AREA — Arbeit Macht Frei (Il Lavoro Rende Liberi)

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AREA - Arbeit Macht Frei (Il Lavoro Rende Liberi) cover
4.41 | 20 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1973

Filed under Jazz Related Rock


A1 Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero) 4:27
A2 Arbeit Macht Frei 7:56
A3 Consapevolezza 6:06
B1 Le Labbra Del Tempo 6:00
B2 240 Chilometri Da Smirne 5:10
B3 L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin 6:45

Total Time: 36:50


Bass – Patrick Djivas
Guitar – Giampaolo Tofani
Keyboards – Patrizio Fariselli
Keyboards, Vocals – Demetrio Stratos
Percussion, Drums – Giulio Capiozzo
Saxophone – Eddie Busnello

About this release

Cramps Records ‎– CRS LP5101(Italy)

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Members reviews

A stunning masterpiece on the verge of progressive rock and jazz rock!

This is the amazing debut album from mighty italians Area from the 70s' prog world. The inimitable manner the album is constructed amazes. Arbeit Macht Frei is full of energy and emotional intensity from the very first note to the last one. Being extremely intensive, profound, innovative and distinctive, it's real cornerstone of jazz oriented rock music as whole, and as prog masterpiece on the other side. All over the album there are not taking a rest for the musicians. Great musicianship as well. True masterpiece of jazz rock and progressive rock history. A must!
siLLy puPPy
This album and this group blow me away. They managed to create a unique and avant-garde sound at the very peak of experimental progressive music while most Italian prog bands were going the PFM route. A lot of this clearly has to do with the virtuosic crazed yodeling vocal acrobatics of Demtrio Stratos, but the entire band deserves equal recognition for one of the most original, spastic and bizaare debut albums i've heard even to this day. Everyone's just plain nuts! But in a good way.

The album starts off with a prayer in Arabic and then the first track "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (nero)” (based on a Macedonian folk song) begins. It's apparent from the get-go that this is some unique stuff. After the rather structured first track, we then get the more avant-prog-jazz-fusion side of AREA. Although it sounds like other jazz-fusion bands seem to have been the main inspiration, AREA clearly found their own sound early on by upping everything a few notches. They were more aggressive, had more odd time signatures, more solos, were more experimental and had the unmatched vocals which certainly meant they had a sound no one else could touch. The production on this album is also amazing for its time.

A true innovator of avant-prog with politically charged socialist leaning lyrics (in Italian), this is clearly a work of equal parts dedicated passion and crazed frenetic hyperactivity. Since i've discovered this band they have become one of my all time favorites. This debut album is a bonfide masterpiece to my ears.
At a time when most Italian progressive rock bands were worshipping at the altar of Trespass-era Genesis, Area provided a breath of fresh air. Their major inspiration appears to have been Frank Zappa's work, particularly the fusion of Hot Rats to the classical-free jazz mashups of Uncle Meat, Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh. The major difference is that, firstly, Area generally play louder and heavier and more aggressively than the original Mothers of Invention did, and secondly keyboards and synthesisers crop up a bit more than in the Mothers' material - though Area are generally far less keyboard-reliant than most other Italian progressive bands of the time. This will be a shock to the system if you are a prog fan expecting something along the lines of Banco, PFM or Le Orme, but fusion fans will find a lot to like here.
Sean Trane
From the first Arab prayer words to the the last note , everything in this album spells classic! It certainly is a very influential album not only for Italian groups ( bands such as Deus Ex machina owe a lot to Area) but also for RIO. Although Area is one of the prominent group thought of when RIO is mentioned , this album is not yet in that style but more to do with Canterbury style music. Led by Grek-born Stratos, Area were very left wing politics and the title of this album is a denonciation of the Nazi slogan (translates into "work sets you free") written on the gate of the extermination camps! This title track is absolutely stunning veering often in Free style improv at the start before settling in its jazz-rock groove. All tiltes are strong but the real highlight IMHO is the closer Abbatimento dello Zeppelin. A lot of the ambiances will remind you of Canterbury classic bands but none exactly pin-pointed. Just one hint, some of the more inventful moments will remind you of Soft Machine but more in the Hugh Hoppe- mode tunes than in the Ratledge-Jenkins mode.

Very much a classic and highly influential!
Area's stunning ferociously original approach to music left me in awe.

"Arbeit Macht Frei" is my first taste of this delicious Italian prog band hailing from the eclectic golden era of the 70s; it simply was a delightful experience. The music is astonishingly different and wonderfully complex. One to savour for those who like music to be sheer adventure.

It begins slowly and then builds to the incredible 'Luglio, agosto, settembre (nero)' (July, August , Black September) "Forget your weapons and live in peace" a female voice pleads, "My love, With peace, with peace I have placed Loving flowers at your feet, With peace, with peace I stopped the seas of blood for you, Forget anger, Forget pain..." Then a strange male voice echoes the sentiment. The Arabian music flies out of the speakers and pins you to the wall with unrelenting power. The lyrics are in Italian but translated as: "Playing with the world, leaving it in pieces, Children that the sun has reduced to old age. It's not my fault if your reality forces me to fight your conspiracy of silence. Maybe one day we will know what it means to drown in blood with humanity."

Amazing lyrical power is accompanied by foreign sounding duel woodwind flourishes. The time sig picks up considerable pace and there is a great duel sax trade off instrumental with polyrhythms, sporadic tom tom drums and screeching vocals by Demetrio Stratos. His vocal gymnastics are well executed and become another instrument. It is chilling, ethereal but very emotional, almost screaming out in anger. The eccentric music is not for the squeamish, coming across as angry and volatile but it soon settles into a strange ambient peaceful section threatening to explode at any moment. The droning saxes are portentous and looming. Translated the final words are: "When you see the world without problems seek the essence of all things. It's not my fault if your reality forces me to make war with humanity". It ends with the main motif. In a word ? alarmingly brilliant!

The title track 'Arbeit Macht Frei' follows and typifies the approach of the band to unconventional music. Innovative virtuoso musicianship with always interchanging time signatures and mood swings. The insane sax work is reminiscent of the type of work Jackson did with VDGG or even King Crimson in the early years. There are some wild flourishes of polytonalities, and the drums simply take off. When the band is in full flight such as midway through the title track, it is the most compelling music you will hear. The bassline is awesome and really holds the track together and then it stops suddenly. The style of Stratos is similar to the vocal style of Grobschnitt or PFM for that matter. High falsetto in places but easy to listen to and utterly full of conviction.

Track 3, 'Consapavolezza', begins with some ominous sax and bass, with a clean guitar sound. The vocals are distinct complete with rolling R's. There is a beautiful instrumental break with scorching sax and ambient keyboards. These guys were not kidding! Intersecting passages of dark and light and always a quirky humourous streak breaking through. The drums are sporadic and jazz fusion influenced.

'Le Labbra Del Tempo' is a 6 minute improvisational jazz fest. It stops and starts at will and the drums struggle to keep up but somehow do. The urgent sax is accompanied by Stratos estranged vocals. It locks into an infectious groove, that takes detours and echoes the vocal rhythms. Metrical shapes take over and there is a keyboard instrumental and the drums spiral out of control. he guitar work is frenetic but suitable. The high strangeness of echoing keys are a feature and then it is again brought to some semblance of orde rwith an ambient section of melancholy beauty. Very heavy synth is a welcome change, Stratos sings in his own inimitable style. Once again the fast paced music takes over, a sax and guitar pysch-out.

'240 Chilometri Da Smirne' begins with high saxophone solo and an offbeat rhythmic metrical pattern of bass and drums. It is a strange blend of time sig metronome bending prog and jazz fusion. There is a strong bass solo that continues under screaming dueling staccato sax blasts and shimmering keyboards. A very full wall of sound is created and it goes haywire for a few moments then is pulled back together by the key musical motif. This is broken by a freakout section with organ squelches until it fades with a moaning sax. A sensual, gorgeous instrumental.

'L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin' is the weirdest track; a spoken wailing section with estranged sax and bizarre effects is unsettling, unnerving, macabre at times, but a solid way to end such a ground breaking album. The drums echo the vocals and explode into a cacophony of freakout noise, like the end of KC's '21st Century Schizoid Man'. An insane section with break out instrumental violence follows and then this oddity abruptly ends without warning.

What I love about this album is its unabashed unconventionality, and unashamed brutality towards music. Emotionally stirring and unforgettable, this is one of the best things to come out of Italy, along with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Premiata Forneri Marconi. It is adventurous and intricate fusion to the Nth degree; music that will repel some and compel others. I was totally compelled by the sheer force, the unmistakeable vigour and energy of Area.

It is a definitive masterpiece!

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  • MoogHead
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  • KK58
  • Vano
  • progshine
  • Lynx33
  • Ponker
  • yair0103
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  • richby
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