Exposé Online banner

Picchio dal Pozzo — Picchio dal Pozzo
(Si Wan SRMC 2005, 1976/2000, CD)

by Mike Grimes, 1995-11-01:

Picchio dal Pozzo Cover art

Slight changes in style between albums is common for most all groups, but Picchio dal Pozzo is not like most groups. Upon listening to their second CD after hearing the first, I did a double take and checked to see if I was listening to the same band. Rarely, if ever, have I heard a band change their sound so much between two consecutive releases. The core lineup is essentially the same for both releases, but the focus of the songwriting is quite different. On the self-titled effort, most of the songs are very rock sounding. There are even a few "slow songs" which are quite pleasant. Most tracks are based upon an ostinato with improvisation and melody development on top. Wind instruments, especially saxophone, are quite prominent and provide much of the sonic depth of the recording. Interesting use of stereo panning, multi-tracking, and processing often gives the saxes an unusual ethnic sound. The opening cut, "Merta," provides a good example of both the ostinato format – a cool alternating 15/8 and 17/8 part – and the processed instruments, and is one of the best tracks on the album. Vocals are used sparingly, which is too much for this band IMHO.

The second album has few characteristics in common with the first. Abbiamo Tutti i Suoi Problemi is much more arhythmic and polytonal. It is very reminiscent of Frank Zappa's jazzier works and similar to Tipographica in other places. Woodwinds are still relied upon heavily on Abbiamo, but the focus here is quite different. Instead of harmonizing with each other in normal modes, the winds are often playing in different modes and in different keys at the same time, creating a complex patchwork of sound. The results of this are often exceptionally complex and interesting harmonies. For example, one of the songs on Abbiamo recaps many of the melodies from the first album, but it's almost unrecognizable because of the difference in compositional style between the two releases. Unfortunately, this album has even more vocals than the first. For the most part, they are outright annoying. With these guys, there's a strong correlation between the amount of vocals, and how much I like the songs, so it's not surprising that I like the self-titled album better than Abbiamo. Jazz rock and polytonal fans would probably enjoy both these Picchio dal Pozzo releases, but fans of strong rhythm and melody won't like the second as much. For saxophiles, both of these are a must.


by Mike McLatchey, 2018-05-10:

In the Berenstein Bears side universe, it wasn't Stormy Six on the original Rock in Opposition documents, it was Picchio dal Pozzo (the Henry Cow albums also all had mittens on them). While a lot of Italian progressive rock bands of the 70s can be traced back to the Moody Blues, King Crimson, and Vanilla Fudge, Picchio dal Pozzo seemed to draw more from Soft Machine and Robert Wyatt, Yet, other than some tonal similarities, the results were very different with Picchio dal Pozzo in many ways, creating something of a musique concrète / progressive rock hybrid, what's often called soundscapes these days. These were pulled together by the usual combination of instrumentation and studio trickery, but with not so much of the latter that you can't hear lots of musical sequences within. It's interesting to hear the influences at work used to develop a new whole, it often sounds like what might have happened if Daevid Allen had returned to Soft Machine after Third or Four and spent the night in the studio with the tapes. The whole album has a great warmth to it due to a lot of pleasant droning — vocals rise and fall, winds refrain passionately like they're part of the air and there's really only a light percussive presence to go along with all the keyboards creating much of the middle. It's really an endlessly fascinating album, a work that they'd even move away from by the time their second album was released.


Filed under: Reissues , 2000 releases, 1976 releases

Related artist(s): Picchio dal Pozzo

More info

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - Giant for a Life - A Tribute to Gentle Giant – The second of two tributes to rock's most misunderstood progressive band is another hodgepodge of tracks from the Gentle Giant catalog. Most bands seem to adopt the policy of covering the original...  (1998) » Read more

The Cheebacabra - Exile in the Woods – The Cheebacabra is a project driven by keyboardist and producer Cheeba, where funky grooves meet overtly synthetic melodic interplay and a cool jazz feel over a steady, mostly programmed drum beat....  (2007) » Read more

Mathematicians - Factor of Four – Factor of Four is the second release from this all-instrumental quartet. Their music is a mix of somewhat rhythmically intricate symphonic elements with an occasional contemporary fusion feel...  (1997) » Read more

Lussier / Derome / Cutler - Three Suite Piece – This project featuring Canadians Jean Derome (keys, flute, saxes, electronics), and René Lussier (guitars, percussion) along with drummer Chris Cutler, veteran of Henry Cow and countless...  (1997) » Read more

Indukti - Idmen – This Polish powerhouse’s earlier album S.U.S.A.R. from a few years ago blew a lot of minds wide open, as did their captivating performance at Baja Prog 2007. This writer was more than a bit...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues