On The Turntable: Maria Monti's Il Bestiario August 10 2017

Holidays Records present a welcome first-time vinyl reissue of Maria Monti's Il Bestiario, a hidden gem of the Italian avant-garde. Monti's collaborators form a free music supergroup with Alvin Curran, Steve Lacy, Prima Materia's Roberto Laneri and guitarists Luca Balbo and Tony Ackerman. Monti sings evocative texts by radical poet Aldo Braibanti, whose imprisonment in the late '60s under Fascist-era legislation caused a furor among the Left a few years prior to the album's 1974 release.

Il Bestiario is anchored by Monti's hypnotic voice, around which the ensemble constructs lush electro-acoustic filigrees. Braibanti's plaintive texts stand as wry allegories saturated by an inchoate desire – cautionary tales of snakes, peacocks and chameleons that only partly mask a more general protest against needless privation, loss and longing. While breathing the same air as Emmanuelle Parrenin, Brigitte Fontaine and Desertshore-era Nico, Il Bestiario remains an unlikely and beautiful record at the intersection of several visionary careers.

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