Calibro 35 is an Italian (Milano) based band, formed in 2007 by producer Tommaso Colliva (Muse, Franz Ferdinand). The motivation was to form an one-off music project so as to revive and record some Italian 60’s B-movie soundtracks. The musicians assigned for this task were Massimo Martellotta on guitars and lapsteels, Enrico Gabrielli on keyboards and brass, Fabio Rondanini on drums and Luca Cavina on bass. By this way Calibro 35 took shape and released their first album ‘Calibro 35’ on Cinedelic Records (2008) which mostly featured re-works of 1970’s soundtracks by composers such as Ennio MorriconeArmando Trovajoli and Luis Bacalov plus two of their own compositions.

How can you describe Calibro 35 music? Well, you can call it cinematic funk devoted to the Italian soundtracks of 70’s or else music with orientation to police/gangster/crime movies. In terms of styles, it is definitely a mixture of funk, soul-jazz, cool jazz, (psychedelic) rock, soundtrack/film music. It is more than obvious by listening to their music that these guys know how to mix different styles. They are like a cook. They know the right proportion of each ingredient (style) they have to use so as to deliver the best result of taste.

So, why to review a live album? The answer comes in two ways. Firstly, ‘CLBR 35 Live From S.P.A.C.E.’ (released by the Italian record label Record Kicks) is their first live recording although they have so many live appearances either in their own live shows or in festivals in Europe (e.g. Nova Rock Festival, Eurosonic) and US (e.g. CMJ Festival, Nublu Jazz Festival) or as an opening band in concerts (e.g. Muse, Sharon Jones & The Dap–Kings). Secondly, the present work goes one step beyond, one step beyond earth. While they keep up with that kind of soundtrack style covered by funky rhythms and electric sounds now their mood is becoming spacier, trippier, ‘darkier’ and mysterious as if you are travelling in unknown territories of space. All that can be heard in a live style where guitar, bass, keyboards (wonderful sounds by clavinet, Eko tiger organ, Korg MicroSynth etc.) alongside with flute, sax, trumpet (played by Paolo Raineri) and trombone (played by Francesco Bucci) transports you into the Calibro 35 psychedelic galaxy.

You want to taste this galaxy of sounds ? Well it’s easy… push the play button and the journey will begin with the intro of album ‘Neptune‘ (Gustav Holst) followed by the mystery and anxiety of ‘Serenade For A Satellite‘ and then appears ‘An Asteroid Called Death‘ and you start thinking things are getting pretty serious probably cause this asteroid is approaching. But ok… let’s stop and have a party as in 60’s in the middle of ‘S.P.A.C.E.‘ while putting ourselves with ‘Ungwana Bay Launch Complex‘ into a launching mood delivered by the afro style horns, the lovely guitar solo and its tight rhythm. Proceed now to the next space station called ‘CLBR 35‘ and here you can have a funky delicacy. Travelling out there in the cold galaxies and nebulas you ‘re feeling kind of dark, and pessimistic for ‘A Future We Never Lived‘. So now, we are in the middle of our space trip and ‘Across 111th Sun‘ you realize there is always a bit of blaxploitation mood in the galaxy but in the next turn you discover that ‘Something Happened On Planet Earth‘ so beware!!! After a while, a killing fuzzy riff by guitar warns you about ‘Eurocrime‘ and the chase is on, so keep in mind for ‘A Fistful Of Lead‘ cause funk is attacking from space with no delay. ‘La Mala Ordina‘ reminds you again that things are still suspicious and dangerous, even though ‘Notte In Bovisa‘ district is exhilarating. The final stop in space journey is called ‘Said‘ and is an angry and powerful one leaving you with the sense of a promise for a future (musical) encounter.

CLBR 35 Live From S.P.A.C.E.’ was recorded at Biko Club (Milano), produced and mixed by Tommaso Colliva at Toomi labs in London. The album includes totally 14 tracks by which eight of them (tracks 1-5 and 7-9) are from their latest studio album, ‘S.P.A.C.E.’ (Record Kicks, 2015). The rest of them are from their debut album (Tracks 12-13), their 2nd album (Tracks 10 and 11) ‘Ritornano Quelli Di… Calibro 35’ (2010 by Nublu Records in the US and Ghost Records in Europe, including mostly music written as soundtrack for the American documentary “Eurocrime“), their soundtrack album (Track 14) ‘Said(Tannen Records, 2013) composed for the Italo/Spanish pulp movie “Said“. Finally, track 6 is from the 7’’ Single ‘Bandits on Mars/CLBR 35’ (Record Kicks, 2015).

 So, Enjoy the space of Calibro 35! It’s alive and kicking!

Dimitris Koutoukakis