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12 Aug 2017

Mo.Do. " La Scimmia Sulla Schiena del Re" 1980 Italy Prog

Mo.Do. " La Scimmia Sulla Schiena del Re" 1980 Italy Prog


Very little is known about this group called Mo.Do., known to the Italian progressive rock 'aficionados' for Walter Locatelli's presence on drums, a former Dalton ("Riflessioni: idea d'infinito", "Argitari") member. The band released only one LP, "La scimmia sulla schiena del re", before being completely forgotten, except for the most diehard fans of the genre. 

The album, almost entirely instrumental, consists of eight tracks for about 35 minutes, mainly divided among acoustic sensations, slow atmospheric moments and more sustained and complex ones, mostly recalling of PFM and Gentle Giant. Originally released in 1980, the LP is not affected at all by the 'synthetic' influences, which were very popular at the time; indeed it recovers a progressive 'classical tradition' that was practically lost in those years, a choice that unfortunately will soon lead the group to be ignored and to consequently split up. 

This black vinyl reissue, curated by AMS Records, is the first ever, and therefore rediscovers another important piece of the vast Italian prog scene...

 I bought this CD many years ago around the same time that I was discovering classic Italian prog bands like BANCO, LOCANDA DELLE FATE, and PFM. At the time, I thought that MO.DO. were okay, but placed the CD aside in favor of the major Italian classics. Well, the years went by, and I recently gave MO.DO. a few spins thinking that my opinion of them would probably remain unchanged. My opinion changed. "La scimmia sulla schiena del Re" was recorded around 1980. I'm not sure if it was released as an LP around that time, or if it was rescued by Mellow Records 15 years later. The band's music is influenced by the classic Italian prog era, and sounds rather modern even today. By "modern" I mean that the instruments, and recording equipment, sound post-1970s without sounding dated today. What struck me about the music is that melodies have everything in common with groups like PFM, BANCO, QVL. The band seemed to want to continue the legacy of Italian progressive rock without repeating it (although a section here and there might remind you of some of the classic bands). Each track features rather long instrumental sections driven by electric guitar, and keyboards(which include piano, Moog Opus 3, and Moog synth). Their drummer also plays in the typical energetic Italian prog-drummer style. Overall, MO.DO. sadly remains an underrated band. I guess compared to bands from the classic Italian era they are okay. But, compared to prog that was released between 1979-1992, MO.DO. are certainly one of the Steve Hegede 

Formed from the ashes of Dalton, Mo.Do. released an album in 1980 that would have been at home about five years earlier. Their only album "La Scimmia Sulla Schiena di Re" is a nice (although too short) collection of songs that partake of the spirit of the second wave of 1970's RPI, leaning toward the more pastoral side. There are several numbers which are up-tempo, and there is in these songs an undeniable Gentle Giant feel! This is an unusual source of inspiration for RPI, but the other typical mellow RPI flavors are definitely there too, including nice vocal harmonies and textures featuring acoustic guitars, organs and other keyboards, and a great rhythm section. 

Five of the eight songs are instrumentals. Some of these are fairly complex in arrangement, somewhat less so in rhythm and theme. My favorite instrumentals are "Preludio" and "Grindel." "Preludio" opens with classic RPI sounding keys and acoustic guitar, gradually moving into a bouncy, folksy theme. This evolves into a more pastoral sounding section, where a flute and bass guitar join in. Then the keys come back in, paving the way for the electric guitar flourish, just before the solo keyboard outro. 

The three tracks with vocals sound straight from 1975 RPI. My favorite is "Tramonto" (the others are "Gulliver" and the title track). This comes from the singer/songwriter tradition, featuring straightforward but solid rhythm, strummed acoustic guitar over nice keyboards, and some nostalgic vocals, including classic RPI harmonies. 

Overall, this album is a gem in the tradition of classic RPI, although released in a time when prog had fallen out of favor. Bravo to them! Although more pastoral and in places more complex than their ancestral band Dalton, they nevertheless reach the heights of their predecessors. 3.5 stars, nostalgically rounded up.... by Todd ..

Mo.Do is almost a forgotten progressive rock band from Italy who had a shor career but manage to release a single album in 1980 named La scimmia sulla schiena del re. As the liner notes of the CD said the band was formed in 1978 by the drumer Walter Locatelli of another italian outfit from this field named Dalton.and played and prformed six years until thier break in fall of 1984. The Cd was re issued by already famous Mellow records in 1993. The music is very well composed a cross between PFM and Gentle Giant with that specific italian atmosphere. I was very pleasent surprised, all pieces stands as good, some of them even great. The album is shor nearly 35 min only, but better this way, shor and good then long and boring. Another plus is that almost all album is instrumental, only 2 pieces from 8 are with voice. The tracks are short around 4-5 min each with exception last piece, but they incorporated very well the progressive elements here, very good musicianship, intristing arrangements, keeping in mind that the album was released in 1980, when prog music was no more a fashion. I like the album a lot, for sure not a masterpiece but a very good and enjoyble release. 4 stars for b_olariu .

 Following the disbanding of Dalton,their drummer Walter Locatelli still remained musically in progressive fields,forming this Mo.Do. band in November 1978.The rest of the crew included guitarist/flute player/singer Valerio Cherubini, keyboardist/singer Gianantonio Merisio, bassist Roberto Colleoni and guitarist Stefano Barzaghi.Their sole album ''La Scimmia Sulla Schiena del Re'' was released on the obscure label IAF,a really rare production nowadays,fortunately re-issued on CD by Mellow Records in 1993. 
Far from being unique,Mo.Do played some smooth yet trully adventurous Progressive Rock with very strong PFM influences but also obvious LE ORME and GENTLE GIANT hints.Their sound was fairly split between acoustic textures with a pastoral edge and keyboard-based symphonic arrangements with a complex approach.Especially the instrumental parts are more than interesting,often containing dual guitars interplays and Classical-influenced keyboard attacks with heavy use of organ and moog synthesizers.Add to this style somekind of a complicated funkier mood at moments with a light GENTLE GIANT vibe.Mostly instrumental,these long demanding passages are sometimes interrupted by vocal-led parts with a folky edge in a certain PFM mood,featuring always polyphonic arrangements and calm electric solos. 

Of course the interest in Progressive Rock had faded a long time ago and the band reasonably dissolved around the spring of 1984.But they left us a decent heritage with ''La Scimmia Sulla Schiena del Re'', a great album of Classic Italian Prog,not personal at all,still well-executed.Fans of the aforementioned bands should be the first to seek out for this apps79

First of all, a great thank you to Carlo, who uploaded this album, which, although it was released in 1980, is fully featured in the Italian progressive rock family, so that, listening to it, Listen to a record a few years ago, maybe in a drawer until 1980. Musically I have to say that it's a very good album, made of fairly short songs (only the amazing title track exceeds 6 minutes). Among the various pieces I can tell you 2 beautiful and pretty catchy ballads, Sunset and Gulliver, some good instruments, Preludio in do, Grindel and Seltz (beautiful, weird and never heard, at least from my undersigned, that volume-widening effect in Riff of the latter, at first listening seems a clear recording error, then scrolling through the song clearly understands that it is wanted and has one reason to be). The most beautiful thing about this album is, in my opinion, its smoothness: the 33 minutes that make it run really fast so that at the end of the album you are wondering: but is it already over? Now just talk, I'll listen to you and thank you again for Carlo for giving us this beautiful disc ......Verso La Stratosfera...

Line-up / Musicians
- Stefano Barzaghi / guitar
- Valerio Cherubini / guitar, flute, vocals
- Roberto Calleoni / bass
- Walter Locatelli / drums
- Gian Antonio Merisio / keyboards, vocals

Preludio In Do 2:00
Grindel 4:04
Tramonto 4:54
Oltre La Terza Porta 5:23
Seltz 3:35
Gulliver 3:55
A Proposito Del Dott. Faust 3:21
La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re 6:06

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..