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Area - Are(A)zione CD (album) cover

ARE(A)ZIONE

Area

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.03 | 71 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars AREA was one of Italy's leading progressive rock bands of the 70s led by the unworldly vocalist Demetrio Stratos who singly handedly pushed this band far beyond the limits of the most adventurous progressive rock bands of the day. With his unique vocal gymnastics that scaled up and down octaves with uncanny precision and approached the human vocal limit of 7000 Hz, Stratos was the icing on an already eclectic cake where each musician excelled at his respective instrument and together this band cranked out some of the weirdest albums of the 70s with their innovative fusion of jazz, rock, Middle Eastern folk and a proclivity for the unexpected. The band was a huge hit with the youth primarily due to their Socialist leaning lyrical content but as the decades since have elapsed, this band has gone down in history as one of the most unique and technically skilled of the entire era.

After three studio albums, AREA followed up 'Crac!' which was released in early 1975 with their first live released titled ARE(A)ZIONE which emerged at the tail end of the year. The term ARE(A)ZIONE translates into English as 'ventiliation' or 'airing' and that seems appropriate since the band were good at 'ventilating' their political inclinations as well as their penchant for the over-the-top eccentricities. This live release was recorded during their 1975 tour and includes performances from the Festa del Proletariato Giovanalle in Milan, the Festa dell'Unit' in Naples, the Festa della Giovent' in Rimini and a press concert at Il Teatro Comunale in Reggio Emilia. The album is divided up into two parts. Side One contained one track from each album that preceded. 'Luglio, agosto, settembre (nero)' from 'Arbeit Macht Frei,' 'La Mela di Odessa' from 'Crac!' and 'Cometa Rossa,' the most 'normal' opening track from 'Caution Radiation Area.' Side Two contained two completely new tracks unreleased on any studio album.

ARE(A)ZIONE displayed a band that had a stable lineup for several years and the payoff is in full presentation on these live performances. Like any great musical act, AREA didn't just perform their studio tracks in a predictable manner but included lengthy improvisations that excelled at allowing the musicians and Stratos to show exactly why they were indeed a much lauded band of the era. While live albums rarely get my attention, when a band exudes a creative brilliance such as AREA does on ARE(A)ZIONE, i find such albums to be equally as important as the studio albums that surround. After the first side presents a basic summary of the band's ventures through their first three albums with a track from each, on the second side the band unleashed a 15 minute avant- garde jam for the title track. While a completely new instrumental that found Stratos wordless vocalizations as merely a supplemental instrument, the track did preview the basic drum patterns of 'Giro, Giro, Tondo' which would appear on the following album 'Maledetti (Maudits).' The final shorter piece 'L'internazionale' was their take on the Socialist anthem and was released as a single.

Live albums definitely show a band's true nature. There have been many bands that sound spectacular in the studio but don't have the chops to pull off their musical adventures in a live setting. The great thing about ARE(A)ZIONE is that it undoubtedly proves how brilliant and versatile AREA were as performers and musicians. This is not a perfect album. While the material presented is as good as you could possibly hope for, the sound production is definitely lacking but in all honesty, live settings rarely are designed to create such albums and a less than perfect series of things isn't my concern. I'm more interested in the feeling of a band in their prime where they deliver their all and the audience interaction. In that department ARE(A)ZIONE delivers all the goods effortlessly. If you are a true AREA fan, you will eventually get to this one since it is as every bit as essential as the five studio albums with Stratos. All that magic that made AREA so great is fully present on this one and despite the lackluster sound quality is well worth the experience. Should've been a double album! I'm left wanting MORE!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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