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Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy

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Libra biography
Formed and reformed in various combinations, Libra rised from the Italian progressive rock scene back in 1974, delivering an unique, personal take on jazz rock , funky grooves, classical instrumental, psychedelic-prog rock and electronic weirdness. The original line up includes members from Buon Vecchio Charlie, Myosotis and Logan Dwight. Released in 1975, their first album "Musica e parole" has some mainstream italian prog influences from that period (PFM, Le Orme...). This album will be released in the United States for Motown. One year later, the guitarist D'Andrea (ex-Myosotis) leaves and the drummer Walter Martino (ex-Goblin) joins the band. They released their second US album called "Winterday's Nightmare" which was recorded during an American tour that lasted from Oct-Dec 1975. The band finally returned to Italy with a new line up including keyboardist Maurizio Guarini (ex-Goblin) and guitarist Carlo Pennisi (ex-Flea). This musical team released the album "the Shock" (1977) as a soundtrack for Mario Bava's classic giallo-horror movie. The music vibe is groovy and catchy, featuring creepy synths and gorgeously mysterious atmospheres. Libra disbanded a few months later.

Similar Bands: Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, Il Baricentro

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LIBRA discography

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

3.58 | 30 ratings
Musica e parole
4.53 | 8 ratings
3.18 | 12 ratings
Winter Day's Nightmare
3.58 | 21 ratings

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

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

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

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

LIBRA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Winter Day's Nightmare by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.18 | 12 ratings

Winter Day's Nightmare
Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Perhaps the most startling thing about Winter Day's Nightmare - aside from that cool flamingo on the front cover - is that it came out on none other than the legendary Motown Records, who were operating a bit far outside their usual area of expertise here.

That said, whilst it is a bit unexpected to find an Italian prog band released on a label more known for its titanic reputation for top-notch soul, funk, and R&B, it's not completely illogical. Libra's preceding album, released in its original version as Musica e Parole, had a funk-influenced sound not a million miles away from what Goblin were getting up to on the Profondo Rosso soundtrack. Duly impressed by the band's funk chops, Motown not only issued an English-language version of the album for the English-speaking market (retitled simply Libra and given brand new cover art) but went so far as to give the band a 10-album contract. (Perhaps they were looking to the example of ELP, whose Manticore label had released English-language versions of albums by PFM and Banco to some success.)

The band duly flew to the US and put in a stint recording Frank Zappa, and set about recording this sophomore release - their first to be recorded under the Motown contract. Here, however, things began to go badly awry; reportedly, the group had severe disagreements with their producer, and unfortunately you can kind of tell as much from the album, being as it is a weird mix of accessible AOR with smooth soul influences jumbled in with proggier moments. There's clearly the kernel of a good idea there - a fusion of prog and soul could end up being quite intriguing, like a sort of less poppy and more esoteric take on Bowie's Young Americans or Station to Station - but alas, if the band had a strong idea for how they would accomplish this union, it doesn't come across on the album.

The group went home to Italy by the end of 1975, having split up in the process. They'd reform in a reconfigured lineup for that time-honoured pastime of Italian prog bands - namely, producing a soundtrack for an Italian horror movie (Schock) - but this would be without guitarist Federico D'Andrea, whose English vocals had won them the Motown contract in the first place and are one of the silver linings here. (Whether this was truly a Libra album or merely an album released using the Libra name for a bit of name recognition due to some Libra musicians being in the lineup is a question for another day.)

Sadly, Federico D'Andrea would die after being hit by a car in 1978, putting an end to any prospect of this incarnation of the group reuniting. This is a shame, because like I said, there's the glimmering of something special here, but the execution could do with a bit of polishing-up.

 Shock by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.58 | 21 ratings

Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After touring in Italy, supporting Banco Del Mutuo Soccordo, Libra had a great chance to meet success when offered a 10-album contract by the US label Motown, the management of which had listened to the English version of the debut.They travelled to the States, playing alongside Frank Zappa, Chicago, and Steppenwolf and recorded the album ''Winter day's nightmare'' in 1976, which ended up to be a complete bust, far from the prog roots of the band.After conflicts with their manager they returned to Italy at the end of the year, only to dissolve a bit later.But in 1977 Sandro Centofanti, Dino Cappa and Walter Martino joined forces with Goblin's keyboardist Maurizio Guarini and Etna's/Flea's guitarist Carlo Pennisi to record the soundtrack of Mario Bava's horror film ''Shock''.The album was released on Cinevox.

Guarini's presence and, of course, Bava's Horror Film background somewhat inspired Libra, which now sounded a lot like GOBLIN, displaying a turn towards cinematic music with experimental flashes and, still, some strong progressive elements.The album ended up to be actually a mixed bag of sights and sounds, containing the obvious and expected leanings towards Classical and Electronic Music, but -unlike GOBLIN- they even flirted with FRANCO BATTIATO-like Avant-Garde/cosmic/minimalistic edges with lots of percussion and weird keyboard lines.''Shock'' scans different aspects and excerpts of the film and thus comes as a genuine mix of Symphonic Rock, Fusion, abstract electronics and Experimental Rock, showing flashes of a trully talented line-up and promises of a solid chemistry, which apparently didn't last long.Certain moments come close to the melodic, artistic and gentle vibe of IL VOLO with symphonic and jazzy keyboards on smooth rhythm lines, other pieces are completely outlandish with odd sound effects, a dark minimalism and a cinematic background.Apart from some chants there are no vocals to be found in the album, which often moves away from the typical music theory and delivers sinister echoes, attached to the film, usually breaking shortly afterwards in piano interludes, nice dual keyboard parts and even some grandiose organ-drenched Classicism.

The sole album by this short-lived and unconvential Libra line-up.All musicians from this formation remained involved in the music industry with decent to less succesful careers.Band's leader Nicola Di Staso continued his musical journey as a session man, playing also with Claudio Simonetti in his Daemonia project.Former guitarist Federico D'Andrea died tragically in 1978 at the age of 30, after he was ran over by a car.

GOBLIN-like diverse Prog/Avant-Garde/Experimental Rock with connections to horror movies.Really a great effort, when you're in the mood for something more cinematic and haunting.Warmly recommended, Cinevox has also made a CD reissue available.

 Libra by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.53 | 8 ratings

Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by presdoug

5 stars "Close your eyes, and then whirl on back in time"

I truly love this record, it is very emotional for me, and this is one of the few instances where with an RPI recording, I actually prefer the English sung album over the Italian version. (the other instance being RDM's "Contamination")

Not that there is anything wrong with the Musica e Parole debut (see my 5 star review), but this English sung version of the debut was the first Libra music I had and loved, finding a used lp copy in a store in Montreal in the early 1990s, so it has a special, sentimental place in my heart. Musician/singer/songwriter the late Federico D'Andrea does a superb job with the vocals here; he has somewhat of an accent, but that is never a detriment, and it adds to the charm and appeal of this record.

It is a neat thing to be able to understand what is being sung-my English being a lot better than my Italian. The tales D'Andrea sings about are both thoughtful and thought-provoking-in songs like Born Today and Beyond The Fence, for example, the listener is free to "read between the lines" with the almost philosophical take on things. I will not repeat my impressions of the music itself, as it is identical to what I previously reviewed in Libra's Musica e Parole record.

It must have been quite an experience for Libra to storm the portals of America and tour there in ernest promoting "Libra-Libra". This album is definitely a product of it's era, and it is like a time trip listening to it. Federico's vocal style is always passionate and embracing, and you can make out very easily what he is singing about. He doesn't scream or shreik like a lot of rock singers do, but has you captivated all the way through things without a need for that. I feel that this album, though overlooked as it is, should be essential listening for any 70s prog fan-5 stars.

 Musica e parole by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.58 | 30 ratings

Musica e parole
Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by presdoug

5 stars I was first introduced to the band Libra by finding a used copy of the English language version of their debut lp, simply titled "Libra", on the Motown label, and it is one of the rare occasions where i actually prefer this to the Italian version of the album.(But that is another story, really)

I would say Libra's leader was the late Federico D'Andrea, though the resultant music on this album sounds like a band that is truly a collaborative effort; no one instrument or musical influence outshines any other. Even saying that, D'Andrea's presence is like a guiding light throughout-this musician/singer/songwriter had a very unique and spirited way of expression that is both quirky in style, but philosophical in lyrical perspective.

There are a whole host of musical influences here on Musica e Parole presented in a kind of musical melting pot-rock, jazz, funk, folk, and psych, that hold your interest all the way through this album. Side one is deeply moving in it's lyrical style and musical execution-with the last track being sung in English even on the Italian language version here, called Beyond The Fence. D'Andrea portrays himself sitting on a fence, which could symbolise whatever you may consider, and taunts the listener with "Or maybe you don't want to know, what is there, beyond the fence".

Side two is the more progressive of the two, opening with the title track, which is the emotional peak of the album, especially when the keys kick in. Federico's vocals are especially moving. The last two songs, Pegno D'Amore and Iquinamento are the instrumental highlight of Musica e Parole, with some extended instumental interplay that gets quite progressive. Iquinamento is the longest song here, and one really travels through a lot of different stages without losing focus for a second.

Libra's Musica e Parole is a delightful mid seventies, Italian prog excursion that tends to be overlooked, i guess because the band's follow up album "Winter Day's Nightmare" bombed (unjustifiably) and the band folded not long after. This debut album, either the Italian or English language version, qualifies as Libra's best record, and evidence of the fact that interesting music was still being created in the Italian prog world by newer groups in the mid seventies period. Five stars.

 Musica e parole by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.58 | 30 ratings

Musica e parole
Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

3 stars I'm not quite sure what to make of this one. Libra's debut album has moments of brilliance, and times when I just want to turn it off. Is Musica e Parole a classic of the middle period ('74-'75), or better left forgotten? Every time I listen to it I end up somewhere in the middle, and that's exactly where this album ranks. Musica e Parole, with its strange blend of soft prog, R&B and arena rock never really finds itself and ends up just being average. This is a major disappointment, considering the talent on hand: Guitarist Nicola Di Staso and singer Frederico D'Andrea both came from Logan Dwight, keyboardist Sandro Centofani was in Buon Vecchio Charlie, and drummer David Walter and bassist Dino Cappa formed a solid rhythm section. But unfortunately, a band that looks good on paper never really gelled and ultimately folded after the next album. Ironically, the group would release their best album in name only - a reformed Libra, with the soundtrack to Schock in 1977.

The potential for Libra to succeed was clear, as the group secured a ten-album deal with Motown that was later rescinded. The Motown influence (pressure?) was immediate, and a funky soul-inspired tone permeates much of Musica e Parole. Were it not for the jazzy, fusion-style playing of Sandro Centofani I could completely discount this album as progressive at all. The long "Inquinamento" is really the only impressive moment on the entire disc, yet somehow the preceding 30 minutes are just compelling enough to hold your interest. "Nato Oggi'" kicks things off, fading in slowly and offering some real promise. The song begins sounding like Ibis and ends up sounding like PFM circa Chocolate Kings. The medley "Il Tempo E' Un Buon Amico/Forse E' Furia" covers ground that would later be perfected by the likes of Supertramp and Harmonium. The long suite is essentially an extended jam, intended primarily to showcase the talent of Nico Di Staso. His guitar playing is nondescript yet showy; Di Staso's acoustic guitar touch is far more effective, and used sparingly to good effect.

"Beyond the Fence" sounds like a cheesy Average White Band imitation and goes on far too long. The superior title track luckily saves the proceedings. "Musica e Parole" is perhaps the most representative song on the album, so if you don't like it then you probably won't like the rest. Featuring a likable piano part and even some unexpected time-signature changes, the song could very well have cracked the US charts had it been released as a single. The slow-starting "Pegno D'Amore" shows some fusion influences before careening into poppier fare. Finally, we reach "Inquinamento" and the best music herein. "Inquinamento" is a dazzling instrumental, reminiscent of Latte e Miele's "Pavana" or even Apoteosi's song of the same name. This 14-minute wonder saves the album from miring in completist-only status, and makes it easier to recommend (if only for collectors).

 Shock by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.58 | 21 ratings

Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I first heard of this band through a sampler I got about a month ago and I was so impressed with what I heard that i picked up this album. "Shock" is the soundtrack to the paranormal / suspense film with the same title, and it's a Mario Bava movie. LIBRA are often compared to GOBLIN which isn't so surprising when both are making music for Horror films, but also there are two members of GOBLIN on this record playing keyboards and drums. On guitar is the former FLEA member Maurizio Pennisi.The cover art certainly suits the music and I like the fact that they use plenty of mellotron.

"The Shock" is spacey with synths and Hammond as the drums and bass come in then mellotron. The tempo picks up and this sounds amazing. More mellotron follows as themes are repeated. An incredible track. "L'altalena Rossa" is a short piece with intricate acoustic guitar throughout. "Transfert" opens with percussion only then the mellotron takes over after 1 1/2 minutes.This stops after 3 1/2 minutes as we get electronics and drums to end it. "La Baia" has piano melodies throughout.

"La Cantina" opens with what sounds like vibes as the atmosphere with mellotron comes in. It kicks in at 2 minutes. Amazing sound here with fat bass lines. Very powerful. "Tema Di Marco" starts off like the last song with what sounds like vibes then atmosphere. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Love the guitar and bass here. Excellent track. "L'incubo" has these sounds that pulse and they get pretty abrasive then stop as a chilling atmosphere with mellotron takes over to the end. "Transfert III" has percussion sounds that create an intricate pattern. "Il Fantasma Suona Il Piano" is a short piece with dark piano melodies and strings. "Transfert IV" opens with bass sounds as an eerie vibe comes in along with other sounds. It changes 2 minutes in as electronic sounds come and go. Some laughing a minute later then piano takes over to end it.

Certainly fans of MORTE MACABRE or GOBLIN will enjoy this album. A solid 4 stars.

 Winter Day's Nightmare by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.18 | 12 ratings

Winter Day's Nightmare
Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by presdoug

5 stars It is not hard, really, to understand that this brilliant, over-looked album had a hard time being promoted and accepted. Firstly, it was on the Motown label, and one has to wonder if they had any real idea how to market an Italian progressive rock band in the first place. And for the music itself, it is something that was probably "too mainstream for the progressive rock listeners, and too progressive for more mainstream taste". But in giving this record a complete listen, one realizes that it had a lot more going for it, musically and lyrically, than it was given credit for, and that it was special in a way.

Yes, the album does include main songwriter/guitarist/singer the late Federico D'Andrea, who was the main force behind the band, and his at times quirky yet always passionate singing and playing make this still a true Libra album. It is somewhat mainstream, i say somewhat, because that element of the sound is never present in a blatant or annoying way, and Winter Day's Nightmare is still progressive enough to be a great companion album to the band's first and best English sung album "Libra".

The music in Winter Day's Nightmare is quite beautiful, but never trite, and all the songs in it fit in quite nicely. There are a whole plethora of influences in the music, without one of those influences dominating over the others-rock, jazz, funk, folk, etc. One can always make out what D'Andrea is singing about despite his somewhat Italian accent, and his unique, almost philosophical perspective is fascinating to listen to (especially in Nothing Comes, Nothing Goes) And then there is the sad story of a woman whose life is a lie in Lucy Squirrel, a tale that really rings home for the listener.

Instrumentally, the band plays tight, and unites their whole host of influences in a way that is accessible without being a blatant sellout. I have the feeling that this album could have made a bigger impact than it ended up doing, and it is a shame that absolutely nobody, the band included, promoted Winter Day's Nightmare very much. Given a serious look at the music therein, that was definitely a mistake. I give the record five stars.

 Musica e parole by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.58 | 30 ratings

Musica e parole
Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Libra first recording is one of the great italian progressive rock albums! Libra were a mix of progressive and jazz fusion and really hit the mark with this album. The line up on this album included members from Buon Vecchio Charlie, Myosotis and Logan Dwight. Musically this album has characteristics of the classic 70's Ital-prog with strong allusions to the music of PFM and Buon Vecchio Charlie! Libra also on this album blend a certain soul-like funk to a few pieces which makes it very interesting (this is a direction they would continue to go in after this album). This band were full of originality and were incredible musicians! For those who like a less symphonic sound will love this album !
 Musica e parole by LIBRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.58 | 30 ratings

Musica e parole
Libra Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Italian Prog, the Stones, jazzyfunk, and space excursions? Hmmm.

Libra is another unusual story in a genre filled with such stories. Most bizarre is that they must be the only Italian Prog group to have had a 10-album deal with American label Motown Records. They never did complete that contract and from a prog perspective it is this debut that would be most important. Formed in Rome in 1973 with musicians from Logan Dwight, Reale Accademia, and Buon Vecchio Charlie they had some line-up shuffles before recording this album in the autumn of 1974 in Milan. A very busy 1975 followed. Early in the year the debut album was released followed by a spring tour with Banco. The band rehearsed all summer and toured America in Oct-Dec with the likes of Frank Zappa, Tubes, Chicago and Steppenwolf. They went back to Italy in December and that line-up crumbled but a second and more commercial album would follow in 1976. That album didn't do much and a third soundtrack album was released before the band completely ceased. Libra's aspirations of success as a band never were fully realized but guitarist Nicola Di Staso remembers those days fondly, telling Augusto Croce "I have many fond memories of that time, because it was so authentic!! We wanted to conquer the world, at least the musical one, there was so much positive energy in the air, and it seemed to us in Libra that we had touched the sky with a finger, being able to play in the USA!"

You can hear Libra often draw upon the collective experience of the Italian progressive bands of the early '70s but by late '74 they perhaps realized things were going in a more commercial direction. Rather than making one of those crazy avant-garde albums that made the scene great in '72 and '73 Libra is taking only a part of that sound and rolling it into a rock album approach. You can hear the influence of American and British mid '70s rock here along with some lesser strains of space rock and folk in places. One of the bands I hear visited subtly on the Libra album are The Rolling Stones. While no one sings quite like Sir Mick, you can hear it in the pop sensibilities, in the background female vocals (a la Gimme Shelter) and in the playing. There is a live track on this album that has such a bar room feel that I'd swear I'm listening to The Ronnie Wood Band. Some moments toy with symphonic glories but more often than not it will veer towards fusion or a spacey rock jam. These guys play very well and the fusion flavored sections remind me of the Journey debut I just heard, where Neal Schon is wailing over a driving rhythm section and keys. Libra is to my taste a tale of two sides: Side one is of patchy quality that I would rate about 2-3 stars, but side two is a 4 star beauty. The 16-minute two-part opener "Nato Oggi" will add brisk acoustic guitars and melodic harmonies in and around these jams creating a decent, if somewhat unfocused mini epic. It is both the success and downfall of Libra's debut; there are nice moments and good variety of sound, but it sometimes feels a bit unfocused, a bit all over the place. The next track is the "live" (some claim it is but audience applause overdubbed) funky jam that brings a Stones side project or Dr. John piano bar jam to mind. The second side of the album changes gears again starting with the short title track, a sentimental, soulful Italian pop-song that tacks on the female backing vocals to an LA session jam ending-it could have been a Steely Dan outtake from "Can't Buy A Thrill." I love Dino Cappa's animated, funky bass popping through here and there--like some Little Feat or Doobie Brother's jam. The last two long tracks total almost 22 minutes and changes back to a hybrid slurry of funky fusion and occasional space-rock dalliance. There are some really worthwhile moments here with "Pegno D'Amore" really cookin' while the closer "Inquinamento" features spacey textures, strange bubbling sounds, peaceful mellotrons backing laid back guitar leads that ebb and flow in intensity. I'm almost reminded of the French spacers Carpe Diem on this track and that is surely a good thing. Love this one. It builds beautifully but with restraint and some uplifting melodies as a bonus. The second half of the track has great layered instrumentals where each member can be clearly heard and the delicacies of what they're playing superb.

If these thoughts seemed to lack coherence I jokingly blame it on Libra who keep you off balance with this hard-to-label, playful garden of '70s sounds. It really does have the "positive energy" Di Staso speaks of above. My initial reaction to the album was luke-warm at best but of course Libra has won me over and I end up enjoying this more with each play. This album will not satisfy those looking for classically structured keyboard symphonic prog but it may very much please fans of '70s style jazzy rock altered with a playful variety of influences and love for spirited jamming. Our own site Bio describes them as a "unique, personal take on jazz rock, funky grooves, classical instrumental, psychedelic-prog rock and electronic weirdness." The album is such that I think every person who hears it may have a slightly different take on its overall personality, which when you think about it not such a bad thing. I will understand those who find it a mess as much as those who find it a treasure. A definite "decide for yourself" piece of work but one that very much deserves to be rescued from oblivion and heard by prog fans. The 2003 reissue is a high-quality gatefold mini with thick cardboard and glossy finish, the inside reproducing the album's photos and lyrics. There is however no secondary CD booklet or bio. Highlights: Side 2 without question-I don't see how the last two long tracks would fail to please any progger.

Thanks to Philippe Blache/Finnforest for the artist addition.

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