Tuesday, 27 September 2011

LAZIO (part 1)

For the next stage of our journey we head south west, to LAZIO and to The Eternal City, the capital of Italy, ROME. This city is renowned for its landmarks as the Colosseum and Vatican City, a true state inside the city. The prog scene of Rome has always been extremely rich. In the seventies Rome gave us, among others, bands such as Il Paese dei Balocchi, Semiramis, Panna Fredda, Quella Vecchia Locanda, L’Uovo di Colombo, Libra, Flea/Flea On The Honey, Etna, Pierrot Lunaire, Albero Motore, Buon Vecchio Charlie, Bauhaus, Officina Meccanica, Laser, Kaleidon, Samadhi, La Seconda Genesi, I Teoremi, Rustichelli & Bordini, Canzoniere del Lazio, Carnascialia, Grosso Autunno, Stradaperta, Ars Nova, Janus, Quel Giorno di Uve Rosse and in more recent times Ezra Winston, Gallant Farm, Divae, Mirage, Venus Tebla and Montefeltro. Some prog bands and artists that began their career in the seventies are still active and many historic prog bands recently reformed. Metamorfosi (Official Website) reformed in the mid nineties and in 2004 released a good album, Paradiso. At the moment they are working on a new album, Purgatorio. Vocalist Davide “Jimmy” Spitaleri in 2010 started a collaboration with Le Orme while keyboardist Enrico Olivieri also plays with Gli Alunni del Sole, a “romantic pop” band from Naples.

Il Rovescio della Medaglia (Official Website) recently have come to life again on the initiative of founder member Enzo Vita and in 2011 they released a new album, Microstorie. Murple (Official Website) reformed in 2007 on the initiative of three original members, Pier Carlo Zanco, Duilio Sorrenti and Mario Garbarino. In 2008 with the help of a young female vocalist, Sabina Gagliardi, and a of new guitarist, Edoardo Massimi, they recorded a brand new album that was released by the independent label Btf, “Quadri di un’esposizione”. It’s a concept album inspired by some works by the Russian painter Victor Alexandrovich Hartmann. Modest Mussorgsky, who was a friend of the painter, composed his piano suite “Pictures at an Exhibition” on the emotional wave that was provoked by these pieces of art. Well, Murple’s album is not a rock interpretation of Mussorgsky’s music (as EL&P’s), but an original work inspired by the same paintings.

La Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno came back to life in 2009 on the initiative of founder member Luciano Regoli with a renewed line-up and under the name La Nuova Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno (Official Website) they released an excellent album in 2010, Il pittore volante. By the way, during the nineties Luciano Regoli was the singer of a prog metal band still in activity, D.G.M. (Official Website).

Another recent comeback is Reale Accademia di Musica (MySpace) although no original member is part of the new project. The new line-up was gathered around Adriano Monteduro who joined the band for their second album in 1974. After a disappointing album in 2008, the new line-up released a better work in 2009, Tempo senza tempo”. Rane Concave (MySpace) and Sigmund Freud (Facebook) are other bands that were formed in the seventies but never had the chance to record an album. Recently they have reunited too and are working hard to finally release a debut album.

Toto Torquati (Official Website) after the release of two solo “prog” albums in the early seventies, continued his career as a session man, arranger and producer. During the years he collaborated with many Italian pop stars and singer songwriters but he didn’t release any other album until 2009. On April 1, 2009 I was in Rome and I had the chance to attend the showcase where Toto Torquati presented his new work, Vita, Amore e Musica (Life, Love and Music). He was introduced by his old “pupil” Claudio Baglioni, who is now one of best known Italian melodic singer-songwriters, and who sang three of his old hits arranged by Toto Torquati. Then Toto Torquati performed almost all the tracks of the new album with the help of a band of young musicians. Well, Toto Torquati was like a keyboard wizard performing his charms and the show was emotionally intense and full of pathos. I was really impressed by the vitality and the energy he could transmit to the public. The new pieces are almost completely instrumental but on stage a speaker read a short poetical commentary for every track. It took almost twenty years for Toto Torquati to compose, record and refine the tracks on this work, but the result is remarkable.

Former member of Pierrot Lunaire, Arturo Stàlteri (Official Website), after the band split up started a solo career and is still active too while drummer Carlo Bordini of Rustichelli & Bordini recently joined forces with Taprobans’ keyboardist Gianluca De Rossi for a new project called De Rossi & Bordini (MySpace).

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