The first place the tourist sees when coming to the island of Sicily is Messina, a pleasant city with a population of more than 252,000 inhabitants, divided from the rest of Italy by its own Strait. The beauty of this town lays in its spreading along the coast of the Mediterranean sea, waters of mythological grandeur, the crowded sea of ancient culture. It is here that two guys, music lovers, put together a band, Victrola, a rock group initially formed to give expression to their vivace creativity. Antonino Cuscinà, known as Eze in the musical community, and Carlo Smeriglio, started to write songs as Into His Gloves, Hollow Nation, No Fiction, A Burning Sign and other pieces for two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Eze and Carlo played their Fenders and sang, featuring Tobia Squitieri on bass and Nino Belmonte on the drums. Even though influences came from such artists as Robert Wyatt, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, David Bowie, David Sylvian and many others, those first tunes had their own personality and flavour.
The group’s circle of friends and fans was growing in number day after day. In 1981, the editorial staff of the well-known fanzine Rockerilla included the Victrola’s song Into His Gloves on Gathered, a music compilation of Italian bands, published by Electric Eye Records. That event marked the decision of the two authors Eze and Carlo to continue the experience as electro-duo, based upon the addition of such new synth instruments like keyboard, drum machines and basslines. This choice ended up becoming a springboard for the duo which was later contacted by the Rockerilla head editor Mario Rivera with a request to record a vinyl EP featuring Maritime Tatami and Game of Despair. This resulted in a certain notoriety for the group within Italy’s underground music community. The year was 1983, and over time the Victrola wrote other songs, some of which never published yet. It was not until 2011 that Mannequin Records brought to light two of them: The Mutant Glow and Beyond the Door, in album compilation Danza Meccanica Vol.1. In 1993 the story continues. After the last two concert of the 1984 in Turin at the Big, and in Florence at the Tenax, the electro-duo decided to make a pause, a period of time marked with different activities, but both always working on their own personal musical projects. That year they were contacted by the acting company Il Teatro della Munizione and were asked to take part to a new version of the worldwide acclaimed musical Jesus Christ Superstar, so having Eze singing and playing the role of Hannas, and Carlo that of Herod. It was a total new experience, unexpected but very rewarding, which brought the company to making performances in diverse prestigious Italian theaters. That also happened to be a good occasion for the two musicians to make 4 new songs still waiting to be published and offered to the numerous Victrola band fans and friends.
In 2015 the Victrola ’83 vinyl EP has been remastered and published by Dark Entries Records thanks to Josh Cheon.
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