Michael Angelo


"Unlike many self-created obscurities rescued from the margins, Michael Angelo (aka The Guinn Album) isn't the effort of some fanatical, ponderous bedroom wiz delivered with passion in lo-fi, but a fully-fledged pro-studio recording executed by multi-instrumentalist and full-time session man in mid-to-late '70s Kansas City, MO, Michael Angelo Nigro. An enigmatical exemplar of subterranean overachievers, Michael created the album as a labor of economy during studio off-hours when he was given free reign, and since its discovery by fringe-searchers it has been christened a heavy-hitter in the pantheon of 'out-of-time' treasures. Self-produced and nearly fully self-created (with drums handled by Frank Gautieri), Michael Angelo is a staggering, hook-filled, inner space hi-fi snapshot of dreamy folk-rock, Anglophile-pop and light psychedelia, filled with contemplative, arresting lyrical imagery and carries little to ally it to its time (spare some shimmering keyboards). Sprouting in the mid-50s, Michael's head was first turned by Joe Meek-produced 'Telstar' by the Tornados in 1962, and later listened closely when the Beatles put the whole world on its ear. Gifted his first guitar by a doting aunt at age 11, soon the prodigy gained six-string proficiency, began his first furtive attempts at songwriting, and taught himself to play bass, harmonica, and piano over the next few years. The typically teenage pursuit of fronting his own high school band followed, Norwegian Wood, and several other short-lived combos followed. Next, via an ad in a Kansas City newspaper, he happened upon the opportunity of studio work at age 20. During the next few years at Liberty Recording -- where Michael Angelo was recorded in 1976 -- and Big-K (where it was mixed in 1977) he worked steadily, and the eponymously titled debut LP was released on the Big-K subsidiary Guinn Records in 1977. With its strummy, jangly folk-rock guitar, incendiary lead lines, big, resonant piano chords and plaintive tinkling, Michael Angelo isn't just a collection of songs, but a fully-conceived, cohesive, album-length statement, which stands toe-to-toe with other 'out-of-time' heroes like Anonymous, Rick Saucedo and Bobb Trimble. There's denseness to Michael's lyrics formed by an active imagination, tapping into abstracts, the unseen, astral and spiritual ideas, fantastical and sci-fi perspectives, character studies, and the other side of life."