Calibro 35: Its size, its dimension, its calibre is exactly 35 mm, that is the film format used to screen movies in cinemas. You immediately guess that this musical project gets its lifeblood from the soundtracks of those movies where calibre 9 and 38 guns shoot their bullets to mark a kind of cinema which outlines a true picture of Italy and its political and social scene in that peculiar period of the ‘70’s, in the years of kidnappings, slaughters, street violence and robberies…years where the terrorism was at its height.
This sharp, direct, tough and genuine mark defines several movies by different directors such as Enzo Castellari, Alberto De Martino, Marino Girolami, Stelvio Massi, Sergio Martino, Romolo Guerrieri and concerns also some more politically committed…
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…movies by Elio Petri and Carlo Lizzani, and namely all of those directors who gave their personal interpretation of the detective film genre from the very beginning, when it got little attention from the film critics’ reviews, but a massive and enthusiastic popular feedback. Maurizio Merli, Tomas Milian and Luc Merenda become the icons of a kind of cinema that breaks the box office.
Gunfights and cracking pace chasings are supported by the overwhelming and all-involving soundtracks by Franco Micalizzi and the De Angelis brothers and by the most famous Stelvio Cipriani, Luis Bacalov, Armando Trovajoli and Ennio Morricone, who, ranging from jazz to funky, from psychedelic to progressive rock, signed off the Italian film production sheet music that reached the top and stood out in the world as an example of Italian excellence.
The Italian detective film genre or, as it was soon called “poliziottesco” in order to underline the fact that the key role character was the protagonist policeman ready to revenge and take the law into his own hands, was snubbed and was very unpopular amongst the critics and therefore at the end of the ‘70’s and in the ‘80’s run out completely after some titles that became a real parody of the genre with comic and grotesque features.
In the ‘90’s the music phenomenon born and grown up under the fertile star of the so-called “lounge music” brings back to fashion, amongst many other things, the soundtracks of italian’s movies. The police films end up in this big pot only in occasional events, maybe because of the fact that its soundtracks have got just a little “lounge” feeling.
Only due to the fact that Quentin Tarantino got off to Venice Film Festival in 2004, the interest for this fervid production has been revived: as a matter of fact, our police films got a much better appreciation in the States than in Italy. From this time on, DVD editions and TV screenings of these detective films followed one after the other and consequently even one part of the record market got interested in them by re-publishing their soundtracks, bringing to light a relevant share of our production of high quality movies’ themes, which has been left unpublished until then.
The interest has been extended to several musicians and DJs who paid extensive tributes to our soundtracks with covers and the usage of samplers.
But Calibro 35 ventured into a wider and more interesting project: a project that begins in the studio and ends in a sort of ‘concept’ album, covering the themes and the atmospheres of the detective films’ soundtracks with a personal interpretation, extremely precise and heading for improvisation, with a special care to noises, in particular in tracks such as “Trafelato” and “Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto” (“Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspiciuos”), which have been both signed off by Ennio Morricone, a true master in terms of adding “noise’ to the music.
Tommaso Colliva, with his enthusiasm, succeeds in involving his friend Massimo Martellotta, who has always been fond of film music too. In this way, Calibro 35 begins to take shape with the latest addition of eclectic Enrico Gabrielli, Luca Cavina, who looks after the most violent tracks and Fabio Rondanini, thanks to who the band can easily move along funk, rock and improvisation.
It turns out an original project having its strengths in the very successful attempt of actualizing some of the best tracks, such as the unpublished shake of “Milano Calibro 9” and the opening credits of “La mala ordina”, keeping alive its original spirit, that kind of spirit which has often been lost because they usually prefer to use existing music for films, despite what happened in the ‘70’s when the composer started to write his tracks after watching the filming or even before, after reading the screenplay and sometimes getting to the point to influence the director.
With this precise attitude Calibro 35 ventures into two original musical pieces such as “Notte in Bovisa” and “La polizia s’incazza”, restoring that peculiar mark of the Italian detective films, which differentiates them from the American ones, even if they have often been influenced by them.
Calibro 35 is a delicious album for all the lovers of this genre (listening to it all in one go can bring you to review all the best films or you can imagine a new film with new scenes never seen before) but not only this: it is an album talking to a wider audience, provided that you like that kind of music played in an intense and passionate way.