SCOTT AMENDOLA / MICHAEL MANRING / ROBERTO ZORZI – Facanàpa & Umarells And The World Wide Crash


To this day I remember very clearly a concert in 1992 where guitarist and Henry Kaiser alumnus Roberto Zorzi joined forces with Elliott Sharp and Mike Cooper in a semi-ruined Roman venue. In a classic ESP case, this writer received a promo copy of this album right after watching again the photos taken in that occasion – yours truly was 28 then, sigh – and finally got in touch with Zorzi two decades and a half from that evening, resulting in a pleasant conversation which revealed several common traits between the two of us.

The discographic invasiveness of Zorzi is inversely proportional to the artistic weight of some of his collaborative projects. As a matter of fact, he has trodden an individual path that kept him at safe distance from the provincial cliques of this god-forsaken area. However, if you’re a slouch people like Scott Amendola and Michael Manring – or other renowned artists featured in Zorzi’s CV – are not likely to play with you. In Facanàpa & Umarells And The World Wide Crash this particular trio not only “played” in the strictest acceptation of the term; they forced sonic impressionism and temperamental physicality to sign an agreement with evident rebellious tendencies. By the way, there are sarcastic references in the Italian titles; yet they are not precisely translatable into English given their indigenous peculiarity.

Here is a succinct summary of what you’re going to find in this record, mainly informed by the merging of Amendola’s responsive percussiveness with Zorzi and Manring’s devilish ability to originate ungovernable conglomerations of processed pitches and alien phraseologies. A “respectfully altered”, highly overdriven version of Country Joe McDonald’s “Colors For Susan” is just an introduction to the unstable harmonies of beautiful noises that follow. In “La Ballata Di Pipetta E Samò” one can locate snippets of Soft Machine-ish hypnosis amidst labyrinthine arpeggios, slanted melodies and infinite repeats of sparkling harmonics. “Ironia Della Sorca” (*) is perhaps the most Kaiser-esque episode in its superimposition of chordal slashes, looped monstrosities and arrhythmic powerfulness. The 25-minute title track radically smashes all the preceding issues into shards in a beefy improvisation – almost punk in certain components – closing the circle with further hints to McDonald’s piece.

All in all, this is a rather ballsy statement by technically gifted musicians who could have simply shifted to fifth gear to watch the landscapes surrounding the highway. On the contrary, every new spin reveals divergent subtleties and previously unseen connections between the parts, the ultimate demonstration of a valuable human interactivity too often absent in analogous settings. Spend some hours with these gentlemen blasting it out at respectable volume. Your blood will be better oxygenated.

(*) OK, I will illustrate this one. In Zorzi and Ricci’s idiom, “ironia della sorte” means “irony of fate”, whereas “ironia della sorca” translates as “irony of twat”. It’s a tribute to a locally idolized pornstar: the late Moana Pozzi, rumored to have been sexually involved with an unspecified amount of Italian politicians, television celebrities and sportsmen.

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