Pierrot Lunaire - s/t. 1974 Italy

Pierrot Lunaire - s/t. 1974 It/RCA

CD reissues: 1989 It/RCA; 1994 Si-Wan (Korea); 1997 MP (mini-LP); 2003 It/RCA (mini-LP); 2011 MP; 2014 Sony

LP reissues: 1987 RCA (Japan); 1989 It/RCA; 1994 Si-Wan (Korea); 1999 Akarma; 2011 Akarma

Like most fans of my generation, my first exposure to Pierrot Lunaire was from their avant-garde masterpiece Gudrun. With that backdrop, Pierrot Lunaire's debut is a bit of a shock to the system. The album is a low-key, pastoral, folk influenced progressive rock. Flute, keyboards, vocals, and acoustic guitars are the primary set of sounds. There isn't much here to latch onto, with a low set of dynamics, and yet it's a peaceful 45 minutes of listening. If looking for comparisons, Pierrot Lunaire is more subtle than Saint Just's La Casa del Lago, and less compelling than Errata Corrige, but both are in the same ballpark. Side 2 contains the album's highlights, with the keyboard heavy symphonic piece 'Il re di Raipure' and the hauntingly beautiful 'Arlecchinata' with wordless female vocals. Pierrot Lunaire's debut is very consistent and fortunately there are no low moments to endure. A solid record that comes recommended, though it doesn't predict the brilliance of their sophomore release.

As for reissues, the album is basically "in production" as they say. None are particularly noteworthy, that I'm aware of. One of the few Italian progressive rock albums without a Japanese CD reissue.

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