Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Touane: Figura (Persona, 2008)

Techno music can be cold, stern, alienating; it can also be delicate and fluffy though, and this is the case of "Figura". An album of watery sounds, crystalline electronic echoes, and comforting beats. Glitchy streams that never sound "broken" or disquieting, but gently cradle the listener with their progressive mutations: supple timbres, whispered vocals, pointillist percussion, slight dub tendencies... The overall flow is extremely natural and ravishing. It seems like going for a walk in the springtime, with nothing in your mind - it makes you feel the wonder of the breeze, the blossoms, the drizzles.

Touane is Marco Tonni, 1979, born in Rimini but living in Berlin since 2005. This is his sophomore full-length release.


  1. Fruehstueck
  2. She Let Some Light In
  3. Pioggia
  4. Autoerotica
  5. Di sotto
  6. Take Off
  7. Figura
  8. Promenade
Download (320 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Jolly Music: Jolly Bar (Nature/Wide, 2000)
miles_gurtu: omonimo (Shakti, 2004)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010


VV.AA.: Polizziotteschi Graffiti (GDM Music, 2005)

Let's make another step in the world of Italian soundtracks of the 70s. As I wrote in a previous post, this is one of the most experimental territories ever explored by Italian musicians, and one of the most varied too. A stunning trait of the genre - but rather obvious, indeed - is its "easy listening" element: though daring, often electronic, or dissonant, or fostering composite rhythms, the tracks always have a strong cynematic flow which makes them immediate and thrilling.
Most of the tracks feature exciting jazz/funk jams, impulsive and lucid, combined with captivating keyboard themes. The deep "semantic" nature of the music relies on the intuitions of composers such as Ennio Morricone, and on a series of cliché associations: horns and action, staccato figures and suspence... These standard solutions are always reworked and recombinated to form a very broad spectrum of inventions, ranging from the Moroder-like pace of "Delitto al ristorante cinese" to the uber-groovy basslines of "Nucleo antirapina".

"Poliziotteschi graffiti" is one of the many compilations recently devoted to the genre. Despite the cover, I think it's one of the best. I will post some more in the future, if you like.


  1. Stelvio Cipriani - Mark il poliziotto (Mark il poliziotto, 1975)
  2. Luis Bacalov - The Summertime Killer (Ricatto alla Mala, 1972)
  3. Armando Trovajoli - Blazing Magnum (Una Magnum Speciale per Tony Saitta, 1976)
  4. Detto Mariano - Delitto al ristorante cinese (Delitto al ristorante cinese, 1981)
  5. Guido & Maurizio De Angelis - Goodbye My Friend (Il cittadino si ribella, 1974)
  6. Bixio, Fabio Frizzi, Vince Tempera - Nucleo antirapina (Operazione Kappa: Sparate a vista, 1977)
  7. Franco Micalizzi - Delitto sull'autostrada (Delitto sull'autostrada, 1982) 
  8. Goblin - Trumpet's Flight (Squadra antigangsters, 1979) 
  9. Franco Micalizzi - Special Cop (Italia a mano armata, 1976)
  10. Luis Bacalov - La polizia è al servizio del cittadino? (new edit) (La polizia è al servizio del cittadino?, 1973)
  11. Guido & Maurizio De Angelis - The Life of a Policeman (La polizia incrimina, la legge assolve, 1973) 
  12. Stelvio Cipriani - La polizia sta a guardare (La polizia sta a guardare, 1973)
  13. Goblin - La via della droga (La via della droga, 1977)
  14. Franco Campanino - Napoli si ribella (Napoli si ribella, 1977)
  15. Franco Micalizzi - Special Agents (Napoli violenta, 1976)
  16. Guido & Maurizio De Angelis - Car Chase at Margellina (Piedone lo sbirro, 1973)
  17. Guido & Maurizio De Angelis - New Special Squad (Roma violenta, 1975)
  18. Luis Bacalov - Montreal Non Stop (L'ultima chance, 1975)
Download (192 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Calibro 35: s/t (Cinedelic/Self, 2008)
Ennio Morricone: Crime and Dissonance (Ipecac, 2005)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Central Unit: Central Unit + Loving Machinery (M.P. Records, 2003)

The unquiet waverings of Tuxedomoon spawned a whole school in the Italian underground. This record (a sum of two actually, see below) heralds the tendency: skeletal electronic beats and evanescent synth atmospheres, combined with mechanical basslines and relentless violin meanderings, with slothy saxophone murmurs peeping out here and there.
The music is ghostly, decadent, and subtly soggy; it never sounds epic or apocalyptic though, nor excessively amateurish (it's not minimal wave, to make a long story short). On the contrary, it sounds quite elaborate: its orbits are knotty and obliquous, and its mood is the mood of fallen aristocracy.

Central Unit were a band from Bologna. They were among the first in Italy to manipulate synths, drum machines and other electronic devices to create atmospheric soundscapes. This is a reprint of their first LP (produced by Tuxedomoon's Peter Principle), together with a preceding EP.

 Central Unit LP (1983)
  1. Detective Fredd
  2. Orient-Express
  3. Mas rapido
  4. Primavera di Kaspar
  5. Grotesque
  6. Bailamme
  7. Mordor
  8. Où Papè d'Où Marcocù
  9. Aiumassah!
  10. Die Flucht Ohne Ende
Loving Machinery EP (1982)
  1. Saturday Night
  2. Rock Onze
  3. What Use? (Version)
  4. Beset City
Download (192 kbps) (re-up)

Similar albums on the blog:
Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici: GMM (Materiali Sonori, 1985)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Kleinkief: Il sesso degli angeli (Srazz, 1997)

Infested by alternative rock first, and colonized by post-rock immediately afterwards, the Italian underground never really developed a noise-pop scene. "Il sesso degli angeli" then sounds like a solitary jewel, a random spark of frenzy in the boredom.
Modeled on Sonic Youth and their convulsive out-of-tune whirlpools, the songs also feature some slight dream-pop/shoegaze tendency, reflected in the cradling female voice and in the unexpected moments of quietness and suspension. But the instinctiveness of the hardcore school also illuminates the music, and so does the almost prodigious balance of raw spirituality, ingenuous literarity and light-hearted nonsense. This last element is perhaps the trump card of the album, which definitely stands out over the many overpretantious "adolescential" records of those years.

Kleinkief were a band from Venice. This is their first album.

  1. Scarpe nuove
  2. Milena
  3. Psycho 41
  4. Stercofilo
  5. Bivi
  6. Dostoevskij
  7. Chiavi inesistenti
  8. Gogne perse
  9. Alter ego
  10. Tramiti
Download (192 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Calibro 35: s/t (Cinedelic/Self, 2008)

"Poliziotteschi" of the 70s are among the most appreciated Italian movies abroad. Longly dismissed as "trash", they've been promoted recently to near-masterpieces. Their soundtracks were probably the first to be reconsidered: the international stardom of Ennio Morricone and Quentin Tarantino's B-movie fetishism surely contributed to the process.
Calibro 35 tries to revieve some of the key pieces of the genre with a more "rock" spirit. Where the original tracks featured extended instrumentations and privileged groove and atmosphere over impulse, their updated versions have a more aggressive sound and a more compact sonic palette. The edginess of the compositions remains the same though, and is still impressive.
A well-conceived and respectful tribute to the less pretentious and less ingenuous - but most daring - form of progressive which ever came from Italy.

Calibro 35 are a supergroup formed by Enrico Gabrielli, Fabio Rondanini, Luca Cavina, Massimo Martellotta, Tommaso Colliva, well-credited collaborators of Mariposa, Afterhours, Transgender, Mauro Pagani and many more. They're united by the passion for obscure Italian movie themes and excellent instrumental skills.
Their second LP, "Ritornano quelli di Calibro 35", is out now.

  1. Italia a mano armata, dal film “Italia A Mano Armata” (F. Micalizzi)
  2. Summertime Killer, dal film “Ricatto alla Mala” (L. Bacalov)
  3. Notte in Bovisa (M. Martellotta, E. Gabrielli, F.  Rondanini, L. Cavina , T. Colliva)
  4. Titoli, dal film “Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto” (E. Morricone)
  5. Milano Calibro 9 (Bouchet Funk), dal film “Milano Calibro 9” (L. Bacalov)
  6. Trafelato, dal film “Giornata Nera per l’Ariete” (E. Morricone)
  7. Una stanza vuota, dal film “Svegliati e Uccidi” (E. Morricone)
  8. La mala ordina, dal film “ La Mala Ordina” (A. Trovajoli)
  9. La polizia s’incazza (M. Martellotta, E. Gabrielli, F. Rondanini, L. Cavina , T. Colliva)
  10. Preludio dal film “Milano Calibro 9” (L. Bacalov)
  11. Gangster Story, dal film “La Polizia incrimina, La Legge Assolve” (G. & M. DeAngelis)
  12. Spiralys, soundlibrary (D. Casa)
  13. Shake Balera, dal film “La Ragazza Con La Pistola” (P. De Luca, V. Tommaso)
Download (192 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Braen's Machine: Temi ritmici e dinamici (Liuto LRS, 1973)
Ennio Morricone: Crime and Dissonance (Ipecac, 2005) 

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Zeit: Un giorno in una piazza del Mediterraneo (Materiali sonori, 1979)

The progressive-folk field can be split in two veins: one came (almost) directly from traditional music, and tried to revive the "folkloric" spirit updating it to the era of pop music and electric guitars; the other came from the most experimental and non-rock sides of the psychedelic galaxy, and looked to the traditional sounds as a new lexicon for their avantgardish jams.
The albums by Aktuala, Third Ear Band, Älgarnas Trädgård surely belonged to this latter wave, and so does "Un giorno in una piazza del Mediterraneo" (A day in a Mediterranean square). Compared to the work of the aforementioned bands, it seems to be a bit more orthodox in the treatment of the folkloric material, and more rhythmically challenging. Instead of stagnant ragas, the compositions have the pace of circle dances, and the melodic patterns show some attention to real traditional figures.
The album is entirely acoustic and instrumental; a crucible of Eastern-Mediterranean vapours, Italian shepherd pipes, tinkling sounds, and wavering violin improvisations. Daring, fascinating, and hypnotic.

Zeit were a quintet, from Florence. They recorded just another album, "Il cerchio degli antichi colori", in 1981.


  1. Ruz
  2. Circus
  3. Echi d'acqua
  4. Ritmo berbero
  5. Il mosaico
  6. Vetri e canne
  7. Tema oscuro
  8. Sintesi
Download (192 kbps)
First posted on Mutant Sounds.

Similar albums on the blog:
Spirale: omonimo (King, 1974)
Marcello Capra: Aria mediterranea (Mu records, 1978)

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Cube: Can can in the garden (Polydor, 1983)

Synth-pop can be the art of celebrating future and technology, but also a surprisingly effective means to create old-fashioned atmospheres. The electronic propulsion, in this case, just gives a modern twist to classically-conceived songs, whose melodical strength would shine with (almost) every kind of arrangement.
The songs of "Can can in the garden" belongs to this second kind of synth-pop gems, like the ones of A-ha or Tears for Fears. Light, optimist and polite, they have a sophisticated taste which the electronic palette both enhances and dilutes. The glowy reverb of the synthetizer surely puts some glossy nuances on the already elegant piano/sax sound, but the italo-disco schemes of the drum-machine lighten the seriousness making the air more festive and blithe.

Cube are a short-lived creature of Mauro Malavasi, who wrote and produced all of the songs. The band members were English singer/guitarist Paul Griffiths, and keyboardists Rudy Trevisi and Serse Mai (the latter also programmed the drums and played the saxophone).


  1. The young pretender
  2. Love and protect
  3. Can can in the garden
  4. Two heads are better than one (remix)
  5. Concert boy
  6. Prince of the moment
  7. Stealing
  8. Why men go insane

Download (320 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Matia Bazar: Tango (1983)
Lucio Battisti: Don Giovanni (Numero Uno, 1986)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The Dining Rooms: Subterranean Modern, vol 1 (Milano 2000, 1999)

Trip-hop, italian style. Which means Portishead without the pathos, Morricone without the West, or just "Histoire de Melody Nelson" gone chillout. No (cyber)punk spleen, no ketaminic stagnations: this is not a night-drive through the post-industrial Bristol, but a late-night walk through the stone-paved arcades of the Padan Plain. Bricks, history and fog. Nobody around. A meditative sound: hushed voices, dewy e-piano, a hip-hop beat slightly jazzified, bringing some warmth. The thud of the double-bass resounding through the neon-lit mist.

The Dining Rooms are a lounge/downbeat combo from Milan. This is their first album.


  1. Occhi neri
  2. M. Dupont
  3. Il giradischi e i tuoi dischi
  4. Cinemaroma 1
  5. Keep calm
  6. Jazz X
  7. Susanna 2000
  8. Hip hop hippies
  9. Le crepuscule du matin
  10. Dubterranean modern
  11. Cinemaroma 2
  12. Stromboli promenade
  13. Triste, solitario y final

Download (224 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
miles_gurtu: miles_gurtu(Shakti, 2004)
La Crus: La Crus (1995)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Fare soldi: Sappiamo dove abiti (Riotmaker, 2008)

The "Riotmaker sound" is one of the most defined of the Italian underground. "Sappiamo dove abiti" is its most iconic representation: italo-disco samples, 80s' synths+glitter everywhere, trendoid house grooves with a massive funky aftertaste. A curious mix of postmodern irony, urban glamour, and the stereotypical indie-pop nostalgism (the overall mood may suggest an ironic version of the recent "hypnagogic pop" trend).
Kitsch? Sure. But playful (first of all), explosive, and irresistably groovy. Colourful and irreducibly quotationist, the songs manage to be both totally inclonclusive and surprisingly well-crafted. Prepare for a funny listening!

Fare soldi are Luca Carnifull (Carnifull Trio) and Pasta (Amari). This is their third record as a duo.


  1. Sappiamo dove abiti
  2. Dolo boys
  3. Survivor
  4. Tribunale midi
  5. Puff dandy
  6. Il vecchio e il mullet
  7. Pagagheddon
  8. (Take me to) Zingales
  9. Message in Abbado
  10. Acid in Abbado
  11. Fare soldi va a Milano
  12. The radler song
  13. Il lato B del mondo
  14. Palazzo dei cigni
  15. I wanna Feel Collins
  16. Fessi vivono
Download (192 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Jolly Music: Jolly Bar (Nature/Wide, 2000)
Üstmamò: omonimo (Virgin, 1991)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Automat: Automat (EMI, 1978)

Progressive and italo-disco? Sounds foolish, but "Automat" is not an isolated case: in the end of the 70s, more than an artist tried to merge the neoclassical grandeur of spaghetti-prog and the electronic grooves of Giorgio Moroder.
"Automat" is anyway one of the most accomplished attempts at this fusion. Listening to it is like spinning Jean-Michael Jarre on one deck, Midnight Express theme on the other and discovering they fit perfectly. The album has something like a concept, dealing with the adventures of a golem-like robot. It is no futurist work though: instead of celebrating the glory of the machine, the music portays a somehow disillusioned spleen. Baroque fugues inspired by Bach, minimalist repetitions and crystalline synth layerings disclose an alabastrine melancholy, the one of a creature which can't feel at home in the human world. A steampunk version of Alan Moore's Dr. Manhattan.

Automat was a short-lived project of soundtrack composers Claudio Gizzi and Romano Musumarra, together with sound engineer Mario Maggi. The album was entirely performed (even the drums!) on the MCS70 analog synthetizer, designed by Maggi himself. The first half of the record features Gizzi's compositions, the second one Musumarra's.
Trivia: J.-M. Jarre was the first person to get a copy of "Automat".


  1. Automat: (The) Rise
  2. Automat: (The) Advance
  3. Automat: (The) Genus
  4. Droid
  5. Ultraviolet
  6. Mecadance
Download (320 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Easy Going: Fear (Banana Records, 1979)
Giorgio Moroder: E=mc² (Durion, 1979)

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Ivano Fossati: La pianta del tè (CBS, 1988)

When the elusive humanism of the singer/songwriter school meets the scents of world music. When Africa and South-America blend together, and their blend is called "Mediterranean". When a Piedmontese accordion can seduce the shimmery guitars of South-African Mbaqanga and wave to the beat of a reggae beat.

It's an album of joy, "La pianta del tè", and an album of melancholy. It's suffused and springy, and pensive, and ecstatic. It's an album of lush arrangements and exceptional rhythmic refinement. The grooves are vigorous, but sparse, infectious, but subtly askew.

There are the songs, then, and Ivano Fossati's envelopping voice - his husky grain, and his quintessential prolonged vocals. And guests: Fabrizio De André, Francesco De Gregori and Teresa De Sio, all of them contributing to the unique mood of Fossati's tenth solo record.


  1. La pianta del té
  2. Terra dove andare
  3. L'uomo coi capelli da ragazzo
  4. La volpe
  5. La pianta del té (parte seconda)
  6. Questi posti davanti al mare
  7. La signora del ponte-lance
  8. Chi guarda Genova
  9. La costruzione di un amore
  10. Caffè lontano

Download (112 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
L'orchestra di Piazza Vittorio: Sona (RadioFandango/Edel, 2006)
Radiodervish: In acustico (Cosmasola, 2001)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Monomorph: Alternative Fluid (Disturbance, 1994)

There are times Italian artists don't come late to the novelties of the musical world, but seem to be perfectly synchronized to them. The abstract techno-sound of "Alternative Fluid" is one of these very rare cases. Hybridating the futurist geometries of Underground Resistance and the glacial ambiences of Autechre and Aphex Twin, the album synthesizes a very peculiar - and mature - progressive electronic formula. An architectural sound, favouring structure over narration, but full of unexpected trumps: daring stop'n'go inlays, pointillist textures and weavings, dreamy melodies which can't fail to allure and ravish.

Monomorph is a project by brothers Marco and Fabrizio D'Arcangelo, known also under the names D'Arcangelo, Centuria, Intermolecular Forces.


  1. Geometrical...
  2. Monomorph
  3. Lonx
  4. Exiled Ambient
  5. Minimalia (Drumix)
  6. ...Spherical
  7. Sequon Og
  8. Battletech

Donwload (192 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Jolly Music: Jolly Bar (Nature/Wide, 2000)
Giorgio Moroder: E=mc² (Durion, 1979)

Monday, March 1, 2010


Un po' di spam (trans. A little bit of spam)

Non mi sono mai fatto pubblicità da solo su questo blog (né ho mai scritto in italiano), ma faccio un'eccezione per reclamizzare il recente "abc del decennio" pubblicato da Ondarock, che contiene una voce "Italia" curata da me.

Ci trovate, più che i "migliori" o anche solo i miei preferiti, un tentativo di ricostruzione dei principali filoni dell'indie italico. Caratteristiche musicali dunque, ma considerate nel contesto "sociale" che le ha generate.

Spero che anche questo po' di inquadramento generale possa risultare interessante, dopo tanta attenzione spesa per i dischi singoli.

Torno ad eclissarmi :P


MoRkObOt: MoStRo (Supernatural Cat, 2006)

A trip through sonic magma. Red-heated basslines, basaltic bass bursts (there are two basses in here), and eerie ambient vapours. Unsettling and hypnotic, "MoStRo" is not the ordinary jazz/noise/core stuff with a harder edge. Here and there you can find the dominant "sparsely angular" sound of the Italian underground, but the main element here is the deeply enthralling flow and its evocative power. Anarchic, but surprisingly "narrative", geometric though blatantly psychedelic, the album fuses the dragon-lairs of early Pink Floyd, the swamps of Melvins and the esoteric wedges of math-metallers Tool with a distinct Zu-esque (or should I call it "Zornesque"?) vibe. I know the description would fit for many unexciting bands, but trust me: "MoStRo"'s better than them all. 

A somehow misterious band, MoRkObOt is a trio whose elements are disguised under the names Lin, Lan and Len (presenting as "messengers" of MoRkObOt). This is their second album.


  1. Tobokrom
  2. Zorgongollac
  3. Kaklaipus
  4. Cammut
  5. Skrotocolm
  6. Poldon

Download (192 kbps)

Similar albums on the blog:
Transgender: Sen Soj Trumàs (Snowdonia/New LM Record, 2003)
Taras Bul'ba: Incisione (Wallace, 2005)