Published Nov 13, 2018While Italian soundtrack great Piero Piccioni passed away over a decade ago, his work continues to live on and inspire all these years later. And while the Maestro composed literally hundreds of scores during his lifetime, much of that enduring legacy is thanks to Camille 2000 — his masterpiece of an album that brought together not only mind-swirling futuristic funk and timeless jazz romance, but also a primitive blueprint for hip-hop to one day follow.
While the album was composed and recorded between 1969 and 1970, it was actually not released until decades later, in 1998, when the late great Easy Tempo label unearthed Piccioni's lost Camille 2000 recording sessions. In 2017, the album was dusted off with the help of the Maestro's son, Jason Piccioni, who went back to the original tapes to help issue a vinyl release via the Blind Faith imprint. And while that later version presented a different vision of Camille 2000, it's Jason Piccioni's latest reissue on his own Camille 3000 label that really brings the album to new heights.
For this latest presentation of Camille 2000, Jason Piccioni has once again gone back to his father's drawing board, this time transferring the original master tapes in high audio definition for an entirely new CD edition. He's also dug up even more previously unreleased tracks from the sessions, bringing the total tracklist to a whopping 28 songs.
Sonically, the results are impressive, to say the least, with the makeover taking Camille 2000 in directions never previously imagined. To borrow from the world of television, the sound has jumped from 480 to 1080p, as each crystalline instrumental passage comes to life now more than ever. And for an album that already sounded years ahead of its time, the makeover is more than welcome, making songs already deeply ingrained into the Piccioni psyche emerge as something new entirely.
The thunderous proto hip-hop beatwork of new album opener "Pearls" has never sounded so towering and forward-reaching; the silky-smooth bossa grooves of "Charms" never so hypnotic and timeless; the Krautrock-flirting "Funky Lovers" never so fierce, searing wah-wahs, horns and all. Yes, previous versions of Camille 2000 already proved how great songs like these were, but it's a true rarity to see a re-release bring so much new life into an album already so familiar.
Hands down, this latest reissue is the best sounding version of the album we've heard — and likely will ever hear — offering a stunning new presentation that further cements Camille 2000 as one of Italy's true musical masterworks. (Camille 3000)