Album of the day: Skiantos, "MONOtono"

Album of the day: Skiantos, “MONOtono”

MONOtone (CD Latlantide/Audioglobe)

Among the artistic expressions born within the Student Movement in the mid-Seventies, one of the most singular was certainly that of crazy rock which had Bologna as its epicenter and which saw the singer Freak Antoni as its leader. In addition to organizing lively happenings in which all the musical conventions of pop concerts were cheerfully overturned, the exponents of crazy rock made fun of everything, from songwriters to politicians, from the public itself to the specialized press.

Independent labels with unlikely names were born (Pistoni Roventi Records) which circulated music among young people
and the happily anarchic lyrics of this aesthetic, which with insolence and only apparent recklessness threw open the windows, bringing a bit of fresh air into the Italian musical panorama, dominated by self-referential singer-songwriters and groups linked to the world of English rock.

If for the latter instrumental expertise was an essential element of their being musicians, for the leading group of the movement
crazy, the Skiantos, being incapable of playing was instead the sine qua non; they openly declared themselves incapable of producing sounds in an even minimally professional manner.

This too was a paradoxical exaggeration given that behind their records was hiding a name with proven experience like Paolo Tofani, guitarist of Area; the extraordinary skill in the art of self-promotion on the part of Skiantos found support at the Cramps label, which launched Skiantos' first album/manifesto, MONOtono, in 1978, the initial 5000 copies of which were pressed on vomit-coloured vinyl (I still have some one and the effect is still disgusting today).

Years later the album still sounds irreverent, energetic and very fun; songs like “Eptadone”, “Bau Bau Baby”, “Pesto Duro” and “Panka Rock” are true classics of the Italian punk generation, together with the very out of tune ballad “Vortice”, the anthem of “Largo all'Avanguardia” and the raids gynecological studies of “Sex and Karnazza”.
Unforgettable are the catastrophic solo of the drummer Leo Tormento Pestoduro in the furious “Io me la meno” and the Surf-style postscript of “Ehi, ehi ma che legge che c'hai” (where the trick is finally revealed; everyone sings and plays perfectly in tune and in time).

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.