Thursday, July 16, 2009


Donatella Rettore: Kamikaze Rock'n'Roll Suicide (Ariston, 1982)

Italian synth-pop's known mostly for its many electrodisco hits, but it also spawned some more "new wave"-sounding records. "Kamikaze Rock'n'Roll Suicide" is one of them, a somehow obscure concept album about the cult of honour in Japanese philosophy. Drawing on the figure of WWII suicide kamikazes, the music funnily bridges bleak oriental atmospheres, a sullen sense of resignation and the robotic aesthetics of early-80s discopunk. A bit Devo, a bit Blondie and a bit Gaznevada, the album's light, decadent, provoking and adventurous at the same time. Wonderfully pop, and slightly demented.

Donatella Rettore's career covers three decades, but she's mostly known for a couple of hits which are still absolute floorfillers at trash parties. "Kamikaze Rock'n'Roll Suicide" is her sixth album, and does contain one of those tracks: the awkward techno-ska "Lamette".


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Contropotere: Il seme della devianza (Skuld, 1991)

A grim, filthy, monster-heavy post-hardcore maelstrom, often on the brink of thrash metal (even doom metal at times). The songs are long, tortuous and convulsive: an everchanging flow of guitar stabs, upsetting vocal howls which reminds more of a black magic rite than of an ordinary hardcore punk record. A constant hail of blast beats, broken by apocalyptic sludge riffs and chainsaw intrusions (or offhand King Crimson quotes) even seem to mark the entrance to the chaotic realm of Today Is the Day, Neurosis or Flying Luttembachers. The frightening frame is completed by an aggressive anti-capitalist stance, a devious, cyberpunk version of the anarcho-punk attitude of Franti or The Ex.
"Il seme della devianza" isn't really an accomplished record: it's awfully recorded and the unravelling of the tracks is clumsy and unmemorable. But it's daring, utterly original, and it almost gives the shivers.

Contropotere were a band from Naples, founded in 1985 and disbanded ten years later. "Il seme della devianza" is their second LP, and it was followed just by two other EPs.

  1. La chiave del tempo
  2. Templum desertii
  3. Clonazione
  4. Baghdad: la morte in diretta
  5. Urragan
  6. U.S.P. (Uniformità Sociale Precostituita)
Download (192 kbps)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Sinenomine: Spartenza (Incipit Records, 2009)

Will Italian music ever have a counterpart for Pentangle and their magical blend of floklore, jazzy fragrances and instrumental panache? Maybe not, but take Pentangle, bring in tango and fado and take out the blues, trade Celtic for Southern Italian and you get an idea of the wonderful "Spartenza".

Based on a perfectly coalescence of very polished, wonderfully orchestrated counterpoints, the album may fail to appeal to the lovers of coarse, impulsive, bristly music. It might find it a bit too clean, even unpersonal and soulless. I don't envy them: "Spartenza" is just one of the most charming, passionate and classy Italian folk albums I've ever chanced into.
Its most striking element is the subtle play of silences, pauses and rarefaction: accordion cirrus clouds, restrained acoustic guitar weavings, delicate cello caresses and double bass rustles never owerwhelm the listener, but lull him gently together with the sensuos recitation of a very mediterranean, but effervescently jazz-tinged female voice.
The album merges centuries, styles and sound-worlds, creating its unique out-of-time cocoon: comfortable, entangling and glowing in velvety crayon colours.

Sinenomine are an acoustic quintet from Rome. This is their first album.

  1. Vulumbrella
  2. LeMetamorfosi
  3. Perduto
  4. Luistania
  5. Camminante
  6. Soliloquia
  7. Solaria
  8. A lu bene mie
  9. Tango de esperanza
  10. Rua de saudade
  11. Canto delle lavandaie del vomero
  12. Riturnella
  13. Spartenza
Download (320 kbps)

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Monday, July 6, 2009


Giorgio Moroder: E=mc² (Durion, 1979)

Technopop. Tail-swallowing synth-bass locks are its core; endless, metronomic disco grooves its foundation; programmed keyboard tangles its secret. And then, there are songs - light, inventive, adorably artifact. And refinate, despite their minimalism: "Baby Blue" resurrects the best vocal harmonies of the 60s, and most of the other conceal classical progressions and a kaleidoscope of quotations which take the robotic aesthetics of Kraftwerk to a new, playful and totally de-ideologized level.

Besides being a cornerstone of electronic music, the second ultra-electronic album by Tyrolean Giorgio Moroder is a very funny record and a collection of masterful pop tunes. More accomplished than its groundbreaking precursor "From Here to Eternity", probably. Both the records are inescapable inspirations for the Chicago house music scene and the whole electro-disco/italo-disco genres, which Moroder himself contributed to set up with his cutting-edge work on Donna Summer's "I Feel Love".

  1. Baby Blue
  2. What a Night
  3. If You Weren't Afraid
  4. I Wanna Rock You
  5. In My Wildest Dreams
  6. E=mc²
  7. Love's in You Love's in Me [Bonus Track]
  8. Evolution [Bonus Track]
Download (192 kbps)

Sunday, July 5, 2009


La lionetta: Il gioco del diavolo (Shirak, 1981)

Traditional folk, encompassing the whole heritage of Northern Italy, with a special attention to the folklore of Occitanian valleys. Somehow akin to Planxty's celtic revisitations, "Il gioco del diavolo" merges themes and styles, crafting warm sounds and sophisticated embroideries which astonish with their richness and fullness.
The album probably isn't faithful to traditional patterns, techniques and instrumentation (hurdy-gurdy, French bagbipes, bombardes and dulcimeres are everywhere), but actually reinvents the tradition, enriching it, polishing and casting a (wonderful) counterfeit "ancient times" allure. The starting point is traditional material, but the arrival is surely something that never got so intricate, delicate and refinate for a folk band.
Though well-mannered and studied, the album never sounds austere: its breeziness and light-paced folk-dance rhythms are actually the elements that really make it stand out.

La lionetta are a traditional folk ensemble from Piedmont, born in 1977 around reed/pipe player Roberto Aversa, a longtime collaborator of Dario Fo's theatre company. This is their second record, and last one for a long time.

  1. Il matto, il diavolo e il bagatto/La fiera
  2. Cecilia/Il sogno fi Cecilia
  3. Rocastalda
  4. La lionetta
  5. Muran dell'Inghilterra/Canzone della bella
  6. La monferrina di Napoleone
  7. Leandra
  8. Bourrée d'Auvergne/Valzer della montagna
  9. Povra mi/Tema della madre
Download (192 kbps) [re-up]