Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Per Un Amico CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.42 | 1527 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review 43, Per Un Amico, Premiata Forneria Marconi, 1972


And though purity is maintained... it leaves us sterile

This Van Der Graaf Generator lyric is probably the best description of my 'problem' with Per Un Amico. All of the music is superb, there are no cracks in the playing, nor any problems with the flow in a conventional sense. I have difficulty with this in two ways (both entirely personal taste). I find it difficult to develop a relation or imagery for any track except the amazing opener. And, everything is too smoothly connected. It doesn't really flow and change for me so much as oscillate a little. I can't really fault anything about the album, but it is simply a nice listening experience for me, nothing more.

A searing mellotron accompanied by a beautiful harp introduce the album wonderfully. The amazing Appena Un Po' is the album's obvious highlight for me. A gentle acoustic from Mussida leads up to the flute and bursts of harpsichordy sound which are eventually supplemented by some much heavier keyboards to provide a vicious atmosphere. From this chaos the beautiful multi-vocals and soft drumming appear, with a reverent organ leading us slowly up to the gorgeous mellotron-led section. From here on, the entrancing atmospheres take us on a journey from a rural Italian mealtime to a busy city to the mystical beauty of the mellotron-induced atmospheres. 'Away from here' indeed.

Il Generalissimo is a pretty sharp contrast with a short drum solo leading to a lightning quick series of solos, violin and guitar especially. Flavio Premoli gives us some sharp piano-work, and we receive an excellent dose of guitar(could be moog, actually)-violin interplay. A humming gives way to military drumming with Mauro Pagani providing a flute solo before the keyboards, and then guitar, and then organ come in to provide a level of pomp. A twisted violin and some more of the moog/guitar from earlier leads us out. An incredible dose of ideas in only a few minutes, but I just find it difficult to go beyond the music and attach an image to it.

Per Un Amico is again a flawless piece of work, with some beautiful piano, flute and careful drumming shining throughout, as does the interplay between everything else and the stretching violin and vocal combination. Throughout, we see the players exchanging ideas without a flaw, and the Franco Mussida acoustics around the four minute mark are an absolute joy. Again, magnificent, but too smooth and musical for me.

Il Banchetto begins with an acoustic-bass-vocal combination, and the excellent Flavio Premoli throws us both carefully added piano and organ. A whimsical piano-drum-flute section and some upbeat cheerful music with slightly darker edges moves us on to a long jarring moog solo of the most moogly order with a burst of church organ and then a forceful piano solo. Some drumming and bass comes in to lead us back to the banquet theme and the reveling aristocracy. A great showcase of Premoli's skills, but it doesn't really move me in any way other than cerebrally.

Geranio is rather gentle, and somewhat harks back to the opener, with a careful vocal, and a dreamy feel given a slight edge by the taps of a piano's lower range. A delicate piano foreshadows a later singing section and builds up gradually in force and power. After the cheery vocal burst, a clever interplay between the moog, piano and others brings us to another instrumental break with a mandocello (I think) being used to full effect. A combination of haunting keys, tapped drums and tubular bells leads us out.

Basically, this album is absolutely essential to try and own, because it's musically flawless. Unfortunately, apart from the opener, it just doesn't move me. I'm not quite sure why, maybe it's just the lack of 'psychedelic' (word abuse) ideas or lyrics I can understand throughout (my snatches of Italian are unsurprisingly little help), but I would only really have missed the opener if I didn't own this album. Great stuff, you must own this, and see if you 'get' it more than I do.

Rating: Four Stars (though a personal three) Favourite Track: Appena Un Po'

Edit: Cut down to three stars for personal taste. Some people are much keener on the very smooth playing of the album than myself, so reading their reviews will probably help counter-act it. I'm seeing the lack of enjoyment more and more as a result of rather vacuous 'production' (I use the term with limited understanding). Still, I'd try it if you're not a heavily atmosphere or rock-driven person.

TGM: Orb | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives