Good Music We Can Know

Monday, May 20, 2013

Esorcismi in the Lonely Village: Piero Umiliani- Africa (1971), Polinesia (1972)

I present to you today two wonderful and rare Umiliani works from his classic period, a time when his own Sound Work Shop studio was churning out record after record, including a slew of weird, spooky, docu-exotica LPs such as the phenomenal Continente Nero and its brother-album, Genti e Paesi del Mondo.

These two LPs are precisely of a piece with the aforementioned albums, and thus they are indispensable to the Umiliani discography and great, just great.  Africa is very like Nero, very eerie and off-putting in its dissonant, spare approach to exoticism.  Not at all music for a tiki cocktail scene-- rather, the sound of discovering, in the middle of the night in a deep fog, an abandoned and haunted tiki bar, feeling the hair raise on the back of your neck, horrified in the presence of a timeless darkness. 

AFRICA (320)

Polinesia takes the Continente Nero approach to the kind of "Polynesian" paradise music that Umiliani plays mostly straight on Le Isole dell'Amore, and it's a weird piece.  The results aren't dissimilar to his experimental-paradise music as produced for soundtracks such as La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna or Il Corpo, but far less lush, almost skeletal.   Quite excellent indeed, and so highly recommended.

The Field Has Eyes, and the Forest Ears: I've wanted to find and share these albums with you all for quite some time now, but I could never find them.  I never did.  Rather, I threw some inquiries out there and the super-human Owl lent a helping hand.  In a bout of characteristic generosity of spirit, he allowed that I might share the wealth.  If you thank anyone, thank him-- if you know what's good for you.