Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

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

Posts Tagged ‘funk

[music:] Gino D’Eliso, Ti ricordi Vienna? (1977)

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Do you know mitteleurock? No, nothing to do with Midge Ure’s Ultravox. Three years before they released their 1980’s same titled album, Vienna was a place of the heart for Gino D’Eliso, and mitteleurock was the name he gave to the scene that gathered around him in Trieste – and to the label he founded some time later.

Trieste is the real heart of Europe. It’s the crossroads where Mitteleurope and the Mediterranean meet. It’s neither western nor eastern, and it’s both. It’s bright and obscure. It’s windy. It’s the frontier town where smugglers cross the border and pirates meet. It’s the italian hometown for people like Sigmund Freud and James Joyce. Romantic, melancholic, multilingual and multicultural centuries before the very term “meltin’ pot” assumed its current meaning. Vienna was the empire, but Trieste had the sea.

This is the ground where D’Eliso’s peculiar mythology is rooted. Heroes and saints, thieves and dropouts, poets and gypsies are the characters who crowd his stories. Decadence, sadness, irony and compassion. And even if the music in Ti ricordi Vienna? (“do you remember Vienna?”) is mainly funk-flavoured pop (between Young Americans‘ Bowie and late 70’s Lucio Battisti – the latter having released through his label Numero Uno D’Eliso’s first effort, Il mare, in 1976), dusted with luxurious disco strings arrangements, one can still get balcanian and mediterranean folk echoes, together with faint new wave influences. This is mitteleurock at its birth – and possibly at its best.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Bellezza normanna (“norman beauty”)
02, Kajmac Calan
03, Il tamburello e l’eroe (“the tambourine and the hero”)
04, Non saremo angeli (we’ll be no angels”, also released as a 7″ b/w “Ti ricordi Vienna?”)
05, Fiesta messicana (“mexican fiesta”)
06, Ti ricordi Vienna? (“do you remember Vienna?”)
07, Tanto arriva domenica (“sunday will come anyway”)
08, Non basta la poesia (“poetry’s not enough”)
09, La notte di Erasmo (“Erasmus’ night”)

Get it: Gino D’Eliso, Ti ricordi Vienna? (1977)

D’Eliso released two other albums, Santi & eroi (“saints & heroes”, 1979) and Cattivi pensieri (“bad thoughts”, 1983 – his “greatest” commercial success) and produced some acts from the area, such as Revolver and Luc Orient, before disappearing from italian music scene. Unfortunately, the mitteleurock movement declined together with his career. D’Eliso is now working in the corporate communications field with an advanced technology company in Trieste. He released a new album in 2004, Europa Hotel.

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Written by alteralter

May 21, 2008 at 11:46 pm

[music:] Andrea Liberovici, Liberovici (1980)

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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)

Get it: Andrea Liberovici, Liberovici (1980)

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).

Written by alteralter

February 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm