** 2009 edition, long out of print** Appearing as it did in 1973, Area's debut album must have sounded to the average Italian pop critics like the end of the world. Issued on the Cramps label, the album highlighted Area's early sound, which featured overt folk melodies, Canterbury Scene prog rock, acid psychedelia, and vanguard jazz all filtered through a particularly Italian sensibility. Those who came to love PFM later will not be able to handle the beautiful -- yet very disciplined -- weirdness of Area, at least on this disc. The Soft Machine comparisons are inevitable, especially in the free jazz sax blowing of Victor Eduardo Busnello. But in the deep funky guitarism of Paolo Trofani and rock-steady rhythmic invention of Patrick Djivas on bass and Giulio Capiozzo on drums, this band, fronted by keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli and vocalist-from-Mars Demetrio Stratos, Area was, at least in this early stage, a rock & roll band more than it was a jazz unit in the same way Soft Machine had evolved into one. Stratos is closest, sounding like Leon Thomas fronting Eno-era Roxy Music playing Mahavishnu Orchestra tunes, but Busnello's saxes are a close second. The rockish angles come from the guitars, while the bridge to progressivism comes from the rhythm section. Of the six tracks here, clocking in at just over 36 minutes, "Arbeit Macht Frei," the title track, is the one that brings all the pieces together most seamlessly. There are quotes from King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" and Jeff Beck's Beck-Ola album wrapped around towering rhythmic architectures and bleeding key changes that blur the boundaries between the various musics that made up the pursuit of Area. This is ambitious, strange, and ultimately very beautiful, an album that has dated very well into the new century.
A great jazzy sound is the result with lots of sax,piano,light drums and bass.Love the sound as the drums come in after 4 minutes.Vocals arrive after 4 1/2 minutes.Lots of amazing sax after 6 minutes.Drumming also impresses 7 minutes in.Fantastic track. "Consapevolezza" is led by sax and drums early in this uptempo intro.It settles into a very canterbury-ish sound.This part really blew me away,i mean this is canterbury 101 and yet this is before the canterbury scene came to be.Vocals 1 1/2 minutes followed by some excellent guitar.It calms right down 3 1/2 minutes in as sax,light drums and bass create a great atmosphere.Vocals return 5 minutes in.It ends with a full sound.Amazing song, and my favourite. "Le Labbra Del Tempo" opens with outbursts of sound that come and go.It settles in and then vocals come in with sax.A jazzy sound after 2 minutes.A powerful chaotic sound before 4 minutes.A calm arrives.Check out the vocals 5 minutes in! A full sound ends it. "240 Chilometri Da Smirne" is very jazzy with lots of sax reminding me of PASSPORT.Some great sax work on this one.A bass solo after 2 minutes.The drumming and sax continue to impress. "L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin" has a spacey and haunting intro.Jazzy with vocal melodies after 1 1/2 minutes in.Guitar after 2 minutes is the best on the album. Some crazy vocals 3 1/2 minutes in to the end of the song with some avant-garde instrumental work to support him. Highly recommended to fans of avant-garde and jazz.A very influential album.(PROGARCHIVE)