January 12, 2018

Some kind of popular music how much 'popular' today? The case of ROMOLO GRANO, Italian composer, arranger, conductor and his amazing music corpus.

If "Rolling Stones" magazine can omit the Third Ear Band's records in its celebrated "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" (Wenner Media Ltd. 2005); if "Uncut" special issue "Ultimate Record Collection" (December 2017)  in the 70's section 'forgets' Glen Sweeney & C.... maybe a reason there is.
I think popular music history might be re-written  and I'm very glad that nowadays, in this age of revisionism, some so-called 'cult records' can be mooted; maybe a new age of free minds is coming for fighting nostalgia and commonplaces of culture that are a real damnation for everyone...

The reasons because TEB's music cannot be ignored are first of all related to its musical nature, the peculiar identity of the sound (the instruments played) that advanced world music and all the forms of 'contaminations' of sounds. Their syncretism was so unique and authentic that was just pure sound with no image (fashion), no indulgences on pop star trivial tricks  and other kind of banality.
Other reasons can be found in their implicit contents>: I've tried to explain in a past short essay (read HERE) why "Alchemy" is one of the most dangerous records ever played. And it's possible that this is one of the reasons because rock magazines generally don't consider TEB's work in their useless, boring lists of 'essential' albums.

I don't feel any embarrassment into writing that "Alchemy", "Third Ear Band", or "Music for Macbeth" are more important and fundamental records than all the Led Zeppelin's or The Who's discographies. Or i.e. the Shadows of Knight's "Gloria" or that boring Eagles' "Hotel California"...
In terms of evolution of forms, that specific 'arcane' and 'primordial' traits of the sound, TEB's research was never achieved, also if a lot of bands and musicians are going through the same path...
My only problem is that every time I read this kind of list of records with no a TEB's albums in I have a jump. Well,  I might wait for all of this and pass beyond!

But Third Ear Band's fate is not so isolated: some intriguing, wonderful stories are hidden somewhere to be discovered and one of the aims of this Archive was to document it.
One of these 'wrong fates', regarding a less-known Italian composer as Romolo Grano, is related in some ways to Third Ear Band's music, the same rare sensibility for the form, the same cultural/musical roots, the same result...

Please, listen to this track titled "Taranta" (go HERE!), composed and recorded by Grano in 1972: Taranta is a folkloric south Italian dance form, precisely diffused in Salento, a territory inside the Puglia. Studied by anthropologist as Ernesto De Martino in the first half of last century and more recently by George Lapassade as a modern experience of trance, is an old dance people uses to dance today as a mere form of entertainment, in the past as a reaction to the spider's bite, even if characterised by a strong metaphorical element of social liberation for the low-class people.
Italian composer Romolo Grano.
As musician and composer Alessandro Monti wrote me (letting me know about Romolo Grano), "maybe taranta or pizzica could be related to some sections of the film, and to some kind of prog music of the time... but its mood is the same of the Third Ear Band, if one considers it is from 1972. For myself, it's quite similar to "Earth"... maybe it's not so strange that the film's synopsis talks about magic and spirituality... Surely this is not a coincidence!"

Reviewing the soundtrack, recently published in a pirate CD edition, Federico Biella told the genesis of the tune: "The movie's most impressive scene, when Bosè in trance is vomiting frogs, is moving with "Taranta", Mediterranean dance for violin and percussion with unusual origins.  Around 1965, Giulio Questi was in Macedonia for filming live some folk rituals intended for a docu-film, never finished, by [famous Italian film maker] Gillo Pontecorvo. Visiting the local countryside, he met a violin player who was playing a monotonous folkish tune. He was impressed by it. Years later, planning with Grano "Arcana"'s soundtrack, he remembered that theme who had recorded on a tape.  He gave it to the musician for listening to and he was so excited by it that he decided  to arrange it."
(from http://www.colonnesonore.net/recensioni/cinema/5109-arcana-l-uomo-del-tesoro-di-priamo.html)

So Grano's track was included in the film soundtrack album titled "Arcana", one of the many works composed and produced (often for TV programmes) by this very eclectic artist - spacing through pop, easy-listening, muzak, electronic, avant-guarde music...

But who is Romolo Grano?
Friends of Italian avant-garde composer Bruno Maderna, Grano was born in Santa Maria (Cosenza, Italy) in 1929. He was a composer, arranger, and conductor of music used for movies and RAI television programmes from 1964 ("Ca Ira" movie directed by Tinto Brass) to (around) 1978. 

After have been at the legendary Studio di Fonologia in Milan, following the experimental works of Luigi Nono, he was composing music for the most popular Italian TV movies of the Seventies - as "Nero Wolf" or "La Baronessa di Carini" - mixing electronic with classical compositions inspired by Romantic Eastern composers, contemporary jazz, folk music and melodic pop songs in an extraordinary melting pot of sounds created for making a comment to the film scenes.

For some critics, just "Arcana" is Grano's masterpiece and "Taranta" the main theme with its catching ritual folk dance structure that reminds to the Third Ear Band.
Originally realized in few vinyl promotional copies, this soundtrack was a very rare album until Italian label Digitmovie edited it officially in 2015 together with another TV film ("L'Uomo del Tesoro di Priamo"). Other exclusive works are i.e. "Musica elettronica", realised in 1973 and available on the Web  (listen to it on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/broken-music-au/cp109cd), a sampler of a huge amount of abstract electronic recordings based on delays, bloops, analog drones, hums...
As like its author - a real genius! - many Grano's compositions are so interesting  piece of music that can stay with full rights in that same pantheon with giants as Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Piero Umiliani, or Gary Hermann.

no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 08, 2018

Francesco Paolo Paladino, sound architect of the Elements.

Italian musician and composer (and film maker) Francesco Paolo Paladino, apart being a friend of mine for many years (and collaborated on the last Third Ear Band's live CD "Spirits"), is an architect of sounds and concepts.
His last two works, investigating the nature and the power of air and water, are a clear connection to the pagan ideal world of the Third Ear Band, just actualized in these crazy days.
I've asked him some questions about his research, his ideas about the music today and his ideal bond to the TEB's experience.

Luca Chino Ferrari: How do you have moved from a traditional way of composing/recording music to the present research of sounds?

Francesco Paolo Paladino: In June 2016, just the day of my birthday (June 9th), I lived a particular state of reflection, depression, instinct, transgression, that particular feeling of one who becomes "more adult", one who makes a balance with the "outcomes" of his being and acting.

While I was beating around the bush, I felt this incredible creative energy for the making of music and suddenly I had clear the work I wanted to do for the next few years. Actually not a general work but a triptyque. I had clear in my mind the titles of the works I wanted to realise: "Ariae", "Siren" and "Icereport".
Basically, first of all I wanted to consider the element of air, then the element of water. Thus, at the end of this process I wish to work on the modification of both, the dimension of ice.
The transition from the  avant-rock to another musical level (but  I can't define it) was a kind of unconscious but lucid ones. I'm still guessing why it happened, and why just last year... 

Maybe it was all written in my fate, I might work at this particular state of musical knowledge. From there my work started and I'm going to complete the tryptique. I've already published two parts of it - "Ariae", a contribute to the evolution of the so called ambient music, and "Siren", a complex kind of opera or marine cantata, a drama that sounds  as an elegy to our sad world destroyed by pollution.
"Siren" encapsulates the female side of my being and my need of protection beyond the life, the desire of a "great mother" who heartens me. But we are alone in the ocean, I know it well...

LF: Can you describe us in detail how is born the idea of this kind of 'collective work'? Apart the beautiful artwork designed by the very talented artist Maria Assunta Karini, in "Siren"  among the others 'play' also Judy Dyble, Paolo Tofani, Sean Breadin, Alison O'Donnel, Riccardo Sinigaglia...

FPP: For doing this three-parts project I recycled the concept of "doubling music" I used for years with the Doubling Riders, the band with which I played years ago. During the Eighties, just before Internet and the MP3, I had the idea to make 'sound exchanges' (reels, tapes...) with other musicians, having a 'at a  distance collaboration'. 

Thanks the melt and the bind of different artistic experiences I produced brand new sonic objects. Well, I ask some friends to send me everything they wanted, suggesting tonalities and explaing the sense of my projects. Maybe this method of work can recall that sort of randomness introduced by Brian Eno in the '70's... but anyway at the end the final results was better that I could imagine.

LCF: So you don't consider yourself a proper typical musician/composer...

FPP: I can consider myself a film-maker, but also a sound artist, a composer, but together with many other musicians, a creative person because I make sound entities, starting from the awareness that all is existing out there...
La Monte Young explained it in a very easy and genial way: when he made a full LP with a sound that can be listened to from different perspectives and it become 'different' because different is our perception. Making sounds with already-made stuff is a charming experience. It means to be cauterized for warping and cutting, being concentrated on very pure parts; it means you can realise hidden or only rough architectures, writing a unique personal language that you can play in the same time.
I'm very satisfied with my new direction and I hope I can ride it for a long time.

LCF: Most of all I have been very impressed by "Ariae", because I think here the listener is not simply in an unheard soundscape dimension but also in a real experimental work of physics... For the ears these are very amazing and disconcerting sounds!

FPP:  Few people noted this and I'm very glad that just you do it because "Ariae" surely is a CD very inspired by Ambient music  but also it's an attempt to go 'beyond' it for revolutioning this kind of sounds. The phisycs of sound you referred to with your questions is an identification (I have to admit very cultured) about my achievement of this new way.

I have created (most of all on the second track) some phisic paths for my recorder and michrophone from a room to another, opening (partially or fully) opening windows for transforming the phisic path in a ritual one, with localized sources and lappings of air that one could find in a predetermined moment.
Then, in other sessions I have dealed with masses of air through improvised gestures that forced microphones and recorder to become a method for translating air movements in something that could have a meaning for human senses.
There is a moment in "Ariae" where, after few minutes when the wind talks its unique vocabulary, the sound restarts and who have listened to this sequence says that it's very appease. The sound becomes a reassuring element because it can be recognised.
Well, this is the part of my album I prefer because just there two different sound languages meet, creating into the listener a condition of disorientation before, then a calmness dimension.

Also the repetition of a theme, its being mutant, is the clear statement of the existence of sound as a container of silence, in other words a silence that is never the same, therefore sound.
Also my decision to record the album with a very low sound level, suggesting to the listener to listen to it "playin' loud" (as it happens for the metal) is a strategy to create infinite opportunities of choice for the listener who can decide what to listen to, if prefering "sonic silences" or getting the dynamic of music. Many listeners said that turning up the volume they listened better to the silences and that was exactly what I wanted to obtain!

LCF: In "Ariae" I've found some references to the Third Ear Band music dedicated to the elements. Apart the project itself, and the title of it, some effects of your experiment sound to me as "Water" beacuse your recorded air sometimes surprisingly seems to have this suggesting nature... What do you think about? Was the Third Ear Band a landmark for you through the years? 

FPP: Third Ear Band is one of the band that goes with my life. I knew the TEB through "Music For Macbeth", and precisely "Fleance" strake me like a thunder; it was 1972. Suddenly that track reminded me "Le petit Chevalier" from Nico's  "Desertshore" (1970). I was looking that terrific music as a kind of phoenix, for listening to, for realising, for eating it...

From that precise moment I'd been dreaming of a record played by the Third Ear Band with Nico: it would have been wonderful to listen to "Abschied" fading in "The Banquet".... And I used to record on my C45 cassettes tracks from "Macbeth" pasted with "Desertshore"'s tracks, listening them all alone in my little room. From those days that cellos are remained in my heart. "Ariae" is just that "air" I breathed in my little room, a place totally inaccessible to my sister and my parents. Just the friends who "understood" could go in. And I'm sure some notes from that records are still there, in my little room... some sequences of my favourite music...  

Of course, just after "Music for Macbeth" I bought also "Alchemy" and "Third Ear Band" (the second album). It was an emotional earthquake. That records became a magic trio that I listened to just in some particular occasions. I had music for many kind of situations: that very important for me was signed by the TEB, Nico, Tim Buckley, the first King Crimson's record and some tunes from  Don Cherry's "Relativity Suite".  

If I had a girlfriend, I had to decide what soundtrack to use: I played the  Third Ear Band just in some rare occasions, because it was my personal "magic cult" that warmed my heart. "Ariae" is a work that can be interpretate as a spiral of sounds remained in that my little room and thus in the deep of my heart.

LCF: What do you think about the music today?

FPP: I think today there's no a "dominant" kind of music around even if music magazines try to force us to believe it, creating new fashions that vanish in few months... 
We're living very peculiar times... I remember that on a 70's Italian music magazine named "Gong" someone wrote that the music had to be listenend to without knowing who was the musician or the singer etc., thus not being influenced by the album cover or something else. Well, I think we are here now. 
The listening of MP3's and of iTunes by the teens is a sort of buig minestrone where everything is mixed up in a grey anonymity. I think this is not acceptable! Also because some deeped opinions about historical discographies have been challenged. Just an example: Tangerine Dream's "Phaedra" was considered the best album the band recorded before its 'commercial' phase; today this album is valued as the album that launched techno music. 

Francesco with a "myth" of our generation, Joe Boyd.

Can I tell you very diplomatically that we are just in a period of "evolution" towards something we don't understand at the moment? Sure, this is an irrelevance, because this is happened in every historical period of music, but we can admit that today music is quite less important for teens than it was for our generation. So, now it's more a question of music market than the music itself, the music as a commercial product. Our myths have been transformed in fetishes by the music market. The only important thing is to sell, and because the market is selling generally the same records, now we have this "box syndrome" where an old album, became an old CD, is now republished in various different editions - blue-ray, mono, stereo, enhanced, with bonus tracks... maybe with boring studio sessions, but with a wonderful, catching packaging... This is the Age of Form that triumphs on the substance, where a pretty and correct "didactis of sounds" is preferred to a "magmatic alphabet"... But a "fog effect" still exists.

LCF: What do you mean with this?

FPP: In this vaste mare magnum of sounds and musicians, with lot of music magazines reviewing more than 300 records in a month, inside this bland soup with too much flavours, we have to activate the "fog effect". 

If you drive with the fog, you don't know where you are, you don't realize if you have passed one or two roundabouts, you are alone with your intuition only. This is the magic word, today one says "the password", this is intuition. Inside the fog you meet lot of people, you don't know many of them, you don't see them, but your intuition brings you to some of them, the best ones, as you might reorganise your own microcosm of friends and your musical perspectives. But you have to use your intuition instead the "intellectual factor". We have to reconstruct our lives on an intuition basis, on that intelligence conceived by John Cage where randomness becomes the will to live new experiences. Intuition brings you to your soul mates, people who has your sensibility.

LCF: How can you conciliate this with technologies evolution?
FPP: For myself one has to live technology evolution in this way: I buy a camera, I don't read instructions, I work on it with the same passion of a child who cannot read. It's that intuitive passion that brings me to the "not compliant solution"... (even if soon or late I have to endure one hour or more of reading instructions...).

LCF: What kind of music are you listening to? What do you suggest to a young listener
to listen to?

FPP: I use to buy CDs at Amazon or Discogs, selecting the cheapest albums. The offer is so wide that I don't follow the logics of a collector but that of a music lover with no limits. What I like, I listen to. Just recently I've discovered a group (I don't know if they are existing or not), they called AU. Simply outstanding! Again, I listen to poetic ballads by Martyn Bates, Judy Dyble and Alison O'Donnell

My 'protective deities' are Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno (even if in these last years the latter is fully deluding me), Don Cherry and Alice Coltrane, of course 'our' Third Ear Band. About new things, I'm now oriented to buying "new classical music" at New Amsterdam Records, a label that none knows but in these last few years has published incredible masterpieces. I don't intend to suggest any records or musicians to young listeners, I suggest only to listen to everything with the "third ear": I'm sure they don't be sorry of it!

A.T.R.O.X. - "The Night's Remains"
(LP - Trinciato Forte Records T.F.L.P. 001, 1982 - reissued by Spittle Records in 2015)
A.T.R.O.X. - "Water Tales"
(Contempo Records L.P.001, 1984 - reissued by Spittle Records in 2015)
F.P. & The Doubling Riders - "Doublings & Silences vol. 1"
(LP - Auf Dem Nil DMM 001R, 1985)
The Doubling Riders - "Doublings and Silences vol. II"
(2LPs Box - Reccomended Records Italia 003, 1988)
Pier Luigi Andreoni - Francesco Paladino - "Aeolyca"
(cassette - Violet Glass Oracle Tapes VGO 005, 1989)
Francesco Paladino - "Eoi a Rio"
(CD - Il Museo Immaginario MIMM CD051, 1991)
Francesco Paladino & Alio Die - "Angel's Fly Souvenir"
(CD - Hic Sunt Leones HSL027, 2004)
Francesco Paladino - Sean Breadin - "Musica Fiuto"
(CD - Hic Sunt Leones HSL033, 2006)
Nosesoul - "Angel Ghosts & Human Shades"
(CD-LP - Hic Sunt Leones HSL032, 2006)
Nosesoul - "Ethik Blues/Winterbirds Helped The Passengers"
(CD-LP-DVD - Silentes 200719, 2007)
Nosesoul - "N" (limited edition cassette, Silentes Tapestry, 2011)
Nichelodeon/Insonar-Ukiyoe (Mondi Fluttuanti)-Francesco Paolo Paladino -"Quickworks & Deadworks" (CD - Snowdonia SWO77, 2014)
Francesco Paolo Paladino & many friends - "The Son of Unknown Fish" (2CDs - Silentes PALA01, 2014)
Francesco Paolo Paladino - "Ariae" (CD - Silentes pala02, 2017)
Francesco Paolo Paladino - "Siren" (CD - Silentes pala03, 2017)

For details about groups and records go at:
From '90's Francesco Paolo Paladino is also filming videoclips, documentaries, movies. 


no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 03, 2018

Crap obituary on Paul Buckmaster by "Mojo" magazine last issue.

On "Mojo"'s last issue (# 291, February 2018), a boring magazine devoted to that proverbial 'good old music', dedicated to readers of 70-80 years old still crazy for Beatles/Rolling Stones/David Bowie/Jimi Hendrix music and related ephemeras, Ian Harrison's hasty obituary about 'our' Paul Buckmaster succeedees in  the difficult task to omit the relations between Paul and the Third Ear Band!

Among the albums arranged/produced by Buckmaster, Harrison quotes i.e a crap record as Grateful Dead's "Terrapin Station" but not "Music for Macbeth", a soundtrack Paul loved very much and he was proud of it, or his beautiful masterpiece "Chitinous" recorded by The Chitinous Ensemble in 1971.

But why be amazed of it? This is the standard nature and quality of contemporary rock journalism ("the World's Best Music magazine", "Mojo" defines itself...)  that from 2015 can miss to review Gonzo Multimedia's TEB albums (maybe because Gonzo didn't pay any fees for promotion or simply British sciovinism?!) and on the obituaries section of the magazine can write two full pages on the missing of Malcolm Young, AC/DC former guitarist...
no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)