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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Per Un Amico CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.42 | 1526 ratings

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5 stars For shits and giggles.. I decided to dredge up the first album review I ever wrote like 5 or 6 years ago. Just as I was getting into Italian prog. This album was one of the first RPI albums I got.

If you are looking for a place to start, this is it

Italian prog..... oh where to start. For many of us, a question that we ask of ourselves. For many of us, the Italian prog scene of the 70's is new to us. Lord knows I've been up on music for many years, and a fan of prog rock music since I was exposed to it by my parents. In the days before the internet, recommendations came from word of mouth. Nice but restricted by the area and region where you lived. Of course Yes, ELP, King Crimson, and Jethro Tull are first on everyone's minds when it comes to prog. Recently however, thanks to the internet I have been introduced to a whole literal world of prog that I really knew nothing of before. Italian prog caught my eye immediately for it's many diverse qualities. Italian prog is a diverse beast. Primary inspirations for the first generation prog groups, were ELP, and VDGG. Gentle Giant and Genesis are mentioned often as well. To state the obvious, a point to be made about Italian prog is an obvious one. It's not in English, for the most part. Some albums were issued with English vocals for export to England and America. The lyrics being unintelligible need not be a problem or a reason not to explore it however. Many of us like Prog for it's ability to take us away musically, it is a genre whose music and lyrics are open-ended and subject to interpretation. That's why Prog has often been characterized as a 'nerdy' or more accurately a 'thinking man's' genre. In order to get something out of it, you have to put something in to it. Italian prog is no different. The Italian language is so flowing and so romantic that it is a natural fit for the beautiful, and and time intense musical sections. It is a language meant to be sung, if that makes any sense. It is open-ended to the n-th degree, make what you want of what is being sung. It can adapt to nearly interpretation.

So this sounds interesting. O.K. where do I start. This my friends is the album to get. Find any list of the best, the greatest, etc. Italian albums and this will be at the very top of any list. This album much like English counterparts like Close to the Edge, or Dark Side of the Moon. Is for all intents and purposes the 'flawless' album. Per Un Amico was the 2nd album released by PFM. A close mirror, yet more mature than their first album. It caught the 'ears' of a certain group of musical visionaries with the initials E..L...and...P, who promptly signed them to their label Manticore Records. From there on, PFM took Italian prog worldwide. Tours of England, American, and Japan followed. Prog immortality resulted.

The album itself starts with a stellar lead off. The intro to Appena un Po, is breathtaking, a mellotron intro similar to 'Watcher of the Skies' accompanied by a plucked harp. After such atmospheric intro, some classical guitar 'noodling', with the various instruments falling in. The flute, a harpsichord, the Rickenbacker bass (yes a 1/2 point addition on the ranking thank you), finally the guitar and drums enter to an aggressive stomping main theme... to suddenly drop to bring us to the main section. Very nice vocal section. Love the Doo Do do doo.

Two other standouts for me happen to be the next two on the album. Generale begins with a Soundchaser style fury, with some wild violin throw in. However just when you are ready for them to break out the Cha Cha Cha, you get sucked in by the main theme of the instrumental with the harsh violin contrasts being the ingredient that makes the whole song in my eyes. The third song, the title track is just a PERFECT song. Great melody, great singing, love the Grand Piano just below the mix. Not upfront, but just adds the right touch to the song.

In short if at all interested in exploring Italian Prog, this is the album to start with. The greatest from the greatest. Highly recommended, a 10 in my book. All five songs are high quality and will suck you in. Trust me on that.

edit.. for the site and for me 5 stars.. you're nuts.. not to mention wasting your time with prog if you don't have this.

Micky (aka Michael)

micky | 5/5 |


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