Artist

JACULA / INVISIBLE FORCE /DIETRO NOI DESERTO / ANTONIUS REX

JACULA
Antonio Bartoccetti (guitar, vocals)
Fiamma Dallo Spirito (vocals, violin, flute)
Charles Tiring (keyboards)

 

INVISIBLE FORCE
Antonio Bartoccetti (guitar, vocals)
Elisabeth d'Esperance (vocals)
Charles Tiring (keyboards)
Peter McDonald (bass, drums)

 

DIETRO NOI DESERTO
Luciano Iura (vocals, organ)
Luciano Quaggia (guitar)
Antonio Bartoccetti (bass)
Mauro Baldassari (drums)

 

ANTONIUS REX
1974-77:
Antonio Bartoccetti (guitar, vocals)
Doris Norton (keyboards, vocals)
Albert Goodman (drums)

1978:
Antonio Bartoccetti (guitar, vocals)
Doris Norton (keyboards, vocals)
Jean Luc Jabouille (drums)

Probably the most charismatic figure of all the Italian prog scene, Antonio Bartoccetti (Antonius Rex) began his career going to Milan from the Marche, forming Jacula, Dietro Noi Deserto (even with a  single on Decca in 1971!), and Invisible Force (another lonely single in 1971). Not real bands but just a group of musicians working beyond the leading figures of Bartoccetti and Doris Norton (aka Fiamma Dallo Spirito).

Their first album, in 1969, was recorded in London and only released in a strictly limited number of copies (300 + 10 promos) that were only partly distributed by the producer and label owner to sects. An album full of dark atmospheres, mainly based on guitar and church organ and with no drums, it has recently been reissued by Black Widow.

In 1971 two singles were released under different names: first as Invisible Force, with two tracks that later reappeared in Tardo pede in magiam versus and Zora; the B-side 1999 mundi finis, later re-released as U.F.D.E.M. and Morte al potere is one of their classics. The second single that year appeared under the name of Dietro Noi Deserto, this time Bartoccetti was the bass player and composer of both tracks; this seems to be the only proper group which he has played with, and the style is closer to late 60's psychy beat than progressive.

Second album, and usually considered their first proper release, was Tardo pede in magiam versus, also released in limited number of copies for an unknown label (this seems to be a constant in all the Bartoccetti production) and housed in a cover sporting the same design as the previous one, but coloured instead of the original black and white.
The medium Franz Parthenzy is also listed in the line-up along with the three official members Antonio Bartoccetti, Fiamma Dallo Spirito and Charles Tiring. Long instrumental spectral organ parts are the main ingredient of this album, that has in the suggestive U.F.D.E.M. (also on the Invisbile Force single) probably their best track. Dark atmospheres abound and some tracks, like the spoken (in bad English) Long black magic night can be boring for many listeners.

In 1974 a new name change to Antonius Rex and an album called Neque semper arcum tendit rex. Despite a contact to release it on Vertigo, the label considered it to be too outrageous, with the black and white cover reproducing a 17th century "diabolic" letter and strong lyrics, especially in the Devil letter track. The album was planned for release on drummer Albert Goodman's Darkness label, but it never went over a promo issue.

So the first real commercially released Antonius Rex album is Zora from 1977, on the small Tickle label and, again, with an outrageous cover that was replaced with a different one a year later. Zora is not a great album, despite its collectibility, and includes some reworkings of tracks from Jacula's Tardo pede in magiam versus (Morte al potere is a third revised version of U.F.D.E.M.); their main elements are as usual church organ, dark atmospheres, lyrics dealing with occultism. The four tracks on the album were all composed by Bartoccetti along with Franco Mussita and Angelo "India" Serighelli from I Raminghi, both also listed among the LP contributors. The second issue includes an extra fifth track.

Ralefun is definitely much less dark than anything else they made, more varied and the sound is richer with the addition of flute and bass guitar (with guest appearences by Marco Ratti and Hugo Heredia), but some ventures into different music styles don't always work very well.

Very mysterious characters, Jacula/Antonius Rex never liked concerts, their only live appearance ever as Jacula has been made in Milan in front of a 45 people audience while Antonius Rex apparently had a tour in 1979, and have always liked to do what they wanted, without the record companies restrictions and obligations.

2001 has seen the official re-release of two of the rarest Jacula/Antonius Rex productions, In cauda semper stat venenum and Anno demoni, both by Italian independent label Black Widow. An official reissue of Antonius Rex' 1974 first album Neque semper arcum tendit rex has just been released in late 2002, while a reissue of Praeternatural is finally out in late 2003.

In 2005 the first Antonius Rex official video has been released, Magic ritual, issued on DVD and CD. Latest studio albums by the prolific artist are Per viam issued in 2009, Pre viam in 2011, and Hystero demonopathy in 2012, all on Black Widow.

 

JACULA

LP
In cauda semper stat venenum Gnome (AR-LP 00299) 1969 single cover - 310 copies never sold
  Black Widow (BWR 051) 2001 as above - limited edition of 299 signed copies with sticker and insert
  Black Widow (BWR 051) 2010 as above - new reissue
Tardo pede in magiam versus Rogers (TRS 010001) 1972 single laminated cover - 1000 copies
  Rogers (TRS 010001) 1990 500 copies limited reissue by reissued by Musik Research - identical to the above but with thinner cover
  Black Widow (BWR 108) 2007 35th anniversary edition reissue with a bonus track
 

CD

Tardo pede in magiam versus Mellow (MMP 136) 1992 reissue of 1972 album
  Black Widow (BWR  CD 108-2) 2007 35th anniversary edition reissue with a bonus audio and video track - digipack cover
In cauda semper stat venenum Black Widow (BWR 051) 2001 reissue of 1969 album
Pre viam Black Widow (BWR 135CD) 2011 new album, exists with both standard and digipack cover

 

INVISIBLE FORCE

SINGLES
(with picture cover)
Morti vident
1999 mundi finis
Unifunk (AR 02143) 1971  

 

DIETRO NOI DESERTO

SINGLES
(with picture cover)
Dentro me
Aiuto
Decca (C 17017) 1971  


VARIOUS ARTISTS COMPILATION LP'S
Progressive voyage
(with Dentro me and Aiuto)
Mellow (MMP 164) 1993 CD compilation also including Il Giro Strano, Corte dei Miracoli, Quella Vecchia Locanda, Zauber and others

 

ANTONIUS REX

LP
Neque semper arcum tendit rex Darkness (DRK 40-18) 1974 single cover with left-side opening - 400 copies
  Black Widow (BWR 066) 2002 single cover with left opening - inner - 400 copies numbered edition
Zora Tickle (TLPS 5013) 1977 laminated single cover
  Tickle (TLPS 5018) 1978 single cover - one extra track
  Musik Research 2001 reissue of second edition
  Black Widow (BWR 118) 2010 reissue with the original cover and the bonus track from the second issue - standard version on black vinyl, also exists in a 50 copies limited issue on coloured vinyl
Ralefun Radio (ZPLRR 34048) 1978 single cover
  Black Widow (BWR 128) 2010 reissue with 1 bonus track
Anno demoni Musik Research (AR LP 00-499) 1979 499 copies
  Musik Research (AR LP 00-499) 1992 500 copies limited reissue, hand numbered and signed
  Black Widow (BWR 058) 2001 gatefold cover with insert and bonus 7" Invisible Force single
Praeternatural Musik Research 1980  
  Black Widow (BWR 074) 2003 500 copies limited reissue, first 35 in red vinyl - glossy gatefold cover with inner
Magic ritual Black Widow (BWR 083 LP) 2005 contains one extra track not on CD - limited pressing of 300 copies on black vinyl and 150 on orange vinyl
Switch on dark Black Widow (BWR 099) 2006 gatefold cover - limited pressing on black vinyl, also exists in 100 copies on red vinyl
Per viam Black Widow (BWR 126) 2009  
Pre viam Black Widow (BWR 135) 2011 new album
Hystero demonopathy Black Widow (BWR 153) 2012  
 

CD

Anno demoni Mellow (MMP 118) 1992 reissue of 1979 album - credited to Jacula - now deleted
  Black Widow (BWR 058) 2001 reissue of 1979 album
  Black Widow (BWR 0582) 2003 remastered reissue of the above with 2 bonus tracks
Zora Mellow (MMP 231) 1994 reissue of 1977 album
  Black Widow (BWR CD 118-2) 2010 reissue with the original cover, the extra track from the second issue and a bonus unreleased track - digipack cover
Ralefun Mellow (MMP 232) 1994 reissue of 1978 album
  Black Widow (BWR 128) 2010 reissue with 1 bonus track
Neque semper arcum tendit rex Black Widow (BWR 066) 2002 reissue of 1974 album
Praeternatural Black Widow (BWR 074) 2003 reissue of 1980 album
Magic ritual Black Widow (BWR DVD 083) 2005 DVD+CD set with unreleased tracks
Switch on dark Black Widow (BWR 099) 2006 new studio album - digipack cover - includes a video track
Per viam Black Widow (BWR 126) 2009 digipack cover
Pre viam Black Widow (BWR 135) 2011 new album
Hystero demonopathy Black Widow (BWR CD 153-2) 2012 includes a video track
 

SINGLES (with picture cover)

Agonia per un amore
Witch dance
Spark (SR 848) 1978 different versions of tracks from the second album

 

All the original Jacula/Antonius Rex releases have been issued on very small labels and in strictly limited quantities, hence their rarity and high prices.
NOTE: In some cases details and production quantities mentioned have
been supplied by the musicians themselves and it's been impossible to confirm them.

Neither In cauda semper stat venenum nor Neque semper arcum tendit rex have ever reached the record shops, the first one having been pressed in just 300 (or 299) copies + 10 promotional ones, and only a handful of these have been distributed to religious sects. Neque semper only had a 400 copies issue, privately distributed. The two Musik Research albums, Anno demoni and Praternatural, have also been released by the group in small quantities and only privately distributed and sold. 

This reduces the real commercial releases to just three items, Jacula's Tardo pede in magiam versus and Antonius Rex's Zora and Ralefun.

Tardo pede in magiam versus was released in just 1000 copies with a laminated single cover. The cover design was the same as the one on In cauda semper stat venenum but whereas the original was black and white this was coloured.
Only around 300 copies were sold at the time. The name of the band came from a 60's porn/horror cartoon, Jacula being a vampyr woman, and the record was initially sold through the magazine.
Antonio Bartoccetti's Musik Research has produced a reissue that's identical to the original, limited to 500 copies, some of these were numbered and signed on the back cover. 
Original copies can be identified by the thicker card used for the cover (both issues are laminated, original is smoother), a wider bottom edge on the back (see picture below) and SIAE stamp on the label, that's rougher on the originals. Some reissue copies exist, though, with SIAE stamp.

The original 3000 copies issue of Zora is very hard to find. If you like the cover this is much more original than the plain black one of the reissue (5000 copies), but the last one has an extra track, The gnome
Ralefun has been only released by RCA subsidiary Radio Records with a single cover and never reissued. Many of the available copies had the "Campione non commerciabile" (Promo not for sale) writing on the turquoise/silver label.
No counterfeits or foreign issues should exist of both the Antonius Rex albums.

The new 2010 issue of Zora released by Black Widow comes with the original artwork and exists on vinyl (the standard black and a limited 50 copies pressing on coloured vinyl) which includes The gnome from the 1978 second issue, and on CD with another bonus track, the unreleased Monastery.

In cauda semper stat venenum has had its first commercial release in 2001 by the Black Widow label from Genova, in a 299 copies vinyl pressing numbered and signed by Bartoccetti, and including an insert with his full story. A CD release also exists.

The 1979 Anno demoni album (originally in a 499 copies series individually numbered and signed by the Rex himself) had a first reissue by Musik Research in 1992 in 500 numbered copies, and has recently been re-released, again by Black Widow, in a gatefold cover including an insert and a reissue of the rare Invisible Force single. It must be pointed out that in the first CD reissue by Mellow in 1992, the album was credited to Jacula and not to Antonius Rex.

It's possible that some more records have been released under the name Antonius Rex in the 80's. The 12" single Pig in the witch was one of these, described by Antonio Bartoccetti as a "techno experiment", and mostly sold in England.

The reissue of Neque semper arcum tendit rex (400 numbered copies) has been made in 2002 by Black Widow, that has also recently released Praeternatural in late 2003 (500 unnumbered copies, 35 of which in red vinyl), while a strictly limited compilation of unreleased material, called Verba non volant is planned to be released on CD only.

The 2005 released Magic ritual was pressed on a special DVD Plus format, with a single disc playing as DVD on one side and CD audio on the other. The video was directed by Doris Norton.

In cauda semper stat venenum - front cover (2001 reissue)

Invisible Force - 7" single cover

Dietro noi deserto - 7" single cover

A Jacula magazine

Tardo pedem in magiam versus - front cover

Tardo pedem in magiam versus - reissue (left) and original LP's back cover side to side

Tardo pedem in magiam versus - reissue (left) and original LP's labels side to side

Neque semper arcum tendit rex - front cover (from reissue)

Zora (original issue) - front cover

Zora (second issue) - front cover

Antonius Rex promo sticker

Ralefun - front cover

Agonia per un amore - 7" single 

Pig in the witch - 12" single

Anno Demoni - front cover

Praeternatural - front cover (from reissue)

Magic ritual DVD+CD - front cover

 

An interview with Antonio Bartoccetti (A.B.) and Doris Norton (D.N.) made by Augusto Croce in July 2002

1- Which was the reason for the bands' splitting? 

A.B.: The Jacula chapter finished in 1972: Charles (a mad 68-year old with a 18-year old wife) didn't want to understand that rust quickly eats the treasures, and at the same time after my degree at Milan Catholic University I knew that I'd have to join the Army. Moreover, the band's name was too "epidermic". 

Antonius Rex, a logical consequence of the former band, split in 1980: one of the reasons was that we were not satisfied of the way we quickly recorded Ralefun, an album full of good compositions badly released that was our only work that has had good sales thanks to the RCA marketing team and Sidet promotion. Unfortunately Ralefun still is our best known release, or the least unknown as most of our albums really are. 

Probably our goal has never been the business, and for this reason the best records like Praeter (self produced for our MR label to avoid dealing with record companies' executives), the early ones or Anno Domini are very far from the commercial taste. The Antonius Rex event had closed its "deliberately anomalous" cycle with the 2 + 6 predestined albums, some of which were inevitably anonymous, like In cauda semper stat venenum and Neque semper tendit arcum. The last one was boycotted by Vertigo due to the Devil letter track. We had reached our goal to release records only for ourselves and maybe for the few ones who followed us. Zora was recorded only for money because we needed it and that's another album that we don't like despite the fact that some reviewers consider it a good work and many people know it.

2 - Is it correct to talk of an "esoteric-subliminal" message?

D.N.: There are thousands of millions of humans, so I'd better consider it as a highly individualist message: this includes some theoretical communication instances that can sectorially be mystic-objective.

3 - Your lyrics often refer to witchcraft. Who are your witches?

A.B.: It's usually considered a witch anyone who denies the white to adore the black, convinces others to love him, loves the incest, diverts the human seed off its natural destination, knows how to bring life to an end and how to capture the mind. 

The females characters in our lyrics are different: these beings are able to show magically the way to anyone who thinks not to have it, or to anyone who finds himself at the center of a crossroads. But the witches in Aquila non capit muscas are sort of divine avengers, eager for blood.

4 - How would you summarize your music from the beginnings up to 1980?

A.B.: In that decade of overindulgence it was the fate that defined the appearance of our music. 

When we came to Milan, and later to London, in our mind there was even the wish to form a supergroup with great musicians that could put their creative help to our compositions. Maybe we'd have made piles of money by doing this, but surely we'd lived much worse and we'd have lost our way in search of vanity. 

Fatally it didn't go that way: we only recorded what we had composed and initially we needed Charles Tiring because none of us two was a classical organist; for the same reason we needed Albert [Goodman, drummer] for his percussionist technique though it was rather poor if compared to our favourite drummer, Carl Palmer. 

I think our music was able to create a hidden image, a suggestion that "is" before being visible as the spectrum of the light. Our music was an esoteric symbol in which we expressed the lost advantage that assigned to the cultural function of mystery, a fascinating small margin of its spiritual escape. By listing our eight works in whose sound impressions we described the indescribable, we tried to give the earthly mortals one more chance to foresee their instances. Someone said of us that we were "non-technical producers of mystery blurred mirror images".

5 - Are there any conceptual differences between Jacula, Antonius Rex and the other groups you were in, despite being based on the same nucleus of musicians?

A.B.: There are no particular conceptual differences between them; I love to mention only Jacula and Antonius Rex and ignore both Dietro Noi Deserto and Invisible Force. In fact the first two Jacula albums represent our beginning, and the first Antonius Rex LP is the logical evolution of those two. We have already mentioned Zora and Ralefun, two ridiculous albums both on the conceptual and the artistic-technical side. On Zora Mr Albert Goodman wanted to play the drums leaving tympani and percussion…. the rhytmical result of Zora is really terrible.

6 - Jacula and Antonius Rex are cult bands both in Italy and abroad. Have you ever thought of releasing any retrospective works (such as box sets or books) for your fans from all over the world?

A.B.: We thought about this many times, and it seems a very good idea; we also have some videos that can be put on DVD. Let's wait for the right time to come!

7 - All the Jacula and Antonius Rex have been released in limited numbers? Elite music or a commercial choice?

A.B.: All our albums except Ralefun can be described as limited editions, musical emotions for a selected group, to accept or refuse as a whole. I wouldn't call it a commercial choice, because when you're 20 and you think you're a god, you don't mind the marketing reasons. I'd rather talk of fate, we had to make records that had to despair into the fogs of the woods. The only naïve illusion was given to us by Albert in 1974, he promised us that Neque would be issued by Vertigo: things would have then gone in a different way… but all that happened was written.

8 - How do you judge the high prices reached by your records on the collectors' market?

A.B.: I think there are only two ways to reach an apparent truth: on the first side, rationally speaking, it's been difficult to find our works for the collectors from all over the world; if a record is rare, and has some relevant contents, it attracts collectors. 

On another side add to this the highly thematic and probably trustworthy esoteric communication that some of our works (except Zora and Ralefun) contain. If you mix these two aspects, what is rare becomes even rarer because it deals with mystery, that's a fascinating thing. Of course knowing that an original 1977 issue of Zora is sold at $ 350 is a pleasure, but it's also amazing, considering that objectively that record lacks strength and originality.

9 - How do you explain the lack of live concerts?

A.B.: We made a single concert, I think it was in 1972 at Teatro dell'Arte in Milano with just 45 paying guests, but it was satisfying because the ticket was priced at 50000 lire. Later, in 1979, we had a beautiful european tour: you can find the dates advertised on Ciao 2001. Then Albert disappeared and we had to cancel the concert at Teatro Argentina in Milan despite the fact there were 2000 followers at the doors.

10 - Is it nice for you that Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex is now reissued 28 years after its original release?

A.B.: It's fairly good, because along with Praternatural it was the album that took much efforts to be done. We still have 22 copies of the original and in a Warsaw market we found some reissues that I think are probably illegal. Now we gave the rights for the master to the Black Widow label and the lyrics' rights to an italo-American group that was much attracted by the text contents.

11 - How come you often used to go to Romania?

A.B.: We still consider Romania as our second home, especially for the high theological sense that its inhabitants naturally own. It's also the native country of Tepes, who surely inspired our creativity.

12 - Do you regret that some of your LP's went totally unnoticed?

A.B.: Not at all. Some LP were born to be unknown to the straight audiences and to the marketing. Some people started talking about our second LP, Tardo pede, in 1980 only, that's eight years after it was first released. All this was part of our original projects and our inevitable choices, and is still satisfying now. The Works are here to stay, and maybe tomorrow some will talk again of U.F.D.E.M., Magister dixit, Triumphatus, Incubus, Non fiat, Ego sum, In hoc signo, Necromancer, the hand of Gloria or mister Vlad, keeping in mind that not all the costumes that our society created to be worn by the Ghosts can be musically represented with no contradiction with what some demented people have arbitrarily decided to be the musical language.

13 - What are your recollections of London?

A.B.: London was and still is an infected metropolis, able to infect the whole world. On the musical side there were very good producers but they just wanted compromises, and the musicians who accepted these rules could earn much money.

14 - Do you still follow any artists?

A.B.: No one since more than twenty years. Many years ago I listened with attention to the first Black Sabbath album, with a highly significant sleeve designed by the great Keef. I liked Tony Iommi's guitar playing, that had the positive side of having an original style but the negative side of being repetitive. I also used to like Van der Graaf Generator, early Genesis, the first Gentle Giant LP, first two by King Crimson as I admired Fripp's inspiration from French classics. I've never liked Eric Clapton, that I knew much before its career with Cream and that I followed up to Blind Faith: too formal and with no ideas, unlike Iron Butterfly that I saw in New York and were very good. There's nothing good nowadays and there will be only noise tomorrow.

15 - How do you judge Doris Norton's interest for electronic music since 1980?

A.B.: This is part of her synthetic nature, of her desire to search and produce with no help from others, without a group. I like Psychic research and other albums in their being non-musical and experimental. As the so-called rock had nothing else to say it was better to experiment and to go ahead of our times rather than… I couldn't see a future as composers, I was rather seeing a future made of effects and rhythm creating, on a strong technological basis and always more escaping from Music.

16 - And now?

A.B.: Since more than ten years I love to produce noise, creative noise. Nothing to do with music: we sold six millions of singles and over 550 thousand albums of extreme Techno, with the aim to give a non-destructive sound drug to all those who are destructed by real drugs.

17 - A new album?

A.B.: Every time we go to Romania, where we have a small studio in a convent, we keep composing and recording, but we don't know if this will ever become our ninth album.

18 - Coming back to Neque semper, what's the message contained in this album?

A.B.: There are many ways to describe Neque semper… if In cauda was the beginning of a path towards an interior research and Tardo pede was an invitation to slowly walk towards magically occult worlds, Neque semper is the desire to do, putting one's mystically inquiring super-ego on the top of a mountain and above the mortal beings. I think that Neque semper can be described as a concept coming from the dark of a black and white castle with differently lit rooms.

19 - Can you explain the contents of the six tracks?

A.B.: Neque Semper Arcum, the album opener with a classical organ, it's my condemnation of envy, a dark rhythm guitar, a lead guitar that's mystic-dismal and at the same time heavy prog.
Pactus, the story of a blood pact, in a ritual-dark atmosphere, three soloist-prog guitar in sequence, a short but nice mini-moog break. It's the only soft dreamy track in the album, where the progressive guitars and the percussive rhythm can be only seen as Extreme Magical Love. 
In hoc signo vinces
, piano and rhythm guitar almost resemble an impressionistic-dark movie. Lead break by mini-moog surely in advanced-fusion style. 
Non fiat voluntas tua, a strong condemnation that repeats the socio-ecological themes of U.F.D.E.M. Celebrating voice, hard guitar, prog harpsichord, ceremonial rhythm. 
Devil letter: no comment 
Aquila non capit muscas, it's my favourite track, putting an iron mask on the cowardice of the secular prophets. Typical progressive piano, dark rhythm guitar, original lead guitar break.

20 - So do you still like your performance of Neque semper?

A.B.: In a creative sense we do, Neque semper represented the evolution of Doris Norton, maybe because unconsciously she wanted to demonstrate to organist Charles Tiring that she too could play very well the classical organ, that she deeply studied for three long years; she was great as well with mini-moog, and also created bass and rhythm parts. Albert respected our wishes with rhythm: tympani, bass drums, gong and some assorted percussions: the rhythm perfection is due to the use of tape loops that we forced him to use after explaining him how to work with them. 

For what my role in it is concerned, apart from the voice that I voluntarily used with evocative tones, I started back as guitarist from Triumphatus sad [on 1969's first album], knowing I'd have to use my guitar in an hyperbolically personal and precursive way. I still like today some of the guitar solos made with my Gibson SG.

21 - When will Neque semper be released?

A.B.: Inevitably around September and October 2002. The reissue LP is totally identical to the original, with a black & white sleeve, devil letter and magical symbols on cover, in numbered issue and with left side record opening. The CD version will be very clean, much compressed and dynamic, but… without any single note alteration. We'll wait and see how it will be received in the world 28 years later.

 



Click on pictures to enlarge

1974 band
(Goodman, Bartoccetti, Norton)
Recent promo picture

 

 

Information, pictures and discography can be found on the band's own site www.antoniusrex.com. On the site it's also possible to order past and present Jacula/Antonius Rex production, there are even some originals still available.

 

 

Thanks to Musik Research for pictures, interview and lots of  information. 
Also thanks to Black Widow, Rockground and Rocco Trezza for some information and scans on this page.