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Tsigoti: Private Poverty Speaks to the People of the Party

Raul d'Gama Rose By

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If it is hard to believe that the "boomers" of the sixties became the suits of the nineties, it is equally difficult to believe that their energy for political activism lives on today. That is, until hearing the music on Private Property Speaks to the People of the Party, by a group of musicians who call themselves Tsigoti and who are difficult to categorize. That, however, will not diminish the relative success of the band, which originally set out to protest the horrors of war, but now appear to have broadened its attack as a full frontal on the horrors of capitalism.

To that extent, Private Poverty is a great leap forward and uses as its diving board, the Barack Obama signature, "Yes We Can." However, in the same fashion associated largely with Frank Zappa in his days when he took on Tipper Gore and the Senate to protest censorship of pop lyrics, this band's music drips with its sense of irony. So when they get down to the use of the Obama slogan there is meaningful irony in how it is juxtaposed with the band's "bar-none" lyrics. The off-key and almost atonal use of melody in their songs goes much farther in creating their abject sense of being surrounded by a vacuous capitalist society.

The lyrics ring out with direct simplicity. There is scant attention paid to idiomatic phrases; although the song structure survives, relatively unscathed, the band destroys most of pop music's rationale and raison d'être. Rather, they focus on the power of the blow to the chin. The effect that they create from music that is so wrong, it may seem right after all. "Conformist Freedom, Reactionary Tourist" and "The SickofWar Traine" are fine examples of this anti-stylistic style.

The song sequence that appears to gently mock the sloganeering of "Yes We Can" with tracks such as "The Border Crossed Us," "Would You If You Can" and "Don't Sleep Through This" culminates in the far-out questioning of the response. This occurs with "(We?) This is the Days of Your Life"—the questioning "We" imploringly asking whether there is actually commitment to what would become an adage for the Democrats on the part of the party. And so, while politically offensive to the GOP, the music is also coiled into a whip with which to beat the hypocrisy of the left as well.

Is this music? Of course it is. The objective of all art is to be committed to the audience for which it is created—and that includes the audience that helps create it. In the case of the rough and tumble of Tsigoti's music, the manifesto is anti-capitalism. The music sounds as if it were thumbing its nose against anything that might be considered the "safe bet" or norm. To that extent the record is well worth the listen. Will it endure? Probably not, but then neither did Zappa's Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention.


Track Listing: With a Mirror and a Magnifying Glass; Children Slaves Make Children's Toys; They Make Them for They; Conformist Freedom, Reactionary Tourist; This is a Simplified Response; The SickofWar Traine; (Yes) The Border Crossed Us; (We) Would You If You Can; (Can)Don't Sleep Through This; (We?) This is the Days of Your Life; I May Not Get There With You; Dust To People To Ashes; Everybody Settle Down; This Is How It Is:; Everything Is Easy;But The Sun Don't Wait.

Personnel: Thollem McDonas: vocals, beat up guitar; Jacopo Andreini: guitar; Matteo Bennici: bass; Andrea Carpara: drums; Francesco di Mauro: bajan (1); soprano saxophone (9); Dado Ricci: alto saxophone, bass saxophone (5); Samuele Venturin: accordion (10); Valdesieve Anarcorural Choir (6, 9).

Title: Private Poverty Speaks to the People of the Party | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: ESP Disk


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