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IO SONO NATO LIBERO

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Io Sono Nato Libero album cover
4.41 | 669 ratings | 53 reviews | 51% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico (15:46)
2. Non Mi Rompete (5:09)
3. La Città Sottile (7:13)
4. Dopo... Niente È Più Lo Stesso (9:55)
5. Traccia II (2:39)

Total time: 40:42

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Vittorio Nocenzi / organ, harpischord, synths
- Gianni Nocenzi / piano, keyboards
- Marcello Todaro / electric and acoustic guitars
- Renato D'Angelo / bass, acoustic guitar
- Pier Luigi Calderoni / drums, percussion
- Francesco Di Giacomo / vocals

Guest Musicians:
- Rodolfo Maltese / acoustic and electric guitars
- Silvana Aliotta / percussion
- Bruno Perosa / percussion

Releases information

LP's:
Ricordi (SMRL 6123) 1973
Ricordi/Orizzonte (ORL 8202) early 80's

CD's:
Ricordi/Orizzonte (CDOR 8202) 1990
BMG (74321-91788-2) 2000

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Mandrakeroot for the last updates
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DarwinDarwin
Import
Sony/Bmg Italy 1999
Audio CD$5.53
$4.25 (used)
Io Sono Nato LiberoIo Sono Nato Libero
Import
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
Audio CD$8.06
$8.25 (used)
Di TerraDi Terra
Import
EMI Music Italy 1995
Audio CD$5.93
$4.93 (used)
NudoNudo
Import
EMI 1998
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En Concierto Mexico City - May 1999En Concierto Mexico City - May 1999
Sol And Deneb
Audio CD$29.69
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Garofano RossoGarofano Rosso
Import
Emi Uk/Zoom 2007
Audio CD$7.88
$5.99 (used)
Banco Del Mutuo SoccorsoBanco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Import · Limited Edition
Bmg Japan 2006
Audio CD$76.04
$35.09 (used)
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Import
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Import
Emi 2007
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Banco Del Mutuo SoccorsoBanco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Import
Sony Import 2012
Audio CD$17.49
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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Io Sono Nato Libero ratings distribution


4.41
(669 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(51%)
51%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (10%)
10%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Io Sono Nato Libero reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Founding Moderator
4 stars Although I surmise that the album title means "I am born free," since I don't speak Italian, I am at something of a disadvantage regarding the lyrics here. Thus, I must assume that these guys write good lyrics about interesting topics. Having said that, this is my first experience with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, and I am extremely impressed by the music. Indeed, I am finding that the prog-rock coming out of Italy is arguably the most consistently excellent European prog, from this early entry to more recent bands like Deus ex Machina. Interestingly, I am also finding that the influences on Italian prog-rock as a whole tend to be very similar: ELP, Yes (especially Wakeman), and, unexpectedly (and quite happily), Gentle Giant (among others). Banco del Mutuo Soccorso makes excellent use of its influences, weaving light symphonic sections with heavier prog-rock sections. The musicianship is at a very high level (only Deus ex Machina impresses me as much), especially the keyboard work, and the music is mostly very creative - though there are times when it sounds like they took alot of great ideas and simply strung them together somewhat haphazardly. Still, this does not negatively impact the overall effect of the music, which is excellent. I very much look forward to listening to more of their albums.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#1305) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Now here is a great recording that will please all fans of Italian Prog. Sophisticated yet delicately beautiful tension building prog with a touch of the ol' psycho - bizarre. This is in my opinion BANCO's finest hour with amazing keyboard work. "Non Mi Rompete" is one of my all time favorite progressive rock tracks as it reaches out with a very sweet spirtual element. This is pure classic prog of the highest intelligence which will please all fans of PFM and Le ORME. "Io Sona nato libero" is a complete recording and offers a wide range from the organ drenched materpiece "Canto Nomande Per Un Prigioniero Politico"...to the acoustic guitar Soliloquy "Non Mi Rompete". Once again all the lyrics are in Italian so be warned for those who are linguistic-centric! For the rest this will be an album of choice. What always stands out for me on this album is the amount of classical piano used and how well it mixes witht eh rest of the instruments. Fabulous music.....It is essential!

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#1308) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004

Review by Prognut
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Italy in the 70' was not quiet with the prog movement and BMS left a golden mark in History with several excellent albums being their first three, classics of the symphonic-progressive scene. Personally my fav-album of BMS, and in my opinion their Masterpiece. Like PFM "Per un Amico" parts of this epic makes me fell goosebumps.There are so much magic in this album that words are not enough... from the magistral operatica voice of Francesco to the magnificent use of synths/piano by the brothers Nocenzi. Now, please be warned, this is not a CD for the casual listener or the novice prog-fan, and if you decided give it a shot (and in my humble opinion, you should) probably will need several spins to grow on you; but is worth the time and effort... one other note of interest lyrics are of course in Italian. Acoustic at times and ELPesque in other passages this magnificent gem can be now available to you (in you are lucky to get it) on a Japanese killer Miniature pack. So make your self a big favor this year and buy it. Essential. Period.

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Send comments to Prognut (BETA) | Report this review (#1309) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the best albums by " BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO", containing some different styles, perfectly fitted into the politic protest of that period in Italy, but without forgetting also the instrumental grandeur of their glorious past. Even though honestly you don't find any particular example of their virtuosity, as the focus is more on the lyrics than on their instrumental skill, except on some passages reminding me of KING CRIMSON and YES, characterized but the same ability!! Anyway I prefer the personal imprinting of the other songs, much more original...

Highly Recommended!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#1310) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2004

Review by The Prognaut
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I think this album determines quite a formula for most of the basis absorbed by the 70's italian prog bands. I also think BMS unconsciously created a "prog school" for the bands to come in the next two decades, and not only with this album but with "Darwin" and "Di Terra"; and now we can taste BANCO's creation in contemporary italo prog bands like DEUS EX MACHINA and ARTI E MESTIERI just for pointing out a couple. BANCO's "Io Sono Nato Libero" has beautiful drum and percussion preludes as a manner of "red carpet" for Francesco Di GIACOMO's gifted voice all along this recording. Simply "magnífico!"

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Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is without a doubt BANCO at the top of their game. The production has greatly improved over their previous two albums. The lyrics, from what I'm able to determine, seem to have political overtones (but since I don't know Italian, I can't be sure what it's all about). The original LP (on Dischi Ricordi), which I happen to own, comes with a gimmick shaped cover and lyrics to all the songs (sadly the most commonly available CD reissue, on BMG/Ricordi, only has the lyrics to the first two songs).

This is without a doubt BANCO's most experimental album, you know that when you hear the opening cut, "Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico". There are some strange passages using synthesizer and Eminent (string organ that sounds like a string synth), plus a part where the band goes in percussion overdrive, courtesy of non-members Silvana Aliotta and Bruno Perosa. Francesco "Mr. Chubbs" di Giacomo seems a bit less overbearing compared to previous albums, and this song proves it. "Non Mi Rompete" seems like the oddball piece as it's largely a straightforward, acoustic ballad, done in a rather sentimental style. It's back to being more experimental with "La Città Sottile". It starts off with piano and di Giacomo's big voice, eventually the band goes off the deep end with synthesizer experiments, while di Giacomo spouts out something or another (in Italian). "Dopo... Niente è Più Lo Stesso" is another lengthy piece, in which the piece goes through several changes and themes. Then you get "Traccia II" which is a classically-influenced instrumental piece that starts off with piano and ends with synthesizer.

There is no doubt about it, this is one of the finest albums BANCO has ever done, but be aware: I have often heard this referred to as one of the greatest prog albums ever, in my book that's a bit overexaggerated, but it's still a recommended album and must have.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#1313) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars BANCO sound nothing like PFM in my opinion. Perhaps the odd snippet on this album is a little like some of ELP's music, but I really don't see much overlap and I cannot say with certainty "If you like PFM or ELP then you'll like this". Banco are a different kettle of fish.

This album's tracks include some simple musical themes which are not melodic (but that does not make them bad), whilst other parts are more melodic. There are several parts with complex themes using a mix of instruments which reward careful listening. The inclusion of organ, piano, synthesizer and spinet is pleasing: these instruments don't overwhelm the music but are used liberally throughout and are integral to the music. Acoustic guitar also plays an important role in some places, to good effect.

Francesco Di Giamcomo's voice is certainly powerful, but is not raucous. But he does sound more like he should be singing opera than rock.

In my opinion BANCO sometimes sound a little like LE ORME but are often less melodic and have more variation in tempo and themes within tracks. You really need to listen to the album several times to appreciate just how good it is - and it really is very good.

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Send comments to Fitzcarraldo (BETA) | Report this review (#1314) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2004

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Io Sono Nato Libero" is many things: impressive musically, emotionally expressive and incredibly well-produced for 1973. The intricate sections are reminiscent of ELP, but more satisfying in that they incorporate every instrument perfectly instead of being synth-heavy. The singer wisely keeps his delivery flat during the more dramatic swells, which helps trim the pompous factor considerably. The range of tones is notable; from beautiful classical piano and guitar to free-jazz craziness to floating ambience, they demonstate exceptional mastery of diverse elements. I even hear some Indian percussion, which many of the prog bands seemed to avoid (maybe after the late 60s everyone was tired of the psychedelic raga influence- who cares, it sounds great here). There's also some proto-industrial synth noise rhythms! "Non mi rompete" has a more lighthearted touch, and thus reminds me of some of the second side of PINK FLOYD's "Atom Heart Mother"...and the synth at the end brings to mind Wakeman's work on "And You and I", high praise indeed. "La Citta' Sottile" adds some Howe-type guitars and Tony Banks piano (including a part that resembles the intro to "The Lamb Lies down on Broadway") which I would mark as derivative if BANCO hadn't been their contemporaries- or maybe even predecessors. "Dopo..." features more impeccable playing, but the vocal (especially the spoken sections) are just a tiny bit too musical- theater. Finally, "Traccia II" has a nice synth-classical feel not unlike Wakeman or Emerson playing a more intricate MOODY BLUES composition. Criticisms? The transitions are occasionally a little clumsy, like they are too aware when they have to wrap something up but aren't sure how to do it. The synth sounds are a bit crude, but it was 1973 after all- they were probably those huge modular synths that took three hours just to coax into making a noise. Is it politically charged? If I understood the language I might be able to say whether that element adds or detracts from the musical statement; this album must have an extra level of meaning for the fluent. I enjoyed it almost without reserve; I would not hesitate to recommend this to any moderate to hardcore prog fan. This is undoubtedly a seminal work, for the remarkable achievements on the album as well as inspiration to the Italian prog community- and beyond.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#1315) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2004

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Here it is, my all-time fave album from my all-time fave Italian prog act. All throughout the repertoire of "Io Sono Nato Libero" the glorious majesty of your standard symphonic prog and the unique magic of Italian prog combine in a perfectly crafted combination. This combination is incarnated via strong performances (both in instrumental interplays and di Giacomo's vocal delivery), heard-to-be-believed compositions and arrangements, all of these ingredients that made BMS's early records so special. "Io Sono Nato Libero" follows in the same vein than its two predecessors, if only enriching the band's sound via the incorporation of more synths and the amplification of contrasts within and between all five tracks; by doing so, the album epitomizes the band's ability to mix overwhelming beauty and bold extravagance into one single sonic source. In turn, the 15-plus minute opening cut 'Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico' epitomizes their most remarkable qualities, regarding their fluid management of ultra-diverse musical resources: delicate keyboard orchestrations, alternating guitar and synth solos, ELP-ish power trio paraphernalia, jazz fusion tinged percussive passages, weird acoustic guitar duets (pastoral, dissonant, bluesy), all of them displayed and reprised in an amazingly coherent amalgam. This is perhaps the best Italian prog tune ever!! After this exquisite extravaganza, there's still more beauty in store for the listener to enjoy. 'Non Mi Rompete' is a delicious acoustic number full of folkish references, driven by a serene melancholy and completed by a sense of joy and celebration in the humming choruses. 'La Citta' Sotile' and 'Dopo. Niente e' Piu' lo Stesso' are both exquisite prog numbers: the former relaying a tendency toward the romantic, the latter resuming some of the extravagant play of contrasts that had been so spectacularly fulfilled in the opening track. 'Traccia II' is a 2:38 minute instrumental that closes down the album with a sense of elegance that allows the listener to breathe after their breath had been taken and their neck broken during the previous 38 minutes. Not one of tracks 2-5 is capable of matching the greatness of track 1. but oh, how great those tracks are, too! As a whole, "Io Sono Nato Libero" is not only amazing; it is also and most of all, an even catalogue of musical wisdom and artistic imagination. Let me quote Tony Banks here: "many, too many have stood where I stand". 5 stars!!! - this is where I stand. I'm sure "many more will stand here, too".

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Posted Monday, September 20, 2004

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars IL SONO NATO LIBERO is Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's third album, and one of the finest examples of the virtuosity, diversity, power and beauty of Italian "symphonic" progressive rock that I've had the good fortune to hear. This superb disc ranks up there with the best works by Banco's countrymen/contemporaries PFM, but has a style of its own. Banco reminds me of PFM only inasmuch as their vocals are delivered in Italian (for my money, Banco has the better, more interesting singer in Francesco Di Giacomo), there is great variation in their dynamic music, and generous use of the sort of pretty acoustic guitar work that PFM also excel at. For me, somewhat more obvious musical antecedents/similarities are to be found in piano-heavy bands like ELP and early Renaissance, though BDMS are far from being anyone's mere "sound-alike" imitator. This band stands on their own two (all right, twelve!) feet.

"IL SONO" has almost all of the elements that I most crave from progressive rock: great keyboards and piano, lovely acoustic guitar, precise drumming and percussion, solid bass, grand, heart-pumping musical themes, memorable melodies, and stirring vocals. More overt use of the electric guitar (which is a bit understated here) would have been nice, and lyrics that I could comprehend would further sweeten the deal, but one can't often have it all. Who knows? -- there is always the slight chance that the lyrics, if rendered in English, might not agree with me. As it is, the fact that the vocals are in Italian only serves to make this a more exotic listening experience, and frees me to give my undivided attention to the fabulous music.

Each of the five tracks on this disc is top-shelf stuff: The lengthy opener "Canto Nomade Per un Prigi" is musically varied and never boring, and the by turns pretty, folkish and exciting "No Me Rompete," allows the acoustic guitar of Marcello Todaro, as well as Di Giacomo's vocals, to really shine. "La Citta'sottile" has plenty of primo piano and organ, as well as a majestic synthesized "orchestral" section. "Dopo Niente e piu lo Stesso" is simply top grade, refined classic Italian prog, with more excellent piano (check out the MP3 here), and the final number, "Traccia II," is a classically flavoured, straight-to-the bone shorter piece that ends the CD on a truly exalted note!

I thought about giving this one only four stars, but, upon re-listening and reflection, I feel I must award IL SONO NATO LIBERO full marks. (Okay -- four and a-half stars, rounded up to five!) I like it about as much as I like any prog that is sung in what for me is a foreign tongue, and I truly believe that it deserves a place of prestige in the collections of all fans of fine, complex music -- "progressive" or otherwise. You just can't go wrong with this one!

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Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Through this album Banco has stood out firmly with its existence in progressive arena as the music has demonstrated their maturity in composing highly emotive album. As it has always been with previous albums this one also offers its listeners with beautiful compositions comprising varieties of styles from soft to loud, and from classical outfit to rock. Banco music has its own uniqueness especially this album which I don't think it's easy to identify influences of other bands even though it's too naïve to say so. If there is (are) influence(s) then I would conclude that the band is genius as the music seems to me an original one. The album is not as melodic as early Genesis, however, in some segments there are melodic harmony resulting from the combination of keyboard and vocal melody.

Canto Nomade Per Un Prigi (15:43) is an album opener with variety of styles, melodic vocal line and heavy influence of classic music and some avant-garde. The blend of keyboard work and voice line sounds very nice to vast majority of ears, I think. In terms of structure, it's a track with various music forms whereby each form comprises relatively complex yet beautiful segment. Piano and keyboard sound are used altogether or interchange-ably depending open various moods the band's willing to represent. The complex segments in some part combining excellent guitar work, piano and continued with percussive. It's a song with unique nuance and complex structure. The Italian speaking vocal is really good to my ears, I really love it.

Non Mi Rompete (5:03) explores acoustic guitar and vocal further into a richer composition and offering the listeners the beauty of music harmony created by this song. When the music turns into a faster tempo the acoustic guitar serves as main rhythm in a drum-less music. This is not a kind like ballad song even though acoustic guitar dominates the song. Why do I say so? Because the composition is unlike ballad song which usually flows smoothly on particular music outline / melody.

La Citta'sottile (7:10) is relatively a simple structure song with a nice jazzy touch through the guitar style combined with avant-garde piano / keyboard work in the middle of the track. Dopo Niente E'piu'lo S (9:54) demontrates a nice combination between clavinet-piano-keyboard and vocal line. Even though it's a bit heavy / complex but there are melodic segments that are really nice to enjoy. The keyboard-based concluding track Traccia II (2:39) serves as continuation of the song with the same title from debut album. It has an excellent keyboard drives.

Recommended. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours, GW

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Posted Thursday, July 07, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "...do not wake me up, let me sleep, quiet like a child, smelling like a drunk..."

There are many reviews and opinions about Banco's their third album. The most part of people think Io Sono Nato Libero closes Banco's more relevant contribution to the world of progressive rock. The long suite opener titled "Cantico Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico" (I think it doesn't need any translation) is their "manifesto": 15,43 minutes of intriguing mix of styles, symphonic parts alternating with soft-rythmic acoustic guitar's interludes. The instrumental part, completely arranged by percussions and acoustic guitar, reminds me of a similar structure in the long suite (above 20 mns) of Alan Sorrenti's second effort named "Come un Vecchio Incensiere all'Alba di un Villaggio Deserto" (1973). Above all, the vocals of Francesco Di Giacomo, considered by many the greatest singer in the whole italian prog scene. And in fact, they aren't far from reality.

"Non Mi Rompete" (Do Not Trouble Me) is truly a piece of art, acoustic for the most part, full of grace for the gentle arrangements and the inspiring vocals. I think it is still the band's most popular and successful song in Italy.

"La Città Sottile" is a very strange track: with some repetitive piano parts, somehow painting an oneiric reality. The rythm is also slower than the previous tracks, sometimes revealing an unespected jazzy structure.

"Dopo...Niente E' Più lo Stesso" (After That...Nothing Is the Same Anymore") starts with a very catchy keybaord's riff. The theme continues that of the opener suite about the contrast between war and peace: they remember the Stalingrad's battle. It has to be mentioned that, of the three great prog bands in Italy, Banco are the more politically-left oriented. Lyrics build up a poem and that mandolin/mediterranean part is the icing on the cake.

"Traccia II" is the short instrumental closer of the album. A classical goodbye. The right way to end an album like this. The weaving waves from the keyboards' duo (Nocenzi brothers) are the band trade mark.

There are tons of great albums out there. Many of those came (and come) from Italy.

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Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Review by andrea
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Io sono nato libero", the third album of BMS is an extremely complex and engaged work, so it takes time to get in its "musical architecture". There's more room for the guitars than in "BMS" and "Darwin" and the band here seem to be "grown up" developing a very personal style. This is also the first album featuring the guitarist Rodolfo Maltese in the line up (although in the credits he appeared only as a guest musician) and his touch is very important in BMS' "musical alchemy" along with the piano and keyboards work of the brothers Nocenzi and the peculiar vocals of Francesco Di Giacomo.

"So that you will hear me, my words sometimes grow thin as the tracks of the gulls on the beaches. And I watch my words from a long way off, they are more yours than mine." Well, in this album the poetry of the lyrics is "part of the music" and I think that these words of Pablo Neruda (an excerpt from the love poem "Para que tú me oigas") could help to explain what the first song is about: the desperate singing of a "political inmate"... The song breaks through the walls of the jail and starts wandering in exile around the world with seeds of hope while the prisoner can't escape. Actually, "Canto nomade per un prigioniero politico" (Nomadic song for a political prisoner) is a song of love. Love for freedom and social justice! According to an old interview of Vittorio Nocenzi, it was inspired by the "military golpe" in Chile and I think that watching Costa Grava's film "Missing" (with Jack Lemmon) and reading Isabel Allende's novel "The House of the Spirits" and Antonio Skarmeta's novel "Burning Patience" could be very helpful to catch the spirit of this piece. "In these days it is certainly autumn back home sweet Marta, Marta my dear / I remember the hay and your Normandy's horses, we were free, free / On the wall images dripping wet, stains without freedom / Listens, Marta, in this strange autumn your horses scream, in chains by now / What to say, to choke, prisoner here, why? / Put in jail just because of an ideal, because of my way of thinking, why? / The road I chose for myself is far away / The truth lives on where everything deserves attention because it's alive, because it's true / At least you can break trough, nomadic song, so fly away! / This cell is full of my despair, but at least you, don't let them take you!". So the message of the "runaway song" is a message of hope: you can't kill ideals just throwing common people or political leaders in jail. BMS' music is powerful and full of desperate energy; percussions and acoustic guitar breaks here seem to be a kind of "tribute" to South America, subcontinent where in the seventies dictatorships used to rule. "You condemn to make it easy, but my idea is already assaulting you / You can only torture my flesh, but my brain is still alive, it leaves on / Laments of guitars wrongly suspected, sigh softly / And you, proud-eyed women with mouths like pomegranate, do not cry / Because I am born, born free, free! / Don't waste any requiem masses for me / I am born free!"... The laments of the "wrongly suspected" guitars here are those of the Inti-Illimani, but also those of musicians like Gilberto Gil or Caetano Veloso, persecuted in their homeland because of their social engagement. When listening to this long and complex track try to think about it.

The second track is the dreamy and bittersweet "Non mi rompete" (Do Not Disturb), where the almost operatic vocals of Francesco Di Giacomo float over an amazing acoustic guitar carpet until the joyful closing section. "Do not wake me up, please / But let me have this sleep / Either it's calm like that of a child / Or it stinks of snoozing like that of a drunk / Why do you want to disturb me / While I'm perhaps dreaming a winged travel / Upon a wagon without wheels / Dragged from the horses of the mistral / In the cold wind, in flight / Do not wake me up, please / But let me have this sleep / There's still time for the day / When the eyes get drenched with tears / My eyes, with tears." This is one of the best known BMS' songs and it is still usually performed as "gran finale" on stage.

"If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell how is made Octavia, the spider-web city. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks." (Italo Calvino, from "Invisible cities"). The Italian writer Italo Calvino in 1972 wrote a novel called "Invisible cities", where he draw incredible and suggestive landscapes of imaginary cities that inspired painters and. musicians? I suggest to read this book if you really want to get into the oneiric mood of "La città sottile" (The Thin City) and of his strange character, a naked madman living on the last beam, described in this song. "Who are you, city not-city living hanging down from your ropes of static air? / Beams, tubes without dimensions, cold aged quartzes / Your thousand lifts of thin paper go up and down without a rest / Nobody comes down, nobody goes up / Thin not-city that bears everything upon nothing." The music is complex with piano and keyboards in the forefront, vocals are intense and sometimes recitative. The imagination of the listener has to complete the work. "Here the wind doesn't blow away the noises / But anyhow there is a silence that knows how to write in the static air / Thin not-city, among your perennial shades of grey, alone".

"Dopo... niente è più lo stesso" (After. Nothing is the same) is a long and struggling song about the inhumanity of war. The lyrics describe the feelings of a soldier coming back home from World War Two, after Stalingrad's battle. "Strong train, impatient train, straight on the right way you're just arrived / I recognize you, my land, you kiss my boots at every step / Powerful land, how I've been invoking you in the first days, when the guns were thundering! / Mountains that stop my breath, are you wise like in the old days? / My shoulder let drop my rifle and the glory falls down, the Glory?! / What comes back is a man completely worn out. What have I won, where have I won, when I know that I'm dead inside now, among my ruins? / My god! What did you make to me in Stalingrad!?!..." The structure of this track is complex, with changes of rhythm and mood, vocals are intense and with some recitative parts and I think that you have to understand the lyrics to completely appreciate it because the music underlines and emphasises the meaning of the words. "Swollen tongues, full bellies do not speak to me about freedom / You call right war what I curse! / God called to him the heroes, in Heaven close to Him / But you can't smell the incense in the trenches / My true heroism begins here, from this mud / My beloved woman I used to love you and we'll make love again / But how is weak our embrace in this meeting / What have I won, where have I won, when I see that nothing is same, everything is different? / My god! What did you make to me of so devastating, in Stalingrad!?!". Probably the feelings of the soldier described in this song are not so different from the feelings of every soldier coming back home from every war. The happiness to see home again mixed with feelings of horror and pain as souvenirs of war. disgust for the shrines of glory.

The final track, "Traccia II" is an amazing short instrumental with classical influences blended with rock.

In the whole, I think that "Io sono nato libero" deserves a place in every progressive rock collection

P.S.: Thanks to Raffaella Benvenuto for the translation of "Canto nomade per un prigioniero politico", though I slightly changed some passages. The translations of the lyrics of this song and of "Non mi rompete" are complete, while I translated only partially "La città sottile" and "Dopo. Niente è più lo stesso" but my aim was only to let you know what the songs are about.

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#87743) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 20, 2006

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars First experience impression (1,5 years ago!)

That was one of my first introductions to fantastic world of Italian Prog and BANCO's music itself. I was deep in Prog Metal and Neo Prog and didn't love the previous Italian album I heard - MUSEO ROSENBACH's "Zarathustra" (don't like it much still). But when I heard the opening tune and Francesco's "voce"...good Lord, one of the best intros ever!!! Through the whole first half of the epic I felt myself amazed and astonished.But then an instrumental rumble began and I changed my opinion (but still love these first 7 minutes most). "Non mi Rompete", which is an enjoyable acoustic ballad, returned my insterest - I thought "wow, it's getting listenable!" "La Citta Sottile" impressed me a lot with its kybds parts and I became even more attentive.And there WAS a reason - "Dopo.." seemed to be the best one from the whole album in that time! Closing "Traccia" is a sheer brilliance still...

Later I changed my mind a bit.I still find this album rather disfocused and a bit chaotic for me.Besides I'm not a bombastic-keyboard-driven solos - I prefer lyrical moments more ("Canto Nomande..."'s first 7 minutes as an example). But unquestionable talent and unique melodical feeling are the things which one CAN'T hide.BANCO were great with that one (though I like "Canto di Primavera" most), and it's the most sophisticated and mature work from all their first three albums. Highly recommended.Enjoy!

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Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I discovered Italian prog in 1974. Thanks to my cousin Marco (who is Italian). He introduced me to Premiata Forniera Marconi and their great "The World Became the World". In these remote times, it was not easy to buy any Italian prog album in my country (even if Belgium is not Zulu land), nor to see them live.

The first two Banco albums were good ones, and I was hoping a big deal for "Io Sono Nato Libero".

The opening number and epic song is fantastic during seven minutes. I have already expressed my profund love for Francesco vocals. The music is of course complex, difficult to apprehend. The melody is maybe less obvious than other bands from the genre (I know, I am biased with "La Maschera", the first band of the genre I have reviewed). Still, "Canto" delivers great melodic moments. And that's how I love Banco. But it will turn into an almost jazz improvisation during the second half of the song. As far as I am concerned, it could have stopped after 7'30".

"Non Mi Rompete" is a peaceful acoustic song. Sweet vocals...Aaaaaaah, these vocals. This dual vocals / acoustic guitar is truely such a great combination. This is what Italian prog is all about. In My Humble and Honest Opinion. A jewel of a melody & passion. The closing section still, is not very convincing.

"La Città Sottile" sounds almost classical. Again this track is not easy to get in to. Structure is hard to grab. It's almost improv again during the last third of the song. I am missing the great emotion featured in most of the vocal parts of their songs. Nothing to take on a desert island, IMO.

This album is definitely not the one to start with if you would like to discover "Banco". Very tough, too few great harmonies, too weird music. "Doppo...Niente" is maybe easier to approach. Vocals are again so sublime. This album is really saved by Francesco. He is the cement of this album. "Doppo..." is one of my favourite song. Acceptable complexity.

Three stars.

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Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of the greatest Italian Symphonic albums of all time? For me it's a tug of war between this album and PFM's "Per Un Amico". If I'm in the mood for something a bit more agressive and challanging, I'd choose this album. If I'm in a more somber mood and need to reflect, I'd take PFM. What I love about this album is the balance. Nocenzi's keys plays so well with Todaro's underated guitar work mixed with fantastic drumming and bass. I do believe they are the only band that can mix ELP keyboard histrionics with Gentle Giant's poly-rthyms and can do it so tightly. Add the master voice and you have perfection. They do experiment, (check out about 7 minutes into the epic track, "Canto Nomade Per Un Prigionero Polotico" when it gets all spacey) and then they try even jazzy-prog in the same track, plus there's a killer acoustic barrage that I've never heard from another band ever! A classic opener! They do folk- prog, ("Non Mi Rompete") with very nice acoustic guitar and Francesco's delicate singing, a beaut! Nice piano opens "La Citta Sottile", then Nocenzi's Emerson-like keys play along with Francesco's singing. There's even some YES-like guitar plucking towards the middle. A very moody track. Now comes one of the top 10 Italian prog songs ever, "Dopo...Niente E Piu Lo Stesso" The opening pretty much tells you that you're in for something special. A very low in the mix keyboard and flute playing a very Italian melody, but then WHAM! we jump into a cool riff. From there it's pure agressive Italian prog mixed with some more experimenting and for my money the best song Banco has ever done. A must listen! The album ends on a high grandiose note. A keyboard extravaganza! I can't say enough how balanced, well played and sung this album is throughout. It gives all the other Italian's a run for their money, (and a few English bands ;-) 5 stars unquestionably!

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Posted Saturday, September 22, 2007

Review by Tapfret
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars #1 RPI album

Several years ago the only Italian bands I was familiar with were PFM, Le Orme, Osanna and Goblin. All very nice bands, but not top tier in my collection. That changed with BMS.

They had the eclecticism and technical proficiency of other bands in the genre, but something else really stuck out. This band had a singer that could stand on his own. So many acts have vocalists that basically become white noise and dont really add anything to(and sometimes subtract from) the music. Francisco Di Giacamo's voice is an instrument in the purist sense of the word. One does not need to understand Italian to be moved by the emotion in his voice. It is one of, if not the strongest part of the band.

The music holds very much to the conventions of early 70's symphonic rock Without being redundant or rehashing the work of others. But they also incorporate a texture of traditional Mediterainean (sp?) sounds which deepens the accoustics in a very comfortable, homey way. The opener 'Canto Nomade Per un Prigioniero Politico' is a 15:47 adventure of varying musical influence, strong with flowing piano work and grand stanzas. 'Non Mi Rompete' is a folksy accoustic guitar and vocal piece with a fun Moog solo. 'La Citta' Sottile' is another adventure in varying sounds, a bass heavy bridge with warm jazzy guitar activities breaking out into a frantic, spacey mood. 'Dopo... Niente È Più Lo Stesso' is almost cinematic in its presentation and probably my favorite in an album that is hard to pick a favorite. It varies from very huge sounds to harpsichord laced interludes that grab the medulla oblongata and tie it in a not. 'Traccia II' rides the album off into the sunset simply, yet dramatically.

This is a moving masterpiece and a top 10 selection in my collection. If you don't have it, don't let another day go by without buying it. 5.9 Stars

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Posted Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is THE Banco album, and as far as I'm concerned, THE Italian symphonic album. Of all of the forgettable and/or poorly produced albums from Italy in the 70s, Banco's Io Sono Nato Libero stands out as both a well written and a pretty well produced album. It has all of the good stuff they showed us with their previous two albums, but they really kick it up a notch here. Every piece is memorable. The predecessors had a lot of the right ingredients, but they stumbled sometimes and sounded quite rough. This here is refined Banco. The group is still quirky, but also more sophisticated. From the first few minutes pf the 15-minute opener, "Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico," you can hear the band's maturity expounding. It's still got the bombastic Banco style, but it sounds less pretentious and more crisp & dynamic. The melodies are stronger as well. We also hear a lot of acoustic sections that we didn't hear before. Among a heap of other Italian bands who had a difficult time standing out, Banco was able to do it from album number one, and they really stand out here.

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Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
5 stars A stunning album from beginning to end and an instant favourite.

On the podium shared by Le Orme and Premiata Forneria Marconi stands yet another band with yet another exotic name for us ignorant non-Italians that happen to be fans of RPI. Banco del Mutuo Succorso is the last of the Big Three of Italy's Symphonic Rock Movement and I might as well have saved the best part until now. Where PFM often have very dense, guitar-oriented arrangements and a heavy-rockier touch on some songs and Le Orme shifts between keyboard bombast and delicate poppier tunes, Banco manages to establish some kind of middle-ground between the other two. The e-guitar work is always great, but it's not an extremely big part of the music here. It never takes on a lead role, so to speak, and instead it works together with keys, which instead of being as in-your-face and atmospheric as those of Le Orme intricately builds up the web-like structure of the album. Acoustic guitar is more of an interlude-ish, dynamism-creating addition (except for the song Non Mi Rompete - Italian-style guitar galore). Io Sono Nato Libero is really a very eclectic effort with the band showing great talent in creating a 'classic' symphonic feel. Even the electric instruments, synthesisers included, have a way of sounding traditionally orchestral. And this talent together with an unsurpassed ability to create rising and falling tension and emotional crescendos is, all in all, a killing combination that keeps the attention level on a constant maximum while enjoying the album. I still haven't found a weak spot after countless spins.

A big asset to Banco's sound is the fact that they use not only one keyboardist, but two, the brothers Vittorio and Gianni Nocenzi. To have both piano and the more versatile organs and synthesisers working together makes so much more than a single keyboardists could achieve. Two guest percussionists also adds some spice to the mix. The biggest asset of Banco must still be Francesco Di Giacomo. He's got a wonderful, almost operatic voice capable of the same shifts in tension and emotion as the music itself.

Naturally, it's very difficult to pick a favourite among the five excellent tracks on Io Sono Nato Libero. The first one, Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico still stands out, not just because of its length. It's a condensation of all the moods and nuances of this album, with stunning performances from the band. The 'io sono nato libero'-part's classical piano, emotional denseness and Francesco Di Giacomo's vocal performance is a top goose-bump moment.

Essential Rock Progressivo Italiano. 5 stars - masterpiece.

//LinusW

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Posted Friday, May 02, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This their third studio record features more synths then in the past, and it just seems softer over all. This is also my favourite from them followed by the debut. BANCO have a new guitarist on board for this album.

"Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico" is an almost 16 minute journey through different moods and styles. It's a real trip. It opens in a mellow way with vocals and then piano, this isn't far from GENESIS territory. A change before 2 minutes as drums and guitar come in followed by some vibes.The tempo picks up before 3 minutes. Great sound. Some organ joins in. It calms down 5 minutes in before kicking back in dramatically after 6 minutes. Spacey is the word a minute later before it kicks back in around 7 1/2 minutes to a powerful section. Love the guitar 9 minutes in followed by strummed guitar and tons of percussion. Check out the percussion 12 1/2 minutes in ! Acoustic guitar 13 minutes in. A collage of sounds 14 minutes in to the end.

"Non Mi Rompete" is a beautiful 5 minute track of acoustic guitar and gentle vocals. Vocal melodies as the tempo picks up 1 1/2 minutes in. The contrast continues. Gorgeous song. "La Citta Sottile" and the opening song are my favourite tracks on here. It opens with piano while vocals arrive a minute in. Spoken words and guitar 1 1/2 minutes in. I really like the drums and organ before 2 minutes. Synths follow.The guitar sounds so pleasant before 3 1/2 minutes as organ and other beautiful sounds can be heard. Spoken words and a spacey soundscape 5 minutes in. Back to main melody after 6 minutes. "Dopo...Niente E Piu Lo Stesso" is light and uptempo early. Vocals a minute in. Synths and drums lead the way with vocals. A change 2 minutes in as the tempo slows down. It kicks back in 4 1/2 minutes. I like the guitar and bass 5 1/2 minutes in. Spoken words 6 minutes in with harpsichord. Some excellent guitar and drumming before 7 1/2 minutes and I love the spacey synths that follow. From 8 1/2 minutes to the end it's pretty mellow. "Traccia II" is a short piano dominated song that builds to a full sound.

In my opinion the first three albums from this band are classics.

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Posted Sunday, August 03, 2008

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Banco's third album in their essential trilogy is a eulogy to freedom and has a very political context, frankly left-wing; a discussion on a pop disc about a political prisoner was probably a bit of a provocation; but this left-wing dimension might have been present with the previous album Darwin as well, as in a catholic country... With a double door visual (no jail or prison doors) as artwork, I'm not that sure it's very related to the freedom

While the original quintet is still together, we notice that the sound mostly based on the two keyboards is now definitely taking a more guitar-ey feel with the addition of future guitarist Rodolpho Maltese (here as a guest) so the balance is achieved (2 on each instrument). Also invited are two percussionists.

Opening on the Song For A Political Prisoner (a track getting on the case of Pinochet and other South American 70's mostly fascist dictators), it is clearly meant to be the album's centrepiece and was given the time and care for it. The middle guitar solo from guest and future member Maltese come in a bit as intrusive but certainly impressively enough, the same way that Emerson's piano and Pebble were abruptly changing subjects. The following Rompete (don't break mine >> balls) is their live concert favourite and calls for audience participation. Nothing extraordinary, just an acoustic song without too much sophistication.

The flipside opens on Citta Sottile, probably the most unusual on this album, but still rather "normal/standard" compared to some of the weirder (not a compliment) tracks on the second side of the second album (see my review of Darwin!). But this "spatial" piano difference is much more enjoyable in here, actually it could be the other highlight of "born free". The following Dopo is requiring more than basic understanding, but the mastery of the Italian language to "get it". The second side of the album concludes on the lesser track Traccia, of relation to the closing short but amusing tidbit of the debut album.

The last album of BMS's trilogy, ISNL is not unusually acoustic as some seem to point out, but a fine finale to the Banco trilogy, which showed its best side on Darwin's opening side. Most of the rest of BMS music so far ranges quite highly, and from these three albums, I think it's unfair to talk of ELP alone when describing Banco's music, as I can hear some Crimson-clad

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Posted Thursday, October 09, 2008

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Gigantic!

Io Sono Nato Libero like the previous Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's album - Darwin, just blowed away everything on his way... Perfect musicianship, perfect songwriting, perfect tracklisting, perfect art sense as well as perfect production. I truely believe it's one of the best albums in progressive rock of all time. There isn't much to say, about this great album. It can't be described, it has to be heard... A homogeneous blend of psychedelic rock, symphonic rock and strongly classical influence convert the album into pretentious-styled monster of progressive rock. Keyboard-saturated and complex-varied sounds are the main reasons for the greatness of this album. Most of the album contains two different keyboard instrument simultaneously - organ or synthesizer or piano or harpsichord. The vocals by Francesco Di Giacomo are also adorable.

Beauty!

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Posted Monday, July 27, 2009

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars I've been a BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO fan for years, but the only time I bought "Io Sono Nato Libero" didn't reached my house and had to cancel the Internet payment, so when I found the album in my local store last week, it was like a dream come true, and even when it was quite expensive, any price is well paid for this lost treasure.

The album starts with "Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico" (Nomadic Chant for a Political Prisoner), and from the start the marvellous voice of Francesco di Giacomo combined with Gianni Nocenzi's delightful piano, almost made me break in tears, but the story is only about to start, during 15 minutes that seem short, the band presents us one of the best examples of what Progressive Rock means, with a very complex structure only compared to King Crimson with Jazzy overtones, but never forgetting the importance of a solid melody as most Italian bands, a perfect way to open an almost perfect album.

"Non Mi Rompete" (My Italian is rusty but I believe it means Don't Break Me) is the only track from this album I heard in the DVD BMS released a few years ago, and is everything you can expect from an Italian Symphonic band, the beautiful acoustic introduction with guitar and vocals is again close to perfection, mainly because Francesco's vocal range is by far one of the best in all the market.

This time don't expect as many changes as in the previous track, just the acoustic passage interrupted by all the band in a vital and fast section, this structure is repeated constantly, but each time the fast passage is slightly different with magnificent chorus and a Moog performance by Vittorio Nocenzi.

"La Cittá Sottile" (The Subtle City) is a radical change after two melodic songs, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO plays some sort of Symphonic - Jazz, with elaborate structure, the instruments enter and leave one after the other in a magical dance crossing several genres while Gianni Nocenzi plays his piano in the powerful style of Rachmaninoff, the album keeps surprising me even more.

"Dopo... Niente È Più Lo Stesso" (After... Nothing is the Same Anymore) is another complex track that starts with a dissonant section in which the sweet flute enters in conflict with the vocals and the rest of the instruments, specially the impressive piano, after a while the song seems to get more calm, but still the constant flute collisions with the distorted keyboards, guitar and drums, but it's only a link to another frenetic passage in the vein of KING CRIMSON, simply impressive.

The album is closed by "Traccia II" (Trace II), a short and practically Classical instrumental (practically because the Moog and drums bring us back to Prog territory), with a beautiful melody that works as a brilliant epilogue for "Io Sono Nato Libero", all along "Traccia II", the interplay of Gianni Nocenzi in the piano and his brother Vittorio in the organ is out of this world.

I can't say much more, because simple words won't describe with accuracy the impeccable music presented by this legendary Italian band.

Five solid stars.

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Posted Monday, August 17, 2009

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's Io Sono Noto Libero is hailed in the prog world as one of the legendary albums and certainly in terms of RPI it lives up to this reputation.

They have an uncanny ability to include huge sections of tension and release in their music, shades of light and dark that compete with each other, and all is complimented by the gentle vocals of Giacomo.

Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico is the opening epic clocking some 15 minutes in length. It begins with a minimalist keyboard that sounds like woodwind oboe perhaps. The trademark vocals chime in gently. There is a short section that is slow and time signatures are ignored. Then it launches into a fast paced rhythm that capitalises on great fat organ sounds and drums and bass constantly bend the metrical patterns sporadically. It consistently builds in power to the huge instrumental break. This slows again to an improv section with the Nocenzi brothers' piano and synth competing with each other locked in battle where there is no winner. A ghostly whine takes the pace down and acoustic picking over a spacey synth. The next two verses are sung until it detours into an ambient passage where a UFO lands, a spacey sound with synth washes, and then it explodes into the bass and keyboard segment. The piano is out of control and the high pitched sounds fight to keep up. Drumming seems to have settled into a 4/4 4/5 pattern but is inconsistent. A strange melody changes the atmosphere and fortissimo guitar and drums create a majestic feel. There are rototoms or tom tom drums at the end of the piece to add a new experience. A wonderful piece of music.

Non Mi Rompete is a very pop orientated sound with multi layered pleasant melodies. This is a more accessible approach and feels like it could be a successful single in some areas of the world. The simplistic approach breaks up the hyper complex tracks very well and it is a good example of the diversity of Banco.

La Città Sottile is a 7 minute track with a focus on staccato piano motifs, and gentle vocals. There are synth swishes and very strange sound effects to create the overall atmosphere of imminent fractured sections. The high pitched synth and Hammond of the Nocenzis generate a cool icy atmosphere and the guitar break compliments this. The piano break heralds a new section with majestic symphonic washes. There is a new detour where the vocals are spoken as a narrative and the piano twinkles while spacey synth merges in. There is no time signature for a moment and then another verse is sung with the estranged melody from the opening. Another triumphant piece from Banco. Dopo... Niente È Più Lo Stesso is a mini epic at about 10 minutes that features a flute sound that becomes the main motif throughout. The vocals are stronger and darker on this. Of particular note is Todaro's guitar riff that is more aggressive than previous and a welcome change in this respect. I like the almost chanting vocal style of Giacomo and the powerful ambient atmosphere. The piano sounds as though it is being tuned down as Nocenzi plays. The booming bass piano tones are downright chilling. The flute sounds add a pleasantness that is striking but the vocals are estranged and unsettling. The piano is incredible featuring the scales and arpeggios. A narration follows warning of the chaos to ensue. A majestic synth line is struck and the drums begin to add an odd metrical figure. The time sigs are intricate and hard to grasp, but the guitar solo is in 4/4 for a while. The next section is a very fast lead break that is repetitive but intriguing. A medieval harpsichord is heard next in a new section and the vocals are wildly inventive at times like a circus side show host. The bass line becomes very strong at 8 minutes in, and there is a tradeoff of bass and piano. The high pitched flute sound we heard at the beginning returns reminding this we are still on the same track, as it has moved in so many directions we kind of needed this to latch onto it. And then it just fades as a descending sound emanates. A brilliant track on every level.

Traccia II is a short sharp conclusion to this majestic album. The focus is on a piano melody that is easy to remember and almost medieval in style. The instrumental has some beautiful synth passages. It gradually builds to a strong melody that is constant and majestic. The avante garde stately theme is broken by short passages of keyboards played with finesse. It is a grand conclusion to a very impressive influential album.

This is one of the best RPI albums I have had the pleasure to experience.

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Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A masterful RPI trilogy concludes

Banco likely has other great albums, I've not heard them all, but the first three released in just a two-year spread were surely one of prog-rock's greatest accomplishments. Whether weighed against other RPI bands or any country's progressive rock it does not matter-Banco were world class progressive rock. All of the beauty and artistry of the Italian rock tradition is on display, married to impressive musicianship and a wonderful sense of experimentation.

The third album, "io sono nato libero," is actually my least favorite of the three, and yet I still marvel at it. The upside to the album was that by this point, with the self-titled and "Darwin" under their belt, Banco had experience and confidence. Their knowledge of the studio and the craft was now obvious; the album is a large step forward sonically, and in the smoothness of the song assembly. But the music itself has lost just a bit of the adventure and edge of the first two albums, substituting a more "mature" Banco in its place. The centerpiece is the near 16-minute epic "Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico." It features all of the hallmark Banco traits: great vocals, melody, acoustic and electric guitar, fantastic keyboard and piano. The chorus is delivered with great drama over piano, moog, and perfectly designed guitar notes. I miss however the dense murkiness of the Darwin material. Similarly "Non mi Rompete" has a delightful lightness to the melodic, repeating "la la la" section. "La Citta Sottile" is where I really notice the slight change in feel from previous work. They do attempt some avant-garde coolness here but it just comes off more scattered and less fresh than before. It's a bit of a mess at times. "Dopo" is the other long signature piece clocking in at 10 minutes. Pure eclecticism and driving energy are exuded. I marvel at the playing but fail to be moved as on the previous Banco albums. Still, this one deserves an excellent rating despite my preference for the others. I suggest anyone looking to investigate this pillar of the RPI scene begin at the beginning and move forward. Banco is a band for whom the progression of albums is important for maximizing the thrills. Certainly all the ingredients are again here, and based on their opening trilogy, I would say Banco is every bit the force that PFM and Orme are.

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Posted Sunday, April 11, 2010

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Of all the great Italian prog out there, I think I'll have to hand it to lo Sono for the greatest masterpiece. This album is packed with variety, and although some characterize the album as somewhat jumbled because of this, I believe it flows together nicely and keeps my attention throughout.

First off, Banco's set-up is great: dualing keyboards from the Nocenzis, creating extra depth in the music, with tons of organ, piano, and synths. Couple that with multiple guitars hacking away at times, and you get a really full sound. Add tight percussion and capable vocals from Francesco, and they've got a line-up that can realize their every creative impulse. Fortunately they had some very good impulses to indulge with lo Sono!

Part of why lo Sono is a masterpiece is because there isn't a weak track on here (Traccia II may be a bit unnecessary, but who can argue with a rousing finale?). The highlight is the epic, Canto Nomade, which begins with a great upbeat melody before a well-done freakout session that unexpectedly leads to a brilliant acoustic and hand-drum driven piece--who would have seen THAT coming? There are some definite ELP similarities here, but to my ears generally more fulfilling.

Each of the other tracks brings a unique mood to the album--from mysterious and pensive (La Citta), happy and carefree (Nom Mi Rompete), to theatrical and over-the-top (Dopo)--and I would rate each as well-above-average prog.

I'm astounded by how much Banco has matured between this and their previous two albums. Their raw, rocking style has been replaced by more depth and structure. You may prefer their raw style, but it's hard to argue that they haven't progressed with lo Sono.

In my opinion, the greatest in Italian prog, and certainly in the top 20 prog albums of all time.

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Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars For the third time in a row, Banco hit gold. It's a slightly less glittering kind, but their continued creative bliss never ceases to amaze me.

The album marks a shift from their rocking extravagance to a smoother sound with lots of synth-polish. It's a change that makes it slightly less appealing to me, especially since they weren't able to compensate for it with better compositions. Admitted, Banco's song writing could hardly get any better then it had been on the first two albums, but while the first half of Io Sono Nato Libero is still as good as the preceding albums, they lose a bit of focus near the end.

The opening Canto Nomade is a wonderful track. It's really fascinating how they made the transgression from the full blown prog attack of the first 10 minutes to the flamenco bit in the second half. It's so smooth that I can't seem to grasp how they got there. The Nocenzi brothers must have taken a lease on some used ELP equipment and managed to forge some excellent melodies and dazzling interaction out of them. But the sound of the used apparatuses makes the track a bit pompous.

Despite the compositional mastery of the opener, I will go with Non Mi Rompete as my favourite pick from this album. It's a gentle acoustic ballad but it's done so subtle and truthful that I completely fall for it. The 'pompadadadum' chorus is simply genius. The nice little keyboard bit at the end links it to ELP again.

Next, Banco tries to incorporate some new experiments. La Citta Sottile is at heart a typical Banco song with touching lyrical vocals and music that is both very intricate and entirely spontaneous and relaxed. A rare combination, at least till halfway in. Then Banco tries out an experiment doing recited poetry with jazzy and avant-garde musical accompaniment. They do it quite well but I can't shake off the thought that Area would be so much more convincing at this.

Dopo ... is the first dip for me. It sounds like Gentle Giant was the driving inspiration behind this, meaning it has technically challenging playing but not much of a soul or emotional impact. Francesco Di Giacomo luckily adds very strong vocals again and saves this song from redundancy. Also the bass guitar and drums have their moments, but it all just doesn't seem to build up into something coherent, so I wouldn't rate it more 3.5 stars, which makes it the first Banco song that scores below the 4.5 mark they had continuously reached in my ears.

Traccia II almost makes me knock off another star. The inclination of progressive rock to include more and more synth-pulp from 1973 onwards is what killed my excitement with the mainstream bands for many many years. The song is acceptable, but as soon as the synths join with that trumpet-y theme, it's time to run for cover. This could have worked with a real brass ensemble, but the synth arrangement is cheesy and has aged very badly.

Overall it's a very strong Banco album again, but the Nocenzi brothers slightly disappoint me with some of their synth arrangements. And since some of the songs fail me a bit, 4 stars will have to do.

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Posted Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another seminal entry into the canon of great Italian progressive rock, Banco's third album continues where the audacious 'Darwin!' left off, with yet more intricate keyboard melodies, haunting synths, classically-influenced guitars and intense instrumentation showcasing this group's phenomenal playing. More melodic than it's predecessor, 'Io Sono Nato Libero' is possibly the album where Banco's many disparate elements segue most coherently, with a noticeable decrease in the bizarre, hyperactive keyboard sections that made 'Darwin!' so impenetrable at times. Indeed, whilst 'Darwin!' takes several listens to truly grasp, 'Io Sono Nato Libero' proves much more immediate, fusing the group's love of Van Der Graaf Generator with their penchant for complex themes and ideas without resorting to self-indulgence. The stand-out track is the lengthy, twisting opener 'Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico', which packs enough ideas into it's fifteen-minute running time to fill most other group's albums, but the sombre, ethereal 'La Citta Sottile' also impresses, thanks partly to Francesco Di Giacomo's bizarre vocal style which adds genuine pathos to proceedings whatever language you speak(He sings in Italian). Flitting effortlessly between moods and textures, 'Io Sono Nato Libero' is an uncompromising album from an uncompromising and thoroughly progressive band that once again demonstrates the incredible imagination shown by the Italian prog bands of the 1970's. Alongside PFM, Maxophone, Le Orme and Osanna, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso make up not only the cream of the Italian end of the genre, but the cream of the progressive rock genre full-stop. Though it may not feature the moments of pure beauty that adorn 'Per Un Amico' of the rocky transcendence of 'Maxophone', 'Io Sono Nato Libero' is still a remarkable musical statement. Complex, avant-garde and occasionally jazzy, this is truly refined music. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Io Sono Nato Libero' - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso (7/10)

Most commonly compared with the defacto kings of Italian prog rock Premiata Forneria Marconi, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso has established their own footing in both the regional and international scene of prog. Among their more widely acclaimed works is 'Io Sono Nato Libero', an album which draws upon equal measures of classical music and jazz to create something beyond regular rock music. While 'Io Sono Nato Libero' certainly has reason to be regarded highly however, the album's lack of consistency hurts what is otherwise a great record.

It can stand to reason that many Italian progressive rock bands share similar characteristics, and Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso is no exception to this. Essentially, there are the symphonic overtones originating in the British scene, mixed with an added theatrical effect and the very distinctive sound of the Italian language. Banco does somewhat distinguish themselves however by the fact that they have some lengthy jazz sections in their music. The best example of this is during the opening track 'Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico', which at sixteen minutes, takes up nearly half of the album's length. Although the heart of Banco's sound is rooted in dramatic symphonic prog rock, there are extended instrumental passages where the musicianship takes the forefront, and the composition becomes much more loose in nature.

Something that Banco has really going for them are the complex arrangements and compositional strength they have. Especially during the keyboard driven sections, Banco truly does sound as if they are playing classical music with rock instruments; multiple harmonies and counterpoints really seek to emulate the feeling of orchestral scope. 'Tracia II' shows the band's penchant for complex orchestrations at its fullest; sounding like a synthesized rendition of Beethoven. Amidst this bombastic nature however, there are warm acoustic moments and even some memorable melodies from the warm voice of Giacomo. It's well established that the band has some great versatility going on with 'Io Sono Nato Libero', but the album starts to show its weaknesses with how the band organizes these elements together. A wide and diverse sound is usually in the best interest of a prog rock band, but Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's somewhat indulgent nature does not work so well for the rapid, oftimes sudden changes in the sound. A carefully arranged classical moment segueing into a loose jazzy improvisation might look good on paper, but here, the band's ability to transform the music quickly is rough, and leaves the album feeling somewhat inconsistent, and lacking the cohesion I would normally associate with a masterpiece.

Even with the evident flaws in 'Io Sono Nato Libero' included, it is easy to see why Banco has gone on to become one of the most well-regarded bands to emerge from the Italian progressive rock scene in the '70s. Although they would arguably reach much greater heights than here, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso does not disappoint with this one.

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Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The third wonderful album from Banco del Mutuo Soccorso isn't quite as fresh and eye- opening as the first two - in particular, the opening epic seems to occasionally get sparse on ideas, with some sections dragging on a little longer than necessary - but it's still an excellent piece of Italian pastoral prog.

That said, with lyrics inspired by the then-recent military coup in Chile and the horrible wave of political repression that it unleashed, Francesco Di Giacomo's vocal performance is more emotionally genuine than on the previous two albums - clearly addressing subject matter dear to him and the band as a whole. So, not quite five stars, but still worth a listen, especially if you are a fan of Francesco's operatic vocal style.

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Posted Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars You just know when you're hearing world-class musicians. Not some extremist steroidal athletes trying to outplay their peers or cooler-than-cool avant guarders stirring the sh*t storm (though I dearly love both), but players who'd passed through those stages and came out seasoned, focused but mellowed, and ready to truly compose at a level few even approach. When you add a breathtaking mix and exquisite fidelity, Io Sono Nato Libero is an album that deserves and perhaps even outshines every bit of praise it has gotten. No big surprise, I guess; leave it to the Italians for quality art production. And then there's that year again, 1973, right on schedule.

I don't much buy into Prog influences here-- Banco was more in line with a grand Italian tradition of musical identity and innovation, and don't sound much at all like ELP or Tull or anyone else ascribed to them. The Bros. Nocenzi are also another example of how well two keyboards can be utilized, and the advantages of a pair who turned any sibling rivalries into a perfectly attuned unit. Marcello Todaro's guitars blend when required and shine when needed, Calderoni/D'Angelo sound as if they were joined at birth, and Francesco Di Giacomo finishes the Nocenzi's pieces with pining emotion and sincerity, turning them into proper songs. The material here, as 'Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico', is so carefully conceived and finished that it could be mistaken, I suppose, for something it was never intended to be: like Muzak. Nothing new for Prog of course, the eternally misidentified, misunderstood and misrepresented genre. Jazz abounds everywhere on the record but always quite deliberate and at the service of the music. Stunning Mediterranean sunsets, brief deviations, and flavors of the East permeate regularly. 'Non mi Rompete' takes us on a ride down the Grand Canal past the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, 'La Citta Sottile' is a haunting beauty with droning jazz and a touch of darkness, and 10-minute 'Dopo..Niente e Piu lo Stesso' is a standout, maybe the highlight, and will please most proggies.

In all honesty I probably would not have liked this album even just ten years ago, and there is no denying its polished, pristine surface and Di Giacomo's bleeding-heart singing is not for everyone. Or even for a significant percentage of music listener. Heck I'd be surprised if the average Prog fan likes Banco. But that doesn't mean this isn't one of the finest recordings ever achieved by a rock band. Elegant, clean, and filled with marvelous stuff. What more could one want?

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#540646) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 02, 2011

Latest members reviews

5 stars The best, most inspired and original Banco expression. The first track, the suite "Canto Nomade per un Prigionero Politico" is the most accomplished of the group, outlining the extraordinary quality instrumental. The lyrics are good and the voice of De Giacomo plays a successful role. The class ... (read more)

Report this review (#999219) | Posted by sinslice | Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After two excellent albums in their debut and Darwin!, Banco come out with perhaps their best yet. Io Sono Nato Libero is dark, light, intense, relaxed; a lot of things could describe this album, as it is truly that eclectic. The opening song is probably the highlight. It goes through a plethora ... (read more)

Report this review (#847410) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The musicianship on this release, although very tender and sublime is really top notch. For me it comes across as too polished. Having much depth, it seems for me to lack a bit the real heights. It oscillates between its inherent tenderness and some contra points that to me seem to be there for exac ... (read more)

Report this review (#606174) | Posted by Mexx | Monday, January 09, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One of the better 'prog' albums from Italy. Francesco Di Giacomo's vocals aren't bad but are a bit on the bland side, sounding like many of his compatriots. Thankfully the rest of the band are right on form throughout. The bongos at the beginning are superb and the acoustic guitars are beaut ... (read more)

Report this review (#501559) | Posted by Dobermensch | Thursday, August 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've been listening to this for a while, trying to really get to know this 'classic'--as well as a core insight into the whole RPI sub-genre. The study has been immensely rewarding. First of all, I want to point out that "Io son nato libero" is incredibly well engineered, recorded, and mixed for ... (read more)

Report this review (#500294) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, August 08, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Along with the debut from Celeste, Io Sono Nato Libero is my all-time favorite progressive rock album. Banco del Mutuo Socorrso absolutely hit this one out of the park, setting the tone for a multitude of Italian bands to follow, and creating a precedent impossible to top. Along with Yes' Close To ... (read more)

Report this review (#491231) | Posted by coasterzombie | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Io sono nato libero" maybe is the best Italian prog rock album ever. Great compositions, excellent lyrics, outstanding musicianship and atmospheres make the third album from Banco del Mutuo Soccorso a masterpiece of the genre and of Italian music in general. "Canto nomade per un prigioniero ... (read more)

Report this review (#358448) | Posted by frankiehendrix | Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I didn't like this album at first but I think that in time its very rewarding and only some parts of it still hold a challenge to me. Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico - This track is by far the longest and with most ideas in the album, sometimes too many. It begins very softly with a ... (read more)

Report this review (#202765) | Posted by fil karada | Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Banco del Mutuo Soccorso is one of the most well regarded Italian Symphonic Prog bands out there today. With a large discography that spans over 30 years, they are a favorite to prog lovers everywhere. 1973 was the year that the band released it's third album "Io Sono Nato Libero". It was an intere ... (read more)

Report this review (#180592) | Posted by Jozef | Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This 3rd album of Banco also very good indeed ! But I prefer their first 2 ablums more. Well In this album I like Dopo... and treccia more than other songs. I think 'Dopo... Niente È Più Lo Stesso as there is no more emptiness after emptiness. But I read Dopo... as After That...Nothing Is the ... (read more)

Report this review (#165471) | Posted by bspark | Tuesday, April 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Illuminating spells, PARADISO. Full of melodies, rhythms and moods. Progressive cock! Canto Nomade Per un Prigioniero Politico is a crazy long song, lovely. Non Mi Rompete is stupid retarded song, at least the nonsense vocals parts. La Città Sottile is a delicate, psychedelic doom song. Dopo.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#144310) | Posted by progressive | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A wonderfull album, with great music, unfortunatly the lyrics are in Itallian, so I can't make heads of tails of them, but the voice is very good so it doesn't lessen the experience. The music on this album is what set's them apart from other bands, changing fluidic from one style into the oth ... (read more)

Report this review (#90572) | Posted by DeathRow | Wednesday, September 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another excellent album by Banco, which is not weaker than their fabulous second album called Darwin !. The trademarks(the brilliant musicianship, especially on the keyboards and the beautiful vocals) of the band are present here, too, but we can notice several significant differences with th ... (read more)

Report this review (#87588) | Posted by Norbert | Friday, August 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Banco del Mutuo Soccorso was one of the most accomplished of the progressive rock bands that flourished in Italy in the early 1970s. Their distinguishing features: the advanced compositional abilities of Vittorio Nocenzi; the fluid piano of brother Gianni Nocenzi, equally adept at classically ... (read more)

Report this review (#75379) | Posted by MorgothSunshine | Tuesday, April 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is my first experience with Italian Progressive Rock, and what a surprise it was! It has everything you could ask for in a classical progressive recording. Lushing melodies, keybords that keep filling all the possible cracks and the voice is really in the tenor side of the spectre. I woul ... (read more)

Report this review (#66076) | Posted by steelyhead | Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the most important albums of the Italian prog scene, albeit not the most consistent one. "Io Sono" contains some of main composer Vittorio Nocenzi's best work, along with great performance from every band member, but there are some considerably weak parts which prevent it f ... (read more)

Report this review (#65909) | Posted by Pafnutij | Saturday, January 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The third work released in 1974 "Io Sono Nato Libero". It is a masterpiece of the symphonic rock. It is easy to listen positively. However, it is a tricky performance like GENTLE GIANT. Work that completes exact, classical sound. The balance of violently and beauty is exquisiteness. You can ... (read more)

Report this review (#64329) | Posted by braindamage | Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Banco's most inspiring work, for sure, and the best album in the genre, in my opinion. Every track here is atmospheric, emotional and virtuosic. After the first track you begin to wonder how long can the band after producing an epic track as flawless and incredible as this. Well, they do! Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#36501) | Posted by | Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Banco's true masterpiece, and an album in the same level as PER UN AMICO from PFM and ZARATHUSTRA from Museo Rosenbach. Veeery criative and distinctive sinths from Vittorio Nocenzi (a true keyboard master) and an outstanding emotional vocal performance from Francesco Di Giacomo, as usual. But ... (read more)

Report this review (#36352) | Posted by | Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Banco with "Io Sono Nato Libero" gave us the quintessence of his art. It's a complex music which sounds very easy after some listenings. The band mixed folk, classical, electronic, jazz and rock in a wonderful and unique blend. An italian one. That's very important because doing that way, look ... (read more)

Report this review (#1325) | Posted by H.NOT | Sunday, April 03, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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