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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Stati Di Immaginazione CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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4 stars I'd been waiting eagerly for this one to arrive and had seen the ratings (but no reviews). Well after 3 reviews it was showing a 4 star rating and I think that's where I'd put it.

I was disappointed to learn that Flavio Premoli had left the band again as to me he was part of their enduring magic. However I have to say that Gianluca Tagliavini steps in and makes the transition absolutely seamless. He has the same feel and flair as Premoli.

Special praise too to Lucio Fabbri. Up to now I'd only heard/seen him on live recordings, generally playing old Mauro Pagani era stuff and maybe suffering slightly by comparison. On this one he shows his own style and is absolutely superb, most notably on 'La Conquista' where at about 3:50 he comes in with a blistering distorted solo that's almost like blues harmonica playing (closely followed by Gianluca on the Moog, and then the whole thing begins to sound like classic PFM- E Festa style).

Oh yes and Franz Di Coccio is as solid as ever on drums (though maybe slightly more restrained in the studio).

Patrick Djivas is as reliable and inventive as ever on bass. There's some lovely fretless passages here.

So, to the collection itself. It's released as a CD/DVD package only (or DVD/CD). It's entirely instrumental. The point is that the music is composed as interpretations of short film clips, and in my opinion it's best viewed that way. I'm not someone who likes to analyze every track, note by note. I guess I don't have the patience. There's a bit of everything here. Quiet passages, some parts that sound like they're jamming, classic PFM-style moments.

Criticism? Maybe a little too much chorus on some of Franco's electric guitar.

Standout track/Vid- "Il Sogno di Leonardo". Probably the most coherent piece on the album and the one that fits best with the accompanying short film . Franco playing the classical guitar. Wonderful almost Celtic feel to it. This woudn't have been out of place in the film Local Hero

Report this review (#102050)
Posted Thursday, December 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars This legendary Italian progrock band delivered many outstanding studio-albums in the Seventies but I prefer their live sound, just a grade more powerful and captivating like on the album USA (aka Cook) from 1975 and work from the new PFM line-up like the DVD Live In Japan 2002 and the CD/DVD Piazza Del Campo (2003), what an outstanding musicians and what a dynamic and captivating symphonic prog! I was very curious to this new CD (with bonus DVD) featuring eights instrumental songs from the 'veterans' Franz Di Cioccio on drums and Franco Mussida on guitars who founded a trio with bass player Patrick Djivas, accompanied by guest musicians Lucio Fabbri (violin and keyboards) and Gianluca Tagliavini (Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer).First the CD:

1.La Terra Dell'Acqua (8.13) : It starts with spacey keyboards, fragile guitarplay and a warm bass sound, then gradually the music turns into more lush delivering a compelling violin solo. After an accellaration with a swinging bass, we can enjoy a splendid guitar solo in captivating interplay with piano and propulsive drum work, eventually quite bombastic. Then a mellow part with tender Grand piano and in the end a dynamic concludion featuring a fiery and bluesy guitar solo with howling licks, accompanied by a powerful rhythm-section, great!

2. Il Mondo In Testa (3.55) : After a classical, warm sounding intro on piano and violin, a swinging rhythm follows with a pleasant blend of guitar, piano and violin, halfway a vibraphone joins. The music reminds me of Gentle Giant and Frank Zappa, both because of the strong interplay and inventive changing of climates.

3. La Conquista (6.26) : Another swinging rhythm and exciting interplay between rhythm guitar, bass and vibraphone. The the moods shift from dreamy with soaring keyboards and fragile guitar to bluesy with wah-wah guitar and the vintage keyboard aficionados can freak out with a wonderful and long solo on the Moog synthesizer, evoking 'the good old Celebration days'.

4. Il Sogno Di Leonardo (6.43) : First warm acoustic guitar an dflute, then a beautiful build-up with wonderful interplay by piano and acoustic guitar, very romantic. I also enjoyed the sensitive violin sound and a slow synthesizer solo.

5. Cyber Alpha (4.27) : This piece is build upon an excellent build-up guitar solo with howling and biting runs and spectacular use of the way-wah pedal.

6. Agua Azul (3.53) : The intro delivers subtle interplay between bass and strings, what an unique sound! Then lots of shifting moods and exciting work on the Moog and violin.

7. Nederland 1903 (3.20) : Thanks to PFM for this tribute to my home country The Netherlands (Nederland), the picture in the booklet showcases a fishermen family in traditional clothes. The atmosphere is mainly dreamy with beautiful work on the piano and guitar along mellow Hammond play.

8. Visioni Di Archimede (8.57) : This is PFM at their best, what a dynamic and varied sound and great colouring by fiery electric guitar, exciting rhythm guitar, powerful Hammond and spectacular Moog play.

Then the DVD, the track list is similar to the CD but unfortunately it features only images from cities, landscapes, cartoons or black and white scenes from the African native people, no studio - or live footage from the band. Nonetheless, the images are wonderful!

In my opinion PFM has made a masterpiece and, it may sounds as 'blasphemy to the Italian progrock history', I would like to conclude that this is PFM their best studio effort ever, what a dynamic, caried and captivating album, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

This review is a tribute to the very inspirational Italian 'fellow symphomaniacs' Andrea Cortese and Mandrakeroot, grazie, you must be proud to be Italian, what a band!

Report this review (#103149)
Posted Friday, December 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars PFM's newest record stands high not only as one of the best italian prog albums of the recent years but also as one of the best PFM's records ever! I tell you this 'cause I don't fear any comparison with the past, especially when we are in front of such wonderful contemporary records. It's somehow strange to see that the boys (?!!) reach another highest peak of maturity, after - at least - thirty years! It's true, though, and I would like that the great part of you could share this great enthousiasm of mine!

PFM is now reduced to a trio, since Premoli silently left. The line up now consists into Franz Di Cioccio on drums and percussions, Patrick Djivas on bass, fretless bass and plastic flute, and Franco Mussida on electric, classic and acoustic guitars. For the pleasure of any good symphomaniac, the trio is helped and assisted by guests musicians of all respect: Lucio "Violino" Fabbri on violin and keyboards and Gianluca Tagliavini on keyboards, hammond organ and moog.

The album is a completely instrumental opus divided in eight tracks, each of those represents a different video in the dvd added to the cd. A misterious journey into imagination and feelings, adding images to the music. From the prehistoric man to the future android, passing through the past, sometimes of famous "scientists" and "visionaries" Leonardo and Archimede and sometimes of common people as in the intimate and short "Nederland 1903", based upon a small fishermen's village in The Netherlands.

Romantic and melodic tastes alternate aggressive and harder parts as the second part of the opener "La Terra nell'Acqua" (Ground in the Water) which is about the sadly well known problem of Venice.

The general mood of the music is varied, complex and intriguing with beautiful violin's and keyboards' and synths' solos/interludes/interplay. Just listen, for examples to the third track "La Conquista" and to the fantastic closer "Visioni di Archimede". Wonderful!

Sometimes the band goes dreamy as in the stunning "Il Sogno di Leonardo" (Leonardo's Dream) where even the bass guitar sounds, finally, as a freely played instrument. This happens also in "Agua Azul".

It would be very difficult to be more detailed in what is played where and how. By the way, this has been already written. The important thing is to recommend Stati di Immaginazione as the big records that many of you are waiting/searching for.

Report this review (#103701)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars [b]The revival of Premiata Forneria Marconi.[/b]

It's incredible, since the line follows to so many bands, that his(its) brilliance was in the seventies, his decadence in the eighties, and his works of medium quality (or often good quality), in the nineties. But we come 2000 and it is opened a new age, the album serendipity, also of medium quality, his meeting with mauro pagani, an excellent concert, and his Live In Japan 2002, where all his classic songs re-live in a memorable concert. But these two experiences are alive. Until we come a year 2006 and meet this tremendous surprise " Stati Di Immaginazione ", a perfect album, now as trio, PFM demonstrates that it was not one more band, with songs of first line, with an incredible melodic content, us demonstrates that this PFM more alive than never.

Report this review (#103972)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can't describe the surprise I had when I listened the CD (and watch the DVD) for the first time !!! This is pure PFM , better than any recent work. Yes it is purely instrumental.... by the way singing has never been their strong point.. I will not go in a detailed description of the tunes , just listen and dream. A true masterpiece of our days. And now I wait for the reunion of New Trolls with Descalzi and DiPalo together again in Concerto Grosoo III : viva Italia. Ciao. Roberto
Report this review (#104761)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars As the years go by, miracles become a rare commodity even to dream about , let alone witness, whether in politics (no messiahs anywhere!), in romance (a seemingly prehistoric concept) or in the arts (boring!!!!!). But , somehow in Progland (where fairytales often coalesce with legends), there is still the spark. Who would of ever imagined that this once-seminal band of the timeless Italian School of Progressive Music, after decades of poppish dirge (by opposition to their earlier monuments), would one day , 30 years later, deliver such a riveting recording! Yes, boys and girls, there is still reason to believe in faith and the wait makes it so much more breathtaking. Wonder how that happened? Well, some inner muse suggested that maybe the past should be revisited (ah, nostalgia) for a one-shot series of concerts in Italy and Japan (of which we have the DVDs), perhaps their may be interest! The reception was warm enough to suggest a 2005 summer tour with stops in Montreal, Quebec City and the Progfest among a few other dates. Well, I attended the Montreal concert and the 600 or so middle aged progsters were musically transported (not sure they could do it physically!) back into the rebelious discovery of their youth, a return to the days where music mattered! What a sight it was, bordering on religious zeal, everyone rekindling a long lost buzz of aural nirvana. Allegedly, the Quebec City concert was even more fanatical, with adoring fans turning the concert into a ritual of veneration. Franz, Franco and Patrick were literally blown away by the crazed response, almost embarassed to have kept these long suffering audiophiles in limbo for so many years. Progfest was another nail in the pop coffin because upon their return to the boot (and perhaps buoyed by Italy"s World Cup victory, they release this mindblowing disc. To prove their respect to their fans, they stuck to instrumental tracks, chock full of the trademark characteristics that once made PFM the Italian Masters of Prog. I deliberately waited a while before tackling this one, so many pleasurable memories of their wonderful concert 5 years ago yet to overcome. Yes, PFM is back from a long exile , returning to the prog glow that made the first fans in 1972 so frenzied , revived once again. Their early history is legendary and this all-instrumental masterpiece has the hallmarks of past glories, a whopping slice of modern symphonic progressive with tight rhythms, incredible bass adventures (way more upfront that ever before, Patrick Djivas is such an ace!) and dewey orchestrations. What a mind boggling opener in "La terra dell'acqua", a scintillating pace deliberately caressing and so very romantic in that very Italian way (Djivas' bass is revoltingly delicious and some spirited violin only adds to the mix) , things get suddenly obscure and dark, Mussida's jagged guitar weaving manically around Franz di Cioccio's manic drum stool. A sensational revelation as an ornate Flavio Premoli piano decorates the scene with some splendid emotions, cymbals trilling and a marvelous extended Mussida solo, all hard fury and imploding rage , perhaps his best ever (yeah nice and long!) closer to vintage Robin Trower than , say Steve Hackett ! Impressively impressive. "Il mondo in testa" has a wide variety of bounces, soft then dissonant and then a KC like intro from the guitar, all texture and tone, whilst the violin takes this into playful mode (honky tonk piano and all), very circus-like atmosphere with assorted acrobatics that keeps the jaw agape. "La conquista" is jazzy, funky and proggy all in one, a shuffling groove emitting a sort of vintage Gong feel, almost a candidate to fit on the Gazeuse album (perhaps the vibes in the background are the culprit) but just when you get all mushy the lads veer into the misty and ponderous , almost floating Floyd (the pink one!), stamped by a wah-drenched axe blitz that sizzles sexily and aims for the galaxies (my goodness, is he ever an underrated fretman!), what a conquering gem! Solid and effervescent applause! "Il sogno di Leonardo" is a personal fave, a bucolic acoustic guitar preamble sets the tone for the elegant flute, enveloped in a seductive lullaby , just like one of Da Vinci's dreams before waking up and drawing a helicopter or some magnificent domed mural, capturing the true essence of genius in musical form. The violin passage is outright classical, then with Djivas repeating the theme with the nimblest of fingers and Premoli's synthesizer soaring mightily, we arrive in prog heaven, absolute beauty incarnate. Fourth massive wave of ovations! "Cyber Alpha" is a frighteningly gorgeous guitar weaving that bleeds ,spurts and wails like some deeply melancholic maniac, relentless, passionate and in obvious pain. Franco, you are among the guitar greats again, welcome back! What a sensational solo, hard to not openly gush and marvel at the fast fingers and the emotionally stringed terminology. Wow! "Agua Azul" is a Spanish title not Italian but the core is very much Andalusian, with deeply resonating pathos and genuine regret, a suave violin aches in the forefront and a slick synth shoves this into prog overdrive , again a tremendous display of scope, vision and expression. The brief "Nederland 1903" is almost folkish with more violin, acoustic guitar and resonant bass, recalling the sounds and spirit of a century ago. So how does this monument end, you ask? How about the show stopping "Visioni di Archimede" , a languorous progressive extravaganza that has all those features we all like = fascinating groove, colossal solos and invigorating rhythm play (one of the all-time great duos easily). While all the original members were stellar way back in 1972, the ease and fluidity these silver-haired dudes have is really immediately apparent and staggering! So let them take a bow : Franco Mussida , on electric and acoustic guitar. Bravo! On synthesizer, piano and organ ?. Flavio Premoli. Bravo! On the athletic bass guitar? Frenchman Patrick Djivas. Bravo! And on drums and percussion maestro extraordinaire, Franz di Cioccio! Bravo! PFM are back in the saddle. The easiest five pastries I have ever served up. What a special gift this album is! Thank you. Thank you and yes, thank you!
Report this review (#105483)
Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars Once in a while, you get a surprise from a classic artist. If it happens once in a year, you are lucky. This year it happened twice. My first one was from Steve Hackett, and I would have been satisfied with that. Then I heard "Stati di Immaginazione." What a gift this is.

Many times classic artists record new music, and seem to be trying to recapture past glories. Other times, they just seem to have lost that certain spark. PFM has avoided both of those maladies. They have created something completely new, and full of life. The other surprise is that it's completely instrumental.

This is a heavily jazz oriented album, almost to the point of fusion. They have even incorporated xylophone. There are some great grooves, and at time the violin resembles Jean-Luc Ponty. However, there is more. Just when you might be beginning to wonder, the keyboard reminds you that this is definitely prog. The guitar riffs out in classic rock style. There are some lovely, ethereal passages. Including an acoustic guitar and flute segment that would make the Hackett brothers proud.

The compositions are all crafted with precision. There is music to get your foot tapping, mellow you out, and touch your heart. This is the type of thing that makes this musical journey all worthwhile.

H.T. Riekels

Report this review (#107870)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best of 2006.If your last cd or record of PFM is Chocolate Kings or Jet Lag run and buy this one.In 2005 they released the rock opera Dracula who was good ,but Stati Di Immaginazione (all instrumental) is by far their best one since the 70's.The only bad thing is the price 39.99 for 46 minutes of music (almost $ 1.00 a minute) but there is a dvd (PAL version=it's not for all dvd players). And it's the first time that I paid so much for a cd BUT it worth the money.Franco Mussida is excellent on guitars (he could give some lessons to young musicians who thinks their good=dont forget he's around 60).I could go on and on about it ,but the final word come from my wife who says WOW ! PFM ARE BACK ! 5 STARS A must for your collection and a masterpiece for all the PFM fans.POTS
Report this review (#108885)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Premiata Forneria Marconi's latest record is a bit of a throwback to their earlier '70s work with some exceptions. On the whole, I would say this record is less challenging than Storia Di Un Minuto or Per Un Amico, and it's also entirely instrumental. The music itself at times reminds me of a typical classic rock band, and the way piano is played on some tracks reminds me of Page McConnell of Phish.

The first track is among the most varied on the album and changes directions several times over the course of the song. There is a rather conspicuous split note during the piano's arpeggio section of this song. I'm not sure how this made it into the final recording. Il Mondo in Testa is one of the most frenetic and uplifting songs PFM has released. I enjoy the way violin is used on this track. La Conquista track which, like the first, goes through sections of fast and slow. The track doesn't truly become interesting until it comes to a complete standstill somewhere a bit before the song's halfway point. From here, it gradually builds to its conclusion.

Il Sogno di Leonardo is the only track I've heard from PFM that genuinely annoys me. The rather boring melody is reiterated throughout the song, and what little progression the song has is pretty cheesy. Cyber Alpha is a guitar-driven track that pretty much allows Franco Mussida to strut his stuff. It's one of the more cohesive and interesting tracks to be found here. Agua Azul isn't a bad track, but seems like more of the same.

Next is the shortest track on the album, which happens to oddly be my favorite: Nederland 1903. There's something about the opening guitar melody that I find moving. When I first listened to the track, from the first few notes I was expecting something completely different. This track also once again utilizes the violin to enhance its beauty.

Oddly enough, the closest comparison I can draw to this album in terms of other bands is Riverside, who seem to have a similar approach to composition. The method of composition seems similar, the guitar tone isn't altogether different, and the usage of synths is quite similar as well. The difference, obviously, is that Riverside, being a metal band, often plays a bit heavier music.

All in all, I don't think this touches the brilliance of PFM's earlier albums, but it's a decent album nonetheless. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys highly melodic prog.

Report this review (#110396)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Legendary Italian sympho-prog band has let out the first high-grade album for last five years. And huge pleasure from listening this album. It is one of the best albums of 2006. Fine arrangements up to last musical note in which the hand of the master is felt. The master which one stroke will be made by those, on what the lot of time is required to a beginner. The master who does not do mistakes in conceptual products. An album very equal, but peaks rise two compositions: header La Terra Dell'acqua with distinct elements of a jazz and fine Cyber Alpha with magnificent solo on a guitar, with a fine and cold sound. We shall not speak much about analogies, only we shall tell, that here there are elements Pink Floyd of the middle of 90th years (post-Waters era). We shall note elements of a folk music in violin solo in composition Agua Azul. Summing up it is possible to tell, that the album is very beautiful, cold and perfected.
Report this review (#113321)
Posted Friday, February 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars With this out of nowhere album, Italian legends PFM provide a sweet remembering of the 70's. Sound is amazing, jazz influences are obvious and tasty, and excellent guitar work throughout the album! The song "Cyber alpha" is IMHO the best track in this great instrumental album. Do not miss this one.
Report this review (#120331)
Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me some time to get this album but I am glad I did. Despite the fact that Flavio Premoli is missing here (he is credited on one of the tracks, it is a first rate recording. A must for any PFM and also a must IMNSHO for any prog fan, hence the 5 star rating. The accompanying videos are excellent too and are perfectly matched to the music. If I had to pick a single track as my favorite, it would be La Conquista, but in reality they are all excellent and grow on you with each time you listen. Proj is not Pop music and the complexity of any good prog album requires listening with a fine ear. This album is as highly recommended as any of their classics including Storia di un Minuto, Per Un Amico and Isola di Niente.
Report this review (#125249)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars PFM return with a triumphant instrumental release that when viewed with the accompanying video material is a very solid piece of art. The music is delightfully pleasant. It may not break new ground but it is undeniable beautiful. Some have stated they don't understand the fuss over this album and that people are overblowing it because it's PFM. I don't know, you can make the opposite case just as easily. Some people will foam at the mouth about the latest flavor-of-the-month release and dismiss something like this just because it is an old group like PFM. I think there are just as many people that cut slack on new releases as there are on older groups. In any case, if you love melody and beauty, this will not disappoint you despite the naysayers. If you're looking for some completely wild, bizarre new sound then it's true this will not fit the bill.

Others have provided a good track by track so I just want to comment generally on the music. Iâ??m not sure what inspired PFM to make this album but I have a guess. Perhaps they surveyed the wreckage of past mistakes by themselves and others and decided that rather than trying to make music that will market well and sell to demographics important to the company, they would create something beautiful for their true fans. But they didnâ??t just try to make easy listening fluff for the kinds of fans who seek safety. They took some chances. They used no vocals which was a great move, allowing them to concentrate fully on the important job of making the music tell a story. They alternate serene and calming sections of acoustic guitar with blistering balls to the wall rock.

And then thereâ??s the accompanying video. What an absolute treat! Some are short fantasy style vignettes combining real footage with computer graphics, and some use archival black and white historic footage to great effect. â??Nederland 1903â? works especially well: thereâ??s something quite haunting about watching people who lived so long ago. Itâ??s not everyday you can see something like that. I also loved the one which featured the rising water and what it could mean for cities like Venice in the future. Amazing stuff.

One minor criticism I will note is that the cd booklet is extremely minimal. Basically they just note credits. Thatâ??s as negative as I can be here. Bravo PFM!

Report this review (#125704)
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars PFM - this legendary italian band release an elegant and mature work. Very good album with a vague touch of Pink Floyd and even Camel in places, but also with some jazzy passages on some pieces made this album to be one of the best in years in italian scene. I don't find this album to be more essential that any of early PFM albums, on the whole, I would say this record is less challenging than Storia Di Un Minuto or Per Un Amico, and it's also entirely instrumental. For sure is not bad because is made by profesional musicians and it's clear that it sounds tight but less inspired than early works.I guess the first 5 pieces are the best, the last 3 are fillers, and sometime sounds like Dixie Drags. With all that i will give 3 stars, good but non essential to me, i prefer Storia di un minuto for example. 3 stars
Report this review (#140912)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply beautiful! But after Dracula, not so surprising. I hate to compare bands or albums, but Stati is a kind of natural continuation of what PFM made during the 70's.

Stati is an instrumental album build on the proggy and sometimes psychedelic guitars of Franco Mussida and the always powerful drums by Franz Di Cioccio. Lucio Fabbri (violin) and Gianluca Tagliavini (keyboards) appears like guests but their contribution is really important to make this album a beautiful piece of classic Italian prog but with some renewed sounds, more athmospherical than other PFM albums and overall an album full of unforgettable sections.

Starting with the beautiful introduction of La terra dell'acqua and ending with the proggy final section of Visioni di Archimede, Stati turns into a essential album to any prog fan. More than a glorious return, Stati is another great piece of prog rock with the best elements from the 70's interlocked with the new sounds of the 00's... An enjoyable instrumental experience!

Report this review (#143203)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars It's hard for me to understand why this album has had so great grades. I think it's not like with L' Isola Di Niente, that I'll learn to love this. Yes, I like this, it's quite nice background music, but in general, it's too light and neo progressive (neo italo) for me. (PS I say songs though there's no singing). Quite boring, only for guitarists or boring music likers, and for those who like stupid landscapes.

First track (La terra dell'acqua - I only mention the name of the song if someone's searching it) starts with lunar keyboards, goes to funkier fusion and after piano goes to guitar fusion. Boring, boring, boring. Well, it's music and I like the sound of those beginning's spacey keyboards. 1,5 stars (radical reflection).

Il mondo in testa is happy, forward-heading, melodic. Nice, but picture I have in my mind of this is from some stupid film where this music could be. (PS Have I heard this sometimes before, or is it just so good that I remember it straight after first listening?) 2*

La conquista sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers, actually almost weird cover of one of their songs. But it goes more jazzy (funky bass on the background - but it has no space or it just don't want to take a role, which I don't particularly like), and I think it has no heart, the riffs are quite weak. Then it goes to dreamy guitar solo jazz fusion rock and roll. To the end of the song, it grows faster and bigger. Very boring, once again. Maybe the only great thing is the solo and the sound of it right in the end, it's very refreshing (and it is a thing that some metal bands has used recently (eg Sonata Arctica in "Unia" and well, Amorphis - Black Winter Day, also The White Stripes (not a metal band)) 1,5*

Il sogno di Leonardo - acoustic guitar, flute-sounding keyboards... Actually the instruments and the song sounds much like cheap elevator-jazz... or cheap music for some document or teaching video, for example. I wonder if everything is played with electric drums, bass, piano etc. But the keyboards or moog (Could it be moog? Well, it is. Quite clean.) are nice once again. Sounds like Gryphon's Lament or something in 4:25. I prefer Gryphon. Song has also old English (or something at the nearby) pastoral feeling with it's violin and guitar and artificial lightness... just like in some cheap videos. 1,4*

Cyber alpha, basic guitar hero song, quite nice and short enough. 1,8*

Agua azul has a beginning that I LIKE. I can almost think it continuing as a Air Metal song (You know, the atmospheric semi-acoustic "Progressive" Metal popular nowadays). Or as it was a Technical Metal intro. But I like the song like this. It's occasionally like Mahavishnu Orchestra but not so irritating. Maybe the main melody (at the other half of the song) is what I think is perhaps little bit childish or somehow stupid, artificially powerful, light and guite fast, maybe like a love song. Maybe it is that it's too familiar, like I've heard this before. 3*

Nederland 1903. Not so disgusting little light song but the landscapes are something I can's stand. 1,7*

I was going to give 2 stars but I give only one because I'm pissed. (Three stars was in my mind for a while but I couldn't give so much because it's not worth it).

Report this review (#143709)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars PFM are not a band with which I was familiar until very recently. I've now got this album along with Storia Di Un Minuto and Per Un Amico and think all three are brilliant.

This album is what I consider to be a bit of a rarity. Why? Well, it's an instrumental album which is so melodic and lyrical that you do not miss the presence of a vocalist. All of the tracks keep you engaged, thoroughly immersing you in their musical journey. I find hints of Camel, Pink Floyd, Genesis and even Jethro Tull in these tracks but overall the flavour is PFM - at least so far as my all to brief acquaintance with this and their first two albums informs me.

As instrumental albums do not seem to find wide appeal, I can't give this one 5 stars though that is my inclination. However, it gets 4 stars because it is such an excellent instrumental album. One which is so varied in mood and tone that you just cannot consign it to the background - it demands that you listen intently, absorbing you with lush guitars, keyboards and violins. Brilliant!

Report this review (#145924)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars In 2006 there was some kind of earthquake, all over our beloved Progarchives.

PFM's STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE appeared and reaped one ecstatic review after another. At the time of writing (November 2007) it is listed not just as the most popular prog album of 2006, but even as PFM's best effort ever.

I only began to discover PFM less than a year ago. I enjoyed their early albums, so you can imagine I was keen to hear STATI. Much to my amazement, this turned out to be a collection of totally conventional instrumental rock. It contained a few urgent, passionate guitar solos (the one on "Cyber Alpha" will please you if you enjoy Santana-style histrionics) and some charming, folksy passages for violin, but there was nothing that impressed me just like the band's classic albums.

Some of these pieces sound so bland and sentimental I wonder whether any prog-freaks would pay attention to them if they weren't by PFM. Take "Il mondo in testa", for example. Semi-acoustic guitar, grand piano, vibes and violin perform something not too different from elevator music. That ballad-style guitar solo on "La conquista" sounds no more surprising than a thousand other prog solos (although it is followed by a fairly interesting Camel-like synth solo) and the main theme in "Il sogno di Leonardo" is so sickly sweet it actually makes me feel unwell.

I can only conclude that dozens of weathered PFM-fans were SO happy to witness the return of one of their favourite bands that they felt obliged to give their heroes the best possible rating. If you really want EVERYTHING by PFM, by all means give this album a try. If you do not, simply don't bother. The year 2006 alone produced loads of prog albums far more exciting than this one.

Report this review (#150992)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album was made to my order! In fact not, that's just a joke, but I have a feeling it's true! Stati Di Immaginazione proves that in progressive rock music the vocals are not necessary at all. It's strange after all these years, how Premiata Forneria Marconi succeed to release such a great funky progressive rock. So much weak albums in the 80s and hiatus in the 90s... but the reviving begin in 1997, when they reformed and have made Ulisse, followed by stronger album after stronger; at the end of all this story came Stati Di Immaginazione.

An album made by the human aspiration for perfection, Stati Di Immaginazione observe all the laws of music. It's just a sample of harmony, routine and synchrony. All the instruments divide in equal shares the weight of the balance to become a compact piece of greatness. The guitar make crystal solos, the bass - delicate thunder of virtuosity, the drums - magic dispersion, the violin - thin line when we need most and the piano - classic sorrow sound. The songwriting credits are admirable. All the songs are memorable and superb. Unique return to the form from the first three albums. One more time these senior musicians show their apparent advance. It proves, that there isn't such thing as exhausting of the artist. One artist has good and bad moments, but not fully exhausting. The biggest example for that is Stati Di Immaginazione by Premiata Forneria Marconi.

I mentioned that the songs are memorable above. I would like to say something about them now. La terra dell'acqua and Visioni di Archimede are the first and the last songs - they are the landmark compositions of the album. Il mondo in testa begins with an intro from the classic era of the band. Then it continues in jazzy progressive absolute manner - perfect song. La conquista is the funkiest moment on the album (to be precise - the first part of the album). The song continues with the best guitar solo on the album with gradation in terms of the speed. Il sogno di Leonardo and Nederland 1903 are gentle ballad parts of the album with discriminating sense. Cyber alpha and Agua azul are short progressive songs full of implement moments one after another and full of rhythmical ideas.

As whole one of the best PFM's albums and one of the best italian progressive albums. With no concerns - 5 stars!!!

Report this review (#192182)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This album is absolutely stunning ! I was very surprised at the darker and more aggressive passages (which suit my tastes perfectly) that are on this album but they've still kept that beautiful Symphonic music that they're famous for. A nice blend. The sound quality couldn't be better.

"La Terra Dell'Acqua" opens with some excellent atmosphere before the drums and synths start to dominate. Bass follows, then mellotron and violin. Such a gorgeous sound here. The tempo picks up 3 minutes in and check out the bass, drums and guitar ! Oh my ! It then settles with piano before 5 minutes before the guitar and drums start to lead the way again as the sound gets much fuller. Nice. A top three track. "il Mondo In Testa" opens with piano as violin joins in. The sound kicks in around a minute. It settles again as the tempo continues to shift. Violin is back followed by vibes. "La Conquista" is another one of the top three for me. It opens with guitar before heavy drums and bass arrive. Violin's turn and then vibes. A beautiful calm 2 1/2 minutes in. Gulp ! It's building just like my emotions.The guitar then starts to solo. "Il Sogno Di Leonardo" opens with gentle guitar as flute then synths join in.This is so uplifting. Piano then what sounds like orchestral sounds after 3 1/2 minutes. A bass solo comes in then themes are repeated.

"Cyber Alpha" is the other top three song. This features dark guitar melodies as synths then drums join in. The guitar starts to solo, just pure emotion here. The tempo picks up late as the bass joins in. "Agua Azul" again opens with dark sounding guitar and perhaps mellotron. Violin and drums after 1 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up before 3 minutes and it's brighter as well. "Nederland 1903" features acoustic guitar, violin and piano early. A fuller sound follows with floating organ in the background. "Visioni Di Archimede" is the almost 9 minute closer. The guitar to open reminds me of Gilmour. It's building as drums come in. A calm before 3 minutes then it starts to build again with bass, violin and drums. It settles before 5 1/2 minutes. Nice bass. It kicks back in one more time.

The band has to be so proud of this recording.

Report this review (#220518)
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars PFM didn't release many albums in the nineties (only one) and this is already their third production from the naughties. Both Franz Di Coccio and Franco Mussida are present of course (they are founding members).

Patrick Djivas (who joined them as soon as 74 for "Isola Di Niente" if my memory serves me right) and Lucio Fabbri is featured here as special guest. He also participated to several studio albums through the years. So, we can effectively say that this line-up is quite representative of the great "PFM".

This album is a good mix between symphonic prog and some soft jazz atmospheres. The whole of this work is very elegant, crafted, melodic and very attractive.

Several songs feature a pastoral mood which seemed to be alien to their work for a long, long time. It often refers to the early "Genesis" but the violin play during some pieces adds a personal flavour to this prog album which sounds coming straight from the seventies. But who would complain? Not me, for sure.

My favourites from this very good album are "La Terra Dell' Acqua", "Nederland 1903" and the extremely melodic "Visioni Di Archimede". After a brilliant and soft intro, we'll get some sort of great Latimer guitar play and a more dynamic number. The highlight.

All pieces are instrumental, since the music is also supportive of a DVD. I won't say that this is their best release ever. But one has to go back to "Chocolate Kings" to find a better album than this one.

Four stars. Well done guys!

Report this review (#243011)
Posted Monday, October 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Too much soloing and not enough composition puts 'Stati Di Immaginazione' light years from their first three amazing albums and, after reading glowing reviews, I was hoping some of the magic of those albums would be found again, but alas, instead the far and few between melodies sound contrived and closer to elevator muzak and straightforward instrumental rock. 'Il Sogno Di Leonardo' sounds like something off the Windham Hill label, which isn't bad, but when its PFM, its a disappointment. I think the absense of Flavio Premoli and Mauro Pagani is really felt, at least for those of us who hoped for the beauty of 'Per Un Amico', which happens to be one of my favorite albums ever. The finest moment here is the first 35 seconds of 'Il Mondo in Testa', actually one of the themes of 'Promenade the Puzzle', which recalls a glimpse of what once was, and which nothing else on the album equals, although Nederland 1903 comes close. Apart from that, what we mostly have on this album is a lot of straightforward rock with a lot of solos. Yawn.
Report this review (#262151)
Posted Saturday, January 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Despite having all of PFM's seventies output in my collection, no doubt like many prog fans I gave their eighties and nineties albums a wide berth and have only a passing acquaintance with their more commercial pop inflected material. While Dracula Opera Rock showed promise with some strong musical moments, some of the vocals just didn't hit the spot with me. Released a year later Stati Di Immaginazione marked a real return to form and can amazingly sit head and shoulders with their best albums.

Stati Di Immaginazione is a truly beautiful piece of work, this time PFM going for an entirely instrumental approach. The band sound so tight on these perfectly executed musical gems cut from a diverse musical template moving through jazz inflected prog, rock, classical influences and acoustic restraint. The album opens with its finest moment, La Terra Dell'acqua which has a beautiful build from delicately plucked and atmospheric electric guitar, a haunting synth line and ethereal violin alongside a very sympathetic rhythm section including some tasteful fretless bass. After such a spellbinding start it's more of a surprise when the track explodes into a fiery lead guitar fuelled workout before a lone piano marks a temporary lull before some more excellent guitar work from Franco Mussida.

After such a breathtaking start surely it can only be downhill from here? Well not quite as although the album never quite reaches such heights, though Visioni di Archimede has a good try, the rest of the album is full of wonderful and refined musical treats, if not quite as exhilarating then making up for it in the beautifully executed diversity of the compositions. There's mellower moments like the lovely classical guitar led Il Sogno di Leonardo but still room for some fiery workouts like the closing section of La Conquista.

Franz Di Cioccio's drumming is fantastic, a master of restraint where necessary but equally at home with the more explosive sections and what a sound! However it would be doing the rest of the band a disservice to not mention that each plays with virtuoso precision, not surprising considering how far most of these players go back and were already masters of their art in the seventies.

It's difficult to fault this album such is the overall consistency of the excellent music. As I write this review I'm awaiting delivery of the new PFM album which is in the post as I type. I'm hoping for great things but it's got one hell of a challenge to be anywhere near as good as Stati Di Immaginazione. Only five stars will do.

Incidently, the album comes with a DVD, not a band performance but pieces of film to reflect the album tracks which works really well.

Report this review (#288080)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Premiata Forneria Marconi, in the early to mid 70s, released some of the most gorgeous music of its time. As I write this, I've set Stati Di Immaginazione aside in favor of L'Isola Di Niente in order to recapture the beauty that once was. To be blunt, Stati is little more than a showcase for Franco Mussida. The compositions are formulaic instrumental pieces, heavy on the solos. If it wasn't packaged under the PFM name, I never would have guessed it was them. Granted, I have not listened to anything by them post-1975, so I can't speak to how they've progressed in that 21 year span.

Stati Di Immaginazione opens strong with La Terra Dell'Acqua, a somber start before a rather atypically dark, aggressive passage about three minutes in - the only highlight for me. What follows is an interesting piece, Il Mondo In Testa, with a bouncy rhythm, and nice violin and vibraphone solos. La Conquista starts as standard rock fare with a bit of funky bass, but is otherwise dull before evolving somewhat to finish on a more symphonic note, courtesy of a stabbing synth solo. Il Sogno Di Leonardo is pretty, if a bit lethargic - still nicely composed but runs on a little long. Cyber Alpha - yup, another guitar solo, with not much to back it. Agua Azul is more standard fare with a little synth, and Nederland 1903 is just plain insipid. To finish, Visioni Di Archimede continues in the vein of previous tracks with very straightforward rhythms (and yet another guitar solo), but picks up midway with a decent synth lead and decompresses to a quiet finish.

Simply, Stati Di Immaginazione is predictable, guitar-focused instrumental music; it is progressive Italian rock only by nature of falling under the PFM moniker. There are so many wonderful Italian and instrumental recordings I would listen to first, and can only recommended this one to the truly devout Premiata fan.

Report this review (#291780)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars PFM's Stati di Immaginazione is an all-instrumental album from a lean three-man PFM lineup with guest keyboardists. Musically speaking, it doesn't so much remind me of their 1970s heyday so much as it makes me think of Steve Hackett's late 70s/early 80s solo work, or perhaps The Lens' sole album "A Word In Your Eye". Although there are some fast-paced bursts of energy, overall the mood of the album is calm and reflective, the performers playing for the joy of playing rather than to make any particular point.

There's an almost neo-prog vibe to it, which isn't so bad to my mind - it's nice to know PFM have kept an eye on the prog scene rather than stayed mired in their past - but it may put off purists who were hoping for something resembling their first three albums. It's great, but not essential - perfect if you're in the right mood, but there a number of equally good or better albums that cater to that exact mood too.

Report this review (#298134)
Posted Thursday, September 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 2006 PFM released their best work in the last thirty years, "Stati di immaginazione" (States of imagination). The line up on this album features historic members Franz Di Cioccio (drums, percussion), Patrick Djivas (bass, fretless bass, plastic flute) and Franco Mussida (guitars). They where helped in studio by an old friend and collaborator like Lucio Fabbri (violin, keyboards) and by Gianluca Tagliavini (keyboards, hammond organ, moog) while founder member Flavio Premoli contributed to the composition of two track but had to quit the band because of health problems.

"Stati di immaginazione" is a completely instrumental work and features, as you can read in the booklet, "eight musical stories, eight films... to enter the free state of the imagination". All the tracks were inspired by short films that you can find in a DVD included in the packaging... Well, PFM have always been in trouble with lyrics since Mauro Pagani left the band in 1974 and perhaps it's not by chance that they tried to express with images what they couldn't express with words. Indeed, videos and music on "Stati di immaginazione" are complementary and during the tour following the release of the album the band chose to play in the dark with the images flowing in the background...

The opener "La terra dell'acqua" (The land of the water) was inspired by a documentary about Venice... The city is still suspended between past and present, beautiful buildings have been reflecting themselves on peaceful waters night and day for centuries, but water can be dangerous and a sudden acceleration of rhythm lead by pulsing bass lines announces stormy weather and high water while images show the effects of growing waves sweeping the city... After the storm calm comes back and in an nocturnal atmosphere featuring delicate piano passages you can dream one more time. Then rhythm takes off again and the sound of the electric guitar pushes your thoughts towards an uncertain future... How could Venice survive to the menacing waters that threaten to invade its streets and submerge the city transforming it into a modern Atlantis?

Next track "Il mondo in testa" (The world into the head) begins with a short intro taken from "Promenade The Puzzle" (the English version of "Geranio"), a piece from the album "Photos of Ghosts" featuring crazy lyrics by Pete Sinfield. Music provides a perfect commentary for a vintage funny black and white film where a practitioner extracts ("physically"!) the crazy thoughts from the brain of a man... What a strange way to cure madness!

"La conquista" (The conquest) starts with an electric guitar riff and an almost tribal drum roll, then frenzy bass lines introduce a busy atmosphere... Black and white images show a tribe at work in a forest building a bridge of ropes over a river full of alligators and all the struggles they had to reach their goal.

"Il sogno di Leonardo" (The dream of Leonardo) begins with a delicate acoustic guitar intro. The mood is dreamy and there's a strong classical atmosphere, especially in the middle section. The beautiful video describes the dreams of a young Leonardo De Vinci... His desire to fly like a bird lead him to the construction of ingenious machines and mechanical wings. Never drop your dreams, nobody ends into the nothingness...

"Cyber Alpha" features a tense atmosphere and a long nervous electric guitar solo. Now we're back in a present full of dangers, where nothing is like it seems to be. Cold war secret projects, guinea pigs escaping from laboratories, a growing wave of terrorism and criminality... This track could be the perfect background for a Maurice G. Dantec's novel...

"Agua Azul" starts on a bass solo introduction. The atmosphere is dark and music describes the mysteries of a Mexican forest hiding Maya temples... Then on a evocative melody played by violin images turn to a series of waterfalls where an "adventurer" is practicing canoeing while rhythm takes off with a sudden outbreak of adrenaline.

"Nederland 1903" is the shortest track on the album. Acoustic guitar and violin introduce a peaceful and a bucolic atmosphere. Images show scenes of everyday life taken from a vintage documentary about Netherlands where you can see men and women in their traditional costumes.

The charming long and complex epic "Visioni di Archimede" (Visions of Archimedes) concludes this excellent work. Music and images were inspired by the character of Archimedes of Syracuse (287 BC ? 212 BC), a great mathematician, physician, inventor and astronomer that was killed during the siege of Syracuse by a Roman soldier... Burning mirrors seem to light fiery electric guitar riffs while more relaxed meditative parts mark the contrast between thirst of knowledge and violence... A "Gran Finale" for a magnificent album!

Report this review (#299488)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Oh, what a beautiful record! I had given up any hopes of PFM doing something remarkable a long time ago. Their brilliant past seemed to be buried in the early 70´s and that was it. But I was amazed to see so many glowing reviews about Stati Di Immaginazione that I decided to give them one last shot. And it was very worthwhile! While the music here is not exactly a return to roots (there are no voals this time, for exemple), it is nevertheless incredibly strong, moving and very well done.

By the time this CD was released only two founder members were still in the band: guitarrist Franco Mussida and drummer Fraz DiCioccio (plus lont time member bassist Patrick Dijvas). With the precious aid of another former member, Lucio Fabbri (keyboards and violin) and Gianluca Tagliavini (also on Keys) they released one of the most important CDs of their discography, believe it or not.

Ok, it is not exactly the same as it was. But the essence is pretty much the same: terrific symphonic prog with lots of italian, baroque and classical music influences. This time there is some jazz rock/fusion elements too in some parts. The results is a marvelous intrumental record that has a few of the finest songs I´ve heard recently. Mussida is one of the most underrated guitarrists in rock music. A very skillful and creative musician who knows how to deliver pure emotion through both electric and acoustic guitar. This record is an excellent showcase of his unique style and technique: emotional solos, fantastic acoustic parts and tasteful rhythms and licks.

But this is no solo project and as much as Mussida does a great job here, the others are not far behind. There are lots of great keyboards runs, violin lines, plus Djivas pulsating bass (sometimes even soling too) and DiCioccio versatile drumming. And the songwriting, my god! Not a single bad track in the whole album! You can hear them all without skipping a single track. Some tunes are simply magnificent like Nederland 1903, Il sogno di Leonardo and La conquista, but the CD as a whole is impeccable.

Conclusion: one of the nicest surprises recently. A truly magnifinet work by one of Italy´s most important bands. Great instrumental CD that will plese anyone who likes good music. Rating: somewhere 4.5 and 5 stars. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#405849)
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With this PFM "comeback" album the group has decided to forego vocals, yes, that's right, this is an all-instrumental album. And an excellent, melodic one, it is! Every song is great if not really very memorable. More like background music. Still, great keys, great violin, great electric guitar soli, great bass play and solid drumming. A much jazzier PFM than I knew from the 70s. Kind of a "smooth jazz."

Best songs: 1. "La terra dell'acqua (8:18) (9/10); the jazzy 3. "La conquista" (6:29) (8/10); the melodic, strings-on-display, JEAN-LUC PONTY-like 6. "Aqua azul" (3:53) (8/10); the pretty, folksy "Nederland 1903" (3:23) (9/10), and; the FOCUS CON PROBY-like, "Visioni di Archimede" (8:59) (8/10).

A four star achievement, NOT a five star masterpiece.

Report this review (#459440)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A WORK OF ART!

Although not as good as the first two albums released by PFM in the 1970s (and which are arguably two masterpieces), "Stati di Imaginazione" is living proof that not every band falls in limbo forever, without having to chance to return to producing good albums.

Although the sound of "Stati ..." less than those symphonic albums of the 70s, it's brilliant and original in the sense that these guys still have a lot of creativity to the deliver us.The album is entirely instrumental, but vocals are not absent here: the musicianship is first. Unlike many other albums from other bands, I really like the use of the violin

But no band, except for the first and the last one, significantly attracts me, although I liked the piano intro of "Il mondo in testa", which actually is the reuse of a theme song "Genario" from "Per un Amico. "

4 stars

Report this review (#474207)
Posted Saturday, July 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With the support of Sony BMG, Premiata Forneria Marconi immediately entered the studio to produce another album.But this time Premoli was not present and the music was based on the ideas of the Mussida-Di Cioccio-Djivas trio.They were helped by keyboardist Gianluca Tagliavini and former bandmate Lucio Fabbri on violins and keys.The result was the 2006 CD/DVD release ''Stati di immaginazione''.

Premiata Forneria Marconi were always a daring band with ever-changing styles throughout their career and the new album is just another proof.Vocals are totally abandoned and ''Stati di immaginazione'' comes as an all instrumental effort of modern Progressive Rock with evident references to the 70's past of the group.Early KING CRIMSON were always a huge influence for the Italian legends, but this time the guitar work and atmospheres have more in common with the Discipline-era of their British mentors.Mussida evokes the sharp, diverse and highly atmospheric style of ROBERT FRIPP from these days, but ''Stati di immaginazione'' is way beyond this.It is full of strong violin drives, complex interplays, romantic Classical piano lines in the vein of LE ORME and jazzy textures right out of the late-70's part of the band's history.LE ORME even come in mind on the careful and elaborate use of synthesizers every now and then, creating light symphonic soundscapes along with the soft pianos.Even more suprising Premiata Forneria Marconi seemed to now what was going on in the prog world around the time of the album's release, as plenty of their ideas have a slight Post Rock approach, produced by Mussida's guitars.The album comes along with a DVD presentation of the 8 tracks with the use of interesting photos/images/cartoons.

Not in the same league as the band's earlier masterpieces, but this is definitely an album to play several times.A mix of modern Symphonic Rock with Jazz, Classical Music, Post Rock and Retro Prog, nicely blended and often quite impressive.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#830066)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars A New Conquest.

Despite the good rating of this album, I think that should be even more appreciated and recognized. This is a work of genius. From the best that has been done in the progressive scene, referring to a completely instrumental work.

  Filled with emotion, insightfully reflected by Guitars, Violins, Hammond, Moog, Keys. Excellence, maturity, fairness. Production transparent. Smart Bass Guitar with jazzy touches and protagonist. Strong and delicate Drums, with personality.

The band is here on a clear creative peak. Without exuberance, without having to prove anything. It transcends any age, style and nationality.

Obviously, it is far from experimentation and innovation of the 70's, but with a beautiful and dynamic symphonic spirit, PFM trademark.

Report this review (#1064317)
Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ambiguous reviews, extraordinary album!

I myself, thought that after the "Chocolate Kings" & "Jetlag" decadent albums, Prermiata was more than dead. Their posterior works prove me right, until I read the last PA review on this 2006, "Stati Di Immaginazione" effort. I usually do not give 5 stars, unless, the work itself, breaks ground in the whole "planet" of Prog, not only in that artist or group's discography. But I do rate those works which are close of doing so, with my fractionized "stars".

Anyway, if you thought that PFM was "more than dead", this work, I can bet, will prove you wrong. They again, after a zillion years, remembered that nothing compares to excellent songwriting, and that its absence, no matter how well you hide it, if it is not there, nothing will move you away from mediocrity.

The best I have heard in a long time, it is Symphonic, it Rocks, it "Jazzes" ( a very nice tribute to Django Reinhardt's spirit, along the way), and it flows with "imagination", clean thought, non-stop inspiration in both composition and masterful unpretentious performances. Add up to that, this one is flawless, as far as the song by song repertoire goes, something that rarely happened, even in PFM's past long gone, glorious and youthful days.

That is what I call EXPERIENCE, nothing makes you stronger than failures, and this guys are here again for good.

Easy 4.5 PA stars! Flawless, non stop inspiration!

Report this review (#1117768)
Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Even a casual Prog connoisseur (if such an animal actually exists) should know how often PFM has changed its musical wardrobe over the band's ongoing career, from Symphonic Rock finery to Jazz Fusion trappings, and from World Music flirtations to local Italian Pop, and beyond. But this year 2006 album doesn't quite fit anywhere along the same colorful graph, and that fact alone is reason enough to recommend it.

The "eight musical stories" collected here are entirely (and atypically) instrumental. And the focus on music alone makes the album a richer experience than usual for PFM. The band, for once, was thinking visually instead of lyrically, performing in a style unrelated to this, that, or any other influence. It's all just music, purely and simply illustrating eight separate "states of free imagination", quoting the album's sub-title: a reflection of what ought to be the bedrock for all Progressive Rock.

The surviving trio of Di Cioccio, Djivas and Mussida gave themselves ample room to display their chops during these sessions, in the polite but still vital manner of veteran rockers aging more gracefully than expected. And the guest players (old friend Lucio Fabbri on violin, and youngster Gianluca Tagliavini, aping the jazzier mini-moog runs of the truant Flavio Premoli) helped fill out the sound in classic manner, echoing some of the band's better work from the 1970's. The lively middle section of the album closer "Visioni di Archimede", in particular, is an effective blast from the Marconi Bakery past.

But the music lacks the youthful passion of the band's earliest efforts, hardly surprising after nearly half a century in the business. Even at its heaviest, in tracks like "Cyber Alpha", the playing is unfailingly polite, never venturing too far onto any precarious aesthetic limbs. To its credit there isn't a hint of anachronism anywhere on the album, but after repeated exposure little of it sticks to memory the way their quintessential '70s stuff still does.

Of course it isn't really fair to measure the album against the yardsticks of "Per un Amico" or "L'Isola di Niente". On the other hand, comparisons to some of the band's more lackluster later efforts might have inflated the prevailing opinion of this one. But even allowing for diminished expectations it remains the strongest PFM studio album in years.

Report this review (#1288932)
Posted Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been listening to this a lot lately whilst travelling around and initially only really took to Il Mondo In Testa which is an excellent song fitting in well with early 70's PFM. I have found that repeated plays reveal that the whole album is indeed littered with the classic PFM sound and can be considered one of the best prog albums around.

The opener La Terra Dell'acqua is probably what you would expect PFM to sound like, an 00s update on the early style and a band who can start with an 8 minute song that goes through their whole range of styles, never gets dull and showcases a mastering of their genre but there are many highlights on the album, the aforementioned Il Mondo In Testa which I would consider to be one of the band's catchier tunes, La Conquista which starts with groove going through a lovely guitar solo towards 'Celebration' style keyboards. Il Sogno Di Leonardo starts very quietly, something PFM do very well and drops into one of those melting keyboard moments reminiscent of a slightly more uptempo Appena Un Po. Agua Azul takes time to get going but builds into another fantastic keyboard melody. The gentler side of PFM is what sets them apart from most other prog bands and Nederland 1903 peaks beautifully right in the middle of the song. Have I missed a couple? well Cyber Alpha and Visioni Di Archimede bring quite frenzied passages to the album which gives it something for every mood.

The band had a tough time in the 80's and it would be all too easy to sit on early success so I applaud the fact they kept going long enough and releasing new material until the winning formula returned on Stati Di Immaginazione. The more I listen to this album, the more I want to listen to it. If you are a fan of their earlier work then give it a good few formal listens.

Report this review (#1491277)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2015 | Review Permalink

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