Archive for August 2009
A sonic guerrilla squad featuring videomaker Roberto Giannotti (vocals, drums, keyboards, tapes), Stefano Galderisi (basses, keyboards, tapes – formerly of surf-rockers The Sentinels), Il Maestro (“the master”, later identified as the singer-songwriter Francesco Verdinelli, on guitars, keyboards and tapes) and La Donna (“the woman”, possibly actress and scriptwriter Roberta Lerici, on vocals, drum machine, percussions, tapes) started the band called Gustoforte (“strong taste”) in Rome in 1984.
This self-titled album released by Rat Race label early in 1985 with liner notes by Ado Scaini of The Great Complotto fame, which in the first 200-copies run came in a real steel cover, remains unfortunately the only evidence they left behind – a stunning, savage post-everything epic which each time brings to mind Virgin Prunes at their most demented and free-form, This Heat, The Residents, or even Claudio Rocchi’s attempts in electronics, and clangs in unison with the noises of contemporary experimental rock outfits such as, just to name one, Black Dice, or catastrophic dub suppliers of Excepter’s caliber.
The record follows the storyline suggested by an anti-utopian sci-fi plot, just like in an old-fashioned concept album: a travelling salesman visits a factory just to discover that there’s only one human worker left, contently attending 24/7 a useless assembly line, with all the time in the world to think. A robot escorting the representative in a tour of the plant explains him that unreliable workers have been completely replaced with machines. The only other humans around are dismissed trade unionists, just sitting around in a room, drinking and recalling the old days. The rep is then introduced to the factory coordinator: a powerful female supercomputer who manages to seduce him and eventually turn him into a bionic salesman working for the company.
Here is the tracklist:
01, s. Antony Chain
02, Steel Walk
03, Ventiquattro tre 84 (“twenty-four three 84”)
04, Assembly Line
05, Evry Courcouronnes
06, Factory ab absurdo
07, Ask Me Dream
08, Bionic Promotion Agent
Get it: Gustoforte, Gustoforte (1985)
Gustoforte reportedly recorded an unreleased second album, called Souvenir of Rome, before Giannotti and Verdinelli quit the band in 1994. Drummer Franco Calbi, performer Domenico Vitucci and Texan avant multi-instrumentalist and self-made instruments wizard Chris Blazen were recruited by the end of Nineties by Galderisi to keep the project alive. Anyway, the current line-up credited in their basic MySpace page features only the four original members.
A kind of an identity disorder struck most of the Sixties’ teenage monstre popstars once entered the following decade, forced to face the evolution in young people’s music taste and the rise of rock bands, progressive, and cantautori.
Caught in this middle-age crisis, in the early Seventies Gianni Morandi was staggering between faint attempts to sound a bit more updated in music and engaged in lyrics, badly reviewed experiments in theatre and musicals, and fruitless efforts to win back his past success, when he decided to record a song written by Oscar Prudente and Mogol and already released as a single by Prudente in 1971: “Il mondo di frutta candita” (“the candied fruit world”), and everything suddenly seemed to fall in its place. An entire new album was built around this track, featuring the same Prudente and the young Ivano Fossati as songwriters.
You can feel his excitement and his trust and commitment in the project by the way he took over the songs with a yet unheard hoarse and almost raging voice, blessing overlooked jewels such as “Autostrade, no!”, “Io vado a sud” or “Io domani me ne vado” (just listen to this last one, and then consider that “Amarsi un po'” by Lucio Battisti will come two years later, in 1977). A promotional movie was also shot in the States to help launching the record (watch an excerpt here). And, guess what? Il mondo di frutta candita came basically unnoticed, worsening his crisis with the most bitter disappointment.
Here is the tracklist:
01, La caccia al bisonte (“the buffalo hunt”)
02, Sette di sera (“seven in the evening”)
03, Autostrade, no! (“highways, no!”)
04, Favole di mare (“sea fables”)
05, Il mondo di frutta candita (“the candied fruit world” also released as a 7″ b/w “La caccia al bisonte”)
06, Io vado a sud (“i’m going south”)
07, Due ore di polvere (“two hours of dust”)
08, Io domani me ne vado (“tomorrow i’m going away”)
09, La mia gente (“my people”)
Anyway, this sad story came to a happy ending: after a three-years retirement from the music business, during which he studied double bass at Santa Cecilia conservatory in Rome, Gianni Morandi managed to hit the charts again in 1980, just to stay there.
He has released more than thirty albums to date, and is still one of the most popular pop singer in Italy. You can find more info on his official site MorandiMania (in Italian).
Back in the Seventies the existence – and the significance – of a politically engaged, militant jazz could have been pretty obvious in the States, or Africa, or elsewhere outside Italy, but certainly not here, where traditionalist and stiff connoisseurs audiences regarded it rather as a wicked contamination with earthly matters.
Gaetano Liguori – a classicaly trained pianist and composer – was among the first italian jazz musicians to address directly “the heavy human condition of destitutes, deviants and oppressed people at every latitude”, as this record’s liner notes read, bringing jazz to the revolutionary masses by playing thousands of gigs at factories, schools, universities, squatted places and pop festivals.
I signori della guerra (“the lords of war”), credited to his Idea Trio, came after their controversial debut album Cile libero, Cile rosso (“free Chile, red Chile”), and kept on the same path, combining free outbursts with quieter and atmospheric piano tunes and folk hints. The combo featured Filippo Monico on drums and Roberto Del Piano on bass.
Here is the tracklist:
01, I signori della guerra
03, Don Mario blues (“father Mario blues”)
04, Tarantella del vibrione (“vibrio’s tarantella” – in 1973 a huge cholera epidemic hit Naples and other cities in Southern Italy, but the track is actually dedicated to Roberto Franceschi, a 21-year old student shot dead by the police in Milan during a demonstration on January 23rd, 1973)
06, Viva la Cassa del Mezzogiorno (“up with the Cassa del Mezzogiorno” – Cassa del Mezzogiorno, “Mezzogiorno’s bank”, was a publicly held bank established in the Seventies to finance development projects in Southern Italy, soon infiltrated by mobsters)
In 1976 Liguori recorded, together with the poet-worker Giulio Stocchi, Demetrio Stratos, his father Pasquale Liguori on drums and some other fellow musicians La cantata rossa per Tall El Zataar (“the red cantata for Tall El Zaatar”), which recalled the huge massacre of Palestinian refugees by the hand of christian phalangists happened in Eastern Beirut earlier that year.
A version of “Tarantella del vibrione” featuring Tullio De Piscopo on drums and recorded at the Demetrio Stratos’ tribute concert in Milan, June 6th, 1979, is available in the legendary 1979 il concerto Cramps live album.
He is still active as a composer and performer. You can learn more about his past and current work at his official website (in italian only).
Ok, I’ve come to terms with the fact that – for a while, at least – I will likely not be able to provide the blog with such extended and detailed posts as I used to. And I know too well this will dramatically debase the very reason to be of this page: I remember starting “Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes” having clear in my mind that another download links warehouse like millions out there would have been meaningless. Fact is, I’ve grown affectionate with this place, you know, and I hate disappointing the hundreds of people who still pay a visit daily and those who request records.
That’s why I will keep on supplying music links anyway, with just few basic info, along with some precious guest contributions.
Just for a start, here is a rare and unexpectedly resurfaced footage originally from the tv show Mister Fantasy featuring “Marco e Monica” by Flavio Giurato, an excerpt from his Marco Polo album posted here some time ago.