[music:] AA. VV., Raptus 1984 (1983)
This is a piece of my heart. A friend of mine made me a cassette with this ’77 punk/hardcore/Oi! compilation when I was 13 or something, back in the days. I used to listen obsessively to it on my walkman going to school or wandering in the streets of my hometown, and trying to track down the words to sing along with the tape (even the italian lyrics were hard to get, because of the infamous quality of the recording, perhaps a dubbing of a dubbing of a dubbing…). Unfortunately, we had neither the tracklist nor any other information about the record, so it took me a long time in the pre-Internet age to recover its whole story and eventually discover this shocking pink vynil anthology in a disaster sleeve, one of the most valuable outputs of the italian anarcopunx scene.
In the early Eighties, in the middle of “riflusso”, right when collective issues seemed completely discredited, the kids began to squat places such as dismissed factories, abandoned buildings, unfinished hospitals and schools to live and work together in liberated spaces and host concerts and performances which no regular venue, promoter, theatre or gallery would have been likely to handle, creating a nationwide network with its diy bulletins and fanzines, its self-produced record labels and publishing houses, its great mobilizations. It was the rise of a new and different movement, influenced by ’77 nihilism as well as by Crass hippy-punk anarchism and american straight-edge, anticipating and stimulating in many ways the exciting season of centri sociali (“social centers”) or CSOA (centro sociale occupato autogestito, “squatted self-managed social center”), which characterized italian political antagonism in the late Eighties and in the Nineties.
Raptus 1984 – with its follow-up Raptus. Negazione & superamento (“raptus. denial & overcoming”, 1984) – was the first attempt to gather all the different components of this movement (at least the musical ones) and document them as a whole, supplying a state of the art of italian punk scene. The man behind this project was Giulio Tedeschi, born in Piacenza in 1952 but living in Turin since 1971, a counterculture hero and founder of independent label Meccano Records (by the way, Meccano had originally a logo I would adopt immediately for this blog if I could find it somewhere: a pink wrench).
He managed to coordinate the efforts of people from all over the country, eventually recording and showcasing eight bands (the last track by “Raptus” seems rather a joke), most of which had hardly released a demo tape before: Drull from Savona (Liguria), Uart Punk from Messina (Sicily), Wrong Boys from Pavia (Lombardy), UDS from Turin, Petrolio from Rome, Wops from Venice, Last Call from Bari (Apulia), and Raw Power from Reggio Emilia (Emilia-Romagna) – the only act of the bunch that is still active, and which gained a worldwide reputation after signing with american label Toxic Shock, touring intensively the U.S. and Europe.
The music (punk rock, hardcore, oi! punk, some weird post punk/garage mixtures) is raw and rude as it should be, and the sound quality is obviously poor. Most of the lyrics seem now naive and full of elementary slogans (but they for sure didn’t seem that naive to a thirteen years old boy); anyway, it’s the spirit and the attitude which count here. Not disregarding a true gem like Italia/Italia by the sadly forgotten Petrolio, which manages to synthesize punk rage, cantautori’s grudge and italo-wave disruptive irony in one amazing song.
Here is the tracklist:
01, Drull, Tentacoli di potere (“tentacles of power”)
02, Drull, Militare (“in the army”)
03, Uart Punk, Anarchia in Italia (“anarchy in Italy”)
04, Uart Punk, Frustrazione (“frustration”)
05, Wrong Boys, Massacro (“massacre”)
06, UDS, Ma che bella società (“what a beautiful society”)
07, UDS, Basta (“that’s enough”)
08, Petrolio, Italia/Italia (“Italy/Italy”)
09, Wops, Hateful town
10, Wops, Kids
11, Last Call, Fall of italian empire
12, Last Call, Your solution
13, Raw Power, Raw Power
14, Raw Power, You are a victim
15, Raptus, The end
Get it: AA. VV., Raptus 1984 (1983)
In 1985 Meccano became Toast Records, one of the most active underground italian labels, hosting acts such as Afterhours, Fleurs du Mal, Limbo, Underground Life, Ritmo Tribale, Statuto, No Strange, Not Moving, Avvoltoi, Yo Yo Mundi, En Manque d’Autre, Kina, Franti, Marlene Kuntz, Pikes in Panic. You can visit the label’s site for more info.