Breznev Fun Club hails from the province of Matera, in Basilicata and began life in the mid eighties on the initiative of guitarist Rocco Lomonaco, drummer Mario Ventrelli and keyboardist Francesco Gallipoli. Their sources of inspiration range from classical music to avant-garde, from Rock In Opposition to Canterbury and more. During their live performances they've always showcased a strong theatrical attitude introducing cabaret elements and recitative parts thanks to their front-man Franco Sciscio who joined the band in 1990.
|Breznev Fun Club 1995|
During the years the band went through many troubles and line up changes and it wasn't until 2010 that they managed to release a real debut album on the independent label Btf/AMS, “L'onda vertebrata: Lost + Found Vol. 1”, with pieces composed from 1990 to 1997 re-arranged and properly re-recorded in studio in 2009 by a line up featuring Rocco Lomonaco (guitars, banjo, mandolin, quatro, harmonica), Franco Sciscio (vocals), Giuliana Di Mitrio (vocals), Maria Mianulli (flute), Francesco Manfredi (clarinet), Michele Motola (sax), Gianfranco Menzella (sax), Francesco Panico (trumpet), Francesco Tritto (trombone), Tommaso De Vito Francesco (bass, oboe), Michele Fracchiolla (drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba), Pino Manfredi (piano, keyboards), Duilio Maci (violin) and Angela Schiralli (cello). In my opinion, the final result of their efforts is excellent! The sonic experiments of the band are never too extreme or self-indulgent and the well balanced arrangements avoid the wild territories of “musique concrète”. The music flows away without weak moments and I'm sure that even those who are not in love with avant-garde will find this challenging work rewarding.
The opener “Ludiche ecchimosi (5 danze immaginarie)” (Playful ecchymosis – 5 imaginary dances) sets the atmosphere. It's a perfectly crafted instrumental piece in five parts where strong classical influences are blended with a touch of jazz. The mood is dreamy, the beautiful operatic voice of Giuliana Di Mitrio here is used as an instrument and soars drawing a charming melody, then the music goes on crossing enchanted places where you can set you mind free and merrily dance under the moon with your sweetest, aching memories. The following “Il Folletto di Cera” (The bogey of wax) is another dreamy track in two parts where you can listen for the first time to the particular voice of Franco Sciscio. The beginning is joyful, then the atmosphere becomes dark. The lyrics conjure up a spiteful bogey of wax wondering in the night and eventually burning in the air. Well, this is an allegorical character that symbolizes a carefree man on his way for an unexpected meeting with the grim reaper...
“Inseguito dai creditori” (Chased by the creditors) is more aggressive. It's a tense instrumental track featuring sudden changes in rhythm and mood. Finally the tension melts and a surreal calm falls down. The following “Tre pezzi brevi” (Three short pieces) is another dreamy track in three parts full of musical colours. It leads to the title track, a long, complex suite divided into ten sections that represents the “main course” of this work. It starts with a short drum solo, then the other instruments begin to embroider a brilliant musical texture, an ideal background for the visionary poetry of Franco Sciscio who reminds me here of Paolo Carelli and of his Pholas Dactylus' Concerto delle menti. The lyrics describe a surreal, psychedelic dream, a wild ride surfing a vertebrate wave directed towards the North Star, among water-drops looking upwards. A big Sagittarius, a perfect utopia, a peculiar choir of angels and the frustrations of an ape, the tentacles of an octopus pervading a non-existent body, striking impulses leading you towards a threatening horizon... You can try to tame your dream and words finally would get trapped in a quicksand while blue tears begin to fall on your face... The dream comes to an end on the bright marching beat of a sumptuous fanfare...
|Breznev Fun Club 1998|
The last two pieces are credited as bonus tracks. “La follia del mimo Azoto” (The madness of Azoto the mime) features funky influences and recalls Area. Here Franco Sciscio vocals evoke the spirit of the “Master Of The Voice” Demetrio Stratos while reciting another psychedelic poem and describing a strange character, a shiny wayfarer who caresses the moon with his fiery hands while you look for a way out from the dark, in a gloomy vegetation made of eyes... An instrumental version of “Il folletto di cera” concludes this excellent album.
Breznev Fun Club: L'onda vertebrata: Lost + Found Vol. 1 (2010). Other opinions:
Raffaella Benvenuto-Berry: For an album that can be quite comfortably placed under the capacious RIO/Avant umbrella, L’Onda Vertebrata is a surprisingly melodic and accessible effort, sophisticated yet not needlessly daunting. Indeed, despite the undeniably complex and “highbrow” nature of the music, the album as a whole never tries to hit the listener over the head with its cleverness and supposed superiority to “mainstream” prog... (read the complete review HERE)
Assaf Vestin: I am very impressed with this album. And I find the music on it to be as lovely as it is captivating. But know this, it takes time and concentration to fully absorb all of it. There, a direct and simple way to praise an album, bypassing all the verbose and loquacious long-winded and pompous reviewing I usually aim for... (read the complete review HERE)