Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

Music from a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Posts Tagged ‘1979

[music:] Fanigliulo, Io e me (1979)

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A lifetime-long heartache. A heartquake. The son of a sailor, and sailor himself, who has to give up life on the sea because of a rheumatic disease and ends up as a farmer and breeder in Liguria’s countryside. The kid with the guitar recruited by Caterina Caselli for her label Ascolto together with Pierangelo Bertoli, Faust’o, Pepe Maina, Mauro Pagani, post-Cramps Area. The liscio singer from Romeo e Los Gringos in Giuseppe Bertolucci’s movie Berlinguer ti voglio bene (1977) which announces from the stage to a young Roberto Benigni the death of his mother. The jester which forecasts his own death by cerebral hemorrhage ten years in advance in his most successful song, while people clap hands and smile.

Franco Fanigliulo’s first album, Mi ero scordato di me (“i had forgotten about myself”, 1977) introduced the audience to this outsider’s peculiar theatrical approach to pop songs, which mixed mid-seventies cantautori style with french chansonniers and early nineteenth-century italian cabaret; but it’s with his acclaimed participation in 1979 Sanremo festival with the apparently funny “A me mi piace vivere alla grande” (written with Oscar Avogadro, Daniele Pace and Riccardo Borghetti), which he suddenly appeared bound for success.

Shortly afterwards, Io e me (“i and me”), produced by the great Gian Piero Reverberi (arranger and producer for Fabrizio De Andrè, New Trolls, Le Orme, Lucio Battisti, Mina, Lucio Dalla, Patty Pravo, and founder of Rondò Veneziano) was released. A masterpiece which overturned the same concept of “cantautore”, hurling it into the upcoming decade, and places Fanigliulo among other terminal heroes such as Mauro Pelosi, Faust’o, Flavio Giurato. The hit single (which however remains a great take on his cabaret side) was literally buried with songs such as “Non si sa mai”, “Buffone”, “Il chirurgo”, “Con te” and, above all, the harrowing “Marco e Giuditta” about a couple of old lovers, which accomplish the dirty job that Jacques Brel had only started with “La chanson des vieux amants”.

Here is the tracklist:

01, L’artista (“the artist”)
02, A me mi piace vivere alla grande (“me like living it big time”, also released as a 7″ b/w “Non si sa mai”)
03, Il guerriero (“the warrior”)
04, Marco e Giuditta (“Marco and Giuditta”)
05, Buffone (“bufoon”)
06, Con te (“with you”)
07, Il chirurgo (“the surgeon”)
08, Non si sa mai (“one never knows”)
09, La Giovanna

Get it: Fanigliulo, Io e me (1979)

Unfortunately, the record did not manage to chart, and “A me mi piace vivere alla grande” itself did not go further than the 42nd place. As a result, after another unsuccessful album in 1980, Ratatam pum pum (featuring Mauro Pagani, Walter Calloni, Loredana Bertè), and a 7″ in 1982 (“La liberté”), Ascolto discharged him. Fanigliulo came back to his coutrylife, from where he briefly emerged in 1983 with a Q-disc (a four-tracks EP) called Benvenuti nella musica (“welcome to music”) released by Battisti’s Numero Uno.

It’s his friendship with Zucchero (Fanigliulo is credited in the latter’s 1987 bestseller Blue’s for his contribution to music and lyrics) and especially with Vasco Rossi, the most successful italian rockstar, which drew him back to the music business. Actually he released a couple of singles in 1987 and 1988 through Bollicine, Rossi’s label, and was working on his comeback album, with Steve Rogers Band as a backing band, when, on January 1989, at the age of 44, he was hit by a stroke and died after a couple of days at the hospital’s intensive care unit. Just like he sang in “A me mi piace vivere alla grande”: “Ho un nano nel cervello, un ictus cerebrale” (“I’ve got a dwarf in my brain, a cerebral ictus”).

The songs he left unfinished were released in 1990 as a posthumous album titled Goodbye mai (“arrivederci never”). You can pay tribute to Franco Fanigliulo visiting the site L’artista Franco Fanigliulo (in italian), stuffed with info, pictures, songs preview, interviews, etc.


[music:] Gaznevada, Gaznevada aka Cassetta Harpo’s (1979)

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Bologna 1977, “Skank Bloc Bologna”: the boiling point. Communist party as the establishment. Autonomia Operaia, Dams (the art and music faculty). The student Francesco Lorusso killed by the police. Indiani metropolitani, Radio Alice, situationism. Wrenches in the pockets. Pop culture is the weapon. Lambrusco wine and plegin. And sedatives. And heroin. Tortellini punk. The rise of post-modernism.

Traumfabrik was the name of a squatted flat in the center of the city, part house, part art studio, part club. People like Filippo Scozzari and Andrea Pazienza – members of “Cannibale” comics ‘zine’s crew and later founders of the seminal magazine “Frigidaire” – Renato De Maria, Oderso Rubini, and many others kids from the scene used to live, work, perform, or just gather there to meet people, listen to music, enjoy drugs, and have fun. Among them, the Ramones-fixated, leather-jacketed young guys who were soon to form the one-song, one-show punk sensation Centro d’urlo metropolitano (“metropolitan scream center”).

Their 25th September 1977 few minutes live appearance performing “Mamma dammi la benza” (“mommy gimme the fuel”) during a festival in Bologna, ending up in a paper balls fight between the stage and the audience, is a landmark in italian pop history, and anticipated the official breakthrough of “rock demenziale” (“demented rock”), a peculiar italian contribution to post-punk history whose most important representatives have been Skiantos, another band from the area.

Anyway, Centro d’urlo metropolitano was soon to mutate into a whole different thing. When their anthem was eventually released on the miscellaneous tape Sarabanda, the guys now known as Gaznevada (a name inspired by a Raymond Chandler’s short story) were already experimenting with sound and lyrics under the influence of acts such as Devo, Talking Heads, Pere Ubu and Contortions, evolving from their early raw and unorganized two-chords punk-rock attack towards the unique and amazing spaghetti-no wave of their masterpiece debut album Sick Soundtrack (1980).

Oderso Rubini, who had recently started his own label Harpo’s Music, taped them during their 1979 rehearsals, documenting the stunning work in progress which would have led to their first full-length effort. Gaznevada was the result of these sessions, and the seventh issue of the label. What you can find here is a band strugglin’ to find their true voice, between the disconnected upbeat of “Everybody enjoy with reggae music”, and the fascinating, sharp, lirically intriguing manifesto “Nevadagaz”, re-recorded for their legendary first 7″ in 1980. It’s the birth of a legend.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Everybody enjoy with reggae music
02, Criminale (“criminal”)
03, Donna di gomma (“rubber woman”)
04, Bestiale (“bestial”)
05, Mamma dammi la benza (“mommy gimme the fuel”)
06, Teleporno T.V. (“porn channel T.V.”)
07, Johnny (fallo per me) (“Johnny (do it for me)”)
08, Roipnol
09, Nevadagaz

Get it: Gaznevada, Gaznevada aka Cassetta Harpo’s (1979)
[edit March 9th, 2009: thanks to our friends at Shake Edizioni this tape is finally available on cd, with the title Mamma dammi la benza!, together with a short book about Gaznevada and the video Telepornovisione by Giampiero Huber, Renato De Maria and Emanuele Angiuli. Obviously the download link has been removed. Go and buy it at the publishing house’s website.]

Gaznevada released four albums before breaking up in 1988, progressively shifting towards italo disco and synthpop. They joined Edoardo Bennato for his 1980’s Uffà uffà, and played gigs with the likes of DNA, Chrome, Lounge Lizards, Bauhaus. Their 1983 hit “I.C. Love Affair” is a club classic and has been recently remixed by Munk for the Confuzed Disco compilation (2006). Former guitarist Ciro Pagano (aka E. Robert Squibb) is a founding member of the successful italo-house outfit Datura.

Harpo’s Music would have soon become Italian Records – together with IRA from Florence THE italian new wave label, hosting the likes of Gaznevada, Skiantos, Windopen, Sorella maldestra, Luti Chroma, Confusional Quartet, The Stupid Set, Kirlian Camera, Johnson Righeira, Monofonic Orchestra, N.O.I.A., Art Fleury, A.I.M., Neon, Hi-Fi Bros, etc. Gems from Italian’s back catalogue (such as Gaznevada’s Sick Soundtrack) are being reprinted by Oderso Rubini’s new label Astroman.

Visit Gaznevada’s official MySpace and Astroman’s website (in italian, seems on hiatus) for more info.

Written by alteralter

September 8, 2008 at 11:44 pm

[music:] Faust’o, Poco zucchero (1979)

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It’s hard to explain to a worldwide audience the importance of mr. Fausto Rossi (aka Faust’o) for italian pop music. Possibly the simplest way to introduce him is saying that, even if practically unknown to a greater public, as often told for the Velvet Underground almost everyone who bought his albums later formed a band. Generations of musicians and songwriters have been inspired and influenced by his work, from Garbo to Bluvertigo and beyond.

Faust’o debuted in 1978 as one of the young artists signed by Caterina Caselli for her label Ascolto, a CGD subsidiary. Caselli had been one of the most succesful female pop singer in the sixties (if you know Nanni Moretti’s movies you will sure remember the scene in the car in his Palme d’Or winning La stanza del figlioThe Son’s Room – in which the whole family sings together one of Caselli’s biggest hits, “Insieme a te non ci sto più”). In the seventies, she had started a new career as an A&R at CGD, and obtained to manage a sublabel of her own to release records by her friend Pierangelo Bertoli (a talented singer/songwriter) and to scout new artists from the alternative scene, helped by a small group of trusted people, like the songwriter Oscar Avogadro. They came up recruiting, among others, this 23 years old worringly skinny guy born in Sacile, Friuli, but living and working in Milan, named Fausto Rossi.

He teamed up with Avogadro, as a producer, and former Formula 3 guitarist Alberto Radius to record his first full-length effort, Suicidio (“suicide”, 1978): a stylized glam-wave manifesto which mainly stroke its listeners with its angry, explicit yet poetic lyrics, and gained him the definition of “italian David Bowie” – even if he disowned the album saying that it had suffered too much from label’s pressure.

Coming back to the studio, he was actually claiming more control on the recording process and the artistic choices, and was allowed to produce himself the new songs, helped again by Avogadro and Radius. The result, Poco zucchero (“a little sugar”, 1979), stands as a cornerstone for the then-rising italian new wave scene.

The cold wave/art glam/minimal funk takes driven by Faust’o synths and Radius’ nervous guitar lines served perfectly as a canvas for his tales of urban, contemporary spleen, love, hate, discomfort and discontent as in “Kleenex”, “Il lungo addio” or the magnificent “Funerale a Praga” (which has been sampled by Baustelle in the opening track for their major debut La malavita, released in 2005). His sharp, theatrical voice sounded more original than ever, and became a landmark for italian rock singers in the eighties. In a word, this album was seminal. The definitive anti-cantautore – and the best interpreter of the post-engagement era – was officially invested.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Vincent Price
02, Cosa rimane (“what’s left”)
03, Attori malinconici (“melancholic actors”)
04, Oh! Oh! Oh! (also released as a 7″ b/w “Vincent Price”)
05, In tua assenza (“when you’re away”)
06, Kleenex
07, Il lungo addio (“the long goodbye”)
08, Funerale a Praga (“funeral in Prague”)

Get it: Faust’o, Poco zucchero (1979)
[edit April 8th, 2009: download link has been removed as requested by
Go visit the website for further info about Fausto Rossi’s new album, Becoming visible, and to listen to his previous records.]

Faust’o has released four other great LPs under his stage name until 1985. Since 1992 he has been recording and performing as Fausto Rossi releasing four albums, the last being Becoming visible (2009), and produced Lungo i bordi (“along the borders”) by Massimo volume in 1995.

Find more info, pics and stuff at Fausto Rossi’s official site (in italian).

Written by alteralter

June 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm