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IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Il Babau & i maledetti cretini biography
"Il Babau & i maledetti cretini" (The Bogeyman & the Damned Cretins) is an artistic project born at the end of the last century in the neighborhoods near Milan. Originally a typical rock combo (voice-guitar-bass&drum), they took their name from a comic-picture by Dino Buzzati (famous Italian journalist, writer, & painter) to whom is dedicated the first "opera prima," the concept album "dio Dio mio che cosa abbiamo fatto". An original sound inspired by prog-psych-hard rock of the '70s with post-punk overtones, it was released in October of 2003 by Lautoprodotto label. Personnel changes reduced the band to the Casanova brothers (Damiano & Franz); in this new formation they re-invented the "phonodrama" concept, a sort of audio-tale, with an umpteenth tribute to Buzzati in 2006. "Chi sta scavando?" is a performance in which the reading of the passages is supported & trailed by an original soundtrack for the images evoked by words.

In 2008, a new drummer-percussion member joined the band: Andrea Dic˛ (Guignol, Gopala, Stardog). Now the Babau has ventured upon a new labor, an episodes phonodrama fully dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe mystery & macabre tales.
-Bio by the band, edited JR

Il Babau's first album is highly recommended work for those wanting to experience a modern incarnation of RPI. While they casually refer to themselves as "regressive rock" the influences of the progressive scene are undeniable, mixed with the post-punk modern edge. They present a dark and apocalyptic sound that is thrilling for both old and new prog fans. The band list their own personal influences as "The first Sabbath albums, Popol Vuh, Goblin, Barrett's Floyd, the Italian prog-scene, and '70s movie soundtracks."
-Jim Russell

Il Babau & i maledetti cretini official website

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3.94 | 7 ratings
Dio Dio Mio, Che Cosa Abbiamo Fatto
2003
3.89 | 9 ratings
La Maschera Della Morte Rossa
2013

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IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Maschera Della Morte Rossa by BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI, IL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 9 ratings

BUY
La Maschera Della Morte Rossa
Il Babau & i maledetti cretini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars 2013 has already been a superb year for Italian albums, but modern RPI releases don't come any more lush and evocative than the new Il Babau e l Maledetti Cretini release `La Maschera della Morte Rossa', an interpretation of an Edgar Allan Poe story `The Mask of Red Death'. What makes the band so distinctive is that they approach their music as a `phonodrama', a sort of `audio-tale' if you will, that incorporates typical Italian progressive elements, narration and sound effects to create an ambient moody soundtrack. Housed in a luxurious mini LP sleeve and lengthy booklet comprised of the story, lyrics and surreal paintings/illustrations, it resembles a book and gives the album a very special important grandness. Fans of darker Italian progressive music such as Goblin and the works by Antonio Bartoccetti may be especially interested to look into this release, the first of a planned trilogy.

The album open with sinister howling winds and countryside ambience before marching percussion and murky electric guitar soloing moves in. This brief mysterious introduction gently fades away before we're suddenly blasted with punching bass, crashing drums and a powerful grand repetitive electric guitar melody that pushes down on the listener, sounding like one of those classic 70's Italian horror movie themes. As the music moves into early 70's Pink Floyd-like eerie floating dreamy tension, the first section of narration soon enters, Franz Casanova's voice taking on a vile, guttural scratching tone that sounds a lot of the early Jacula/Antonius Rex albums. The third movement thankfully dances like a soundtrack to the spring season, a blissful and melodic passage with slight medieval influences, a jig-like percussion rhythm, low-key humming synths and the loveliest of foot-tapping melodic electric guitar noodling that provides a brief pause from the gloom.

The fourth and fifth sections really take us down to the pits of despair again, as our narrated tale continues amongst psychedelic electronic humming, smashing percussion and ranting voices. By this stage the album really starts to dig under your skin, the tension and unpleasantness becoming overwhelming, the narration itself even more manic and harsh, and you feel like you're falling into a trance. By the time we reach the closer, the music has taken on a very pulsing electronic pattern that ebbs and flows around the listener, with a serrated edge growing more present and suffocating as it builds. It's a disturbingly reflective section that has you begging for some sort of uplifting respite from the brooding menace, but it never comes. This is quite a brave move from the band, and it will completely alter your mood and demeanor.

If the band intends to make the next two releases in the series to be of an equally short length (this one runs a total of just over 24 minutes), perhaps they might include a purely instrumental continuous version of the pieces as a bonus at the end of the album? The music you can hear behind the unnerving narration sounds absolutely fascinating and deserves to be heard clearly on it's own! This would just give the album a bit more value, even though you're already receiving a sublime musical experience.

This dramatic and striking approach to their craft puts Il Babau e l Maledetti Cretini in a very unique position within the current RPI crowd. Don't be put off by the relatively short running time, it just ensures you'll give it repeat plays more often, letting it cast it's gloomy atmosphere around you. It won't be for everyone, but those who appreciate the darker side of Italian progressive rock should make it their next priority. If you're one of those fans, why not treat yourself and grab a copy of this immersive work that you'll really come to treasure?

Four stars.

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 La Maschera Della Morte Rossa by BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI, IL album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 9 ratings

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La Maschera Della Morte Rossa
Il Babau & i maledetti cretini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

4 stars Intense phonodrama!

Centered around Damiano and Franz Casanova, Il Babau e i Maledetti Cretini have returned after a ten year hiatus and have released their album, "La Maschera della Morte Rossa: Dall'omomino racconto di Edgar Allan Poe." The album is short, at only 24 minutes, which is brief even by 1970s RPI standards. But the content and packaging make up for the brevity!

As it was conceived as a "phonodrama," essentially program music for Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Mask of Red Death," the music is best appreciated in conjunction with the packaging. The album comes with a beautiful booklet containing several beautiful images along with a slightly altered version of the story, both in English and Italian, the images following the narration. The musical ideas are somewhat sparing; of the six tracks, three are instrumental and three contain a dramatic reading of the story (in Italian) with dramatic mood music as a backdrop, waxing and waning according to the drama of the story. The instrumental tracks are wonderful, though the musical ideas are limited. The melody of the first track, "Danza Macabra," is based on the Gregorian chant "Dies Irae." The track builds from a mellow guitar superimposed on pastoral sounds (the setting of the story), gradually building as bass, keyboards, and drums enter the mix. My favorite track, "La Balla Mascherata," is similar in structure to the first track but is less gloomy, mirroring the attempts of those in attendance at the masked ball to forget the horror surrounding them. The final track, "Dissoluzione Finale," depicts the bleak darkness after all the revelers have fallen victim to the plague, so understandably the music is darker, denser, less structured. The music on the three narrated tracks is similar in style but evocative and brooding, accentuating the narrative and only occasionally eclipsing it.

This album is billed as "Fonodramma 1" in a "Trilogia di Misterio e del Terrore." So I admit I'm looking forward to the next two installments! The album is more disciplined than their debut ten years earlier--sometimes that's good, sometimes I miss the youthful exuberance of "Dio Dio Mio." But this is a wonderful album, especially when experienced in company with the libretto. I encourage you to seek it out--it's available at the time of writing from BTF and in the US from Synphonic. Four stars! (Gnosis 11/15)

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 Dio Dio Mio, Che Cosa Abbiamo Fatto by BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI, IL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.94 | 7 ratings

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Dio Dio Mio, Che Cosa Abbiamo Fatto
Il Babau & i maledetti cretini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. This is one of the most interesting albums i've heard for a while. It's dark and a little schizoid at times but I find it so uplifting for reasons i'm not able to express. I did think this was a seventies release when I first heard it and so yes I was surprised to find out this was released in 2003.You can read Jim's review for to understand what this album is about lyrically. Since the vocals are in Italian my focus is completely on the music.

"Antro" opens with gentle acoustic guitar then it starts to build 1 1/2 minutes in. It's still slowly building as we get vocal melodies before 4 minutes then spoken vocals. Bass and drums start to lead. Strummed guitar ends it. "Il Babau" opens with percussion and a dark mood. It's heavier a minute in with drums and guitar while the vocals follow.That intro soundscape is back after 5 minutes with people whispering in the background this time. It then kicks in hard after 6 minutes. Nice. "Coda" opens with laid back guitar as loud percussion sounds come in. Whispered vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. It turns a litle chaotic a minute later. We then get a calm with organ and solemn vocals.

"I Maledetti Cretini" is pleasant to start with guitar, percussion and cymbals. Drums and bass after a minute then vocals as it turns darker. It kicks in after 2 minutes with theatrical vocals. I like the low end sounds. Intense stuff until before 6 minutes when it calms back down. "Quella Di Vincenzo" features acoustic guitar and deep bass lines early then the piano joins in followed by reserved vocals.The vocals become higher pitched 2 minutes in. This is so good as contrasts are continued. My fav track. "Awiamento Con Resistenze Rotoriche" starts with percussion, guitar and drums. Whispered vocals before 2 minutes. It turns heavy and abrasive 2 1/2 minutes in. The tempo picks up 4 minutes in. Great sound ! It picks up even more 4 1/2 minutes in including the vocals. What a great way to end the album.

A must for the adventerous who like music on the darker side. This is brilliant ! Thanks Todd

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 Dio Dio Mio, Che Cosa Abbiamo Fatto by BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI, IL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.94 | 7 ratings

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Dio Dio Mio, Che Cosa Abbiamo Fatto
Il Babau & i maledetti cretini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

4 stars Great modern RPI

First off, I refer you to the excellent comprehensive review of this album by Jim Russell (Finnforest). Once again, he has brought to light another marvelous gem from the fertile Italian fields. This band combines a thoroughly modern approach and infuses it with shades and temperament that recall the RPI glory days of the 1970s. Their sense of drama, intensity, and tendency toward schizophrenia (mellow passages followed by loud intensity, then back to mellow) call to mind SEMIRAMIS, although only in spirit, not in sound.

Contrasting IL BABAU to another wonderful contemporary band, IL BACIO DELLA MEDUSA, IL BABAU is much more modern in terms of minimalism--often they build on a groove, usually begun with simple bass and drums, sometimes with a strummed guitar or gentle atomspheric organ. This builds in intensity until climaxing and then returning to a calmer sound. However, although partaking of the ame RPI spirit, IL BACIO also utilizes 1970s complex compositions and instrumentation. IL BABAU prefers emphasizing the raw emotion, letting complexity and virtuosity fall by the wayside.

This is a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable work, one that deserves far more attention. This is recommended espcially to adventurous RPI fans who don't shy away from a modern approach. Strict traditionalists can probably skip this one. Four stars!

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 Dio Dio Mio, Che Cosa Abbiamo Fatto by BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI, IL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.94 | 7 ratings

BUY
Dio Dio Mio, Che Cosa Abbiamo Fatto
Il Babau & i maledetti cretini Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Observations on the confrontation of fear

"dio Dio mio, che cosa abbiamo fatto" (God, my God what have we done!)

On a recent summer Tuesday I had a very good day. Every June I take a Tuesday off to drive across town and take my Mom to the outdoor farmer's market and then lunch for her birthday. It is great to sleep in and spend a day living rather than working. And precious to be able to visit the old neighborhood and reset a connection. As I was about to leave, the day got even better-a package in the mail from Italy! It arrived just as I was heading out for a long drive, perfect timing on their part. The day was cloudy and cool, but not raining, perfect weather for cranking some loud prog. And Il Babau's disc, a pure expression of musical freedom, was a great soundtrack for that ride. It pulled my mind away from the hassle of driving in a busy metropolis, for a brief time it made the desire to kill the other drivers go away. It made me float, glaze over nicely, and lock into this band's amazing groove.

It's so hard to do justice to their sound with words: using no fancy games, they create long and seemingly repetitive rhythms with the guitar chords, bass and drums. I say "seemingly" because there are plenty of wonderful intricacies in the playing for those truly listening. The bass lines can be rolling in the back or suddenly come forward with a lead bit. Keys and piano are tastefully used throughout although this album is primarily a guitar album. It's an interesting mix between hypnotic-drone-weaving exploration on the one side, and no-nonsense post-punk on the other. It can careen from yelled choruses of bravado to serene and soothing ritual organ/chant without any difficulty. The vocals are used in unconventional ways, sometimes singing, other times creating mood with various chant-like sounds or unnerving phrasings. It can be a rambling but fascinating example of just how incredibly expressive and moving a deliberate study of guitar-scapes can be, beautifully set off by clever percussion and core strangeness. This is ritual music, sweating beads of psych freedom on a speeding motorcycle through the southwest desert under noon sun, staring at the vast horizon. This is "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun." This is Osanna's "Palepoli" in spirit. With some bits of Throbbing Gristle. Sonic Youth. Lou Reed. The creative heart of classic Italian progressive is present but in the guise of something much more modern, grittier, and more economical. This is a far more interesting musical direction to my taste than the countless bands trying to sound like the popular prog-rock/pop flavors of the moment. An examination of inner dialogue presented in conversations between sounds (that's what it sounds like to a person who doesn't understand the Italian language.)

The themes of "dio Dio mio" lie in the struggle between man's fears and the consequences of rising up to "destroy" the source of those fears, an interesting topic in the world we live in today. This is the main 4-part suite "Tetralogia" which is followed by an "ironic love song" (Quella di Vincenzo) and "a passage from a bucolic-rural surroundings with traditional Japanese influences to an industrial-alienating-noisy factory" (Avviamento con resistenze rotoriche). The long suite is particularly beautiful songwriting, flowing and otherwordly but completely holding the attention of the listener. Their influences range from Barrett-era Floyd to early Sabbath, Popol Vuh, 70s RPI and soundtracks, and the work of Dino Buzzati and Poe. They describe themselves as "regressive rock" but I certainly find the work to be progressive, fusing elements of the past into an exciting fork in the road for today's music fan. Take it.

The band began in 2000 and despite losing some members after this 2003 release, they continue with a new line-up and a project forthcoming on Edgar Allen Poe. In their own words they describe best the future project: "we tell you a story with a soundtrack. Imagine, a voice recount "the tell-tale heart" (as example) supported by guitar-drum-keyboard-noises, all curried with a sort of theatrical attitude. Our last shows cover three tales (the tell-tale heart, the mask of red death & The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar) for 1 hour and 15 minutes of non-stop music." For now, if you want to buy their stark 2003 album, visit their myspace linked from their artist page here and you will see their vendor info. An absolute stunner in my eyes that reveals new visions in my head with every listen.

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