Romano Musumarra (keyboards)
Claudio Gizzi (keyboards)
Rather unusual choice for an Italian 70's band, Automat
were a studio group from Rome, featuring two keyboardists and a third member, Mario Maggi, helping
on keyboard programming. Maggi was also the builder of the MCS70 synth used on
this record, and the new instrument's sounds and capabilities were the main
source of inspiration behind this album.
During their short life Romano Musumarra also had a very different musical career being a member of the well known pop group La Bottega dell'Arte, that was active between 1975 and 1984 with many chart hits. The other musician, Claudio Gizzi, had a classical background.
Their 1978 album is a rather unique example of
instrumental electronic music from Italy, totally built on synthesized sounds and rhythms,
it's in the same rank as contemporary works by Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre,
whose Oxygene was recorded in the same period and released just a few
months before this, so it can be an interesting surprise for fans
of this musical style.
Side A is totally taken by the long Automat suite by Claudio Gizzi, while the B side contains three shorter tracks by Musumarra. One of these, Droid, was a leading theme on the brazilian Globo TV.
Musumarra has kept composing keyboard music in the
80's, with soundtracks (he's particularly active in France) and production
Claudio Gizzi appeared with a single track, as arranger and conductor in the My favourite tones LP, issued in 1973 by the legendary Picci label.
|Automat||EMI (3C064-18323)||1978||single cover|
Not particularly rare and expensive, the Automat LP has never been reissued in any form in Italy nor counterfeited.
With cover notes totally written in English the album
was probably aimed at foreign markets, but as far as we know it was only
released in 1978 by EMI in France and Argentina (the latter had no. 6926) and Harvest in Brazil (no. 31C064-18323,
this was also re-released in 1985 as part of an EMI Odeon/Harvest reissues
Also in Brasil, a 7" single with picture sleeve containing Droid and Automat was released on Harvest (no.31C006-18469).
A 12" promo single with three tracks, Rise, Advance and Genus was released in Canada by Capitol (no.75031).
A 7" single containing Androide (Droid) and Mecadence was also released in Argentina (EMI DIF 127).
A CD reissue exists on Barclay (141.5.341) from Germany
(though it's sold by russian dealers). This has been released in 2003 and has a
lighter cover than the original, its cover having probably been scanned from an LP.
A russian CD reissue also exists (cat.no DG056Z), on unknown label.
Automat - front cover
A website dedicated to La Bottega dell'Arte, the group of one of the Automat members, Romano Musumarra, is at http://it.geocities.com/labottegadellarte2000
Thanks to Luiz Claudio Brügger for the information on the brazilian issues, and to Carsten Weiss for CD reissues information.