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PARIGI-LISBONA

Area

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.05 | 10 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nș 38

First of all, I must explain how I met Area. I was born and I lived in Lisbon, Portugal, in those times. I only left Lisbon in 1993 when I moved to Viana do Castelo, a town in the north of Portugal, near Porto. In 1974, there was a revolution in my country, the revolution of the 25th April, which opened my country again to the world after a dictatorship political regime of 48 years. After that, we did have the possibility to receive many bands from all over the world. With the political democratization in my country, the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) started to organize a festival named "Festa do Avante", in which many bands were invited to participate, especially from jazz and folk areas. I must say, that many people who participated in that festival, weren't communists, like me. But I also must confess, that only in strictly musical terms, the festival was pretty good. It had many bands from various musical styles from all over the world. As a curiosity, and only with information purposes, the festival exists even today, in every year, in September, but it isn't the same, because it lost the flame and the quality of those troubled political times.

Everybody who knows Area recognizes that Area was a political band, probably the most overtly political progressive rock group ever, and that it was very close to PCI (Italian Communist Party). Musically, it's an experimental band from jazz rock fusion area with a mix of avant free jazz, electronic and Mediterranean folk music. So, without any kind of surprise, Area was one of the best bands invited to participate on that festival. Fortunately, I had the luck of have seen the live concert of them in 1976, registered on this album. Area was really a spectacular live band.

"Parigi-Lisbona" is one of the six live albums released by Area, at the time and to my knowledge, and represents one of their few live concerts recorded by the group. It was taken from the recording tapes which were made in 1976 during their international live tour. They were invited to take part in the "FĂȘte de L'HumanitĂ©", the festival organised by the PCF (French Communist Party), in Paris, and in "Festa do Avante", the homonymous festival organised by the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party), in Lisbon. The band's participation in those two festivals, ideologically so well- defined, is the perfect demonstration of the group's faithful to their socio-political international commitments.

"Parigi-Lisbona" has nine tracks. It's divided into two parts, and each part corresponds to the live songs recorded on each concert. The first part corresponds to the Paris concert and has four tracks. The first three tracks "L'Elefante Bianco", "Megalopoli" and "La Mela Di Odessa" are three live versions of three original songs recorded on their third studio album "Crac!" released in 1975. The fourth track "Lobotomia" is a live version of an original song recorded on their second studio album "Caution Radiation Area" released in 1974. The second part corresponds to the Lisbon concert and has five tracks. The sixth track "Arbeit Macht Frei" and the eighth track "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)" are two live versions of two original songs recorded on their debut studio album "Arbeit Macht Frei" released in 1973. The seventh track "Cometa Rossa" is a live version of an original song also recorded on their second studio album "Caution Radiation Area". The ninth track "L'Internazionale" is a live version of an original song recorded only as a single and which was released in 1974. It was the song that the band usually ended their live concerts.

I left to the last place the fifth track on the album, because it's a very special track. It does the presentation of the Lisbon concert. It brings to us a message of Area read by the presenter. This is an important message to understand the musical concept of the group. Because it's in Portuguese, which is my mother tongue, I'm sure that most of the usual users of this site aren't accustomed with this language. So, I decided to transcribe the contents of it into English, as faithfully as possible: "For Area, composed of five young Italians coming from very different social ambient, the jazz music at this time has lost much of its compositional ability, timeliness and communication. So, the band chose a more advanced form, to exceed what separated the jazz of POPular music. The purpose of the group is to establish a direct impact, as far as possible, in the public, without compromising the dominating essential features of the music".

Conclusion: Despite the book notes saying that the sounds of both concerts were well preserved, there are some deficiencies, especially in the Lisbon concert. Sadly, its sound quality doesn't get beyond an average bootleg quality level. This is very unfortunate, because it detracts from the bite and the energy of the music in comparison with the studio albums, noticeably. Which is even worse, is that their debut live album "Are(A)zione" released in 1975, has less musical material than "Parigi-Lisbona". However, the sound quality on "Are(A)zione" is clearly much better. Anyway, definitely and undoubtedly "Parigi-Lisbona" is one of the most important and interesting live documents by a remarkable, original and unique Italian band from the 70's, which marked the Rock Progressivo Italiano forever, I think.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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