last edited in December 2007    


Art Fleury's “I luoghi del Potere” is another gem that we excavated from the past, which makes us wonder once again on how intense and creative the Italian avant scene of the seventies was, and how much we have forgotten about it. This is timeless music that redefines the borders of our experience and perception, and urges us to reconsider the impact of an Idea, when it functions as the soul and the engine of an artistic work. Coupled with powerful illustrations (especially created for this project) that function as a bittersweet comment on the Power of music, this edition will hopefully create an impact that goes beyond the simple act of buying a CD and consummate it.

Art Fleury was born in Brescia, Northern Italy, in the mid-seventies. They were still in their teens when they had the opportunity to open the concert of the group Area at the famous Parco Lambro Festival in Milan (1976), in front of fifty thousands people. In the following years they extensively toured and played with Henry Cow, and in 1980 they were finally able to produce and release their first record, “I luoghi del potere” (The places of power), which they started recording in 1977.


GENRE: avantgarde, free improvisation
DESCRIPTION: Deluxe boxed set, italian-english booklet and a poster
PRICE: 20 euro

TRACKS (excerpts)
1. Fabbrica Rosa
2. Uno spettro si aggira per +
Brigate Hans Eisler
3. e=mc2 5:01
4. La morte al lavoro 11:56
5. L'overdose





Superficially (or intentionally) included in the “Prog” genre, “I luoghi del potere” (originally conceived as the soundtrack of an imaginary movie), is a very personal and radical experience, at times recalling Faust's free-form kraut riffing, or the industrial sound collages of Nurse With Wound. The music is articulated through an outstanding dynamic juxtaposition of instrumental parts, with frequent structural and harmonic fragmentations, and a diverse array of unusual sound elements: from a sort of brass-band progression to radio frequencies, from cacophonic intermezzos to expressionist tape-collage techniques. Through this free flow of sounds, only apparently casual, the group wanted to expose the alienation, the folly, the hopes and fears of their times, through a creative act that pushed to the limits their expressive means. they were still in their teens when they had the opportunity to open the concert of the group area at the famous parco lambro festival in milan (1976), in front of fifty thousands people.
very soon they joined the cooperativa l’orchestra, a milan-based collective enterprise of underground artists and musicians, very active and well known in italy during the seventies. In the following years they toured and played with henry cow, and in 1977 they changed their name to art fleury. in 1980, in bologna, they were finally able to produce and release their first record, "i luoghi del potere" (the places of power).
their affiliation with revolutionary groups of the radical left wing (they were part of lotta continua, a group of radical activists), gave their music a dimension that went beyond the artistic act, or the sheer provocation. their music, and the history of the group, is charged with the hopes and fears of the intense and somewhat dramatic season of the revolutionary ideal. In "i luoghi del potere", art fleury offer their hallucinated interpretation of that idea. the music is articulated through an outstanding dynamic juxtaposition of instrumental parts, with frequent structural and harmonic fragmentations, and a surprising range of unusual sound elements: from a sort of brass-band progression to radio frequencies, from cacophonic intermezzos to expressionist tapecollage techniques. through this free flows of sounds, only apparently casual, the group put on stage and exposed the alienation, the folly, the hopes and fears of the modern times, through a creative act that pushed to the limits their expressive means. Their uncompromising attitude towards the "music system" (the market, the establishment), was an additional way to remark the constant presence of power, which controls and pre-determines our individual choices: in this sense the "places of power" are not only the traditional places of social oppression (the factory, the city, the school, the politics), but also all the actions and mechanisms of the capitalistic system which controls music and art. Superficially (or intentionally) ascribed to the "progressive" genre, "i luoghi del potere" (originally conceived as the soundtrack of an imaginary movie), is in fact a very personal and radical experience, through which music becomes once again the vehicle for the re-appropriation of our personal sphere, and at the same time a chance to rethink the way we listen to music, out of any pre-ordered cultural, social or political context. in other words, out of the "places of power" which are still alive and active.

augusto ferrari (keyboards)
maurizio tomasoni (soprano sax, flute, clarinet)
giangi frugoni (guitars, bass)

:: reviews 





Other Music (NY)

This stellar reissue of the first record by Italy's Art Fleury will no doubt remind some listeners of the more abstract moments of Can, the instrumental passages of In the Court of... -era King Crimson, or Henry Cow, with whom they toured with in the late-'70s. Much like the aforementioned groups, Art Fleury cannot safely be labeled a "prog" band, anymore than Renaissance tapestries can be called carpets. Perhaps even more than their esteemed peers, Art Fleury seemed possessed of a deep desire to keep their listeners -- and themselves -- from complacent musical experience, a desire that one senses was as much about radical politics as it was about music. Art Fleury's Augusto Ferrari (analog synthesizers), Maurizio Tomasoni (reeds and woodwinds), and Giangi Frugoni (guitars, bass) are capable of sudden, sometimes shocking virtuosity, to be sure, but there are no empty technical gestures here and this record finds the trio seamlessly blending elements of free improvisation, rock, tape music, and agitprop in a heady, propulsive stew that moves through the six tracks with a cinematic, even revolutionary, sense of purpose. These were the high '70s after all, and the members of Art Fleury were all card-carrying members of the radical activist group, Lotta Continua. Through their deft stop-and-start-on-a-dime instrumental sections, the band weaves urban field recordings, mechanically interrupted records, and expressionistic tape manipulation reminiscent of the work of Turkish Agitprop tape composer Ilhan Mimaroglu. To take the cinematic metaphor further, I Luoghi del Potere (Italian for "Places of Power") might be a movie full of angular architecture, rapid, disorienting inter-cutting, chase scenes, and broad, epic pans, and indeed, the liners have it that the band conceived of the record as a soundtrack to an imaginary film. [CC]

Sentire Ascoltare (Italy)

Dopo le fondamentali ristampe di Gaznevada e Stupid Set, altri importanti tasselli dell'Italian Records vengono rievocati. Ad essere presi in esame, dalle sempre infallibile NOME, sono gli Art Fleury, dimenticati bresciani autori di un lavoro, I Luoghi del Potere , licenziato dall'etichetta bolognese nel 1980. Il disco nacque come colonna sonora di un film immaginario che Augusto Ferrari (tastiere), Maurizio Tomasoni (sax soprano, flauto e clarinetto) e Giangi Frugoni (chitarra e basso) svilupparono dopo l'iniziazione al celebre festival del Parco Lambro e la tournee di spalla agli Henry Cow . Per comodità (o meglio impossibilità ) inseriti, parliamo del 1980, nel calderone wave italico che all'epoca vedeva nei Gaznevada e nell'Italian Records di Oderso “voglio essere Tony Wilson” Rubini gli epicentri nevralgici, gli Art Fleury in realtà furono un rantolo tardo prog e spigolosità art-wave inimmaginabile anche da quelle frange “irregolari” (vedi Confusional Quartet ) della wave tricolore.
Detto del concept che lo animava, I Luoghi del Potere sviluppava un idea di suono molto prossima alle coeve esperienze di This Heat e new wave che apriva al prog (per lo più kraut), quindi totale anarchia della forma canzone come i Faust di Tapes oppure, scorrendo negli anni, al dissacrante approccio dei Residents : campioni disco e sampler rubati alla Marilyn Monroe di Bye-bye baby, improvvisi deragliamenti tra musique concrete e folklore alieno, frammenti jazz e scorie cosmic-prog. La ristampa della la Die Schachtel, come al solito lussuosissima, vede un artwork totalmente rinnovato - ora furoreggia un pugno sinistro chiuso semmai ci fossero dubbi sulle tendenze dei Nostri - un libretto generoso di notizie che raccomandiamo e l'inclusione de L'Overdose , l'ultimo singolo targato Italian qui riproposto per intero. Se qualcuno cercava le origini del nostro (e forse non solo nostro) post-rock, ecco dove dirigersi.

Aquarius (Usa)

There's thankfully more than a few labels whose reliable track record and special aesthetic makes us ALWAYS interested in what they're putting out. Several examples: EM Records, Hapna, Ektro, Holy Mountain, Paradigms, Lampse, and Andee's own tUMULt (of course). Also among those "likely essential" labels is Italy's Die Schachtel, an outfit that either digs up the most wonderful Italian experimental obscurities from the '70s or presents the most intriguing new underground bands from their country, always in super-snazzy packaging. Unfortunately, 'cause so much of their output is so great, it's tough for us to keep up with 'em all, but here at least is a review of our of their more recent gems, a cd reissue of an unusual 1980 record by what was a young Italian group called Art Fleury, who played shows with the likes of Area and Henry Cow and was right there on the cutting edge of politically and musically radical avant-prog, Rock In Opposition sound-making... This album of theirs, the title of which means "The Places Of Power", was apparently conceived as an imaginary soundtrack of sorts, and it's indeed quite soundtracky, you could imagine this being the score to a very arty, serious and suspenseful Italian film. It's a sonic collage that effectively deploys skittering percussion and tape-splicing studio fuckery, instrumental prog bombast and jazz improv freedom, the proceedings often infused with moody textures of glitch and crackle, visited by musical cues or voices set amidst radio static, as if sampled from a random spin of the dial. This is very much in keeping with the sounds of modern-day Die Schachtel acts like A and Christa Pfangen, and their colleagues 3/4hadbeeneliminated. We're also reminded of AQ faves Village Of Savoonga, and to several of Art Fleury's contemporaries or near-contemporaries like Faust, This Heat, and Nurse With Wound. You probably get the idea: recommended!
This cd comes packaged in a oversized cardboard box, inclosing a booklet with liner notes along with a poster of the album's black & white cover graphic of a clenched fist. By the way, while six tracks are listed, there's only five actually indexed on the cd, implying that two are run together... thus we might not have gotten the titles of our sound clips right

Mimaroglu (Usa)

april 2007 release from die schachtel; a high-quality production (no surprises there) as an oversize cd-box (same as the insiememusicadiversa & aldo clementi sets) containing a 16-page book & a fold-out poster for your wall, and at the bottom, a compact disc containing the 1980 debut album by art fleury, a trio loosely affiliated with the rio (rock in opposition) movement.
no, i’d never hear of them either, and i consider myself something of a rio-head... while i can certainly hear nods towards henry cow (with whom they toured at the tail-end of the 70s), and especially franco battiato, this is much, much weirder, completely disjointed in spots and quite addled with tape-speed-effects, random electronic squiggles, mellotron drones, and the occasion rock-trio move.
fans of faust and/or the more deconstructed end of late 70s experimental rock music; this set is an absolute goldmine - once again we’re provided with a window into an avenue of italian underground music that had long been glossed-over...