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Area - 1978 - Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano! CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.89 | 153 ratings

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4 stars In 1978 Area left the independent label Cramps and released their first album for a major, CGD, "1978, gli dei se ne vanno gli arrabbiati restano" (1978, the gods are going away, the angry people remain). In that year Italian post '68 protest movements were losing strength after ten years of hopes and contradictions and the members of the band, one of the most committed on the Italian scene, went through a period of personal crises too. Guitarist Paolo Tofani left the band and became a follower of Hare Krishna while the others tried to keep up facing the "reflux". While hopes and revolutionary dreams were vanishing rage was still there and the band managed to express it with great musicianship and personality even without the help of the "ideologist" Gianni Sassi, producer and lyricist on their previous albums who had been for years almost a "ghost member" of Area. All the tracks on this album are well crafted and refined but the band didn't heed the commercial sirens selling out their art to the music business and extended liner notes explain the meaning of music and lyrics to make it clear to everyone.

The opener "Il bandito del deserto" (The bandit of the desert) was inspired by a "Quasida" (a form of poetry from pre-Islamic Arabia) about freedom rebellion and nomadic life by Shànfara, poet and bandit who is defined in the liner notes as the of François Villon of the desert. The music is fresh, full of colours and nuances, pulsing bass lines and ethnic touches are combined with jazz passages and peculiar "howling vocals" depicting desires, fears and the need to be free. "I'm leaving in the morning / Wind and destiny... Into the dust a refuge shelters from the offence / It's a retreat for who fears the enemy and the surrender...".

"Interno con figure e luci" (Interior with shapes and lights) is an instrumental track where the band paint shapes and lights, shadows and masks as in an anonymous "tableau" from the XIX century. This piece was inspired by a kind of search for normality as opposed to the star system full of shining lights and noises. It sounds as a perfect alchemy of jazz and Mediterranean influences.

"Return from Workuta" is a short instrumental track that describes in an evocative way the melancholic come back after the visit in a "Gulag" near Baikal Lake, a black-hole in the history of Bolshevik Communism. Demetrio Stratos' voice does not need here any word to explore a sad and icy paradox of Russian revolution...

Next track "Guardati dal mese vicino all'aprile" (Beware of the month near to April) starts with a sound of police hooters and a military marching beat, then music develops with many changes of mood and rhythm trying to describe the disappointment for another failed revolution, the one started in May 1968. There are no lyrics here and Demetrio Stratos sings his rage without words, but in the liner notes there's a warning: "beware, comrade, of the month of May, we are not the heirs of anyone anymore, we have to start all over again!".

"Hommage à Violette Nozières" is a beautiful and light song inspired by the character of a French young woman that in 1933 killed her father and tried to kill her mother poisoning them. During the trial she claimed to have acted to avenge years of sexual abuses. She was condemned but many artists and intellectuals took her side and made of Violette a symbol of rebellion against the false moral of the bourgeoisie. In 1978 Violette Nozières was also portrayed in a film directed by Claude Chabrol and starring Isabelle Huppert and Stéphane Audran. "Leave me alone with my delirium, my only martyrdom... Eventually in my cell, left in peace / Everything is quiet...".

"Ici on dance!" was inspired by a painting celebrating the first anniversary of the French Revolution in 1780. On the ruins of "La Bastille" someone put a sign where was written "Ici on dance!" (Here we dance!). Joyful sounds seem soaring from the dust... But smashing down statues and symbols is not enough to change the world and the dust provoked by a revolution can turn into a perverted souvenir. "Take the first way on your right / Then the first one on your left... Smash down the statue and stay down, stay down!"

"Acrostico in memoria di Laio" (Acrostic in memory of Laius) is a jazz rock track featuring "surrealistic" funny recitative vocals. An acrostic is a poem with a hidden a message, Laius was a king of Thebes killed by his own son, Oedipus... Like Laius a generation of losers have delivered their children to the fury of wild beasts, to the rage of history, to the flattery of the show business. Well, lyrics here describe a complex and tangled family tree and there are hints of psychoanalysis...

"FFF (Festa, Farina e Forca)" (Feast, flour and gallows) is an instrumental that begins with a drum solo giving way to an acoustic interlude, then to a frenzy jazzier part. From the entertainment and the joy of a Carnival pageant to the fear that becomes show, from the feast in Woodstock to the violence of Parco Lambro festival...

On the last track "Vodka-Cola", the longest one on this album, the band mix Vodka and Coca-Cola as symbols of an hegemonic global power in a world without ideals where "business is business". A cocktail where swing and jazz make a deal with Oriental influences in a bitter-sweet and ironic way. But Area do not claim to have the gift of humour and the smile on their face is just a grimace...

andrea | 4/5 |


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