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30 Aug 2016

Pierrot Lunaire “Pierrot Lunaire“ 1974 + “Gudrun” 1977 + “Tre” 2011 Italy Prog Experimental Avant Garde

Pierrot Lunaire “Pierrot Lunaire “ 1974 first album Italy Prog Rock Experimental,Avant Garde
Pierrot Lunaire “Gudrun” 1977 second album

Pierrot Lunaire “Tre” CD Compilation 2011 

Along with the likes of Franco Battiato, Opus Avantra and Piccho dal Pozzo, Pierrot Lunaire were one of the artists that contributed to the small, but artistically significant, avant progressive scene of Italy in the mid-70s. Taking their name from an Arnold Schoenberg opera, the band certainly shared the composer’s affinity for new and innovative approaches to music. Still, over the course of their two albums, Pierrot Lunaire draw from a broad set of influences as diverse as Faust, PFM and Debussy for their eclectic, unpredictable sound.
The band is centered around the compositional talents of classically trained pianist Arturo Stalteri. Pierrot Lunaire seems to be his first major project upon his graduation from the Conservatory of L'Aquila, and in retrospect his mid-70s venture into progressive rock seems to be only the first step in a career fascination with post-modernism and 20th century musical ideas. After 1976’s experimental progressive rock masterpiece, Gudrun, he embarked on a solo career which extends to the present day. Of interest to the progressive rock listener is his first solo work, the excellent Andre Sulla Luna, which is somewhat a continuation of the Pierrot Lunaire sound, as well as perhaps the reworkings he has done over the years of work by artists such as Phillip Glass and Brian Eno. In any case, Pierrot Lunaire’s two albums still stand as ingenious testaments to what the spirit of progressive rock could really have been about, and are a must for adventurous listeners. - Greg Northrup [January 2002] 

Gudrun (1976)
Damn. Well, where the hell do I begin? It’s hard enough to even describe the album, much less illustrate what I find so intriguing and downright resonant about it. Sure, those of you familiar with other so-called “avant-Italian” artists like Franco Battiato and Picchio dal Pozzo will have a good head start, but comparisons ultimately fall way short. To put it simply, this is one of coolest, most original, exciting and eclectic albums I’ve ever heard. Mixing everything from symphonic progressive, avant-garde, jazz, minimalism, baroque classical, embryonic electronica and even opera into a fully cohesive, impeccably structured work might seem like a daunting task, but Arturo Stalteri and Pierrot Lunaire have done it with apparent ease. They’ve made something work which is nearly impossible to describe in words, and that means something.
The band jumps from style to style with an impossible grace, segueing, contrasting and even colliding segments, themes and genres. The effect is like that of a dream, a journey through some vast sound collage with endless depth and ingenuity around every corner. The only way to take this is step by step. Indulge me. The album opens with alien flute and harpsichord melodies of the title track. Already there is a surreality about the goings-on. A child’s voice talks in Italian over campy synthesizer melodies. Boisterous female operatic vocals suddenly emerge along with melodic piano runs and distorted guitar stabs. Further and further the listener is dragged, strange sounds burst out from nothingness, the vocals continue meaninglessly, “…waves crashing on the seashore…”, “…a stranger cries…”, “…wandering, rushing into the earth…”. In fact, the entire album is almost like some free association exercise put to music. At some point, who knows where, the delicate solo piano, almost jazzy, but not quite, of “Dietro dil Silenzio” becomes comes to the fore. Then it’s cars, buses, and street sounds leading up to what is among the album’s most purely beautiful moments in “Plaisir d'amour”, a flailing, distorted, flanged-out electronic motif provides a melodic basis for a crystalline female vocal line that sounds almost familiar, but impossible to place. Eerily beautiful. Before long, one is subsumed by the active, offbeat synthesizer melodies of “Sonde di Profondità”, a tape clicks, then a radio playing some kind of Italian pop music is interrupted by an emergency broadcast. “Attenzione! Attenzione!”… one is at once alarmed, then the next moment soothed, as the official’s voice fades beyond a soundscape of surreal synthesizers and guitars. “Morella” may be the most cathartic and haunting moment on the album; a sublime, descending piano melody backs a heart wrenching operatic vocal. “Mein in Armen Italiener” closes things out, another varied piece that moves from progressive rock bombast to folk music in a series of false endings before finally concluding.
Anyway, pardon the rave, but Gudrun has become one of my all time favorite albums in recent months, and easily within my top five or so Italian albums. However, typical Italian prog this is not, but maybe that’s what’s so damn invigorating about this album. It is totally unique, unequivocally inventive and endlessly startling in its sheer capacity for pleasant surprises. A work that effortlessly blows the doors off boundaries and genre, Gudrun is one of those masterpieces where only one classification seems appropriate: extraordinary music. - Greg Northrup [January 2002] … 

An original mix of soft progressive and avantgarde atmospheres is the distinctive sound of Pierrot Lunaire, highly regarded among foreign collectors though not particularly representative of the Italian prog.The group was based in Rome, and initially formed by close friends Gaio Chiocchio and Vincenzo Caporaletti (who came from Roseto, Abruzzo) who later recruited keyboardist Arturo Stalteri. All the three members were classically trained and still in their teens when their first LP was released in 1974.
Their two albums are expensive due to the high request and the limited distribution made by the RCA subsidiary It that released them.
The first, Pierrot Lunaire, contains 12 songs, with acoustic atmospheres mainly based on guitars and keyboards, soft, dreamy and intriguing. There are good tracks like the opening Ouverture XV, but the album can be boring to the more rock-oriented prog fans.Second album, Gudrun, recorded in 1975-76, was planned for release in September 1976 on the experimental Vista label, but it was delayed and released a year later.
It saw the entrance of the welsh soprano Jacqueline Darby, replacing Vincenzo Caporaletti that was more interested in jazz, and a sound shift toward a classical-inspired avantgarde, more disjointed than their first work. The trio was assisted by a guest drummer, Massimo Buzzi, on three of the eight tracks.
Continuous rhythm changes, musical and spoken samples, classical inspired piano and vocal parts, are the main ingredients of this album that can bring to memory early Faust or similar groups.After the second album Pierrot Lunaire ceased to exist as a group. Stalteri and Chiocchio were involved in Emma Muzzi Loffredo’s Tu ti nni futti album from 1976, also on It label, while Gaio Chiocchio and Jacqueline Darby collaborated in 1977 with the American composer Kay Hoffman on her album Floret silva.
Arturo Stalteri released an instrumental solo album in 1979, André sulla luna.
Gaio Chiocchio became musical director for the It label, subsequently forming the electro pop Effetto Notte in the 80’s and had a solo single in 1982 on RCA subsidiary Una Sors Coniunxit.
Vincenzo Caporaletti composed a rock opera called Gli specchi in 1976, before moving to the USA in early 80’s to work as session musician and arranger; returned to Italy he played for a short time with singer/poetess Terra Di Benedetto (from Albergo Intergalattico Spaziale) and later with former Area rhythm section of Ares Tavolazzi and Giulio Capiozzo….Italian Progressive…

Delicate captivating Italian prog with some real sumptious melodies and classic touches. Without a question PIERROT LUNAIRE would be the perfect CD to order this summer as you relax listening to some great prog sucking back the odd beverage. PIERROT LUNAIRE combine all the classical elements with superb Italian progressive rock flare. PIERROT LUNAIRE are highly techincal yet soft and melodic with a theatrical feel throughout. Instrumentation is abundant and highly skilled with loads of great grand piano, synth, guitar and bass throughout. Vocals are in Italian as you would expect which are rich and full of harmonies. Living true to their title PIERROT LUNAIRE is full of great classical - symphonic prog waiting to be discovered… Highly recommended! …

An eclectic mix of adventurous folk music, classical sophistication and avant-garde daring, the debut self-titled album from 1974 by Italian act Pierrot Lunaire is a unique little treasure in a sub-genre filled with so many daring and thrilling works. The three musicians on this album present an evocative and unpredictable collection of sounds and styles that head in endless different directions, a true case of musical multiple personalities. Classical piano meets with sitar, Hammond organ serenades mandolin and acoustic guitar dances with flute for a range of both vocal and instrumental pieces that also frequently blend medieval, psychedelic and rock music in a subtle and distinctive fashion, with a constant shadow hanging over the music to bring just a hint of unease and edge. 

The opening `Ouverture XV’ is a softly stirring fanfare of organ, gentle acoustic guitar strums and murmuring bass slinking along the backdrop, with beautiful cascading spectral piano throughout a real highlight. `Raipure’ is a rollicking but tasteful folk tune with instrumental breaks that pair sprightly piano over subtle little soloing bass eruptions, almost like they’re duelling together. Tracks like `Invasore’ are `Narciso’ are psychedelic acid-folk ballads with groaning raga-rock sitar drones, drowsy wasted vocals and drifting synths. Ghostly classical piano, pursuing bass and spectral synth veils permeate the beautiful instrumental interlude `Lady Ligeia’ (but what a shame about the abrupt cut-off ending!), and `Ganzheit’ is a quietly melancholic instrumental acoustic lament to close the first side. 

Acoustic interlude `Verso il Lago’ opens the second side with some welcome romantic flavours that also carry on into the mandolin and recorder folk ballad `Il re di Rapure’. The seven minute `Sotto I Ponti’ is one of the best pieces on the album, where the extended length allows the group to really stretch out. What starts as a shimmering 12 string acoustic ballad with a weary vocal lurches to life and beautifully transitions into a warm sunny mellow pop-rocker, where some fiery drumming, thick upfront bass and frazzled quick guitar brings an added punch to the second half. `Arlecchinata’ alternates between dark moody male narrated passages and ethereal wordless female wisps that dance between around mischievous piano runs. Medieval flavours emerge through the emotional piano and acoustic guitar pirouettes of `La Saga…’, and `Mandragola’s strangled maniacal electric guitar soloing over booming pounding piano and a stomping intimidating beat closes the album in a dramatic manner! 

While it would have been nice to hear more of the pieces extended and developed even further, Pierrot Lunaire’s singular, unique mix of folk, classical, psych and experimental music is fascinating to discover. This album is less bombastic and symphonic that what many of the other Italian acts playing challenging progressive music from the time were presenting, but it’s absolutely no less ambitious or inspired. Best enjoyed with a good pair of headphones to ensure you pick up all the most careful and tiniest of subtle details, `Pierrot Lunaire is endlessly captivating and utterly essential….

Another bizarre, or lunatic wall of sound, let me call. The first shocking shout should define the destiny of this album completely I’d felt via a quick listening to it, and got sure it be quite correct … their dry acid folk with avantgarde sweetness drives us crazy obviously, along with kinda killer sleeve. 

Their freaky trip begins through the instrumental masterpiece and the most depressive music treatment “Ouverture XV”, followed by “Raipure”, that is pretty impressive under their soft, smooth, but a tad distorted sound cloud with an acoustic guitar and voices play … this cool wind reminds me of early folksy essence of RPI legends. Another dry skin folk rock “Invasore” goes forward through an ethnic fruity atmosphere with impressive sitar chops. And their incredible avantgarde power explodes just in the following instrumental one “Lady Ligeia”. The mysterious appearance of Arturo’s piano play can be called as Folk Progressivo Italiano. Via “Narciso”, an acid folk where hypnotic percussion sound is amazing, “Ganzheit” sounds very fantastic, even only with simple acoustic guitar phrases and rhythmic percussion footprints. Another great creation. 

Contrary to the previous madness, “Verso il lago” is a beautiful guitar premier indeed, inappropriate for such an acidity. Yes, our feelings might be knocked down soon via the following one “Il Re Di Raipure”, in that the first flute (with ring keys?) wind blow be brilliant. This creation is basically beautiful but sometimes sounds of an eccentric scape as well, regardless of its acoustic folksy appearance. As if we would flit over the blue sea … nothing under our feet but anacatesthesic feeling. On the other hand, for the first time in this album we can enjoy a simple folk rock like Dylan in “Sotto I Ponti”, where piano phrases are gorgeous as usual. Oh yeah “Arlecchinata” could be mentioned as the highlight on the latter phase, featuring fully female risky chorus and keyboard-based spacey sound shower like gems in a kaleidoscope. A slowtempo folk dessert is “La Saga Della Primavera”, followed by the last madness “Mandrangola”, where almost all of their avantgarde acid folk elements (except some pop thingies) get fused, merged, unified, and exploded together, quite suitable for the epilogue of this drysweet theatre. 

In conclusion, there might not be anything special nor innovative in this creation I’ve felt, but it’s another incredibleness such a bizarre, eerie, lunatic approach would be heard deeply beneath this avantgarde acid folk one. Fantastic really…..

As I was saying in my review of the previous album , you can expect a band with such a name to have a close relationship with Schoenberg’s oeuvre. This was not really the case in the debut but very much so with Gudrun. The music is much more daring here taking operatic elements and fusing them with electronics doodling worthy of Edgar Froese or Eno and also a more conventional prog. The result gives an album sometimes veering towards RIO but still accessible top most progheads. The opening title track is simply asounding. 

We are , however light years away from their debut , but one can still hear that this is the same group. Much recommended also but be careful ……

Three years passed before Pierrot Lunaire recorded and released the follow-up to their debut album. They returned as a totally refurbished act, with guitarist Caporaletti out and mezzo-soprano extraordinaire Jacqueline Darby in. “Gudrun” is an album that drifts apart from the realms of bucolic melodic prog with a slight dissonant twist; now, the repertoire is design to defy structure and convention, in order to create a sonic journey led by the volatile ruling hands of surprise, radical experimentation, and free form. The link between all tracks is marked by the clicking of a photographic camera, as if each number of the repertoire was some kind of scenario immortalized by the machine and turned into a permanent reminder. If Pierrot Lunaire’s previous album was some a catalogue of reflections about the inner world, now Stalteri, Chiocchio and Darby turn their eyes and look at the world in its splendorous chaos and multicolored facets. The 11-minute long title track kicks off the album with a great deal of synth layers and sequenced ornaments, over which Darby’s singing, piano lines, stormy guitar leads, and some other occasional stuff lays its print in a daring amalgam. If you can mentally picture a mixture of Klaus Schulze, drumless RIO and Brecht’s operettas, then you may have an idea about what I’m trying to describe here (perhaps not too successfully). In sharp contrast, now comes a subtle piano nocturne titled ‘Dietro il Silenzio’, which sounds quite Satie-inspired to me: a really beautiful piece where the silent voids are as important as the actual piano sounds. The following number is a two part chanting displayed upon disturbing guitar and synth soundscapes: in the middle, a piano and conga drums revisit Darby’s line with an air of simplicity that seems to portray some sort of high-spirited joy. 'Gallia’ is a Darby-penned number, mostly a showcase for her well crafted dissonant operatic stuff, while her fellow men once again indulge themselves in a background of random dissonances on electric guitar and synthesizer. 'Giovane Madre’ is the most symphonic (or should I say the least anti-symphonic) number. It basically consists of a recurring attractive motif on organ and synth, solidly founded on a 6/8 pattern laid by Chiocchio’s bass and guest drummer Massimo Buzzi; somewhere in the middle, a gentle, joyful Renaissance-like motif enters abruptly, creating a weird tension that directly defies its own delicate beauty. Simultaneously, you can hear Darby whispering or laughing in some places. Many times I’ve found myself listening to this particular track three or four times in a row only to take pleasure in the challenging effect that the structure of this track causes in me as a listener. The weirdness never ends. 'Sonde in Profonditá’ starts with the sound of an old radio speech, accompanied by a tenuous, evocative organ theme, with sitar, synth and acoustic guitar providing some additional colours until it all disappears under crashing waves. 'Morellia’ begins with a Baroque-inspired piano solo, alternating with a Renaissance-like zither melodic line: then comes Darby, together with the piano, string synth, bass and drums (once again, guest Buzzi makes an appearance), delivering the most moving passage in the album. This same structure is reiterated, until a Cabaret-piano motif accompanies Darby’s dramatic laughter. This piece is inscrutable, yet it manages to move the listener’s heart in a way that they can’t fully understand. Finally, 'Mein Armer Italiener’ closes down the album with a successive combination of parody military march, psychedelic rock, pastoral stuff, slogan chanting - all comprised in an ambience of radical dadaist humour that may somehow remind us of Zappa’s most theatrical pieces. An excellent but not recommendable prog recording due to its massively cryptic nature: anyway, “Gudrun” deserves to be regarded as a classic of the most experimental side of 70s progressive rock. …

This is an album I could not have enjoyed just a few years ago as I didn’t have the patience for something this weird/challenging. Many people listen to music and consciously look for riffs or vocals to grab onto so they can relate, so they can just enjoy and rock out. You can’t do that here. You have to surrender your expectations about what music is and let Pierrot Lunaire paint the picture for you. This is one of the wildest albums you’ll ever hear so if you like your music easily digestible, Gudrun is not for you. This album is for the adventurous listener. But so rewarding and the most unique spin I’ve had in ages. 

Pierrot Lunaire is an Italian band from the 70s but this is not your typical “Italian classic” cd. Gudrun is more like avant-garde, free thought, stream of consciousness, melodic madness. It is completely bizarre music with some similarities to Opus Avantra but not comparable to anything really. Conventions go out the window as we are treated to all manner of instruments and free-form vocals in these mini trips. It is held together by the dodging presence of tasteful melodies which are not obvious but they are there. Plenty of them. This is experimentation at its finest but unlike some trippy albums which are just dissonant to an annoying level, Gudrun is enjoyable and beautiful. The album is split into tracks but plays out like one long dream sequence separated by the click of a camera, an effect that makes us feel like we’re viewing photos of a person’s trip. 

“Gudrun,” the long title track, starts out promising, dreamlike, mysterious. But I agree with another reviewer that the 11 minute opener runs out of steam and therefore I can’t go 5 stars here. The first half is great but the latter part goes on unnecessarily long. But we’re that close to a masterpiece so if you have a deep enough collection to have an “avant” shelf, then this is an essential release for that shelf. “Dietro il Silenzio” is a gorgeous piano solo that is all too short, just a brief wistful moment needed to recover from the first song. “Plaisir d'amour” is street sounds and vocal loops that border on insanity until some very obnoxious synths kick in. “Giovane Madre” actually sounds a bit like a song with normalcy contributed by some really outstanding percussion work, but the normalcy won’t last. Another refuge from the strangeness and an absolute knockout track is “Morella” which is pure Italian prog beauty, lush melody, great vocals, piano, acoustic, bass, drums and perfect arrangement. It’s a perfect song that ends in an outbreak of laughter signaling that reality has begun to slip away again. But I can’t get enough of it! I wish this were a double album. 

A must for fans of Italian prog, avant-garde, and for daring listeners of all stripes. A must for lovers of truly progressive music! 4.5 stars…

Italian band PIERROT LUNAIRE was a band active for a few years in the second half of the 1970’s, releasing two albums prior to folding in 1977. They are best known for their blend of folk music and highly experimental avantgarde compositions, as well as their albums being rather hard to get hold of until they were reissued on CD. “Gudrun” from 1977 is their second and last album, and has been reissued on three occasions prior to the latest version issued by Italian label MP Records in 2011. 

If one should choose one word to describe the musical exploits presented on this production, my choice would be eccentric. Highly experimental, most certainly not conforming to any ordinary approaches in terms of composition and most likely sporting a few avantgarde touches in performance too. At least I suspect that musicians might discover a few oddities i that department. 

The dominating feature is the epic length title track, clocking in at just over 11 minutes Gudrun is a massive, sprawling experimental escapade. Following an elongated prologue sporting gentle ambient resonances as well as medival sounding folk music a Bo Hansson sounding guitar and organ theme kicks off and gradually develops into more and more of an offbeat experience. Spoken children’s voices are replaced by dramatic operatic female vocals, the guitars starts veering off the interplay with the organ and distorted noises starts appearing in fluctuating textures. The organ taking more and more of a backseat, and eventually the track fades out to effects and spoken words. An interesting endeavour for sure, but arguably much more so than enticing and intriguing as such. 

The remaining parts of the album are at times vastly different. Dietro il Silenzio a careful piano ballad exploring resonances and careful inserted contrasts in a most excellent manner, Plaisir D'Amour more of an experimental and offbeat thematic construction with a strong cinematic feel, recurring themes and again dramatic operatic lead vocals, the latter grabbing the limelight on the following Gallia now backed by distorted and possibly electronic sounds. 

Giovane Madre stands out as the clear highlight for me, sporting a circulating organ motif, energetic rhythms, twisted yet melodic sound effects and a few inserts of a spoken female voice, with a dramatic folk interlude briefly appearing at the halfway point. The following two songs are arguably rather more experimental in scope and approach, but not quite as compelling. They do share one common trait though: They are quite different from the other songs on the album. 

The additional tracks present on the 2011 reissue are nice additions, the least interesting also the most experimental of these in the shape of Mein Armer Italiener. The alternative versions of Gudrun and Giovane Madre that ends this disc are possibly more compelling than the original versions, at least in the case of Gudrun. Omitting the elongated introduction and the vocal parts of this tune transforms it into an almost hypnotic psychedelic/kraut-inspired effort that should appeal strongly to fans of those styles. 

Apart from the variety at hand on this disc I’m left with a feeling that this entire album in one form or another was conceptualized as a cinematic production. The clicks and noises that end each track might just indicate an old film reel that have played through, and as such might have given me the idea in the first place, but the strong and distinct moods explored on each song and the great span in variety both compel me to think that these compositions were either inspired by movies or crafted with the idea in mind that they could act as supplements to scenes in a movie. This might be dead wrong of course, but it is a thought that came to life after exploring this album, and does yield some additional information as to the overall scope and sound I hope. 

All in all a recommended purchase for those fond of highly experimental music that strays well of most known paths, and I suspect that those familiar with expressions like avantgarde will form the core audience for this album. Those who enjoy the initial efforts by artists such as Magical Power Mako might also want to try out Pierrot Lunaire. That is, if they haven’t done so already…

A unique mix of folk, electronic, and avant-garde with operatic vocals. 

Definitely one of the most interesting bands to come out of Italy in the '70s, and even into the 21st century, Gudrun remains as one of the most unique albums I’ve heard. Being drawn to this group by their name and hoping that they sounded nothing like the A. Schoenberg work, I dived right into the first, self-titled track; with the sounds of acoustic piano noodling coupled with German-esque electronic music had me hooked. This first track is oddly one that I can actually compare to another Italian group, Albergo Intergalattico Spaziale, which is also mainly experimental electronic music with operatic vocals. 

But immediately following one of the most unique tracks is one of the most beautiful tracks, “Dietro Il Silenzio”, which starts off with a metallic Neptune-like intro before turning into one of the most depressingly beautiful piano melodies I’ve heard by heard that wasn’t by F. Chopin. 

Also featured on this album are tribal drums, Henry Cow-like noisy guitar playing, occasional folky melodies, and straight-up '70s rock licks. There is no shortage of variety on this album, and the grandiose attitude of it all gives it an undeniable Italian feel. This is what RPI fans should listen to once all of their favorite RPI artists have begun to sound the same; this is where that RPI mentality was taken to its limits. 

Gudrun is compelling, unique, bizarre, and beautiful…

PIERROT LUNAIRE started out as a more normal Italian folk band when it released its first eponymous album in 1974 but after a few years when the more adventurous side of progressive music was waning rather than waxing the band took the absolute opposite approach and created a more experimental, avant-garde and progressive approach with their 2nd album GUDRUN. Despite the folk aspect being weirded out to the nth degree it is still to be found alternating with strange electronic embellishments, diva soprano vocals and a healthy dose of the avant-garde without overdosing on any particular element. In fact, the whole thing comes together quite well despite there being seemingly totally disparate sounds fighting for dominance at any given moment. Once usurpation of a particular sound or style has settled in, thankfully is allowed to run its course before the next one intervenes the possible boredom that could occur if allowed to ramble beyond its approved time slot. 

The band took their name from the famous classical composition by Arnold Schoenberg, who is known for his avant-garde approach to classical music incorporating atonality and developed the twelve-tone technique. Likewise with the band’s namesake, they utilize the avant-garde to really spice up their folk influences to the point it doesn’t often sound like folk anymore. This is one of those albums where you can put aside any expectations of what you think will happen and just surrender to the music and let PIERROT LUNAIRE do the driving. You do have to put on your seat belts because they do come awfully close to driving off the cliffs yet always at the nick of time are saved by a mysterious chimera pushing the brake pedal. I am very intrigued by this album to say the least. It nourishes my inner freak-a-zoid like very few albums can. The fact is that there is really nothing else that i’ve personally heard that sounds anything even close to this one. The weirdness and the accessible play together like a tiger and a lamb giving the impression of eminent mortality but always emerging unexpectedly in a truce between the polar opposites. A must-hear for all you demented sonic sluts who just can’t satiate your appetite for the weirdest and wildest that experimental music has to offer

PIERROT LUNAIRE was a short-lived Italian band, whose two albums from the mid-'70s made them a semi-legendary act in Italian music history. And it is their second and last production “Gudrun” from 1976 that has earned them most accolades, at least by progressive rock aficionados. Until recently, these two albums covered all known recorded material by the band, with later reissues catering for various outtakes, alternative versions and suchlike. But with the release of “Tre” in 2011, the history of this band will be in need of a slight revision. 

The five recordings by Pierrot Lunaire, three of which are previously unreleased, aren’t the major reason for owning this CD, unless you’re an avid fan that is. But fans and those curious alike might want to and possibly should contemplate getting this production for the cover versions, which by and large are of good to excellent quality. Some straying further from the originals than others, but all of them are well made recordings by artists that appear to be passionate about the material they have chosen to cover. First and foremost a disc that will interest fans I suspect, but there’s plenty to enjoy here even for those who don’t have this Italian act as a personal favorite…

With their masterpiece “Gudrun”, Pierrot Lunaire surely belongs to Italy’s most experimental and original prog bands, along with Orchestra Njervudarov, La 1919 and Opus Avantra. Of course there are avant-garde and musique concrète influences, specifically on the title track and “Gallia”, but when I really think of it, avant-garde or experimental aren’t really the first words that come to mind, nor is avant-prog for that matter. First of all, the album pretty much defines the words “unique” and “original” in my view. There’s literally nothing else quite like it, even though Arturo Stalteri’s “Andre Sulla Luna” deserves to be mentioned for the obvious reasons. I think it’s the exceptional level of uniqueness and creativity what has always appealed to me the most in this album. It’s one of those truly rare albums that create its own little universe. After a good number of listens, it also appears to be undeniably beautiful, even in its most free-form and out-threre places. 

The title track starts off relatively conventional, but suddenly turns into something that could be my favourite piece of progressive electronic ever, if you can call it as such. Folk/ambient/opera/experimental electronic/musique concrète/prog rock would be a decent description for this stupendous work of art. The operatic vocal plays a very important role here; I personally find the vocalless version (included as a bonus) a whole lot less compelling. Some tracks are very much minimalism-influenced (“Dietro il silenzio”), others are a bit more in the prog rock vein (“Giovane madre”). “Plaisir d'amour” is an interesting experiment - while the harmonical basis couldn’t be more cliché, the distorted arrangement creates an unusual contrast that eventually works well. It’s easy to write off “Gallia”, the most free-form track on the album, as a filler, but for me it works just as great as the rest of the album. “Morella” with its unexpected twist at end is another highlight. Add to that various spoken word and retro interludes, and all tracks being separated by a special effect which I fail to recognise. 

There’s no doubt that “Gudrun” belongs to my Italian top 3, and the title track deserves full five stars. The album on the whole is extremely close to the maximum rating as well. I know very few albums that are as unique and beautiful as Gudrun. ……

first album 

Line-up / Musicians 

- Arturo Stalteri / piano, organ, vocals, spinet, eminent , celesta, percussion 
- Vincenzo Caporaletti / acoustic, classical & electric & 12 string guitars, bass, drums, flute 
- Gaio Chiocchio / sitar, mandolin, vocals, guitar, Hammond organ, cymbals, timpani 

- Laura Buffa / vocals 

Songs / Tracks Listing 

1. Ouverture XV (3:19) 
2. Raipure (4:45) 
3. Invasore (4:21) 
4. Lady Ligeia (2:39) 
5. Narciso (5:13) 
6. Ganzheit (2:33) 
7. Verso il lago (0:53) 
8. Il re di Raipure (3:47) 
9. Sotto i ponti (7:22) 
10. Arlecchinata (3:25) 
11. La saga della primavera (3:38) 
12. Mandrangola (2:15) 

second album 

Line-up / Musicians 

- Arturo Stalteri / piano, organ, spinet, cembalo, synth, Glockenspiel, acoustic guitar, recorder, tambourine, violin 
- Gaio Chiocchio / electric & acoustic guitar, mandoline, harpsicord, synth, Shaj Baja, zither tirolese, sitar, bell 
- Jacqueline Darby / voice 
- Massimo Buzz / drums (5, 7, 8) 

Songs / Tracks Listing 

1. Gudrun (11:27) 
2. Dietro il silenzio (2:35) 
3. Plaisir d'amour (4:43) 
4. Gallia (2:11) 
5. Giovane madre (3:47) 
6. Sonde in profondit (3:33) 
7. Morella (5:01) 
Bonus on CD 
8. Mein Armer Italiener (5:15) 
9. Gudrun (previously unreleased) (6:48) 
10. Giovane madre (previously unreleased) (3:48) 

third album 

Line-up / Musicians 

Tracks 1 to 7, 13: 
- Artists as listed 

Tracks 8-12: 
- Arturo Stalteri / piano, organ, spinet, cembalo, synth, Glockenspiel, guitar, recorder, tambourine, violin 
- Gaio Chiocchio / guitars, mandoline, harpsicord, synth, Shaj Baja, zither tirolese, sitar, bell 
- Jacqueline Darby / voice 

1 –Il Segno Del Comando Lady Ligeia 
2 –Gran Turismo Veloce Il Re Di Raipure 
3 –Sciarada Dietro Il Silenzio 
4 –InSonar Plaisir D'Amour 
5 –Claudio Milano, Feat. Liir Bu Fer* Gallia 
6 –Central Unit Giovane Madre 
7 –Arturo Stalteri Morella 
8 –Pierrot Lunaire Sonde In Profondità (Versione Alternativa) 
9 –Pierrot Lunaire Mein Armer Italiener 
10 –Pierrot Lunaire TRE: Soldato 
11 –Pierrot Lunaire TRE: Cilla 
12 –Pierrot Lunaire TRE: What’D You Say 
13 –Sciarada Giovane Marde  

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..







Cassette Deck

Cassette Deck