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Arti E Mestieri - Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio CD (album) cover


Arti E Mestieri


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.30 | 221 ratings

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5 stars Is it RPI? Is it jazz fusion? Sitting somewhere halfway in between is Arti E Mestieri's masterpiece debut album, Tilt. Labelmates with Cramps stars Area, they produced two classics of RPI before disbanding after three more middling fusion albums starting in 1979 -- a four year gap from their second release. (They did reform like many of their contemporaries in the 21st century)

This album is definitely one that RPI fans should seek out quickly after getting a few of the big Italian prog classics under their belts. Featuring some stellar keyboard work from Beppe Crovella but more importantly the brain expanding drumming of Furio Chirico, one of the busiest drummers in all of prog rock. (he'd give Bruford a run for his money). He can quietly drum solo throughout a whole song without ever losing the pulse of the beat, not an easy trick. This album ticks the boxes for most RPI needs: mellotron, violin and complex instrumentals in abundance.

The album opens Mahavishnu style with a burst of energy that instantly subsides into an oboe and mellotron intro to one of their classic songs: Gravita 9.81 (metric version of gravitational acceleration on Earth). Aptly titled, we tumble free falling as Chirico gives us his first introduction to his drum clinic on this one. Soprano sax from Arturo Vitale is first a calming then consonant force in tandem with the drums. Synthesizer (ARP this time, not Moog) is powerful here and takes the song into another mellotron prog direction as the violin dances on top. Picture Jean Luc Ponty growing up in Italy and composing with an Italian background for this section. Vocals show up on song 2, Strips. Gentle acoustic guitars, mellotron and vibraphone drive this midtempo song. Corrosione, Positivo/Negativo and In Cammino blend together as one suite to end side one, a furious blast of jamming with some impressive guitar work from Venegoni and violin from Giovanni Vigliar.

Side two starts with a gentle piano and synthesizer duet in Farenheit, a short one minute song that bleeds straight into the second real masterpiece: Articolazione, a 13.5 minute tour through all of the strengths the band has. Violins create tension and calm simultaneously. Synths trigger lightning-like bursts from the drums (Chrico never saw a drum fill he didn't like). Bass creates a stable riff for the players to ground themselves as soprano sax draws the momentum further onward. Sections come effortlessly until our next encounter with vocals. This time they sound a bit more on the slick side than RPI stylings on side one, and some have noticed this as a flaw. The second pass through on vocals here reverts to a more traditional RPI style, and this song will be the best place to start for Italian prog fans wondering what this band is about, with its symphonic edges and some early Fripp style guitar work. Some uncredited flute makes its first and only appearance here. This song is a stone cold RPI masterwork. The title track, Tilt, finishes the album with a short piece of ARP 2600 synths burbling away randomly like R2D2 while mellotron plays a frightening Watcher of the Skies styled outro. Amazing.

This band often opened for Area back in the day. Now that would be a dizzying one two punch I'd like to have seen.

Just found an original first pressing vinyl on Cramps which is far superior to the Akarma vinyl reissue, which I thought was a little tinny in sound reproduction. The original lp sounds better than the 80's and 90's CD versions as well.

Impeccable musicianship, complex arrangements, and one of the more gifted bands in the whole Italian prog scene. Fans of Ponty and Mahavishnu for non RPI followers would love this. RPI fans though? Go get this immediately. Terry Bozzio or Bill Bruford fans will ideally already have this one just for Chirico.

4.75 stars

(I'd advocate this album is more a classic in the RPI canon than fusion as their full on jazz fusion era came in 1979.)

zeuhl1 | 5/5 |


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