Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Area - 1996 - Concerto Teatro Uomo

Concerto Teatro Uomo

101. Evaporazione (4:54)
102. Arbeit macht frei (4:43)
103. Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (nero) (7:09)
104. L'Abbattimento dello Zeppelin (10:26)
105. ZYG (Crescita zero) (6:24)
106. Cometa Rossa (9:38)
107. Lobotomia (3:50)
108. Il Massacro di Brandeburgo numero tre in sol maggiore (7:14)
109. L'Elefante bianco (4:50)
110. Gerontocrazio (6:54)

201. La Mela di Odessa (17:57)
202. Gioia e Rivoluzione (10:50)
203. Scum (7:34)
204. Giro, Giro Tondo (8:03)
205. L'Internazionale (5:01)
206. Boom Boom (6:49)
207. Improvvisazione (13:50)

- Giulio Capiozzo / drums, percusion
- Patrizio Fariselli / piano, electric piano, bass clarinett, synthesizer, percussion
- Ares Tavolazzi / electric & acoustic bass, trombone
- Paolo Tofani / guitar, synthesizer, flute, Tcherepnin
- Demetrio Stratos / vocal, organ, cembalo, steel drum, percussion

- Steve Lacy / sax
- Paul Lytton / percussion

Would we expect any quarter, not musical nor intellectual is given by our favorite musical firebrands.. none. None was asked for.. and none was given on this INCENDIARY 1976 live recording by one of the... if not THE most overtly political prog rock group...ever. The musical path chosen by Area is well known to most prog fans. A volatile mix of avant, free-jazz, electronic and Mediterranean folk music. I will touch on something here about Area for those who haven't explored the group. Forget the tag of 'Jazz-rock' that they are listed under this site as... it simply is not accurate and they sound nothing like the other groups found in that category. They were much more than playing jazz with a rock slant.

Now for the album itself.. .oh this was a a steal. Found this for 7 euros while in Rome and was a bit hesitant to get figuring it must be a very low quality recording. I got it anyway.. pffff.. what good is money if not to spend it hahha. If it was a dud.. better me to spend a few bucks then have others pay significantly more to find out. Now I would not say it is pristine.. it is not... on par with the Manticore ELP bootleg series. Very listenable.. and as such.. one HELL of a steal for the price. I haven't noticed any glaring lapses in sonic quality that might disappoint a fan of the group (like the Gentle Giant official bootleg I reviewed some time back whose 'gem' was nearly unlistenable).

As far as the tracklist... oh lordy.. smokes the two official live releases hands down. One glance alone shows that. The performances are KILLER.. with some tracks being exponentially better than that album versions. The one that stood out first and foremost was L'Abbattimento dello Zeppelin from the first album which had me in air-drumming heaven. Two tracks from Caution Radiation Area for example, XYG and Cometa Rossa are positively vicious and powerful in their presentation. Far superior to their original versions. Same with Il Massacro di Brandeburgo numero tre in sol maggiore from Maledetti. A real gem to this live album were the two closing tracks... an Area take on John Lee Hooker hahhaha.. yeah. If your foot isn't tapping along to Boom Boom you truly are dead brother. To finish off the album we have a nearly 16 minute improvisational piece called.. aptly Improvvisione. As if expanding on the studio versions with performances that rival.. and often exceed the studio versions weren't enough. Hearing some fresh Area just is always a treat.

This album is essential for any Area fan.. and for fan of Italian prog... a truly impressive display of one prog's greatest groups.. yet still sadly obscure in the eyes of many. Can't rate it 5 stars since it is not exactly the best quality of recordings. Fans of the music will not mind.. casual listeners though who don't have a vested interest in the music to start with might not be as forgiving with a less than pristine recording. Plus.. unless you happen to be in Italy.. you will not find this album for as cheap as I did so I would recommend other albums like the less developed yet still incredible Are(A)zione as an introduction to the band. For me 5 stars.. and 5 stars for anyone who enjoys Area or RPI. For the site at large.. still 4 stars.. if you can find it cheap... get it. Not many live albums show a band hitting on all cylinders for 2+ hours with the fire and intensity that this group brings. Hopefully the first of a new string of reviews for me. Got some great stuff while in Italy. This one I wanted to get out since I know we have some Area fans out there. Find it.. get it.



  2. I would argue Henry Cow and the Art Bears were equally political. But your point is well taken. These guys were ON IT.

  3. And by the way - this one is dead, too...

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