Sunday, May 23, 2010


Podarcis siculus is a lacertid lizard characterised by considerable variability in coloration pattern. In this species underside is usually whitish or greyish, always without dark spots. However, in some small island populations from Italy individuals can be allochromatic, i.e. completely black (melanic), bluish, or with a blue belly (e.g. the famous “blue lizard” – P. siculus coerulea - from Faraglione di Fuori and Faraglione di Mezzo islets, near Capri Island, Campania, southern Italy).
It must be noted that, in some cases at least, melanic individuals can be observed also in continental areas (e.g. Roscigno, Campania, southern Italy).
The evolutionary significance of the allochromatic patterns is still unclear, and some hypotheses were done to explain their origin.
(...) In Campania individuals with bluish or dark underside were observed both on small islands and on some continental areas. However, in continental areas the frequency of allochromatic individuals seems to be lower than on islands.
It is noteworthy that the P. siculus populations from Campania, which are characterized by a high degree of phenotypic plasticity also in the pattern of the upper parts, have levels of genetic variability higher than those found in the morphologically low variable populations from central and northern Italy.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Born in 1975 in Pompeii, near Naples, Francesco Scognamiglio opened his first atelier when he was 23.
Since then his career has been constantly on the rise thanks to his designs often characterised by a strange dichotomy between research, experimentation and avant-garde inspirations on one side and the traditional principles of the Neapolitan tailoring school on the other.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Mario Schiano's CD retrospective continues on Splasch with this issue of dates from the '70s. Three quintets, two octets, and two big band recordings all focus on one important aspect of Schiano's oeuvre: his use of folk song as a means of composition and as a jumping point for improvisation. The most satisfying tracks here are all of them. In each setting, Schiano's voice rises above the choir of horns and winds and rhythm and leads the way to swinging-out fest. A stellar example is the title track, led off by Alfonso Viera's drums. The theme is cinematic, like John Barry meeting Basie for an adventure soundtrack. But Schiano's composition also holds within it various Italian folk songs, ballads, and a stirring tarantella played out by the brass section against a 12/8 rhythm before it segues into a samba and then a blues before the soloists carry it to the outer limits. Even here, with different musics sliding in and out of the mix -- seamlessly -- Schiano's own solo holds the folk song hostage for moment before freeing it up in a swirl of spattered, bleated notes and tonal extremes -- swinging all the while. The adventure theme returns one last time before the tune just exhausts itself and slips minimally into a gorgeous orchestral reading of "Lover Man." Shimmering cymbals, timbral whispers, sheeny brass, and a quivering baritone usher in a forlorn reading of the harmony by the brass section while Schiano solos blues tall and bluesy up front. Other saxophonists are playing multiphonics in the background while a guitarist scrapes his strings atonally, but softly, behind the band's unifying harmonics. Only Schiano plays the dissident, and he's so lyrical and throaty it doesn't matter because he falls silky into the warm soft blanket the orchestra has created for him. With a Gil Evans-styled chart from the middle section to the fade, Schiano and his orchestra surrey forth with velvety elegance and grace while staying so far outside the traditional structures of the tune you wonder if it might be Sun Ra covering it. This is an awesome, warm, and edifying album, one of Schiano's best.