Area — Parigi-Lisbona
(Cramps Records CRSCD 018, 1996, CD)
by Gary Parra, Published 1997-02-01
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.
Related artist(s): Area
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
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more