Tag Archives: Italy

Meet the Artists Leading Italy’s Future Jazz Scene

Italian Future Jazz

The Italian Peninsula is full of cities and provinces that have contributed to the rich history of Italian jazz over the past century—from Torino, where Enrico Rava performed with Chet Baker and Bobby Jaspar, to Milan, home of famed pianist Giorgio Gaslini. Generations later, DJ Nicola Conte from Bari began blending acid jazz with African and Brazilian bossa nova influences. That history lives on in Italy’s future jazz scene, with musicians who fuse the music to a host of electronic instruments and production methods, mixing it with footwork, gqom, trap, drum ‘n’ bass, reggaeton, dub, and cumbia.

Continue reading

8 Essential LPs From Italy’s Power Metal Renaissance

Alex-Staropoli-of-Rhapsody-Claudia_Chiodi-1244

Alex Staropoli of Rhapsody, photo by Claudia Chiodi

In the history of heavy metal, Italy is often considered the birthplace of symphonic power metal: a genre that combined the speed of early German power metal with the neo-classical guitar playing of Yngwie Malmsteen, all in the service of telling elaborate (read: over the top) pulp fantasy stories. To some, it’s a subgenre synonymous with self-parody; power metal is second only to black metal in terms of the potential for unintentional comedy. It’s an easy target, as power metal trades the transgressive nature of even early heavy metal for earnest nerdery, in increasingly baroque arrangements. However, that narrative ignores the pivotal roles Italian heavy metal played in the global scene throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s—not to mention the renaissance happening in the genre right now.

Continue reading

Meet Liberato, The Anonymous Beatmaker Making Italy’s Hottest New Break-up Songs

Liberato

Liberato wears a jacket with his stage name written on the back, in a font typically found on banners made by Italian soccer hooligans. That’s all people know about him—that, and the fact that the tracks he started dropping since February 2017 quickly turned him into a musical phenomenon. His first single “NOVE MAGGIO” was a break-up song that floated somewhere between R&B and auto-tuned rap, with differently pitched vocal layers chasing one another over warm, spatial synths and trap beats. It primed a cascade of curiosity coming from the whole country that, however, wasn’t solely a matter of music.

Continue reading

Discovering the World of Italian Psych Rock

Italian-Psych-600

Italian artists have produced innumerable contributions to culture over the past few millennia—opera comes to mind, Michelangelo and da Vinci too—but the country’s vibrant psychedelic rock scene doesn’t receive quite as much appreciation. Granted, none of it quite lives up to the Sistine Chapel, but even the country’s prog bands have bubbled above the radar, largely thanks to Goblin’s synthesizer-laden horror soundtracks. But there’s just as much goodness to be found in prog’s sister genre.

Of course, Italy has a rich musical tradition that dates back centuries, providing fertile ground for inspiration. Puccini’s operas, Vivaldi’s baroque symphonies, and Verdi’s bombastic classical compositions all feed into Italian rock as much as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Nowhere is that clearer than in the bands that popped up in response to the burgeoning psych rock scene in the ‘60s and their antecedents.

As with the rest of the world, the late 1960s and ‘70s were decades of upheaval in Italy, marked by both violent battles between political extremes as well as great social progress. Art reflected that reality—just look at the nihilistic Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci, or the giallos by Dario Argento and Mario Bava that made normal life seem filled with uncanny horrors—to say nothing of the brutal, amoral polizieschi crime films of Enzo G. Castellari and Ruggero Deodato. The psychedelic rock bands of the time may have fought back against the darkness with whimsy instead of cynicism, but they too were touched by the ténèbre.

That approach continues to this day. Modern Italian psych rockers pull from foreign sources like The Flaming Lips, Kyuss, and Earthless, but still remain steeped in the traditions of their home country. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the varied touchstones of the genre for you to check out, as well as a look at the wide variety of groups carrying the torch today.

Continue reading