Stryx: The Craziest Music Show Ever - Articles - Soundblab

Stryx: The Craziest Music Show Ever

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

One of the wonderful things about YouTube and this whole ker-razy digital wonderverse we live in is the way previously obscure pop artefacts, buried beneath the teetering edifice of Michael Jackson videos and decomposing girl bands which form the top layer of our cultural crust, are allowed to flourish online, reaching thousands who would otherwise remain unenriched by their existence. Who knew 70s Brazil had its own transcendent psych-folk scene? Or that late-60s Japan was a hotbed of heavy rock radicalism? What's that you say? Soviet Russia had its own new wave scene? And it's now the coolest thing since ripped denim? Well, blow me!


And now Soundblab would like to introduce you to the wonderfully unhinged world of Stryx, a short-lived Italian music show which would certainly never get made today, sadly. Airing on Italian network Rai Due in 1978, the show was short-lived for reasons which will become immediately apparent if you watch almost any of the clips which litter YouTube like a breadcrumb trail to a Grimm's fairytale world of pure madness.


The makers of Stryx had two obsessions: sex and psychedelia. Many set-pieces drew on the Middle Ages for inspiration, and there were frequent apperances from hopping, wriggling extras dressed up as devils, goblins and other creatures of the Underworld. We might describe the overall effect as psycho-sexual, quasi-religious, psychotropic Medieval chic. You could positively smell the heady combination of brimstone and amyl nitrate. The musical performances would frequently get their own subtitles, such as Sexy Stryx, Rumstryx or Subliminal Stryx. No, I've no idea why either.


The show featured apperances from established disco acts such as Grace Jones and Amanda Lear, but the real gold mine comes from acts little known outside their homeland, such as Patty Pravo, Rockets and Gal Costa (the cover of whose 1970 album Legal can be seen at the top of this article), many of whom boasted sounds far divorced from the Euro disco which dominated Italy's charts at the time. The music they made richly deserves the wider audience it can now reach.


Following numerous complaints, Stryx was cancelled after just six episodes. It's brief run means it still looks like no TV show before or since. Watch these clips below, and next time you're watching Jools Holland wheel out his honky-tonk piano to join in with Kings of Leon, weep for the future we lost.


To start off, here's Patty Pravo looking like an extra from Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo while being paraded by cavorting costumed weirdos. Legs and Co never did this.


Patty Pravo again, this time out Bowie-ing mid-70s Bowie with some eyebrowless androgyny.


An example of the little known genre of accordian-based gypsy funk, as Gal Costa finds her beach outfit maybe a little misjudged. It's the parrot I feel sorry for.


And to wrap things up, a glorious slice of prime cosmic disco from sparkly slap-heads Rockets.


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