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NEO

RIO/Avant-Prog • Italy


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Neo biography
Neo are a progressive avant-punk jazz trio from Italy formed in 2005. There are just three guys in Neo: drummer Antonio Zitarelli, tenor saxophonist Carlo Conti and guitarist Manilo Maresca, but they make a lot of joyful noise. This bass-less trio combines explosive energy, punk angularity with highly improvised music, influenced by Zorn's Spy vs Spy.

Their third album (Water Resistance) was released in 2009 and contains 15 mostly short ("jazz-punk") compositions, atonal, but perfectly structured, improvisational and composed both. Their next album, which is being recorded at Steve Albini's Electrical Studio during their stop in Chicago, will be released later in 2011.

Slava (Snobb)

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"The project Neo originated in 2001 when two jazz educated musicians, guitarist Manlio Maresca and drummer Antonio Zitarelli, join Fabrizio Giovampietro's bass to create an instrumental avant-blues trio... The geographic epicenter of the project is the sunny beach of Terracina, a truthful town of southern Lazio, although the trio is harmonically and rhythmically closer to Northern Europe's contemporary music, except for the overseas influences of Frank Zappa, Fred Frith, John Zorn or Minuteman. They begin to propose their destructured and madly ironic sound to the small clubs of Lazio, rewriting the traditional blues and effectively experimenting an unconventional blend of jazz, rock and punk which leads them in a few years to major artistic achievements and a brilliant reputation in Italy and abroad. After two self-produced albums, Neo were chosen by Wallace Records and incorporated in the P.O. Box 52 compilation, while in 2005 they release their first album La Quinta Essenza della Mediocrità, produced by the florentine label FromSCRATCH and immediately welcomed as an excellent and unexpected start by the best specialized press (enthusiastic reviews on Rockerilla, Blow up, Mucchio Selvaggio, Rumore, Losingtoday, Music Club, Ox Fanzine). Following the 2003 edition of Arezzo Wave, they continue to perform at a brisk pace on the stages of the best clubs in Italy: Circolo degli Artisti Rialto Sant'Ambrogio, Init, Jailbreak, 360Gradi (Roma), Lazzaretto (Bologna), Melos (Pistoia), Target (Bari), Area Fenderl (Treviso), Ambasciata di Marte (Firenze) and many others. In 2006 their second album, Problemi Dubbi Perplessità (From Scratch), is released, and in the same year, the trio takes a new form, replacing the bass with Carlo Conti's tenor...
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NEO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.10 | 2 ratings
La Quinta Essenza Della Mediocrità
2005
4.00 | 3 ratings
Water Resistance
2009
3.10 | 2 ratings
Neoclassico
2011

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NEO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Neoclassico by NEO album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Neoclassico
Neo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars New Italian trio Neo album opens in accordance with its title - with short pseudo-classical miniature "Invenzione n.1". But I afraid here is beginning and the end of "neoclassico" as concept.

Starting from " Il Dente Del Pregiudizio" trio plays what you can expect from band, influenced by Zorn's Naked City - noisy angular (and even hypnotically repetitive in moments) punk-jazz. This time album was recorded in Steve Albini's studio during band's visit of Chicago. Possibly it influenced the sound which became even more "American".

Some last years in avantgarde rock are quite fruitful on noisy improv bands. Sharpness, noisiness and angular improvs aren't exotic sounds any more. But fortunately Neo music (differently from many their colleagues) has one strong positive factor - they are professionals with jazzy feels coming to avant-rock, not noisy and heavyweight rockers, trying to play music, which often is too complex for their skills.

Returning back to "Neoclassico", it sounds possibly not so surprising as trio's previous work. More sharp and noisy, less jazzy it is obviously more product for American listener. For good or bad depends mostly on your taste (I like their previous work more). Still one between more interesting releases in it's genre coming this year.

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 La Quinta Essenza Della Mediocrità by NEO album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.10 | 2 ratings

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La Quinta Essenza Della Mediocrità
Neo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars First album,released by Italian band Neo, I ever heard was Water Resistance (2009). Very attracted by that release, I tried to find more their music, and it was extremely hard work.

This, La Quinta Essenza Della Mediocrità album, was released some years before Water Resistance, and when at last I found it to listen, I was really curious what music I will hear there. First album's minutes, with scratching glass and strings sounds,were really disappointed. Not only few first minutes - but few first songs. Noisy dirty and scratchy guitars based punkish jamming doesn't was the music I expected to hear. Slowly, very slowly though songs became more acceptable to listen. Trashy punk jamming is gone, and music became more bluesy angular guitar jamming. A bit better than at the beginning possibly.

Somewhere in the middle of the album songs got some melodies and became more jazzy - kind of bluesy jazz-core. OK- at least there I could enjoy some improvs.

First ten compositions are still real punk-blues-jazz core (as band describe their style by themselves), all 2-3 minutes noisy compositions.

First really interesting composition is "Terrore Vigile" , 6+ minutes long,not so noisy it really has something to offer for listener. For sure, main accent of this song is sax soloing - when sax started to play I really recognize why I like Neo music! Yes, their sax player is their main attraction! All previous sax-less compositions were just half-baked products!

Second song "an unsane blues for unhappy beast" is another good composition, based on improvisations around Gershwin's "Summertime" tune. Jazzy, almost jazz fusion (ok, with still punky drumming), this song both together with previous one,are best this album's compositions.

Album's closer "il sempliciotto" is short again, but at least not very scratchy, and is jazzy,almost groovy for good.

In all, comparing with "Water Resistance " album, this one is far not so good. Some stronger compositions can't save the album. Not the best entry album for newbies, in fact more release for band's fans.

My rating is 2+.

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 Water Resistance by NEO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Water Resistance
Neo RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars First widely distributed album from Italian avant prog trio. From very first sounds you will be blown by high energy musicianship, and even more - by aggressive sax attacks! Yes, no mistake there - in trio ,consisting from drummer,guitarist and sax player, main noisy and aggressive instrument is sax!

Technically complex improves are sharp,angular, but because of sax presence at the same time have their inside beauty. Guitar sound is on the second plan, and it's real jazzy guitar, mostly in a key of Frisell solo works. Sax at the same time is more avant-punkish, attacking you every second, but at the same time having some nice timbres and adding even what could be named kind of elegance in album's music. Listener even can catch some tunes and short melodies in all these ascetic sound constructions.

It's usually difficult to describe avant garde improvisational music in words. Just to imagine what you can find there on this release, think about more ascetic Zu sound, spiced by Japanese brutal noisy avant prog. The real result is somewhere in between of these two points.

Music is very various,inventive,highly energetic and will catch you from very first sounds. Please note all written above are targeted to listeners, familiar with radical forms of free jazz and noise avant improvs. If you're new for this genre, better start from more accessible release.

My rating is 4+!

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