Friday, 17 July 2020

IMAGINARY FILMS

Larry Manteca is the alter ego of multi-instrumentalist and composer Alessandro Paiola, an artist from Milan in love with the scores of Italian B-movies from the Seventies. In 2013 he gathered around him a bunch of musicians who shared his passion and with their help self-released a first EP entitled Zombie Mandingo, the soundtrack of an imaginary exotic-horror film mixing funky, afro-beat, cool jazz, library music and a touch of prog. On this album the line up features along with Alessandro Paiola (drums, synthesizers, percussion, vocals) also Ivo Barbieri (bass), Nicola Colombo (keyboards) and Riccardo Danieli (guitar) and the fruit of the recording sessions is an interesting tribute to the vintage atmospheres of the past where sources of inspiration ranging from Fela Kuti to Eumir Deodato, from Funkadelik to Weather Report and many others are brewed with fresh energies and a contemporary taste. 


In 2014 it’s the turn of Deep Cut, an EP inspired by the scores of 70s crime-action films with music in the vein of modern Italian bands such as Calibro 35 or La Batteria. It’s the soundtrack of an imaginary B-movie, a poliziottesco set in the U.S.A., with car chases and shootings in the streets of New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco... This work was almost completely played and recorded alone by Alessandro Paiola with just a couple of guests such as Nicola Colombo (keyboards on “Saturation”) and Mizzu Avitabile (bass on “Saturation” and “Don’t Stop The Traffic Lights”) and the help of Riccardo Danieli for production and arrangements. 


The following EP was released in 2015 and is entitled Mutant Virgins From Pluto. It’s the imaginary soundtrack of a 70s science-fiction film where the subject matter deals with intergalactic journeys, space-ships, post-atomic sceneries and alien invasions. According to the artist, a particular source of inspiration, quoted on the piece “UFO Bossa”, was Plan 9 From Outer Space, a 1959 American independent science-fiction horror film written, produced, directed, and edited by Ed Wood. The line up here features Alessandro Paiola (synth, drums, percussion), Riccardo Danieli (vocals, drums, percussion, synth), Daniele Cortese (bass), Marco Forcione (guitar), Carlo Pelsa (flute, trumpet) and Yasmine Zekri (vocals) while the overall sound blends Jethro Tull and funky, Tangerine Dream and Latin rhythms with excellent results.

Larry Manteca on stage, 2019

In 2016 Larry Manteca project consolidated and started performing live as a real band with a line up featuring Alessandro Paiola (synth, piano), Riccardo Danieli (guitar, vocals), Carlo Pelsa (flute, trumpet), Lorenzo Previdi (percussion), Filippo Aloisi (bass) and Daniele Izzi (drums). In 2017 the same line up recorded and self released another nice EP, Emanuelle Goes To Hollywood, an imaginary soundtrack this time inspired by 70s erotic movies. The title refers to the protagonist of a series of French soft-core erotic films based on the novel Emmanuelle while the suggestive music draws on fiery funky rhythms, Latin rock and exotic, dreamy atmospheres sprinkled with prog digressions and jazz rock...


In 2019 Larry Manteca self released their first “full length” album (about 32 minutes), Zombie Mandingo 2, a sequel of the first EP, with a slightly renewed line up featuring Alessandro Paiola (synth, electric piano, Hammond, drums, percussion), Riccardo Danieli (vocals, guitar), Carlo Pelsa (flute), Ivo Barbieri (bass) and Lorenzo Previdi (percussion). In my opinion it’s a mature work, a kind of fantasia exotica where jazz rock combines with Latin and African rhythms for an evocative journey through dreamy landscapes and nightmarish shadows and where all the musicians involved showcase good musicianship and gusto. The same year the first four EPs were collected in a compilation album entitled Volume 1...


Larry Manteca’s last work so far was self-released in 2020 with a line up featuring Alessandro Paiola (synth, piano, drums, percussion), Riccardo Danieli (guitar, bass, vocals), Andrea Quattrini (drums) and Andrea Bellicoso (dobro) and is a short EP entitled Shoot ‘Em All, inspired by Spaghetti Western films and dedicated to the memory of soundtrack maestro Ennio Morricone who recently passed away...

You can listen to all Larry Manteca’s album HERE

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