Sunday, November 16, 2008


Alberto Camerini: Cenerentola e il pane quotidiano (Cramps, 1976)

Alberto Camerini was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and he stayed there until the age of eleven, when he relocated to Milan. There he soon became involved in rock music, first teaming with Roberto Colombo, then forming the band Il Pacco with Donatella Bardi, Eugenio Finardi, Belloni and Lucio Fabbri.
While the others began recording as solo artists or got into other bands (Lucio Fabbri was to join P.F.M.), Camerini became an acclaimed sessionman thanks to his whimsical guitar playing.

As of 1976, he signed with Cramps Records and recorded his first solo album, "Cenerentola e il pane quotidiano". Musically speaking, the sound is the typical one of Cramps Records: kaleidoscopic, zippy jazz-rock combined with folk and singer/songwriter structures - very close to Area or Finardi's Cramps-era albums. Camerini merged some exquisite Brazilian nuances to the formula and his very sprightly melodic talent, creating a dynamic, easy-going style.
The lyrics aren't stunningly literate, but they're brilliantly critical: while they do not explicitly step out of the left-wing youth culture, they ironize upon its trends and irrationalities. "Pane quotidiano" laughs at the vegetarian fashion, while "La ballata dell'invasione degli extraterresti" is an illuminating picture of the hippies as "aliens":

Approfittarono del lusso della civiltà avanzata,
Si nutrivano di scarti della società privata
Riciclavano le macchine e i vestiti non usati,
Si vestivano di niente, di stracci colorati.
Vivevano in bande in case occupate,
Non avevano famiglia o tradizioni antiquate
Comunicavano tra loro con nuovi segnali,
Tu li avresti detti diversi invece erano tutti uguali.

They took advantage of the luxury of the advanced civilization,
They lived on the waste of the private society
They recycled cars and unemployed dresses,
They dressed of nothing, of coloured rags,
They lived in bands in squatted houses,
They didn't have a family or antiquated traditions
They communicated with themselves with a new kind of signals,
You'd have said they were all diverse, but they were all the same.

  1. La ballata dell'invasione degli extraterrestri
  2. Maracantù F.C.
  3. Pane quotidiano
  4. Sicurezza
  5. Droga (aiutami dottore)
  6. La straordinaria storia dell'invasione della televisione
  7. TV Baby (gli eroi della televisione)
  8. Santa Marta
  9. Cenerentola
Download (192 kbps)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


24 Grana: K Album (La canzonetta, 2001)

24 Grana are one of the most original Italian bands to come out of the late Nineties. Starting for their first album "Loop" back in 1997, they fused dub and trip-hop tendencies with Neapolitan language. Ska/hip-hop influences and their relation with the Centri Sociali anarco-leftist area put them near Almamegretta and 99 Posse as the main representatives of a new "Southern" trend in Italian alternative music. A mild psychedelic mood in their first albums, a decisive rock attitude and a less ideologically-charged stance contributed in distinguishing them firmly nonetheless.

Their third studio album, "K album", marked a shift towards a more lucid pop-rock formula. The sound forsook many of its reggae-drawn elements and took a far-seeing indie electronic direction probably inspired by "Kid A" and Radiohead's new course.
The songs of the album alternate Italian and Neapolitan languages and though their sound had now become very "English" their Mediterranean roots are always present in their harmonies and melodies. The frequent use of melodic minor scales higlights both their link to the Neapolitan tradition and the lead guitarist's appreciation of Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood's style.
Besides all comparisons, "K album" is an impressive collection of perfectly accomplished pop songs. Essential, though deep in their sound. Extremely varied, though always recognizable in style. Intensely inspired, nervous, urban and melancoholic.

  1. Pikkola kanzone per K
  2. 'E kose ka spakkano
  3. Kanzone doce
  4. Kanzoneanarkika
  5. Kanzone su un detenuto politico
  6. Kanzone su Londra
  7. Kanzone del pisello
  8. Kevlar
  9. Kanzone del fumo
Download (192 kbps)

Monday, November 10, 2008


Piero Milesi: The Nuclear Observatory of Mr. Nanof (Cuneiform, 1986)

Milanese composer Piero Milesi is probably best known for his work as the arranger of Fabrizio De André albums "Le nuvole" and "Anime salve". He is in fact one of the most prominent Italian artists in the field of electronic minimalism.
After having studied cello, he graduated in experimental and electronic composition in Milan conservatory. Then he joined the Gruppo Folk Internazionale entourage and got a degree in architecture with a thesis on the relations between space and sound.

"The Nuclear Observatory of Mr. Nanof" is his first work to be published by the quintessential American avant-prog label Cuneiform Records. It's the soundtrack of the homonym experimental film directed by Paolo Rosa and produced by Studio Azzurro. The film was a surreal exploration of an enormous graffiti engraved on the outside wall of Volterra mental hospital by resident Oreste Fernando Nannetti - a self-proclaimed "Astronautic Mineral Engineer of the Mental System" who referenced to himself as NANOF11 when talking about the author of the graffiti.
Milesi's music is extremely evocative. Though very repetitive, it subtly breaks the typical staticity of minimalist compositions. Thanks to a cautius use of the melodic element, it shows a mild linear evolution, while the soggy synth sounds give the music an autumnal, moisty mood. Circularity and fluctuation are not the key sensations created by the music, which rather arouses a sense of stagnation, claustrophobic idleness.

  1. Mr. Nanof's Tango
  2. Tom Thumb
  3. Between the Scale and the Apple
  4. Scene of the Madmen
  5. Waiting for the Fete
  6. My Dad Had Two Mommies and Two Daddies
  7. Graffiti
  8. Towards the Tree in front of the House
  9. The Procession
  10. Three Figurations: The Braid, the Rhombus, the Star
  11. The Presence of the City
  12. Pantelleria
  13. Questa non è la mia voce
  14. Writing on the Glass
  15. In the Car with Mr. Felsen
  16. Let Ninusk Be
  17. Waterfall
Download (160 kbps)

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Mina: Tutto Mina (Warner, 2006)

Mina Anna Mazzini is the most famous Italian female pop singer ever. She owes her popularity to her frequent TV apparitions during the Sixties, to her stunning vocal personality and to the great songs many composers wrote for her in those years.
"Tutto Mina" is much probably the most complete collection featuring her Sixties hits. The styles range from easy-going r'n'r-inspired tracks ("Tintarella di luna", "Una zebra a pois", "Serafino campanaro", some of the first ones in Italy) to extraordinary and sophisticated love songs signed by some of the greatest Italian authors of that time ("Il cielo in una stanza" - Gino Paoli, "Stringimi forte i polsi" - Fiorenzo Carpi/Dario Fo, "Se telefonando" - Ennio Morricone/Maurizio Costanzo).
The impressing vocal performance in "Brava" - a song explicitly conceived to show Mina's thecnical ability - gives an account of the singer's personality as an interpreter. An Italian pop monument, for a good reason.

CD 1:
  1. Il cielo in una stanza
  2. Tintarella di luna
  3. Nessuno
  4. Due note
  5. È vero
  6. Coriandoli
  7. Piano
  8. Una zebra a pois
  9. La notte
  10. Folle banderuola
  11. Serafino campanaro
  12. Le mille bolle blu
  13. Vorrei sapere perché
  14. Come sinfonia
  15. Cubetti di ghiaccio
  16. Sabato notte
  17. Moliendo cafè
  18. Renato
  19. Eclisse twist
  20. Prendi una matita
  21. Stringimi forte i polsi
  22. Chihuahua
  23. Stessa spiaggia stesso mare
CD 2:
  1. È l'uomo per me
  2. Un buco nella sabbia
  3. Un anno d'amore
  4. Città vuota
  5. Ora o mai più
  6. Io sono quel che sono
  7. L'ultima occasione
  8. Soli
  9. Brava
  10. Una casa in cima al mondo
  11. Ta ra ta ta
  12. Se telefonando
  13. Se tu non fossi qui
  14. Breve amore
  15. Mi sei scoppiato dentro il cuore
  16. Se piangi se ridi
  17. E se domani
  18. L'immensità
  19. Conversazione
  20. Se c'è una cosa che mi fa impazzire
  21. So che non è così
  22. Sono come tu mi vuoi
  23. La banda
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Musica per bambini: Nascondino coll'assassino (La mia cantina, 1998)

Musica per bambini are the two Italo-Australian twins Manuel and Tim Bongiorni. The roots of their interest in music for children can be traced back to the age of seven, when they debuted with "children" versions of synth-pop classics (Depeche Mode, Duran Duran).
After having relocated to Italy in the end of the Eighties, they began working on a higly idiosyncratic music/theatre show merging pre-recorded backing tracks, gashed nursery rhymes, effected vocals and home-made scenographies.

"Nascondino con l'assassino" is the project's first official release. It's a mini-album featuring just nine tracks. which will unavodably fail to satisfy the majority. Approximative, ostentatiously unkempt, the music couples sick pseudo-folksongs with unpolished electronic beats and punk-metal guitars. It may resemble to a terrorist, mentally ill version of Üstmamò.
Though initially quite disturbing, the record quickly reveals the lucid design of its aesthetics and the limpid levity of its melodies. A curiosity: "La pianta dei chiodi" has the same strophe of XTC's "Sacrifical Bonfire" - the two songs are probably based on the same traditional.

  1. Tana per l'assassino
  2. Il bosco di biscotti
  3. Morte di una bambola di carta
  4. Il lanciatore di coltelli
  5. La pianta dei chiodi
  6. Morte di un cavallo a dondolo
  7. Betoniera
  8. Canto popolare dei sacchi di cemento
  9. Morte di un orsetto di pelouche
Download (256 kbps)

Monday, November 3, 2008


Musicanova: omonimo (Philips, 1978)

This is the first time I post two albums by the same band. I won't dwell on the presentation on the band therefore, having already talked about Musicanova for the album "Festa festa".
The album I'm posting today is Musicanova's second album, an almost miraculous collection of songs composed to renew the traditional music of Campania. The vocals are all in Neapolitan language and their interpretation is stunnigly keen and lively. The arrangements are complex, layered but always focused on the traditional styles: many tracks feature flute, violin and refinate rhythm guitar figures, and the overall sound is some sort of very cultured, inspired and ancient-sounding folk music. The presence of odd meters directly links to baroque music conceived for the dance, giving the songs a very astir and physical temper.
"Pizzica minore" opens on an impetuous zampogna-violin blast followed by an impressive vocal performance by Teresa Di Sio. "A la muntagna" is an apology of brigandage. It juxtaposes a tense, pastoral metaphore about sheep, wolves, hunters and robbers with a trampling, choral 15/8+9/8 strophe which recites:

Se n'è fujuto 'o rre Burbone
e n'è venuto n'ato cchiù putente:
cagna 'o guverno, cagna 'o padrone,
sulo pe' chi stà 'a sotto nun cagna niente.

The Borbone king fled away
Another one came, more powerful:
The government changes, the master changes,
Only for the lower ones nothing changes.

  1. Pizzica minore
  2. Riturnella
  3. A la muntagna
  4. Siento mò che t'aggia dì
  5. A' morte 'e Zì Frungillo
  6. Tempo di carnevale
  7. Ninna nanna per voce e mandoloncello
  8. Canto allo scugnizzo
  9. Tarantella finale
Download (~230 kbps)