The product will be again available 5th March.
Back in 1968, we didn't have low-cost flights, internet or satellite TVs, and for many, cinema was the answer to their desire for exoticism. One genre in particular, called Mondo movies, provided a blend of fiction and documentary that brought to the big screen the most exotic and unknown aspects of foreign cultures. Sometimes morbid and other times brutal, they showed audiences that many countries were very far away in more than just a geographical respect.
Some of those movies enjoyed planetary success and became real cult classics to be rediscovered and watched, and in some cases, also to be listened to. This is the case with SVEZIA, INFERNO E PARADISO (SWEDEN: HEAVEN AND HELL), one of the most important scores in Piero Umiliani's lengthy career. He was an eclectic and internationally attentive artist, capable of genial expressions through jazz (I SOLITI IGNOTI), pop-funk (BABA YAGA, LA RAGAZZA FUORISTRADA), Western (CRISANTEMI PER UN BRANCO DI CAROGNE) and even electronic experimentation (such as his score for the unknown TV serial IL MONDO DEI ROMANI, 1972).
Director Luigi Scattini, whose partnership with Piero Umiliani was also a friendship, had the idea to direct a Mondo movie a bit closer to home, and using the great artistic sensibility he was gifted with he thought of Sweden, a mythological country for a moralistic and hypocritical Italy that was soon to absorb the 68 revolution and the need for freedom and rebellion.
Featuring the narrating voice of Enrico Maria Salerno (and Edmund Purdom for the international version), SVEZIA is a perfect movie when it comes to showcasing Umilani's creative freedom. It's a live-action collage that portrays the young and uninhibited, women-only clubs, violent motorcycle gangs, alcohol, drugs, sex shops and so on, everything with a style that blurs the line between journalism and voyeurism. The music expands, recounts and underlines sequences with themes that go from pop beats to bossa nova, from refined lounge jazz to the cue that exploded into a cult phenomenon, ''Mah Ną Mah Ną,'' created simply to accompany a group of blond women inside a sauna (the original cue was entitled ''Viva la sauna svedese'') and eventually becoming a pop music hymn.
SVEZIA's score is of an embarrassment of riches. Through this album, Umiliani gave life to popular themes and familiar sonorities without sacrificing his art, making use of top-ranking musicians such as Gato Barbieri (saxophone), Carlo Pes (guitar) and Antonello Vannucchi (keyboards), not to mention singer Lydia McDonald. Umiliani crafted real musical gems, refined and pleasant, making use of one of his best features: the ability to blend sound and rhythm. Apart from ''Mah Ną Mah Ną,'' there are cues such as ''Topless Party,'' the Latin grooves of ''Piano Bossa Nova,'' the psychedelic rock of ''Nel Cosmo'' and the wonderful torch song ''You Tried to Warn Me,'' which we never get tired of listening to. That's the key, really; we need to listen to those cues again and again in order to discover the particulars, elegant and complex arrangements that hide behind the first impression.
By the end of 1968, Piero Umiliani had inaugurated his private studio SoundWorkShop in order to record and produce his albums independently, revealing himself a pioneer not just in music but also in show business. The SVEZIA, INFERNO E PARADISO album was released by his family's label, Omicron (LPM 0014) and incredibly, on that edition, ''Mah Ną Mah Ną'' was absent from the track list. The movie was so successful that an American distribution company (Avco Embassy) wanted to publish the album for a USA release on Ariel label, and they immediately recognize this cue's force.
It was chosen for the 45 RPM release and made it to number 55 on the Billboard charts in the USA, gaining even more popularity after it was featured on The Muppet Show, the puppet TV series created by Jim Henson.
This new edition features the original artwork used for the first album release (of which only several hundred copies were pressed, making it a cult object among collectors) and includes every single note recorded for the movie.
Beat Records & Digitmovies are proud to inaugurate a new joint-venture series dedicated to great music and movies with this release of the score for SVEZIA, INFERNO E PARADISO, a brilliant milestone of the career and art of Piero Umiliani and a very important landmark in international lounge music.
The CD is presented in a brand new packaging style, with a dual cover featuring on one side the original photo shot on the movie set by Giorgio Scattini (and reproduced on the cover of the original 1968 album by Omicron) and the Sandro Symeoni poster on the other, a 12-page poster/booklet that can be unfolded like a small poster in which you'll find an exhaustive interview by Fabio Babini with M° Umiliani's wife, Stefania, and with Francesco Argento by Liuto, the Umiliani estate's record label.
Limited edition of 500 copies!
1. You tried to warn me 2:33
2. Le ragazze dell'arcipelago 3:05
3. Stoccolma, my dear 2:24
4. Mah na' mah na' 1:54
5. Essere donna 2:54
6. Notte di mezza estate 2:33
7. Sequenza psichedelica 2:27
8. Violenza 1:42
9. Fotomodelle 2:15
10. La signora cameriera 2:34
11. Solitudine 3:51
12. Free in minore 2:04
13. Piano bossa nova 1:31
14. Stoccolma, my dear 2:46
15. Notte di mezza estate 3:00
16. Solitudine 2:07
17. Nel cosmo 3:22
18. Topless party 3:02
19. Solitudine 2:17
20. Eva svedese 2:15
21. Hippies #1 2:38
22. Solitudine 2:11
23. Hippies #1 2:56
24. L'uomo integrato 1:51
25. Samba mah na' 2:18
26. Organo e chitarroni 1:43
27. Beer, vermouth e gin 2:03
28. Viaggio nell'inconscio 1:58
29. Contestazione 2:29
30. Sleep now little one 3:15
Musica composta, arrangiata e diretta da Piero Umiliani
Lydia Mc Donald: vocals on 1 and 28 (words on 28)
Sandro Alessandroni: vocals on 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 9 / 10 / 15 / 22 / 25 and 27
Giulia Alessandroni: Background vocals on 4 / 5 / 7 / 9 / 10 and 25
Edda Dell'Orso: Background vocals on 4 / 5 / 7 / 9 / 10 and 25
Gato Barbieri: tenor saxophone 11 / 12 and 13
Antonello Vannucchi: hammond organ, vibes on 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 14 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 and 28
Piero Umiliani: piano, clavinet on 6 and 13
Carlo Pes: guitar on 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 14 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 and 28
Enzo Grillini: guitar on 13
Maurizio Majorana: bass on 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 14 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 and 28
Giovanni Tommaso: bass on 11 / 12 and 13
Roberto Podio: drums on 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 14 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 and 28
Bruno Biriaco: drums on 11 and 13
Big orchestra on 1 / 2 / 3 / 6 and 15
String orchestra on 16