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AREA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Area picture
Area biography
Formed in 1972 in Italy - Disbanded in 1983 - Reformed from 1993 to 2000 - Active again since 2009

Undoubtedly one of the more adventurous, AREA were also a very important band on the seventies Italian prog scene, their first three albums in particular come highly recommended and essential listening to anyone discovering the RPI genre.

The band formed in 1972 stabilizing with a line-up of superb musicians for their debut album featuring ex I RIBELLI vocalist Demetrio STRATOS, ex I CALIFFI guitarist Paulo Tofani, bassist Patrick Djivas (later to join PFM), drummer Giulio Capiozzo, keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli and on sax, flute and clarinet Victor Busnello. "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work will make your free) was released on Cramps records in 1973 and is a very accomplished debut by anyone's standards featuring an exciting blend jazz, rock and prog with Arabian and Greek (Stratos was Greek) influences along with a touch of the Avant. The bands lyrics show a politically left wing stance and Stratos was already displaying his inventive vocal style, using it as an instrument much of the time rather than in the traditional sense, something he would develop to further extremes on future albums (including solo work).

By 1974, when their second album "Caution Radiation Area" was released, Djivas had jumped ship for PFM being replaced by Ares Tavolazzi and Busnello also left but was not replaced. It's a harder listen than the debut leaning more towards the avant with a heavier emphasis on free jazz, once again the musicianship is exemplary and features some incredibly powerful moments. In comparison "Crac!" released in 1975 whilst still displaying the same inventive mix of styles was more accessible and is an ideal early port of call to the uninitiated. That year also saw the release of their first live album "Are(A)zione".

Two further studio albums followed where the band continued to expand their musical palette, "Maledetti" released in 1976 where the band used a host of other musicians to help out and "1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano". By this point Tofani had left the band. It would also prove to be the last album to feature Stratos who sadly died of cancer in 1979 at the age of only 35.

The three remaining musicians attempted to continue bringing in some outside help in the brass department for the all instrumental album "Tic & Tac". Clearly Stratos was a talent t...
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AREA discography


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

4.27 | 692 ratings
Arbeit Macht Frei
1973
3.97 | 226 ratings
Caution Radiation Area
1974
4.24 | 385 ratings
Crac !
1975
4.07 | 201 ratings
Maledetti
1976
3.88 | 162 ratings
1978 - Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano!
1978
2.68 | 54 ratings
Tic & Tac
1980
2.49 | 30 ratings
Chernobyl 7991
1996

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

4.03 | 73 ratings
Are(A)zione
1975
2.58 | 24 ratings
Event '76
1979
3.04 | 8 ratings
Area 1979 - Il Concerto
1980
3.53 | 18 ratings
Concerto Teatro Uomo
1996
3.04 | 13 ratings
Parigi-Lisbona
1996
3.81 | 7 ratings
Live In Torino 1977
2005
3.57 | 7 ratings
Live 2012
2012

AREA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.00 | 9 ratings
Anto/Logicamente
1977
4.50 | 2 ratings
Area '70
1980
4.25 | 4 ratings
Gioia e rivoluzione
1996
2.91 | 3 ratings
Revolution
2003
3.00 | 2 ratings
International POPular Group
2004
4.96 | 4 ratings
Area Gold Edition
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Concerts Box
2007
4.79 | 5 ratings
The Essential Box Set Collection
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Area
2013

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin
1973
2.67 | 3 ratings
L'Internazionale
1974

AREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 692 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars For quite a while now, I've become increasingly more interested in exploring Italian prog, largely due to the often fundamental differences between it compared to the vast majority of classic progressive rock that I've heard. Of these, one of the primary defining aspects that separates it from the main genre is its more prominent influences from classical music and the way it much more seamlessly blends orchestral elements into its sound. When comparing this to the symphonic elements in prog often putting the majority of its focus onto the keyboard sections, you end up finding a much more diverse and lush range of sounds to discover when looking a bit deeper in this material. This however, is also where Area's work, in this case, their debut Arbeit Macht Frei comes in when it comes to further setting itself apart. While taking the more dynamic sound that Italian prog tends to take, rather than leaning more into classical influence, it instead take a different approach, drawing its influence from jazz and combining it with a far more intense, avant garde sound that at times feels as if it's pushing its particular era of prog to its limit in a glorious way. This also isn't just a case of this being interesting on paper, as in execution, Arbeit Macht Frei also completely succeed in making this sound into something truly interesting to delve into, with a great amount of consistency and interesting ideas to back things up.

The album feels quite noticeably split into 2 parts, with the first half being full of complex and intense proggy moments that are a joy to listen to and contain a nice balance of catchy melodies and dissonant improvisation. The opening track Luglio, Agosto, Settembre sets things up rather nicely, with some spoken word breaking into dramatic, operatic vocals by lead singer Demetrio Stratos, before quickly breaking into an upbeat synth melody. This immediately brings in a lot of interesting ideas, with the synth and eventually brass melody being reminiscent of Arabic music and being contrasted with the bizarre vocal performance that's both passionate yet somewhat dissonant, all of it working together in an imperfect yet extremely effective sense of harmony and cohesion between all the band members. The title track takes a lot of what made this opener good, such as the extremely dynamic nature of it combined with chaotic bursts of energy to create the album's best piece. After a while dedicated to aimless soundscapes being created by the drums and keyboards, the central bassline comes in while other instruments are phased in and out of the mix to create an unusual, yet atmospheric start to the song. Once the saxophone appears, the song really gets going, finding its structure and upping the energy in a satisfying way that sets the stage for some of the madness to ensue. The switch-up halfway through once the vocals get brought in is the moment where the song begins to go from good to great, with the instrumentation shifting to completely centre around an extremely fun, groovy melody that ends up exploding into a dizzying cacophony as bass is replaced with the guitar as a frantic solo is being played in the background, constantly intensifying to near-explosive extents.

After this, Consapevolezza takes the album in a more conventional direction, with its sound and approach being reminiscent of the more frenetic segments from Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's work, just with a jazzier twist on it. I like the way it takes the listener on a little journey while simultaneously highlighting the extremely passionate vocals, but on the whole there's not too much outright amazing with this one, even if it's still a very enjoyable listening experience. The 2nd half of the album demonstrates an interesting shift in approach, putting extra emphasis on their jazzy side, being much closer to jazz rock and at times coming close to something you'd hear in fusion, with the instrumental passages becoming longer and focusing even more on the complex interplay between everyone in the band. The first 2 of these 3 songs have little more to be said about them, just that there seems to be a distinctly more atmospheric feel to them, and that the use of brass instruments is brought up significantly, contributing to what makes them both as good as they are. The final track feels like the true culmination of everything this album stands for and demonstrates the perfect balance between its 2 sides, leaving plenty of room for long winded instrumental sections while also giving additional attention to their weirder side. Here's where you get the vocals in particular being pushed to new heights with some wild, dissonant wailing with moments of a more beautiful passion mixed within, ultimately leading to yet another of the album's absolute best songs that only gets better with each listen.

On the whole, this is one of the high points in the Italian prog I've heard, not the absolute peak, but very high up there for sure. The main thing that does this for me is just how distinct and unique it is , taking such a radically different approach in sound to a lot of other bands of the genre and era and then making it work so well. While this doesn't really give the listener much if they're looking for something prettier sounding, for the more experimental side of Italian prog, I cannot think of a better band in general. Essential listening for prog fans who like their music on the more intense side of things I feel this one is practically essential listening, as while it occasionally falters and has some moments that are on the more subdued side, for the most part this will give you the sort of stuff you're looking for.

Best tracks: Luglio agosto settembre (Nero), Arbeit macht frei, L'abbattimento dello Zeppelin

Weakest tracks: Le labbra del tempo

 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.24 | 385 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars This second effort is in the line of the debut masterpiece and is just as influential. This band, by their way of creating music, was ahead of the times as to be progressive and experimental even today, capable of composing, giving a precise meaning to every sound and overcome the limits of the music, providing musicality, the most unthinkable noises and transforming every idea into sound.

The instrumental pieces are all fascinating and rich in style. Cohesion and synergy at the highest levels, blend with experimentation and the usual high-class jazz cues. Through this work, the band members showed demonstration of excellent individual technique. Ares Tavolazzi (acoustic & electric basses, trombone) and Giulio Capiozzo (drums & percussion) have shown a special musical unity and the rhythm section on this album works wonders.

"Crac", reached the perfect balance with the song form, making the seven pieces that make up the disc a perfect musical blend that enclose every most significant aspect of the Jazz and Progressive experimentation.

 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 692 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Area - Arbeit macht frei - 1973 Welcome to a totally different world of Italian prog rock. Area is a band that with its first album has totally pushed the boundaries of this genre. Light melodies and elements of classical music have been replaced by eclectic music with a strong jazz influence.

The band presented a unique style on the border of progressive rock and jazz rock, with clear ethnic influences (especially Arab). Fantastic vocals on the album are done by Demetrio Stratos and they are theatrical and dramatized.

The album consists of only six tracks with a total duration of up to 37 minutes. However, a lot is happening here - in fact, something is happening all the time, not allowing the listener to breathe, very tense music that keeps you on the edge of the seat. Its represented by unpredictable ,but logically developing structure of the songs. Parts of the guitar, saxophone and keyboards intertwine wonderfully, and they are perfectly harmonized. The rhythmic section works wonders and the bombastic bass and drums only add to the fantastic journey this album takes you on.

 Area 1979 - Il Concerto by AREA album cover Live, 1980
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Area 1979 - Il Concerto
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

3 stars 41 years ago today (June 14) this concert took place to raise funds to pay for the medical bills of Demetrio Stratos, the lead singer of the seminal Italian band Area. 60,000 fans and hundreds of artists gathered in the Civic Arena in MIlan for the fundraising concert only to be greeted with the news that Stratos had passed away the day before in New York during treatment. Needless to say, this put a different spin on the day.

A couple of misconceptions need to be dispelled for the average listener. First, this isn't an Area album, there are only two songs by the band on here. For those expecting a 'greatest hits' of Italian prog, it isn't really that either, as there are precious few moments of genuine RPI here-even Banco's appearance is a subdued vocal and piano tune. A better description would be like listening to the Woodstock album: a wide variety of artists (heavy on the singer/songwriter vein much like Woodstock) and a spread of disparate styles playing on a summer day in a large outdoor venue gathering to vibe together (though the vibe had switched from hope to sorrow rather quickly).

The album opens with the Italian punk band Kaos Rock from the Cramps label (home to Area and Arti e Mestieri) bringing an energetic pop punk energy with Basto Basto. From there we get Area performing Danz(a)nello-a spirited fusion jam in the spirit of early 80's Weather Report . Three singer/songwriters follow: Francesco Guccini, a famed folk artist in the vein of Fabrizio deAndre who'd been perfoming since the mid 60's sings Per un Amico (for a friend) in Italian, one of the more heartfelt moments on the album. Eugenio Finardi does an English lyric song, Hold On, very much in line with Richie Haven's work at Woodstock. He was close friends with Stratos and was also on the Cramps label, again in a deAndre vein. Roberto Ciotti rounds out the end of side one's solo acoustic singer performances with the English vocals of Shake it. He also was a blues/jazz Cramps labelmate.

Side two will give solace to RPI fans with Venegoni & Co. giving us a high energy instrumental -Coesioni (this band derived from Arti e Mestieri, also Cramps label artists). Synth, swirling dervish guitars, stuttering bass and drums deliver perhaps the most satisfying jazzy RPI song on the album. Angelo Branduardi, another singer songwriter is up next with the Italian sung Il Funerale. He is known for mining early Italian music (and mildly known in the UK for an English release with lyrics by Peter Sinfield of King Crimson fame). Gentle and beautiful. Next up is Carnascialia doing a song from Mauro Pagani's first solo album, the instrumental Europa Minor. This song featured Area as the backing band on its original release and is a nice nod to the theme for the day. This is another of the highlights for RPI fans, as it stretches out a bit with an excellent sax solo that gives the listener a glimpse into sitting in a field of thousands, just grooving on the music. A high energy drum solo finishes the song up. Side two comes to an end with Adriano Bassi and Italo Lo Venerie performing some instrumental virtuoso piano in the vein of Keith Jarrett.

Side three opens with Antonello Venditti's Bomba o Non Bomba, with solo piano accompaniment. Like many of the singers here, he follows in the socially conscious mode of operation. (he had worked with Vince Tempera in the early 70's, the guy who put together I Giganti's Terra del Bocca album and Il Volo). Three unaccompanied poems by Skiantos come next, mostly as a distraction while the stage gets reset for the next band. Side three ends with Gaetano Liguori e Tullio De Piscopo performing a tarantella that gets the crowd audibly moving. Jazzy but recognizable as RPI for most. Another great 'hey let's enjoy the sun and the music' type of jazz festival song. (here I need to point out that the track listings on the LP are incorrect, and that the last song on side three actually opens side four)

Side four begins with two songs from Giancarlo Cardini, his 'Omaggio a Demetrio Stratos'. Tinkling piano reminiscent of John Cage gives us a tribute to the avant-garde experiments Stratos leaned towards in the latter part of the 70's on Metrodora and Area's Event 76 album. His solo voice performance following the piano is also right up Stratos' alley. Roberto Vecchioni follows with another singer songwriter performance that is one of the better ones in the day's events. Banco delivers a solemn piano and vocal song quite unlike what we are familiar with from them. The event ends with one of the most lugubrious versions of Area's traditional finale, L'Internazionale. This version seems on the verge of falling apart at every corner as the band seems to challenge each other to go as slowly as possible to wring emotions out that didn't seem possible. A fitting end to the album for sure.

All in all a moving tribute to one giant of a man. Demetrio Stratos left an indelible stamp on Italian music of the 70's. While I'd say the casual RPI fan might be confused by so much folk music here, the hard core Area fan will resonate with the massive variety on display in tribute to one of Italy's greatest musicians. For them, this might be absolutely essential stuff. Maestro Della Voce, indeed.

3 stars

 Maledetti by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.07 | 201 ratings

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Maledetti
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Maledetti" is a very brainy concept album where the notes to the text count more than the lyrics of the songs (by Gianni Sassi), which as usual are too hermetic to really represent politically militant texts or a very surreal or complicated concept. The musical creativity of Area has reached its maximum in the three previous records, one different from the other, and now seeks a synthesis, difficult, relying on the great creativity of the group, in particular of Fariselli and Tofani, authors of the music.

1. Evaporation (1:45). Intro with electronic noises (Tofani) simulating the explosion of the computer that ruled the world and Stratos singing: "We have lost the memory of the fifteenth century." 2. Urban diphorism (6:18). Diforisma is a word that does not exist in Italian, however it implies a split, and the piece of music wants to indicate this break. The concept began, the computer broke and we need to understand who can take the power. The song is characterized by Fariselli's synths which then gives way to a beautiful Tofani electric guitar solo. Below is the rhythmic session, with Walter Calloni on the drums and both Tavolazzi and Hugh Bullen on the bass: the first, however, plays the double bass. The sound of the two basses is fantastic. About three and a half minutes Stratos' voice arrives, it seems to say something but they are still onomatopoeic sounds. The lyrics of the songs, that is, their lack or excessive brevity, is in my opinion a limit of Area: a group with an exceptional singer like Stratos should not do without singing, however good the instrumentalists are. After the vocalizations of Stratos the music starts again, very sustained, always with Fariselli to rage the synths and then again the guitar of Tofani arrives. Remarkable instrumental piece. It is no different as a structure from many "Crac" pieces but it is much more elaborate and inspired. Rating 8.5.

3. Gerontocracy (7:30). That is power to the old men. This piece, originally sung in Greek, is one of the absolute masterpieces of Area and Italian prog-rock. Beautiful start with voice and percussion and saxophone. Around three minutes the singing starts in Italian. Then comes the instrumental part, which follows a Mediterranean and oriental melody, until it becomes jazz-rock thanks to the double bass of Tavolazzi. The synths of Tofani and Fariselli set a Gentle-Giant math-rock in the central part of the track. Finally towards the end the voice of Stratos returns: often after the first album Area forgot to give a complete shape to the songs but this time it does not happen, the music is well developed and ends properly, remaining exceptional at the beginning and very good for the rest of the piece. A piece like this, long, properly sung, and with an excellent instrumental part, accomplished, has even been missing since the debut of "Arbeit Macht Frei", and "Caution Radiation Area" would have remained an absolute masterpiece, if had put a track like this in the end. Rating 8.5 / 9.

4. Scum (6:30). That is power to the women. Beginning with the piano, fast, with the immense, fantastic bass by Tavolazzi, what a prodigy of musician! Syncopated blues rhythm, which then becomes a free-jazz, very high musical level, the music always revolves around the initial phrase of syncopated piano, which could resemble the music of certain songs of the early Steely Dan. Here we see what Steely Dan could have done if they had the courage and creativity of artists without genre frontiers (instead they only made good jazz-blues, classy but conventional, always respecting the song-form - Area run the opposite danger: they risk being transport too much from creativity, neglecting to give a complete and homogeneous form to their art). However, the jazzy pianism of Fariselli and Stratos is very incisive here, and Capiozzo gives his best. It's all improvisation on the same theme, much more free- jazz than both Caution and Crac. But around 5 minutes the track becomes experimental, the voice of Stratos arrives, reciting, theatrically that in our society there is boredom, and women are neglected, so women fearlessly just have to overthrow the government, and destroy the male sex. And on these words: destroy the male, the A side closes, after a short piano sentence. Rating 8+.

A-Side Rating: 8.5 / 9. Great. Yet, with Area, apart from the first album, I always have the impression that their poorly disciplined creativity makes them do less than they could - their technical potential for vocals and instruments and their creativity are among the highest of contemporary music. Occasionally they lack the composition, the formal refinement of the pieces and the overall balance between instrumental and sung parts, leaving little space for Stratos voice.

B-Side 5. The Brandenburg Massacre Number Three In G Major (2:20). Instrumental piece played by a string quartet, and based on the music of J. S. Bach. The piece would like to deconstruct Baroque classical music (the 1700s), classical music, but in reality it is very respectful of original music, and more than anything else it has a slower and less cheerful rhythm, and a more serious tone. The piece remains beautiful but the credit is from J. S. Bach. If Area wanted to change the music, the intent failed, and they ended up putting a short instrumental record on the disc that summarizes Bach's concert. Rating 7.5 (for Bach rating 10).

6. Giro, Giro, Tondo (5:55). That is power to the children. Vocal, polyphonic beginning, where Stratos gives his best, demonstrates what it means to "sing the voice" (title of his best solo work). Then comes Fariselli's synth and the rhythm section, with Walter Calloni (drums) and Hugh Bullen, who try not to regret Capiozzo and Tavolazzi, and therefore they do a lot of work. Stratos sings the few verses of the song, which will remain the only sung part of the whole second side. It is incredible that a group like Area continues to use so little one of the greatest rock singers of all time, preferring to focus almost everything on instrumental pieces. Of course, after the singing by Stratos, the third part of the piece starts at about three minutes, it is a free-jazz instrumental moment, a long frenzied piece conducted by Fariselli's synth, with the rhythmic section that continues to make its virtuosity. The ending is not entirely successful: the first three minutes are fantastic, the rest are a nice free-jazz exercise, but without a real direction. Rating 8.

7. Chaos (Part Two) (9:00). Avant-garde song of 9 minutes where every minute and a half there is an instrument in the foreground to improvise. Stratos starts with vocalizations alternating with guttural and also vulgar and unpleasant sounds, then Steve Lacy's soprano sax alternated with a demented piano by Fariselli. The percussions of Paul Lytton arrive. Some piano phrases evoke the musical motif of the cartoon "The Pink Panther". With the passage of time the piece becomes more musical thanks to the sax alternating with the voice of Stratos who this time performs in sound experiments of a certain musical content, but .... I spoke too early: the unpleasant vocal sounds return, accompanied by the percussion and by Tofani, who participates with the synth. This new atmosphere is unknown if it is more dramatic or demented or grotesque. John Cage is behind the scenes. When the sax returns, the music returns (music: what Area occasionally forget): it is free-jazz. Piece difficult to evaluate, in my opinion reckless improvisation, aimed at surprising is more an academy exercise than a musical creation. I appreciate it intellectually, but above all for free-jazz pieces (in particular the work of Lacy's sax), in my opinion the avant-garde and experimentalism must be at the service of music and not an end in themselves. Rating 8?

Second side almost entirely instrumental, where Stratos is either absent or accompanies music with phonetic experiments. Extemporaneous side, which includes a transcription of baroque music with string quartet and a completely avant-garde and improvised song, perhaps the pinnacle of experimentalism reached by Area. But it is an academic experimentalism. B-side rating: 8?

In its inhomogeneity, Maledetti is a more balanced album than Caution Radiation Area and Crac. It is halfway between these two predecessors. It is very experimental and theatrical, but compared to Caution it has more accessible songs and Stratos can give its best in at least in two songs. Compared to Crac, in general it has more elaborate, more courageous songs, it only lacks a hit such as L'Elefante bianco.

Anyway, I can consider this album a real masterpiece. His quality doesn't reach that of Arbeit Macht Frei but we fly on a wonderful sky, at a big heigh.

Rating 9+. Five Stars.

 Crac ! by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.24 | 385 ratings

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Crac !
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the "Caution Radiation Area" experiment, Area change direction and produce a more accessible album, very rhythmic, full of prog music and free jazz.

"L'elefante Bianco (The White Elephant)". Hyperfast song with great virtuosic play of each instrument. Drums without brake, bass with high amplification very present, emphatic singing, electronic solos (Fariselli), very sustained rhythm with math-rock passages and typically prog rhythm changes. This is a great pop song that combines jazz-rock with prog of rare finesse and with a catchy production. Rating 8,5 / 9.

"La Mela di Odessa (The Apple of Odessa)". Another song very sustained but more jazzy, with the Tavolazzi double bass in the foreground while the solos alternate: synths, guitar, Stratos' voice used only to emit sounds. Halfway through the song, music stops, then starts again with Fariselli's synth, Tavolazzi's trombone and Stratos's spoken voice that tells a fairy tale. We are facing an almost Dadaist piece, with a pop format but with a sophisticated demented arrangement. If we exclude the recited voice, the rhythm and the baritone sound and the arrangement are similar to those that twenty years after having created "Morphine". The slow fading ending is a weak point of the piece. Rating 8+.

"Megalopoli" starts with industrial electronic sounds and onomatopoeic sounds made by Stratos' voice, which last for about a minute and a half, as if it were a cybernetic introduction, then starts true music, more electronic jazz, with Capiozzo stunts on the drums. Stratos continue to use his voice to articulate onomatopoeic sounds, without any meaning, until Tavolazzi's solo arrives on the double bass. Area after the first album, where the sound was only an amalgam of the whole group, they have already been transformed with "Caution" into a group that churns out solos of the various instruments, in a more prog style but also more cerebral and less visceral. This is my impression. Megalopoli is the most experimental song on this album, the one that comes closest to the songs of "Caution Radiation Area": it stands out above all for its always sustained rhythm. We hear three solos simultaneously: the drums of Capiozzo, the synth of Fariselli and the bass of Tavolazzi. At a certain point the song takes up the initial musical theme, almost as if it were a chorus, with the repetitions of Stratos 'vocalizations and then ends by fading again on Stratos' vocalizations. Rating 8.5.

End of an excellent A-side. Rating A-side: 8.5 / 9

"Nervi Scoperti (Uncovered Nerves)". A beautiful beginning with Tavolazzi which confirms himself to be a decisive element for the new sound of Area, much more than what was even the phenomenal Dijvas, who in Area's debut album followed his jazz-rock lines. Here Tavolazzi, as in many other passages of the album, he is left free to make remarkable virtuoso solos, accompanied first by the synth, then by the drums of Capiozzo and finally by the free- jazz liquid pianism of Fariselli that on the piano gives an unmistakable at this album. Before the end, Tofani's electric guitar arrive and Stratos' voice is used only to emit sounds. The song is very linear, remains on the same key, and it is based on the display of the solos of the instrumentalists. Very prog song, well done but without the creative genius in terms of composition. Excellent sudden ending. Rating 8.

"Gioia e Rivoluzione (Joy and Revolution)". In the beginning, it is a piano ballad with Stratos singing in the foreground. Rhythm guitar, catchy melody, it is almost a melodic pop song, one of the most accessible in the Area discography. Then comes an electric guitar solo, and we always hear a very solid bass. When it could become an excellent commercial single, instead of repeating verse and chorus, it ends up with a spree, with a long festive tail and cheeky choruses with lots of applause (clapping). Brilliant beginning and tacky ending. It will become a manifest song both for its catchiness and for the title. In fact it is one of the easiest songs to listen to in the whole production of Area and it is also one of the least elaborate, the simplest. Missed opportunity. Score 7.5.

"Implosion". Minimalist electronic beginning that could remember "Caution Radiation Area" then the usual Tavolazzi'bass marks the sound of the piece together with the synthesizers and the piano solos, and then the guitar solo. Again it is a rather linear instrumental song where the musicians enrich the music with their solos. The song does not seem to me to have a precise direction and risks being too formal, like an exercise in style. I don't see great spontaneity. The nuanced ending here is fine. Score 7,5 / 8.

"Area 5". Two-minute piece that ends a second interlocutory and almost all instrumental side. Instrumental song based on Capiozzo's tamburi, the bass played by Tavolazzi and onomatopoeic sounds made by Stratos' voice. Experimental piece but short and accessible. Rating 7.

End of a B-side much lower in terms of quality than the A-side: 7,5/8.

"Arbeit Macht Frei", written entirely by Fariselli, remains the most homogeneous album by Area in terms of music, structure, alternation of sung and instrumental songs, the most spontaneous and inspired, the most balanced, the one with a very clear personality. "Caution Radiation Area" is already not homogeneous, and much more experimental, decidedly difficult album. It almost completely renounces to the sung parts and is based on very different avant-garde compositions. "Crac" goes in the opposite direction of "Caution Radiation Area": the songs are much more linear and accessible but they are not homogeneus in terms of music and structure, even if they confirm the very high technical rate of the musicians. The music seems to me much more progressive, the three composers (Fariselli, Tavolazzi and Tofani) reserve parts for their solos, show off their virtuosity but the music of the second side does not seem very inspired and spontaneous to me (apart from Joy and Revolution, which however is not well developed) and flaw in calligraphy, formalism prog. We are clearly talking about a group, Area, which also in this case reaches the heights of creativity and courage and sophistication that the vast majority of prog groups could only dream...

but this time I am forced to rate 8.5 / 9, that is, four and a half stars to an Area's album. Yes, in my opinion, Crac is of slightly lower quality than Caution Radiation Area.

 Caution Radiation Area by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 226 ratings

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Caution Radiation Area
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Area lose two virtuous musicians in one fell swoop: Patrick Dijvas with his vigorous bass (which betrayed them for Premiata Forneria Marconi) and Victor Busnello who, with the vicissitudes made with sax, had indelibly marked their debut album. They suffer a serious blow that could kill them but in a short time they decide to do without the sax and manage to find another fabulous bass player, Ares Tavolazzi (who plays even double bass and trombone), already famous for his work with the father of the Italian songwriters Francesco Guccini.

The result is a new group, with a different sound, which decides to experiment totally, not only in the context of jazz rock and avant-garde. The first song, "Cometa rossa", has an electronic intro with an electronic rhythm and then becomes a Mediterranean acoustic folk sung in Greek by Stratos (but with arabic accents), to return to electronic. Remarkable song, sophisticated although perhaps too close to the exercise of style. Rating 8.

ZYG (Crescita zero) is an instrumental piece with an industrial beginning- The only words, spoken with an electronic voice,, are: "L'estetica del lavoro, dello spettacolo, della merce umana." (The aesthetics of work, entertainment, human goods) Great work by Tavolazzi on the bass, Fariselli on synth and by Tofani on the guitar. We are in the free-jazz field, mixed with electronic and avant-guarde. Rating 8+.

Brujo starts with a piece of cacophony, then the music becomes almost ambient, and Tavolazzi shows his cleverness to the double bass. We are listening to an almost completely instrumental album, where Demetrio Stratos participates with the voice rather than with the vocals: the voice used as an instrument. The sound remains more cacophonous than free-jazz, the lack of the sax that traces the line of a melody leaves space for the other instruments, which are free to totally improvise, here in particular we have Fariselli's piano and Capiozzo's drums that are enhanced in long solos; the sound acquires a free-jazz form that has nothing to do with Italian Progressive Rock. Around 6 minutes the music stops, the double bass remains and Stratos' voice finally appears to sing "Ossigeno" and then vocalises, onomatopoeic sounds, the music becomes dissonant, pure avant-garde, Stratos finally sings and closes the first side with a crescendo fantastic. Rating 8,5/9.

End of a difficult but eceptional A-side.

"Mirage" is a mini-suite (ten and a half minutes) that begins slowly, but there is a good progression and with an almost space-rock sound, here we are near a radioactive area, then around 5 minutes and 45 seconds the music stops and we hear polyphonic voices that say nonsense sentences, then voices of worthy spirits of a horror film, all with a very theatrical taste, we reached the maximum of experimentalism, it could be the soundtrack of an absurd theater show, which then becomes dissonant, only the double bass seems to follow a line, all the musicians they are intent on improvising. Experimentalism and avant-garde, perhaps less pure musical content. We always fly on very high quality levels. Rating 8.5.

"Lobotomia" is the last piece. The beginning is hysterical, overpowering, irritating, pure sound experiment, the sound of the second side has become very arduous. The title, which alludes to the operation of a part of the brain, serves to indicate the setting for the music, which wants to be repellent, annoying, unbearable, traumatizing. The problem is that the listener is rejected, it is the ear that hurts. This song in my opinion lowers the quality (rating 6+) of the album which is still excellent, a masterpiece. It could have been a great masterpiece, but so it is only a small masterpiece.

Rating 9. Five stars.

 Anto/Logicamente by AREA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1977
3.00 | 9 ratings

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Anto/Logicamente
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

3 stars This collection from one of the most daring bands to ever come out from Italy is deceptive, but many missed the joke printed right on the cover: Anto/Logicamente. Since this is a 'greatest hits' type release, many not familiar with Italian would quickly read the title as some variant on 'Anthology'. In reality, it translates roughly to 'the opposite of logical'. Which is exactly what this collection is, a gathering of their most out there, avant-garde and non commercial music they ever produced. And if you are a fan of this band already, you know that is definitely a statement. In any event, their choices for their 'Greatest Hits' would ensure that the unsuspecting would run far far away. Logical? No?

Area's label, Cramps decided to put out a collection 1977 and asked the band for input. Whether their label was in on the joke or not (they were pretty hip for a label and avant aficionado owner Gianni Sassi was integral to the Area camp), Area picked 6 of their tunes that were not really representative of their work, some of the most off putting to fragile ears music they could gather. Even for fans of the band, this was definitely a collection for 'difficult listening hour'. The inclusion of a non lp track does make this something to hunt down for completionists.

Most definitely not the place to start for someone trying their first Area experience-Arbeit Macht Frei, Areazione, or Crac would be better choices-but a fun record for hard core fans, and something to whip out to freak out your friends.

Reference points for this particular record? Hard to pin down, but electric avant-jazz mixed with pure chaos and demented opera tremolos comes close. Still relatively easy to find original vinyl first pressings out there.

Three stars

 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 692 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars And here's to you the Area's debut album.

The Lp has an avowedly politicized cover in fact Area are not only a rock band but an icon of the Italian student youth movement of the Seventies, and carry on, together with the editor of their discographyc house Gianni Sassi (alias Frankestein), author of the texts, a Marxist revolutionary discourse.

1. Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero) (4:27). Area's epochal debut starts with a woman's voice reciting very musical verses in Arabic. Then the operatic vocals by Stratos fill our ears, and finally the guitar (Tofani) draws an arabesque but also medieval melody (worthy of Branduardi, minstrel and Italian violinist who only in 1975 will release his first album). The medieval nursery rhyme melody is then doubled by another electric guitar then starts a moment of jazzy cacophony, noise, with avant-garde sounds, then restarts the melody. It will remain the only melodic and captivating, catchy piece on the album. The lyrics talks about the palestinian drama. Masterpiece. Rating 9.

2. Arbeit Macht Frei (7:56). The piece begins with a free-jazz improvisation with the percussion (Capiozzo) in the foreground, then sound effects arrive, electronic sounds that increase more and more, accompanied by the powerful bass by Djivas until, around two minutes and forty, a blues drumming explodes and finally around four minutes a bass riff takes shape which becomes the rhythmic axis of the song, in fact a blues. The singing of Stratos arrives at four and a half minutes from the beginning, the duration of the previous song. Together with the singing and the blues rhythm, the sax played by virtuoso musician Busnello continues with its jazz improvisations, then the music stops, the rhythm changes and the guitar solo of Tofani starts, which then gives way again to Stratos' powerful voice, who sings for a short while before the sudden ending arrives. Masterpiece. Rating 9+.

3. Consapevolezza (6:06). Fariselli, author of all the music, and synths player, brushes a very progressive instrumental intro, full of changes of rhythm and very atmospheric, which after a minute and a half gives space to the energetic voice of Stratos that has no equal in approach, and creates a sense of alienation with the jazz rock music of the group. After two verses, a jazz improvisation led by Busnello's sax, which reveals himself as the album's main soloist, starts. Under the sax, in the background, Capiozzo makes great jokes on the drums. The song despite having a strong blues riff as the first has at least a more relaxed air than the previous two, which were a real tour de force. But towards the end, when Stratos' voice returns, the song explodes. Great song but in comparison with the firsts two is more ordinary. Rating 8+.

End of wonderful A-side.

4. Le Labbra Del Tempo (6:00). Jazz-rock music with the bass in evidence, Strato's voice is not in the foreground, and neither is the drums, in a very jazzy style. Then towards 2'15'' the virtuosic jazz instrumental piece (bass and keyoboards in evidence) starts and ends with a cacophonic piece, then, towards 4 minutes the music stops, Strato's voice returns, making virtuoso vocalizations and then there is an orchestral orgasmic ending. After the first song it is the most sung one of the record. Rating 8.5/9.

5. 240 Chilometri Da Smirne (5:10). Instrumental jazz-rock song, with the sax in evidence, which deepens into an orgiastic virtuoso solo up to two minutes, accompanied by a very jazzy drums. Then a bass solo starts, then the drums come back, Tofani on the guitar plays his solo and then the saxophone and the organ start to draw their lines again. Rating 8.

6. L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin (6:45). We got to the last piece of the album, the most arduous, cryptic, avant- garde. Slow start with sound effects, then starts a cacophonous piece where Tofani and Fariselli play at high volume, and the bass of Djivas, a real gem, embellishes the sound, while Capiozzo focuses more on the dishes than on the snare. Stratos' vocalizations create onomatopoeic sounds that blend with the lyrics in Italian, the sax this time is in the background and is prodigious in dissonant sounds almost in the style of Van der Graaf, and with a suspended atmosphere, true avant-garde, we hear a disaffected music, atonal, until the cacophony explodes again. It's an extreme song, which is more like or be detested. I like it, especially as the conclusion of this album. Of course, if it was all six like this, we would have lost a lot in sound content, but as a forward epitaph it's great. Rating 8,5.

Area created with this record what they called international-pop and which was instead a jazz-rock / avant-garde / fusion prog-rock, an absolute masterpiece where the instrumental part was predominant on the singing of Stratos, which was completely alien to rock and melodic music, it was an emphatic and solemn singing, much sought after, sometimes recitative, sometimes tending to the singing of the opera. The musical part is very strong and innovative. This album has nothing to do with Italian progressive rock and is actually a case also internationally. Difficult to catalog, I would include it in the jazz-rock/fusion genre but also in the avant-garde. Area, however, is not limited to writing a music never heard, without genre, and to prodigious in great instrumental and vocal performances, they manage to forge a music rich in suggestions and innovations, that is, they make history. We are facing, in my opinion, one of the greatest masterpieces of prog - and contemporary music.

Medium quality of the songs: 8,67. Absolute masterpiece. Rating 9,75. Five stars (six, If I could).

 Arbeit Macht Frei by AREA album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.27 | 692 ratings

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Arbeit Macht Frei
Area Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Jmoss

5 stars My favorite RPI band presents a absolute knock-out on first attempt. All the compositions are pure magic. The musicians skills just blows me away. From the first second, this album takes a grip on me and doesnt let me go untill the last note. During the 36 minutes it takes me on an emotional journey that includes everthing from intellegent rockriffs, jazzy passages, canterburylike melodies and avant expressions. The arrangements on this album always develops and surprises me. Never a dull moment.

And on top of that, the extreordinare voice of late Demetrio Stratos. Sadly i dont understand italian but Stratos expession talks to me anyway. He had a strong and demanding tone with an personal way to craft his melodies with total control over his voice. A unique way to sing. He may be an aquired taste but give him a chance.

The album feels like an Italian mix of early Magma, Zappa on inca roads, Present, early Lifetime and Captain Beefhart.

This is maybe not an easy listning but if you give it your time, the reward can be breathtaking.

In this, my first review i wanted to highlight an absolute favourite. I have listned to many RPI bands but AREA is something extra. And this album is, in my opinion, their absolute best.

A must have, i think, for everyone who likes RPI, RIO, Zeuhl, jazzrock and canterbury.

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

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