Museo Rosen­bach

Zarathus­tra, Ri­cordi Records, Italy, 1973. £1,000.

Classic Rock - - The Dirt -

Museo Rosen­bach formed Bordighera in 1972. Zarathus­tra, a crown jewel of the un­der­ground Ital­ian pro­gres­sive rock scene dur­ing its bustling golden era, is a stun­ning ex­am­ple of the de­sire to break stan­dard rock bound­aries of the time. Ital­ian prog was way more mu­si­cally ex­plo­rative (some might say pompous) as a whole than its Euro­pean coun­ter­parts.

Based on Ni­et­zsche’s Su­per­man, the 21-minute ti­tle track (split into five parts and tak­ing up the whole of side one) is very clas­si­cal in its con­struc­tion, with bold dy­nam­ics, su­perb play­ing and mem­o­rable melodies. It ranges from dreamy and sym­phonic to heavy, doomy and bom­bas­tic. Daz­zling use of Mel­lotron brings to mind early King Crim­son, Ge­n­e­sis and, of course, Yes.

Side two con­sists of three mini-epic tracks, which are cap­ti­vat­ing in their

‘A crown jewel of the un­der­ground Ital­ian prog scene of its era.’

de­liv­ery, with raw, dis­torted gui­tar blasts mak­ing them seem more in­tense than the work of a lot of their more ‘sym­phonic’ con­tem­po­raries.

On close in­spec­tion of the sleeve there’s an im­age of Mus­solini which, mis­tak­enly, sparked con­tro­versy amongst anti-fas­cist groups in Italy. This and lack of com­mer­cial suc­cess led to the un­timely demise of the band.

As with many ad­ven­tur­ous cult acts of the time, Museo Rosen­bach con­tin­ued to en­joy cult sta­tus over the years. They re­cently re-formed, and are again record­ing and per­form­ing live. LD

Riches from the rock un­der­ground

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