese/Sicilian rapper Francesco Di Gesù, who is often considered the most literate MC in Italy. Its lyrical style marks a departure from the ruling posse aesthetics, some sort of juvenile, left-wing "crew" system, towards a more politically concerned, critical attitude.
The flow is elegant, cynical, far away from the drawling slang of many other Italian hip-hop artists. The samples are deep, jazzy ("Potere alla parola" even samples King Crimson!) and may associate the album with the contemporary jazz-hop scene of the U.S.

  1. Entro
  2. Faccio la mia cosa
  3. Storia di molti
  4. Combatto la tua idea
  5. Etna
  6. Disconnetti il potere
  7. Omaggio, tributo, riconoscimento
  8. Calma... calma
  9. Libri di sangue (album version)
  10. Pace e guerra
  11. Potere alla parola
  12. Fight da faida
  13. Libri di sangue (radio version)
  14. Potere alla parola
  15. Esco
  16. Hide track

Friday, May 2, 2008


Mariposa: Pròffiti Now (2005)

Bolognese band Mariposa likes to label their music as "musica componibile" ("composable music"). Their sound is in fact quite difficult to categorize: some sort of raw, sketchy chamber rock, with definite progressive touches and a deliberate avant-pop attitude. It may remind of Stormy Six circa "Macchina maccheronica", or maybe Picchio dal pozzo, but it's actually unique.
The songs, and the lyrics in particular, teem of irony and jocose social critique, quotations, nonsense: they're one of the most amusing and awkward bands around.

CD #1
  1. Forza musica
  2. Conferenza 1
  3. Rimpianti a gas
  4. Conferenza 2
  5. Trovarobato
  6. L'asta degli oggetti scivolati
  7. Conferenza 3
  8. Camposanto
  9. Pretzel
  10. Conferenza 4
  11. La stima del manicomio
  12. Conferenza 5
  13. Che caro che è il casello
  14. Tutta roba di marca
  15. Conferenza 6
  16. Errata corrige
CD #2
  1. Le signorine centroamericane
  2. Radio marea
  3. Conferenza 7
  4. Porto rispetto
  5. Conferenza 8
  6. Pin Pam
  7. Conferenza 9
  8. Terrorismo
  9. Circo a tre piste
  10. Conferenza 10
  11. Talaltri
  12. Conferenza 11
  13. Teen vaginas can destroy your life
  14. Conferenza 12
  15. Blob non si tocca
  16. Conferenza 13
  17. Pròffiti now
Part 1 | Part 2 (re-up)

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Germinale: omonimo (1994)

The first Germinale LP was a definite sign of maturity for the Italian neo-prog scene: its magic, suspended atmosphere easily makes it able to compete with the most noted albums of the Seventies. In a typical spaghetti-prog evocative style, Germinale have a PFM-like sound dominated by sharp-edged guitars, flute, Hammond organ.
The songs are finely structured into harder and more delicate, fugato sections which naturally flow one into another. The lyrics don't have the bumptiousness of many other Italian prog bands, though they obviously focus on fairytalesque themes.

  1. Intro
  2. La strega
  3. Bruma (Quietesmo)
  4. Lo sguardo nello specchio
  5. Soffi sonori
  6. Il mago
  7. Guardiano dei cieli
  8. Germinale