It's a feeling that has flowed through the hearts of all of us at one time or another over the last few years: a feeling of weariness in the face of the uninterrupted flow of new releases, reissues, hidden gems, treasures found by a curious friend in a dusty record store on the other side of the world. Lost between the flood of data and the turmoil of our curiosity, it is sometimes a feeling of disgust that prevails, and the impression that a majority of the music that comes to us is at best to be put away on the side of the already heard, at worst essentially useless. Rather than indulging in the denunciation of this perverse effect of the Internet and the nostalgia of this era of rarity where we could hardly listen to anything, I nevertheless realized that the best remedy for this feeling of disgust was not silence, but prolonged, engaged and attentive listening to timeless, captivating and unconventional music.
Giusto Pio's "Motore Immobile", which had been on many experimental music fans' hard drives for years (including mine) but which a lot of them listened to in full for the first time after reading a fascinating thematic article on the American blog The Hum about Italian minimalism in the 70s, is part of this family of exciting records capable of restoring faith in music to the most jaded music lover. A virtuoso violinist trained at the most artcore avant-garde (that of Luigi Nono) and in various ensembles of the baroque music revival of which he was a member in the 60s, Maestro Pio found his vocation as a composer after meeting Franco Battiato, a great experimenter of Italian pop music of whom he was first a violin teacher and who became his closest musical collaborator. His old musicology teacher's appearance, transient through the myriad of synaptic networks that have just been activated in his brain following the discovery of the electronic sound, should be enough to make you want to know how his music sounds.
Twin disc of "L'Egitto prima delle sabbie" by Battiato released one year earlier, "Motore Immobile" is Pio's first record under his name, and the only album in his discography (and probably in the history of music) to conform to the absolutist genre of minimalism he almost seems surprised to invent: two organs, a violin, a piano-forte and the anonymous voice of a certain Martin Kleist, about which the Discogs database tells us rigorously nothing. With this very reduced palette, Pio nevertheless produces a miracle: one of the most enigmatic, poetic and precisely composed drone music discs in the history of European experimental music, a musical sub-category that is nevertheless not lacking in fascinating specimens. Still under the influence of Battiato, who returned to the more traditional prog variety with "L'era del Cinghiale" (1979), Pio went to a discoido-orchestral synth-pop full of beautiful ideas with his second album "Legione Straniera", then to a more conventional synthetic music. "Motore Immobile" thus remains an anomaly in his discography, a promise not kept, a one-shot without a future, whose exceptional singularity is all the more precious because of its solitude in the experimental pop scene of the 70s.
Like many wonderful records released outside the mainstream at the end of the 70s, "Motore Immobile" is sold at a golden price in convention sets on specialized platforms; it is worth noting that Cramps regularly re-releases it on CD and that it can also be listened to online, like tens of thousands of exceptional or uninteresting musical works. In any case, here's a good bowl of minimalism that will make you rediscover your taste for music.