Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Pierrot Lunaire: omonimo (It, 1974)

Starting from today, I'm going to alternate my post following a rarity criterion: semi-forgotten gems will turn about with more renown and easy to find albums which are the key works of the fields this blog is more concerned.
Of course this does not mean I've run of gas and I'm trying to make up for the missing delicacies with fillers: the post rate is going to double. I've simply thought some of these more "introductive" posts might be useful for the ones which aren't really into the kind of music I usually deal with.

I'm starting now with an album I've already mentioned a couple of times: Pierrot Lunaire's first LP.
A juvenile effort of three classically-trained musicians from Rome, the album isn't generally regarded as one of the most accomplished Italian albums of the progressive era. Nonetheless, it's very original and far from the dominant spaghetti-prog style.
Acoustic atmospheres are fused with Arturo Stalteri's piano passages (which manage to sound dreamy and exuberant in the very same time) and some Hackett-like electric guitar lines in a very peculiar, fairytalesque atmosphere which surprisingly lacks any emphasis. The overall mood's in fact very simple: its placid, candid joyfulness might remind such diverse spirits as the utopian ingenuity of West Coast psychedelia, the light playfulness of the Canterbury scene or the luminosity of some christian folk-rock abums of those years.
The album has a very unique, magical feeling which ties both the more keyboard-lead episodes and the song-oriented ones. A special attention should be paid to the excellent and tuneful melodies sung by Stalteri's delicate voice, but also to the impressive blend of the timbers. A lot of different keyboards, guitar-like instruments and even some flute merge to create a soft, bright sound which is somehow immersed in a misty, moony aura.

  1. Ouverture XV
  2. Raipure
  3. Invasore
  4. Lady Ligeia
  5. Narciso
  6. Ganzheit
  7. Verso il lago
  8. Il re di Raipure (stream it!)
  9. Sotto i ponti
  10. Arlecchinata
  11. La saga della prima primavera
  12. Mandragola
Download (~200 kbps)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


N.O.R.M.A.: omonimo (Dischi di Angelica, 1992)

I don't know much about the octet which recorded this CD for the official label of the then-newborn Angelica experimental music festival. Some of the band members have been involved later with former Henry Cow musicians, and the group even signed for Chris Cutler's ReR Megacorp, which published their second and last album "L'arpa e l'asino".
N.O.R.M.A. first LP's very original, though it definitely reflects an out-of-date fashion: reliance on improvisation, non-looped vinyl sampling, winds and chamber-like passages would make the album a perfect addition to the Nurse With Wound List, if only it came out a couple of decades before.
Anyway, the music's playful and surprising, varied, well-crafted. Two multi-part suites, a longer track in the middle and some final mid-length pieces merge old-fashioned easy listening, radical improvisation, jazz, fanfare and classical music, East-Asian sketches, kitchen recipes and Federico Fellini quotes in a typical Rock In Opposition aesthetics.

I have to thank Zerodimension for having posted the album first.

  1. Suite From Psycho: Prelude
  2. Suite From Psycho: Temptation
  3. Suite From Psycho: The Peephole
  4. Suite From Psycho: The Murder
  5. Suite From Psycho: Marion And Sam
  6. Suite From Psycho: The Murder (Ripresa)
  7. Chinoiserie
  8. Circus Music: Introduzione
  9. Circus Music: La Diva
  10. Circus Music: L'indiano
  11. Circus Music: La Ballerina
  12. Circus Music: Il Giapponese
  13. Circus Music: Finale
  14. Pasticci E Postumi (stream it!)
  15. Artes Moriendi
  16. Classico!
Download (256 kbps)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Malvasia: omonimo (Fonit Centra, 1979)

An offspawn of Canzoniere del Lazio published this album just after the group's disbanding, under the name Malvasia. The trio was composed of Francesco Giannattasio (accordion, percussions), Pietro Brega (voice) and Andrea Piazza (harp, formerly of I tarantolati di Tricarico).

This LP's easily one of the finest and most original ones I had the chance to listen among the so-called canzonieri scene which played a fundamental role in Italian post-68 leftist culture. The music's extremely refinate, blending Italian folklore (both from the North and from the South of the peninsula), sporadic celtic hints and baroque-like elegance, specially concerning the placid "chamber" flute/violin arrangements and guitar arpeggios.
This unusual baroque allure casts a peculiar, old-fashioned shadow on the atmosphere of the album, making it one of those rare albums which can create their own world and refuse any direct comparison. There's a sunny and quiet mood leavening the whole album: it sounds so simple and modest, even if it's evidently very carefully crafted...
There are a few tracks with vocals, with "Sali sali sole" shining particularly: a wonderful, heartful melody which magically creates a feeling of ascension and homeliness.

This album's specially recommended for those who liked Musicanova's "Festa Festa" - the end-of-an-era feeling, warmth and simplicity are quite close - or love Pierrot Lunaire's first album.

"Sali sali sole" is available for streaming in the new "official" muxtape of the blog, which will be constantly updated with sample tracks from the last posted albums.

  1. Valzer per Siglinda
  2. Fany Poer
  3. Tarantella di Zi' Antonio
  4. Arcobaleno
  5. Gemma 'e oro
  6. Sali sali sole (stream it!)
  7. Valzer di un momento
  8. Tarantella maggiore e minore
  9. Tanto tempo solo

Download (192 kbps):
Massmirror | Sharebee

Monday, June 16, 2008


Tanake: 3ree (Fratto9/ Ebria, 2007)

Tanake are a radical jazzcore band from Florence. They follow the footsteps of such bands as Zu, Anatrofobia, Strafuckers, but their first and only album displays a very personal mastership of the nowadays very "Italian" impro/math/post/jazzcore formula. Their aesthetics is very freeform and comprises radio excerpts, frantic, simmery drumming, amorphous guitar and trumpet burbles, edgy bass short-circuits. The result could sound completely out of focus, but happily does not.

Here's a good review, in Italian.

  1. Loft Serenade
  2. Ingredienti per 3 persone
  3. Dismorfofobia di Marylin
  4. Could Your Brain Be More Reflective Than A Mirror?
  5. Dustin Soup
  6. Utilità sociale intesa come interesse della collettività alla manifestazione del pensiero
  7. NO_ Thing's Possible With_Out 4Strings And A New Coat
  8. Boonaburra
  9. Stroke 4 Gradient Red
  10. La contessa abbandona le gare
  11. Ozio acrobatico
Download (192 kbps)

Friday, June 13, 2008


Pitura Freska: 'na bruta banda (Psycho/BMG, 1991)

Pitura Freska were a reggae/ska group from Venice. They sung in Venetian dialect and got quite known with a provocatory song they played for Sanremo Festival in 1997, "Papa nero". Here's their first album, very funny and pleasant, specially if you can understand the lyrics, which deal with social and protest themes in an optimistic and light way. The production may seem a bit too polished, but such sunny songs as "Marghera", "Bateo" and "Pin Floi" do sound good the same.

  1. 'na bruta banda
  2. The Boss
  3. Doc
  4. Pin Floi
  5. Marghera
  6. Bateo
  7. Bea fia
  8. Bienal
  9. Suca baruca
  10. So mato per la mona
Donwload (256 kbps)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


David Riondino: Racconti picareschi (CGD, 1989)

Florentine comic and radio speaker David Riondino is recently associated with Stefano Bollani for their exuberant RadioTre broadcast "Il Dottor Djembe", which is notable for its bright and continuous references to fake musical artists, fake interviews, fake telephone calls, fake top tens and surreal musical humor.
He published about a dozen of albums as singer/songwriter, too. "Racconti picareschi" is the sixth one and is a full display of his hystrionic surrealist armory. Twenty short songs ranging from demential miniatures, astute satires of famous Italian singers/songwriters, nonsensical para-latin sketches. Irony, wordplays and a refinate sense of melody are the defining traits of this amazing album.
Musically speaking, the arrangements are a bit weak, probably quite low-budget. The flourished arpeggios by guitarist Andrea Braido (known for his work with Vasco Rossi, Mina, Zucchero etc.) and saxophone incursions do bring, unluckily, a distinct "sessionman" feeling to the album.

  1. Africa
  2. Elefanti
  3. Maracaibo
  4. Dottor Livingstone, I Suppose
  5. Inno dei professionisti
  6. La mantide religiosa
  7. Milano sembra
  8. Canzone del silenzio degli animali
  9. Crepuscolo del Novecento
  10. Jessica
  11. E va po ro
  12. La grande aragosta
  13. Canzone della foca
  14. Canzone dell'impiegatino asburgico
  15. Giuseppina che cammina sul filo
  16. Franco a Catania
  17. Parco dell'Uccellina
  18. Le strade di Tex
  19. Alegria do Brasil
  20. Empepada de cajajo
Download (~160 kbps)

Monday, June 9, 2008


Garamond: Quant'altro (Lizard, 2007)

Garamond's debut album is actually some sort of retrospective of their activity: the tracks date to 2001 and 2005. They are an ensemble from Ancona and their style is firmly rooted in the Italian "Rock In Opposition" tradition. The singer Laura Agostinelli's vocal research evidently reminds of Area's Demetrio Stratos, but is definitely more jocose, thus coming close to experimentation of Quintorigo's John De Leo.
The whole album is extremely high-spirited indeed. The lyrics seem to reflect an Ou.Li.Po. aesthetics: they keep on switching among registers, from fairytalesque to nonsense, childish, aulic. The music behaves pretty much in the same way, ranging from chamber music to jazz, band music, electronica... The result is a very dynamic and fanciful work, maybe comparable to Picchio dal pozzo or Stormy Six: highly intricated, kaleidoscopic, but always very light.

Here's a (not so much) more detailed review I wrote in Italian.

  1. Nel sogno di Otfon Brunzig, consumatore di sogni
  2. La (proverbiale) fine del Ca' De Luzi
  3. Il gesuita millantatore
  4. Filastrocca all'oracolo
  5. La saga degli immaginari
  6. Beatamente plagiati da superstizioni organizzate
  7. Omaggio al Dottor Zoidberg
  8. Drazil
  9. Situazione angolare
Download (320 kbps) re-up

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Ivan Graziani: Agnese Dolce Agnese (Numero Uno, 1979)

This is Ivan Graziani's sixth and most successful album. He was an Abruzzese singer/songwriter and his style is notable for its quirky and subtle lyrics - always very jocose, tuneful but unpredictable melodies and unusual falsetto vocals. The folk element's always on the forefront: many tracks remind me of a nonsensical version of Angelo Branduardi.
Graziani's complete discography's been uploaded here, together with the ones of many important Italian singers/songwriters.

  1. Taglia la testa al gallo
  2. Fame
  3. Veleno all'autogrill
  4. Il piede di San Raffaele
  5. Doctor Jeckill e Mister Hyde
  6. Agnese
  7. Il prete di Anghiari
  8. Fuoco sulla collina
  9. Modena Park
  10. Canzone per Susy
Download (320 kbps)

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Port-Royal: Flares (Resonant, 2005)

Port-Royal's debut's already become a classic. The Genoan band's very personal fusion of ambient, IDM electronica and post-rock in the vein of early Sigur Rós is one of the most suggestive styles to have emerged in the last years. Their mood is fascinating and unique, focusing on ethereal synth clouds, crystalline guitar swirls, reverbs, abstract computer-based beats and - most of all - unforgettable, subliminal melodies. The resulting sound is extremely deep, a submarine heaven dominated by both rapture and melancholy, moving and captivating.

  1. Jeka
  2. Spetsnaz/Paul Leni
  3. Zobione, Part 1
  4. Zobione, Part 2
  5. Zobione, Part 3
  6. Karola Bloch
  7. Flares, Part 1
  8. Flares, Part 2
  9. Flares, Part 3
  10. Stimmung
Download (192 kbps) re-up

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Caboto: Nauta (Scenester, 2001)

Caboto's a Bolognese quartet playing a quite personal jazz/post-rock formula. Here's their first album, featuring six lenghty, entirely instrumental compositions dominated by polyrhtms, glockenspiel and a repetition-based approach which may remind both math-rock and minimalism. Something like a chance encounter among early Tortoise, Discipline-era King Crimson and Steve Reich... The moods are very varied, ranging from ecstatic sections to more frantic, jazzcore episodes.

  1. Afterland
  2. Take Off And Drift
  3. Samsa
  4. Krill
  5. A Kind Of Blue Baobab
  6. Beforeland
Download (256 kbps)