CGD 10322 Italy Year 1981
Track 1 : Automaticamore
I’m a bit of an Italian “disco” victim and can go weak at the ginocchia (that means knees apparently) when I hear that particular chemistry of new wave electronica, a breathy Italian voice, and a polished spaced out production, combining as one beautiful moment of sound. This lovely track from Patrizia Pellegrino, came out in the early 80’s when this sound was in it’s element. It is a specific genre from a particular time, with a tone I’ve always loved, maybe because it takes me back to my very early teen days, when this “new” exciting style was emerging. While I never had access to this particular Italian style of new wave synth disco back then, it somehow still feels like it fits in to the hair gel scene was I discovering in the early eighties. I’ve been obsessing over this era of Italian dance music for some years, and thought this track from Patrizia, would be a good one to share.
Patrizia Pellegrino was born on July 28, 1962 in Torre Annunziata, Campania, Italy. She is an actress, producer and TV presenter, and today is still a much admired celebrity figure. She released 6 singles between 1981 and 1991, on various Italian labels, and most to me, feel very aimed towards the commercial pop dance floors. It’s very difficult to find any sales numbers for any of these singles, as it was such an inclusive euro market and scene, but that’s not to say her songs weren’t popular. I’m sure they were well loved sound tracks to many.
The stand out for me in Pellegrino’s catalogue is this track Automaticamore, which happens to be the flip side of her debut single Beng!!!. Arranged and directed by Jean-Pierre Posit (real name Claudio Gizzi), a name unfamiliar to me, but after looking up his credentials, looks like he was responsible for releasing quite a number of “easy listening” instrumental recordings throughout the seventies and eighties. After a bit of a dig into his library, Saint-Blas from 1975 would be my top pick which has a really nice synth jazz percussive soundtrack feel to it.
The production on this beautiful mid tempo track is clean and bright, and has a classy Giorgio Moroder feel to it. Pellegrino’s distant whispery voice is mixed so nicely with the defined bass lines and the period correct staccato muted guitars, along with the bright and saturized keyboards and synthesized choir lines. It’s so beautifully eighties and a perfect journey into the stars! This is a nice one to play over a cocktail in a dark room, or late into the night to a beautiful chilled out room.
Pellegrino also had an acting career that started in the early eighties, appearing both on the TV and the movie screens. In 1984 she starred in Breakdance Sensation ’84, about a an Italian dance group that travels to a break dance competition in New York (Pellegrino plays Sharon, one of the key dancers). Directed by Vittorio De Sisti, the film came out to exploit the current break dance craze, but actually featured very little break dancing other than some (presumably second unit) footage of the notorious breakdancer, Mr. Robot. I was able to discover one clip only of the Disco dance contest sequence, which features the “break dancing” contest. See the link below…it’s pretty fun! While Pellegrino wouldn’t appear on any of the recordings, the songs included on the soundtrack including Shannon’s Let The Music Play, make it a respectable record to get a hold off. The film has heavily promoted in Germany, and is sometimes referred with the title Dance Music.
Pellegrino would also star in Italian Boys, around the same time, a film about a group of young DJs who embark on a disco challenge to win the money they need to save their radio channel, Trip Radio. Due to a total economic loss, the rebellious group decides to kidnap the popular DJ Umberto, so as to gain an audience for the broadcaster. However it is soon feared that given Umberto’s success, radio station owner Doctor Viganò decides to keep only him and fire the others. Anyway, reading various descriptions (I have yet to see this film), it seems to get a bit twisted with different parties running scams to either suit their own advantages or save the station. But again, the finale looks like it has another contest of sorts, between a popular rival station and a dj challenge thrown down, to see who can gain the bigger audience. Whoever wins will be rewarded with a lot of money and a flamboyant classy car.
Pellegrino looked like she had a pretty good run with film appearances around this time, starring in Se tutto va bene siamo rovinati (1983), and also being included in the film Final Justice (1984) aswell as starring in Vacanze d’estate (1985). You can see a full list of her film and TV appearances on her current official website (see link below).
As far as further recordings, Pellegrino would release only a small number of singles in the following years, with her final release in 1992. If this feature track is doing it for you, I do suggest have a listen to Musica Spaziale, released a year later in 1982. It’s pretty great. However while none of the later recordings are really my cappuccino, they seem to all be highly sort today, proving she still has a strong fan base, and probably not just in the vinyl collecting world. But I myself, am very content on playing the timeless Automaticamore on endless rotations, for many years to come!