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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Darwin (1991 version) CD (album) cover


Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.40 | 86 ratings

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If there is one thing the Portuguese are addicted too (besides football) is coffee. Not the diluted version served in jumbo cups common to the Anglo-American world, but the thick, concentrated variant known internationally by the Italian word espresso. Every hour is good to have on of these babies, unquestionably the most sold commodity in the country, with each citizen having between 4 to 6 every day. No Portuguese household, regardless of class, is complete without an espresso machine. I had one of these myself. It served good espresso. Almost perfect, apart from one problem - I didn't find the foam it produced creamy enough. It was a shabby light brownish foam that disappeared within seconds. Priding myself on my inexistent mechanical talents, I proceeded to do what any Portuguese man unhappy with his machinery would do: avoid proper repair shops and tear the thing apart at home, fully disassembling it and cleaning every single part of it. Reassembling it, I eagerly tested it, already feeling the thick creamy foam cross my lips. What I got was a nightmare: watery coffee now poured from the machine, and somehow it tasted even worse. Disgruntled and defeated, I tossed the whole thing in the bin and bought me one of those Nespresso machines. It does the job.

The international face for Nespresso is, of course, George Clooney - not one of my favourite actors, yet I admire his choice of living, in the beautiful north Italian city of Como. I was fortunate enough to see Como while visiting a friend studying in Milano, even if I did found it more charming when overlooked from its neighbouring town on Brunate, also a delightful little place. Curiously, on this trip to Italy, I had plenty more cappuccino than a good, strong espresso. I also had a shopping spree for RPI. After all, going to Italy without getting some RPI is like, well, going to Italy without eating Tiramisł, as the proverb goes. Or something like that.

Looking for goodies of the genre, I found this one, which I mistook for a 1991 remaster of the classic album. It turned out to be a re-recording, something very noticeable from the moment you play it for the first time. Even if you don't know the original, you immediately realize that this isn't it. The downsizes of this album begin at the cover. What was amusing and enigmatic became plain and bland. A wonderful illustration replaced by nothing more than a purple cover? C'mon. The early 90's production gives it a highly unwanted Neo-Prog feel, with a sonority often too sterile, without some of the edge and roughness of the original. The synths are overblown, the electric guitar distorted. Vocals lost their punch - also gone are the great chorus vocals in songs like Cento Mani E Cento Occhi. OMMAGAWD. Drum machines? Banco, you should have known better.

The original music is still there - the quality of the composition is the same. That hasn't changed, so there is still a chance you will find much pleasure in listening to this. It's the performance that ruins it. It sounds rather like a poor tribute to Banco by a neo- prog band than Banco theirselves. Re-recordings are always a dangerous process, and must always be dealt it with care. In my view, the best way to re-record a classic album is by making it different from the original, even if ever so slightly (Mike Oldfield succeeded in doing so - more than once). However, in this case, it doesn't sound different - it's the same thing, only not so well-made. Pity. Like slightly flawed espresso machines, the same motto should apply to experiences like this one: if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Get the original, it's not that hard. Just beware if this one.

Kotro | 2/5 |


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