Various Artists

Rough Guide to Italia Nova

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An interesting compilation of some very new trends in Italian music. The Italia Nova scene is one that combines traditional Italian music with contemporary electronica in some form. It's becoming something of a mainstay of the underground club scene. This trend can take two basic forms: traditional artists adding some electronic kick to their usual work to make it a bit more accessible, or electronica artists adding some bits of traditional music into their work in the constant expansion of samples that's the key to electronica. The album opens up with some horn-based town style, moves into a mix of Eurodance and pizzica tarantala, and finishes the opening trio with saxophone master Daniele Sepe. As the album progresses, a good deal of ground is covered, usually with either a basic house beat or some drum'n'bass as the electronic aspect. The traditional aspects vary a bit from song to song, jumping from Sicilian to Neapolitan to more pizzica, but always keeping the same sort of reveling in the moment that's central to much of traditional Italian music. While all of the tracks have something worth hearing held within, perhaps the most representative of the pieces is a work from Tazenda incorporating an updated version of traditional polyphony along with accordion (and a tiny bit of George Clinton if you listen carefully). Give it a spin for a look at the new edge in the constantly evolving Italian club scene, and a way to catch some of the older traditions outside their usual element.

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