Posts Tagged ‘enzo delre’
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.
When you say industrial music, some pioneers’ names come immediately to your head: Monte Cazazza, Boyd Rice, Throbbing Gristle, and so on. Martial rythms, tape loops, distorted noises, buzzing electronics… ok, but what the music of a real factory would have sounded like? One of the possible answers lies in this record.
The new social and cultural framework created in Italy by the great workers’ fights which started in 1967, and the permanent revolutionary mobilization which lasted until the end of the seventies, allowed a new kind of radical, proletarian artists coming from the factories and the urban suburbia to express themselves and find their way into “official” culture. People like the worker-writer Tommaso Di Ciaula, the incredible folk/experimental musician Enzo Delre, and Alfa Romeo workers’ band Gruppo operaio ‘e zezi could now release their books and records, drawing the attention of a broader audience than anybody could ever image a few years before.
Francesco Currà – born in Calabria, in the deep south of Italy – used to work at a milling machine at the Ansaldo, a huge heavy metal industry in Genoa. Actually you can see his pay sheet for october 1976 on the cover. He was a poet, too. He was 29 when he was granted by independent label Ultima spiaggia the opportunity to team up with Roberto Colombo, Flaviano Cuffari and other great musicians to realize Rapsodia Meccanica (“mechanical rhapsody”): not simply a concept album about life in a factory, but a kind of a fantastic voyage through the alienated mind of a chain worker.
The music was based on the same Currà’s field recordings of the Ansaldo’s machines (his co-workers are credited as musicians), turned into gloomy drones and obsessive rythm patterns with the help of Roberto Colombo, under whose artistic direction some acoustic and electronic instrumental contributions were also added.
On top of this sounds layers, Currà screamed his expressionistic yet iperrealistic verses of rage, contempt, fear and sorrow. We’re not having here a middle class kid giving his interpretation of a worker’s life and nonsense talking about alienation. This is first-hand experience, and sounds far more dramatic, disturbing, and politically uncorrect than anything else recorded in those years. Currà’s peculiar singing style basically reminded of “cantastorie” (south Italy folk story-tellers) litanies, with some curious hints of Domenico Modugno; at the same time he anticipated the declamatory spoken-word style by Giovanni Lindo Ferretti from the seminal post-punk band CCCP – Fedeli alla linea, namely in tracks such as “Quanto dura il mio minuto?”, “Preferirei piuttosto” and “La massa della miseria”.
Each “song” in here is a highlight, from the proto-drum’n’bass of “Non mi parlare di rivoluzione” to “L’alunno dell’ultimo banco” and the thrilling “Tavola ansaldina”, which embeds what seems to be an excerpt from a traditional folk love song from Calabria.
Here is the tracklist:
01, 16 giugno (“june 16th”)
02, Non mi parlare di rivoluzione (“don’t you tell me about revolution”)
03, Incubo (“nightmare”)
04, Quanto dura il mio minuto? (“how long does my minute last?”)
05, Preferirei piuttosto (“i’d rather than”)
06, Tra cespugli di ginestre (“in brooms’ bushes”)
07, La rovina del porto è il marinaio (“it’s the sailor which spoils the port”)
08, Hanno sputato sui vetri (“someone has spitted on the glasses”)
09, L’alunno dell’ultimo banco (“last desk’s pupil”)
10, La massa della miseria (“the mass of misery”)
11, Tavola ansaldina (“ansaldinian stele”)
12, Son le puttane le donne migliori (“the whores are the best women”)
Francesco Currà has recorded another album in 1979, Flussi e riflussi (“flows and reflows”), now apparently lost, and has published two poetry books: Rapsodia meccanica. Poesia in fabbrica con le canzoni del disco dell’Ultima spiaggia (“mechanical rhapsody. poetry in the factory with Ultima spiaggia record’s songs”, 1978), and Le eruzioni dell’eros e del male (“the eruptions of eros and evil”, 2004).
Check out the interesting Mutant sounds’ post about Rapsodia meccanica, which places Francesco Currà in the “as-yet-unnamed Italian trajectory that includes Franco Battiato, Pierrot Lunaire, Franco Leprino, Arturo Stalteri and a handful of other like-minded cosmonauts”.