The Road, The Radio And Vincenzo Salvia
“There is a bit of an inside joke in the 80s inspired music scene which goes something like ‘The 80s only ever happened in Miami’. This is a bit of a dig a the sheer amount of 80s inspirations taken from Miami Vice and other media and idealised concepts about the 80s in general. Indeed, most people take the epitome of the 80s to usually be based around one of the larger cities in the U.S, such as a New York or L.A., or the much venerated Miami but when looking wider, more globally, this is not the case.The 80s happened worldwide, which should be no surprise, but different parts of the globe had their own love affair with the 80s that became part of their history and to the next generation that is the place they draw inspiration from. Which brings us to Vincenzo Salvia’s new creation that is innately intertwined with Italy’s 80s history and culture in a manner that is original, entertaining and beautifully envisioned from start to finish.It still surprises me to this day how few people are unaware of how incredibly important the italo disco scene was in the mid 80s. Most people identify with the late 80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman derived music that took the classic italo sounds into different directions but the complete ignorance to much of the public to the pure gold mine of brilliant music that came out of Italy in the 1984-88 period baffles me to this day.I can, however, guarantee this is not the case for those who were in Italy during this time of hit after hit of italo disco rockin. Thanks to Vincenzo Salvia & Co. we now have a slice of glorious italo drenched synth constructed in a hugely entertaining format that is like a time capsule of the period and an aural window to the past.
Auto Radio is a conceptualised vision of the marriage between car and radio contextualised into 80s synth brilliance. The manner in which this record is arranged is a work of art as it proves to be one continual experience that takes the listener into a world of Vincenzo Salvia’s creation. As if recorded from the most fashionable italian radio station in Italy in 1986 the album traverses mile after mile of coastal cruising and musical splendour. Musically, the soundscape takes on pastel shades of vivid 80s textures and besets them with jewels that sparkle on the coastline while the hum of the perfectly tuned engine underpins a true sense of speed and grace.The radio DJ elements that tie this experience together are outstandingly well produced and really lift this album into entirely new realms of authenticity. Courtesy of the vocal talents of Parick ‘Shio-Z’ Rizzi the segments between tracks are set up and cued with brilliant dexterity. The choice of keeping strictly italian language for this is a master stroke, adding tonnes local colour that creates the perfect atmosphere. I must admit, I have no italian language understanding beyond picking up a few ideas here and there, but supplied with the album is a translation of the DJ’s dialogue. In my opinion, I’d avoid reading/consulting this as it takes a bit of the magic away and the suspension of belief.I read the dialogue before I listened to the record, and then waited a week before I listened again to really clear my memory of it. Not fully understanding the language word for word adds a huge amount of continental flair to the experience. I’ve found myself during listens to actually believe I’m listening to an authentic recording off 80s radio, only for moments mind, but the connection and feelings put me right there. In fact, I plan on making a seamless playlist for this album, and recording it to cassette for even more authenticity.My real contention here is that this experience, from a westerner’s point of view at least, is that the beautifully constructed DJ sections speak a language everyone will understand. The introductions, station ID’s, competition segment and even the call-in are scripted to perfection and this in turn adds vast amount of context to the music. Not that Vincenzo Salvia’s own brand of italo flavoured synth music ever needed anything more than music itself to get it’s point across, but in Auto Radio Salvia has managed to find a complementary medium that creates something spectacular.
Each track on Auto Radio is intrinsically linked in my mind to it’s position on the Auto Radio playlist and this instantly captures my imagination on every successive listen. The music has been obviously crafted to capture specific moods and styles and the inimitable Vincenzo Salvia melodies soar with new vigour and intensity. Each track manages to tell a new story and separate itself from the previous and proceeding track which gives a great distinction between them. It’s a testament to the musicianship that the composer can create an album with such diversity, yet tie it all together in a way that gels so solidly.
The highlights are far too many to name on Auto Radio, and I find myself listening to this album from start to finish every single time and rarely can I be satisfied with only one listen. If you’ve heard a couple of tracks already off Auto Radio via a couple of the more recent compilations, you’ll find yourself instantly enamoured with them in the context of this full length record.
That said there is always a resoundingly uplifting positivity to all of Vincenzo Salvia’s music and in Auto Radio we hear a refinement and polish to the synthscapes that appear to be just that little bit more lushly fabricated. The stories are colourful and full of energetic arrangements that shine and dazzle, always providing delightfully engaging melodies and sweetly manipulated instrumentations that pride themselves on vintage authenticity.
To say this album is special is a gross understatement. It does something new, entertaining and absolutely rockin with classic 80s sounds that comes off in spectacular fashion. Auto Radio combines so much 80s love into it’s presentation and execution in such an original way that it’s impossible to resist it’s charms and not be transported back in time for the duration of the experience.
Vincenzo Salvia’s debut full length album is something that I’d normally expect from a producer on their third or fourth full length outing, especially to achieve this level of quality in the conceptual thematic, but it’s an obvious testament to this artists gift of musical talent and understanding that has allowed Auto Radio to be the endearing and engaging experience it is.
Future City Records presents Vincenzo Salvia’s Auto Radio LP on their Bandcamp page here and this is most definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience. The amount of love, devotion and authenticity to classic 80s sounds and emotions realised throughout this record is overwhelmingly beautiful and the manner in which the album has been put together sets a new high water mark for 80s inspired concept albums.”
Rick Shithouse – Synthetix.FM