Posts Tagged ‘1974’
A revolutionary avant-folk storyteller, an arte povera experimental performer, an “oggettista corpofonista” (“objectist bodyphonist”) as he defines himself, Enzo Del Re or Delre – as spelled on this album’s cover – born in 1944 in Mola di Bari, Apulia, South-East of Italy, has been one of the few italian artists, together with Francesco Currà, to apply to music, maybe unknowingly, the well-known Jean-Luc Godard’s plea: “it’s not about making political films, but rather making films politically” (I’m quoting by heart).
A restive anarchist, soon after graduating at the local conservatory he abandoned the academy to pursue a personal and unique musical language caught between roots and modernity, coherence and contradiction, folk singleness and cultured experimentalism, joined in his research by the ethnomusicologist Antonio Infantino; as a proletarian musician who merely had at his disposal his own sheer working force, his hands, his arms, his legs, Del Re chose to play only significant found objects and recycled materials, used as percussion instruments – mostly chairs, as a nonverbal and sorrowful protest against electrocution and death penalty in general, or a suitcase, as in Vittorio Franceschi’s Qui tutto bene… e così spero di te (“things are fine here… and so i hope with you”, 1971), a theatrical play about “emigration and imperialism” – and clicking his tongue and beating his own body and face. A radical, marginal sound worker, who in the Seventies used to take three shifts a day, playing two gigs for free at occupied factories, schools, universities, and getting for the last one a metal worker’s daily minimum wage. The same continuous and monotonous rythm he used as sole accompaniment to his songs seemed produced by a clapped out assembly line.
Il banditore (“the town crier”) – released in 1974 after his experiences with Dario Fo’s theatrical company Nuova scena (“new stage”) and at the legendary Derby Club in Milan with Enzo Jannacci, and following his 1973 debut album Maul (“Mola” in local dialect) – is a full and detailed report about the work of this postindustrial agit-prop cantastorie who tirelessly travelled all over the country, spreading his word and critically supporting the revolutionary movement.
The record testified his immutable and hieratic style, seemingly coming from an ancient past or from a far future, inducing a sort of ecstatic experience by iterativity; an uninterrupted stream which made live together tarantella with musique concrète, The Last Poets with his hometown fishermen’s screaming (even if Enzo’s voice tone and the way he offers lyrics remind insistently of Luigi Tenco). However, there are moments which stand out of the flow, as the title track with its comics’ onomatopoeias and the siren in the end, between an anti-aircraft alarm and a factory hooter; the ritual latin mixed with real and fake advertising claims of “Laudet et benedicitet (Infantino)”; the ironic thirdworldist namedropping of “Comico”: hints of a sadly unaccomplished mediterranean cannibalism – in the sense of the Manifesto Antropófago by Oswald de Andrade, which inspired the Tropicália movement. And, of course, the dazzling dyptich of “Lavorare con lentezza” and “Tengo ‘na voglia e fa niente”, written in an hotel room in Bologna, which represents one of the most revolutionary anti-work statements ever.
Here is the tracklist:
01, Il banditore (“the town crier”)
02, Lavorare con lentezza (“working slowly”)
03, Tengo ‘na voglia e fa niente (“i feel like doin’ nuthin'”)
04, Laudet et benedicitet (Infantino)
05, La fretta (“the hurry”)
06, La sopravvivenza (“the survival”)
07, Il superuomo (“the superman”)
08, Voglio fare il boia (“i wanna be a hangman”)
09, Scimpanzè (“chimpanzee”)
10, La 124 (“the 124”, referring to a FIAT car model)
11, Comico (“funny”)
12, La rivoluzione (“the revolution”)
Get it: Enzo Delre, Il banditore (1974)
Unbeknown to him, “Lavorare con lentezza” was used as broadcasts’ opening and closing signature tune by Radio Alice, the movement’s pirate radio in Bologna, from 1976 until March 12th, 1977, the day after the killing of the student Francesco Lorusso by a carabiniere during a streetfight, when the police burst in the studios and terminated transmissions.
In 2004, Guido Chiesa directed a movie about the story of Radio Alice, titled Lavorare con lentezza and featuring the song in its soundtrack. This led to a short-lived rediscovery of Del Re’s work, which anyway didn’t particularly affect his semi-retirement, as for the tribute that fellow musicians such as Eugenio Bennato, Daniele Sepe, and Etnoritmo paid him covering or sampling his songs.
He still plays concerts occasionally, where his self-produced tapes or cd-r’s are available to buy. You can happen to meet him around his hometown’s port, where he usually sits with old fishermen speaking, drinking, and playing cards.
Franco Battiato is an epidemic. He massively and deeply influenced italian music in the last forty years, with both his seventies’ cosmic/avant seminal efforts and his early eighties’ art pop masterpieces. In addition, he also wrote for, played in and produced a huge number of records by artists as different as Telaio magnetico and Ombretta Colli, PFM and Giusto Pio, eventually establishing his own style as a stand alone genre. We will have many chances to speak about his work as the blog goes on.
Anyway, most of this was yet to come in 1974, when Battiato joined his friend Roberto “Juri” Camisasca (they met while serving in the army) to play VCS3 and keyboards and co-produce the latter’s debut album, La finestra dentro (“the window inside”). The result was something slightly different from early seventies’ Battiato classics like Fetus (1972) and Pollution (1972): the driving forces here are Camisasca’s excellent acid-folk songwriting and his unique, thrilling voice, which could be somehow compared to Demetrio Stratos or Claudio Rocchi, and yet sounds completely personal and sincere.
The circular, monotonous grooves and the contemporary classic elements, which are likely to be Battiato’s key contributions to arrangements, helped in creating an obsessive atmosphere that reflects the mood of the lyrics. This is just an example, from “Un galantuomo”: “Ora mi decido, prendo un martello, me lo picchio sulla testa ed ecco che i topi mi escono dal naso, i topi mi escono dalle orecchie. Ma ora me ne pento perché oramai io sono troppo vecchio. E come una pianta che perde le foglie, io perdo i capelli, io perdo le dita, io perdo le gambe, io perdo il naso, io perdo il controllo della lingua.” (“Now i decide, i take a hammer, i bang it on my head and the rats come out of my nose, the rats come out of my ears. But i repent, because by now i am too old. And like a plant losing its leaves, i lose my hair, i lose my fingers, i lose my legs, i lose my nose, i lose control of my tongue.”).
This combination of haunting lyrics and sounds from outer space landed as an unidentified object in the middle of a scene then mainly focused on progressive rock and cantautori, and Battiato’s name was not yet such a warranty brand to gain to the album the attention it deserved. As a result, La finestra dentro has been for too many years one of the best kept secret of seventies’ italian music – and a highly valued collectors item. The releasing of two singles during 1975, which coupled tracks from the album with more “easy” songs on the a-sides, did not help either.
The same Juri Camisasca became a desaparecido joining a monastery in 1976, after some minor contributions to some Battiato’s projects. He came back to music at the end of the eighties, and since then he has been writing some amazing songs for the likes of Alice, Milva and Giuni Russo and has released three solo albums: Te deum, Il Carmelo di Echt (“the echt’s carmel”), and Arcano enigma (“occult enigma”, with Bluvertigo as a backing band).
He is also a painter of orthodox icons, and has acted in the last two Battiato’s feature films as a director, Musikanten and Niente è come sembra (“nothing is as it seems”, with Alejandro Jodorowski playing a tarot reader).
Here is the tracklist:
01, Un galantuomo (“a gentleman”)
02, Ho un grande vuoto nella testa (“i’ve got a big void in my head”)
03, Metamorfosi (“metamorphosis”, also released as the b-side of “La musica muore”)
04, Scavando col badile (“digging with the shovel”)
06, Un fiume di luce (“a river of light”, also released as the b-side of “Himalaya”)
07, Il regno dell’Eden (“the realm of eden”)
The two 7″ contain:
a, Himalaya / b, Un fiume di luce
La musica muore (“the music dies”, 1975)
a, La musica muore / b, Metamorfosi
Get the whole package: Juri Camisasca, La finestra dentro (1974) + 7″
Check juricamisasca.it for news and stuff (in italian).