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STORMY SIX

RIO/Avant-Prog • Italy


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Stormy Six biography
Founded in Milan in 1965, they performed and recorded until 1983.

STORMY SIX from Milan, Italy was one of the original bands in the RIO movement and appeared in the famous on March 12th 1978 in the New London Theatre in London. However, as opposed to the other bands appearing with them, they did not start out their musical career as a RIO sounding band.

STORMY SIX began its life in the mid 60's as a folk group with psych influences and left wing tendencies, composing protest songs. This has been the case in their first 3 albums, "Le idee di oggi per la musica di domani" (1969), "L'unità" (1972) and "Guarda giù dalla pianura" (1974). In their 4th album, "Un biglietto del tram" from 1975 the complexity and experimentalism start to show. It was to be only in their 6th album, "L'apprendista" from 1977, that the RIO sound would reach its climax. The following "Macchina Maccheronica" (1980) is even a more complex and continues in the pathway of its predecessor. Both these albums are what won this band a place in the RIO genre. With the next final studio album, "Al Volo" from 1982 they introduced an electronic and poppish sound in their music.

Their last output was when they reunited for a concert and released it as a live CD in 1993 called "Un concerto". For RIO fans, the recommended albums are the two "L'apprendista" and "Macchina Maccheronica" and, to a lesser extent, "Un biglietto del tram".

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Stormy Six is one of the founders of RIO musical genre and on of the original five bands to appear in the RIO Festival on 12/3/1978.

(Edited by Quinino)

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STORMY SIX discography


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STORMY SIX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 20 ratings
Le Idee Di Oggi Per La Musica Di Domani
1969
2.32 | 16 ratings
L'Unità
1972
2.39 | 17 ratings
Guarda Giù Dalla Pianura
1974
3.82 | 63 ratings
Un Biglietto Del Tram
1975
3.61 | 25 ratings
Cliché
1976
4.03 | 78 ratings
L'Apprendista
1977
3.87 | 41 ratings
Macchina Maccheronica
1980
2.96 | 29 ratings
Al Volo
1982

STORMY SIX Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Un concerto
1995
3.19 | 7 ratings
Benvenuti nel ghetto (feat. Moni Ovadia)
2013

STORMY SIX Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STORMY SIX Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.11 | 9 ratings
Megafono
1999

STORMY SIX Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Oggi Piango
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lui verrà
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
La luna è stanca
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alice nel vento
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rossella
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sotto il bambù
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
1789
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cosa danno
1981

STORMY SIX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Macchina Maccheronica by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.87 | 41 ratings

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Macchina Maccheronica
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Stormy Six are the Italian group that participated in the foundation of Rock In Opposition. Initially they were an anomalous beat group, with folk, melodic and hard rock inflections, Evolving, they have become a mainly folk group committed to the political left, alternating acoustic and electric arrangements. But Stormy Six folk has always been erratic and with ambitions that transcended the genre. Its peak was reached with Stalingrado, included on "Un Biglietto del tram", a song that will always be an emblem of their music but which will represent a dead weight, a chain that binds to the past because few in Italy will understand that with the next album, "L'Apprendista", Stormy Six become in effect a prog group, ready to enter the Rock In Opposition with the subsequent Macchina Maccheronica, which sees the participation of Georgie Born (Henry Cow) on the cello. The album, which recycles some of the music featured on Cliche, will be snubbed in Italy, but it will win an award in Germany and today demonstrates even more its greatness and vitality.

1. Macaronic Machine (5:39) With a goliardic tone, suitable for a Milanese cabaret, Umberto Fiori presents the Maccheronica Machine: "I come to this square / But I don't have real stories to sing / I have a repertoire of words / Signs, grimaces, scraps of the Variety / And the crooked sounds of this orchestra / ........ The Maccheronica Machine / It is a chewing press / He has a bite that is treacherous / But his innocent heart loves people / People take the sounds / If not, a nice nativity scene - why not? / With lots of violins / With mandolins and lamé drums / Call it music or literature / It doesn't make a lot of fear. "

The arrangement based on the clarinet (Leonardo Schiavone) and the trombone (Franco Fabbri) makes this music appear like a piece from a village band, as if it were the song of a group of barkers singing in front of a village festival where people sitting at outdoor tables drink and eat homemade food. The music changes rhythm and pitch, while remaining anchored to the folk dances (around 1-2 minutes it looks like a valzer but with a march step). The text, however, is anything but simple, and has continuous metaphor and symbolism. The music slows down towards three minutes and Fiori performs in Latin phrases with a solemn, liturgical tone (Repetita iuvant: repeating helps), after which a progression led by brasses with a Slavic accent starts, perhaps a polka, which reaches a climax almost dissonant clos to kletzmer music. Fiori's vocals, apparently like a street barker, has a grotesque and sarcastic tone. Is this sound, are these arrangements avant-garde or rearguard? Great piece. Rating 8+.

2. The Fireflies (7:37) Dissonant piece where the guitar of Fabbri, the group's ideologue, plays acid phrases that intersperse with the dissonant sounds of the cello and the clarinet. Fiori sings a psalm citing the tenants of public housing and the fireflies. In the lyric book there are notes explaining the lyrics - otherwise very hermetic. In this case, Stormy Six recall Pasolini from the "Writings Corsari" who speaks of the time of the fireflies, when people lived in the countryside, and of the modern consumerist time, whose pollution made the fireflies disappear. After 4 and a half minutes the violin (Tommaso Leddi) and the clarinet draw a neoclassical chamber music melody, but shortly after comes Fiori's bitter singing and the distorted guitars of Fabbri. This is followed by abrasive phrasing of guitar and plucked strings, with a completely new and unique sound. At about 5 minutes the piece almost takes the form of a song, then fades towards 6 minutes but finally the music returns with a long and wonderful instrumental ending. Masterpiece, Rating 9.

3. Madonina (0:51) + 5. Madonina (0:39) + 11. Madonina (0:55) + 13. Madonina (0:14) The 4 fragments entitled Madonina are a deformed quotation from a traditional Milanese song. To understand this quote, it is necessary to know that the Duomo of Milan, one of the finest examples of European Gothic art, has a very high spire on the roof on which a golden statue of the Madonna (Virgin Mary) rests. The traditional song, sung in the Milanese dialect, says in the first verse: "O my beautiful Madonnina who dominates Milan". These fragments take up the melody of the traditional song, written by Giovanni D'Anzi, and deform it (thanks to the arrangements by Franco Fabbri). In the first fragment, the song becomes a very fast, very pleasant dance, perhaps a "twist"; in the second, the song is slower and the group sings a phrase in the Milanese dialect; in the third fragment the song takes on a very enjoyable circus arrangement; in the fourth fragment, which concludes the album, Stormy Six try for few seconds to transform the song into an a cappella choir, but immediately after the first verse the song ends with laughter: the message is clear: we are not too seriously.

4. Megaphone (5:52) Fiori with the metaphor of the megaphone sings the voice, the lack of personality, the anonymity that gives the megaphone. The beginning is a march that then changes rhythm and stops at the sound of Leddi's violin, which plays very acute and dissonant notes. We find ourselves in an imaginative, atonal vision where you can hear the acid sounds of Fabbri's guitar, Garau's drums sound jazzy, and Martini's bass gives chills. This atonal music has an obsessive paranoid crescendo worthy of King Crimson, which unfortunately does not last long, then Fiori's vocals return around 4 minutes. The last minute is again atonal, almost noisy, until there is a sketch of an electric guitar solo with which the song ends. This is another masterpiece. Rating 8.5.

16. Bank (2:39) It is Introduced by a female voice with a German accent who takes the part of the listener and, aware of the listening difficulty maintained up to now, promises a moment of leisure. But this almost instrumental piece, very percussive, based on bass and drums, is certainly not easy to listen, it isn't funny: at most it has a paradoxical or paroxysmal joking streak. The only annoying sound is that of the battery. Minor piece which, however, retains the sound and intonation of the album. Rating 7+.

The sequence Le Lucciole - Megapono - Banca has radically changed the music of the incipit: from a village band to music that is increasingly cerebral, dissonant and finally also atonal, testing the listener's resistance. The intervals represented by the 4 pieces of Madonina therefore serve to relax the listener for a moment, like the lemon sorbet which serves to rinse the taste of the food eaten out of the mouth.

With Banca, the first side of the album closes and the listener, with a little fear, gets ready to the second side, which immediately reserves another very difficult song to digest.

7. Planet (5:40) It starts at a marching pace marked by the electric guitar, it almost seems like Zeuhl. Here, however, the dissonant sound does not seem to have an intriguing effect, on the contrary, it tends towards noisy, for the continuous stop- and-go. The text seems almost a casual set of words, syllogisms, juxtapositions, as Franco Battiato was doing at the time. Cities and subway stations are mentioned but no sense can be found and this in my opinion is a limitation of the lyrics of this album, which renounce, compared to the past, to any meaning and social message, even implicit. The piece is less difficult than the previous ones, smoother, but also less pleasant to listen to. Around 3 and a half minutes an instrumental piece starts with the drums playing jazz, the violins a neoclassical music and then the clarinet plays a very beautiful melody - the musical quality rises. This music is a continuous surprise - At the end the usual grotesque voice of Fiori returns, rising above the crooked geometry of the music. Rating 7.5 / 8

8. Rumba On Trees (2:56) Piece played live, I guess. The trombone and the sax mark the beginning of this short song with a metaliterary text that begins monotonous and linear and then develops a very interesting cacophony, one of the most avant-garde points of the disc, with a bass played a la Chris Squire. Again a big surprise. I would almost say that the sung beginning is the least useful part of this piece. Rating 8+.

9. Enzo (Live *) (2:16) It's a crazy joke, a play a la Frank Zappa - Stormy Six have fun. These are onomatopoeic sounds that start from the name of Enzo and say ... nothing, they are sounds without meaning, except in some cases where they say meaningless words. It was recorded the 28th April 1979 at Teatro Dell'Elfo, Milan. I don't know if it was appropriate to include it on the album, perhaps it is too self-indulgent a concession. Luckily it lasts 2 minutes. In terms of tone, it does not differ much from the playful parts of the rest of the record but here the game is really discovered, it is not masked by the refined and dissonant music. Difficult to rate this divertissement..... Hmmm. Rating 6.5. His function is similar to that of the Madonina: to give a little sugar before swallowing the bitter tablet of the heaviest piece on the album.

10. Minutes (8:38) The longest piece of the album has a hermetic text with endless quotes of limbs of bodies and pieces of arms and fingers. It is not clear whether it refers to torture developed by the police. The sound is dissonant and Fiori's singing is asynchronous respect to the rhythm of the music. The result is an almost surreal piece, always punctuated by the omnipresent clarinet by Leonardo Schiavone who plays a beautiful central solo. It is wonderful to listen in the background (so to speak, since it is very much in evidence) the great work that Pino Martini does on bass, truly spectacular. Fabbri's guitar, never intrusive and always at the service of the overall sound of the band, does a distorting work that can be heard together with the cello pieces. At about 6 minutes the vibraphone (Fabbri, again) also arrives, which together with the clarinet and the distorted guitar creates another wonderful piece of music. We are at the highest quality levels. Is it vanguard or rearguard? Now we can answer: it is avant-garde, and what an avant-garde! It is an absolute masterpiece. Rating 9+.

12. Somario (3:55) Somario (distortion of the word Sommario (summary) and somaro (donkey) that takes on a humorous connotation) reproduces a sound similar to that of the first song, very similar to a village band with a folkloristic march. The instrumental interlude elevates the quality of the music and Umberto Fiori's low opera singing is very enjoyable. A polyphonic piece sung in choir follows, after which Fiori introduces the band, as if it were the conclusion of a concert. The Frank Zappa of the heyday is around the corner. Throughout the album Fiori's vocals were never natural and spontaneous but always warped, from ironic to sarcastic, from grotesque to arrogant, making some pieces look like theater soundtracks of the absurd. The closing seems to be that of a live concert. (Shortly after comes the last fragment of La Madonina, very short, sketching a doo-wop.) It is difficult to rate this song because it is in the service of the live theatrical show it tries to simulate. But before the final piece the music is enjoyable. Rating 7.5.

Total Time: 47:51

I imagine that for many prog lovers this record will be indigestible due to its dissonant-atonal sounds and due to his arrangements which has nothing modern or electronic at all and which, in fact, is very old-fashioned. This arrangement based on drumming marches worthy of a village bands, clarinet, cello and trombone creates a sound worthy of a farce, popular but dissonant. The singing of Fiori, a singer not particularly gifted in terms of voice beauty and vocal range, is modulated on theatrical frequencies, but an expressionist theater, extreme, close to the theater of the absurd and, in my opinion, in this way it manages to find the dimension where he excells, in which he moves with mastery. With this album Stormy Six have managed to churn out an avant-garde work of absolute greatness, creative, hybrid, unclassifiable, a work that acts tremendously seriously but tries not to take itself too seriously. It is a late work, published when the golden era of prog was already over, a unique work also within the Rock in Opposition for its sound and eccentric arrangements. An absolute masterpiece.

Rating 9.5 / 10. Five stars.

 Benvenuti nel ghetto (feat. Moni Ovadia) by STORMY SIX album cover Live, 2013
3.19 | 7 ratings

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Benvenuti nel ghetto (feat. Moni Ovadia)
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars This is an album that I don't know how to rate. Stormy Six reunited in 2013 with Moni Ovadia for this live which is a sort of return to their RPI roots but it's also full fo balcanic folk influences.

First of all you should know who Moni Ovadia is. Born I think in Hungary, he's a jew who moved to Italy, got graduated and became a writer, a theathre actor and performer, and sometimes a singer. This live exhibition is a complete concept about the holocaust with very strong lyrics. I mention a passage of "Umschlagplatz": "here they sort cabbages and jews".

The folk elements are managed by the violin of Carlo De Martini and the mandolin of Tommaso Loddi, but there is also some rock and this is a progressive album with no doubts. The experimental elements are almost totally missing, if we don't consider the fusion with the balcanic/jewish folk so this is more an RPI album that a RIO one.

A mention goes to the production. Surely this wasn't recorded in a stadium, but the sound quality is very good for an album of this kind. The mentioned "Umshlagsplatz" and the closer "Invocazione" are the highest moments. The first for the dramatic lyrics very well associated with the music, the last closes the live, after the usual presentation of the performers, with one of its few moments of rock.

Rating a thing like this is very uneasy: some things would deserve four stars, but the middle eastern/jewish element is too preponderant. Of course the presence of Moni Ovadia is an added value and he's likely the principal inspirer of the project. Also we can't expect that a so important presence doesn't push the music towards his home land.

Stormy Six are very skilled musicians and the quality of their compositions is still high, but I don't know how much it can appeal to a proghead. I'll stick to an average 3 stars, but it could be 2 or 4 depending on the listener. I personally ejoyed it, but I don't know when or if I'll spin it the next time.

 Al Volo by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.96 | 29 ratings

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Al Volo
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In Italy very few people know the Stormy Six and those very few are elderly people who were leftist militants in the Seventies or Eighties. I met the Stormy Six by chance, they were the apologists of another band at a concert held at the Communist party show in the early Nineties. Even then they were considered dinosaurs, extinct fossils but they had a small audience of their own. In short, they were a cult group, considered combat-folk (politically militant folk), not prog-rock. Their manifesto song was Stalingrado.

After that concert, I looked for their discs, and listening to them, I became a fan. Their music is very elaborate: Stormy Six are not the typical folk group with acoustic guitars and politically engaged lyrics: their music is as demanding and sophisticated as their lyrics. "Al Volo" is their last record. The first song "Non si sa dove stare" (vote 7,5) has an almost electronic sound, syncopated, based on rhythm, which recalls certain new wave music. "Reparto Novità" (vote 7) contains a critique of the consumer society. It is also a ballad punctuated by the rhythm section (Pino Martini on bass, Salvatore Garau on drums). The singing (Umberto Fiori) is stunted. The third song, "Piazza degli Affari" (Affairs Square) is an electronic track (Tommaso Leddi on synths); weak (voto 6,5).

"Ragionamenti" is another electronic ballad, with robotic rhythm, Ultravox style. But then there are polyphonic choirs and vibes solo (Franco Fabbri). Very strange (vote 7,5). "Panorama" is again marked by the great work of the bass, which gives way to a song once again difficult, suffered, but without reaching a great pathos, without arriving to the mood of existential angst that pervades the records of Peter Gabriel, that these tracks recall (vote 6,5/7).

"Roma" has a sunny beginning, but soon the gloomy atmosphere is outlined by the voice and the bass, alternating with a rare melodic opening (vote 7+). "Parole grosse" (Big Words) has an electronic start and then repeat the robotic rhythm already heard (vote 6,5). In general these songs are blurred, the arrangement is sought but does not reach that sound capable of transmitting strong emotions. The singer's voice does not have the anguish that shines through for example in Peter Gabriel, and is better in other contexts.

"Denti" (Teeth) is a short but lively song (vote 6.5 / 7), which makes irony on television: again the group chooses social satire instead of the politically militant song. The last track ("Cosa danno", again on TV, vote 6+) is happy again (the record ends with an increase in rhythm and extroversion) but too obvious and repetitive.

"Al Volo" is an unconventional album, which does not seek the easy commercial success, but does not find its strong identity, and in fact after this disc ends the experience of Stormy Six, which feel overcome by the times, both ideological and musical. A band that still deserves a lot of respect because it has previously recorded remarkable records, and unique in the Italian scene.

Medium Quality of the Songs: 6,89. Vote album: 6+. Rating: Two Stars.

 Al Volo by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.96 | 29 ratings

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Al Volo
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars Even a RIO artist sometimes must go to the supermarket to buy food, soaps and this kind of things. If you are already in the 80s when having a vibraphone instead of a fairlight is considered excessively experimental you can have an idea of why Stormy Six made an album like this.

The style is still Avant, IMO, the lyrics have completely lost the political connotations and even if still clearly left-winged they are more concentrated on "society" and "individuals". A sort of Italian Roger Waters, but there's an evident change in the musical direction: no more violin or clarinet. It's like in the 80s only keyboards are allowed.

There's a lot of melody even inside unusual passages. The choir in "alpine" style on "Ragionamenti" is very original, but this album seems to be a turn back to the more classical RPI and this is maybe one of the reasons of their disbanding. You can't produce pure art and eat steaks at the same time. Even one sixth of the Stormies may have a family at home...

So being them true innovative artists they have probably taken the right decision in disbanding after this release that I think they may have disliked.

I don't dislike it anyway. The fact that it's less avant or more approachable than the two previous releases doesn't mean that it's bad. There are unusual passages and sounds as well as melodic moments of RPI flavor. Don't forget that they're Italians.

Of course if you expect to be eating chocolate and find marmite you will be disappointed, but you can realize that marmite is not too bad in its own.

The bad with this album is that remains in the middle, not completely RIO and not completely RPI but the musicians are the same high skilled guys of Macchina Maccheronica.

Don't treat them too badly.

3 stars.

 Macchina Maccheronica by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.87 | 41 ratings

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Macchina Maccheronica
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars Stormy Six took an instrumental from Cliche, added to it lyrics, made some arrangements and named all the album after it. This is "Macchina Maccheronica" (Macaronic Machine). This song is a grotesque tango for the first 3 minutes, then turns into waltz then polka...almost all the popular dancing rhythms of the old Europe, like a precursor on Weird Al Yankovic.

The intro of "Le Lucciole" is enough to make ckear thatthe first track is just a joke. The album is made of something different. If you have an idea of how an experimental band has to sound, this gives exactly this idea. The first RIO festival is an old story and this album is a follow-up, more experimental than anything else previously released by this band, with a fusion between folk and classic contemporary that can remind also to Zeuhl. The lyrics are experimental, too. The clear political statements that were still present on the previous album are now hidden if not disappeared behind words that sound well with the music but not necessarily meaningful. On "Le Lucciole" the role of main instrument that's usually played by the violin is now given to the clarinet. it's only after 6 minutes that the ensemble plays more orchestral making the track less challenging. Following there's another joke. A sort of "shake" version of "Madonina". This song, written in the 30s by Giovanni D'Anzi has become the anthem of the city of Milan where Stormy Six are from. Played in this way in just 50 seconds can be irritating for some of their most traditionalists-right-winged citizens. The "Madonina" is the statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of Milan's Cathedral.

"Megafono" (Megaphone) is a grotesque and very 'avant' song. A Megaphone is an essential device for protesters, and the joke is about the fact that the way it distorces a voice makes the speaker anonymous. There's a long "eclectic" interlude made of disconnected sounds, passages between violin, clarinet, bass and drums. At minute 3:40 there's a short rock section leading to another part with vocals. If you read the definition of this subgenre on PA, this song fits perfectly there.

30 more seconds of irriverent "Madonina" then a female speaker with an Eastern Europe accent introduces what she calls "a moment of relax". "Banca" (Bank) is an instrumental crazyness "Since when you're gone my life is empty...I can't live anymore, what will be of me? I have close this feeling in the bank!".

"Pianeta" (Planet) is even more challenging. If I think to what this band was doing just five years before... The lyrics are as hermetic as the music. A very challenging album that the Madonina interludes try to make a little lighter but it's very difficult and totally non-suitable for the Italian market of 1980. The clarinet makes a great work.

"Rumba Sugli Alberi" (Rumba over the trees) is a brasses and clarinet thing with vocals. two minutes of the most "melodic" stuff that can be found on the album even including the second half when bass and drums make it very chaotic.

I'm now thinking that what I'm writing can be interpreted as "very good and artistic music" by fans of Rio and Avant, and like an "Avoid it absolutely" by fans of more melodic and strustured things like symphonic prog.....

"Enzo" is a vocal choir totally out of what we can call "song" or "melody". It's an experiment about voice, not too dissimilar from what Demetrio Stratos made in his "Concerto all'Elfo". It appears to be recorded live but the applauses may be just added, I don't know.

"Verbale" (Report, intended in legal or bureaucratic sense) is in some way reminding of the political/social period of the band, but the lyrics are very hermetic. The good is that even if one can sometimes catch a sort of melody, this track is totally unstructured and unpredictable both in terms of notes and rhythm. Who makes a great work here is the bass that keeps a jazzy profile.

Another interpratation of "Madonina" and the last "regular" track of the album: "Somario". As Macchina Maccheronica also this track is taken from Cliche'/Pinocchio suite and "Somario" is a joke between "Sommario" (summary) and "Somaro" (donkey), so it's clearly related to Pinocchio. The track is recorded live.

The last 15 seconds of "Madonina" closes the album.

A challenging listen but also rewarding for the listener. Of course it's not an album to be listened while driving by car. Take your time and the right moment to dig into the various moments. A must have for the fans of the genre also because it's the first Stormy Six album of the RIO era.

 L'Apprendista by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.03 | 78 ratings

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L'Apprendista
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

5 stars After the instrumental very avant-garde parenthesis of "Cliche" the Stormy Six return to the "song" format, but the songs are very different from the political pop-folk of the first albums, maybe also a sign of the times changing.

This album is released during one of the worst periods of the post-war history of Italy, in the years that will bring to the 80s: a dramatic change in every sectors of life and arts, not only in music. It's no longer time for political anthems so even though the lyrics are still strongly politically oriented the songs are now about persons instead of movements. This is exactly the same change that was happening in the actual Italian society.

The music is an unusual mixture of folk elements, mainly acoustic, but retains the experimental elements of the previous instrumental album. The difference with today's Avant bands is that once the structure of the song has been identified, the listener is still able to anticipate what's coming (not always of course), so the result is something very close to the music of bands like Gentle Giant, or a sort of non-jazz Canterbury if this makes any sense.

The good is that even being experimental it's still approachable by everybody and unlike the previous albums the music is so good that can be appreciated even without taking care of the lyrics. Songs like "Il Barbiere" (The Barber) and "Il Labirinto" (The Labyrinth) are highlights but all the songs are excellent, above the average, specially from a musical point of view.

Of course the lyrics, too, have to match the new mood to fit better within the music. The result is technically perfect, and the musicianship of all the bandmates is finally evident. A milestone for this band just one year before the first RIO event.

 Cliché by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.61 | 25 ratings

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Cliché
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars Finally the beginning of RIO. The Stormy six have still a lot of acoustics. A mandolin in general sounds folky but in tracks like the opener "1789" (the year of the French revolution) it sounds grotesque. The final fade-out is a pity, but the track is very interesting. Then the piano comes to "Carmine". This piece of piano and violin sounds like classic contemporary. Who could have imagined a change of this kind in the band's music? Not that I dislike the previous efforts, but this is totally different and came actually unexpected.

The story of this album is quite unusual. It's the reprint of two different albums one of them unreleased, but the mood of the two albums is so similar that it's not easy to vcatch if you don't look at the track list.

The first two tracks are two previously unreleased, extraneous to both the albums.

Starting from the third track until track 16 we have a suite inspired by the Shalkespeare's tragedy "Titus Andronicus". It's pure avant-garde, with the same violinist that once was playing country/bluegrass that's now making classic contemporary. The use of mandolin, contrabass and acoustic guitar makes it even more avant-garde. It's not too challenging anyway. Some parts like "Picnic" are easy enough even for those who are not familiar with this genre. Even neo-prog fans could enjoy it.

The remaining tracks are inspired to "Pinocchio" (The album title would have been "Pinocchio Bazaar"). This is more oriented to chamber music and has more melodic moments. I find it easier than the Shakespeare's thing even if on similar chords and mood.

An enjoyable album that can also be used as starting point for people who wants to approach the genre.

 Un Biglietto Del Tram by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.82 | 63 ratings

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Un Biglietto Del Tram
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars This is the first true prog album of Stormy Six. It can be considered RPI or Prrog-Folk, as RIO has still to come in 1974. The folk element is enhanced by the violin that's the principal soloist throughout the whole album.

The songs are IMO excellent prog-folk and as in their previous albums the lyrics are the most important thing, so instead of speaking of the great instrumental final of "Nuvole a Vinca" with its great violin or the little attempt to "experiment" of "8 Settembre", I think is important speaking of what the subjetcs of the songs are.

This is an album about the last years of the second world war that starts with "Stalingrado" (Stalingrad). It has been one of the bloodiest battles of the human history and has been the beginning of Hitler's defeat. There's a mention to the Italians who were fighting together with the Nazis and have been left back. After the German defeat they had a long retreat in the cold Russian winter which caused more casualties than the battle itself.

"La Fabbrica" (The Factory) is about an episodeat the beginning of 1943. The fascists are still ruling and the workers of a factory in Turin decide to strike. The fascists attempted a repression but the workers were so many and so "committed" that the fascist squads had to retreat.

"Arrivano Gli Americani" is a little sarcastic. When the American troops desembarked in the South of Italy they were acclaimed as savers (and they were). The sarcasm is about the fact that the Catholic Church tried to describe them as "Sent by the Virgin Mary after all our prayers". The same Catholic Church that 20 years before had helped the fascists in getting the power. A nice sentence is "Americans, Martian Garibaldines throw tablets of freedom". It was probably as the people was seeing them. The reference to Garibaldi is because they followed the same path from South to North as Garibaldi about ine century before.

"8 Settembre" (Sept, 8th) is one of the most tragic dates of the recent Italian history. The fascist government has been deposed and the General Badoglio negotiates secretly the armistice. The Italian army is totally disbanded and not informed and when the Nazis decide to revenge after what they consider a betrayal the Italian soldiers didn't defend. It's since that date that the Nazis start killing and deporting every soldier that they find and destroying entire towns including of course the civilians.

"Nuvole di Vinca" is about one of those episodes. A farmer sees the Nazis coming to Vinca and tries to alert the people but he fails and all are closed into the town's church then the Nazis shoot them all leaving no survivors.

"Dante di Nanni" is a former soldier become partisan that who was able to stop a platoon of more than 100 Nazis and fascists for more than three hours, killing many of them fighting all alone from a ladder. Instead of using the last bullet for himself he raised up from the balcony and shot one hidden gun on the top of a church. After then he was waiting to be shot but the Nazis were so surprised to realized that only one man was able of that and they gave him enough time to raise his fist, cry "Long life to Italy" and fall down from the balcony.

"Gianfranco Mattei" is another paartisan. He committed suicide in the jail of Via Tasso in Rome to avoid revealing the names of his mates under torture.

"La Sepoltura dei Morti" (Dead's Burial) and "Un Biglietto del Tram" are the unhappy ending. The war is gone but the consequences are not. Even taking a bus to go to Piazzale Loreto where the corpses of Mussolini and other big names of the fascist party are exposed is not enough to ill the wounds that the war and the fascism have left.

From a musical point of view this is an excellent album with a strong concept. I have just spotted that another reviewer has detailed the tracks as I've done, also better than me, I think. So if you want to go more in depth click on the album title and read also Andrea's review. 4 stars for me.

 Guarda Giù Dalla Pianura by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.39 | 17 ratings

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Guarda Giù Dalla Pianura
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

2 stars This is a short folk album and the reason why Stormy six have made an album like this has to be explained.

It's Italy in 1974. The Communist party has reached his maximum success ever in the elections, mainly caused by a sentiment of rebellion against the establishment that was unable to catch the changes that the '68 has brought to people's mind. Italy is still ruled by right-winged catholics.

In this social environment there's a rediscovery of the folk music that's seen as opposed to the mainstream represented by the Sanremo festival or by the "Bel Canto".

So the left-winged Stormy Six make an album with left-winged contents, including a mention of the Italian Communist Party anthem (Avanti Popolo) on the first track.

"Union Maid" is I think a traditional American, but it could have been written by Woody Guthrie. Probably it is, and it's another anthem, of course country/bluegrass.

"Otan Xtupesis Duo Fores" is a mistery for me. I don't know which language is. It's not Russian even though the music seems coming from there.

"Cuba Si, Yanquis No" is of course a celebration of the Cuban Revolution and of Fidel Castro. One sentence says "They speak of communists but they don't say that Batista killed 20000 Cubans". The music is Salsa. How could it be different?

"The Ballad Of Ho Chi Minh" sounds like a traditional country song with Irish influences, but I don't think the lyrics are "American folk" as Ho Chi Minh was the chairman of the North Vietnam. In 1974 the war was just ended (or close to end, it was many time ago).

Naturally "Leaving Belfast Town" is a song of the I.R.A. (Irish Republican Army). I think this is really an Irish song.

"Cancion Del Poder Popular" has a story. After the bloody putsch of Pinochet in Chile a folk band, the "Inti Illimani" escaped to Italy making the Chilean popular music very famous and appreciated. This is one of their songs. (Song of the Popular Power)

"Do Re Mi" (not De Re Mi) are the first notes (C, D, E) in the Italian musical notation. It looks like an American traditional. The band was in favor of Cuba, against the Vietnam War and they probably hated Nixon, but this doesn't mean being anti-Americans. I'm sure that not Cuba, but a lot of Americans were sharing the same feelings about Vietnam and Nixon.

"Brother Did You Weep?" looks like another traditional.

Finally a popular song written after the death of six protesters killed by the police at the end of the 50s.

It's well played but there's nothing prog here.

 Le Idee Di Oggi Per La Musica Di Domani by STORMY SIX album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.10 | 20 ratings

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Le Idee Di Oggi Per La Musica Di Domani
Stormy Six RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars Too early recording. The band's music is very influenced by the 60s country-rock as almost all the less commercial Italian music of that period. They sound like "I Giganti" or "I Nomadi". There are symptoms of the experimentalism to come, in some lyrics and in some musical moments like the flut eat the end of "La Storia Piu' Bella Del Mondo".

There's a bit of rock, also a little acid, on "Schallplattengesellschaftmbh" that's the best track of the album and the one surely of interest for proggers. We have to take into account that in 1969 in Italy a band had to obtain a contract with a major and follow the market's rules. This track is an excellent exception and tells us where the band actually wanted to go.

The rest is pop. Often good pop, but it has just a documentary value. Only "Ramo" has a psychedelic/indian mood given by the acoustic 12 strings guitar that sounds like a sitar (or is it a true sitar? It looks more like a 12-strings).

Another good track is the closer "Sotto I Ponti Di Marmo" that has also good lyrics.

Three good tracks oncluded in the middle of forgettable stuff are not enough for the third star, but I suggest this album anyway, because the three mentioned tracks are good and deserve a listen.

It's not their fault. The forgettable material was likely what the major wanted. I give two stars but three wouldn't be a scandal.

EDIT: I didn't realize that this is the first "collaborator review". My rating has decreased the overall rating too much and because this is a 2.5 stars I have changed my mind and decided to round them up. My final rating goes from 2 to 3.

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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