Thursday, August 03, 2006

Il Balletto di Bronzo - Ys {Italy} [1972] @256 (Incredibly Intense Prog-Baroque Italian Opus)

Il Balletto di Bronzo,The Bronze Ballett, which we’ll call in this review IBdB, was one of the most talented and misunderstood Italian progressive bands of the early 70’s. Their short career started in 1970 with the release of “Sirio2222” a very good hard psych album mostly dominated by Lino Ajello’s hard edged guitar, performed under the spell of such great Anglo-Saxon musicians as Hendrix or Jeff Beck.

After a two years hiatus, IBdB reappeared in their home town (Naples) with a new line-up which included the virtuoso Gianni Leone, in my never so humble opinion, of the best keyboard players that ever recorded a progressive rock album.

With this re-freshened team, IBdB produced a totally different music which falls neatly inside the specifications of a “concept album”, that is, a musical suite in several parts around one story, idea, philosophy or myth.

In this case the chosen subject was the medieval legend of Ys, which tells the history of the homonymous city, located in the Douarnenez Bay, in Bretagne. The inhabitants of Ys had achieved such depths of decadence (under the spell of the beautiful and deranged Princess Dahut) that God himself hired Satan to destroy the dam that protected the city from the hungry waves. In the turbulence that followed, Ys was drowned along with its sinning dwellers forever and ever, although, they are supposed not to have died. Their watery city is not a tomb but kind of a exile purgatory, in which they will live until the End of Times or until they placate their hunger for twisted pleasures. The fact that they are alive down there ca be proven by listening carefully to the rumour of the bay. The traveler will hear the muffled cry of Ys cathedral’s bells. The bells mourn the fate of the
city inhabitants and beg for mercy and oblivion.

It is also said that Ys was the most beautiful city of earth. When Ys was flooded the Francs renamed the city of Lutetia as Par-Ys (Similar to Ys), nowadays called Paris.

Anyway, about the album, I must say that it reflects perfectly the somber and gloomy tone of the legend. The music opens with an eerie soprano chorus that seems to come form somewhere really deep, damp and dark. Soon the baroque keyboards enter to mark a frantic rhythm which is followed by the rock ensemble and a wicked guitar work over which the singer’s voice acts as a razor blade.

This doesn’t mean that Ys is a hard rock or corrosive album. It is what it was intended to be: the portrait of a fantastic city in all its dazzling glory and all its infected evil. Both contradictions interwoven in a fiercely progressive and very intense and ethereal musical canvas.

Please pay attention to the keyboards work. It combines brilliantly electricity (organ, moog) and renaissance flavor (celeste, spinetta). The result is amazing and mind boggling.

Ys is intricate as any heavy psych and as complex as any baroque fugue. It is also dizzying, upsetting, beautiful and frightening. As if Vivaldi was King Crimson keyboardist.

They tried to make an English version that was never completed.
IBdB reunited in the 2000’s for a few gigs which are abridged in the also recommended album Trys.

Baroque means perfectly shaped pearl. And a rare pearl this Ys.

Live the legend and…

Keep listening…!!!
The Links are sunk in the usual place

Il Balletto di Bronzo – Secondo Incontro…


Jaime Antonio Alvarez said...

Get Il Balletto di Bronzo Here:


Anonymous said...

I came to your wonderful blog too late to mine some of its treasures. This album in particular sounds so very intriguing. Is there any chance of a repost ? I would be most grateful.

Merci in advance,


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

It was deleted-please re-up

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