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Arbeit Macht Frei [Import]

Area (Italy), Area Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 32.95
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Cramps
  • ASIN: B00002DCX6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,271,898 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian debut 8 Oct 2007
Format:Audio CD
This is the first recording of the Italian "International Popolar Group" called Area: it was really stunning in the first half of 70s, due to is mix of mediterranean, progressive, jazz, rock and hard experimental music. Great playing, one of the best singer you've ever heard on earth, but definitely not music for every taste. If you like the 70's musical scene, be sure: you have to listen at least to this and next three albums they made.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian debut 8 Oct 2007
Format:Audio CD
This is the first recording of the Italian "International Popolar Group" called Area: it was really stunning in the first half of 70s, due to his mix of mediterranean, progressive, jazz, rock and hard experimental music. Great playing, one of the best singer you've ever heard on earth, but definitely not music for every taste. If you like the 70's musical scene, be sure: you have to listen at least to this and next three albums they made.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best. 6 Nov 2002
By Lord Chimp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Back in 1973, _Arbeit Macht Frei_ was the world's first taste of Area - the first taste of their incredible instrumental chops, radical political messages, unique songwriting, and exuberant style. Bringing together the most talented vocalist I've ever heard with four jaw-dropping musicians, Area is a band that blows the mind with their creativity and inimitable aesthetic.
If Area was going to be the listener's cup of tea, they would know quite quickly in playing the first song, "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre". A woman's spoken introduction breaks into Demetrio Stratos' puffy vocals, then the band kicks in with their emblematically complex jazzy interplay, spiraling and twisting melodically with a Mediterranean motif. During the solo section, guitars and keyboards and saxophones spin into free-jazz territory that manages to sound more logical than it does random.
Clearly, the "International POPular Group" suffix is a misnomer. Area was in fact a feisty jazz-rock band that integrated a wide range of styles that ran the gamut of Mediterranean folk (opening track), avant-garde ("L'abbattimento dello Zepellin"), and some progressive rock circulating Italy at the time ("Consapevolezza", "Le labbra del tempo"). Make no mistake, however - while Area is mentioned (and sometimes revered) in prog circles, they are certainly more of a fusion group than anything else...at least at this point. This is also the only Area album to feature a saxophonist as part of the main lineup, which is no small part of what contributes to its feel of being the jazziest of their albums.
The most peculiar member of Area was the inhuman vocalist Demetrio Stratos. With a vocal range reputedly measured at close to the human limit and unrivaled technique, Stratos' singing style must be heard to be appreciated. I've never heard anyone use their voice the way he does -- often vocalizing abstruse sounds as often as singing the lyrics, his style set him apart from anyone at the time. The best description I've heard for him is "a mix between Elvis and Tarzan," but that's only a fraction of what he offers. (And if you think he's wild on this album, it only gets better later on.) Even now, many decades after his death, no one comes close to emulating what he did. (Deus Ex Machina's Alberto Piras is obviously influenced by Stratos' approach to melody, although they are quite different.)
While Stratos was utterly unique and part of my initial draw to Area, it must not be understated that the entire band is incredibly talented and their collective synergy magical. Giulio Capiozzo (drums), Yan Patrick Erard Djivas (bass, this album only), Gianpaolo Tofani (guitar), and Patrizio Fariselli (keyboards). If you're looking for one of the best jazz-rock lineups you've never heard, this will be a good one.
Area had quite a diverse career. I recommend all their albums: _Arbeit Macht Frei (their jazziest), _Caution Radiation_ (their most avant-garde), _Crac!_ (their most accessible and exuberant), and _Maledetti_ (a bit of everything), Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno (more fun fusion but without a guitar player).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic fusion/prog album 11 Feb 2008
By BENJAMIN MILER - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Area's 1973 debut album Arbeit Macht Frei (German for "Work Makes You Free" as seen at the entrance to Auschwitz) is simply one of the finest debut albums you'll ever hear! Many other prog rock bands had to release a couple albums to get it right, like Yes or Genesis, but Area succeeded the first time, and with flying colors! I don't know the musical backgrounds to the band members, aside from Demetrio Stratos, who was in a beat band called I Ribelli in the 1960s (of little interest to prog fans, as they were basically a beat pop band that did their share of originals and covers of other people's songs), so at least I know Stratos was no stranger to music when Area formed. Arbeit Macht Frei is simply one of the most amazing fusion/prog albums you'll ever hear, and despite their controversial political views (openly communist), the music is so good you wouldn't need to be worried one bit about their politics (Robert Wyatt and Henry Cow were also communists and made great music that would appeal to anyone into that kind of music even to those who aren't political, disagree with their politics, or feel politics and music shouldn't mix - I myself, pretty much stay out of politics).

Arbeit Macht Frei was the very first release on the Cramps label and early pressings came with a gun insert. Area featured some truly unique and demented vocals from Demetrio Stratos (he also provided some Hammond organ and steel drums, but never played in a Caribbean manner), and some fantastic bass work from Jan Patrick Djivas (who would jump ship for PFM after this album, certainly not hurting his career). Also you have keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli who gives us some great use piano and electric piano (Guitarist Gianpaolo Tofani was credited to VCS-3, I swear I hear some ARP too, but none credited, but it sounded like the band had a keyboard attached to the VCS-3, as the VCS-3 synth does not come along with a keyboard, the keyboard is simply an option sold separately. Tofani tended to use the VCS-3 for regular synth solos, as well as the sound effects the synth is so well known for). These guys were no slouches and each piece is quite intense and the band doesn't let up. The album starts off with "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre (Nero)" with some spoken Arabic, apparently taken from a recording in Cairo (I'm certain Demetrio Stratos could understand the recitation, as he was born in Egypt, although he was Greek), before Stratos provides his great vocal works. Some Middle Eastern influecnes appear in the music, in between the synth work and the wind instruments (I notice sax and clarinet used on this album, I believe it was Victor Edouard Busnello). The title track starts off with a drum solo and some bass, before the music kicks in. Once again, the intensity simply doesn't let up, and Demetrio Stratos has proven to me he is simply one of the great vocalists in prog. "Consapevolezza" finds the band moving into ELP territory, the organ work is unmistakably Emerson-influenced, but once again, you get treated with Stratos' great voice. "L'Abbattimento Dello Zeppelin" shows a more experimental end of the band, with strange synth effects, the use of bass clarinet, and some intense jamming before some really twisted passges from Demetrio himself. This is truly a five star album, it really deserves it, for one thing there are no bad cuts on this album. Great vocals, great playing, and great production certainly helps big times (many of you ran across great prog albums with iffy vocals, as in the case of PFM singing in English, or iffy production, the case of the first two Banco albums or Museo Rosenbach's Zarathustra, but that's not the case of Area). There is no getting around this is a great place to start. And if you can't get enough, get Caution: Radiation Area, Crac!, and Maledetti without hesitation. Arbeit Macht Frei and those other albums mentioned get my highest recommendation!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Classic! 14 Aug 2006
By Brandon Stanley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am not blessed with any considerable skill with words, so I will refrain from any extended, massive review concerning my opinions about this album. What I really just want to say is that I LOVE this music, and I love the voice of Mr. Demetrio Stratos.

The music of Area is stunning: they could go literally anywhere, from groovy rock-and-roll, to free jazz, to beautiful exotic melodies. The instrumentalists are all talented and most certainly exceed the skill of many in their respective fields. However, the element that makes this group so special is the voice of Stratos. This man had a vocal range that goes beyond description. Actually, it's not even the octave range that is unique: it is what he does with his voice. The man could sing in a glorious tenor, but he could also utter the most incredible sounds. His voice was an instrument, literally.

I must admit that I have no idea what is being said in these songs. I am familiar with the title of the album itself: I've seen it in photographs & films. It is a Germanic expression that was frequently inscribed on the entrances to Nazi concentration camps. "work brings freedom". I'm not sure why the album title is named as such, or why a suit or armor is on the cover, nor do I really care. Area was supposedly a strong, politically-fueled group with plenty of messages pertaining to social issues of its time. Again, not a problem for me. I just love the music and the singing! If that makes me ignorant for whatever reason, so be it.

If you are reading this, you already have some interest in italian rock or progressive music. This should satisfy you if you are so brave or adventurous enough to leap into this wonderful field of music. Gifted instrumentalists (most notable are the drums, in my opinion), incredible singing, and a wonderful spirit to the whole recording. Italian is alien to me, but this music makes perfect sense to my ears.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique progressive jazz........simplemente fantàstico.... 14 Jun 2004
By Carlos I. Alsina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hace casi un año, comprè este CD en Italia y no fue hasta hace un par de dìas que vine a escucharlo. Area es uno de los grupos màs versàtiles que he conocido. En esta ocasiòn, esta obra de alto contenido polìtico se encuadra en un estilo de jazz fusiòn que deja boquiabierto a cualquiera. La tremenda tècnica del sax Busnello, unido al contrapunteo del bajista Djivas y la voz sobrenatural del tecladista Stratos colocan a Area a la vanguardia de su tiempo. Breve de tiempo (seis nùmeros en el que todos tiene vida propia),nos recuerda el famoso "Cordon Bleau" de Solution, las primeras grabaciones de King Crimson, los contracambios de Camel y las interpretaciones magistrales de Focus....Ojo....una cosa es que evoque un recuerdo, pero no se equivoque, Area fue una banda con un estilo ùnico....les invito a que los escuchen en directo, prescisamente los nùmeros que integran este CD.....Area, definitivamente es clase aparte.....
It has been almost a year that I bought Arbeit, macht, frei in Italy but it was last week that I listen it for the first time. Area is one of the italian progressive groups that I ever heard.This CD, a very political oriented one,is on the jazz fusion unique progressive style of Area. Subverbe master sax Busnello, with outstanding bass guitar Djivas and supernatural keybordist and main vocalist Demetrio Stratos place this band in a special rank of the progressive rock history....like famous Solution "Cordon Bleau", first three works of King Crimson, Camel and Focus fusion styles....Only six songs, all with proper style and life.....I invite you to listen to the live "Arbeit, macht frei"....Area is definitly.....class apart!!!
1.0 out of 5 stars Despicable 10 July 2014
By Lazar - Published on Amazon.com
Arbeit macht frei (work makes you free) was a sign in WWII death camp in Auschwitz, where four million people were murdered by nazis. Selling a product with such a slogan is despicable and offensive.
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