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Ultima Spiaggia - Disco dell'angoscia CD (album) cover

DISCO DELL'ANGOSCIA

Ultima Spiaggia

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.00 | 10 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A descent into altered consciousness

The musical project Ultima Spiaggia was a large collective of impressive musicians who concocted a long lost gem entitled 'Disco dell'angoscia' in 1975. Composed by Gianco, Manfredi, Ninni Carucci, and Claudio Bonechi, the work was an ambitious and strange concept album about a man involved in a car accident and his subsequent journey through a dark unconscious state. The material resides on that wonderfully odd, avant branch of the RPI, where traditional RPI and the Italian song tradition get genetically modified with 1970s experimentation. One blog nails the description as 'swerving between musique concr'te, pop, avant-garde, beat, rock'n'roll, old-fashioned melodies, progressive rock...like continuously switching the stations of a radio tuned to the distorted brainwaves of a man fallen.' Indeed! (-laltritalia.wordpress)

The album begins theatrically with our character's heartbeat, revving engine, and near-fatal auto crash which puts him into a deep state of unconsciousness, from which point the rest of the album deals with his journey in this uneasy, claustrophobic state. The short tracks come at you like a Pollack painting with many sound samples, all kinds of odd noises and environmental things...birds, children humming, street sound. The music is just as chaotic with spoken word, choirs, Elvis rock, folk music, classical segments, and the sound of a man spiraling down the drain. My favorite part is the bit of church organ which always sets great mood, and the thoroughly Italian presentation of emotions here running the gamut from playful to downright scary. Some of the guitar and piano work are also very lovely. The large ensemble of talented people bring much to the table and there are some interesting musical parts, however the very intent of the album to be a chaotic ride of flash sequences does prevent much development in the standard sense. But if you enjoy oddities like Persimfans, Battiato, and Nascita Della Sfera, the Ultima Spiaggia might be right up your alley.

'Voglio Vivere' is one of those beautiful RPI moments with a passionate vocal, lovely piano, mellotron/strings, all building to a dramatic crescendo. A rocking electric lead drifts into the five-part 'Motivo Angoscia 1', a recurring bunch of eccentric interludes. The first part is a mix of Opus Avantra-like strangeness, weird chants and narrations crossing free piano runs. 'Canto delle' is one of the longer, more conventional rock tracks, with a strong brassy funk feel, trippy vocals and wild keys for a while, then another weird theatrical ending. Part 2 of 'Motivo' is a boy singing with no inhibition, to himself, then joined by a choir of boys and a marching drum. 'Motivo 3' is the short Jacula-like organ piece I so adore, slow and sad, distant. We're treated to a mock Elvis send-up, a lullaby, bathroom opera, and electronic twiddling before this is over. Far from a musical masterpiece and often sounding a bit contrived, the album is still a wonderful and interesting example of the mid-late seventies RPI scene, a time when these 'out there' experiments got a bit more prevalent and grand symphonic intent was not always present.

The stunning gatefold cover artwork was done by Paolo Baratella. Without question this is an album badly in need of a quality CD reissue which displays the artwork in mini-lp form.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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