Thursday, September 24, 2020

IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA to release special live album thru JOLLY ROGER: unique performance of 1973's "Contaminazione" classic of Italian prog rock

Today, Jolly Roger Records announces November 20th as the international release date for a special live album from the legendary Il Rovescio della Medaglia, titled Contaminazione 2.0, on vinyl LP, CD (with three bonus tracks), and digital formats. One-hundred copies of the vinyl version will be on orange wax.

Il Rovescio della Medaglia was born in Rome in 1970 from an idea of guitarist Enzo Vita, and then Stefano Urso on bass, Gino Campoli on drums, and singer Pino Ballarini all joined the band. Unlike many prog-rock bands of the time (PFM, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Orme, Osanna), they chose not have a keyboard player, aiming to offer a straightforward hard rock sound with a strong live impact. Showing great skills with their instruments, they played live at many festivals in Italy.

In 1971, Il Rovescio della Medaglia signed a deal with major RCA to record their first album, La Bibbia. Recorded live in only one day(!), it’s a “rock bomb” and immediately a triumph among critics and audiences. In 1972, they recorded their second album, Io come Io, inspired by Hegel's philosophy. Then they started to tour (also outside Italy) and play live with their “rare” huge equipment: in fact, at the time, owning more than 10,000 watts of power was a thing reserved for few groups. At their shows, audiences were hit by a sonic avalanche!

In 1973, Luis Enriquez Bacalov, famous orchestra conductor and composer of many motion-picture soundtracks (he won a Oscar with Troisi's Il Postino), contacted the band to propose to work together on a new album that would melt rock to symphonic music. For Bacalov, it was the third experience like this, after the previous successes with New Trolls (Concerto Grosso) and Osanna (Milano Calibro 9). The result of this cooperation was the album Contaminazione. It’s considered a milestone of Italian progressive rock, taking inspiration from J.S. Bach’s preludes and fugues while the lyrics tell the alleged theme of a Scottish son not recognized by the great Austrian composer. It was a worldwide success - so high that RCA also released an English-language version with the title Contamination.

To present live the new album, Il Rovescio della Medaglia recruited a keyboard player, Franco Di Sabatino, from the band Paese dei Balocchi. Unfortunately, later their truck with the equipment is stolen, and even if the most famous bands of the time organized a concert to help them, at the Piper in Rome, the band feels the blow: the singer left, and after a new single, they decided to quit.

Founder Enzo Vita then began his career as a session man, collaborating with many Italian artists, and, in 2011, gave new life to the band, releasing a new album, Microstorie, with Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth, New Trolls) on vocals. In 2016, another new album, entitled Tribal Domestic (with major Sony), saw the band back to a progressive and symphonic rock sound like the first album. This album featured Chris Catena on vocals with the help of the first singer Pino Ballarini, as well as many international session musicians. In 2017, Enzo Vita contacted bassist Andrea Castelli (Shabby Trick, Silver Horses, Mantra, Cappanera) to form a live band to bring Il Rovescio della Medaglia's music to stages once again.

The pinnacle of this is a monumental live recording of 1973's classic Contaminazione album, now being presented by Jolly Roger Records as Contaminazione 2.0. Recorded in San Galgano, near Siena (Italy), in September 2018 in an ancient abbey from the 1200 without a roof, the setting is a magical place and a location worthy location of Il Rovescio della Medaglia's timeless music. Suitably for this special occasion, the performance includes a string quartet as well as Vittorio De Scalzi (New Trolls) on flute one track.

In the meantime, see a live video of "La Grande Fuga" from this performance HERE. Preorder info can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Il Rovescio della Medaglia's Contaminazione 2.0
1. Absent For This Consumed World
2. Ora Non Ricordo Più
3. Il Suono Del Silenzio
4. Mi Sono Svegliato E... Ho Chiuso Gli Occhi
5. Lei Sei Tu: Lei
6. La Mia Musica
7. Johann
8. Scotland Machine
9. Cella 503
10. Contaminazione 1760
11. Alzo Un Muro Elettrico
12. Sweet Suite
13. La Grande Fuga
14. Il Nulla [CD bonus track]
15. La Creazione [CD bonus track]
16. L'Ammonimento [CD bonus track]

current IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA lineup (also on Contaminazione 2.0)
ENZO VITA: guitar
NICOLA COSTANTI : vocals, keys
CARMELO JUNIOR ARENA: keys, backing vocals



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