Album Review: Automat – Automat (1978)

The album Automat produced in 1977 and released in 1978 by italian duo Romano Musumarra and Claudio Gizzi, aka Automat. Released by EMI Italia. What is more curious about this album is that all the sounds in the album were produced using an MCS70, a synthesizer that was only one time produced. Automat is recognised for having played this synthesizer and produced the album with the same name.

The MCS70 was a monophonic synthesizer designed, built and programmed by Italian engineer Mario Maggi. Automat was Mussumara’s initiative , after learning about the instrument and proposing it to EMI Italia, through Harvest Records.  Claudio Gizzi was added to the project from EMI, for being a more experienced composer. Side A is attributed to Claudio and side B to Romano. SIde A sounds more ambient, side B sounds more epic and dancing. In total there are 6 tracks with around 5 minutes each. In total they had only 4 weeks in the studio, being the last track, Mecadence, incomplete.

Both composers used the 64 presets in the synthesizer, provided by Mario Maggi himself. The only requirement is that only the MCS70 was used to create the album.  Though a total failure by the time it was released, that didn’t leave both composers satisfied, the album is nowadays well respected by critics. Jean Michel Jarre was the first one to get a copy of the album. While Automat was being produced, Jarre released his Oxygene, album.

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