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ULTIMA SPIAGGIA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Ultima Spiaggia biography
ULTIMA SPIAGGIA was not really a band proper, but rather a project of some well known Italian musical figures which encompassed both the launching of a record label and the creation of an ambitious recording to celebrate it. Both were called Ultima Spiaggia. The label was formed in 1974 by the legendary Ricky Gianco along with Nanni Ricordi and Gianfranco Manfredi. It released albums for the rest of the 1970s and was distributed by RCA. The label released the works of the people involved, along with GRAMIGNA, I.P.SON GROUP, and many others. Although the label's releases only occasionally crossed paths with "prog rock" he did have an interest in promoting unique and exceptional sounds.

The musical project Ultima Spiaggia was a large collective of impressive musicians who concocted a long lost gem entitled "Disco dell'angoscia" in 1975. Composed by Gianco, Manfredi, Ninni Carucci, and Claudio Bonechi, the work was an ambitious and strange concept album about a man involved in a car accident and his subsequent journey through a dark unconscious state. The material resides on that wonderfully odd, avant branch of the RPI, where traditional RPI and Italian song tradition get genetically modified with 1970s experimentation. One blog nails the description as swerving between musique concrète, pop, avant-garde, beat, rock n roll, old-fashioned melodies, progressive rock...like continuously switching the stations of a radio tuned to the distorted brainwaves of a man fallen. Indeed! (-laltritalia.wordpress)

This project band did not last, although Gianco and Manfredi remained friends for life and collaborated on other musical ventures. Most of the members can be found in multiple others musical projects too numerous to list, but a few of note: Hugo Heredia would work with Antonius Rex and released his own album. Cappellotto worked with Branduardi. De Piscopo played with Lucia Dalla and New Trolls. The stunning gatefold cover artwork was done by Paolo Baratella. Without question this is an album badly in need of a quality CD reissue which displays the artwork in mini-lp form. The photo on this page is Gianco and Manfredi later in life. Gianco is on the right.

-Jim Russell / Finnforest

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ULTIMA SPIAGGIA discography


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3.00 | 4 ratings
Disco dell'angoscia
1975

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ULTIMA SPIAGGIA Reviews


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 Disco dell'angoscia by ULTIMA SPIAGGIA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Disco dell'angoscia
Ultima Spiaggia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A descent into altered consciousness

The musical project Ultima Spiaggia was a large collective of impressive musicians who concocted a long lost gem entitled 'Disco dell'angoscia' in 1975. Composed by Gianco, Manfredi, Ninni Carucci, and Claudio Bonechi, the work was an ambitious and strange concept album about a man involved in a car accident and his subsequent journey through a dark unconscious state. The material resides on that wonderfully odd, avant branch of the RPI, where traditional RPI and the Italian song tradition get genetically modified with 1970s experimentation. One blog nails the description as 'swerving between musique concr'te, pop, avant-garde, beat, rock'n'roll, old-fashioned melodies, progressive rock...like continuously switching the stations of a radio tuned to the distorted brainwaves of a man fallen.' Indeed! (-laltritalia.wordpress)

The album begins theatrically with our character's heartbeat, revving engine, and near-fatal auto crash which puts him into a deep state of unconsciousness, from which point the rest of the album deals with his journey in this uneasy, claustrophobic state. The short tracks come at you like a Pollack painting with many sound samples, all kinds of odd noises and environmental things...birds, children humming, street sound. The music is just as chaotic with spoken word, choirs, Elvis rock, folk music, classical segments, and the sound of a man spiraling down the drain. My favorite part is the bit of church organ which always sets great mood, and the thoroughly Italian presentation of emotions here running the gamut from playful to downright scary. Some of the guitar and piano work are also very lovely. The large ensemble of talented people bring much to the table and there are some interesting musical parts, however the very intent of the album to be a chaotic ride of flash sequences does prevent much development in the standard sense. But if you enjoy oddities like Persimfans, Battiato, and Nascita Della Sfera, the Ultima Spiaggia might be right up your alley.

'Voglio Vivere' is one of those beautiful RPI moments with a passionate vocal, lovely piano, mellotron/strings, all building to a dramatic crescendo. A rocking electric lead drifts into the five-part 'Motivo Angoscia 1', a recurring bunch of eccentric interludes. The first part is a mix of Opus Avantra-like strangeness, weird chants and narrations crossing free piano runs. 'Canto delle' is one of the longer, more conventional rock tracks, with a strong brassy funk feel, trippy vocals and wild keys for a while, then another weird theatrical ending. Part 2 of 'Motivo' is a boy singing with no inhibition, to himself, then joined by a choir of boys and a marching drum. 'Motivo 3' is the short Jacula-like organ piece I so adore, slow and sad, distant. We're treated to a mock Elvis send-up, a lullaby, bathroom opera, and electronic twiddling before this is over. Far from a musical masterpiece and often sounding a bit contrived, the album is still a wonderful and interesting example of the mid-late seventies RPI scene, a time when these 'out there' experiments got a bit more prevalent and grand symphonic intent was not always present.

The stunning gatefold cover artwork was done by Paolo Baratella. Without question this is an album badly in need of a quality CD reissue which displays the artwork in mini-lp form.

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