Various Artists

Mutazione: Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980-1988

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Whilst most musical explorations of Italy normally start with Giallo soundtracks and end with Italo disco, the ever reliable label Strut decide to delve a bit deeper into the electronic music history of a country that has inspired more than prog rock with this compilation covering the exciting and frenetic underground Italian music scenes throughout the '80s. Enlisting Alessio Natalizia of WALLS to compile this 2-disc set, most of the tracks here have been taken from rare cassettes and from politically-leaning fanzine-assisted releases from acts that were pushing experimental sound sensibilities against a political backdrop of violence and unease during the '70s and '80s. Most of the artists featured here won't be recognizable to many (although, serious Italo disco fans might recognize the inclusion of Gaz Nevada and Kirlian Camera from their Italian Records output), but this is an invigorating and vital collection. There is enough variation here to keep the listener intrigued, as the compilation gnarlingly slides from primitive post-punk to minimal wave; Natalizia packs the compilation with enough exhilaration and quality to really capture the energy and creativity of a very distinctive DIY scene that has been unfortunately overlooked by many. Mutazione is an intelligent and defiant collection of tracks which will educate and reward the listener for a long time to come.

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