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


Picchio Dal Pozzo


Canterbury Scene

4.10 | 280 ratings

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4 stars The idea that 'genius' and 'insanity' are somehow interwoven has been around for a long time, at least since the time of Aristotle, and it arguably reached its zenith with Romanticism's elevation of the 'madman' to the status of hero. The subject has even been argued in the PA forum on more than one occasion, no doubt much to the chagrin of long- time members of the site, and while any evidence for a link between creativity and mental illness is at best anecdotal, and my personal belief is that there is nonesuch, I still think it's interesting to speculate on what music might reveal about the musicians who produce it. If the madcap music of Picchio dal Pozzo is any kind of representation of the group members' personalities then words like 'pot', 'head', and 'pixies' might sum them up; they were certainly influenced by the Canterbury mainstays.

Being a largely instrumental work makes this album a genuine feast for the imagination, unconstrained as it is even by the track titles that mostly seem to translate as nonsense words. Imagery-wise there's nothing too dramatic with the opener 'Merta', a track that sets the tone with acoustic guitar, saxophone and droning synthesizer. The leisurely mood continues with 'Cocomelastico', the first part of which is in keeping with Maxophone but then the sax stomps in like a bowler-hatted John Cleese from the Ministry of Funny Walks. The saxophone's echolalic side-kick, the guitar, tries in vain to keep pace and the overall effect is akin to listening to the talkative nymph who could only repeat the last words spoken by someone else. Some nonsense vocals follow - 'la-reri-bapa-mebe!' - then I think we must be in a Dutch coffeeshop listening to a Capuchin monk gargling on his namesake beverage.

If that wasn't strange enough 'Seppia' sounds like a step into another world, a lucid nightmare in which saxes proclaim a frantic signal of alarm, of the lighting of warning beacons on hilltops and the sighting of the rectangular sails of approaching Norse longships. The track gives way to incoherent cries, a thunderous riff and a golden shower of electronics and xylophone which together possess all the confusion of mortal women being fecundated by irreverent deities amid the bones of their fallen husbands - 'peek-yo dal pot-zo'. 'Napier' is a big top themed cacophony of electronics and sax that suddenly shifts into a recorder and sax duet, and from this unpredictable alluvium comes a 'song' with actual words. A song that is as eclectic as a New Zealand bar that delights in combining dwarf throwing with lesbian jelly wrestling; and there I was thinking the Imperial Romans were decadent! 'La Bolla' meanders like one of Sleep's thousand sons floating on the river of forgetfulness, with its wordless vocals rather incongruously recalling songs from 'Pet Sounds'. Later, the mood darkens with the saxophone sounding like the squawking of the Pelican of fable that revives its dead brood with its own blood.

All in all, a stunning and unique Italian take on Canterbury.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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