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Area — Parigi-Lisbona
(Cramps Records CRSCD 018, 1996, CD)

by Gary Parra, Published 1997-02-01

Parigi-Lisbona Cover art

This recording comprises two live shows from the premier "international PoPular group" of the 70s and 80s, Area, bringing us back in time to 1976 when such bands were loud (yet audible), raw, powerful, and full of a improvisational vitality that appears lacking in most of the current groups trying to carry on this legacy. It's difficult to believe this was performed 20 years ago! Young musicians (aka. Deus Ex Machina, etc.) should study these live shows intensively and understand that "improv" is at the heart of these earlier "progressive" masters such as Area clearly represent. The way they blend raw improv with electronic-fusion is quite incredible and a hallmark of their compositions. Not to mention Demetrio's showmanship, which may never be matched, only partially imitated. The early electronics they use create effects that one rarely hears even with today's technology. Being able to pull off such intensity in a live show underscores the unbridled talents within Area. Live shows of this caliber show how far today's groups still need to go to reach the pinnacle of Area’s' legacy of musical power.

The first part of the CD is recorded in Paris; the second in Lisbon. The Paris show begins with the first cut on Crac, "L'Elefante Bianco" followed by "Magalopoli" and "La Mela di Odessa" with an organ solo by Demetrio that will amaze even the best trained ears and is nothing short of stunning! He also speaks in French before each song, weaving his clever mastery with moments of his trade-mark apple-eating, burps, and yodeling. Paolo Tofani's guitar work is superb and and he also plays his Arp synthesizer, providing playful interaction with Ares Tavolazzi's trombone and bass playing, creating lush soundscapes that were very rare for this time. Ending with an improv called "Lobotomia," gives Patrizio Fariselli's time to work magic with his analog keyboards.

The Lisbon show starts with the title cut from Arbeit Macht Frei, where Demetrio plays steel drums and various percussions with Giulio Capiozzo. Their percussives and drumming are like no others. "Cometa Rossa" is next, a powerful piece with fire and orchestral complexity. Unfortunately, the sound loses it for this next cut, "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)", yet, once your ears adjust it is just as incredible. Their classic, "L'Internazionale" as on Area(a)zione, serves as their finale. This is one CD that was very well thought out and quite essential to the history of Area live. I highly recommend this fine live performance from a band that will always sound fresh and new.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Area

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