Thursday, May 14, 2015

Il Balletto di Bronzo - 1970 - Sirio 2222

Il Balletto di Bronzo
Sirio 2222

01. Un posto (3:23)
02. Eh eh ah ah (3:59)
03. Neve calda (2:56)
04. Ma ti aspetterò (3:20)
05. Meditazione (3:53)
06. Girotondo (3:15)
07. Incantesimo (6:46)
08. Ti risveglierai con me (2:41)
09. Missione Sirio 2222 (9:37)

- Marco Cecioni / vocals, guitar
- Lino Ajello / guitar
- Michele Cupaiuolo / bass
- Gianchi Stinga / drums

IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO formed in Naples in the late sixties with a line-up consisting of Lino Ajello (guitar), Giancarlo Stinga (drums), Marco Cecioni (guitar/vocals) and Michele Cupaiuolo (bass) using initially the name BATTITORI SELVAGGI. Despite avoiding the fate of many other Italian progressive bands of releasing one album and splitting up (they managed two) they still suffered from a lack of interest, the reason cited by some that they were too advanced for the time, which ultimately led to a split in 1973.

Their recording career started with the single "Neve Calda" in 1969 followed the following year by the album "Sirio 2222". Not really displaying much in the way of progressive rock at this stage the album was more in the psychedelic/blues rock vein with one foot still firmly in the sixties. 1971 saw a change of line-up with Cecione and Cupaiuolo leaving. They were replaced by on keyboards/vocals, Gianni Leone, who was in the original line-up of CITTA FRONTALE and bassist Vito Manzari, formerly of QUELLE STRANE COSE CHE, a band from Rome who despite doing some recording for RCA never managed to release anything. The addition of keyboards to the band's sound was to prove an inspired move and change the dynamics of their sound drastically. Their second album "Ys", which over time has become to be regarded as a classic by many RPI fans, was a much more sophisticated affair. Bearing no resemblance to "Sirio 2222" it saw a move towards symphonic prog with a very busy playing style containing elements of jazz and classical influences. An English language version was also prepared but didn't see a release until 1992.

After the split in 1973 one more release in the form of a single titled "La Tua Casa Comoda" saw the light of day, but only featured Stinga and Leone from the "Ys" line-up. Leone went on to a solo career as LEO NERO and released two albums. Many years later he returned with a new line-up of IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO where he was the only member of the seventies incarnation. He was joined by bassist Romolo Amichi and drummer Ugo Vantini and they released the live album "Trys" in 1999. More live shows with yet another rhythm section featuring drummer Adolfo Ramundo and bassist Marco Capozi later resulted in a DVD being released in 2008 titled "Live In Rome."

On the strength of "Ys" alone IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO are regarded as one of the more important and pioneering bands of the Italian prog scene. While it won't necessarily be to every RPI fans taste, it should be at least heard.

The first is not necessary the best!

In this case I think that statement is obvious, and I am referring to the first Il Balleto di Bronzo album and line-up, though there will always be people who differ from your opinion, I believe this time most of you will agree with me.

This Italian band released their first effort in 1970, where prog music was just a baby and its older brothers like psychedelic or rock n´roll predominated in the world musical scene, so in that year their first line-up gave birth to the album called "Sirio 2222" which did not have the success they may have expected, after the creation of the album, 2 members left the band, the leader and vocalist Marco Cecioni and their former bassman Miky Cupaiolo, and then a (nowadays)well known Italian dude named Gianni Leone joined the band in order to give a 360° spin to their music, changing their musical direction, and of course creating what would be their masterpiece (my all time favorite Italian album by the way) entitled "YS". So now I was clear I think you understand what I meant with my first statement.

Now let´s focus on the album, which features 9 songs and a total time of 40 minutes, most of them are short pieces going for 3 to 4 minutes, but there are a couple of longer songs, one with almost 7 minutes, and the last one with a 9-minute length.

The album opens with "Un Posto", the first thing you will listen is the electric guitar, playing some notes that you may keep on your head, the song style has some psychedelic elements, along with heavy rock tones and all mixed with the always great Italian vocals, this is a very nice song actually. Then we have "Eh eh Ah ah", we will find here the lack of good sound production, but well, the song is acoustic guitar with vocals and some claps over there, then harmonica making a kind of bluesy song. "Neve Calda" is one of the best tracks here, it opens heavy but then it slows down, delicate Italian vocals, constant drumming and then again heavy guitars and bass lines, the chorus is kind of addictive.

"Ma ti Aspettero" opens with guitar chords, some percussion and vocals, the style is heavy though they make some short pauses, suddenly a good guitar solo appears. "Meditazione" has a romantic style, I don't know if the instrument that opens the song is a cello, but it sounds beautiful along with the delicate vocals, this song in particular reminds me a lot to New Trolls, after that beginning, and a short stop the music changes into another short musical passage and then returns to the same structure, but now with the addition of the other elements, this is an excellent song actually, bravo. "Girotondo" sounds really rockish a la Cream very 60s, you can hear by the drums and electric guitar. "Incantesimo" is one of the longer songs, and since the beginning it has a slow blues direction, there is some jamming and in the second half of the song we can hear to some strong psychedelic passages, this is a well elaborated song, enjoyable. "Ti Risveglierai con Me" reminds me a bit to Neve Calda, their heavy and rock style prevails, and the psychedelic elements are also present here. The last song is called "Sirio 2222" and is the longest song of the album, nice track to finish the album I believe; the starting is soft acoustic guitar and vocals, then it makes a brief pause, and starts again with different rhythm, more eclectic, then pause again just in order to start with a heavier sound with raw guitars, later on there is a drum solo, some voices and noises, and that rockish style that is developing little by little, at the end, the song returns as it began.



  2. the link is no longer avalaible..