“Milo Scaglioni’s debut album “is most like the rain-splattered Mancunian melancholy of the song-writer’s early years The Beep Seals touching as it does on the introspective of Elliott Smith and the British pastoral pop of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The album is full of gentle, laconic tunes that anyone will whole heartly enjoy. The Fender Rhodes-dappled closer, Enough is not Enough hints at great things”. Shindig! Magazine
“A Simple Present combines the bucolic temperament of Ellioth Smith, Ray Davies, Ronnie Lane etc. with acoustic arrangements, kind-hearted sentiment and folish tunes”.
4 out of 5 stars! Record Collector
From the decadence of Rome to Manchester’s city suburbs and back, it’s tough to keep up with musical bard Milo Scaglioni.
Whilst laying his hat back in his Italian homeland, Milo’s debut album A Simple Present is a dolce delight, yet nods to the English traditions of his adopted UK home. It is suitably apt that the album has found a home on two of the cities most recent and renowned independent labels in Manchester’s Akoustik Anarkhy (aA) label and Crytmo Records, a division of the Rome based Misty Lane Records.
Over ten years, since first embarking upon a musical pilgrimage to Manchester, Milo’s musical journey has been a varied one. As bass player in The Beep Seals and with fellow pop procrastinator Jim Noir, he later become a member of Italian psych band Jennifer Gentle who were signed to Sub Pop, currently plays with Roma based droners Sonic Jesus and also regularly backs one of Italy’s biggest musicians, Roberto Dellera.
Bolstered by October’s Beatlesesque harmonies and the down-and-out eccentricity of The Kinks, the smoky melancholia of Sea of Misery and the final jam at the end of Enough is Not Enough (an homage to Love’s Da Capo), each track floats along in a sun-blushed magic-hour haze and is unapologetically simple, hence the title. A Simple Present is bound together with the honesty of early Leonard Cohen, the flair of fellow countryman Fabrizio De Andrè and Gruff Rhys’s melodic nous – not to mention English lyrics which, says Milo, were a natural occurrence. “When I moved back to Italy, even though I am Italian and have lived there until the age of 19, I still felt English,” he says. “None of my initial inspiration came from Italians. The UK and the States had always been my place where to look for inspiration.”
“A Simple Present is about becoming true to oneself, not about being in any one place in particular,” Milo says of his musical stepping stones to date. “Leaving Manchester felt harder than moving to the UK in the first place but returning to Italy forced me to focus. Half the album is about that; growing up. And one of the good things about growing up is that you are able to see a wider picture.”
It’s true that Milo has always followed his heart and gone where the music takes him. Whilst A Simple Present simmers with the romance and splendour of his Italian home in Milan and Rome (as well as southern Italy’s Lecce, where the album was in part recorded, or Edac Studio, situated on the banks of Lake Como, were it was finished with the help of renowned producer Davide Lasala), it still brims with a personal, village green mentality only fitting of his second home; “Manchester influenced my way of seeing things and consequently, my approach to music and song writing. There’s an honesty in Manchester, a keep your chin up ethos and poetry. It’s where I learned the importance of playing to my strengths, sticking to my guns and avoid imitating my idols,” he says.
A Simple Present is not only the product of Milo’s many adventures, it marks the end of simply being ‘one of the band’ and the rightful start of an artist who has at last found his calling, on his own terms. As co-producer, Milo enlisted his own travelling wilburys to assist in creating the record’s insatiable atmosphere with some of Italy’s finest musicians; Roberto Dellera (Bass), PJ Harvey collaborator Enrico Gabrielli (Piano, Organ, Rhodes, Sax, Vocals), Lino Gitto (Drums, Percussion, Organ), Gianluca De Rubertis (Piano, Wurtlizer), and Simone Prudenzano (Drums). This time around, Milo has called the shots. “We were in the studio together for just two days and played a lot of it live… I came out of the studio unable to talk or think straight due the exhaustion. The guys were there for the ride and there was magic going on during that session…. it was an important learning curve. This time I had nobody to tell me what to do and nobody to tell me I was playing it right…” he recalls.
Sometimes to truly discover yourself you have to go a long way before finding your way back again. “To quote Shakespeare ” tells Milo, turning once again to the fruits of England’s green and pleasant land, “life can end up becoming ‘a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.’ Simple Present is about living. It’s about finding the way to live an authentic and satisfying life as a present to yourself.”