Good Music We Can Know

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Forgotten Islands: Piero Umilani- La Ragazza Fuori Strada, La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna, Il Corpo

Today we have three records from one of my favorite composers of all time, Mr. Piero Umiliani. In the coming days and weeks, I'll try to put up all my favorite Umiliani records, but I had to start with this trio. These three records are the soundtracks to an erotic trilogy of skin flicks directed by Luigi Scattini. I don't know much of anything about the films, but the music contains some of my favorite soundtrack/latter-day exotica work, ever.

I'm going to fall seriously short of adequately describing the majesty of these records, so I apologize in advance. Trust me that this is amazing music that you simply must hear.

We begin with La Ragazza Fuori Strada, the cover for which you see above. Jazzy, funky, exotic as hell, with those classic Umiliani pulsating strings (at times edging into Jean-Claude Vannier territory, or perhaps Stringsonics), and adorned with the occasional electronic flourish or wonderful female vocal (by Zeudi Araya, the woman from the covers and star of the films- as well as Miss Ethiopia 1969), there just isn't a bad track here. And with 24 tracks in all, there is a lot of variety on this record, from psychedelic sex chuggers to not-of-this-earth romantic ballads.

Luigi Scattini, Zeudi Araya, and Piero Umiliani

La Ragazza Fuori Strada (192, not bad at all)

This second installment might actually be my favorite. Actually, while I've seen it described as the second, I think it's actually the first film. No matter.

Of the three, this is the most heavily exotic- the strings are lush and drippy, the vocals have an alien/Polynesian sound, and the whole thing has a narcotic sense of pleasure and paradise. This is music for lotus eating. Where Fuori Strada had plenty of highway anthems and planet-sized psych jams, La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna (The Girl From the Skin of the Moon, I guess) spends most of its runtime wafting languidly like the scent of hibiscus and sex on the breeze of a hidden island. And where Fuori Strada achieved a remarkable diversity of sound and style, Pelle di Luna uses a somewhat consistent approach to tell a sonic narrative, frequently recycling motifs and transforming compositions as it shifts and morphs from track to track. It's not all loungy either, lest you think such a thing; even the jazzier tracks are deeper than that, especially when he returns to a motif and dismantles it a bit. At other times it becomes very experimental and sparse, or goes to a really hard explorer's sound, like a track from Continente Nero. I really can't impress on you the greatness and stunning beauty of this thing with enough fervor.

I think Zeudi contributes vocals on this record as well, but I know that some of the singing here is done by the great Edda Dell'Orso. Ms. Dell'Orso was a frequent collaborator of Mr. Umiliani's, but she's perhaps most well-known for her contributions to Ennio Morricone's work, including some of his most famous stuff, such as soundtrack to "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly".

Get it and love it, friends.

La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna (Again at a not-bad 192)

Il Corpo (The Body), the final installment in the trilogy. So very good, and naturally not unlike the others preceding it. Probably closer in tone to La Ragazza Fuori Strada, and in all honesty the least of the three, but I'm just splitting hairs at this point. Some cool drum machine-type sounds on a few tracks. All of these albums are total masterpieces, breathtaking in their beauty and remarkable in their creativity. Get them all and enjoy.

IL CORPO (320)

All files re-upped. Same goes for all the rest of the Umiliani stuff here.


Anonymous said...

Thanks OP. You're a virtuous man.

burntoutsavannahs said...

you are my hero. do you have any more piccioni that you could post? that bora bora album is amazing.

DubMe said...

thanks! those three albums sound really promising... I have been following your blog for some time - like it, how you share some great music with a bit of personal writing... DubMe

Feq'wah said...

This is great, thanks Flash!
I'm diggin the artwork as well :)

By the way,"La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna" is perhaps more sufficiently translated as The girl with a skin of/like the moon, with is perhaps a bit odd considering the skin color of the actress. But then again, the moon has a dark side as well...

Probably a reference to her 'radiant' presence.
A bit awkward from a mythological perspective though.

Flash Strap said...

That's about what I always thought it meant, but every translation I ran came up with this "from" thing... wasn't sure if I was missing something, or more likely, just coming up against a literal translation problem. Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

I love how describing Zeudi's dark skin as being of or like the moon necessarily refers to a quality besides her color/complexion, a more mysterious or magical aspect.

Holly said...


Anonymous said...

Wonderful posts! Constant rotation. Thank you for turning me on to these. Your blog is awesome.

alefbetac said...

Man these are fantastic. Thank you!

alefbetac said...

Any ideas where to watch the movies?

Matteo C. said...

I am so thankful the music that you share. I had been looking for "La ragazza fuori strada" for a very long time. The track "Le ore che contano" is one of my favourite ever. I have a radio show, and your blog is not only a great place to find the music that I am constantly looking for, but also a way to discover other great music. Also,the images and the backgrounds you use are very beautiful.

Thanks again,

Gotholia said...

You are a brother to me and I love you. I will never forget the happiness and fulfillment you offered to me, I wish some day to give it back to you. Have a beautiful life my friend..

Flash Strap said...

My love flows in your direction, Gotholia. May your days be ecstatic and true.