Natural Arkestra Da Maya Alta (N.A.D.M.A.) – Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York (1973 / 2017)
Embarking on a project like The Hum, takes an obsessive personalty. It grew from a desire to advocate underappreciated, but remarkable, territories sound, as well as to share the products of life consumed by listening and learning. Most importantly, on personal terms, it was an attempt to activate the necessity to continue to learn more. It’s one thing to accept that knowledge has been gained, but another to acknowledge the limitations of such an accumulation, and promote its evolution by placing it the public sphere.
One person can only know so much. Given the vast wealth of recorded music produced over the last century, the limitation of one’s knowledge is something that every serious fan of music must face. No matter how much you discover, the surface has barely been scratched. That said, it’s inevitable for a line of investigation to seem exhausted – that you’ve heard all that needs to be heard. In my own case, given my deep passion for it, this has been know to happen within my investigations of the Italian avant-garde from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and why Die Schachtel’s reissue of Natural Arkestra Da Maya Alta’s 1973 LP, Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York, came as such a shock. I had never heard as much as a whisper of it before.
The last few years has been a pretty thrilling period in the reissue market, not the least of which being those LPs dedicated to the long overlooked gesture of Italy’s avant-garde and experimental music scenes – illuminating the movement’s towering heights and diversity – it’s wild, democratic spirit, adventurousness, and rigorous integrity. While the steam has been gathering for some time, those of us who have been hunting for this music over the last ten or fifteen years, will usually cite a single point as the root of this wide sweeping reappraisal – the Milan based imprint Die Schachtel. Founded by Bruno Stucchi and Fabio Carboni in 2003, few efforts within the contemporary field of music, have gathered equal respect. Their name is synonymous with integrity. Their catalog is a monument to incredible music – an attempt to offer the sounds they love, particularly those from Italy, the attention and justice they deserve. It is from these years of hard work and dedication that the reissue of Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York springs.
To put it in the simplest terms, the album is a brutal gut punch and a total revelation, making you entirely rethink the history of music. It’s fucking stunning. Originally issued in 1973, Natural Arkestra Da Maya Alta was comprised of Davide Mosconi, Franco Pardi, Gustavo Bonora, Inez Klok, Marco Cristofolini, Marino Vismara, Mino Ceretti, Otto Davis Corrado, and Talia Toni Marcus, a fairly obscure grouping of names within the broader history of the Italian avant-garde. Mosconi later came to note as a solo artist, and Pardi and Vismara within the worlds of visual arts, but beyond a scattering of releases, Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York is the lone document to have surfaced from most of its contributors. Details surrounding the band and the record are incredible scarce. Despite the mystery, through this single artifact, they rise as a definitive gesture of the movement to which they belonged.
The Italian avant-garde is among the most rigorously democratic of any of the movements within 20th century sound. It a melting pot – each gesture unique and independent, while drawing heavily from a broad range of cultural sources and sonic traditions. Like their more well know peers in Aktuala, N.A.D.M.A grew from this spirit, but realized it in far more radical forms. They are among the wildest of those connected to free-improvisation and jazz. Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York, the group’s lone 1970’s release, is unlike anything else from Italy during its day. Soulful as hell, it blends a remarkable range of instrumentation and cross-cultural reference – a wild imagining of the potentialities of model folk traditions, gathered in the writhing aggressive form of free-jazz. So remarkable and striking – among the greatest and most accomplished of European efforts in free music, that there is no explanation for why it has remained so unacknowledged through the years. As honest, emotive, and creatively inspiring as anything I’ve ever heard, it is a towering, bubbling, brilliant achievement in sound – as though everything that is wonderful about avant-garde music met for a startling moment, before drifting away.
Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York is a ten out ten. So good it’s mind blowing. It’s rewritten my entire conception of of Italian music, and the canon of European free-jazz. Presented with the love and care for which Die Schachtel has become know, this edition marks its first return to vinyl, since its original release in 1973. As seminal as they come, not to be missed, and one of the best things I’ve heard all year. You can check it out below, and pick it up from SoundOhm or a record store near you.
Natural Arkestra Da Maya Alta (N.A.D.M.A.) – Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York (1973)