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Nuova Idea

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Nuova Idea Clowns album cover
3.69 | 92 ratings | 15 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Clessidra (5:29)
2. Un'Isola (8:05)
3. Il Giardino Dei Sogni (5:21)
4. Clown (10:42)
5. Una Vita Nuova (5:23)

Total time 35:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Ricky Belloni / eletric & 12-string guitars, violin, crotales, vocals
- Claudio Ghiglino / guitar, shaker, vocals
- Giorgio Usai / Hammond & Eminent organs, Moog, Hohner clavinet, piano, bells, bongos, vocals
- Enrico Casagni / bass, recorder, sounds, vocals
- Paolo Siani / drums, timpani, crotales, congas, tam-tam, guiro, triangle, vocals

- Flaviano Cuffari / tam-tam
- Emilio Soana / trumpet (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Gianni Zanini

LP Ariston ‎- AR/LP/12100 (1973, Italy)
LP Sony Music ‎- 88697428201 (2009, Europe) Remastered

CD Mellow Records ‎- MMP 123 (1992, Italy)
CD BMG ‎- BVCM-37956 (2007, Japan) Remastered by Koji Tanaka

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NUOVA IDEA Clowns ratings distribution

(92 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NUOVA IDEA Clowns reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars Short but very sweet.....For many this may be a less recognized title, but it should adorn everyone's cd collection. "Clowns" is heavy Italian organ soaked prog with a real 70's feel to it. The songs are very well constructed and performed with the top musicanship associated with NUOVA IDEA. Once again lyrics are in Italian for those who it matters to out there in prog land. Acid guitar is almost juxtaposed over the tracks and provides a nice seperation in your stereo.
Review by Steve Hegede
4 stars Here is a great Italian prog album that many would enjoy. NUOVA IDEA's music tends to alternate between heavy prog, where guitar and hammond compete for domination, and mellow prog typical of the period. Their keyboardist reminds me of Rick WAKEMAN, at times, when he plays Hammond. He also plays Moogs, piano, and clavinet. I must warn that some of vocal-parts take getting use to. They are sometimes harsh, overly emotional, and typical of French bands like MONA LISA, and some ANGE. Fortunately, the majority of vocals on this album are done in a typically, softer, Italian style (PFM-like). I also bought their second album "Mr E. Jones", and really enjoy that one. It has a completely different style from "Clowns", and tends to emphasize jamming (at least on side B).

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Great cover, great music too! This is their final effort, to me it sounds as their best one. The line-up has been changed, the music delivers a raw organ -and guitarsound that only has a few mellow moments. The vocals are powerful but sometimes a bit too screamy. The tiltetrack is the most cativating and alternating composition. Due to some experimental ideas (featuring brass instruments) Nuova Idea is not always a band with an accesible approach. Nonetheless, this is one of the better releases from the Italian progrock label Mellow records.
Review by Progbear
3 stars Here's one I run rather hot and cold on. Musically, this one's quite excellent, featuring intricate and well-thought out musical constructs and superb playing, particularly in the authoritative yet understated guitarwork and lush, classically-styled keyboard playing. They do wear their influences a bit on their sleeve, though, as displayed on "Clessidra", which plunders a chord progression from Gentle Giant's "Prologue" from THREE FRIENDS. Still, it does display good taste in influences, and the album gets better as it goes on.

Musically, anyway.

The big point against this album's favour, the thing that prevents me from enjoying it, is vocalist Ricky Belloni. He has an obnoxious, squealing, screeching hard-rock style of "singing" which is not only EXTREMELY annoying, but also highly inappropriate for the music. He absolutely ruins what could have been a borderline Italian prog classic. A grave pity.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars "Clowns" is a classic RPI album from 1973 and the final studio album from the band. For most the vocals will be the "make" or "break" factor.Yes his voice has character but it's not for everyone. Instrumentally there's no question that this band was abundantly talented.

"Clessidra" opens with some atmosphere as dissonant horns then a beat arrives. A full sound follows. Guitar to the fore before 2 minutes then it settles with vocals before picking back up quickly.This is great ! The organ is prominant here too. "Un'isola" opens with reserved vocals and this has such a classic RPI sound to it. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes but the tempo continues to shift back and forth until before 2 1/2 minutes when it kicks in with vocals. It settles back before 7 1/2 minutes as reserved vocals return as that intro sound is reprised. So good.

"Il Giardino Dei Sogni" is the first track where the vocals get theatrical and therefore difficult to digest. It's building and then we get contrasts between the mellow and more powerful sections. Some nice guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. Great sound before 4 1/2 minutes with the vocals and organ standing out. "Clown" opens with organ,bass and drums as we get a good solid sound.The piano replaces the organ.The vocals before 1 1/2 minutes are passionate. Guitar to the fore after 3 minutes. A calm 6 minutes in then it builds. Strings too. Sax and a jazzy vibe take over 7 1/2 minutes in then it kicks in after 8 1/2 minutes.Vocals after 9 minutes with guitar. "Una Vita Nuova" is pastoral with fragile vocals to start.The vocals stop as piano and a fuller sound arrive before 3 minutes. Horns 5 minutes in to end it.

I was surprised at how good this was, i'd heard about the vocals and so was prepared but like I said earlier I would describe them as having character and they're entertaining as well. Excellent album !

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Clown rocks

I've seen Nuova Idea described as a poor man's New Trolls but personally I prefer them to the well known Trolls. The Genova band was stacked with good musicians who had played and would later play in a variety of Italian groups. Nuova Idea released three quality albums in the early 1970s and in some respects "Clowns" may be the most realized RPI album of the three. Quite bold, gregarious, and heavy, the tracks are stoked with a truly animated sense of musical adventure, the album embodies much of what I love about the classic Italian albums of the day.

"Clowns" at times can remind me of anyone from Semiramis to Officina Meccanica to Jumbo to Gentle Giant. It combines hard organ/guitar rock, occasional symphonic leanings, and little bits of jazz rock. Large chunks of it will appeal very much to Heavy Prog fans. The first thing to comment on is the controversial vocals of Ricky Belloni. Many people blast this album for the supposedly horrid vocals and I must implore you to ignore them if you love raucous RPI. I love these vocals! Unlike the annoying tendency of New Trolls (or Deep Purple) to ride those upper registers just because they can, NI employ them more out of the natural chaos of the song. In other words, the vocals seem to act out the craziness of the album's personality rather than simply coming at you with a constant high-register warble out of habit.

"Clessidra" begins with a random blast of brass that sounds just like the part before the main theme of Atom Heart Mother, followed by a raucous electric guitar/organ romp. Then we get the first of several vocals styles, this one sounding Yes-like. "Un'Isola" drags a bit and is too Deep Purple for my taste but has some nice moments of good rock. "Il Giardino" has some really nasty Roger Chapman on steroids vocals that I just love, really fun, and a nice heavy groove balanced by a bit of acoustic guitar. Great lead work here reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore's sound along with some up front bass in the later section. The 10-minute title track is next and this is an RPI classic with a Gentle Giant meets heavy Italian vibe. Some nice strings and horns embellish the circus atmosphere, and there is a really cool repeating section of a children's choir over mellotron, a great touch! Later there is a burst of jazzy sax leading into an odd percussion section before the main riff is reprised. The album closes with the mellowest track but certainly not easy listening, as the acoustic guitars in the beginning give way to increasingly strange vocals, keyboards, and finally the dissonant horns to close it.

"Clowns" is exactly the kind of RPI album I love, saucy and extroverted. They really don't make stuff that *feels* like this anymore, even the retro bands who try to. This is not a relaxing or pastoral album with easy-going "floaty" keyboards, so assess what kind of prog you like. If you like the bands I mention above you should definitely check into this one. Perhaps one of those love or hate bands but I love it! 3 stars but I personally need to round up here.

Review by seventhsojourn
4 stars Nuova Idea was among a seemingly tiny minority of bands of the nascent Italian progressive rock of the early-1970s that actually managed to release more than one album before disappearing without trace. The band's battle scarred line-up changed with the release of each of their three albums, although the music progressed in parallel with the changes in personnel and was so much the better as a consequence. In addition to being their most full- on prog album, 'Clowns' is also their most critically acclaimed work and rightly so for a work that runs the entire gamut of classic RPI.

The music is both sensitive and robust, complex and hard rocking, and like the band's previous release ('Mr. E. Jones') 'Clowns' is a concept album based on the realities and dreams of its main protagonist who in this case is a circus performer. The meeting of extremes, in the form of gruff rasping vocals and elaborate instrumental accompaniment, combined with the unusual concept gives the album a peculiar majesty all of its own.

Talking about the vocals, the multi-voice parts of 'Mr E. Jones' have largely been replaced by the dramatic singing of newcomer Ricky Belloni. With his abrasive vibrato he at times sounds as if he is gargling on a chain of phlegm. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration - his singing isn't really so bad and it's certainly not a deal-breaker for an otherwise top-notch album.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Nuova Idea is one of the many bands emerged from italian prog school in eary '70s, with 3 albums under their belt, last one released in 1973 named simply Clows and maybe their best . I needed more then couple of spins to get the whole thing, maybe because the singer is an aquaring taste for me, but in the end I can't say is an annoying voice only diffrent then most of the voices from that period little towards what done Family in manner of singing. Musicaly speaking is ok, a fairly decent album but somehow fail to really grab me, only the opening track Clessidra , wich is a masterpieces , really, a prog rock tune with clearly jazz rock passages and top notch musicianship, awesome. The keyboards and guitar is well performed remind me of New Trolls or even in some parts with Gentle Giant mostly from Three friends era. Also some theatrical moments appear here and there , due to vacal arrangemnts. Even is quite short in length only 35 min, this album I can say is good, but not really very excellent. Nice gate fold cover. 3 stars maybe 3.5 for the opning track.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I found this CD by pure chance I must say i was quite surprised by their original mixing of traditional italian symphonic prog with heavy rock, plus a few experimentations here and there. Vocals are quite controvertial to say the least, sometimes bordering what can be called an Ian Gillan parody. Fortunaltly singer Ricky Belloni proves to be quite versatile and after a while you get used to his sometimes overtly emotional delivering. There are some great guitar and organ parts: keyboardist Giorgio Usai is certainly an avid Jon Lord fan. Most compositions work very well, but the highlight is definitly the title track with its 10+ minutes of epic twists and turns (including some daring brass arrangements).

This is their third LP and also their last, which I consider that a pity, since this band had very interesting ideas in terms of songwriting and performance and were a bit ahead of their time in terms of musical style. It would be great to see what they could do if they remained together a little longer. Anyway, this is a fine example of good musicians doing bold, intricated, yet not too zany, music.

Conclusion: a nice surprise coming from the prolific italian prog scene of the 70s. Very worth checking out! 4 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Antonello Gabelli participated only in the recording sessions of ''Mr. E. Jones'' and Nuova Idea was again on search of a stable guitarist.So, in 1972 Ricky Belloni from the group Il Pacco joined them on vocals/guitars and a third album in the row was recorded at the Ariston Studios, released in 1973.

With the addition of Belloni Nuova Idea's sound shifted towards heavier and more Classic Prog orientations, as proposed in the groovy opening ''Clessidra'', full of incredible synth and organ runs and characterized by some great interplays and breaks.The long ''Un'Isola'' has very strong PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI vibes in the keyboard parts, again organs and synthesizers are in the forefront, while the good rhythmic parts are still apparent in a Heavy Rock piece, played with passion.Belloni with his high-pitched vocals make his appearance for the first time.''Il Giardino dei sogni'' has notable BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO touches, although in their softer version, and sounds completely plagiarized with no originality at all.The self-titled track, clocking at over 10 minutes, is somewhat split between Heavy Rock and Italian Symphonic Rock with pounding drums, GENESIS-influenced light organs, edgy electric guitars and emphatic synthesizers in a very grandiose style and contains evident Classical and jazzy influences at moments, constantly changing between different tempos and themes.The closing ''Una vita nuova'' is again in the style of ''Il Giardino dei sogni'' with light piano and atmospheric sythesizers and very melodramatic vocals, but this track sounds pretty unconvincing and flat as well.

Nuova Idea's career did not mean to last, with Siani being replaced by Flaviano Cuffari in summer 73', but shortly after the band demised.Belloni and Siani participated in the Track band and afterwards the first joined New Trolls.He was followed some years later by Giorgio Usai.Bassist Enrico Casagni released the solo album ''Qualcuno stanotte'' on EMI around 1977.

''Clowns'' is propably the album to get from Nuova Idea, if you love Classic Italian Prog.Despite being a bit incosistent, the longer tracks are nice examples of the style, dominated by a dynamic and multi-influenced Rock style.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Not that I "hate" people or things but only using that term to accent the review. Over the years I've sort of had a "love"/"hate" relationship with this particular album. There are times when I can listen to this album and enjoy it. There are other times where I can't get past the first 10 m ... (read more)

Report this review (#786180) | Posted by progbaby | Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A short album that starts strong and runs out of steam, Clowns was Nuova Idea's third and final album, released in 1973. Influences are all over the place and incongruent, but that doesn't necessarily make Clowns feel uneven. I get the sense they simply ran out of ideas; the album is certainly "fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#491541) | Posted by coasterzombie | Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Italian band NUOVA IDEA in his third albun "Clowns" presents a much more approximate work really of the progressive that their previous works, that with the excepition of some moments inside of the tracks they bring a sound more embryonic/experimental. In spite of being (obviously) classif ... (read more)

Report this review (#290473) | Posted by maryes | Thursday, July 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Decent melodies, horrible vocals. The screaming, over-the-top vocals does it's best to kill this album......... and succeed. The melodies are OK, but nothing special. The rhythms are interesting and there are some interesting details in the music. The music is somewhere between RIO, Italian S ... (read more)

Report this review (#230356) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, August 7, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although Gentle Giant influences are evident here (see track 1, "Clessidra") this group had his own voice (especially "the voice" of Ricky Belloni: wether disturbing or interesting is a matter of taste). A worthwhile listening for all the passionate fans of italian progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#5209) | Posted by | Thursday, January 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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