Exposé Online banner

Il Balletto di Bronzo — Ys
(Polydor 523 693-2, 1972/1994, CD)

Il Balletto di Bronzo — Ys English Versions
(Mellow MMP 112, 1972/1992, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2016-02-25:

Ys Cover artYs English Versions Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

In the early 90s when Vinyl Magic was exploding onto the reissue market, there were still a number of Italian albums that weren't in that wave and had an almost mythical or legendary status. You know that look that some of the older collectors get when you ask them about one of these items, they get all hushed and they're like "OMG MONSTER DUDE." This was one of them. It wasn't described as a great album so much as it was described as the best progressive rock album of all time, I mean the hype was absolutely beyond belief on this one. I managed to dig up a Japanese copy of the CD through a local store who managed to source a lot of weird stuff and took that home and lit candles, laid out precious offerings, drew a circle with salt, genuflected several times, and then hit play on my CD player. Ahhhh ahhhh aahhhhhh sounded the vocals and then the thing started to build and build and got more and more intense and I stopped feeling guilty for however much I spent on the thing by the time the guitar solo lets loose about midway. I don't think I even remembered what the second side sounded like for years after this, it was like waking up amidst scorched earth after the first. In fact I'm not even sure I even fairly count the second side in my grade, the first side is so good. Later on I was pretty lucky to spend some time talking with Gianni Leone about this album and the years surrounding it, or let's be fair, I said about 20 words and the rest was Gianni.


by Mike McLatchey, 1996-08-01:

Ys is certainly one of the more controversial progressive rock albums. Many people will tell you not only that it is a classic, but it's often quoted as being the very best of the 70s progressives. Others, usually those into the more accessible and conventional side, tend to think it's overrated. Obviously anything like this is well worth a listen by anyone – I personally fall well within the former opinion and consider Ys one of the ultimate classics. Il Balletto di Bronzo's second release is a dark album of incredible dexterity and dynamics, an absolutely phenomenal statement of innovative and talented progressive rock. Full of unusual dissonances, wailing spooky voices, and intense passion, it's no doubt it would scare some listeners off. It certainly is an overwhelming experience; yet a truly brilliant album. The Mellow CD reissue contains a bonus single that pales considerably, thankfully it's tacked on the end.

The English versions are from 1971 and make up what is a very expensive mini CD (about 18 minutes), being priced the same as the majority of the catalog. The English lyrics are quite amusing and not very effective, but are worth a listen from a historical perspective considering the album's legendary status. For most, it wouldn't be worth the bother. Regardless, the original Ys is essential in every sense of the word; it is one of the most groundbreaking musical statements of the 70s.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 10 , 1994 releases, 1972 releases, 1992 releases, 1972 releases

Related artist(s): Il Balletto di Bronzo

More info

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Larry Kucharz - Blue Drawings and Text – Kucharz' latest work is split between seven softer flowing ambient pieces composed or reworked in 2007, most somewhat reminiscent of the work on some of his earlier 'Electrochoral' and...  (2008) » Read more

Cursive - The Ugly Organ – Last year many in the prog community embraced The Mars Volta and their infusion of prog ideas (and excesses) into alternative/indie American rock. Cursive is another band making the same kinds of...  (2004) » Read more

Paatos - Silence of Another Kind – After tinkering with electronic sounds on their last album, Kallocain from 2004, this Swedish band has taken a bit of a turn towards a more “live” sound. Maybe it’s just a passing...  (2007) » Read more

Pangée - Hymnemonde – I thought this niche of the symphonic rock genre was long dead, but I'm very glad it isn't. Pangée of Quebec, Canada is strongly in the 70s French symphonic vein with heavy nods in the...  (1997) » Read more

Curlew - Fabulous Drop – Raw, jazzy, abrasive, avant, noisy, and yet oddly smooth. That's Curlew rapped up in a nutshell. Led by the blaring sax musings of George Cartwright, Curlew forges on strongly with this new...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues