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Persimfans - Quinta Dimensione CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.03 | 8 ratings

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4 stars A late and unusual delicacy for those who like it weird

Persimfans is a very strange late entry of the classic RPI era, the album being released in 1978 when RPI was in decline. This one bucked the trend however and is not only very good but still highly imaginative and with an experimental edge. The band was a bunch of music students from Genova who named their group after a "conductorless" Russian orchestra of the 1920s, the Pervyi Simfonicheskii Ansambl. Persimfans takes that independent and unorthodox approach to music and delivers a most intriguing album that should thrill fans of Franco Battiato's 70s work and perhaps Opus Avantra. Augusto Croce writes that Persimfans "mixed together classical and avantgarde music with electronic and traditional instruments."

While I don't usually steal my own evaluation comments for my review, in this case I'm going to share them as I think my enthusiasm for the album comes through, and that's what I'd like to convey. With just minor edits these are the notes I blathered at my RPI teammates: "It's a gorgeous piece of work with all kinds of luscious atmospheres, sometimes like Goblin as Todd suggested with some Classical and avant garde components. Great keys, haunting female vocals here and there, with an emphasis on piano, mellotron, and acoustic guitars. While not like the big Italian groups it has serious RPI mood and feels very influenced by Battiato to me. It's an album that screams to be in my RPI collection personally while obviously not being textbook stuff. Check out those choirs coming in and out during "Space!" The guitars in "Grand Nero" and "Heat" have an ominous quality also typical of the darker RPI groups. For a bunch of students I can't believe the quality I'm hearing, the discipline, and the maturity. This album blows my mind." Those notes were from my initial impression and have not changed.

The pieces move along like a soundtrack almost, with one idea leading to the next mostly unrelated musical impression. The only common denominator is a mysterious, somewhat melancholic aura of great beauty that comes from the melodies. Sometimes I feel like I've heard these passages in another life or something. Spacious yet unsettling, you never know what is going to creep up on your next. Those alluring siren vocals? Some odd percussion stuff? A brief bit of fusion? Or one of the many strange acoustic guitar melodies countered with piano or electronics. Like the best RPI there is an element of danger, mischief, and not much convention. For what was likely a low budget one-shot group with no commercial potential, the recording and sound quality are really quite good. While I won't call this essential, in my estimation this recording is nearly a must for serious RPI fans and avant-garde music fans. Hunt it down, you won't regret it. The original LP had spoken word vocals over the music while the CD reissues drops them. I've only heard the latter, and even without those vocals is it great. The original LP would be interesting but also much more difficult to find.

I don't say this often, but this is one album I wish was twice as long. While admittedly not an album "for any prog collection" I still need to go four stars here because I loved it and I think it is excellent.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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