Archive for the ‘1980’ Category
The sleep of province produces monsters.
As repeatedly requested, here’s the manifesto of the Great Complotto (“grande conspiracy”), or: how a handful of kids from Pordenone, a well-off, outlying small town in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, North-East Italy, turned their city into the imaginary state of Naon (a republic with its own flag, money, government, football team, customs and habits – an official guide was included in the 1983 IV3SCR compilation) and managed to make it one of the capitals of international situationism and the cradle of Italian punk beside Milan, Bologna, Turin, Florence. Featuring bleeps, noises, screechings, drones, the legendary London performance by Tampax and HitlerSS – when they sent fake tour dates to “Time Out” and then went to the scheduled locations with cardboard instruments just to see what their audience could look like – and the Naon national anthem “Atoms for energy” in two different versions.
And remember: Pordenone could be London, but London can’t be Pordenone.
Here is the tracklist:
Lato A (“A side”)
01, Mess, Paraguay
02, Fhedolts, Stimolation
03, Sexy Angels, La beat
04, Andy Warhol Banana Technicolor, I’m in love with my computer
05, Mind Invaders, Individual therapy
06, 001100111100011001011101 (Cancer), 000010
07, 001100111100011001011101 (Cancer), 000001
08, Musique Mecanique, Atoms for energy
09, Musique Mecanique, Good ideas must not fall in the hands of the enemy
10, Tampax/HitlerSS, London cartoon concert
Lato I (“I side”)
11, Fhedolts, Hearthing
12, Andy Warhol Banana Technicolor, The future
13, Mess, Foolish girls
14, W.K.W., Wyatt Earp
15, Sexy Angels, Atoms for energy
16, Little Chemists, Fe2Cr 0
17, Waalt Diisneey prod., Chips dorè (I.D.Y.)
18, Waalt Diisneey prod., (I need) Action
Get it: AA. VV., Pordenone/The Great Complotto (1980)
[edit August 23rd, 2009: the all-worthy publishing house Shake Edizioni has at last made available again this record on cd, added with extra tracks, a video and a 68-pages book stuffed with pics and lyrics! Useless to say, the download link has been removed. You can get the box here.]
The album was produced by The Great Complotto, Oderso Rubini, Red Ronnie, Ado (Scaini, from Tampax) and Compact Cassette Records, and released through Italian Records Service. The cover features a postcard of Pordenone. Among the several outfits involved in the movement you can also count Futuritmi, Ice & The Iced and the amazing XX Century Zorro.
Everything you may need to know about the Complotto is here on its official website mantained by StEvE (unfortunately, in Italian only).
Usually I don’t post “greatest hits” or “best of” stuff, but this is a whole other story.
Basically, it’s like if there were two distinct artists called “Alan Sorrenti”: the half Italian, half Welsh long-haired & long-bearded hippy vocal experimenter who worked with Luciano Cilio, Toni Esposito, Jean-Luc Ponty, Francis Monkman from Curved Air and Dave Jackson from Van der Graaf Generator versus the moustached, well hairdressed falsetto singing latin lover who recorded with Toto as a backing band and whose most successful songs are featured in almost every oldies collection released. The tiny minority of people worldwide who know and love his early folk/prog works (that is two albums released on Harvest Records: Aria – “air” – 1972, and Come un vecchio incensiere all’alba di un villaggio deserto – “like an old incense burner at a desert village’s dawn” – 1973) most of the time dismiss his post-1974 career, while those who enjoy singing along with his disco-pop tunes usually can’t even fancy of a time when Alan was called “the Italian Tim Buckley” – “Bach-who?”.
This amazing 1980 EMI anthology knocks down this barrier, compiling in no chronological order ten songs seemingly the most distant from one another – and leaving aside his major hits such as “Figli delle stelle” or “Tu sei l’unica donna per me” – perhaps aiming at recovering some kind of an aesthetically and emotionally consistent general picture of the artist’s path from the beginnings to 1977.
Well, the mission is accomplished. The result is a mesmerizing stream of uncosciousness which lines up on the a side with no prejudice and an excellent taste the late seventies italo drama hint of “Notte di stelle” (an excerpt from the bestseller Figli delle stelle, “sons of the star”, 1977) with the ethereal “A te che dormi” (from Come un vecchio incensiere…); “Alba” (from Sienteme, it’s time to land, recorded in the States and released in 1976) with “Vorrei incontrarti” (from the first album) and the thin, sensual “Poco più piano” (from from the 1974 self-titled full-length).
The b side instead revolves around three songs in Neapolitan dialect, two of which are renditions of standards from the classical melodic songbook: the wonderful “Dicitincello vuje”, which topped the chart in 1974 and costed Sorrenti heavy protests from the alternative scenesters (at its worst, he was forced to leave the stage at the Licola Festival in 1975, when people from the audience started throwing bottles and cans), and “Passione”, arranged in a funky-disco fashion. Plus, it includes the sumptuous “E tu mi porti via” from the 1977 album and a scattered gem like “Le tue radici”, released as a stand alone single in 1975.
Here is the tracklist:
01, Notte di stelle (“starry night”)
02, A te che dormi (“to you sleeping”)
03, Alba (“dawn”)
04, Vorrei incontrarti (“i’d like to meet you”)
05, Poco più piano (“a little slower”)
06, Dicitincello vuje (“go and tell her”)
07, Le tue radici (“your roots”)
08, Sienteme (“listen to me”)
09, Passione (“passion”)
10, E tu mi porti via (“and you take me away”)
Alan Sorrenti has released five other albums since 1980 – not counting the compilations – the last being Sottacqua (“underwater”, 2003), none of which managed to regain his late seventies success. Incidentally, his sister Jane “Jenny” Sorrenti is a gifted singer herself; she founded the short-lived folk/prog band Saint Just in 1973, and is still active as a live performer.
Given its commitment for a musica totale (“total music”) and its endeavours to establish a new urban rock form supporting artists such as Eugenio Finardi, Alberto Camerini, Andrea Tich, the same Claudio Rocchi, it made somehow perfectly sense that in the late Seventies Cramps Records directed its attention to the then rising italian punk scene, releasing already in 1978 “Karabigniere blues/Io sono un autonomo”, a single by Skiantos, the “demented rock” band which I already mentioned in the post about Gaznevada’s tape, and then their LPs MONOtono (“MONOtone”, 1978 ) and Kinotto (1979).
Following these first steps, in 1980, during the difficult times after the death of Demetrio Stratos, in the middle of “riflusso” and when its founder Gianni Sassi was increasingly losing interest in the label’s events, a new series of coloured-vynil 7″ by seven (post)punk acts from Central-Northern Italy was launched, under the name of “Rock ’80”. The songs from these singles (with the exception of Skiantos’ b-side “Mi piaccion le sbarbine” and Kaos Rock’s “Oh! Caro amore/Policeman”) were then collected in the same name album, curated and mixed by Paolo Tofani. A record which I consider the most meaningful epitath for this daring, clumsy, glorious independent record company.
Bologna led off the dance with two bands which had debuted on Harpo’s tapes series: just Skiantos, with a bowel-moving delirious funky about beans (“i fagioli son la mia anfetamina, i fagioli saran la mia rovina”: “beans are my amphetamine, beans will ruin me”…) and street rockers Windopen, with their anthem “Sei in banana dura” and the sleazy “La testa”. Skiantos ended up being one of the most influential and long-lived outfits in italian rock history. They’re alive and kicking, and a new album, Dio ci deve delle spiegazioni (“god owes us some explanations”) has been recently released. Windopen founder Roberto Terzani later joined Litfiba as a bass player when Gianni Maroccolo left the band, in 1990.
The Stranglers/2-Tone-oriented Take Four Doses from Rome – featuring Stefano Pistolini, now a well-known journalist and writer – wheezing introduced the Milan contributions: Kaos Rock were Gianni Muciaccia’s band with Luigi Schiavone on the guitars, who later joined Enrico Ruggeri in his successful solo career. Their a-side “Basta, basta” was already included as the opening track in the live tribute to Demetrio Stratos 1979 Il concerto (“1979 the concert”, 1979), but not in their sole album WW3 (1980). Wavey-garage X-Rated also appeared in the legendary Gathered (1982) compilation, together with Diaframma, Pankow, Not Moving, Death SS, Victrola, and others, before disappearing. As for Kandeggina Gang, you can check out my post about Jo Squillo Eletrix’s Girl senza paura, which featured a different version of their b-side “Orrore”.
Dirty Actions from Genoa completed the line-up with their prodigious ironic, messy clang’n’roll (“siamo figli del demonio, vi spacchiamo le vetrine, vi bruciamo le officine, vi alziamo le cantine, vi traviamo le bambine, vi vuotiamo le piscine, vi turbiamo le vecchine”, “we are sons of the devil, we smash your shop-windows, we burn your garages, we lift up your cellars, we corrupt your baby girls, we empty your swimming pools, we upset your little old ladies”). Their song “Bandana boys” was later included in Gathered as well. They seem still active; you can learn more about them on their web page.
Here is the tracklist:
01, Skiantos, Fagioli (“beans”)
02, Windopen, Sei in banana dura (“you’re in a hard banana”, street slang referring to a drug-related state of confusion)
03, Windopen, La testa (“the head”)
04, Take Four Doses, Vita di strada (“street life”)
05, Take Four Doses, La notte che inventarono gli eroi (“the night they invented heroes”)
06, Kaos Rock, Basta, basta (“that’s enough, that’s enough”)
07, Kaos Rock, La rapina (“the robbery”)
08, X-Rated, Blockhead dance
09, X-Rated, Routine
10, Kandeggina Gang, Sono cattiva (“i’m bad”)
11, Kandeggina Gang, Orrore (“horror”)
12, Dirty Actions, Rosa shocking (“shocking pink”)
13, Dirty Actions, Figli del demonio (Dirty Actions S-Ha) (“sons of the devil (dirty actions s-ha)”)
Get it: AA. VV., Rock ’80 (1980)
An unfortunately short and incomplete clip excerpt from “La parola e l’immagine”, a weekly tv program about comic art by Bruno Modugno broadcasted between 1979 and 1980, showing Filippo Scozzari coming out of a fridge and speaking about “Frigidaire”, “a luxury magazine for the great élite masses”. On the wooden stairs you can see Andrea Pazienza (with the red shirt), director Vincenzo Sparagna (above Pazienza, with the curly hair, the moustaches and the glasses) and, on top, Tanino Liberatore. On the fridge door, the cover for “Frigidaire” first issue, by Stefano Tamburini; the comic shown at about two-third of the video is a page from “La dalia azzurra” (“the blue dahlia”) by Scozzari, from a Raymond Chandler’s script.
Ridicule can be tragic, and tragic is often sublime. Andrea Liberovici was 18 in 1980. Son of Sergio, composer and etnomusicologist, he was kind of an infant prodigy, having released his first album Oro (“gold”) in 1978, at the age of 15.
This first effort was sort of an end-of-course essay for a precocious, brilliant child musician who had studied at two different conservatories and had a great talent for theatre as well. The work of a teenager trying to impress the world, attempting to be profound and provocative, while he mostly sounded naive, and eventually innocuous. The music is a mash up of Canterbury-like pop with rockish rushes and some avant tricks. The whole album is actually interesting, but the one track that stands out is “Risotto”, which is also a strong link, both musically and lirically, to his incredible second record.
Liberovici came out just at the beginning of what was later called riflusso (“reflow”): after more than twenty years of massive political engagement, the revolutionary movement was rapidly disbanding, and collective issues were soon replaced by individual commitment. La marcia dei quarantamila (“the march of the the forty-thousand”) is a milestone in Italy’s contemporary history. More than 40.000 employees and managers from FIAT demonstrated against trade unions power and for a “return to order” in the factories. Restoration was coming. In the meantime, heroin consumption was reaching a peak, and terroristic attacks got more and more indiscriminate and useless.
The conflict was still there, but became a private issue. Something for your analyst, if you could afford one. Or something to sing at, if you were a musician.
The album reflected this end-of-an-era climate, being hysterical, confused, disturbing. It summarized seventies’ glam, funk rock, new wave, cantautore style in a way that was already pure eighties’ postmodernism. The lyrics as well were a collection of the past decade’s alternative culture slogan and clichés: drugs, sex, new social and family relations, spirituality. Everything’s fluorescent and overilluminated; exaggerated and yet stylized.
The boy took the risk of turning himself into a comics’ character. And in a way he was a comics’ character: look at him on the cover. But the thing is, he sounded totally serious about what he was doing. Serious and intransigent as only a young man can be. It’s the same attitude that made great “Cannibale” and “Frigidaire”, two of the most important and influential italian magazines of those years, and the people from The Great Complotto (we will speak about that). Even when he dedicated to Padre Pio – now a saint – a love song which somehow reminds of “Je t’aime, moi non plus”, it was not comedy. There’s a no-way-out feeling here, a sense of loss and hate which rescues even the most embarassing moments.
In the end, i disagree completely from pals at Orrore a 33 giri. This is not a trash album. It’s a great piece of contemporary art.
Here is the tracklist:
01, L’eroe e l’eroina (“the hero and the heroine”)
02, Ammorissimo mio (“grreat love of mine”)
03, Padre Pio (“father Pio”)
04, Ciuff ciuff (“choo choo”)
05, Carino (“cute boy”)
06, Tira tira tira (“pull pull pull”)
07, Vorrei (“i would”)
08, Occhi di luna (“moon eyes”)
09, Uh caramellina uh uh (“uh little candy uh uh)
After releasing this record Liberovici abandoned pop music and founded later teatrodelsuono, an experimental theatre company together with, among others, Edoardo Sanguineti, one of the best italian minds of the century, poet and scholar of literature. More info on liberovici.it (in italian).