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ARTI E MESTIERI

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Italy


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Arti E Mestieri picture
Arti E Mestieri biography
Formed in 1974 in Turin, Italy - Still active as of 2017

Outstanding fusion band from Italy. All the power delivered by the insane drumming of Furio CHIRICO is counterpointted by the beautiful violin passages, as well as the killer guitar work. On their early albums, ARTI e MESTIERI made a dynamic, complex and elaborately crafted rock, folk, and fusion blend, that featured much violin and keyboards.

ARTI & MESTIERI, considered one of the most influent cult bands in the italian and european prog scene will astonish the audience confirming, 25 years after its release, that "TILT" is still a milestone for two generations of fans. Both albums that came out on CD, "Tilt" and "Giro Di Valzer Per Domani", are real masterpieces of the genre. A real must for all fusion lovers!

See Also:
- Beppe CROVELLA
- Italian Prog

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ARTI E MESTIERI discography


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ARTI E MESTIERI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.28 | 249 ratings
Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio
1974
3.84 | 128 ratings
Giro Di Valzer Per Domani
1975
2.81 | 38 ratings
Quinto Stato
1979
3.13 | 18 ratings
Acquario
1983
3.49 | 16 ratings
Children's Blues
1985
3.19 | 28 ratings
Murales
2001
3.63 | 19 ratings
Estrazioni
2005
4.13 | 44 ratings
Universi Paralleli
2015

ARTI E MESTIERI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 16 ratings
Arti e Mestieri Live
1990
3.94 | 8 ratings
Live 1974/2000
2003
2.32 | 9 ratings
Prog Day
2003
3.61 | 17 ratings
First Live in Japan
2006
3.42 | 12 ratings
The Live
2013

ARTI E MESTIERI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

2.93 | 15 ratings
Articollezione
2002

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

3.14 | 7 ratings
Il Grande Belzoni
2009

ARTI E MESTIERI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Quinto Stato by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.81 | 38 ratings

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Quinto Stato
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars A marked step down from previous efforts, although not exactly a sellout: even though the band followed the tradition of their American fusion contemporaries by moving towards a more commerciably viable funk-influenced sound, it's not exactly radio-friendly material and even the three relatively accessible vocal numbers ("Arterio", "D'Essay" and the title track) all have a solid foundation in traditional mid-70s jazz fusion. This doesn't change the fact however that these three particular songs are the weakest points on the album by a distance: not only do they all kinda sound the same anyway, but they also all share the misfortune of being "graced" by guest singer Rudi Passuello's raspy voice that sounds very out of place and quickly gets on one's nerves.

The instrumentals are better, but betray a band gradually running out of steam and out of ideas, starting with the captivating, energetic "Vicolo" (proving that funkiness does not nullify a menacing quality to fusion, in case you really needed proof of that) but ending with a lifeless and uninspired jam ("Arti") and finally with a brass-driven conclusion which I think tries to go for a celestial atmosphere but just falls flat and peters out. Four years having passed since one's last album and only being able to stretch out a disappointing middle-of-the-road effort like this to just over 30 minutes is not the sign of a healthy career.

 Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 249 ratings

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Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Listening diary 28th March, 2022: Arti & Mestieri - Tilt (progressive jazz rock, 1974)

My relationship with this one comes and goes. There are days where it absolutely hits the spot, as arguably my favourite thing to come out of Italian progressive rock, but I'll admit that sometimes it has passed me by without much effect. A lot of it is down to the drumming - it carries the music to the degree where if you're not focused, you might miss just how good this is. Like a distant precursor to The Mars Volta, Arti & Mestieri create organised chaos by taking parts of genres both simplistic and detailed. There's a lot of jazz-rock rhythm in here, accentuated by the saxophones and clarinets, but there's also a punk-rock aggression that pulls it all together. The whole thing feels like an angsty musical workout, and on days where intensity is something I'm craving, few albums of this era do it better.

7.6 (7th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 Quinto Stato by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.81 | 38 ratings

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Quinto Stato
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Quinto Stato" is the third studio album by Arti e Mestieri and was released in 1979 on the independent label Cramps Records with a renewed line up featuring Furio Chirico (drums), Marco Gallesi (bass), Marco Cimino (piano, synth, clavinet, Moog - former member of bands such as Errata Corrige and Esagono), Claudio Monafia (guitar, flute, vocals) plus the contribute of the guests Gigi Venegoni (guitar), Rudy Passuello (lead vocals, bassoon), Arturo Vitale (sax), Gigi Fregapane (vocals), Gino Torni (vocals) and Flavio Boltro (trumpet). The overall sound is more straightforward than in the past blending jazz-rock and committed lyrics and every now and again this work could recall the seventies albums released on the Cramps label by artists such as Eugenio Finardi or Alberto Camerini...

The caustic opener 'Quinto Stato (emarginato)' (Fifth State ' Outcast) tells the misadventures of a musician falling into marginalisation in a time of ideological crisis, called in Italy "riflusso", characterized by the betrayal of the ideals of the seventies, swept up by problems such as drug addiction, unemployment, corruption or criminality... The title refers to a famous tableau by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, made in 1901 and representing the Fourth State assuming class awareness and marching together, a well-known symbol for progressive and socialist causes. In this sense, the Fifth State of the title is located on a lower level and the protagonist feels like an outcast without hope...

Next comes 'Vicolo' (Alley), a nice instrumental track featuring slapping bass lines and soaring synth melodies that leads to the following 'Arterio (sclerosi)', a venomous ranting against the Italian political class of the time, here described as an incompetent gerontocracy clinging on power and crowded with hunchbacks and dwarves...

Next comes 'Torino nella mente' (Turin in the mind) that closes the first side of the LP. It's a calm piece that could recall Perigeo with a good flute work that contrasts with the pulsing rhythm section. It paints with its notes the hazy urban landscape of an industrial, busy city that is not without charm and beauty...

Side B opens with 'Mercato' (Market), a beautiful track with a vein of suffused melancholy and a pinch of exoticism. Here vocals are used just as an instrument and the relaxed atmosphere could be the perfect background for some scenes from a seventies film shot in the streets of an Italian city...

Then it's the turn of 'D'essay', an ironic track that tells of a police raid in an art-house cinema... A genial film about alienation and social crises, ten spectators in all for the premiere. When the police arrive all of them are searched, one hides a joint and complains... Well, it's just another ordinary evening of urban commitment!

Then the short, dynamic 'Arti' (Arts) leads to the last track, 'Sui tetti' (On the roofs). Here vocals are used as an instrument again to give colour to a relaxed jazzy piece where melancholic sax notes seem flying over a sleeping city that wants to dream on...

On the whole, a good album performed by a skilled group of musicians but not an outstanding one.

 Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 249 ratings

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Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argentinfonico

4 stars 1. GravitÓ 9,81 (3,5/5): In the opening track of the album everything happens! You can tell it's a sextet already from here. The song starts with an interesting degree of madness, with a fluttering saxophone that then quiets down and is accompanied by the violins, which soon takes over along with the synthesizers. The riff gives some power to the violins and the bass which does some interesting scales as well. It sounds a bit like medieval music, and being Italian progressive it's a fantastic mix!

2. Strips (3,5/5): The riff of this song is the main character at the beginning and it sounds a bit electronic. It also plays between keyboards and violins. Here the voice appears (the violinist sings) to recite a couple of free verses about empty poetry and banal lyrics. It's a nice song that follows the vibe and concept of the album... Almost the same format.

3. Corrosione (4/5): Nice interlude with the saxophone playing twice a lovely solo accompanied by a correct instrumentation. For its length there's not much to say.

4. Positive / Negative (4/5): Here it all falls apart again (in the flattering sense of the word). The beginnings of the songs on this album almost always belong to the violin. This time with percussion arrangements. The madness returns in the middle of the song, when the tempo breaks to 7/8 with gladiatorial drums and a guitar solo that gets straight to the point! The hammond ends the song nicely... All this eruption of madness and violins crashing against organs reminds me a lot of Gentle Giant.

5. In Cammino (4/5): Probably the most intimate song on the album. A few seconds into the song, a private atmosphere of secrecy and sensuality has already been created. As the song grows, the Jazz Fusion elements become clearer than ever! Typical scales in the wind instruments, although the keyboard seems to be more of a secondary than a main protagonist. The saxophone and bass largely dominate the atmosphere of wit and virtuosity.

6. Farenheit (2,5/5): Another interlude. A short piano melody is played, which is gradually accompanied by all the other instruments. The shortest song of the album to introduce the longest one, which starts frantically and without paying attention to its introduction.

7: Articolazioni (5/5): From the start it promises to be the masterpiece of the album. A universe of suspense between keyboards and a terrified violin has been created! Also the role of Furio Chirico needs to be highlighted as it is obvious that he is a great musician and the drumming is here and at all times great. Shortly before the 3 minute mark, the direction of the song takes a turn into undefined places, with an 8/8 full of experimentation on Furio's part. At 4 minutes Giovanni Vigliar appears again (and after so long) to sing one of the phrases I like the most: "Sembra che non ci sia tempo per aspettare la scienza (It seems that there is no time to wait for science)". The clarinet is perhaps the least important thing on the album... Here it plays a very humble role in small moments. I think this track is definitely carried by the rhythmic breaks and the constant euphoria of the drums. He seems to be immersed in a sea of rage and revenge! The lyrics of this song are profound and point towards existential reflection focusing on the human being as an individual and not as a society. The ending is simply epic and original. I will say that if it wasn't for the superb percussion, it wouldn't get the 5 stars for me.

8: Tilt (4/5): A little mellotronesque mess with violin and vocal arrangements to end the album wouldn't go amiss!

OK, it's a complex album to analyse. There are many instruments at play and each one wants to shine at all times: it seems to be a war between them all. The progressions sometimes simply don't follow the rules of music (none of them) and everything is left to the subjectivity of the musicians and the listener. As a conceptual work it is excellent. These are orbits of futurism and sounds that do not follow nature. I feel that I still need several listens to squeeze all its creativity out of it, but it is clearly a great album. I don't think it deserves the 5 stars as there are several things to be clarified, but it is still a great work.

 Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 249 ratings

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Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars One of the latecomers to the Italian prog scene, the Turin based ARTI E MESTIERI (Arts & Trades) didn't even get started until 1974 when the entire RPI scene was starting to wind down but entered the crowded prog world with a bang when it unleashed its competent debut TILT ( IMMAGINI PER ORECCHIO ) "Pictures For The Ear." Founded by drummer Furio Chirico formerly of The Trip and I Ragazzi del Sole along with Arturo Vitale (saxophone, vibraphone), Gigi Venegoni (guitars), Giovanni Vigliar (violin, vocals) and Marco Gallesi (bass), this band stepped outside of the usual symphonic prog stylistic approach of the mainstream Italian prog acts and married the style with heavy doses of jazz-fusion.

Considered one of the most important of the jazz-rock prog bands that emerged from Italy, ARTI E MESTIERI rightfully landed on the legendary Cramps label with fellow countrymen Area and the lesser known Electric Frankenstein. What perhaps made ARTI E MESTIERI stand out from the burgeoning crowded house of Italian prog even in the late year of 1974 was the fact that the band intricately bridged the gap between the Premiata Forneria Marconi symphonic prog style and the Mahavishnu Orchestra derived version of jazz-fusion courtesy of the similar approach of incorporating a violin. The band got its big break right away when it performed at the Lambro Park festival which was is considered Italy's version of Woodstock.

It didn't hurt that the band toured with PFM in front of an audience of 45,000 and received excellent reviews from both critics and fans alike. Despite making a big splash in its homeland, ARTI E MESTIERI needed a few more decades to catch on with the rest of the world. TILT, the debut album is notorious for being a wild ride filled to the brim with diverse dynamics alternating between sizzling jazz-rock virtuosity to slower passionate displays of vocal oriented symphonic prog. The team of six musicians on board provided some of the most competent workouts in Italian prog in addition to the clever craftsmanship that went into the compositional process.

"GravitÓ 9,81" starts off with a bang instantly reminding of early Mahavishnu Orchestra with knotty instrumental gymnastics that find the violin and guitar in a violent uproar but just as quickly as Mt Vesuvius erupts, it calms down to a dark almost Univers Zero-like form of chamber prog. The shifts continue and the tracks flow together quite well as long bouts of jazz-fusion cede to tender moments of vocal oriented symphonic prog. While mostly instrumental, the vocals do emerge when least expected and are every bit as competent as one would expect from a high class Italian prog band of the era.

While the majority of tracks are on the shorter side, the album's highlight is the outstanding near 14-minute "Articolazioni" which displays a huge range of tricks and trinkets that straddles many aspects of the Italian prog scene with uncanny instrumental interplay, excellent transitions and fine-tuned finesse. TILT doesn't let up even with the final short 2 1/2 minute title track which closes the album with a series of progressive electronic sounds adding a whole other dimension to the album's breadth. While many bands existed for a fleeting moment in time during the big bang of Italian prog in the early 70s, ARTI E MESTIERI has intermittently reformed over the years and remains one of those early acts still active however for my money this debut was their finest moment with one brilliant track after another despite sporting one of the ugliest and uninspiring album covers of the entire Italian prog world. Oh well, it's the music that counts!

 Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 249 ratings

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Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

5 stars Is it RPI? Is it jazz fusion? Sitting somewhere halfway in between is Arti E Mestieri's masterpiece debut album, Tilt. Labelmates with Cramps stars Area, they produced two classics of RPI before disbanding after three more middling fusion albums starting in 1979 -- a four year gap from their second release. (They did reform like many of their contemporaries in the 21st century)

This album is definitely one that RPI fans should seek out quickly after getting a few of the big Italian prog classics under their belts. Featuring some stellar keyboard work from Beppe Crovella but more importantly the brain expanding drumming of Furio Chirico, one of the busiest drummers in all of prog rock. (he'd give Bruford a run for his money). He can quietly drum solo throughout a whole song without ever losing the pulse of the beat, not an easy trick. This album ticks the boxes for most RPI needs: mellotron, violin and complex instrumentals in abundance.

The album opens Mahavishnu style with a burst of energy that instantly subsides into an oboe and mellotron intro to one of their classic songs: Gravita 9.81 (metric version of gravitational acceleration on Earth). Aptly titled, we tumble free falling as Chirico gives us his first introduction to his drum clinic on this one. Soprano sax from Arturo Vitale is first a calming then consonant force in tandem with the drums. Synthesizer (ARP this time, not Moog) is powerful here and takes the song into another mellotron prog direction as the violin dances on top. Picture Jean Luc Ponty growing up in Italy and composing with an Italian background for this section. Vocals show up on song 2, Strips. Gentle acoustic guitars, mellotron and vibraphone drive this midtempo song. Corrosione, Positivo/Negativo and In Cammino blend together as one suite to end side one, a furious blast of jamming with some impressive guitar work from Venegoni and violin from Giovanni Vigliar.

Side two starts with a gentle piano and synthesizer duet in Farenheit, a short one minute song that bleeds straight into the second real masterpiece: Articolazione, a 13.5 minute tour through all of the strengths the band has. Violins create tension and calm simultaneously. Synths trigger lightning-like bursts from the drums (Chrico never saw a drum fill he didn't like). Bass creates a stable riff for the players to ground themselves as soprano sax draws the momentum further onward. Sections come effortlessly until our next encounter with vocals. This time they sound a bit more on the slick side than RPI stylings on side one, and some have noticed this as a flaw. The second pass through on vocals here reverts to a more traditional RPI style, and this song will be the best place to start for Italian prog fans wondering what this band is about, with its symphonic edges and some early Fripp style guitar work. Some uncredited flute makes its first and only appearance here. This song is a stone cold RPI masterwork. The title track, Tilt, finishes the album with a short piece of ARP 2600 synths burbling away randomly like R2D2 while mellotron plays a frightening Watcher of the Skies styled outro. Amazing.

This band often opened for Area back in the day. Now that would be a dizzying one two punch I'd like to have seen.

Just found an original first pressing vinyl on Cramps which is far superior to the Akarma vinyl reissue, which I thought was a little tinny in sound reproduction. The original lp sounds better than the 80's and 90's CD versions as well.

Impeccable musicianship, complex arrangements, and one of the more gifted bands in the whole Italian prog scene. Fans of Ponty and Mahavishnu for non RPI followers would love this. RPI fans though? Go get this immediately. Terry Bozzio or Bill Bruford fans will ideally already have this one just for Chirico.

4.75 stars

(I'd advocate this album is more a classic in the RPI canon than fusion as their full on jazz fusion era came in 1979.)

 Giro Di Valzer Per Domani by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.84 | 128 ratings

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Giro Di Valzer Per Domani
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The sound has not changed much in comparison to the previous album but it is slightly less raw and vocals prevent from getting much focus on instrumental prowess. Arguably there is less space for brass instrument and more vocalized sections. Drums are usually more aggressive and fast then on the debut album which might attrack additional listeners.

"Valzer per domani" is an elegant waltz with violin and plenty of drum variety. "Mifafori" reveals the devilish fusion speed behind the drums unmatched by most other fusion acts.

This part reminds of Mahavishnu Orchestra also because of aggressive guitar and violin duel. The third track "Saper sentire" is a modernized track with funky keyboards and plenty of good vocals.

"Mescal" is very close to Mahavishnu Orchestra sound especially where violin dominates. Excellent furious drumming is evident here, too. This is a high quality track with many changes in its 5 minutes. Nice organ and piano contributions are in the short "Nove lune dopo". "Dimensione terra" has a great Canterbury feeling and reveals an optimistic feeling.

The tenth with the long name finally features a typical light fusion guitar a la Larry Coryell and drums are kept less dominant.

The most expressive drumming monemt comes with "Sagra" with drums running around at wild pace are contrast to normal paced piano and keyboards. "Rinuncia" is more reminiscent of typical Italian progressive rock and less of fusion. "Marilyn" has asynchronous drums with clavinet/spinet and synth layers. "Terminal" goes again back to a reference manual by Mahavishnu Orchestra.

 Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 249 ratings

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Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars One of the best fusion albums from Italy of the 70's. Musicianship is excellent and inspired, players do not try showing off all the time. The most dominant player, in my opinion, is the drummer, who is very profilic and provides also some unnecessary fill-ins. Violin and synths + ARP2600 are also sound trademarks of Arti e Mestieri.

The first composition is pretty much THE trademark signature of the band with its typical fusion melody, complex drums and focus on keyboards and violin. Saxophones and clarinet push the sound to another fusion league. The interesting contrast is very jazzy saxophone feeling soloing over more rocking drums.

The second composition introduces good Italian vocals that have warm emotions. "Positivo/negativo" is balancing between going left and right as heard by violin. Calming vibraphone is deceiving since abruptly furious drumming comparable only to Cobham/Mouzon legendary intensity enters the stage. Agressive guitar duels this very well and is finally to be heard. After a sudden stop, a new calm saxophone start leads us into "In Cammino" - a welcome break from intensive drums. However, soon the time signature is changed into third-based that make one want to dance. One of the most dynamic moment is with wild saxophone solo seconded by drums and bass guitar. "Farenheit" is a pleasant change to hear piano with clarinet and the composition evokes good old times. "Articolazioni" offers many changes including Canterbury-like vocals.

The last track is experimental synth/Mellotron noodling and has nothing to do with the album's context.

A highly recommended album for fusion and Italiano Rock Progressivo fans.

 Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 249 ratings

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Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars How is this album, this band not as famous and talked about as other Italian prog from the mid-70s? The instrumental prowess, mature songwriting, broad dynamics, and great production here is to my mind on par with PFM, Banco, and Cervello and even AREA! Prog of ANY era does not get better than this--especially in the fact that acoustic and folk elements are worked in and there were no computers! Where are people finding the deficiencies or inadequacies! Not in melody. Not in sophistication. Not in sound quality. Is it in the seeming lack of originality? (I read all the comparisons to Mahvishnu and Jean-Luc Ponty.) Break out albums happen. The fact that they emulated--that they inspire other musicians to create in a similar style--should be rewarded not penalized! To strive to be the best--to go through doors that other geniuses have opened--should be lauded and encouraged, not denigrated and discouraged! They may even end up refining something to make it even better! But it could never happen if they are discouraged from trying. I have no hesitation calling this album a masterpiece of progressive rock music--composition and performances of the absolute highest caliber---and, best of all, very accessible/engaging and enjoyable (as opposed to some of the obtuse and jarring music made by Mahvishnu, Miles, and even Yes. Check this album out everybody! It's a work of genius, passion, and inspiration from start to finish. It should be heralded as one of the shining pieces of 1970s progressive rock music--not just RPI or jazz-rock fusion.

1. "GravitÓ 9,81" (4:05) opens the album with an energetic burst before backing off to allow for an almost chamber strings intro. At the one minute mark everybody in the band jumps into a fully formed JEAN-LUC PONTY-sounding song of high speed, tight sequencing of high complexity, and very catchy melodic presentation with violin in the lead. At the two minute mark things break and shift to a slightly slower tempo a different structure as the bass and saxophone become more prominent. Amazing drumming throughout and nice presence of Mellotron in the background. At 3:40 we return to the violin theme of the second minute for the finale. Tight song of melodic and instrumental perfection. (9.5/10)

2. Strips (4:39) drum kit and piano and synth bass line open this before the 'tron and violin enter and the drums kick into full gear. Saxes enter later with a second melody introduced into the weave. After 90 seconds things stop and restart with vocals! Multi-voiced, gentle, even sappy--as acoustic guitars, xylophone, and Mellotron accompany in a gentler fashion than the previous section. At the three minute mark the vocals end and piano, violin, xylophone and acoustic guitar take turns with the melody in between singing sections while drums and bass support in a kind of staccato way for the final two minutes of the song. Unexpected and nice! (9/10)

3. Corrosione (1:37) opens with Mellotron strings before bass, keys, and cymbals crash in with two-stroke pattern over which roto-toms and sax. It turns out that this song is merely a bridge between "Strips" and "Positivo / Negativo" as both songs bleed into each other. A kind of three-chord experiment over which drummer gets to play and sax and keys hold down the melody and chordal structure before going into: (4.5/5)

4. "Positivo / Negativo" (3:29) opens with slow, forceful single-stroke strums of a 12-string guitar accompanied by congas. Violin, synths, cymbal play and vibraphone join in. The tempo shifts a couple of times as vibraphone takes a brief turn at lead until at 1:40 things stop, new keyboard instrument takes over the "strum" of the guitar as rest of band jumps it at breakneck speed to allow shapeshifting extravaganza of solo-turn-taking--saxes, violin, electric guitar, vibes, and then all in unison!--and this while the bass and drums are terrorizing the rhythm tracks beneath. Wow! Impressive! (9.5/10)

5. "In Cammino" (5:36) opens with some beautiful slow sax and, later, vocalise melody-making with piano and brushes providing some support. At 1:45 there is a stop as piano and electric piano provide a pretty bridge into a new section in which full band supports violin and sax dual lead melody establishment. Frequent stops, breaks, tempo and stylistic shifts follow though the busy bass, drums, and keys remain at the foundation of it all throughout. Nice electric piano and electric guitar soloing in the fifth minute. Man, this band is tight! J-RF doesn't get much better than this! (9.5/10)

6. "Farenheit" (1:15) opens as if a little piano interlude ditty, but after the first run through the piece, seconded by sax, and then full rhythm section for the third, and sax and violin for the fourth and fifth. (4.25/5)

7. "Articolazioni (13:24) opens a bit like something from PFM's Per un amico, slow and exploratory, not ready to commit to full song but willing to play around with a theme. At the one minute mark there is a pause before the band kicks into a mid-tempo, full band jazz-rock exposition with violin, sax and electric guitar providing the melody in triplicate. Music shifts behind speeded up, frenetic drums yet slowed down bass and keys while violin, sax, and guitar take turns teaming up or independently carrying the melody forward. At 2:46 there is another break before soprano saxophone restores the melody while drums and bass provide a slow, sparse, stoccato accompaniment. At 3:17 a cool drum roll across the toms signals a new full-on dynamic commitment, but this is short-lived as a lot of shifts and transition/transformations occur before a slightly more straightforward (Brian Auger-like) singing section begins by the end of the fourth minute. Cool tension in the transition at the 5:00 mark and thereafter--a kind of preview of BRUFORD/UK-ishness. Speaking of which, man is this drummer amazing! soft and loud, subtle and intricate, fills and cymbal work that have blinding speed, and always in command as the staunch time-keeper. Very cool instrumental sections broken up by brief vocal sections play out with lots of vibes, 'tron, violin and sax in the lead. One neat thing about this band seems to be that the lead instrument is always propelling the songs' melodies with very detailed, intricate, and often-doubled up melody lines and that the actual "solos" are actually very few and brief. At 10:30 there is a big downshift in both tempo, delicacy, and mood with vibes and violin establishing the melody while drums do all kinds of wildly impressive subtleties before sensitive singing enters. At l1:45 band amps up for the full exposition of the current melody before 'tron and flanged strummed electric guitar guide us into a kind of GENESIS "As Sure as Eggs Is Eggs" finale. Great song with dazzling but never over-the-top or overwhelming complexity, constant beauty in the melodies. (24/25)

8. "Tilt" (2:29) an exercise/Útude in synthesizer weirdness--including special effects being applied to saxophones and violin. Not exactly melodic or very memorable, it is a fitting representative of the infatuations that new technologies must have been causing adventurous musicians in the early 1970s. (4/5)

Total Time 36:34

Five stars; a true masterpiece of jazz-rock fusion from the classic era of Rock Progressivo Italiano.

 Universi Paralleli by ARTI E MESTIERI album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.13 | 44 ratings

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Universi Paralleli
Arti E Mestieri Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Universi Paralleli is the last, long awaited, studio album by Arti e Mestieri, a band from Turin that have been active, one way or another, for more than forty years. It was released in 2015 on the Cramps - Sony label with a renewed line up featuring, along with founder members Gigi Venegoni (acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards) and Furio Chirico (drums, percussion), also Iano Nicol˛ (vocals), Piero Mortara (accordion, piano, keyboards), Lautaro Acosta (violin, electric violin), Roberto Puggioni (bass, fretless bass) and Marco Roagna (acoustic and electric guitars) plus some prestigious guests such as Arturo Vitale (sax), Mel Collins (sax, flute) and Lino Vairetti (vocals). The creative vein of the band has not run out along the years and the songwriting is still brilliant, blending jazz rock, melody and Mediterranean colours with excellent results. On the album cover there's the picture of a sculpture by Lugi Farina that in some way recalls their debut album Tilt - Immagini per un orecchio, but with a touch of modernity that could give you an idea of the musical content. According to the liner notes, the music and lyrics of this work deal with the subject of parallel universes, emotional contrasts that are mirrored, for instance, in double lives or double personalities...

The opener "Alter Ego" is a great instrumental track where acoustic and electric instruments draw new images for you ears with soaring melodic lines defying the gravity force flying high over jazzy patterns... I think that it's a very introduction for a wonderful album!

"Dune" is a beautiful instrumental with Oriental flavours that leads to "Pacha Mama" where we can hear for the first time on this work Iano Nicol˛'s vocals. The lyrics deal with environmental issues. In fact, the title refers to the goddess of fertility revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. Mother Earth here is depicted as a dying entity, poisoned by the greediness of humankind. Men driven by gold are sucking the divine maternal sap like vampires while deserts of sand are rapidly replacing lakes and rivers...

A strong, melancholic wind of nostalgia blows through the notes of the following "L'ultimo imperatore" (The last emperor). The title seems to refer to the film of the same name directed in 1987 by Bernardo Bertolucci about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China. The lyrics do not try to tell a story but draw evocative images about parallel universes and fading memories where distorted and manipulated revolutions are celebrated by godless priests in doomy cathedrals that can't hide the pervasive sense of loss and emptiness of a faithless ritual performed by rote...

"Finisterre" and "Johann" are two charming instrumental pieces drenched in a kind of dreamy romanticism that lead to the heartfelt "Restare immobile" (Remaining motionless) where the music and lyrics depict the eternal contrast between reality and dreams. You can pin down a fragment of reality on a blank page and anaesthetize your memories. Poetry and dreams can set you free and when your mind begins to fly you're able to take off on a journey across far, extraordinary worlds, even without moving your body!

The melancholic instrumental "Borea" (Boreas) is full of delicate autumnal colours and soaring folksy melodies with accordion and violin in the forefront. The music draws evocative northern landscapes while the title refers to the god of the north wind, one of the four seasonal Anemoi in ancient Greek mythology... It leads to the joyful "Pandora" where the music and lyrics conjure up strange images and cheerful dances. Here the wind takes you onwards and you set off on a magical journey to discover new moons and better days...

The following "Linea d'ombra" (Shadow line) is darker and tense. It's another beautiful instrumental that leads to the pyrotechnic drum solo "Comunicazione primordiale" (Primordial communication), full of savage energy and exotic flavours. Next comes the instrumental "La luce in fondo al tunnel" (The light at the end of the tunnel) that is more relaxed and shines for his perfect mix of jazz and classical influences.

The last track "Nato" (Born) is credited as a "bonus track" and features the special guest Lino Vairetti from Osanna on vocals. It's a wonderful piece that deals with a strong sense of nostalgia for a lost emotion that was born from a thought or maybe from a kiss, or a lie, a tune, a sound, a poem, a sin, a shout or just from a moment of madness that now your are trying to find again between a smile and a tear, between the clouds and the stars, in an image or in a deep, cold abyss inside you soul or... wherever you want! It's just a magic moment that fled away and you're still desperately running after it...

On the whole, I think that this is wonderful album and a real must for every Italianprog lover!

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

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