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Edition of 300 copies. Since their launch back in 2015, Florence based been issuing quiet waves into the reissue market. Working slowly, with eye for quality over quantity, they’ve brought forth a wild mix of albums which unquestionably fall into the category of overlooked and neglected holy grails from the Italian underground. Their expanded, double LP editions of Paolo Modugno’s Brise D'Automne and Roberto Aglieri’s Ragapadani, haven’t strayed far from our turntable since they hit the shelves. Now Archeo is back with another stunner - a true gem of Italian, minimal and ambient music - Pepe Maina’s Scerizza, originally self released in 1979, and until now never reissued. Like everything they do, Archeo has taken it the next level, expanding this edition with a previous unreleased work. Almost entirely overlooked for 40 years, Scerizza is sure leave listeners reeling and take 2019 by storm.
Born in Milan, Pepe Maina, like a great many of the figures at the vanguard of Italian music - Franco Battiato, Juri Camisasca, Lino Capra Vaccina, Demetrio Stratos, Claudio Rocchi, etc, grew the early realisations of his sound with his country’s unparalleled scene of Progressive music, but, with exception of brief collaborations with bands like Agorà, tended to forgo explicit associations with rock. Instead, Maina dove into deeply pastoral realms - meditative sounds and structures growing from his use of keyboards, harp, flutes, acoustic guitar and the traditional instruments of India. Still working today with more than a dozen albums under his belt, the long awaited reissue of Scerizza - his second solo effort, privately recorded and released by Maina in 1979, returns us to the early years of his remarkable body of work.
Scerizza, while remaining almost entirely unheard since its initial release, has long been a holy grail among devotees of Italian minimal and ambient music for years - generally commanding triple digit figures on the secondary market. With good reason. It’s an incredible piece of work - falling somewhere between the harmonic beauty and constraint which sculpts the body of Italian minimalism created by the likes of Franco Battiato, Lino Capra Vaccina, Gusto Pio, and Francesco Messina + Raul Lovisoni, Prima Materia, etc, and the secondary arc which followed in the wake of Aktuala, Futuro Antico, Amazonia 6891 - drawing on a diverse range of sonic traditions from across the globe. Scerizza is a stunning hybrid - a rippling body, constructed from the sounds of bassoon, bass, keyboards, bagpipes, vibraphone, percussion, guitar, piano, zither, flute, psaltery, and voice - a harmonic, ambient body which dives in an out of visionary and singular imaginings flirting around the edges of New Age music, threaded with humour, illusions to folk song, and outright avant-gardism.
Brilliant, beautiful, endlessly surprising, and entirely resistant to easy definition and description, the return of Scerizza represents yet another towering achievement in the emerging catalog of Archeo Recordings. A wild and wonderful ride issued in an incredibly limited, hand numbered edition of 300 - a stunningly produced object to match its remarkable sounds. If the imprints past efforts are anything to go on, this one won’t sit around for long. Absolutely essential for any fan of ambient and New Age music, Italian minimalism, or the outer reaches of sound. Grab it fast!