Mobile were one of the many Italian prog bands of the early seventies
who disbanded soon after the release of an excellent debut album in
1973. The line-up featured Renato Baldassarri (vocals), Francesco
Boccuzzi (bass, keyboards), Giovanni Boccuzzi (keyboards), Alessio
Alba (guitar) and Maurizio Cobianchi (drums). The Boccuzzi brothers
later formed another band called Il Baricentro, more “jazz-rock
oriented”. On “Diario di viaggio della Festa Mobile” the band
showcase a great musicianship although the sound quality from the
recording sessions is not flawless. Festa Mobile are often compared
with BMS, PFM, Le Orme and other “classic” Italian prog bands:
you can find here many influences ranging from classical music to
jazz, from British prog rock to Italian folklore, but the final
result is original enough and it’s definitely worth listening to.
di viaggio della Festa Mobile” is a concept album where the band
describes in music and words the experience of a company of comedians
returning home after the celebrations in honour of the new king of a
far (imaginary) country, Hon. The opener “La corte di Hon” (Hon’s
court) is introduced by a dizzy piano pattern, then a frenzied rhythm
section and vocals come in... The lyrics depict the atmosphere of
false joy put up by the oppressive power of the new king... “Hon’s
celebration lasts hundred days / For a hundred days the sun won’t
set / Hon sits on his throne / The moving feast lives on / It seems a
celebration of love / But it’s just a false mask... Peace seems to
rule / But it’s war that rules... It seemed a celebration of love /
But it was a celebration of death...”.
the second track “Canto” (Song), the comedians end their
performance in honour of Hon singing a song inspired by their
extraordinary travelling experience and by the contrast between an
ideal world full of love and peace and the cruel reality... “I sing
the colours of time and the rhythm of the wind / That are living in
me... I sing the story of happy people living in ingenuity... I sing
the future I dream / A new day that’s lost and will never come...”.
The rhythm is complex and fiery while the vocals depict a dream that
turns into a nightmare...
the third track “Aristea” the mood is more relaxed, almost
mystic. After the celebration, our “heros” are on the way home.
They stop to rest in a mysterious abbey where the great priestess
Aristea silently looks at their hands and reveals them a prophecy...
“You will go there / Where the sun doesn’t shine / Where men do
not know happiness...”. So they become aware that freedom is in
danger even in their homeland. Well, you can feel almost a sense of
impending doom at the end of the track when a “nervous” rhythm
section comes in...
fourth track is about despair and mercy. “Ljalja” tells about the
meeting with a young girl crying in a country ravaged by war. She was
still clasping her dead son in her hands, she was still a child but
without a future... “Then slowly she smiled / She couldn’t speak
long, complex last track “Ritorno” (Return) tells of the return
and of the fear that the protagonists feel since they are aware that
what they have seen during their journey could happen in their
homeland too... It’s like waking up with a nightmare still hanging
on: “We were travelling back to home / And the souvenirs in our
minds seemed made of stone / Red stone from the innocent’s blood /
People who died in the name of their truth / Martyrs of Hon and of
the dream of a new reality / Under a different sky we’re looking at
home again... Where sooner or later Hon will come / With the rules of
is the second full length album by Neapolitan band I Pennelli di
Vermeer. It was financed though the crowd-founding platform
Produzioni dal Basso and released in 2014 on the independent label
Marotta & Cafiero Recorder with a renewed line up featuring
Pasquale Sorrentino (vocals, guitars, ukulele), Stefania Aprea
(vocals), Pasquale Palomba (guitars), Raffaele Polimeno (piano,
keyboards, Moog), Maurizio D'Antonio (bass), Marco Sorrentino
(drums, vocals). The album was recorded with the help of some guest
musicians such as Enrico
Vicinanza (countertenor), Giovanni Vicinanza (electric guitar),
Antonio Ostuni (electric guitar), Rosario Federico (Theremin),
Fulvio Di Nocera (double bass), Catello Tucci (cello) and Ilario
Ruopolo (violin) and features a nice artwork by Antonella Ruggiero.
It's a concept album about a mysterious case of murder that media
manipulate and transform into a kind of TV show where reality and
fiction are mixed. Musically, this work is a funny, colourful
patchwork with a strong theatrical approach, but beware! Not
everything works and prog lovers could be puzzled and disappointed by
the too many different influences that the band tried to put in their
musical cocktail, ranging from surf and reggae to opera, funky,
country rock and world music. There are some good ideas but in some
way they are scattered all around and the result is not really
cohesive: there are no recurring themes nor leitmotifs, even if all
the tracks are linked together and conceived to tell a story. But, of
course, the storyline is meant as a sarcastic criticism against trash
TV and the overwhelming gossip of tabloids and press in general, so
this could be just the right choice to underline the lyrics...
short, promising "Ouverture" sets the atmosphere describing
people without ideals who feel void and bored, a generation of web
and TV children who are lurking around like werewolves. It leads to
"Ray Chat" that recalls the Beach Boys (but with some
renaissance sprinkles) and describes one of the protagonists of the
story: the murderer, a boy obsessed by the internet.
"Mrs Rose" you can hear the first news of the murder
broadcast by the media. The corpse was found at the NoiaNoir Hotel,
room number 33, then there's a description of the victim:
thirty-three years old, a very peculiar soubrette, a social
phenomenon and a femme fatale with a dubious background. Here the
music combines reggae and opera, then a short instrumental intermezzo
leads to a change and to the lively violin passages and oblique
country rock of "Scoop" that portrays a journalist on his
way to the crime scene and the instruction of his editor: well, pain
is gold if you know how to exploit it!
is a dark, sarcastic ballad that stigmatizes the need of blood to
suffocate the infectious sense of boredom of so many people in a
society that suffers of the lack of ideals. Media exploit this
phenomenon like in the cases of Cogne or Avetrana... The following
"Orrido Tour" is a swinging musical scherzo that reminds me
of the Quartetto Cetra, an Italian vocal quartet established during
the 1940s. Here the ironic lyrics depict the phenomenon of the so
called turismo dell'orrore, a peculiar kind of tourism bound
to famous crime scenes.
sound of police cars hooters introduces the following "La Paura"
(Fear) that describes in a funny but effective way the feeling of
fear and suspect spreading after a cruel, bloody crime amplified by
the media. Eventually the investigation becomes a frenzied hunt that
could lead to errors under the media pressure. Beware! Collective
madness could drive someone to state that you are the monster, even
if you are not guilty at all... Next comes the funky "Torquemada"
that describes the detective in charge of the investigation, a
nervous and unscrupulous inspector in hurry to find a culprit...
is a nice ballad where you can hear the media broadcasting the news
of the arrest of the murderer and the hysteric reaction of the
public. Then an ethereal instrumental intermezzo leads to "Criminal
boy", where the music draws on a west coast daydream while the
lyrics try to explain the reason of the crime. Some people kills to
become famous, others just because they have to eat, some play the
role of the executioner and later pray, others kill just because of
boredom, without a real reason... You can't never be sure since you
can't read a criminal mind!
bluesy "Show case" describes the trial transformed into a
TV show, with witness and protagonists acting like cinema stars,
walking on the red carpet. The calm "Animi anonimi"
(Anonymous souls) concludes the album with a bitter-sweet reflection
about boredom and a merciless daily grind that anaesthetizes our
the whole, an interesting work where the band showcase good
musicianship and many fresh ideas but that in my opinion is difficult
to appreciate if you don't understand the lyrics and the storyline.
Anyway, judge by yourselves: you can listen to the complete album in