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

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Magma - Retrospektïw I & II – This year marks the 25th anniversary of the formation of Magma, without a doubt one of the most innovative and progressive bands of all time. Their music combined very intense and spiritual elements...  (1994) » Read more

Pendragon - The Masquerade Overture – For 15 years Pendragon has been a fixture on the English progressive scene. They've got solid support from a devoted European fan base, consistent albums, and a refined sound. They've got...  (1996) » Read more

Satellite - Into the Night – Satellite are a Polish band who try to fuse modern rock and production methods with prog of the not so distant past. The songwriting has powerful dynamics and moments of clarity in the melodic lines,...  (2008) » Read more

Trance Mission - Head Light – Trance Mission is not your standard exotic world beat group. What I mean is that they don't just incorporate a compelling mix of exotic instruments: they exploit them. A short personnel breakdown...  (1997) » Read more

Incandescent Sky - Glorious Stereo – This is the second release by this New England based four-piece, which is a descendent of the group Knitting by Twilight. With standard guitar / keyboards / bass / drums instrumentation augmented by...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues