Amedeo Minghi, Piero Montanari, and Roberto Conrado’s Climax (1973) Octopus Records (Reissue 2016 Song Cycle Records)
In 1973, vocalist Amedeo Minghi, bassist Piero Montanari, and drummer Roberto Conrado released Climax on Flippermusic’s Octopus Records. The experimental library music album contains a dozen original compositions, five credited to Montanari on Side A, half a dozen to Conrado on Side B, and the album opener to Minghi. In October 2016, Song Cycle Records reissued the album in vinyl for the first time since the initial Octopus Records pressing.
Side A of the Climax LP includes “Climax,” “Save Up,” “Glaze,” “Frog In Love,” “Sampler,” and “Quoin,” with “Sliding Scale,” “Glitter,” “Pow-Wow,” “Ready Money,” “Pool,” and “Maze” on the back of the original vinyl release.
The album was reissued for the first time in 2010 as a digital download by Pinball Music, another Flippermusic imprint.
The title track also appeared on the 1997 compilation Scotopus: The In Sound From Octopus Records, an exceptional collection that first introduced this correspondent to Piero Montanari and artists like Alessandro Alessandroni, Angelo Baroncini, Sandro Brugnolini, Roberto Conrado, Enzo Scoppa, and Amedeo Tommasi. “Save Up,” “Frog In Love,” and “Maze” are also on the Schema release.
Amedeo Minghi’s “Climax” is on YouTube:
The first track credited to Piero Montanari on the album, “Save Up” is also known as “High Slope,” credited to both Montanari and Roberto Conrado, on Primrose Music’s Pop & Jazz History: 1960-1970 compilation CD in 1998 as well as Pinball Music’s Italian Library Breaks compilation released in 2010.
“Save Up” also appears, along with “Ready Money,” on the 2010 compilation Flipper Psychout: Original Italian Library Music From the Vaults of Flipper on Vampi Soul.
Although all of these albums are currently available, none have officially shared this cut. However, the remaining four Piero Montanari compositions from the first side are all on YouTube at this time.
Piero Montanari’s “Glaze” is online:
The original Climax vinyl release in 1973 targeting the library music market was extremely limited. Consequently, the handful of copies in circulation are not easy to find and will probably run upwards of $150 or $200 US, if you can find one on sites like Discogs and eBay.
This is the same case for the other two Octopus Records’ albums Piero Montanari appeared on Bass Modulations, with Conrado and Antonino Scuderi, in 1973 and Lino and Pasquale Castiglione’s Clouds in 1975.
Both of these albums were reissued in 2016 in regular and colored vinyl on Spettro, an imprint of Italy’s Tannen Records.
Piero Montanari’s “Frog In Love,” the fourth track, first appeared a year earlier as “Frogs In Love” on Musica In Rilievo, a compilation released by Beautiful Black Butterfly Records. The composition was credited to the Montanari Band.
Piero Montanari’s “Frog In Love” is here:
Piero Montanari explains the background of the project in an exclusive interview on this site. An excerpt is here:
They were tracks for a project over 40 years ago we proposed to Romano Di Bari, who at that time had just begun his working career. It was around 1972-1973 and the plan was to establish a library of vinyl disks (LPs) to be used by RAI for Italian radio and television on news reports and documentaries.
When asked about “Frog In Love,” Montanari continues:
It’s one of the tracks we enjoyed making the most. At that time in Europe, a song that called “Ping Pong” had great success, especially in clubs and dance halls. It was one of the first songs made with a Moog synthesizer. We tried to make a song with a similar feel but it did not get the promotion it deserved!
The full interview, which discusses a number of albums, soundtracks, and projects, including his 1995 album with Stefano Torossi, Ulysses: A Traveller Through Time and Space, is HERE.
Another memorable track on the album is Piero Montanari’s “Quoin.”
Piero Montanari’s “Quoin” is on YouTube:
Each composition on side B of Climax is officially credited to Roberto Conrado–although it seems likely that Piero Montanari also had a hand in all or most of them, too (and Conrado on some or all of Montanari’s cuts on side A). For example, “Ready Money” is credited to both composers on the Flipper Psychout: Original Italian Library Music From the Vaults of Flipper compilation.
The Scotopus: The In Sound From Octopus Records compilation, like Flipper Psychout, attributes “Save Up” to both composers.
Roberto Conrado and Piero Montanari’s “Ready Money” is online:
Many of the remaining album cuts from Climax are usually found on YouTube.
In addition to the Song Cycle Records vinyl reissue, the Pinball Music remaster of Climax is still available in most market from both Amazon and iTunes.
And here’s a bonus track, an out of print, alternate version of “Zoo Sound” performed by the Montanari Band. Attributed to Montanari exclusively on both Musica in Rilievo and Bass Modulations, it seems likely Roberto Conrado composed it as well.
The alternate version of “Zoo Sound” by the Montanari Band is on SoundCloud:
Note: If any legal rights holders object to the posting of this rare, out of print, and unavailable track ripped from this correspondent’s personal collection, please drop a line and it will be removed immediately.
Piero Montanari’s Ghosthouse Soundtrack Reissued By Terror Vision
Bassist-composer Piero Montanari has been making music for film soundtracks and pop albums since the mid-1960s. He’s also a highly regarded jazz musician who has played with Chet Baker, Tullio De Piscopo, Roberto Gatto, Cicci Santucci, Tony Scott, Toots Thielemans, and Massimo Urbani, among others.
In October, Piero Montanari’s original soundtrack for the 1988 Umberto Lenzi film La Casa 3 (aka Ghosthouse) was reissued in vinyl by Terror Vision.
First paired with the soundtrack for Jess Franco’s Frankenstein 2000 on CD by Beat Records Company in 1999, the new release is the vinyl debut of Piero Montanari’s 1988 electronic music soundtrack, adding six more tracks than on the earlier version.
An untitled track from Piero Montanari’s soundtrack for La Casa 3 (aka Ghosthouse) is online:
New Video for Piero Montanari and Stefano Torossi’s “Il branco”
Among the scores of albums and soundtracks Piero Montanari has worked on are several with composer Stefano Torossi on Italy’s Rai Trade label. Several of these CDs are currently out of print including Montanari’s Digital Age (1999), produced by Torossi, which has never been issued in digital format…
This also includes Rai Trade compilations featuring tracks by Montanari and Torossi like Art and History: Atlante Storico (1998), Sport & Travel (1999), Problemi sociali (2000), Social Tensions (2003), and Contemporary Style (2003).
In fact, half of the twenty tracks on the Problemi sociali compilation were composed by Piero Montanari and Stefano Torossi. Among these cuts is “Il branco,” which like every cut on the CD, was produced by Stefano Torossi.
Piero Montanari and Stefano Torossi’s “Il branco” is on YouTube:
Sampler Showcases Out Of Print Library Tracks by Montanari and Fellow Rai Trade Artists
A selection of videos for music from out of print Rai Trade CD releases including Art and History: Atlante Storico (1998), Tito Rinesi’s World Colours (1999), Piero Montanari’s Digital Age (1999), Luca Proietti’s Geoglot: Universal Language (1999), Sport & Travel (1999), Problemi sociali (2000), Tito Rinesi’s Mother Nature (2000), Valeria Nicoletta’s Spiritual Experience (2001), Tito Rinesi’s East West (2002), Contemporary Style (2003), Piero Montanari’s Lounge Music Project (2004), and Luca Proietti’s World Windows (2007) is on YouTube.