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Picchio Dal Pozzo - Picchio Dal Pozzo  CD (album) cover

PICCHIO DAL POZZO

Picchio Dal Pozzo

 

Canterbury Scene

4.05 | 202 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

coasterzombie
5 stars Perhaps the only known instance of the Canterbury Scene to come out of Italy, Picchio dal Pozzo's brilliant debut sits quietly among the classics of the genre. As the Canterbury sound was primarily a term derived from the bands that came out of that region (Soft Machine, Caravan), describing PdP as such is a bit like calling all bubbly wine Champagne. But the inspiration is undeniably there, although the band does not limit itself to such constraints; there is also a definite Zappa influence, particularly of his Waka-Jawaka/Grand Wazoo era. Picchio dal Pozzo uses these characteristics merely as a frame of reference, and is able to create their own classification - whatever it's called - and create a masterpiece while they're at it.

Don't adjust your stereo..."Merta" fades in slowly, revealing an odd-meter figure in 5/4 alternating between a bar of 3/8 and 6/8. Right off the bat the band shows some pretty high-level, brainy composition, but it doesn't seem showy or overly technical. Layers of electronically processed saxes, xylophone and underwater voices are added until the bass guitar enters and transitions into "Cocomelastico." The Zappa comparisons will be drawn here, and this four-minute slice of prog perfection equals the 20th-century composer's imagination. The long "Seppia" echoes some of Zappa's more eclectic work - imagine "Apostrophe'" slowed way down and played in tritone, and you'll get the idea. The noisy middle section does become a bit much, before it ends abruptly and turns into something not unlike "Igor's Boogie" from Burnt Weeny Sandwich. Then, something distinctly Italian happens: Spoken word erupts into a symphonic synth-fest with chorused guitars and unison woodwind and vocals. The end of "Seppia" is probably the closest thing to RPI that Picchio dal Pozzo will ever get, and it works incredibly well.

"Bofonchia" gently begins, before swells of noise announce the discordant "Napier." The jazzy sound of the Canterbury Scene will set the tone, before falling apart at the three-minute mark and leaving only improvised solo piano behind. If I had to sum up the Picchio dal Pozzo sound to someone in three minutes or less, I would play the end of "Napier." This is, by far, the most magical and moving moment on the entire album. A true sound painting of human emotion and wonder, encapsulated in 180 seconds. "La Floricultura Di Tschincinnata" continues this feeling, delicately mixing jazz-rock and eclectic themes to create a fusion in the truest sense of the word - while Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report were busy playing "Fusion" in 1976, Picchio dal Pozzo were making fusion.

"La Bolla" and "Off" are really two peas in a pod, and a sublime way to end the album on a light, somewhat somber note. Picchio dal Pozzo's eponymous debut is a grower; it will take some time to really appreciate, and the payoff is totally worth it. I not only recommend this album to fans of Frank Zappa and the Canterbury Scene, but all lovers of Progressive Rock music and anyone willing to try something new and different. Picchio dal Pozzo would keep this same basic formula throughout their career, but never really top what they were able to accomplish on the first album. Essential.

coasterzombie | 5/5 |

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