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ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Assemblea Musicale Teatrale biography
L'Assemblea Musicale Teatrale (The Assembly of Musical Theatre) formed in Genoa, Italy at the beginning of 1975, after the dissolution of progressive rock group La Famiglia degli Ortega. The band, with original members Bruno Biggi, Alberto Canepa and Gianni Martini, came together with the intention of creating performances that combine Italian rock with a variety of theatrical and experimental musical components, with a strong focus on social and political lyrical themes, especially those that were important to student movement groups in the 70's. Their first shows were censored due to explicitly criticizing personalities in Genoa. The nine members involved in the group at different points released three very different albums throughout their four years of activity until their dissolution in 1979, but the project has since regrouped under vocalist Giampiero Alloisio, leading to a comeback release in 2002.

Of particular interest to progressive rock fans (and especially RPI enthusiasts) is their debut `Dietro le Sbarre' (Behind Bars). A suffocating mood, daring experimentation, intricate instrumental arrangements, classical charm, weary passionate vocals and avant-garde strangeness can all be found on this fascinating work, comparable to the more daring and darker Italian progressive albums of the 70's. Follow up album `Marilyn' (1977) appears in more of a folk singer/songwriter style, while `Il Sogno di Alice' (The Dreams of Alice) from 1979 is something a return to grander works with piano and strings, but as a mix of commercial, folk and adult pop/rock with slight proggy leanings.

Bio by Michael H (Aussie-Byrd-Brother)

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MarilynMarilyn
Import
2006
Audio CD$246.80
$246.80 (used)

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ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 2 ratings
Dietro le Sbarre
1976
3.00 | 1 ratings
Marilyn
1977
3.00 | 1 ratings
Il Sogno di Alice
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
La Rivoluzione c'Ŕ GiÓ Stata
2002

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ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Marilyn by ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Marilyn
Assemblea Musicale Teatrale Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars My relationship with this album is very unusual. I knew all the songs since almost when it was released. I have played them on guitar teached by friends but I did never manage to get a copy of the album and listen to the originals until recently, after discovering that AMT were included on PA and a quick chat with some chaps of the RPI team. Now I have a tape cassette (unbelievable!) and my feelings are very controversial as some of the songs have different arrangements respect to what I have imagined for years.

"Marilyn" is a song with a particular meaning: it was the favorite song of a friend of mine who died recently and I can't not think to him speaking of it. I have never liked this song much, honestly. The lyrics about the star system which should have lead Norma Jean to death appear moralistic, I don't like how it's sung by Lilli Ladeluca who wasn't a bad singer, but I don't think her voice fits well with this song and, last but not least, in the last chorus they've had to add a beat to fit into a metric horror. The wooden flute sounds ridicously hippy while a harmonica would have probably brought a bit of blues into this forgettable country ballad. Have I been harsh enough? Well, not all the album is so weak luckily. It has its good moments.

"America"starts like a country-rock ballad but the classical guitar gives it a RPI flavor. Also the pauses and the possible mistake of the guitarist before the first chorus don't sound bad. The bongos sounds even kraut, the keyboard bass and drums are added and this country ballad becomes a prog song. Alloisio's voice is excellent as usual and the lyrics about the American way of life referred to the cold war and all the bads in the actual foreign politics, but also with mentions to good people like saying "we hate your government but we love your people" which was a quite common position within the actual left-winged Italians. America was sometimes an enemy but sometimes a promised land.

"Gli Indiani" (The Indians) seems to indicate that initially this was conceived as a concept album about USA, as it's the third consecutive song with an "American" subject. Musically this song is more similar to the debut album, surely more progressive. It reminds a bit to a song from an Italian singer-songwriter of the same period, Francesco De Gregori and his "Bufalo Bill". Similar also in the subject.

"Tutto e' spettacolo" is a swing song, with very funny lyrics totally out-of-topic. No more America. It's about the end of the "revolutionary" age and anticipates what the 80s will be. Prophetic.

"Le Condoglianze" (The Condolences) is about the same arguments of the previous song, but it's not aggressive. It's a melodic song with some nasty moments like when they sing "If you are a German who comes to the sea, think to how many Meinhof's you will let be killed" Ulrike Meinhof was a German terrorist, founder of the "Rote Armee Frakton" who was found dead in jail, but likely killed as it happened to her mate Andreas Baderand other belongers to that group, all officially suicided. Howes ver this is just a reference and not the song's subject which is about ancients retired, football supporters and many other characters of the time.

"La Citta' Futura" (The Future City) was a common concept in the actual communist area. It was also the name of a radio still active today (which also transmits a lot of prog). It's mimic of a brass band with ironic lyrics. "If the future city will be made of waste, give a pill to all the family. For the little sister dioxyne is ready and with heroin she will achieve the peace" This is more or less what the lyrics say.

"Festa" (Celebration) is about the "Festa dell'Unita'", an annual celebration organized every year by the Communist party to raise money for the party which was in Italy a counterpart to the religious celebrations and with almost the same contents with people eating sausages, playing games, making music and sometimes listening to a meeting of a politician. Not very different from the celebrations in any little country town around the world. Of course they make a bit of sarcasm about the normal absence of political contents. Today, what was the communist party is now called Democratic Party and includes catholics and other kind of person very far from communism but the name of that celebration has remained the same.

"Carlo Marx" whose name is "Italianized" is a slow blues and it's not really about Marx. Carlo Marx is the nickname of some Carlo arrested by police. "When they arrested Carlo we played a concert to free him". I don't think this Carlo ever existed, it's just a metaphor. Other than the blues the song has some more jazzy moments and I think can have some appeal for RPI fans. Musically is the most interesting song which also features a nice guitar riff.

"Ribellarsi e' giusto"(Rebel Is Right) is a Mao Zedong's famous sentence. The instrumental opening sounds a bit Californian psych with bongos, harmonica and 12 strings guitar. It has also a funky bass riff and it's so good that I have had to pay attention to the lyrics as I'm more concentrated on the music. One of the best musical performances of this band which is usually more concentrated on the words. If Marilyn is for me a 1-star song, this is at least a 4-stars. Excellent song.

"Amica Dolce Amico Caro" (sweet friend, dear friend - in Italian amica is female and amico is male) is a piano based sad song, still about the everyday ambush of politicized people going to face the 80s, with many references to Chile and Pinochet.

"I ricchi"(The rich men) starts with some chattering in studio and the voice of Francesco Guccini can be clearly recognized. It's just a joke with very funny lyrics still strongly politically oriented about bourgeoises. It has no sense if you don't understand Italian.

Honestly I could have missed some relevant element in the arrangements, but this tape is the best that I have found and it has surely been dubbed from the vinyl at least 30 years ago.

Even if it has good moments and an excellent song, appreciating it can be hard even for RPI fans. I have some personal feelings with this album and I would never skip Marilyn even if I dislike it but it has to do with my youthness, not with music. I think this is no more than a collector's item. I think it has been re-released on CD anyway.

This is the weakest of the three original albums of AMT before the reunion which I haven't heard yet.

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 Il Sogno di Alice by ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Il Sogno di Alice
Assemblea Musicale Teatrale Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars I've been very surprised to see ATM added to PA. It's a band that I love and has had a special place in my youthness, but I've never thought of it as "prog". Last summer I went back to a town I was not going since 25 years before, I have met there two old friends used to play as a duo and we have improvised two gigs in a week which included covers of almost the whole album. I've been surprised also to realize that I was still remembering all the lyrics.

The band's mastermind, at least at the time of this release, was the singer-songwriter Gian Piero Alloisio, who has collaborations, between the others, with Giorgio Gaber, Fabrizio De Andre' and if I'm not wrong, with the nobel-prize winner for literature Dario Fo.

The band's songs have strong left-winged political contents (more than Roger Waters) and deeply inserted in the actual political instability of Italy in the late 70s: terrorism from Red Brigades and fascists groups plus massacrees organized and piloted by sectors of the intelligence and the state hepled by mafia, not a very safe place. More or less the same arguments that can be found in the early albums of Stormy Six.

"Venezia"(Venice) is with Lager one of the two songs which were recorded also by the singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini on his album "Metropolis" the same year. The sweet and melodic piano intro gives already an idea of decadence against which the anger behind the warm voice of Gian Piero Alloisio can't do anything. It's a very sad song about a girl dying while giving birth to a child, with Venice in the background, seen as a decadent and dying city after the tourists have gone.

"Mimi'" is more funny, thankfully. It's about the "Weimar Republik" and the advent of Nazis, but full of anacronisms to compare that political and social situation to the actual one.

"Ma Che Cazzo Vuoi?"(What the hell you want? - but "cazzo" is a raw word for "penis") is in my opinion the best song about heroin ever written. Whoever has seen friends, especially in the 70s and 80s, dying of heroin knows what I'm writing about. Alloisio speaks to a friend he lives with, but this is mainly an invective.There's no hope of recover, just a description of what his friend and their friendship has become and the anger for something that's too late to change. Musically it's just a ballad with some folk flavor, lyrically it's a masterpiece.

Side A is closed by "I Fiascheggiatori". Not easy to translate, it's a word between "Fiasco" (Bottle of Wine) and "Fiancheggiatori"(terrorist's supporters), but it's mainly about Genoa and the every day life in that period which appeared to be the end of an era. It's jazzy and from a musical point of view, the prog song of the album. About the lyrics, I just want to mention the sentence which opens and closes it: "in sto merda di mare non c'e' un pesce che riesca a nuotare" which can be translated as "in this [&*!#]ty sea neither a fish is able to swim"

Side B is opened by "Lager". Apart of the quite good lead guitar work there's few to say about it. It's what the title says: a song about Nazi's lagers. Probably Guccini decided to include it in his album also because his very first success in 1966 was a single entitled "Auschwitz".

The title track "Alice's Dream" is grotesque and somewhat funny. Thinking of "prog" I think it can be compared to some Canterbury easy songs, like Caravan's "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" (the song, not the album) or Kevin Ayer's "Caribbean Moon". Less prog than them, but similar in the mood. It takes "Alice in Wonderland" as an allegory to the actual political behaviour of the left winged italians.

"La Fattoria Degli Animali" (Animal's Farm") Is a song about George Orwell's masterpiece. That novel is already an allegory, so there are no hidden or cryptic messages in the lyrics, it's a synthesys of the novel. Another ballad, nice, I like it, but if you are not italian speaker and just listen to the music it can be boring.

Finally "Non Fateci Conto"(Don't count on us) is a grotesque conclusion. I remember the band playing it with all the members wearing a Groucho Marx mask, proggy, isn't it? Not the same as Peter Gabriel but.... To understand the song I think translating one sentence is enough:

My sister doesn't stay neither with the State nor the Red Brigades. It doesn't mean she doesn't have a "position". She doesn't give a [&*!#] to both, and she's right".

I don't know how many stars "good but non prog" should deserve. It has somequite good music and some just listenable but it has excellent lyrics and I really like Alloisio's vocals, very theatrical. It's not a case that "Teatrale" is part of the band's name.

Three stars only for one of my most beloved albums, one of the few that I have reviewed without needing to relisten while writing.

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 Dietro le Sbarre by ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.50 | 2 ratings

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Dietro le Sbarre
Assemblea Musicale Teatrale Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars After the demise of the folk rock group La Famiglia degli Ortega,three of their members moved on to form a new folk-oriented band.So,ASSEMBLEA MUSICA TEATRALE were born in 1975 in Genova with Bruno Biggi, Alberto Canepa and Gianni Martini being the more experienced members, having played with La Famiglia degli Ortega.As with the later, the band included a large number of musicians and released their first LP ''Dietro le sbarre'' in 1976 on Dischi Dello Zodiaco.

The album is mostly in the typical Italian singer/songwriter style with plenty of vocals and a relaxed atmosphere,not far from the sound of ANGELO BRANDUARDI and MAURO PELOSI.A more careful listenings though will provide your ears with obscure moog synths and orchestral strings,among the familiar acoustic melodies of the album.It's these weird music moments where the band closes enough to avant-gard than folk.Also in a couple of moments electric guitar,bass and drums seem to take over offering some minutes of proggish folk.Don't get very excited as most of the album follows the tradition Italian folk tunes,but some of the material in here is really interesting.

The band released two more albums,''Marylin'' in 1977 and ''Il songo di Alice'' two years later,before officially disbanding in 1981.This later stuff is said to be more in the vein of commercial pop/folk with little prog interest.However ''Dietro le sbaree'' should possible appeal to fans of folk/psych/prog rock...2.5 stars.

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 Dietro le Sbarre by ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.50 | 2 ratings

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Dietro le Sbarre
Assemblea Musicale Teatrale Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

3 stars L'Assemblea Musicale Teatrale (The Assembly of Musical Theatre) had a brief moment of activity in the 70's, resulting in three albums between 1976 and 1979, including this magical debut `Dietro le Sbarre' (Behind The Bars). It moves around from unnerving, suffocating avant-garde strangeness, pleasing psych folk ballads, to daring Italian progressive experimentation. While the political/social lyrical aspects may be lost on many listeners, it's still very easy to appreciate the talent, imagination and skill of the musicians involved here. Lead vocalist Giampiero Alloisio has a raspy and charismatic tone that brings the right amount of grit and heart at all the appropriate moments. Although the album is frequently acoustic based, it has these spasmodic bursts of electronic flourishes and electric energy, making it a very unique album for RPI collectors, but one they will surely appreciate.

The disorientating mood of the album is present right from the opener. Eerie wavering electronics, hazy strummed acoustic guitar, weary male vocals, and hypnotic percussion grows in tension throughout. By comparison `Il Quadro Antico' is a much warmer piece with gentle classical guitar and stirring chorus backed to placid washes of synths, before a confident and forceful diversion in the middle and nimble acoustic soloing in the finale. It's a lovely respite before the schizophrenic `La Pazzia', full of tempo changes back and forth, jazzy licks, ranting vocals, nightmare synths and hallucinatory ambient effects. There's a real wildness and unpredictability to this one, and the dark string section that ends the piece raises the drama even more. It's then lovely to come down with the placid `Alle Donne Brutte', where the floating blissful synths remind me so much of `Il Rituale Notturno' from the self titled Corte Dei Miracoli album! It's a gentle ballad with flute, recorder, acoustic guitar and low-key electric guitar fills topped off with a beautiful romantic vocal. Then we're back to sinister murky synths, loopy frantic guitar tension, maddening percussion and a strident and darkly pleading vocal for `La Violenza' that oddly turns slightly more upbeat in the chorus. Sadly there's not much of an ending, rather an abrupt fade out/stop that kills the build the track was aiming for.

Side B of the original vinyl opens with the longest piece on the album, the classical acoustic folk of `Ninna Nanna...', and after being a little let down by it being the most straight-forward song, there's no denying it's somewhat sorrowful and fragile beauty, and just wait for the last minute grand ending with a whirling synth run! The more upbeat `L'Impotente' sounds like a mix of RPI with an early Pink Floyd track, it's got that same dreamy stoned slide guitar David Gilmour sound weaving throughout the whole piece, and it's a lovely easy going catchy number that will get your foot tapping! However the cheery country popper `E Tu Che Ne...' is far too grating and cheesy for me, and sadly it sounds totally out of place here, really intruding on the album. It sounds the most like the material on their next album, and the female vocalist used here, Lilli Ladeluca, would have more of a role on that follow up. Then we're back where we should be with the wilting and downbeat dark folk of `Donna', with some very unsettling washes of ghostly synths and suitably creaky vocals from Giampiero. Oddly, album closer `La Nostra Storia' is all tribal/percussion heavy/world music with male//female singers and chanted vocals that also sounds totally inappropriate here. If this one and `E Tu...' had been left off the album, or saved for the follow-up, we'd still have a beautifully flowing 35 odd minute album, which is not an unusual running time for a 70's Italian progressive album.

With the following album `Marilyn' heading in more of a folk/protest/singer-songwriter direction, and the third album from 1979 `Il Sogno di Alice' being an adult rock but sophisticated commercial release, this is the main release from the band to treasure for progressive rock fans, and especially RPI enthusiasts. It can be placed comfortably along numerous other Italian prog works, the majority of the pieces here, excluding the above mentioned couple, would be welcome on any RPI album, and it gets better and more surprising with every listen. Some may find the mix of styles and moods a little distracting and inconsistent, but that's just what makes it such a fascinating work. It's one of the reasons why the RPI artists stand out so much in the first place, and makes `Dietro le Sbarre' well worth discovering.

Three and a half stars.

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