In the last two years, Mannequin Records boss Alessandro Adriani has become known for his unique, lo-fi take on wave-driven techno through his productions, DJ sets and label releases. But before he began gracing clubs and festivals on an increasingly regular basis, he was primarily operating as a curator with a deep and encyclopaedic knowledge of obscure music from across decades. To commemorate his forthcoming album and LP coming out on Stroboscopic Artefacts on May 17, the impeccable selector and artist made a playlist of 11 Italian library music tracks—which were all made to be used in 1970s Italian movie OSTs—that directly inspire his nostalgic synth-laden sound. Check them all out below.
Cinecittà was the Italian Hollywood in the ‘60s, ‘70s and’80s, and the movie soundtrack composers who worked there were always a big inspiration to me. A network or a studio making a documentary would contact a music library label for some original songs or musical ambience. Without the immediate purpose of a commercial release, soundtrack composers would then experiment in studios, recording hours and hours of funky jazz, weird ambient, experimental pop and psychedelic synthesizer music. The following are some of the productions that came out of their studio experiments, and they’re just as powerful today as they were almost 50 years ago.
M. Zalla (Piero Umiliani), “Produzione” (Schema 1973)
This is one of the many pseudonyms of Piero Umiliani for his library music and soundtrack works. It is 1973, in Italy. The ultimate anticipation of Detroit techno to come.
Giuliano Sorgini , “Ultima Caccia” (Ricordi 1974)
The composer and keyboardist Giuliano Sorgini is one of the most talented Italian library artists. He made many weird Nazi-horror movies soundtracks like “La Bestia in Calore”. “Ultima Caccia”, from 1974, is psychotic Afro-jazz run into the jungle. Escape or die.
Carlo Savina, “Tibet” (Ring 1977)
Put one of the most famous Italian directors of orchestra into a room with modular synths and analog sequencers. Bob Moog proudness.
Alberto Baldan Bembo, “Nitrogen” (Star Track 1982)
From his pop excursions as a singer (‘Aria’) to this experimental Korg KR-55-driven samba from 1982, it’s only a small step.
Egisto Macchi, “Camere Anecoiche” (Gemelli 1971)
Easily my favorite Italian library music composer. Part of the incredible Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Macchi released this piece of amazing experimental drone music in 1971 in the I Futuribili LP. So sorry for all who came after him.
Giampero Boneschi, “Retiredly” (CAM 1974)
The title of this 1974 LP says it all: “A New Sensation In Sound (The New Sound Of A Voice)”. Mix in an almost inaudible sexy pop voice under fantastic abstract surreal music. Stunning.
Alessandro Alessandroni, “Stozzatrice” (Octopus Records 1976)
Originally released in 1976 and recently repressed by Andy Votel’s Dead-Cert Home Entertainment, Industriale by Alessandro Alessandroni is one of the first industrial-themed releases as we imagine it today. Experimental pulsing bassline over a noise guitar in stereo. In case you are wondering, yes, he is the whistler of Ennio Morricone’s most famous pieces. Legend.
Stelvio Cipriani, “Death Watch” (Un’Ombra Nell’Ombra OST 1979)
Recently passed away, the maestro Stelvio Cipriani is always pure love for my ears. Here’s digging into a pulsing horror classic synth-bass-weird theme, reminding some escapes of Fabio Frizzi and Nico Fidenco. Taken from the VA – Electronic Sound LP, 1980.
Gianni Mazza, “Senza Prospettive” (Fly Records 1971)
Famous for his constant presence on Italian TV, Gianni Mazza is way much more than that. Take this track with a tremolo guitar, a fantastic bassline and a slow cowbell as there’s no tomorrow. Taken from the Thrilling LP, 1971.
Gianni Safred and His Electronic Instruments, “Last Rain” (Music Scene 1978)
Gianni Safred drives his electronic instruments to create this dramatic pre-Blade Runner theme. From Futuribile—The Life to Come.
Pietro Grossi, “Visioni di Vita Spaziale” (Cooper Records 1967)
A personal extra, an 11th special mention goes to Pietro Grossi. Pioneer of computer music, visual artist and hacker ahead of his time. He began experimenting with electronic techniques in Italy in the early ’60s. As he once said, “A piece is not only a work (of art), but also one of the many ‘works’ one can freely transform: everything is temporary, everything can change at any time, ideas are not personal anymore, they are open to every solution, everybody could use them.” It’s 1967, and we still didn’t land on the Moon. But he did.
You can preorder Alessandro Adriani’s Morphic Dreams LP on the Stroboscopic Artefacts site here.
Published May 09, 2019. Words by Alessandro Adriani.