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Thanks to a weird but extremely personal blend of Lucio Battisti and Adriano Celentano's pop sensibility, Rino Gaetano's irony, and Beck's love for both hip-hop and folk, Bugo is one of the most interesting and controversial artists to emerge from the Italian independent scene in the 1990s, loved by his fans and by some critics but equally despised and judged as just a comedy act by others. Born in the outskirts of Novara in 1973, Cristian "Bugo" Bugatti started his music career as a drummer in a punk band. In 1999 one of his demo tapes reached the ears of Bruno Dorella, musician and head of the small Italian label Bar la Muerte, which soon released the vinyl-only single "Questione di Eternità." A split EP with Italian outfit R.U.N.I. (La Pianta Movente) and a CD-R on Loretta Records (Pane, Pene, Pan) soon followed, paving the way for Bugo's first album, La Prima Gratta, co-produced in 2000 by Bar la Muerte and Snowdonia. A collection of lo-fi and largely acoustic numbers, it showcased a talented singer/songwriter with a very personal sense of humor and a strong ability to describe the world with irony and depth. Sophomore release Sentimento Westernato -- issued by Bar la Muerte together with Beware! and Wallace Records in 2001 -- was a slightly more focused affair, and is considered by many to be a more accomplished effort. In 2002 Bugo recorded his third record, Dal Lofai al Cisei, with Italy's own Steve Albini, Fabio Magistrali -- and then, just before its release, signed with Universal, a decision that started a strong buzz around him, and at the same time caused some disappointment in his most radical fans. In any case, the album turned out to be a small success, thanks at least in part to the radio-friendly single "Casalingo." Released in 2004, Golia e Melchiorre was a double-CD set comprised of two different albums: the electronic-oriented Arriva Golia!, produced by Roberto Vernetti, and La Gioia di Melchiorre, a more acoustic and intimate affair. For 2006's Sguardo Contemporaneo, Bugo worked with C.S.I. and PGR guitarist Giorgio Canali as a producer, and the result was a record with stronger rock influences. A collaboration with electronic mastermind Stefano Fontana (aka Stylophonic) led to the recording of 2008's Contatti, once again released by Universal. ~ Aurelio Pasini

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1973 in Novara, Italy

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