Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2

Gianfranco Manfredi: Zombie di tutto il mondo unitevi (Ultima spiaggia, 1977)

An atypical singer/songwriter album, very sarcastic about the remnants of the 68 era though manifestly bound to the left-wing contestation area. The lyrics are sharp and salacious, still quite enjoyable for their cleverness even if the themes they deal of are a bit outdated.
Musically speaking, the songs are quite elaborate, both for the arrangements and for the meandery melodies. Some slight progressive leanings, muscular string arrangements and zippy piano/drums bluesy grooves converge to an energic - though melancholic - atmosphere which wonderfully portraits the garrulous disillusionment of the lyrics.

"Zombie di tutto il mondo unitevi" (evidently a pun on Marx&Engels's adagio "Workers of the world, unite!") is Gianfranco Manfredi's third album, written with fellow singer/songwriter Ricky Gianco and performed by prog-rock celebrities Premiata Forneria Marconi. The album inspired a theatrical show, which was staged by Manfredi, Gianco and P.F.M. in 1977.
Manfredi's now a comics writer, working for Bonelli editions (Magico Vento, Volto Nascosto).


Tracklist:
  1. Dagli Appennini alle bande
  2. Un tranquillo festival pop di paura
  3. Ultimo mohicano
  4. Zombie di tutto il mondo unitevi
  5. Gatte da pelare
  6. Lamiento de amor
  7. Ogino Knaus
  8. Feto di gruppo con signora
  9. I modelli
  10. Nella diversità
Download (128 kbps)


Similar albums on Il golpe e l'uva:

Monday, March 30, 2009

3

Ensemble Havadià: '81-'82 (Warner Italia, 2006)

Irriverent, jocose and dynamic, this music is one of the highest peaks of the Italian "R.I.O." scene. The songs are exuberant chamber-rock divertissements, full of mockeries, calembours and sharp eccentricities. Nevertheless, the structures are extremely lucid and complicated: ubiquitous North-Italian folklore and fanfare elements clash with flabbergasting tempo shifts and early 900 classical references - daring layerings which unexpectably manage to keep light and funny; miles away from any self-indulgent prog-rock bluster.

Ensemble Havadià was a short-lived project captained by Milanese "jew atheist" Moni Ovadia, now a well-known stage actor and comedian, and closely related to "Gruppo Folk Internazionale" and Stormy Six's label "L'orchestra". "'81-'82" collects the only two records issued by the band: the eponymous 1981 LP and the 1982 EP "Specchi".


Tracklist:
  1. Finale
  2. I benandanti
  3. Aria del serpente
  4. Il serpente burocratico
  5. Aria del serpente
  6. Gocce amare
  7. Konik
  8. Fuma el camin
  9. Sigla
  10. Apertoure
  11. L'eternità
  12. Straziato assai
  13. Rumba "An den Leser"
  14. Treno
Download (160 kbps)


Similar albums on Il golpe e l'uva:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

7

Nicola Alesini, Pier Luigi Andreoni: Marco Polo (Materiali sonori, 1996)

A deeply fascinating ambient-world record, "Marco Polo" is both thick and suffused, lush and minimal, layered and discreet. Its red-heated saxophone and Fripp-like guitar velvets hover on bewitching percussion groves and space-filling synthetizer ponds, in a sultry air which sounds exotic and arcane. Gentle electronic vines crawl in with dazing gamelan-like weavings and plough a music landscape of self-intersecting arabesques. Mystery and unearthliness drip like dew from the leaves, in an oceanic expanse of reverbs and refractions.

"Marco Polo"'s a music project by saxophone player Nicola Alesini and electronic pioneer Pierluigi Andreoni. Important figures in the ambient music field collaborated to the album: Japan's David Sylvian (vocals), Pierrot Lunaire's Arturo Stalteri (bouzouki, harmonium), Roger Eno (keyboards, percussion, vocals), David Torn (guitar), Harold Budd (percussion).


Tracklist:
  1. Come Morning
  2. Quinsai, la città del cielo
  3. Yangchow
  4. The Golden Way
  5. Sumatra
  6. M. Polo
  7. Il libro dell'incessante accordo con il cielo
  8. Maya
  9. Buchara
  10. Kubilay Khan
  11. Samarca
  12. The Valley of Pamir
Download (192 kbps) [re-up]


Similar albums on Il golpe e l'uva:
Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici: GMM
Minox: Lazare

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

0

Perturbazione: In circolo (Santeria, 2002)

A light, elegant and meditative pop album, "In circolo" is an autumnal record for homespent rainy days just as well as it is a collection of springtime songs for afternoons in the open air. Here are its two souls: moody, delicate songs in the vein of The Smiths or Belle and Sebastian and lively, ironic episodes with the enviable quality of sounding both optimist and slightly melancoholic.
Everything shines of very fine clean guitar arpeggios, eversurprising melodic lines and turns, posh chamber arrangements. And very smart, everyday lyrics discreetly oscillanting between pensiveness and wordplay.

Perturbazione are a Piedmontese band founded in 1988. This is their first Italian language album after their debut, "Waiting to Happen".


Tracklist:
  1. La rosa dei 20
  2. Agosto
  3. Mi piacerebbe
  4. Rocket Coffee
  5. Iceberg
  6. Arrivederci addio
  7. Senza una scusa
  8. This Ain't My Bed Anymore
  9. Il senso della vite
  10. Cuorum
  11. Fiat lux
  12. I complicati pretesti del come
Download (192 kbps)

Monday, March 23, 2009

12

Fiorenzo Carpi: Le avventure di Pinocchio (CAM, 1972)

While the passion for dusty fanfares, village two-steps and barrel organs surely connects "Le avventure di Pinocchio" to the style of Nino Rota and Nicola Piovani, the music here sounds more homely, pure and stripped-down. Most of the eighteen tracks reduce the instruments to the bare necessity, getting to a rural and sprightly style which surprisingly reminds of Yann Tiersen's work for "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain".
The themes are airy, elegant and memorable. The slow carillon in "Fata turchina", the coupled piano-harpsicord motif of "Birichinata" or the magic, slightly psychedelic mood of "Trasformazione di Pinocchio e Lucignolo", the askance tango "Il Gatto e la Volpe": just a few of the excellent episodes giving the LP its old-fashioned countryside charm.

Fiorenzo Carpi was a Milanese composer, active since the late Fourties in the field of theater music and - later - soundtrack music. "Le avventure di Pinocchio" is a selection from his score for the celebrated 1971 TV serial by Luigi Comencini.


Tracklist:
  1. Pinocchio: viaggio in groppa al tonno
  2. Geppetto: in allegria
  3. In cerca di cibo
  4. Fata Turchina
  5. Pinocchio: birichinata
  6. Geppetto: con malinconia
  7. Trasformazione di Pinocchio e Lucignolo
  8. Il Gatto e la Volpe
  9. Pinocchio: la tempesta
  10. Geppetto
  11. Pinocchio: nascita di un burattino
  12. Fata Turchina: sonatina
  13. In cerca di cibo
  14. Geppetto: il litigio
  15. Geppetto: sogni nell'Orto dei Miracoli
  16. Lucignolo
  17. In cerca di cibo: nel paese delle api industriose
  18. Geppetto: partenza per le lontane Americhe
Download (~160 kbps) [re-up]

Friday, March 20, 2009

3

Not Moving: Sinnermen (Spittle Records, 1986)

The idea behind "Sinnermen" is quite simple: Let's play some sort of new wave with loads of Morricone-like flangers'n'reverbs. The result could have sounded just as elegant and minimal as Wall of Voodoo, or as deviant and funny as Man or Astro-Man, but is actually quite dissimilar to both.
The point is that "Sinnermen" is so poorly recorded and awfully played that it sounds like nothing else. The songs are some sort of primeval cherokee-rock dirges. Organ's everywhere, the mood is rather dark and psychedelic and this would probably remind of The Stranglers (or The Doors), if only the guitars didn't desperately try to imitate The Shadows and the English pronounciation weren't so ridiculous.
So clumsy, so original and so provincial, "Sinnermen" is definitely funnier than the average Italian post-punk album. Even beautiful, here and there.

Not Moving were founded in 1981, taking their name from a DNA song. "Sinnermen" is their first LP, produced by the renown music journalist Federico Guglielmi.


Tracklist:
  1. Sinnerman
  2. Catman
  3. I Know Your Feelings
  4. The Lost Bay
  5. My Lovely Loved
  6. Pray For Your God
  7. You Really Got Me Babe
  8. A Wonderful Night to Die
  9. Land of Nothing
  10. A Life Long
  11. Sucide Temple
  12. Mr. Nothing
  13. Ice Eyes Baby
  14. In the Batland
  15. Cocksucker Blues
Download (192 kbps)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

1  

Calicanto: Venexia (Compagnia Nuove Indye, 1997)

Listening to "Venexia" is being thrown in the maze of calles, scents, voices and sounds which were the soul of Venice, the melting-pot of the Mediterranean Sea. A concept album dedicated to the bicentenary of the fall of the Serenissima, "Venexia" is a deeply charming progressive folk work, almost astonishing, even moving. Entirely acoustic, extremely rich and layered, it's as firmly rooted in the Mediterranean traditions as it is projected towards a very modern and focose attitude, close to the one of the most courageous European trad-folk ensembles (Blowzabella and Bellowhead to name a few). The music is a merger of sounds and traditions: different languages and dialects; accordions, winds, psaltery and fiery hornpipes; Italian, Arabic and Balkan rhythms and melodies meet and entwine just as they probably used to meet and entwine along the channels of Venice a few centuries ago.

Calicanto are a Venetian ensemble born in 1981 and devotely committed to an ethnomusicological approach. "Venexia" is their eighth album, conceived with the cooperation of the Venice University and the Conservatory of Rovigo.

Thanks to the Italian Folk Music blog for having published this album first.


Tracklist:
  1. Canson roversa
  2. Bealaguna
  3. Sulla via dei battipali
  4. Correnti del sud
  5. Lepanto
  6. Te speto / La croxe
  7. Oci sensa mar
  8. Corcal
  9. Adriatica
  10. Rivasse Carlo Scarpa
  11. Venessia dai
Download (192 kbps)
0

Airportman: Letters (Lizard records, 2008)

"Letters" sounds like Talk Talk's "Laughing Stock" denuded of any guise of soul or emotion. What lasts in the music? The tail-swallowing stagnation of dangling piano progressions, the soaking sense of laziness of tired accordion drones, the dampened warmth of some sullen acoustic guitar chords. Then the jazzy, emptied-out atmospheres, the chamber-like breaches, the outworldly suspension of the slow minor-key tides permeating everything.
What's unique to "Letters"? Its homely creakings - a fossil recall of a hospitality which has somehow mutated in a Tortoise-like call for abstraction, made of dub drifts and sparse, cold-blooded electronic heartbeats.

Airportman are a band from Cuneo, Piedmont. This is their seventh album.


Tracklist:
  1. trk #1
  2. trk #2
  3. trk #3
  4. trk #4
  5. trk #5
  6. trk #6
  7. trk #7
  8. trk #8
  9. trk #9
Download (320 kbps)

Monday, March 16, 2009

0

Marcello Capra: Aria mediterranea (Mu records, 1978)

"Aria mediterranea" is a lighter-than-air instrumental masterpiece, fusing European folklore, jazz and improvisation, progressive, minimalist and baroque nuances. The center of the music is a sparkling and very rich acoustic guitar style encompassing interwaved arpeggios, three-string strumming and skipping solo lines; breezy, elegant and free, it creates a sense of suspension which is unpredictably close to the unique feeling of Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks". John Fahey might be another ponderous but fitting comparison.
Vibes, flute, bass, percussion and very rare electric guitar interventions are the other few elements completing the palette for this unparalleled revisitation of the folk heritage.

Marcello Capra is a guitarist from Turin, active in the local beat/progressive rock scene since the late Sixties. "Aria mediterranea" is his first solo LP, with collaborations from some members of Arti & Mestieri and Procession (the band Capra was playing with at the time).


Tracklist:
  1. Aria mediterranea
  2. Biosfera
  3. Il ballo degli gnomi
  4. Danza russa
  5. Il sole sulla palude
  6. Merligen
  7. Dedicato ad irio
  8. Canto di mare
Download (256 kbps)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2

Lucio Battisti: Don Giovanni (Numero Uno, 1986)

The songs in "Don Giovanni" sound lopsided and aloof. They obey the synth-pop rule in a lunar, idiosincratic manner. They seem totally lifeless, artificial, made of plastic despite some sparse velvety warmth in the basslines, in the saxophone seductions and in the rainy, breathy synth tides. The melodies are quirky, meandery, undoubtably "pop" and refined but hardly catchy. The lyrics, well, the lyrics are a closed book: almost nonsensical, blatantly post-modern and sardonic, they're captivating nevertheless and - once you've partly got into them - even evocative. With its jaunty and polished synth-funky grooves and its obliterating lyrics framed into the melodies with a total disdain for the meter, "Don Giovanni" is one of the most abstract and undeciphrable works of Italian pop music.

Lucio Battisti was the most celebrated Italian pop artist of the 60s/70s. "Don Giovanni" is his first collaboration with lyricist Pasquale Panella, and a complete departure from his previous style, which had become more and more experimental but never appeared so tough and detached before.


Tracklist:
  1. Le cose che pensano
  2. Fatti un pianto
  3. Il doppio del gioco
  4. Madre pennuta
  5. Equivoci amici
  6. Don Giovanni
  7. Che vita ha fatto
  8. Il diluvio
Download (160 kbps)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

0

Gianmaria Testa: Montgolfières (Label Bleu, 1995)

"Montgolfières" shows a singer/songwriter style much in debt with Paolo Conte and later Francesco Guccini, but very personal nevertheless. The arrangements are jazzy, acoustic and old-fashioned, very warm as Gianmaria Testa's voice is (smoky, round, slightly detached); some elegant Caribbean touches make the songs extremely pleasant from a musical point of view. The lyrics are distinguished and unostentatious, poetic, though not especially literate: they're humble, metaphorical, a bit coy - always a bit Pindaric and meditative, wise and marvelled.

Gianmaria Testa was stationmaster in Cuneo, Piedmont. "Montgolfières" is his first album, first published in France, where he still one of the most popular Italian artists.


Tracklist:
  1. Città lunga
  2. Le traiettorie delle mongolfiere
  3. Habanera
  4. La donna del bar
  5. Dentro la tasca di un qualunque mattino
  6. Un aeroplano a vela
  7. Come le onde del mare
  8. L'automobile
  9. Senza titolo
  10. Le donne nelle stazioni
  11. Maria
  12. Manacore
  13. La terra delle colline
  14. Città lunga (reprise)
Download (160 kbps)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

4

Uochi Toki: Libro audio (La Tempesta, 2009)

I'd be tempted to say that "Libro audio"'s by far the best Italian hip-hop ever, but as for every conceivable sentence about the album, the album itself immediately produces an incontrovertible deconstruction of it: the lyrics, the beats, the strain are so cynical and self-conscious that no sentence about it can be uttered without sounding pathetic.

(L'osservatore, l'osservatore 1)
Non mi interessano i contesti sociali da cui i gruppi musicali provengono
A meno che non si tratti di alieni, navi spaziali od antichi guerrieri più o meno medioevali
Ascolto solo i brani che ritengo evocativi
Non ascolto i gruppi solo perché mi dici che sono troppo fighi
Ho bisogno di nutrire sfere esistenziali che tu nemmeno concepisci
Cosa mi importa di sapere che questi e questi gruppi sono stati capostipiti?

(The observer, the observer 1)
I'm not interested in the social contexts of the musical groups
Unless it consists of aliens, starships or ancient - more or less medioeval - warriors
I only listen to the pieces I judge as evocative
I don't listen to bands just because you tell me they're cool
I need to feed emotional spheres you can't even conceive
Why should I care to know these and these bands are progenitors?


(Il nonno, il bisnonno)
Quattro generazioni più tardi io i suoi principi li ho conservati:
1) Quando c'è da pensare alle persone, Che Guevara va nel cestino;
2) Il fucile rivolto contro sé stessi può portare a vivere meglio

(The grandfather, the great-grandfather)
Four generations later, I've mantained his principles:
1) When you've got to think about people, Che Guevara can be thrown in the bin;
2) The rifle, aimed at yourself, can bring a better life.

You must imagine these words delivered in a metallic, conceited spoken-word style which can only marginally be labelled as "rap". It's rather some sort of ultra-wordy hip-hop free verse, throwing away any reverence for rhyme schemes to delve in a phonetic maze of bone-reduced sound/words, consonances, alliterations and dactylic stresses.
The lyrics are caustic, unreasonably literate but blazingly anti-intellectual; the beats are disharmonic, harsh and heavy, unkempt, anti-musical despite their perfect interaction with the words. "Libro audio" has nothing to do with anything else in the hip-hop field: it's individualist, misanthropist, proudly anti-metropolitan - it doesn't represent any subculture, but rather builds up lucidly characters and narrative flows in a prevailingly autobiographical way. It's a woodworm, a sore, a blister.

Uochi Toki are Napo (lyrics and vocals) and Rico (beats), from the surroundings of Alessandria. This is their fourth album.


Tracklist:
  1. Il cinico
  2. I mangiatori di patate
  3. Il nonno, il bisnonno
  4. Il ballerino
  5. Il non-illuminato
  6. L'osservatore, l'osservatore 1
  7. Il ladro
  8. Il piromane
  9. Lo spadaccino
  10. Il necromante
  11. La bestia
Download (~230 kbps)

Monday, March 9, 2009

7

Kina: Se ho vinto se ho perso (Blu bus, 1989)

"Se ho vinto se ho perso" is hardcore getting adult without losing the ingenuity of youth and, most of all, its propensity for dreams and utopias. The songs in this album are very far from the usual Italian hardcore style: there's no anger, no destructiveness, no nihilism in them; on the contrary, they deal with decisions, illusions and growing up with a constant search for lyricism and - somehow - even a subliminal sense of spirituality. Hüsker Dü being the most evident model, the music borrows triumphant melodic structures, vocal harmonies (a bit out of tune, it must be told) and guitar figures from Sixties pop (The Byrds mostly), while the instrumental interplay, if tight and impetuous, is convoluted and features slight psychedelic accents.

Kina were founded in Aosta in 1982 and this is their third LP. They disbanded in 1997, then some of the members formed the band Frontiera, which is still active.


Tracklist:
  1. Musica kaos / Sfogliando i miei giorni
  2. Camminando di notte
  3. Intermezzo / Cosa farete
  4. Improvvisando in studio
  5. Questi anni
  6. Intro
  7. Quanto vale
  8. Occhi sbarrati
  9. Occupazione (5° braccio)
  10. La forza del sogno
  11. Occhi di rana
  12. Non credere / Gong
Download (160 kbps)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

1  

La famiglia degli Ortega: self-titled (Carosello, 1973)

A wonderful, west-coast sounding progressive folk album, simple, light and optimist. The atmosphere is rather dreamy than lysergic: the songs are open to many influences (busker blues, jazz, classical music, medioeval stuff) but preserve a linear and concise structure, while the mood is gentle, pure and positive without ever sounding freaked out.

The music is based mainly on acoustic guitars, elegant piano passages and alternated male/female vocals, but there's a very strong "choral" element which adds a collective, if not subtly epic, dimension. Rainy synth carpets, percussions and some narrative intermissions contribute creating a framework for the songs - an imaginary insular setting which surprisingly doesn't weigh down the whole album.
Though the songs have a distinct utopian shade, they are never really politically concerned. They rather seem a bit disillusioned, maybe unconsciously: the choice of talking about fantasized worlds would suggest a renounciation to direct engagement in the real world.

Some infos about the band can be found on the site italianprog.
Many thanks to the female vocals blog, where the album was posted first.


Tracklist:
  1. Arcipelago
  2. John Barleycorn: John Barleycorn/Due aquile
  3. Guida la mia lancia
  4. Merryon
  5. Una vecchia corriera chiamata "Happy Way"
  6. Inversione dei fattori
  7. Sogno Parigi
  8. Awamalaia
Downaload (160 kbps)

Monday, March 2, 2009

0

El Topo: Pigiama psicoattivo (Off, 2008)

On a first glance, El Topo sound exactly like Tortoise. And also after a second listening. Jazz + electronica with an undeniable passion for kraut-rock; Ry Cooder-like guitar slides, rhythm interlocks, vibraphone... And entirely instruental - yes, El Topo do sound exactly like Tortoise. That's not something anyone is able to.
Nevertheless, a careful listening reveals some peculiarities: "Pigiama psicoattivo" is warmer, less detached and abstract, more psychedelic and freeform than anything ever published by Tortoise. It's also even jazzier, surely more electronic and many times quite close to the style of quintessential jungle/jazz beatmaker Squarepusher.

They don't sound Italian at all, that's sure, but they are from Rome. The band was founded in 2006 and "Pigiama psicoattivo" is their second studio album, published by the young Belgian label Off.


Tracklist:
  1. Tosca
  2. Sonics
  3. Seicento giri carico frontale
  4. Pigiama psicoattivo
  5. Telegraph Dakar
  6. Scelsi
  7. Errore meccanico
  8. Crew'n'c
  9. Macinino
Download (192 kbps)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

0

Uzeda: Different Section Wires (Touch and Go, 1998)

"Different Section Wires" is a roaring math-rock album in the vein of Shellac, with scratchy noise-guitar joints, tail-swallowing basslines, thunderous odd-meter drum monotonies and querulous, tuneless vocalizing.
The music is minimal and detached, its structures are always kept on the forefront, but the stop&go dynamics and the vitriolic sound add a chaotic dimension to the rigid mechanics of the tracks. Its seems like a fiery, instinctive urge acts against mathematics and deconstructs its house of cards. This contrast between the entraped immobilty of formalism and chatartic impulsiveness is the key of Uzeda's implosive sound.

Uzeda are a band from Catania, Sicily. They were founded in 1987 and "Different Section Wires" is their fourth LP. It came out for the prestigious american label Touch and Go Records (Big Black, Shellac, Don Caballero, June of 44, Slint...) and was given very positive review from the international press. Two of Uzeda's member teamed up with Don Caballero's drummer Damon Che to form the band Bellini, which published the albums "Snowing Sun" and "Small Stones".
As of today, Uzeda are along Premiata Forneria Marconi the only Italian band to be hosted in B.B.C. studios to record a session with the celebrated John Peel.


Tracklist:
  1. Nico and His Cats
  2. Stomp
  3. Steel Man
  4. Suaviter
  5. Ten Stars
  6. The Milky Way
  7. Female
  8. Big Lies
Download (192 kbps)