Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category


December 13, 2008

Musings from a progressiveears thread on Italian Prog, in which someone found a kindredness between Maxophone and Citta Frontale:

The eponymous Maxophone album has long been one of my top five Italian titles, but Citta Frontale I only started warming up to last year, when mention of that disc in another thread prompted me to blow the dust off. I wasn’t struck by any particular bond between these two albums, for the Maxophone disc always impressed me as a standalone in its tapestry of sweeping dynamics and melodic beauty.

MaxophoneMaxophone (1975)

Now just last week I spun my three favorite tracks from the Maxophone disc – “Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla”, “Il Fischio Del Vapore” and “Cono Di Gelato” – as part of a ten hour V.A. m3u list* dedicated to 1975. I’ll revisit the Citta Frontale disc soon and take note to the aforementioned comparisons.

*I just pulled up the list as I was typing so I could hear “Cono Di Gelato”, a beautifully hypnotic track immersed in a cozy, after hours, drift away feel. It segued perfectly into the next, equally wonderful cut on the list, “Oh, Thank You Great Spirit” by Chicago.



Anna Oxa: Superenigmatic Italian Diva

December 20, 2007

Yeah, I’d stumbled upon an album cover by her at one time or another, but I’d never been taken by the anomaly of her spectacle until now. After all, how many MOR divas can you name that toyed with a punk image as early as 1978?

Anna Oxa, 1978

Anna Oxa, 1978

  • Intervista Discoring 78
  • Or is that ‘punque’ (from the waist on up, anyway.) Alas, her stylists didn’t do enough research to know that flared trousers were in fact the aesthetic anathema to all true punks.

  • “Un’emozione da Poco”

  • Well in case you’ve had enough vulcanized gender transgressions for one day, I’ll assure you that the imposing, distaff maverick seen up above did in fact mutate into a wholesome young woman, most captivatingly so in this très sexy segment from 1982:

  • “Il No” Video (1982)
    Aah, I love the slow motion camerawork and soft lighting that glows upon her face.
  • That sultry slow motion delivery really was just totally befitting to that number, as this alternate clip further demonstrates:

  • “Il No” (1982)

  • Now as you rejuvenate, I’ll have you know that the surprises don’t end there, for the smooth as silk teddy bear from that last clip morphed yet again by the mid ’80s, this time into a sultry vixen. Here she sits resplendent in platinum perfection in this 1984 clip with Raffaella Carrà:

  • Oxa Pronto Raffaella 84
  • And here she performs in her newly perfected Monroe-esque glamour:

  • “Non Scendo” (1984)
  • “Eclissi Totale” (1984)

  • Later, as The Style Decade drew to a close, the genesis from humanoid to honey to heroine was complete, as seen in these aristocratically dressed-to-kill clips from 1988:

  • “Oltre la Montagna”
  • “E tutto un’attimo”
  • “Quando nasce un amore”
  • pronto è la rai oxa
  • pronto è la rai oxa 2
    (Caveat: I think she went a bit too far on the tweezing.)
  • golden-lady-anna-oxa-print2-orig1

    Apparently, our satin-legged, statuesque songstress also had a knack for comedy:

  • parole parole ….imitazione Anna Oxa, frantastico 9 ’88
  • love story presunta di fantastico 9 Oxa
  • I sure hope the following incident wasn’t real:

  • caduta dalla scale di fantastico 9

  • Oh well, in any case, it appears as though her heavenly legs (as well as her eyebrows) did indeed recover:

  • “Tu non ridi piu”
  • “Pensami per te”
  • Live Medley ’92
  • golden-lady-anna-oxa-poster-orig

    Italian Fusion

    November 29, 2007

    1970s Italy was rife with rock maximalists displaying grand lavishness in the symphonic pantheon. But what about blazening dexterity of the fusion calibre? With the informational flow of Web 2.0 unearthing the 1970s as the most musically rich decade ever, a recent discussion on ’70s Italian fusion addressed numerous names, to which I added the following impressions:

    Etna – Very derivative of the US-based fusion sound, and when it’s Europe were talking about, I tend to like me a band where I can hear more of an individual stamp upon the style, such as with some of the acts mentioned below. Now initially I thought only two tracks (towards the end of the disc) bore repeated plays, but I reconsidered after seeing Progbear give kudos to Etna at the expense of Flea (who’s Topi o Uomini I do in fact love – it’s the album that got me back into Italian prog after several years away.)
    The whole Etna disc, save for the iffy second track, can be heard below:

    Festa Mobile – Despite their evolution into the fuzaky Il Baricentro, Diario di viaggio della Festa Mobile never struck me as fusion at all. Superficially, it could be tagged as “ELP on overdrive”, what with all the dizzying piano work, but basically it’s a festive album of tightly-composed keyboard prog:
    Festa Mobile

    Bella Band – A very tasty, Canterbury-inspired ensemble whose legacy is all-too small:
    Bella Band

    Duello Madre – A recent fave of mine that hasn’t really struck me as fusion, but I won’t reject the notion. They sound slightly ahead of their time for an Italian band circa 1973, what with their developed Frippian guitar tones. In some respects I could draw a parallel to the contemporaneous German band Kollektiv, who also mixed the newer Frippian guitar sound with jazzier elements totally outside the KC paradigm:
    Duello Madre

    Arti & Mestieri – I half agree with both of you, in that I consider both their first two albums great (and fusiony.) The first takes a slight symphonic Tilt (pun intended) with reoccurring motifs making for a cohesive set of interrelated compositions, whilst Giro strings together shorter ideas with some funky breaks in a jovial manner:
    Arti & Mestieri

    Picchio Dal Pozzo – Along with Arti & Mestieri, Picchio are easily my favorite Italian band, though someone else had already taken the honors here:
    Picchio Dal Pozzo

    Cincinatto – Great album cover, yet the music sounds rather murky on my copy. Don’t know whether it’s down to the rip or the master:(

    Il Volo – This Italian supergroup took a turn towards fusion with their second album Essere O Non Essere, though I personally favor the melodramatic prog/pop song approach of their eponymous debut:
    Il Volo

    Bauhuas – Spin-off from a long-unsung, posthumously-excavated wonder of the early Italian prog scene, Buon Vecchio Charlie. While their lone album Stairway to Escher may not be the eight wonder of the world, it serves as ample evidence that they were the greatest band to have ever named themselves after that famed Weimer-era institute of the avant garde (then again, it’s not like I’ve ever heard of any other bands using that name.:P)