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JANUS

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Janus biography
JANUS (formerly JANUM) was a band from Rome who existed from 1975-1981. They carry the unique distinction in RPI history of being one of the few bands who sailed against the prevailing winds of the leftist political counter-culture of the 1970s Italian music scene. Janus was one of the few to actually manage an album release along with a few singles. While the very small right-wing branch of the RPI tree was not exactly beloved by fellow musicians and most fans, their lone album is interesting enough to be covered in our database, and we are here to archive music, not judge the views of musicians.

Janus was led by drummer Mario Ladich who was the only consistent member, while the rest of the band continually evolved. I found little information on the others. Guitarist Stefano Recchioni was with the band briefly but died in 1978 while guitarist Fabio Torriero joined after that. Their album Al Maestrale is not exactly an RPI classic and has been panned for its weak production, but for an album recorded in just six hours it has some worthwhile moments. It was reissued on CD and is worth hunting down for serious RPI enthusiasts, while casual fans of the genre can pass. A second album was recorded in 1981 but never released.

-Jim Russell / Finnforest

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Buy JANUS Music


Nox AerisNox Aeris
Realid Records 2012
$9.65
$4.95 (used)
Red Right ReturnRed Right Return
Realid Records 2009
$46.96
$3.98 (used)
Free FallFree Fall
SPM 1994
$42.47 (used)
InnocenceInnocence
SPM 1993
$29.99 (used)
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EX-/EX- !! Kayak/Phantom Of The Night/1979 Janus LP USD $16.60 Buy It Now
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THE TURBANS "When You Dance" Janus Gold JG-726 USD $3.00 Buy It Now
Al Stewart ?- The Early Years Janus Records 2JXS-7026 2X Vinyl LP Album Set USD $20.98 [0 bids]
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Mer-Da "Long Burn The Fire" 1972 Funk/Psych LP, SEALED!, Original Janus, MERDA USD $54.95 Buy It Now
DONOVAN "HEAR ME NOW" LP 1971 W/ RARE DONOVAN CATALOG INNER SLEEVE JANUS LABEL USD $10.49 Buy It Now
Donovan P, Leitch - Self Titled Double Vinyl LP - Janus JL25-3022 NM-/VG+ USD $5.99 Buy It Now 16m 38s
? Molkie Cole - Molkie Cole (Janus 7031) ('77) (gatefold cover) (Paul Pope) USD $19.99 Buy It Now 31m 38s
NEW - Janus Plays Telephone by The Landau Orchestra USD $5.99 Buy It Now 49m 29s
Janus - The Real Abba Gold [CD] USD $2.34 Buy It Now 51m 57s
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Al Stewart LP "Year Of The Cat" 1976 on Janus in VG+ USD $4.00 Buy It Now 2h 3m
Harvey Mandel The Best OF vinyl LP 1975 Janus Records Sealed USD $35.00 Buy It Now 2h 25m
Janus Joplin 10" x 8" Photograph no 4 USD $4.47 Buy It Now 2h 44m
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CYMANDE Second Time Round LP NEW VINYL Mr Bongo reissue Janus USD $33.99 Buy It Now 2h 53m
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Sounds Orchestral - Louie Louie 7" VG Promo Vinyl 45 Janus J-124 USA 1970 USD $5.60 Buy It Now 4h 11m
THE BAKER GURVITZ ARMY Self Titled LP Janus Rec JXS-7015 US 1975 M SEALED 8D USD $15.98 Buy It Now 4h 35m
Al Stewart Year Of The Cat - Janus Records 1976 Vinyl LP - 9098 7022 USD $11.44 Buy It Now 4h 40m
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Paul Korda Dancing in the Aisles vinyl LP 1978 Janus SEALED USD $9.95 Buy It Now 5h 30m
Mungo Jerry "In The Summertime"/ "Mighty Man" 45 on Janus Label Plays at VG+ USD $4.00 Buy It Now 6h 35m
NORTHERN/MODERN SWEET SOUL GROUP-IMAGE-JANUS 194-SURPRISE/BETCHA DIDN'T KNOW NM USD $49.99 [0 bids]
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Rock Lp Charlie Lines On Janus USD $7.99 Buy It Now 6h 50m
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Whispers A Mother For My Children UK 7" vinyl single record 6146023 JANUS 1973 USD $13.34 Buy It Now 8h 20m
OWEN B. (45 rpm 7") Mississippi Mama/Nowhere to Run (Janus J-107) 1970 VG+ USD $15.00 Buy It Now 9h
The Snake Harvey Mandel vinyl LP album record UK 6310210 JANUS RECORDS 1972 USD $70.20 Buy It Now 9h 24m
Goldie Zelkowitz Goldie Zelkowitz UK vinyl LP album record 6310213 JANUS 1974 USD $20.38 Buy It Now 9h 27m
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CHARLIE LINES LP 1978 JANUS JXS-7036 SEALED USD $16.99 Buy It Now 10h 13m
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17h 28m
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CHARLIE LINES 1978 JANUS RECORDS JXS 7036 STILL FACTORY SEALED USD $5.00 Buy It Now 18h 21m
Jefferson (JLS 3006) Janus label., ,Very Good, vinyl with cover art- VG/VG-aged USD $12.99 Buy It Now 18h 44m
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MUNGO JERRY~Self Titled~1970 Psych/ Rock Gatefold LP JANUS # JXS 7000 NM Vinyl USD $5.00 [1 bids]
20h 45m
RAY STEVENS BOOGITY BOOGITY CASSETTE TAPE 1974 GREEN PAPER LABEL JANUS UK USD $11.49 Buy It Now 21h 7m
AL STEWART YEAR OF THE CAT - Vinyl Record LP JANUS JXS-7022 Orig. Gatefold EX USD $6.00 Buy It Now 21h 16m
AL STEWART YEAR OF THE CAT 1976 JANUS JXS 7022 VG+/EX USD $12.00 Buy It Now 21h 39m
MUNGO JERRY Mighty Man 45 NM In The Summertime Janus J-1299 vinyl 7" USD $14.95 Buy It Now 22h 6m
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22h 34m
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Janus Al Maestrale #27/500 LP PROG PSYCH ROCK O RAMA ISD REBELLES EUROPEENS 28 USD $39.00 Buy It Now 23h 39m
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Paul Korda, Dancing In the Aisles, Janus Records JXS 7038, 1978 SEALED Rock Soul USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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Don Covay 7" 45 HEAR Sweet Thang JANUS STOCK COPY Standing In The Grits Line USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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(EI888) The Real Abba Gold, Janus - 1998 sealed CD USD $6.38 Buy It Now 1 day
Ian Thomas self-titled LP w/ Painted Ladies - 1973 Janus Canadian pop rock - VG+ USD $3.25 [0 bids]
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Al Stewart: Year Of The Cat (stVG++ First Janus Press JXS-7022) LP USD $4.46 Buy It Now 1 day
JEFFERSON Are You Growing Tired of My Love 45 RECORD JANUS RECORDS #117 USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
JOHN CHRISTIAN DEE 45: Come Johnnie, 1975 Mono/Stereo Promo Janus Records USD $4.95 Buy It Now 1 day
The Intrigues | Rare Northern Soul 45 | Fly Now-Pay Later | Janus 185 USD $49.99 [0 bids]
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WHISPERS: ONCE MORE WITH FEELING & BINGO; 1974 JANUS 238 MINT- SOUL 45 RPM USD $6.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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Whispers Bingo UK 7" vinyl single record 6146026 JANUS 1974 USD $13.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Goldie Zelkowitz s/t on Janus Records USD $12.76 [0 bids]
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Ray Stevens The Streak UK 7" vinyl single record 6146201 JANUS 1974 USD $12.70 Buy It Now 1 day
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? Charlie - No Second Chance (Janus 7032) (Flower on FC USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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JANUS discography


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JANUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.90 | 11 ratings
Al Maestrale
1978

JANUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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JANUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Al Maestrale by JANUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.90 | 11 ratings

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Al Maestrale
Janus Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars Janus was formed in 1976 by young members of the Italian right wing Il Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), the youth front of which organised cultural events called Campi Hobbit (Hobbit fields) from 1977-81. The campi were of course named after the well-known novel by J. R. R. Tolkien and the author's work in general provided a cultural touchstone for the politicised youth of the right. This was mainly due to Italian philosopher Elemine Zolla's introduction (which was interpreted as neo-fascist) to the first edition of the 'Lord of the Rings' novel in 1970, but also in part because of Tolkien's regard for Nordic culture.

Progressive folk band La Compagnia dell'Anello (The Fellowship of the Ring) was another of the leading right wing formations (although Janus was undoubtedly foremost among them, even having a tribute album released in 1990s) and both groups took part in the inaugural campo at Montesarchio in June 1977. In fact there is also a strong folk element to 'Il Maestrale' thanks to its frequent flute and recorder forays, although overall it's a truly eclectic work and the wah wah on 'Tempo di Vittoria' (Time of Victory) that rounds out the album recalls the ramshackle vigour of Guru Guru. Anyway, by the time Janus played at the same event in the following year guitarist Stefano Recchioni was dead, having been shot and mortally wounded by police gunfire during a political riot that became known as the Massacre of Acca Larentia; singer-songwriter Fabrizio Marzi dedicated the song 'Giovinezza' to the memory of Recchioni.

Another important figure to the right wing was Julius Evola who placed great importance on mythology. He saw it as the intersection of history and superhistory, and the likes of Arthurian legend and, as a consequence, the Celtic cross became important symbols for the MSI. You might wonder where this review is going but the album is a product of the Italian right wing and all the above strands come together in the album's art and its title- track: 'How I love you, mistral wind... we are born of one womb... we were forever predestined to be heirs to heavy burdens and great battles... climb higher and hang in the sky because the world will see it and be truer.' The artwork mirrors these words with a Norse longboat climbing into the sky above the sea, its sail emblazoned with the Celtic cross that dominated the campi skylines. And similar themes recur throughout the album - a blistering guitar rips through the bedlam of the Arthurian-inspired 'Il Ritorno del Cavaliero Nero' (The Return of the Black Knight), while 'King of the Fairies' (based on Alberich, the dwarf chieftain who guards the treasure of the Nibelungen) is all folksy recorder and psychedelic organ.

Getting specific on the few lyrics on the album, 'Il Fuoco e La Spada' (Fire and Sword) concerns the 'just' fight of the last of a race of warriors riding on celestial steeds: 'I am an exile on this earth, inhabited by small scheming men without honour... yet I see a new sun will rise to illuminate the few hearts that were pure, free and proud and true.' Sonically this track is reminiscent of Calvert-era Hawkwind, but their take on the crisis of Italian terrorism, the hectic 'Manifestazione Non Autorizzata' (Unauthorised Demonstration), is even punkier and carries a less ambiguous message: 'the joy of the struggle and the victory' against the safe side 'who live by dollars and roubles.'

Of historical importance, 'Il Maestrale' is also *extremely* rough around the edges which probably makes it one for RPI aficionados only.

 Al Maestrale by JANUS album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.90 | 11 ratings

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Al Maestrale
Janus Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Nice low-fi mix of hard prog with folk touches

JANUS (formerly JANUM) was a band from Rome who existed from 1975-1981. They carry the unique distinction in RPI history of being one of the few bands who sailed against the prevailing winds of the leftist political counter-culture of the 1970s Italian music scene. Their album "Al Maestrale" is not exactly an RPI classic and has been panned for its weak production, but for an album recorded in just six hours it has some worthwhile moments.

"Al Maestrale" is an RPI mixture of hard-rock a bit like the first two Il Rovescio Della Medaglia albums (not "Contaminazione!") with folk elements, lots of flute, and some nice keyboards. "An Dro" begins with a wonderful combination of flute solo, flanged guitar, and piano. A perfect seafaring anthem that conjures well the painting on the cover. The title track introduces vocals and while nothing to write home about, I've heard worse. Despite the challenged production the sound really isn't that bad, and more importantly the music has heart, I love this kind of homegrown garage work. After a jazzy piano solo the hard rock kicks in with guitars and drums blazing, with the flute coming back over the top. "Trotto" is a cool little flute/bass interlude (or is it a recorder?) at breakneck speed, sort of a folk jig but heavy at the same time. "Il Ritorno del Cavaliere Nero" is a brash number, with slow tortured guitar chords producing a menacing sound, followed by a blistering solo. This is a bit primitive but it is enjoyable.

Side two opens with "Il Fuoco e la Spada" which again has that effects laden guitar strumming with a piano and some punchy drumming, with an eventual overdriven guitar solo. "Neapolis" is a short keyboard interlude with piano and flute and a brisk, marching pace. "Manifestazione non autorizzata" has an abrasive, heavy sound which other sites have said sounds like a clear punk influence, which is possible given the album's date. "King of the Fairies" almost sounds like Ralefun-era Antonius Rex with flute over a primitive bass line, and an erratic, somewhat cheesy synth solo prefacing another heavy guitar solo. I don't know how it does it, but somehow, it works. "Tempo di Vittoria" closes this short album with its most aggressive track last, another fast-paced driving rock number with pure drum bashing, guitar wailing, and a real dingy low-ceilinged live sound.

Reports are that the album was recorded in a dumpy space in six hours flat. Because it often sounds like that I'll issue a buyer-beware warning on this album, but the fact is that I like the album quite a bit. It has the right blend of sass, heartfelt piano, and flute to make it memorable, if not to the usual refined standards of bands with more resources. If you love slightly seedy, hard-rock oriented RPI bands, of which there are quite a few, you may enjoy Janus.

Thanks to Finnforest for the artist addition.

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