Sunday, 8 March 2015


I Dik Dik were formed in Milan in 1965 by Pietruccio Montalbetti (guitar, bass vocals), Giancarlo Sbriziolo (guitar, vocals), Erminio Salvaderi (guitar, vocals), Mario Totaro (keyboards) and Sergio Panno (drums). They have been active for more than forty years and were very successful in Italy during the late sixties and early seventies thanks to their collaboration with Lucio Battisti and Mogol and thanks to the Italian versions of songs like “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” by Procol Harum or “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas And Papas. They have always been just a beat and pop band and “Suite per una donna assolutamente relativa” is their only true progressive effort. The album was released in 1972 (a period when almost everybody in Italy seemed to go crazy for prog) but it was a commercial flop so, after this album, the band turned back and took another musical direction.

Suite per una donna assolutamente relativa” is a concept work featuring lyrics by the eclectic artist of Jewish origins Herbert Pagani. It was conceived as a musical and poetical journey through “planet woman”: the female body here is compared to an unknown world to explore, both physically and spiritually... The music was composed by keyboardist Mario Totaro and it’s an excellent mix of progressive rock and Italian melody.

The opener is the melodic, light “Donna paesaggio” (Woman Landscape). A man is flying over a strange planet, “Woman landscape / I’m flying over you with caresses / And along my journey I can see lands, lakes, mountains and the mirage of my happiness / I will sing of you / Like a Greek poet of the ancient times... And my voice will be a hymn to your naked freedom...”. The music is rich and features beautiful touches of church-like organ and mellotron...

I Dik Dik

On the second track “Il viso” (The Face) our “hero” comes down with his parachute landing in a forest of “hair-trees”, then he explores the brows surrounding “two lakes of blue water” (the eyes), then the nose, the ears... “I can already see your lips on the horizon / Your mouth is smiling to me / And your smile reveals a city / Atlantis of light that kills me... And to know a little bit more / I breathe awhile / Then I dive and go down...”.

The sound of the moog marks a change in atmosphere that becomes darker in the next track “Il cuore” (The Heart). “Like a cast-away on his raft / I’m sailing down, along your veins...”, our hero is now flushed away by brooks of phosphorescent blood... “I hear the thunder of a factory / The central engine of the heart appears enormous to me / I can see red Niagara falls swallowing me...”. The rhythm becomes frenzied, the mood dramatic but our “explorer” awakes alive, wet and out of danger because the heart let him break through...

A short interlude leads to the “Cathedral Of Love”... “I’m climbing stairways of placenta / As if by magic I feel a body who is singing for me unknown Ave Marias / Cathedral of Love, cathedral of love / My heart beats fast but I go on...”. Well, the lyrics describing the womb are a little bit bizarre (to say the least!) but the music is really good, here almost mystic I dare say, featuring excellent harmony vocals...

Next track, “Gambe” (Legs), describes the dizziness provoked by a “walking continent” on the streets of a city. “The earth is trembling / New danger / Legs of woman / White vertigo... When you walk in the city / It’s like a forest / That goes in a desert of concrete...”. Here the rhythm rises sprinkled with flashes of moog, then melts into a nice short pastoral interlude (the instrumental “Suite relativa”).

Monti e valli” (Mountains and Valleys) is a bright, happy ballad and the subject matter is, as you can guess, the bosom... “I see pyramids and coliseums... Mountains and valleys of the youth / My hands are caressing you / Like ocean waves / My fingers are like horses breaking into gallop upon you...”.

Next comes the delicate, sweet “I sogni” (The dreams) that tries to describe in music and words the dreams of a woman as the souvenirs of a childhood, the nightmares of the war, the wounds of past lovers that consciousness tries to hide. “I dream your dreams...”. In my opinion this is the best track on this album.

The next track “La notte” (The night) tries to describe the act of procreation. Tense vocals soar over a beautiful piano pattern counter pointed by the sound of the moog... The poetry of the lyrics is perhaps a little bit clumsy and naive but the overall result is not so bad.

Sintesi” is a reprise of the opening theme and it concludes a particular, interesting album... “Woman poetry / You are a miracle of rhythm and harmony / You are the most fragile fortress on earth / You resist the world but love will open you / And from the country of your body new lives will blossom / Until life will be...”.

I don’t think that this is an essential album but it is a very good one and it would have deserved a better destiny. On the whole I think that this work is more ironic than pretentious, as the funny art cover, and it’s really worth listening to. It was re-released on CD in 2003 by BMG with a nice paper sleeve reproducing the original LP jacket and I’m sure that Italian prog lovers will love it...