Monday, September 24, 2012

Esperanza - Living in hope

New program of Cabeza de Vaca should be up tomorrow already so a post later today on that. Meanwhile a signpost to an interview I did way back in June with up and coming Italian group Esperanza. We met back stage of Sonar and had a quick chat which has now been published by Cyclic Defrost in Australia with a brilliant picture by Bianca de Vilar. I was a bit unprepared for the interview and sadly missed their sow as well since I was trapped in the dungeons of work at the time. Sorry guys, but nice to meet you and catch up.

A couple of additional points though.

The video and track to “Jaipur” from their self-titled debut album last year on German label Gomma are wonderful and capture the group’s sense of humour and indie pop side brilliantly. Made by the band themselves, it tells an invented story made from internet-sourced videos.


The relative heaviness of the track is somewhat offset by the more lighter, electro pop sounds of the rest of the album that features collaborations by their good friend Alessio Natalizia under the Banjo or Freakout moniker.


Natalizia is also one half of Kompakt-signed duo Walls with Sam Willis. Eseranza’s proximity to Walls has slowly let them into the fringes of the Kompakt community, where they have exchanged remixes with Walls and had many brushings with Michael Mayer. With any luck they will keep their place and make their mark, especially if they are now recording as they told me during the interview and can capitalise on a bit of momentum.


In the interview the group praise the talents of Italian singer songwriter Lucio Battisti of whom I know very little. A quick trawl through Youtube reveals a plethora of pop styles at his disposal: typical acoustic balladry up to even more electro-disco styled tracks like this:


You can see why he might have a big influence on the work of a group like Esperanza. Despite existing within the heart of pop and at the centre of public attention, Battisti also had an experimental side. In 1970 he had just won the prestigious Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo song festival for the second time in a row. His label angered him by opting to release a compilation album of hit singles in place of his concept album “Amore e non amore” which was considered too out there for the Italian audiences at the time, although they subsequently released it in 1971. The concept of the album, “love and “not love”, meant that each side had a particular sound, one lighter and the other heavier. The track titles too were winding and labyrinthine elaborations like the final track "Una poltrona, un bicchiere di cognac, un televisore, 35 morti ai confini di Israele e Giordania" (An armchair, a glass of cognac, a television, 35 deaths at the border between Israel and Jordan). Battisti also deserves full praise for the inspired and exploitative nature of the cover art for this album.


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