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Picchio Dal Pozzo - Picchio Dal Pozzo CD (album) cover


Picchio Dal Pozzo


Canterbury Scene

4.11 | 282 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
5 stars Rarely has an Italian group ever managed to fool most progheads into Canterbury soundscape, into thinking it was possible so far away from Kent county. Indeed if The Netherlands had Supersister, Belgium had Kandahar (and Cos to a lesser extent), France had Moving Gelatine Plate (and Travelling), the US had The Muffins, what could have prepared the unsuspecting proghead discovering Italian group PDP's eponymous debut album. I must say that only Area is close to their sound from the 70's groups, while Stormy Six and Deus Ex Machina are more resembling of their other two later albums. Hailing from Genoa (as did fellow Celeste and pop band Mandillo), the group was an integral part of the local scene and recorded their first album in 76, and graced it with a Gong-like pixie-esque artwork and dedicated to Roberto Viatti (Wyatt). The quartet is lead by keyboardist De Scalzi (the brother of New Trolls' guitarist) and they joined by friends from the cross-town rivals Celeste, and they returned the favor also by playing on theirs.

The least we can say is that this album look northwestbound towards Canterbury for their inspiration. Right from the first side's start (called Hay Fay) on the opening track Merta with its You-like Gong dronal crescendo, leading almost immediately in the impressive Cocomelastico (and its Hatfield meets Soft Machine ambiances) through to Seppia's Master Builder-like groove (complete with hysterical space whispers) getting broken by a RIO vibraphone and flute in the second movement Frescofresco, before segueing into the third movement Rusf (and its Hatfieldian chants and noodlings), the album's start is astounding and outstanding, Bofonchia being a bit of electronic doodling to exit.

The flipside (baptized Fay Hay) is not to be outdone either, as it starts with the amazing Napier where Hatfield meets RIO (a bit the first Henry Cow album with Krause on vocals), and veering a bit National Health. Floricoltura starts out with a jazzy guitar and Fender Rhodes and dissonant chants and singing, before the group enters a strange world where some strange synth layers play a lead role. La Bolla is the slowest track on the album but returns somewhat to Gong's cosmic soundscapes with a Wyatt improve scat. Closing the album is the aptly-titled Off and it does mellow out the mood quite a bit and is a fitting cosmic outro, even if the weaker link on the album.

Definitely a UFO in Italy's sky, this album seems to be coming from Planet Gong's Radio Gnome Invisible and it is an outstanding album that deserves to be heard and owned by Italian progfans as well as by Canterburyheads. Possibly my fave Italian album with Celeste's Giorno and Jumbo's two masterpieces and QVL's two albums.

Sean Trane | 5/5 |


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