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1 stars AREA were one of the more varied Italian bands with their distinctive mix of prog and jazz genres. Without a question AREA's early 70's work is pure classic Ital prog, it was 1980's release "Tic & Tac" that caught my ear. Sounding something in between SOFT MACHINE and UZEB this album moves and moves and never really stops and takes a breath. The band lineup included Patrizio Fariselli (acoustic piano, M.C.S. 70 synthesizer and electric piano), Larry Nocella (tenor sax), Giulio Capiozzo (drums), Ares Tavolazzi (electric bass, double bass, guitar), Guido Guidoboni (trumpet), Luciano Biasutti (trumpet).
Report this review (#925)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars For the review of this work I can't forget that is the first Area album after Demetrio Stratos death. Singers of that level are legends of the music, expecially for prog music. Anyway :'( ...

"Tic Tac" is a real jazz-fusion album, maybe nothing to do with progressive music we're celebrating on this archive. And this is the only reason why I give it only ("only" is the right word for a jazz-fusion listener) 4 stars. The musicianship is one of the best of all time, with Giulio Capiozzo on drums (the best drummer I've ever heard), Patrizio Fariselli on keys, synths and piano (simply a genius), Ares Tavolazzi on bass and double bass (a kind of italian Jaco Pastorius, with all the respect to the immense Jaco), plus Nocella (sax), Guidoboni and Biasutti (trumpets). The result is an enormous listening impact, with amazing melodies and powerful riffs, with jazz inclinations, of course. "Tic Tac" is really a masterpiece of jazz-fusion and, maybe, will not say nothing to prog-metal fans or art rock fans, but for the others will be an excellent addition to the collection. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#35790)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars Area were an incredible Italian band, progressive in every sense - especially when lead singer(and back-up keyboardist), Demetrio Stratos (R.I.P.) was in the band. Being a group of talented individuals, the remaining members decided NOT to replace Demetrio, after all NO-ONE could fill the void left by such a charismatic and creative character. Therefore, we have this, totally instrumental album, even closer to straight-ahead Jazz- Fusion than the avant-prog leanings of previous works. Take it from me, I have had this LP for a while, listened to it time and time again, and it sounds different each time !!

The first track opens up quite spacey, but ends up sounding like something off the Don Lane show, or what Paul Schaeffer and the CBS orchestra would dabble in. Their playing is absolutely precise, virtuosic and they tackle some really complex arrangements with ease, and most tracks hardly 'let up' until 'Chantee d'amour', with some of those last few tracks closer to their older style than most of the album, displaying slight avant-garde elements and dynamics. All up, a fine album, quite hard for me to describe because it's a bonanza of incredible playing and sounds, but comes off a little too 'serious'. 4 star as the musicianship is immaculate and shouldn't disappoint, especially for those into the jazzier end of prog.

Report this review (#104532)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars this is a forgot and underrated record, which has been released after the death of Demetrio Stratos and thus is considered a minor release, while it is actually a very good instrumental jazz-fusion effort, with elements of progressive and Area's tipical intricate-but-somehow-catchy melodies.

surely not for you if you are looking for another Genesis-like record, but Area lovers with open mind should find this pleasant.

La torre dell'alchimista and Danza ad anello are masterpieces which, if were featured into an earlier record, would have been surely remembered by Demetrio Stratos fans.

Report this review (#172079)
Posted Saturday, May 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Tic & Tac' is a fashioned oriented album. So it is difficult to judge this album, also because the music is not so fresh.

After Demetrio Stratos death Area produces this 'Tic & Tac', a sort of fashioned album because Jazz Rock and Jazz Rock (in POP style) is the style of those time for too Prog bands. The music is not so fresh but good, yes... The music is good also if not Area.

'Tic & Tac' is an album of Patrizio Fariselli (with 2 Ares Tavolazzi songs) and not an Area album. This fact penalizes the final judgement because the magic is not the classic Area magic. Clear that the songs are good in Jazz Rock field. But I stopped my review in this manner because for me (I repeat) 'Tic & Tac' is not an Area album (also if published with Area monicker) and this is a page of Area portion in this site.

Report this review (#227932)
Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Really, after Demetrio Stratos passed away, I really thought the remaining members of Area should have simply called it a day. Instead they decided to record an album in 1980 without him. Fine, if the music wasn't play-it-safe lite fusion, which is basically what they're doing. I understand that Stratos and his wild presence is absent, but it seemed without him, they're sunk. I just simply imagined they recorded this to try to prove to everyone Area can do fine without Demetrio Stratos. They have certainly recorded their fair share of instrumentals when Stratos was still alive, and those pieces simply blew me away just like the vocal pieces. There is no getting around, in my opinion, that Arbeit Macht Frei, Caution: Radiation Area, Crac!, the live Are(A)zione, and Maledetti are completely essential to your collection. They made some of the finest prog/fusion I have ever heard! But Tic & Tac is one I can live without. How could a band who made such wonderful albums as those I just mentioned sink to playing it safe? I realize in 1980 progressive rock was out of fashion, and we all know how bad the few major acts that survived had it, even the Italians like PFM, Banco, and New Trolls had by now been recording rather conventional, commercially-inclined pop. I remember visiting a doctor's office and hearing all this lite jazz and lite fusion, and the music on Tic & Tac so much reminds me of that that someone could slip in this CD reissue at a doctor's office and no one will pay attention in the least.

Whatever you do, if you want to start with Area, try their classics with Demetrio Stratos. You won't regret it. Make this the last thing you buy, if you want everything.

Report this review (#286671)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tic & Tac was the third album I decided to listen to by Area. I know, I skipped a few, but whatever. I'm a huge fan of jazz-fusion, which is what this album is entirely. Strangely, my favorite tracks by Area were usually the ones where Stratos didn't make an appearance. Though I don't hate his vocals and I actually think his voice added an interesting and unique dimension to Area, I always thought the instrumental plays in the band would've done just fine by themselves. Unfortunately, them playing without Stratos was the result his death. I am fortunate, however, that the band didn't decide to throw in the towel. The music that they've made on this album is very satisfying jazz-fusion in the vein of Weather Report, but definitely not as boring.

As of right now, I've only listened to this album, Arbeit Macht Frei, and Caution Radiation Area, but I'm convinced that Area is within my top 10 favorite bands of all time. Very few bands can loose and element of their music that was so unique and almost defining, and the come back making equally satisfying music. Any fan of jazz-fusion should enjoy the music found on this album and the other two albums mentioned above. This is highly recommended.

Report this review (#435393)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Good Heavens, what's the world coming to?! An Italian band imitating American elevator music? Just horrible and an absolute waste of time - unless you enjoy getting stuck in an elevator where only the piped sound remains operational.

This is the first - and very last - Area album I've listened to as going on this experience, I'd be hard pressed to detect any possible improvement expected of this band. Brass-Rock, Jazz- Rock? Nope. More like quality musicianship gone to the pigs in an effort to conform to a style that some - like myself - would frown upon. Did I say horrible before? If so, I'd repeat it in capital letters - any day.

There is no doubt that the musicians could play, but here they are seemingly Hell-bent to create something that's not to reach even mediocre by any means. Horrible - ah, yes, I said that before...

If you imagine the least quality offerings of the band CHICAGO to go out with the flavour of a Mexican procession band, then this album comes very close to that. Instrumental all the way through, which is a relief as the solo album of their singer Demetrio Stratos left me speechless and only able to rate it - not very favourably.

Area is off my menu for good. Not because it's bad, but for providing a serious disappointment. The musicianship I'd rate 4 out of 5, the material - well, let's just not go there.

Arrivederci - or rather not.

Report this review (#910847)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
1 stars I could never understand the logic for continuing a musical project once one of the band's most prominent features has left or in the case of Italy's larger-than-life avant-garde jazz-fusion maestros AREA, expire. It was a sad day indeed when the charismatic and innovative vocal frontman Demetrio Stratos succumbed to a severe case of aplastic anemia at the tender age of 34. Everyone knows this sad story. The Doors tried to carry on without Jim Morrison but after two albums realized the obvious. AC/DC did the same after Bon Scott and despite having commercial success, they still pale in comparison. The list goes on as bands like Alice In Chains, Lynyrd Skynyrd, INXS, Mayhem and even more recently Queen have carried on without the signature frontman who was the major force in their ascent to the top.

While pop and metal bands can often continue, for a completely unique and talented band like AREA with such an unreplaceable figurehead, the tall task seemed virtually impossible. And impossible it was. When Stratos met his untimely passing on 13 July 1979, the response should've been met with the same clearheaded grace that Led Zeppelin would face the following year in 1980 with John Bonham's passing by retiring the band and let the legacy continue after the chapters have unfairly been written and concluded. However that was NOT the case at all and in the process three of the AREA lineup namely Giulio Capiozzo (drums, vibraphones), Patrizio Fariselli (piano and keys) and Ares Tavalozzi (bass) decided to continue the band without a vocalist! They did however add Larry Nocella as a tenor sax player.

The result of this decision was the release of the lamely titled TIC & TAC which at least is succinctly easier to pronounced than the previous "1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano"! While Stratos may have been a major feature in AREA's classic eccentric soundscape, the band was equally as dynamic dishing out ridiculously adventurous and avant-garde musical workouts offering some of the most creative music that the 70s had to offer. It seems that not only Stratos died but in the process so did all the wild and wacky creativity that AREA was so famous for! TIC & TAC has to be one of the absolute lamest attempts to carry on for any band in history. The absolute antithesis of 70s AREA, this one is straight forward jazz fusion that wouldn't sound out of place in some swanky cocktail lounge from some 60s swinging scene.

While i wouldn't call the music presented here as lacking in great jazz musicianship, i would definitely call this one majorly lacking in any kind of musical inspiration. It feels like a hollow template from some jazz academy playbook that demands suspension of a creativity for the sake of conforming to a status quo paradigm. In other words, this music is absolutely awful considering it's AREA, one of Italy's greatest exports in the musical world. I could only stomach this twice for listening, the second time exclusively for this review for i'm so underwhelmed by it all. This is the absolute worst followup album possible after a singer's untimely passing i've ever heard. Thankfully, the members realized the mistake of this train wreck and quickly called it a day. These guys must have been in shock when they did this for i feel the trauma just listening to it. Needless to say, this is as bad as it gets for a once great band in total disarray. Avoid at all costs.

Report this review (#1999328)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2018 | Review Permalink

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