Sunday, 29 September 2013

Not to be missed: Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Darwin (Great Italian Progressive Rock 1972)

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Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Darwin! is the second album by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. It was released in 1972 on Ricordi. It is a concept album about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.

The album is highly rated by progressive rock fans as one of the top albums in the genre.
Darwin! will remain Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's masterpiece. This album, the band's second, is the proud equal of Premiata Forneria Marconi's Per Un Amico and Le Orme's Felona e Sorona in the Italian progressive rock hall of fame. In Darwin!, every promise made by Banco's eponymous debut was realized. Vittorio Nocenzi's writing has flourished into complex songs blending Italian songwriting, bel canto, and progressive rock.

The arrival of guitarist Rodolfo Maltese crystallized the band's luxurious sound, all topped by Francesco Di Giacomo's operatic vocals. The majestic "L'Evoluzione" opens the album, providing some of the best moments ever recorded by this band (along with "Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico"). "La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta" ("The Conquest of the Wrong Position") reproduces the same pattern as "Metamorphosi" from the first album: a frenetic instrumental theme, scaled down toward the end to let room for a very emotional verse. "La Danza de Grandi Rettili" is a rare jazzy number.

Di Giacomo shines on "750,000 Anni Fa...L'Amore?," a heart-wrenching ballad much closer to Italian pop music than progressive rock. The album comes to an end with "Ed Ora la Domando Tempo al Tempo," a short piece inspired by merry-go-round music. The original version of the album bears a cover with a pocket watch. Never satisfied with the sound quality of the original tapes, the band re-recorded the whole album in 1991 and issued it with blue cover artwork. Purists turned their back on this new version, but it is actually very well performed, even though it has lost the vintage 1970s Italian flavor.

This is a fantastic album and is solely responsible for introducing me to Italian symphonic prog. I decided to go out on a limb and challenge myself with something different long ago after hearing great things about this album. It starts off nice and slow with the epic l'evoluzione with some gentle yet ominous sounding synth and then it builds adding guitar and drums and other instruments before ascending to becoming a prog freakout. At this point I was immediately hooked and decided that BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO were a fantastic band and as the song went on I was amazed I had delayed for so long in listening to this and I was enthralled as the song traversed emotional and atmospheric landscapes through the dark to the grand to the contemplative to the uplifting and finally to the mellow yet fitting ending, a very underrated prog epic and the perfect song to start the album with although unfortunately not all the songs are as good.

Next up is la conquista della posizione eretta which is another great song, which within the confines of symphonic prog is a remarkably heavy piece with driving rythmn similar to zeuhl in a lot of ways and a brooding atmosphere (and great use of tympani) before near the end tapering off and becoming more mellow and melodic. From here the album lose a lot of steam unfortunately and it's mostly downhill from here to the jazzy laid back la danza dei grandi rettili to the more typical Italian prog of cento mani cento occhi to the emotive lamenting piano driven 750.000 anni fa...l'amore. The next song Miserere alla storia is another highlight of the album with more of the dark tones featured earlier on in the albums with some fantastic memorable melodies, unfortunately once again the album loses steam into the final song which is fairly uneventful. The good part though is that even though there is a fairly big disparity between the decent songs and the great songs the less prominent tracks all have some great bit in them and are fairly memorable

I like the instrumentation on this album a lot, the album is heavily reliant on synths, they the main meat and potatoes of the music and they are used very effectively from heavy distorted organ sounds to sawtooth sounds to vibraphone sounds to straight up piano with all kinds of different sounds in between, my favourite being during the middle quieter part of l'evoluzione. The guitar is fantastic, it's not dominant at all but it comes in at all the right times with a furious fuzz tone and there are several parts with some amazing harmonised guitar passages a lot of the time though it's well down in the mix and it's hard to know it's there - not that this is a particularly bad thing as this approach is perfectly suited to the music. The bass has a pretty good tone but I tended not to notice it much to be honest. The vocals are okay, I don't like the guy's voice very much but he suits the music and sings in tune and that's all I can ask for really it doesn't detract from the experience at all.[Source: Wikipedia, AMG,]

Gianni Nocenzi - clarinet, piano, keyboards
Pier Luigi Calderoni - drums, tympani
Renato D'Angelo - bass, guitar, guitar (bass)
Francesco DiGiacomo - vocals
Vittorio Nocenzi - organ, synthesizer, keyboards, clavinet
Marcello Todaro - guitar (acoustic), guitar, guitar (electric), vocals

01. L'Evoluzione (13:59)
02. La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta (8:42)
03. Danza Dei Grandi Rettili (3:42)
04. Cento Mani E Cento Occhi (5:22)
05. 750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore? (5:38)
06. Miserere Alla Storia (5:58)
07. Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo Al Tempo Ed Egli Mi Risponde ... Non Ne Ho! (3:29)

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adamus67 said...

Released in 1972 by Dischi Ricordi SpA (SMRL 6102) album is considered one of the most interesting achievements of not only group, but also Italian music of the period.

It took seven months after a brilliant debut, the group took and express, pace for the registration of the second plate, as if to prove to the world that the great success of the first was not a coincidence. Critics in his comments made no secret of irony and disbelief that but you can ...
Kept their words - at the end of 1972 to hit stores the second album titled ''Darwin''. I crushed the critics! The album is a continuation of a brilliant debut, as some say - to an even higher level. As if this were not enough group brazenly announced third album next year! This time no one doubted, the critics chose to remain silent humbled mightily. Darwin became a best-selling album in the history of Italian rock, which is a strange thing so far that the reception is not easy. The seven tracks and almost 47 minutes of music. Again, GREAT, timeless, great plays. Lucky ones who earned her treated her like a real gem and the pearl of his collection.

L'Evoluzione album opens - 14-minute piece begins with quiet keys and catchy, simple guitar motif zagranym, accelerating from the fourth minute, the piece przeradzający rozimprowizowanego madness with changes of rhythm, spowolnieniami, wyciszeniami and wonderful feats of the two brothers on the keys. Guitar also not idle, but this group, however, Banco, which is based on keyboards, perhaps because so often been compared to ELP. - the second track - an excellent, almost nine-minute La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta. It's a great, sometimes even monumental piece of prog, well arranged and played even better. Another piece, Danza Dei Grandi Rettil is a fantastic piece of slightly jazzy instrumental, flowing to Cento Mani E Cento Occh - sensational over a five-minute, broken piece that is sure to love all the fans Emerson. And maybe even after hearing the album betray his master Another board, 750.000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore?, Is a beautiful, lyrical, very Italian song and the next - Miserere Alla Storia - a return to the keyboard power with wonderful clarinet at the end.

And finally, Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo Tempo Ed Egli Al Risponde Mi ... Non Ne Ho! - Very short (3:29), but brilliant... Creaking door or turnstile and into the dark psychedelic sounds like a nightmare. After a while, interestingly sweet harpsichord and singing vocals. There is a second accordion and music as the medieval borough fun. But something further creaks, there is a trombone, a drum appears...try to play the progressive ... They succeeded...of disturbing creaking door ... and silence!
to be continued ....And was....
After only seven months. (their 3 album)....Io Sono Nato Libero (1973) of the Great Trilogy group Banco Dell Mutuo Soccorso, is a continuation of the style that created a group on the first two albums... I wish of pleasant sensations.
greet ....Adam

Thx Chris!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great post!!!!

Karl AceModrules Decaux said...

Very good!

Disco Biscuit said...

Wow. Another great one.
Thanks for introducing me to the Italian Prog scene from your previous blog. It's a fascinating style.
I would love to see more Banco if you have the opportunity. Area & Alphataurus too!