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Gigi Pascal E La Pop Compagnia Meccanica - Debut CD (album) cover

DEBUT

Gigi Pascal E La Pop Compagnia Meccanica

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Todd
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Rock Progressivo Italiano!
3 stars A very nice prog pop obscure RPI gem!

There are so many wonderful RPI bands out there, many of which--like this one--were one shot forays in the prog arena. So many Italian artists decided to try prog during the early 1970's, many staying with it and others abandoning the experiment.

This particular band is fairly obscure--the only information I could find comes from italianprog.com. Basically Gigi Pascal (real name Giancarlo D'Auria) was a good pop singer from Naples who was active from the late 1960's. He formed a band he called Pop Compagnia Meccanica, the musicians of which we only know the first names, except the drummer Fulvio Marzocchella, who did some session work later. Pascal then went on without this band to perform more singles, some under different names.

Their only album, Debut, is a very nice, albeit short, example of pop with prog leanings. I was reminded to some degree of Capricorn College, Hunka Munka, and I Dik Dik, though those bands have slightly different emphases and strengths. The common features that I hear are a knack for memorable melodies generally in the garb of straightforward pop (simple chord changes, 4/4 rhythm, etc), with the occasional burst of complexity and variety. The album is short--26 minutes--and consists of 8 songs, many of which flow together nicely. The vocals are good, with some nice harmonies and minimal drama. The music is largely organ-driven, with some very enjoyable interplay between organ and guitar featured in many songs (especially the largely instrumental Fuga en Si Menore and Debut). The solos are not too flashy and don't draw too much attention to themselves, apparently for the good of the overall piece. There are occasional short drum solos as well.

My favorite songs are Ormai, Fuga en Si Menore, and Crescente, all of which flow easily into each other. Fuga's only vocals include some la-la's, with the piece overall being a nice departure from the more straightforward songs. The drums, although still in 4/4, are varied and quite good. There is even a slower section which is played over the sounds of flowing water--very nice!

All in all, this is another in a long line of wonderful RPI bands who show that there is so much depth in Italian progressive rock of the 1970's that even in the third and fourth tier you can find some really good music. Three stars.

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Send comments to Todd (BETA) | Report this review (#205257)
Posted Tuesday, March 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Way down the RPI priority list

Considering this album was released in one of prog's finest places and hours, 1973 Italy, this is really quite an underwhelming album. Had it been released in the 60s it would surely garner another star but the context of time matters. In Italy and elsewhere by '73 the competition were light years beyond what Gigi Pascal was doing here. Pascal is working in the Italian pop style here with some rock and proggy infusion, sounding influenced by Procol Harum one moment, Santana the next (never getting close to either I might add). Typical and rather basic, short 3-4 minute tracks with lots of organ and little adventurous exploration leave me clockwatching for most of this short album, which feels much longer than its 26 minute running time. The guitarist is pretty good and the drummer equally feisty, in general the band is very competent. You will see Fabio Celi and Capricorn College mentioned in reference to Gigi Pascal but he doesn't rise to either level really. Fabio Celi was doing some really wild and crazy dramatics that were pure fun, while Capricorn is much more carefully arranged and beautiful. But this is not a complete disaster either and there are two tracks in particular that are very nice. The opener "la tua voce" is the highlight with a beautiful beginning melody drenched in organ, a children's chorus, and a parallel guitar lead. "fuga in si minore" is the other gem here, the most proggy of the eight songs. It begins with a fierce tribal drumming and swirling organ/guitar runs, then moving to a more introspective feeling with running water sounds and slow picked guitar notes. Then it begins rocking again before closing with a nearly two minute drum solo. While this is an enjoyable romp it is undeniably only for RPI collectors who have already been through the hundreds of more important titles in the genre. The scant single-paged insert in Mellow mmp-202 issue gives no information about the band. If you have the time and money to go all-out in your RPI quests, have at it. Casual RPI fans can keep right on driving

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#223463)
Posted Saturday, June 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
apps79
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Neo Prog Team
2 stars Giancarlo D'Auria aka Gigi Pascal was a pop singer from Naples,already pursuing a solo career from late-60's.Faithful in the melodic pop field,Pascal also tried his luck in the rock field,as the Italian Prog scene was emerging in early-70's.For this reason the group Gigi Pascal e la Pop Compagnia Meccanica was established,featuring Gigi Pascal on vocals,drummer Fulvio Marzocchella and three more members,who's only first names were known: Arturo on guitars,Mario on organ and Franco on bass.However the album was regarded as too complicated by his label Zeus,which refused to release it and ''Debut'' saw the light finally on the obscure Fans Phonotype in 1973.

The album (one of the shortet LP releases in Italian Prog,clocking at only 26 minutes) falls somewhat in the same category as bands like I FLASHMEN, CAPRICORN COLLEGE or ARS NOVA,this is partly an Art/Progressive Rock release,as at least half of the tracks remain in the beat style Pascal was known for: Sweet cheesy vocals,light use of organ on the forefront and psychedelic drumming, refering actually to the shorter cuts of this release,which are rather unmemorable.Still some tracks on the album contain qualitive moments like '' Fuga in Si minore'' and '' Crescente'' with the powerful organ,the good breaks and the fuzz guitars in the vein of GLI ALLUMINOGENI or the short eponymous track with the excellent Classical-inspired organ themes and the interesting guitar chops,not unlike HUNKA MUNKA.Same case with ''Oriente'',which offers lovely harsichord,haunting psych guitars and dark organ sounds.It has to be noticed,that most of the tracks function as a following of the previous cut,with Pascal & Co. trying to produce some sort of a cohesive suite without the most succesful result however.

Gigi Pascal carried on with his personal career in the 70's,surprisingly another single appeared two years later on Zeus with the name of Gigi Pascal e la pop compagnia meccanica entitled ''Amarti come non mai/La terza luna'',but this was also the band's farewell.During the 80's Pascal kept producing albums under the nickname Jaco and Jaco D.

''Debut'' is a semi-progressive rock release with evident Classical references,but it would be excessive to be your starting point on a journey through Italian Prog.Partly interesting,partly forgettable,this one falls exactly on the thin line between a recommended and non-recommended release.Fans of organ-drenched early 70's Proto-Prog are possible to like this one.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#587609)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | Review Permalink

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