Described by Discogs as “New Age”, this record is hard to categorize. Its creator, self-taught Milanese musician, Pepe Maina, maintains a staunchly anti-commercial, anti-corporate, anti-any-kind-of-biz stance. Continuing to self-release his music, and compose for theatre and independent film / documentaries.
Recorded at Maina`s Nonsense Studios, Scerizza dates from 1979. It opens with slightly wonky monastic chant, and ecclesiastical organ. Sung as if the monk might have been at the mead. Then a jaunty, devil-may-care, whistle blows, between bottom-end boom, and harpsichord-like keys. Cymbals shimmer like temple gongs, vibes ring with Gamelan chime, and flutes duet with the female leads. Distant Royal court bugles fanfare a reveille. The compositions are busy, and whole album has an intricate, Medieval Folk feel. One it shares with the Hippie-r end of Kosmische, acts like Between, and Brosel Maschine, and defined by Maina`s zither and psaltery. Perhaps illustrating the authors` hankering after simpler times. But then, the woodwind riff on Sorpresa, could almost be Techno, and its bridge, Cortex-like Fusion. Spoken word sections recall the Art Ambient of Pablo`s Eye, and the closing Al Contadino Non Far Sapere Quanto Sei Cretino (which possibly translates as Don`t Let The Farmer Know What An Idiot You Are) pits automatic weapon fire against a Casiotone rhythm. A battleground backed by a Bontempi beat. An alternate take of Sorpresa is a Prog Rock Tattoo, that seems to sample soccer terrace shouts. The title track comes in three parts. Scerizza Parte 3 has music box melody accompanied by acoustic and electric guitar. While Scerizza Parte 2, for me at least, the LP`s standout, wears Celtic colours. With bagpipes bouyed by fretless bass runs, and illuminated by the sweet sunshine sound of field-recorded children at play.
Pepe Maina`s Scerizza is back in stores now, care of Archeo Recordings. If you’re quick you can pick up one of the hundred copies on blue and white marbled vinyl.
2 thoughts on “Pepe Maina / Scerizza / Archeo Recordings”
Hey Rob, great review, but there’s a small error. The bonus track is an alternate version of “Sorpresa,” not “Scerizza.”
Thank you! I`ve done a quick edit. I`ll blame failing eyesight, an on-going golden week road trip, and a bit of late night drinking.