Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The article below was copied directly from a site that details the musical careers of prominent and underground progressive bands that stemmed there way out of Italy. Please follow this link after you check out this post to learn more about Area and other progressive bands from Italy.


Area were in fact an "international popular group", as the cover of their first album says, with greek singer Demetrio Stratos coming from the beat group I Ribelli, French bass player Djivas and belgian sax player Busnello.

The first line-up, in 1972, also included pianist Leandro Gaetano and guitarist Johnny Lambizzi, the latter soon replaced by Paolo Tofani, a musician with the longest experience in the group, having played in 60's bands Samurai along with Formula Tre keyboardist Gabriele Lorenzi, I Califfi and Noi Tre, that also included future Triade bass player Agostino Nobile. Arbeit macht frei was an essential album in the Italian rock of the 70's, full of different influences yet totally original in its sound. Stratos' voice is stunning, used like an instrument, and the backing band is powerful, formed by top quality and inventive musicians. Some jazz and eastern folklore influences are easily distinguished, and the music is not easy to categorise. The group image was characterised by the style of Cramps label designer Gianni Sassi, that added a distinctive visual style to their music.

Second LP, Caution radiation area, was more experimental with tracks like Lobotomia and ZYG (Crescita zero) that show strong free-jazz influences.
The following album, Crac, released the same year, returned to a more prog style, with some of their best rock tracks in Gioia e rivoluzione and L'elefante bianco, yet retaining the long instrumental parts that were the group's trademark. The strong political influences in Area music emerged in their rendition of the popular socialist hymn L'internazionale, released as a single in 1974 and a concert classic, as demonstrated in the 1975 live LP Are(a)zione. 1976 saw a radical turn in the group's style, with the help of external musicians such as sax player Steve Lacy and percussionist Paul Lytton, playing in Maledetti. The band was turning toward jazz and even the posthumous live recordings from 1976 concerts seem to demonstrate it.

Maledetti was the last chapter in the long Area/Cramps connection, with the group signing a recording deal with Ascolto and releasing less successful albums at the end of the 70's. 1978, gli dei se ne vanno gli arrabbiati restano, their first on the new label, contained a couple of interesting prog-inspired tracks, like the opening Il bandito del deserto and Hommage à Violette Nozières, mixed with others in a stronger free-jazz direction. Demetrio Stratos died in 1979, probably one of the most important singers and music researchers of all the Italian (and probably european) musical scene. The day after his death a big concert, with 60000 people, was held at the Arena Civica in Milano to honour him (this had been originally organised to collect funds to support Stratos expensive medical therapy), and a double album was taken from the event.

Another group called Area II appeared in the mid 80's, this was in fact a group built by original Area drummer Giulio Capiozzo with session musicians. Much closer to jazz than any previous Area incarnation, the group lasted for two albums in 1986-87. A new CD by Area, Chernobyl 9771 was released in 1997, the line-up included this time another original member, Patrizio Fariselli, along with Capiozzo.
This was probably the last time the Area name has appeared on an album of new recordings, the group kept playing until 1999 then split. Drummer Giulio Capiozzo has sadly died in August 2000.


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Anonymous said...

Irwin ROCKS?