While some reissue labels play it safe by sticking to the tried and true, the same can't be said of Italy's Sonor Music Editions. The label has increasingly delved into unknown territory, shining new light on music few, if any, listeners outside its native homeland have ever laid ears on. And as Bruno Zambrini's essentially unknown Racconti Di Mare proves, it's all the better for it.
Coming as part of a triptych of underwater-themed Sonor releases, Zambrini's 1970 soundtrack for director Nestore Ungaro's TV series Racconti Di Mare (or in English, "Sea Tales") has all the making of an Italian soundtrack classic. There are the ear-worming melodies, freewheelin' jazz/rock mutations, elegantly complex string passages and, of course, those wordless vocals many maestros were so found of.
What sets Zambrini's Racconti Di Mare apart, however, is the sheer ambition of the album, which twists, turns and hardly stays in one place for long. At one moment, you're coasting the high seas to skewed baroque harpsichord melodies, the next, deep-sea diving to reverb-soaked synth experiments, and then lapping up the waves to bossa nova grooves layered in sweet scatting vocals.
The undeniable highlight of it all, though, is the appropriately titled "Beat Psichedelico" — a serious monster of a track filled with mind-twisting string orchestrations, searing-hot psych guitar shreds and David Axelrod-like drum breaks that hip-hop heads would die for. It's a song that sounds seriously impressive in 2018, and one that must have been utterly mind-blowing back in 1970.
Along with the original 16-track RCA album on 180-gram vinyl, the Sonor reissue also throws in a bonus CD filled with extra tracks from the original recording sessions, as well as the full, unreleased mono version of the album. In all, that's 34 tracks of musical aquatics to explore.
Yes, there are a lot of reissues right now, but Zambrini's Racconti Di Mare is easily a cut above the rest, deserving not only of your time but your full, utmost attention. (Sonor Music Editions)