Wednesday, 24 November 2010

CALEIDOSCOPIO: Psychedelic Sounds from Italy

"Io vedo nei muri sbocciare fiori tropicali dai mille splendidi colori che mi esplodono di dentro come mai..." (Equipe 84)
I almost posted this comp about a couple of years ago, when the blog was running on a fairly regular basis.
In fact it did end 2 years ago, without being dead as such...most links still work and I've just re-upped the Planets LP that somehow had disappeared from my files (see original post).
The centrepiece of this collection of Psychedelic sounds from my native country is what I consider a little jewel and a real oddity in the Italian Pop music landscape.
Chetro & Co. sole 45 is a work of Art that begins with the sleeve that folds several times revealing a collage of different images.
I'm pretty sure there weren't that many singles around clocking at over 5 mins. as "Evening Dances (Suite in Psychedelic mode)" does.
Do not worry if you don't understand the lyrics based on a poem by famous film director Pasolini, it's the music that captivated me in the first place, drawing influences from the Middle-Ages, the East and everything in between!
The B-side translates as "Milestones"...Mr Davis being the prime inspiration there.
They even invented their own instrument, a "violaccia", described as a 6 to 10 string instrument that uses a bow...
Another interesting rarity is the only 45 by Le Mani Pesanti (The Heavy Hands)whose A-side is a protest against capitalist society, with lines like " not thanks for those golden chains, it's so you can produce more...( "A Neon God").I love the dreamy B-side, both sides are great and I would buy it for the great sleeve alone!

Also included and from the opposite spectrum of popularity is my favourite track from "Stereoequipe" the 1968 masterpiece by Equipe 84 and the first album to be released only in stereo in Italy. The song starts with lyrics about tropical flowers blossoming from the walls,exploding in all their colours inside me, like never before!
Also better known without ever reaching the fame of the Equipe 84, were I Quelli, whose 5th single is featured here. They evolved into PFM the most popular and internationally successful Italian Progressive band of the 70s.
Gli Astrali and Le Stelle are to be found on previous posts but are also included since they fit perfectly and chances are you actually never heard them!
While two tracks from Le Stelle are from their 1967 LP, also included here is the A-side of their only 45 released the following year.

Some of the tracks included are not full blown psychedelic, like for example the G-Men from my hometown Rimini, but they do hint at what was coming or happening.
I Fantom's were quite ahead of most other bands in Italy, just listen to the astounding tracks taken from their 1966 three track EP.

One of the aims of this blog has always been to offer music from non-English speaking countries but providing some background in the English language in order to reach a wider audience.
While understanding some of the lyrics might highten your enjoinment I think the music speaks louder and it would be nice to hear some comments about it.

ANIME Non mi sembra vero (Milano 1969)
ASTRALI Vado su in alto (Torino 1967)
G-MEN Il canto dei ragazzi (Rimini 1967)
FANTOM'S Le insegne pubblicitarie (Torino 1966)
FANTOM'S Il treno (Torino 1966)
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Molto alto (Roma 1967)
CHETRO & CO. Danze della sera (Suite in modo psichedelico) (Roma 1968)
CHETRO & CO. Pietre numerate (Roma 1968)
EQUIPE 84 Per un'attimo di tempo (Modena 1968)
MANI PESANTI A proposito dell'amore (1968)
MANI PESANTI Un Dio al neon (1968)
QUELLI Dettato al cappello (Milano 1968)
QUELLI Mi sentivo strano (Milano 1968)
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Il mondo va (Roma 1968)
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Susan's song (Roma 1967)

Monday, 15 November 2010

MUSIC BLOGS: What's the point...?

I suppose it's safe to say that in most cases the point of having a Music blog is that of sharing music you like with, that's obviously done in different ways, some people put passwords, codes even registration to their blogs.
Fair enough, everyone does it the way they prefer, but sometimes you come to wonder if they really want to share the music they're posting...
I remember reading comments in blogs about people that could not unzip their files...why?
the password was not there and never appeared...the password was totally wrong and seemingly never corrected...uh?
Yeah, I read comments, I love comments and love leaving them.
Since I started investigating the different blogs I have come across people complaining and moaning about comments. Totally understandable, I can certainly relate to that but then again...what motivated you in the first place I ask?
Personally I don't mind if all you say is "Thanks" but when I leave comments I try to write something about the record in question and look for comments that shine a light on what's been posted....there are a lot of blogs with great music but with no info at all, or wrong information or a simple copy and paste job that often doesn't even match the title (i.e. year of the record or nationality of the band...).
I'm writing this because lately there's been a bit of a fuss over a very popular blog when people suddenly were disabled from downloading for not leaving comments.
I totally respect that decision but I certainly don't agree with it.
Many complained that they left comments all the time etc etc so it didn't make sense to them....I understand everyone was disabled to start with, so that will explain it.
As I stated earlier I always look for comments that have something to say, and personally I'd rather have a couple of interesting comments or none in fact, that say, 325 comments of just "Thank you" and especially if it turns out that is like blackmail.
Yes! You better watch pal, make sure you say "Thanks" or you'll be kicked out!
Let's imagine for a second that all comments are longer than just "Thank you" and do have something to say, but as a rule every single person that downloads must say something, do you really want 300-500 comments on each post?

There are some great blogs that don't even share music but you see the passion behind it, like FLOWER BOMB SONGS.
One that does a fantastic job and does share music is RECORD FIEND. Or you may want to check the great DAN'S GARAGE.
I love blogs like that, where you can almost hear the guy's voice, there's a certain warmth to it, it's that passion that moves them, that's the point!