All of your favorites, in one place.
Tilt" is the amazing debut album by a band whose members were not newbies at all. The six musicians' combined former experiences had led them to the roads of jazz and prog rock (even the very young, masterful drummer Furio Chirico had played in The Trip's last two albums) for some time, so their expertise was quite obvious and quite impressive as well by the time "Tilt" introduced Arti + Mestieri to the eyes of the world. The jazz-rock oriented sound delivered by the band serves as an appropriate field for the expression of every individual's skill, while the compositions and arrangements are cleverly ordained in order to create an "orchestral" feel that keeps all individuals united in a fluid rapport with each other. It is precisely that "orchestral" feel which allows their sound not to be restricted by the habitual standards of regular jazz rock, but makes the band draw a bit closer to that special sensibility, that typical mix of baroque and Mediterranean folk so frequent in Italian symphonic prog. Some of this magic is expressed by the mellotron layers, the classically oriented lines that the violin and wind instruments indulge in at times, and the "suite-like" sequence of the linked tracks (1-4, 7-8). Given the immense diversity of the instrumentation (saxes, clarinets, violin and vibes join the usual ensemble of guitar-bass-keys-drums), it can be easy to rely on some extremely free stuff and go with a chaotic flow, but these guys prefer to act similarly as a small orchestra, giving every part for each instrument a proper place in the sonic landscape exhibited on each number. But again, Chirico's superb (which some may consider over-played, but I simply label as genius) drumming, Venegoni's cadence on his guitar leads and picks, and Crovella's subtle use of his piano/electric piano parts (a times complemented by the vibes, occasional courtesy of saxophonist/clarinetist Vitale), keep the listener well reminded of the jazzy essence of Arti + Mestieri's overall sound. That's where Vitale and Vigliar get some space to expand themselves on - in both the prog and jazz sides of the band's sound, the violinist and the wind player play almost all leading roles. As for drummer Chirico, he clearly relies on Gallesi's precise bass playing so he can beat and roll endlessly and become the other leading man. The weird title track closes down the album with a disturbing touch of dissonant layers of mellotron and ARP synth, occasionally accompanied by a few ad-libitum parts on bass clarinet and violin: this is AM emulating Area, which should not come as such a big surprise, since Area's guitarist Paolo Tofani (together with Venegoni) produces the album. I actually like this Cage/Stockhausen-inspired stuff, but I feel that it would have found a more suitable place in the middle, as a curious rarity, instead of the closure, which eventually kills the captivating splendour displayed in the final section of 'Articolazioni'. Apart from that, let me tell you that it's hard for me to pick a particular fave in a mostly homogeneously great repertoire; anyway, I will mention tracks 1-4 and the 13-minute long 'Articolazioni' as the most impressive and significant examples of what this band is all about. All in all, I regard "Tilt" as a masterpiece of 70s Italian prog. (Progarchives)