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MILANO CALIBRO 9

Osanna

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars I have this one with a different cover. From what I gather from friends , this is not their better one as most people say Palepoli is. Since I don't really enjoy this one -but this is a soundtrack to something , I cannot judge the whole, but the music out of its context is not very captivating

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#5356)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Back in February 1995, I was in Eugene, Oregon at the Eugene Hilton. There was a record convention being held there. It was quite an event, because unlike record stores, I kept running in to people I never knew where I was openly able to talk music to them (because the event seemed to consist of more serious collectors, rather than college kids who, at the time, thought that music began and ended with Kurt Cobain). While there, I noticed an OSANNA album, having been already amazed with "Palepoli", I snatched this earlier release, "Milano Calibro 9". It was an American release on the Peters International label. It was released in 1973, a year after the original Italian release. I also got it for cheap (something you can't always say of Italian prog LPs, unless it was American pressings of PFM albums).

On this album, the band matured quite a bit. Where on "L'Uomo", it was a combination of hard rock, blues, jazz, folk, and prog, on this album, they were able to combine those styles in a more mature and progressive framework. And this time, it's a soundtrack to a film. But despite the trippy artwork on the album cover that might make you think "Milano Calibro 9" was an art film, it was actually apparently a mob film (for one thing, "Calibro 9" translates as "Caliber 9", so you know right it way it has to deal with a gun). The band incorporates an orchestra, conducted by Argentine-born Luis Enriquez Bacalov (who was previously responsible for NEW TROLLS' "Concerto Grosso Per 1" and later IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA's "Contaminazione"). The American LP has all the song titles in English (so instead of "Preludio", "Tema", several "Variazioni"s, and "Canzona", they are "Prelude", "Theme", "Variations" and "There Will Be Time").

The album starts off with "Theme", which starts off with a bizarre sounding ARP 2600 synthesizer. There is some classical piano, the orchestra, then the band kicks in to a mindblowing jam. "Tema" ("Theme") is a more mellow, and pleasant piece, dominated by piano, orchestra, and ARP 2600 synthesizer. Nice piece. Then the album goes through several pieces entitled "Varazioni" (divided by roman numerals I-VII). These movements goes through many different moods and changes, although most of them are quite short. The second movement is also called "My Mind Flies". This is one of only two cuts with vocals. The band chose to sing in English, but as you know, the English language isn't the high point of these guys. Luckily it's stuffed with lots of bizarre, atmospheric and acoustic pieces, with that great flute, and more great loud, aggressive jams. The last piece, "Canzona" is also called "There Will Be Time". This is not a particularly progressive piece. This is the album's only other vocal track, and it's a pretty straightforward pop song, as seemed to be the common occurance on many Italian prog albums.

My big complaint of the album is I wished for lengthier compositions (luckily they fixed that problem with "Palepoli"), because I like the mood of many of the pieces, just wished it lasted longer. But I guess that had to deal with the fact this is a movie soundtrack. Still a great album.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#5358)
Posted Wednesday, May 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars No, it's not a great album, but it has its moments. And it's not an album to put on when you're in the mood for one particular style of music. I must admit that I haven't listened to this CD in years, which isn't a good sign. The production always seemed iffy, which I initially blamed on the record label Peters, notorious for crappy-sounding production. Even with the CD, the sound is sub-par, but not so bad that the album can't be appreciated. I thought the sound quality on "Palepoli" was even worse, and it WAS enough to keep me from buying it. May just be the recording itself.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#5359)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The guitar sounds a bit like Led Zeppelin or like on the first Rush's album. There are some strings arrangements which give a symphonic touch to this prog hard rock album. It sounds a bit like the Italian prog band RDM, but it is more instrumental. there are excellent fast drums, very good piano, loud and complex bass and some good flute parts; the only "bad" thing is that the atmosphere is not very warm for a hard rock band: sometimes it is very scary, given the numerous psychedelic bits. There are not very much vocals.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#5360)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second work released in 1972 "Milano Calibro 9". Sound track. It is a construction thing of a huge baroque. It is exactly perfection of the confusion beauty. It keeps severe and the extremely unbalanced world of luxury. Tone quality is also good for an Italian rock. I feel the influence of THE MOODY BLUES and KING CRIMSON.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#67245)
Posted Sunday, January 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In my opinion you can't really appreciate this album (also known as "Tema, Preludio, Variazioni e Canzona") without watching the film and it would be unfair to define this work just as a sequel of the collaboration between Bacalov and New Trolls... Director Fernando Di Leo was very impressed by the album "Concerto Grosso per i New Trolls" and asked Luis Bacalov to compose the soundtrack for his film "Milano Calibro 9": Osanna were chosen to perform the soundtrack interacting with an orchestra and, according to an interview with Lino Vairetti, they recorded the music while watching the film and for them this was a new exciting experience... "Preludio" and "Tema" were composed by Luis Bacalov and seem to come out from "Concerto grosso"... The seven short variations, featuring a more aggressive mood, were composed by the band and arranged with Luis Bacalov. Then they re-recorded the whole soundtrack for the discographical market adding a composition of Luis Bacalov based upon a poem of Thomas Elliot, "There Will Be Time" (that can't be found on the original soundtrack)...

The film "Milano Calibro 9" (Milan Calibre 9) is a "noir" inspired by some short stories of the writer Giorgio Scerbanenco (Kiev, 28 Jul. 1911 - Milan, 27 Oct. 1969) and it was conceived by Fernando Di Leo as a kind of "vehicle to express his sociological, anthropological and philosophical point of view" about the world of crime and the turmoil of Italy in the early Seventies. This film is the first chapter of a trilogy that includes also "La mala ordina" (Manhunt) and "Il boss" (The boss) and it features an excellent cast of actors like Gastone Moschin, Mario Adorf, Philippe Leroy, Barbara Bouchet and Lionel Stander. During the movie you can listen to some delicate and very suggestive themes like "Preludio" and "Tema", while on the screen images of an almost surrealistic violence flow with Milan in the background...

The blending of baroque music and progressive-rock commenting the crucial passages of the plot contributed to the successful final result of the film and only having watched it you can associate the music to the "shaking and dancing" images of the cruel and beautiful character interpreted by Barbara Bouchet or to a merciless killing (it's the case of "Variazione VI", a fiery "tarantella rock")...

Well, although this work is probably not an essential one in a prog collection, it's a really good one and it is worth listening to... Recently the film "Milan Calibre 9" has been released on DVD (restored, remastered and with "bonus stuff" including an interview with Luis Bacalov) in Original Italian version with removable English subtitles and English version... Don't miss it!

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#119740)
Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is not a full «Osanna» album since several parts were not composed by the band but by the director of the orchestra which supported the band for this release. Which is the soundtrack of a second rank Italian movie.

That being said, there are several interesting passages, full of classicism and romanticism. In this respect, both "Preludio" and "Tema" are fine pieces of music mixing classicism and prog rock music. A good combination.

Some of the "Variations" are also quite pleasant but the first one, which is fully jazz oriented is really beyond my understanding. Most of these pieces are short (to very short) and can't really be described as songs or tracks.

The only one corresponding to this status is "II". Fine theme changes ranging from slightly heavy to delicate acoustic. Wild guitar work at the end of this part, coming almost out of the blue. Unexpected.

Tull is back again with the third "Variazone". Almost exclusively flute oriented, it is another pleasant moment. Not fully original but one has to take what's available. And the forth one is just purely experimental and heavy. Press nextT.

To highlight the diversity of the band, it is only necessary to listen to "V" and "VI" which are diametrically different. Ambient for the former and heavy for the latter. The former, in this case, has my preference.

Neither bad nor great, I consider this album just average. Typical of a soundtrack, lots of parts are really too short to be fully appreciated. But all normally formatted parts are pleasant, including the beautiful and melodic ballad which closes this release: "Canzona" even if fianl part is drowned under heavy orchestrations.

I upgrade my rating to three stars (from a five out of ten).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#169642)
Posted Saturday, May 03, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all... the album is far too short!!!

I first heard this album in the mid 1970s when I had rented it from the library/discotheque in Brugge. I immediately loved the album and taped it. The mixture of Jethro Tull, Gong (Continental Circus), Pink Floyd (More), the French composer Saint-Preux (Concerto pour une voix), The Academy of Saint- Martins in the Field with Neville Marinner and Alan Loveday on violin (Vivaldis The Four Seasons) and the fantastic sounding moog was a real revelation...

Unfortunately tapes wear out and I didn't remember the band nor the title. I just remembered about all the music. Reading the reviews on the "Vintageprog" website I came accross the album and thought... could it be??? It was!!! I checked the full version on Youtube and YES!!!

I must say that the flute is often a bit too obvious Tull sounding and the sax does sound like Didier Malherbe of Gong but the whole feel is a good progrock feel.

The final track "Canzone" may sound a bit soft hearing it back, but yet... it has such a fragile touch about it. The classical arrangements are great as well.

This has given me a great desire to purchase some of the 1970s vynil Italian Prog and I am well on my way having found great copies of PMF, Le Orme, Latte e Miele etc. A pity I didn't know all these bands back then. They are so superior to the average British bands.

This album was one of those moments of discovery and I really find it a little masterpiece.

Did I mention the album is far TOO short ;-)

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Send comments to Lieven Van Paemel (BETA) | Report this review (#597563)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Despite being largely instrumental and partially composed by Luis E. Bacalov, the soundtrack to Milano Calibro 9 is Osanna's most successful effort as a band and their best album in my opinion. L'Uomo was a laborious debut, and the popular Palepoli is too fractured and chaotic for my tastes; Milano Calibro 9 finds a perfect middle ground, blending the band's hard-rocking beginnings with later diverse influences seamlessly. Interestingly, the album is not a soundtrack at all but a separate studio recording of the film's score - the music heard in the actual film was performed and recorded live and differs significantly from the LP version. The album is a more concise and calculated rendering of those somewhat raw and off-the-cuff performances. Also of interest is "Canzona," which is not featured in the movie at all, but tacked on to the end of the soundtrack and the only true vocal track here. Milano Calibro 9 can be placed among the great film soundtracks of all time, matching Goblin's best work and even exceeding it on some levels.

Milano Calibro 9 is an Italian crime thriller with plenty of action and creative cinematography. After the respective success of L'Uomo and New Trolls' Concerto Grosso, Osanna and Bacalov were paired to score the film. Bacalov's distinctive orchestration is primarily limited to the first two pieces, "Preludio" and "Tema." The first is led by a repeating piano figure that is used throughout the film as incidental music. "Preludio" builds on the piano motif, gradually adding heavy guitar and strings, before the band proper enters fully. Osanna's characteristic flute sound makes an appearance or two, while singer Lino Varietti is no where to be found (he is also credited with ARP synthesizer, which is heard briefly oscillating at the end). "Tema" is a far more restrained affair, gently balancing delicate piano and strings as Danilo Rustici strums crystalline chords. The guitarist then impresses with a backwards guitar solo as drums and bass pump and sway. This first nine minutes of music are moody, over-the-top and self-important...a true RPI fan's dream.

A series of "Variazione" pieces make up the bulk of the album, and are nothing more than Osanna jamming out to the movie. The music is strong enough to stand on its own, but seeing it in context certainly helps. Highlights abound, but specifically "Variazione II (My Mind Flies)" and the spacey atmosphere it creates is extremely rewarding, particularly the acoustic bridge where Varietti enters for the first time. The instrumentals continue with the Tullish "Variazione III," heavy riffing on "Variazione IV," bluesy swagger of "Variazione VI," and jazz tones on "Variazione VII." Though these diverse elements seem random and arbitrary it somehow just works. Tying everything together is the saccharine "Canzona (There Will Be Time)." The song showcases the collaborative spirit with Bacalov, perhaps even more than his work with New Trolls. Lyrically the song is inspired by T.S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and embodies the anguish and cautious optimism of that work commendably. Milano Calibro 9 is a must for OST collectors and any RPI enthusiast; the general prog audience may find the album boring with repeated listens.

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Send comments to coasterzombie (BETA) | Report this review (#938105)
Posted Monday, April 01, 2013 | Review Permalink

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