Picchio dal Pozzo — Abbiamo Tutti i Suoi Problemi
(ReR Megacorp ReR PdP, 1980/2006, CD)
Picchio dal Pozzo — Picchio dal Pozzo
(Si Wan SRMC 2005, 1976/2000, CD)
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.
by Mike Grimes, 1995-11-01:
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.
Related artist(s): Picchio dal Pozzo
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more