Groovy Gems For Dangerous Men
Name: Calibro 35
Where They’re From: Milan, Italy
When They Started: 2007
Genre: Film Soundtracks/Instrumental funk
Sounds Like: Riding on a Vespa in hot pursuit of jewel thieves on the streets of Rome, gun on your hip, femme fatale on the back.
Thanks to the iconic “Spaghetti Western” themes of composer Ennio Morricone, Italy is has something of a reputation for making killer soundtracks. So it’s no surprise that when director Quentin Tarantino sits down to choose the most badass music possible for his films, he often turns to the dusty archives of Italian film studios to nab tracks from long-forgotten masters like Piero Umiliani, Gianni Ferrio, and Stelvio Cipriani, whose music laced kitschy genre-films of yesteryear.
That music has plenty of fans beyond just Tarantino. Calibro 35, a Milanese funk quintet made up of some of Italy’s baddest players, takes Italian soundtrack music as a starting point for their sound. Specifically, they draw inspiration from the Polizieschi, ‘70s-era grade-B Italian police thrillers. Although the films were often terrible, the music behind them was nothing short of genius, the result of classically trained composers trying to replicate the swaggering funk sounds of American blaxploitation cinema.
In the hands of Calibro 35, the Polizieschi sound takes new life, as those carefully arranged themes get batted around by the group’s able improvisers in a tumble of high-flying flutes, dirty guitars, cheapo organ sounds and tasty grooves. They do the occasional note-for-note soundtrack cover, but they also write their own tunes in the style of the old scores.
Earlier this year, the group put out its third full-length instrumental album, titled, aptly Any Resemblance to Real Persons or Actual Facts is Purely Coincidental. The album strikes a wide range of moods, from moody Parisian contemplation on “Rain on Conrete” to psuedo-Indian sitar funk on “New Delhi Deli,” to sinister free-funk on “Passaggi Nel Tempo.” On top of that, there are at least five swaggering tracks that would be the perfect accompaniment to your next bank robbery.
Take a listen for yourself and stream “Uh Ah Brr,” off the new album, below.