Record of the day: Mauro Pagani, "Mauro Pagani"

Record of the day: Mauro Pagani, “Mauro Pagani”

Mauro Pagani
Mauro Pagani (CD BTF VMCD115)

Appearing in stores for the first time in 1978, this album represents one of the most important and prophetic works to appear on the Italian rock music scene.
Let's be clear, there isn't even a hint of rock in the album, but Pagani made it shortly after leaving Premiata Forneria Marconi, so he still belonged to the group of musicians accustomed to packed-out concerts and to the top of the pop charts.

With a courageous swerve Pagani turned to Ascolto, a small, short-lived but very interesting experimental label.
founded with tenacity by Caterina Caselli, and published this splendid album where the gaze turned towards the East, embracing the Mediterranean to refer to cultural models completely divorced from those in vogue at the time; let's remember that world music didn't yet exist and that the contaminations so used (and often abused) today were then musical utopias that required considerable guts and took place on the margins of the recording industry.

Gathering around him some of the best Italian musicians (Area in full force, his former PFM bandmates, Teresa De Sio, Mario Arcari) Pagani weaves a tapestry resplendent with vivid colours, where the sun beats down heavily crossing the notes of “Europa Minor”, “L'Albero di Canto”, “Violer d'Amores”, “Argiento” (De Sio's voice is magnificent, not yet converted to chart pop) and “La Città Aromatica”, the latter truly rich in spicy scents and serpentine melodies.

In this music there is room for improvisation but the compositional structures are strong and well present; echoes of Arabia, Greece and
Türkiye where «the Blue really begins» as one of the titles states; yet it is not a matter of haphazardly quoting or imitating easy tourist exoticisms: Pagani appropriates suggestions that derive from these cultures to make them his own, adding the singing quality of his violin but also playing bouzouki, mandolin, flute, viola, intertwining with the voice of Demetrio Stratos, traveling over deserts and landscapes to land in a No Man's Land which today is all too evoked in pop but at the time had characteristics of absolute originality (and still maintains them).

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.