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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Celebration 1972-2012 CD (album) cover

CELEBRATION 1972-2012

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.42 | 8 ratings

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coasterzombie
2 stars It's hard to provide an objective review for retrospectives like this; I hesitate to use the term "compilation" because that's really not what Celebration 1972-2012 is. Included are PFM's first two albums wholly, and a bonus disc of previously unreleased "Road Rarities" which will be the main attraction for collectors. The discs are packaged in a nice DVD-sized hardcover book with 62 pages of pictures and concert posters...I cannot comment on the text since I don't read Italian fluently. The presentation reminds me of Yes' The Word is Live set from 2005. But the extravagant packaging does not justify the purchase of the contents within: Most PFM fans will already have copies of Storia di Un Minuto and Per Un Amico, and the Road Rarities disc leaves much to be desired. For this reason, I can only recommend the set for collectors, and really just completists at that.

Premiata Forneria Marconi released two amazing albums in 1972, and both are included here in their entirety. Unfortunately, the mastering used is a victim of the "loudness wars," and both discs are practically unlistenable. Compare an early RCA CD pressing of Per Un Amico for instance, to the Sony/BMG version used here, and you don't have to be an audiophile to tell that the latter has been completely ruined - the sound is harsh, trebly and completely lacking in dynamics. Just listen to the beginning of "Generale" as the splash cymbal distorts - the song is totally lifeless and actually painful to listen to. This might be okay to have in the car or at work, but in any serious listening environment will be immediately revealed.

The Road Rarities disc touts itself as containing 12 unreleased live versions spanning 1972-2012...this is somewhat deceptive as there are really only 8 songs, four of which are indexed in such a way as to separate the intro and main song. Not only that, but the vast majority of tracks are from 2001-2010, a period that has been amply covered in other releases. The lone exceptions are a 1985 take of "Impressione di Settembre" featuring a very interesting interpretation of that classic, and a live rendering of "Dove...Quando" from 1997 which sounds like it was recorded in a coffee shop. Neither of these warrant purchase of this set; interested parties would be better suited to purchase songs a la carte if you can find them (www.play.com in Europe has digital downloads for sale, for instance).

Overall, I can't figure out who this set is intended for or what it's purpose is. The whole package feels like a cash grab on behalf of Sony, as they try to milk every last drop of a dwindling CD market. The better release may actually be the vinyl box, as LP copies of the first two albums are exceedingly hard to come by. But again, any serious fan will already have the vast majority of content here, and neophyte listeners will be better served to purchase titles individually. As superfluous as this box set is, I just can't bring myself to rate it only one star, as even for $35 it is a nice conversation piece and will look good on the mantle shelf.

coasterzombie | 2/5 |

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