L’Altritalia is a blog devoted to what I use to call the “golden age” of italian pop culture. A time, approximately from late sixties up to early eighties, when popular music, literature, cinema, art, comics, advertising, graphic arts, fashion, industrial design, even television, often managed to be experimental and yet entertaining, extreme but mainstream; subtly engaged, heavily doped, rockin’ and rollin’ the social and political issues instead of represent them or trying to explain them as the neorealists, for instance, tried to do.
Those were difficult years as well. There were the Brigate Rosse and other terroristic groups, both leftist and rightist, people killed by the police, attempts to bring the coutry back into fascism, kidnappings, mafia attacks. In Italy, we use to call them “anni di piombo”, leaden years. But there was not just lead. That’s the reason for the blog’s title. “Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes”: leaden years, paillettes years.
A bunch of stuff from that time it’s worth a recovery and a revaluation. It still kicks asses.
Actually, you’ll mainly find “out” music from Italy in these pages. It’s music which is hard to label, each time influenced by beat, psychedelia, prog, kraut, post punk, new wave, disco, synthpop, and which yet sticks to a oblique, traditional concept of pop song, and with a relentless taste for great melodies. Stuff that sounds in turn rough and handcrafted, sometimes derivative, but which still retains something unique: a deviant drawing, a specific form of insanity. I use to call this the “italo” element.
Weird people you can meet here: losers, saints, dropouts, terrorists, underdogs, junkies, femmes fatales, one-hit wonders, no-hit wonders, artists formerly well-known as, absolute beginners bound for a glory to come. I hope you can understand italian, because they have interesting stories to tell you.
I plan to post once a week [edit: I guess I was feeling very optimistic when I wrote this]. Basically, I’ll upload records which are out of print, and/or have never been released again. It’s useless to say that mp3’s are intended for evaluation purposes only, and that I suggest you to search on line and off line cd stores for reissues that I didn’t notice or to spend good money for “mint” copies on eBay, and blah blah blah.
Bookmark or syndicate me for updates. For requests, suggestions, contributions, complaints, copyright or copywrong issues, anything contact me at laltritalia(at)gmail(dot)com
For more recent developments of the blog’s concept check out this post.