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Il Rovescio Della Medaglia - Contaminazione CD (album) cover


Il Rovescio Della Medaglia


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.18 | 288 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's about time I got this original, Italian language album. For many years, I've been familiar with the English language version, "Contamination", because I owned the Italian RCA LP of it. Well let's say I like the original "Contaminazione" even better. Not that it sounds any different, vocals aside, of course, but that this album was meant to be sung in Italian, and the English vocals on "Contamination" seem a bit unnatural for the band (like what PFM did on "Photos of Ghosts"). OK, I noticed some slight differences in some of the places (for one, I didn't notice any trumpets at the end of "Contamination", and some of the studio effects on the vocals are a bit different).

Well prior to "Contaminazione", RDM released two hard rock albums, "Io Come Io" in '72 and "La Bibbia" in '71. Neither album too well liked by prog rock fans, although I have to admit "La Bibbia" isn't all that bad (it's pretty rough and unpolished hard rock with prog trappings and don't compare it with "Contaminazione" / "Contamination", you should be fine), although I hadn't heard "Io Come Io" yet. But figuring they couldn't keep going the hard rock direction, the band added a keyboard played and became the legend of Italian prog people associate them with.

For "Contaminazione" they decided to record yet another concept album, about a Scottish musician so obsessed with the music of Bach he went insane. They merged the style of classical music in the style of Bach (specifically that of The Well Tempered Clavier) and merge it with the Italian prog scene of the time. Thanks to a keyboardist being added, there's no shortage of keyboards (Hammond organ, Mini Moog, VCS-3, ARP 2600, harpsichord, piano, Eminent, pipe organ). They also wanted to include orchestra and hired Argentine-born Luis Enriquez Bacalov to conduct the strings (he already had a hand in OSANNA's "Milano Calibro 9" and NEW TROLLS' "Concerto Grosso Per 1"). This is usually regarded as Bacalov's best work for a prog rock album. There are times this album reminds me of NEW TROLLS' "Concerto Grosso Per 1" (I guess that's little surprise given the Bacalov involvement), only more progressive and without the TULL and HENDRIX trappings of that album. There isn't a single cut on "Contaminazione" that's over 4 minutes, but they're all segued in to each other for continuous play. It's only the end of "La Mi Musica" and the beginning of "Johann" that divides side one and side two (that is, if you own the LP). Most often it's interludes, experimental bits, and orchestra that goes between actual songs like "Ora Non Ricordo Piu`", "Lei Sei Tu: Lei", "La Mia Musica", "Johann", "Scotland Machine", "Alzo un Muro Elettrico" and "La Granda Fuga". I really love that dramatic organ found on "Mi Sono Svegliato e... Ho Chiuso Gli Ochhi". There is so much going on, they don't stick with one thing, and there are always going to be a few people thrown off by that. It's because it don't have the 15-20 minute epics letting the band really show their stuff, so RDM approaches thing different. Regardless this is truly a must-have album.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Proghead | 4/5 |


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