Guided by reissue culture and the tireless efforts of passionate fans, an image of Italy’s remarkable history of avant-garde music has slowly begin to emerge from the shadows. As sinfully overlooked within its own country, as without, this music is marked by astounding diversity and adventurousness, is notoriously resistant to categorization and genre, while being incredibly democratic - drawing on a remarkable range of influences from across the globe. Whether focusing on individual releases, or the movement as a whole, it is nearly impossible to say exactly what it is. Few examples illustrate this spirit as well as Il Cavaliere Azzurro, the lone LP released by the collective O.A.S.I.- organised by composer, conceptualist, and multi-instrumentalist Paolo Modugno- whose incredible Brise D'Automne received the reissue treatment earlier this year, joined by Ermano Ghisio Erba, Gino Castaldo, and Massimo Terracini, all of whom played distinct roles within the broader scene. Originally issued in 1986 by the legendary underground imprint IRA, the album was conceived as an acousmatic soundtrack for an avant-garde theatre piece bearing the same name. Despite the inevitable loss of its visual counterpart, it stands on its own as a towering achievement in sound.
Building on Modugno’s broad practice of creating cross-culture musical hybrids, incorporating cutting edge technology with traditional and unconventional instruments, Il Cavaliere Azzurro might be seen as the precursor and second half to the more well known Brise D'Automne. Like its successor, it stands outside of culture and time - so singular and distinct, while offering a multitude of transparent references, that it’s almost impossible to locate. It is a world where the Post-Punk and Industrial musics meet the the traditions of North Africa and the Middle east, the ambiences and textures of New Age, and the explicit spirit and approach of experimentalism and musique concrète - so ahead of its time, that the few have caught up in the decades since its release. A brilliant marvel, and an incredible journey through an unfamiliar landscape of sound, which has been overlooked for far too long. It’s a thrill to welcome it back into the world in the hands of Soave, and bear witness to the beginning of its new life.