'Mamuthones' Alessio Gastaldello was asked by Shindig Magazine to talk about Italian Occult Psychedelia, which is a definition made by Antonio Ciarletta/Blow Up Magazine.
The article investigates the original explosion of Giallo film soundtracks and rock music in the ’70s, and its deeply felt influence on a new wave of Italian musical agent provocateurs.
For horror movie aficionados and fans of all things ghoulish, the period between the mid-60s
and late ’70s was one of rich pickings, thanks in no small part to the work of auteurs like
Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci. Their work became known as Giallo – a reference to a series of pulp novels produced by the Mondadori publishing house in Italy, Il Giallo Mondadori (Mondadori Yellow books), published with a trademark yellow cover. The books were initially reprints of established crime writers such as Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler and Ellery Queen and very soon the word Giallo became synonymous with murder mysteries and unsolved crimes. From this fairly innocent publishing trend evolved a lurid, fantastic style of film making with a distinct Italian feel. Giallo films, more often than not built around the subjects of alienation, paranoia and madness, were vivid spectacles promising the viewer acres of female flesh and, sometimes literally, buckets of blood. Giallo became a major influence on the slasher films of the ’80s and unwitting precursors to the “video nasty”.
While hauntology in the UK is based around an idealised past, in Italian music it reflects a
turbulent one; one of bloodshed, terrorism and political upheaval. Allessio Gastaldello
from IOP group Mamuthones reflects, “I was a child but I remember very well when the
Italian Prime Minister was kidnapped and murdered by the terrorists... and I remember
that at school we prayed every day for him. It was ’78 and I was five years old. I think that
this fact reflects very well the mix of violence and religion which can be found in Mamuthones’ music.” Mamuthones, whose very name is based in folklore and myth
(mamuthones are masks worn in the Sardinian carnival of Mamoiada, meaning uncertain,
whose function is to drive away evil spirits, despite or because of their monstrous
appearance), is a band rightly lauded by the British music press and whose music is one
part arcane atmospherics and one part tribalistic esotericism. Gastaldello
acknowledges the role that shared history plays, stating that IOP bands all “identify a
common attitude, a common link with Italian tradition, historical and cultural obscure
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