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Area - Caution Radiation Area CD (album) cover

CAUTION RADIATION AREA

Area

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.95 | 143 ratings

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Matti
3 stars If you have read reviews of this Italian band or this particular album, you know you're going to have a strange ride. Some of the reviews would easily make me think I definitely wouldn't enjoy this (I usually can't get into very experimental Avant/RIO kind of music). Moreover I didn't remember that on my previous visit to the library where I borrowed it, I had quickly listened to AREA's Crac! album and had put it in the "won't borrow" pile. Luckily I borrowed this one against all odds. When I finally listened to it with minimal expectations, I was surprised to find it much more interesting - and accessible to me, no matter how funny to use that word in this case.

Maybe I somehow was in the right mood? Well, had the last two tracks been the first ones, I may have said to myself "why did I bother", and wouldn't have had the same patience for the whole album. The first three tracks were the best, the last one 'Lobotomia' is the most extreme but not without charm. Ten minutes of 'Mirage' were too much for me.

It's not that noisy and experimental after all. From the world of Prog, influences outside Italy might include King Crimson (Lark's Tongues etc), some Canterbury and some Krautrock. At one point I thought of Canterbury band National Health gone wilder and crazier than ever. There's certainly a Jazz thing going on, not only experimental rock. Music is often some sort of Fusion or Free Jazz. Electric piano could come out of a Miles Davis or Return To Forever album.

The instrumentation is more varied, featuring e.g. organ, harpsichord, trombone, flute and bass clarinet. Rhythm section is very intense, and only occasionally this album wanders aimlessly in atonal / experimental landscapes. The very little amount of human voices are quite strange though; 'Cometa Rossa' has a brief text in Greek if I'm not mistaken. Of course also musically there are lots of things to wonder, I'm not trying to say this isn't RIO / Avant-Garde. But surely not the hardest one to digest, I dare say (being quite green to RIO), at least if you're into fiery Fusion.

I haven't yet listened to this repeated times; probably there are things to discover for many rounds on this album, even in its shortness (32 minutes). But if this really is a standout masterpiece and something extremely special, I doubt it. What wouldn't have been already done by the year 1974? Some of the music is probably worth at least four stars, but three's enough by me for this over-hyped album.

P.S. The text in the leaflet - or the part of it that had translations - was actually more baffling than the music (a pity I don't have it on my hands now to cite it). Perhaps it was partly because of a bad translation? Or was it deliberately mumbo-jumbo?

Matti | 3/5 |

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