Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ballettirosadimacchia - 1974 - Ballettirosadimacchia


01. Ascolta! (1:28)
02. Sandiego (4:55)
03. Altre Guei Colli (5:30)
04. E Tutto un Sogno (6:22)
05. Interludio (2:29)
06. Oggi (5:28)
07. Dalla Mattina al Pomeriggio (1:18)
08. Suono (3:45)
09. Se ti Piace (7:18)

Tonino Leo Ucchi / vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, flute, keyboards
Antonio Sassada / guitar
Gianni Mazzi / keyboards
Marcello Taddeo Matteotti / drums, percussion, keyboards

BALLETTIROSADIMACCHIA is certainly an oddity in the RPI canon of the various progressive rock websites. The band is a mystery. No one knows for certain who the musicians were, where they were from, or even when their lone album was recorded. Stories vary from them being Italians living abroad in Germany to them being Japanese RPI fans making an "homage" album to the genre. The album's recording date is just as mysterious. Some sites denote the album as 1974, while others claim it may have been recorded in the late 1980s. The bottom line is that until the musicians come forward and spill the beans, this title will remain one of the biggest mysteries for RPI hounds. 

Whatever the circumstances, RPI bands are placed here if they fit the sound characteristics of the sub genre definition. RPI is not just a geographical designation despite what many folks will tell you, at ProgArchives it is based on the musical content. Despite the vocalist's annoying habit of occasionally sounding like Kermit the Frog, the music here is not too bad and will be of interest to RPI fans who like to look for those underground gems. The music is not super complex but features nice organ, mellotron, and guitar. Vocals are in Italian though somewhat poor Italian, which fuels the speculation about their origins. It is not an easy recording to find. If the musicians ever wish to come forward and tell the real story, they can contact the ProgArchives RPI Team and we will be all ears. 

One of the trully mysterious cases of a band presenting itself as an Italian one, but the endless mistakes in the cover notes and lyrics indicate that this was not actually an Italian album.Ballettirosadimacchia's (a compressed form of ''Balletti rosa di macchia''-pink-colored ballets) sole self-titled album remains a mystery until today.The quartet of the so-called Tonino Leo Ucchi, Antonio Sassada, Gianni Mazzi and Marcello Taddeo Matteotti had to be either Japanese musicians under fake names or even Germans of Italian parentage, none though of these cases has been confirmed.Moreover some sources insist on the recordings being placed sometimes in the 80's.The only truth is that the album was released in Canada by Rockit Enterprises under a German producer.
Japaneses, Germans or half-Italians, these guys came up with a decent attempt to immitiate the Classic Italian Prog sound of the 70's and if it weren't for the mistakes on the lyrics this could have been easily circulating as an Italian release until today.The sound of Ballettirosadimacchia was Mellotron/organ-drenched semi-Symphonic Rock with a nice dose of flutes and acoustic parts, pretty good in terms of compositions and having overall a nice romantic Italian-related atmosphere.Vocals are decent, sometimes reminding of early-70's Italian groups, especially on the multi-vocal parts, and good reference points would be definitely acts like I GIGANTI, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO or ALUSA FALLAX.Musically the album contains plenty of slightly-psychedelic sweet guitar parts, huge organ-based symphonic themes and fantastic Mellotron-led orchestral themes to go along with driving flutes and synth-based breaks, while the arrangements are often interesting, alternating between smooth acoustic and electric passages.Even after several listenings the final feeling is that these musicians had something to do with Italy, if not their adaption on this sound was certainly succesful.

This is an album in need for a legit CD reissue, as the only one I am aware of is a Tachika mini-LP sleeved boot version.Italian or not, ''Ballettirosadimacchia'' has plenty of great moments to offer to any fan of Classic Italian Prog, though far from being a masterpiece, and comes warmly recommended.

Little is known about this mysterious progressive rock group, whose only and good album often changed hands for incredible prices before people started to realise it's not a real Italian 1970's rarity. Even the year of recording is uncertain. Some say it is from 1974-75, but it seems more likely that it came out in the second half of the 1980's or early 1990's. 

The LP cover was printed in Canada and recorded with a German producer. The music is good organ and Mellotron-led prog sung in Italian with a strong foreign accent and often incomprehensible lyrics. This is almost certainly a foreign group, probably Japanese, playing under fake Italian names, and even the incredibly high number of errors in the cover notes and lyrics confirms this impression.