Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

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

Posts Tagged ‘pasquale panella

[music:] Enzo Carella, Sfinge (1981)

with one comment

One out of many. An average long-haired, moustached kid playing guitar, hitchhiking through Europe, going to rock festivals. Enzo Carella was in the Isle of Wight in 1970, at his hero Jimi Hendrix last gig. And in London, when Jimi died in his bed. What do you see when you turn out the light? I can’t tell you, but i know it could be mine.

I already mentioned Pasquale Panella in the previous post. Carella met him somewhere in Rome in the mid-seventies, while planning his personal way out of the post-prog swamp, fancying of an italian etnopop yet to come. The two teamed up in a songwriting plot to gently upset the scene.

1976. Enzo Carella releases his first single, “Fosse vero” (“should it be true”), followed some months later by the album Vocazione (“vocation”, 1977). Suddenly, a dazzling pop vision which looked like nothing before – and perhaps since – in Italy. Brightness, night, lightness, riddle, dance, rest, sex, suicide. Gold offered with simplicity and aloofness, just as everyone could do that. Only Lucio Battisti had likewise managed to sound so easy and complicated at the same time, joining britpop, soul, funky, latin influences, italian melodic tradition, often using opaque lyrics (by his songwriting partner Mogol) to challenge the listeners. Desperately seeking for a term of comparison, people sticked to this parallel and labelled Carella as a funny clone, justified by some superficial similarities such as the same thin, rough voice. Fact is, the ghost of Battisti has been haunting him since then – but who was influencing who, if in the end Lucio picked up Pasquale Panella to write the words to his songs from Don Giovanni (1986) on?

Enzo Carella was maybe looking for a spell that could disperse this shadow during the two years of silence that followed the release of a successful second album, Barbara e altri Carella (“Barbara and others Carella”, 1979), and a second place at the 1979 Sanremo festival. The same press sheet for his full-length comeback Sfinge (“sphinx”), finally out in 1981, reported him as “dealing with magic”.

Actually, esotericism and erotism seem to be the two strenghts which join forces in this masterpiece, surprisingly produced by a veteran from the prog scene, former Osanna wind player Elio D’Anna (who also played sax and flute on the record). D’Anna basically supplied a pleasant yet uncomfortable mediterranean setting where the songs lay in the half-light, at midday (“Mare sopra e sotto”, “Sfinge”), or under the moonlight (“Che notte (qui con te)”, “Contatto”). It’s the power of opposites. Pop music as an acrobatics number gone bad.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Stai molto attenta (“be very careful”)
02, Sì, si può (“yes, you can”)
03, Sex show
04, Mare sopra e sotto (“sea above and below”)
05, Sfinge (“sphinx”, also release as a 7″ b/w “Sì, si può”))
06, Che notte (qui con te) (“what a night (here with you)”)
07, Contatto (“contact”)
08, Lei no (“not her”)
09, Rilfessione finale (“final reflection”)

Get it here: Enzo Carella, Sfinge (1981)

After Sfinge, Enzo Carella went on hiatus until 1992, when the semi-anthologic Carella de Carellis came out. Since then, he has released two other albums, Se non cantassi sarei nessuno (1995, an imaginary musical based on the Odissey), and Ahoh yè nanà (2007), both written with his long-time confederate Pasquale Panella.

You can also visit his MySpace (in italian) for updates and some amazing pics.

Written by alteralter

December 3, 2008 at 9:56 pm

[requests, music:] Adriano Pappalardo, Oh! Era ora (1983)

with 6 comments

By request, the last studio album from one of the most underrated singers and musicians in italian pop music history.

Adriano Pappalardo, born in 1945 in Copertino, in the south of Italy, started his career as a passionate and sanguine soul/rythm’n’blues singer with Numero Uno, Lucio Battisti’s label. He left for RCA in 1975, getting his greatest hit in 1979 with “Ricominciamo” (“let’s start again”), just to join forces again with Battisti in the early eighties.

After Immersione (“immersion”, 1982), Pappalardo began to write together with Pasquale Panella aka Vanera, a poet and unconventional lyricist who had deeply impressed Battisti with his words for Enzo Carella’s albums. The songs were then produced by the same Battisti (who also played guitars, synths and bass) in the oblique technopop fashion he was soon to perfect and push to the extremes with the incredible five-records series he wrote with Panella and released between 1986 and 1994. Five records which have changed the face of italian music forever. Somehow Pappalardo, whose loud, hoarse voice is slightly out of context in this setting dominated by Fairlight and keyboards, gave up his name and his persona allowing Battisti a field to experiment and refine the new and effective language he was working on since E già, in 1982.

Anyway, the result was blessed by some kind of state of grace, especially in songs such as “Signorina”, “Caroline e l’uomo nero”, “Questa storia”, and the title track, in which the surreal lyrics, pushed by Pappalardo’s roar, float upon the melodic flows and bump into the angular arrangements. By the way, Formula 3 founder Tony Cicco plays percussions on “Puoi toccarmi tutto a me”.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Signorina (“girl”)
02, Vanessa moda gaia (“Vanessa gay fashion”)
03, Breve la vita felice (“the short happy life”)
04, Puoi toccarmi tutto a me (“you can touch me all over me”)
05, Caroline e l’uomo nero (“Caroline and the black man”)
06, Questa storia (“this story”)
07, Io chi è (“who is I”)
08, Oh! Era ora (“oh! it was time”, also released as a 7″ b/w “Signorina”)

Get it: Adriano Pappalardo, Oh! Era ora (1983)

Pappalardo has also acted in several movies during the eighties and the nineties, and became a kind of a tv star first with his villain role in the legendary mafia serial La piovra, and more recently with his controversial participation in the italian version of I’m a celebrity… get me out of here!

More info on his Wikipedia page (in italian).

Written by alteralter

October 30, 2008 at 12:46 am