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22 June 2009

Area - 'Are(A)zione' (Cramps)

The cover to this live album suggests that it's taken from a concert in which there are about a million people there, like an Italian Woodstock; the sound is appropriately trumphant for such a grand presentation of Area's music. This record proves that Area were tight as hell live, and the recording is pretty-hi-fi while still containing that 'live' atmosphere. The more experimental side of Area seen on their second album isn't as prevalent here, as the whitenoise/tape manipulations are definitely more a studio thing - but if you like the rock 'n riffs, you'll find much to delight you here. The first side has the crowd-pleasing prog jams, a rock onslaught that never loses sight of pure technical aspiration yet still wets the panties of the screaming girls pictured in the liner notes. Stratos really comes alive on 'La mela di Odessa (1920)', which vamps a bit harder than the studio version (maybe at the expense of dynamic range, but fuck, I should listen side-by-side another time). Side two embarks on a jazz-fusion tip, with a speedy rumble crunch that takes center stage, relegating Mr. Stratos to the background. The album ends with some guitar heroics rather reminiscent of Albert Ayler's most iconic riffs. Now, while this is a cool enough album I don't know why I'd ever really pull it out instead of the studio recordings. I'm sure if I became a die-hard Area fan I'd appreciate the nuances of the improvisational sections here, much like a Deadhead jizzes over millions of alternate versions - but the rest of the Encourager Template calls, reminding me that I have too many goddamn records to give any of them the deep attention that (some) deserve.

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