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Panna Fredda

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Panna Fredda Uno album cover
3.62 | 98 ratings | 14 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. La Paura · Fear (6:00)
2. Un Re Senza Reame · A King Without A Throne (5:05)
3. Un Uomo · A Man (4:55)
4. Scacco Al Re Lot · Checkmate For King Lot (4:30)
5. Il Vento La Luna E Pulcini Blu (Sole Rosso) The Wind And The Moon And Little Blue Chicks (10:25)
6. Waiting (3:10)

Total time 34:05

Bonus tracks on 2000 & 2005 reissues:
7. Delirio - Frenzy (Single) (2:50)
8. Strisce Rosse - Red Stripes (Single) (3:04)

Extra bonus tracks on 2007 remaster:
9. Risveglio (3:04) *
10. Un Attimo Fa (3:15)*
11. Chiama Una Rondine (2:21) *
12. Estate 70 (3:17) *

* Previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Angelo Giardinelli / guitar, vocals
- Giorgio Brandi / keyboards, guitar, vocals (7)
- Carlo Bruno / bass
- Filippo Carnevale / drums, guitar

- Enzo Denna / synthesizer, effects

Releases information

Artwork: Domizia Gandolfi

LP Vedette Records ‎- VPA 8134 (1971, Italy)
LP Mayfair Music ‎- VM 001 LP (2005, Europe) With 2 bonus tracks

CD Vinyl Magic ‎- VM001CD (1989, Italy)
CD VM 2000 ‎- VM CD 001 (2000, Italy) With 2 bonus tracks
CD ‎- VMCD118 (2007, Italy) Remastered with 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PANNA FREDDA Uno ratings distribution

(98 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PANNA FREDDA Uno reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This is an Italian one-shot band that made only one album entitled "Uno". You don't need an Italian dictionary to understand that this means 'one' but to my surprise Panna Fredda showcases two faces on their album! The first and final part features swelling and moving organ play and raw guitar work, to me it sounds a bit like early Eloy (if you disagree, OK but don't disqualify me by using words like ' absurd', respect that music is subjective). It all sounds very sumptuous, mainly due to the heavy Hammond organ chords. But halfway this album Panna Fredda changes their sound to very mellow featuring acoustic guitar, sensitive vocals and medieval-like keyboards, wonderful. An unique album!
Review by Heptade
3 stars This album from the classic era of Italian prog reflects a mixed bag of influences while still retaining the characteristic Italian vibe: lots of keyboards (mostly organ) and gruff, dramatic vocals. I can hear traces of Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge and even a bit of Hawkwind-style electronics on the opening track. Of course, the ELP-ish classical stylings that many Italian bands incorporated are also present, as well as some good acoustic folk-ish parts. Like many Ital-prog albums, this is far from a classic, but there's nothing evidently wrong with it either. A pleasant listen though and, of course, an essential for Italian prog aficionados.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the pioneers of Italian Prog

"Uno" is not the most beloved Italian prog album of all time but it is certainly one of the most important. Recorded in 1970, Panna Fredda's lone work is one of the earliest pioneers of the ISP genre, one of the trailblazers of the distinct style of festive experimentation that would characterize so many great Italian bands. It's really an overlooked title in the Italian progressive rock universe. Heavy and dark with a distinct baroque twist and an emphasis on exploration, "Uno" was right there with other first wave titles from Orme, The Trip, and Osanna. The origins of Panna Fredda (translates to Cold Cream) date back to 1966 Rome and the Italian beat when members were playing in a group called I Figli Del Sole. These nightclub gigs evolved into a 6-piece funk/R and B/brass outfit called Vun Vun. Reluctant leader and composer/guitarist/vocalist Angelo Giardinelli professed some boredom with the Italian scene of the time and wanted to move things to a rock quartet, but some touchy band politics and the mood of the local music scene stood in his way. He had to proceed covertly to form Panna Fredda behind the backs of the horn guys to realize his vision without hurting the feelings of friends. Not everyone in the group was convinced, thinking Angelo crazy for wanting to chase sounds that the public was not ready for. But there was no turning back: after hearing some albums a friend gave him from the likes of Vanilla Fudge, Hendrix, The Moodies, and Floyd, Giardinelli could not go back to playing it safe. The band made contact with a small label called Vedette who were looking for another hit machine to replace I Pooh, who were not delivering to the label's satisfaction. After landing an audition, Giardinelli relays an incredible story about how chance and an overheard conversation changed a "no thanks boys" to a record contract:

"Roby set us up an appointment with the Maestro Armando Sciascia from Vedette Records for a live demonstration, but after listening to it, he turned us down, claiming that it wasn't commercial enough. After he left we sat in his studio in silence, fuming. Our rage finally got the better of us, we couldn't hold it any longer and proceeded to vent, bitching about the incompetence and bureaucracy of the record labels, accusing him of being old fashioned and full of himself. Unbeknown to us, the studio we were in was linked to an inter-office monitoring system, apparently he had been listening in on our whole conversation. Suddenly we heard his voice on the loud speakers, One of you come up to my office, I need to speak to you!, all eyes were on me. As Giorgio mentioned in an earlier interview, we didn't really have a band leader, but whenever there was a problem or decision to be made they looked to me to do the dirty work. So I went. Here I was, a young hippie freak kid ready to give the music industry a piece of my mind, going up against not only a famous classical musician but a rich and well-dressed, respected gentlemen. His office was like something out of a movie, and foregoing formal pleasantries, he asked me to sit. Before I could open my mouth he had said: We're going to put out a single and see what happens. The Pooh (a famous Italian band signed to Vedette Records) aren't selling anymore and we need a new band. Then, he stood up, shook my hand and added My secretary will have you sign a form and you will receive a preliminary contract within the next week. The conversation was over. I got up leave and he stopped me, What's your name? he asked, Angelo I answered. Your band name is Angelo?. I realised we hadn't even begun to think of a band name. We'll change it I blurted out, Send me a list of names as soon as possible he told me, we may able to help out as well, I think you'll find we're not that old-fashioned after all." [as told to]

After this stroke of destiny Panna Fredda was ready to roll. The first single was written by popular Italian musicians of the day but found success which led to the first band-penned singles early in the summer of 1970. More line-up changes would ensue caused by military service and marriage but the band was stoked for the moment and began to record their full length album. The new Panna Fredda was determined to lay down the brash and inventive new material coming from Giardinelli despite the label's plea for commercial singles. The evening before their first session they stayed up all night nervously going over all the details of what they hoped to accomplish. The results would be an artistic success to the band, their fans, and the music press in Italy. But to their horror I would imagine, the label balked at releasing the album. Though ready to go in 1970, Vedette shelved their album and the band hit the road playing to enthusiastic crowds. The label finally succumbed to public pressure and put out the record in 1971 as the band continued playing some of the Italian festivals of the day. But the usual suspects had doomed the band. There was no promotion for the album, no second album offered, and eventually the band split up.

Musically "Uno" is a dark and mysterious treat bringing to my mind elements of Sabbath, Purple, Atomic Rooster, J.E.T., Hero, and Uriah Heep. Others have noted the nod to a track called "Heaven" from the first Gracious album and also Black Widow. The influence of English hard rock and blues-rock are impossible to deny, yet Panna Fredda were beginning the Italian progressive movement by taking those influences and running with them. Classical elements pervade the album along with some jazzy tidbits here and there. A certain Baroque sounds creeps along the edges at times whimsical and at other times quite disturbing, bordering on madness. The lyrics are equally dark and quite good, delving into "ancient folklore and classic literature traditions as well as popular culture" so noted in the CD booklet. "Uno" begins in a provocative manner with an oscillator sound going straight through your forehead before the ominous and heavy mix of electric guitar riffs are joined by rising and falling synth loops. Soon the riffs are joined by the glorious Hammond and thus begins the interplay between guitars, effects, and organ that will permeate much of the album. In "Fear" the drumming is deliberate which leads to another interesting point. Multiple drummers are featured due to personnel changes as well as Giardinelli taking a crack at the kit, allowing for some different qualities in the drum feel. Sometimes they are super-tight in these maniacal march-like beats and other times they are fairly sloppy. The vocals are of a high quality for the most part with some of that gregarious, gruff feeling that Italian fans appreciate. Brooding choired backing vocals are used in places to bring the dark subject matters the proper mood. Chunky and heavy power chords alternate with acoustic guitars in "Checkmate for King Lot" as the album gets more interesting. From this point on the musical themes can be downright schizophrenic at times, ranging from the light and whimsical to the sad, to the verge of insanity. It is the 10 minute "With the Wind and the Moon and Little Blue Chicks" where the climax is reached. Harpsichord of all things comes to the forefront presented with what I believe is distorted organs. This is some really interesting stuff here. It drops all pretenses for melodic rock and goes straight to avant-psych experimentation spiraling into a swamp of trippy effects that will disturb some listeners and thrill freak-out fans. We are somewhere between Marsupilami and pre-Atom Heart Mother Floyd in pursuing the daring. The first half of the last song "Waiting" continues the audio hallucinations before jumping back into some punchy organ rocking as if to bring you back from the previous track's place before ending. The real heart of the album is tracks 3-5 which just blow me away, while the first two tracks and the last one are just average quality.

The album is a typically short 33 minutes but the superb Vinyl Magic re-issue CD give you an impressive 6 bonus tracks to bring the total CD length to 51 minutes. While they lack the experimental boldness of the main album they are good quality sweet Italian pop of the day and quite melodic and enjoyable. The VM reissue is a sweet gatefold mini-lp sleeve with both Italian and translated English lyrics, along with decent period sound and an informative Bio booklet. I love the album cover. A simple slice of life, of the ordinary, eschewed by the strangeness of the pink color to kick it off just a bit, to put just a bit of unease into you. Also note the laundry angle that Dik Dik would touch on in the Donna album cover.a possible nod? "Uno" is not a perfect album. It is short and contains some mistakes and even off-tune playing in spots that was not corrected. But the daring nature and the fact that historically this was recorded two years before the classic period began makes Panna Fredda an essential listen for Italian fanatics. It is not essential to other 70s prog fans unless you tend to favor the rougher, slightly dated organ rock sound over the polished and perfect sounds that PFM or Genesis would soon present. Composition and execution of 3 stars for me on the surface, but being first historically matters to me and they get an extra bump for being on the first wave of the Italian classic period. 7/10

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 01. La Paura Atari! This is what we have here, Atari! Look at that in 1971, it was a fantastic thing, do not laugh! A beautiful riff well with a great voice. The flaw in music are everywhere. A beautiful line of low Carla Bruni. Soils of very interesting body. In fimais riffs and a slight acerelada purposeful.

02. Un Re Senza Reame The beginning is almost a groove if he was not so disappointing. Should last as hard. Following the keyboard who is boss. When the voice on the scene who does enter the basis of all is the guitar leaving all the beautiful melody and full of melody. Almost a church is made below with organ and choir. After the drum 'n' bass is started with Carlo doing a line of low and very interesting Filippo Carnevale imposing the battery is so strong and good technique.

03. Un Uomo Riff and all those touched by a choir scary, a dark atmosphere in the beginning soon replaced by a melody at the same time giving and sunny. The groove is a low-bed for the sole keyboard, accompanied by a guitar repeat, at least until they get the odd, however well executed ground. The coral dark gives the guys again, a nice arrangement. After the keyboard takes fire.

04. Scacco Al Re Lot A beautiful melodic guitar now opens the song very well. Full of virtuous instrumental passages. The voice as always very well executed, it is amazing how the Italian vocalists were very good, 90% of cases the voice are wonderful. After a phase marchinhas and cheerful type, we have the medieval part, with almost all acoustic instruments and harpsichord, but lacked a flute, the band had a suit of blows, but before recording the album. End energy with the return of the theme.

05. Il Vento, La Luna E Pulcini Blu (Sole Rosso) Controlled by the guitar, that is who makes the main melody of the top track also has a very interesting harpsichord in the background. Many different tones, including the effects of low cehio serious and strange, but interesting. A 'Flute' until it appears that here, but if the keyboard is imitating it, almost there (laughs). Full of guitars, including solando, the longest track of the album is watered psicodelia, full of purpose and a harpsichord that is repeated for a long time. The vocals are sung in an emotional, as if the heart sing and not just the throat. The best do this, look for example at Locanda Delle Fate. The end of the song is marked by harpsichord melody that is completely indifferent to the rest of the band and is' relegated 'to the left channel while the guitar is to the right. Nice line from below.

06. Waiting Starts apocalyptic. The keyboard makes the difference and it is incredible, we have a school of Keith Emerson and his million tones in Moog. Lasts little more than 1 minute, because the band will enter a melody full of immensely interesting. One of the highlights for sure! A guitar sound completely fills the space. While bass and drums are a couple perfect for the base. A crazy end to the disc.

Many bands to listen to Italian people, and I have a lot of them around here so quiet that you will stop listening to them too.

Review by andrea
4 stars Panna Fredda was an Italian prog band from Rome, one of the many one-shot bands of the early seventies Italian prog scene. The line up on their first (and last) album featured Carlo Bruno (bass), Giorgio Brandi (keyboards, guitars), Filippo Carnevale (drums, guitar) and Angelo Giardinelli (vocals, guitar, drums - composer and lyricist). They started playing melodic "beat songs", but after the release of some singles they changed musical direction and managed to shape a very interesting mix of Italian melody, prog rock and classical influences. Despite the good quality of this work, their label, Vedette, didn't give them credit, so Panna Fredda disbanded even before the release of the album... After the experience with Panna Fredda keyboardist Giorgio Brandi turned back to a more commercial style and joined a successful melodic pop band called I Cugini di Campagna (the antithesis of prog indeed!) while the other members were not so lucky and gave up. What a pity!

The dark opener "La paura" (Fear) could slightly recall of Uriah Heep. It develops from a haunting marching beat and features a good organ solo. Lyrics describe the fear provoked by the cold shadows of the dead gathering around you and give you a warning: when you'll understand that fear, death will be inside you. Almost an omen...

The second track "Un re senza reame" (A King Without A Throne) is about the absurdity of power and war... "Soundless bells asking for mercy / Smell of candles and dead flowers by now / The night will bring visions of terror / To a king without a kingdom / To a king who will cry". The music features an acoustic interlude and more frenzy parts. It could remind of some works of Le Orme...

Next comes "Un uomo" (A Man) that starts like the soundtrack of a "Spaghetti western" and sounds like a kind of "Ennio Morricone meets Le Orme and PFM". It's about a duel between love and hate and lyrics tell the story of a man who killed for love but was condemned by the people who didn't understand him.

"Scacco al re Lot" (Checkmate For King Lot) is my favourite track on the album. It's a kind of mini suite featuring a dark first part where lyrics describe the Death never tired of hunting new preys riding a black stallion, the Grim Reaper playing checks with his enemy Life... More melodic and acoustic passages follow, where people cry for the death of their good king Lot and hope for another good king like Lot (you can recognize here even a short hint of the Italian national anthem)... Hope leads to a solemn finale: "The great wizard is hidden / Beyond the world, above time".

The long and complex "Il vento, la luna e pulcini blu (sole rosso)" features an interesting harpsichord work and baroque passages that alternates with psychedelic atmospheres but in my opinion is not at the same level of the previous track. Lyrics describe a wonderful wood, children playing with the wind, the moon and little blue chicks, a white church, a red sun upon the altar... Unreal visions that seem to melt against reality: "Now I'm listening to the sounds that my mind refuses / My blood will burn what is left of me"...

The last track "Waiting" is a good short instrumental with guitar and keyboards in the forefront. On the Vinyl Magic CD re-release you can find as bonus tracks two early songs of the band, "Delirio" (Frenzy) and "Strisce rosse" (Red Stripes). Although they're quite weak, comparing them with the other tracks you can see the evolution of Panna Fredda's style...

On the whole, I think that this album is an excellent addition to every Italian prog collection!

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After first listening of "Uno", the only album of Italian early proggers Panna Fredda, I was really impressed. Yes, generally it was same early 70-s RPI we all know well, but , differently from many leaders of that wave, I found real drive, heavy keyboards and guitar rock music! No usual sweet semi classical orchestrinos and banquettes, real progressive-rock! Not very usual sound for Italy of early 70-th!

Yes , beautiful melodies, technical arrangements and acoustic guitar solos are there all as well. But, as it should be in real rock music, all they are used as elements, constructing the music on ROCK basis, nor vice versa.

To be honest, I am often disappointed with many of albums from Italian prog of that time. OK, it's Italy's tradition, that parents send their children in musical schools instead of playing on the streets till night. So, generally we always have perfectly musically educated musicians from there. Their music is always very professional, but has very strong classical influence.

It is good for playing rock, because generally it's never enough technical musicians in rock music, where music often is coming from heart, not from training or education.

But in case of Italy, we have another problem - classical training is so influential, that many of their rock bands in fact play classical music in rock arrangements, not rock.

So, there this problem doesn't exist. Believe me, if you are searching for Italian prog-ROCK, not for classical music , played in rock style, just take this rare album. You will believe, that Italians can play rock!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I saw this recording on some Italian prog site where it was listed in the top 20 of all time so I decided to check it out. I kept reading how this is one of the earliest RPI albums, and I must admit when I see the word "Proto" anything i'm a little wary of getting it because i've been let down so many times before with such bands. Well lets just say that I can appreciate now why this is so highly respected. I just love the way this band sounds especially the heavier sections.

"La Paura" opens with these high pitched frequencies followed by wind-like sounds. It kicks in before a minute with vocals as the wind continues. Nice. A great heavy sound with organ is the result.The tempo picks up after 2 minutes. Killer track. "Un Re Senza Reame" opens with drums and organ with the vocals to follow. Some vocal melodies a minute later. Vocal melodies and a dark sound come in quickly on "Un Uomo", then it settles with vocals. I like the drum / organ section 2 1/2 minutes in and the guitar that follows. Vocals are back before 4 minutes.

"Scacco Al Re lot" is complex with lots of tempo changes. Great tune. "Il Vento, La Luna E Pulcini Blu" is the longest track at 10 minutes. Lots of harpsichord in this one. Check out the bass before 2 1/2 minutes. This song is an understated beauty. And the guitar 8 minutes in has the same tone as what we hear on OPETH's "Damnation" record. That was the first thing I thought of after hearing this section for the first time. "Waiting" opens in a similar way as the first track with those high pitched sounds shooting around. Banging sounds on this one too. It kicks in after a minute as we get a nice heavy sound with some fantastic guitar.

Easily 4 stars and an album that will get lots of play from yours truly.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Panna Fredda are yet another Italian prog band who only managed to release one album, in fact due to delays I believe they'd even split up before the album saw the light of day in 1971.

Uno (a title even I have no trouble pronouncing!) is not one of the better known RPI albums, not even one of my favourites but it's certainly an important early example of the Italian prog genre. Not overly complex for the most part, it nevertheless has some strong musical interplay, usually between the guitar and keyboards. It has a strong Hammond presence and to my ears and not surprisingly arriving at the start of the decade, still has a foot in the sixties. When talking of reference points to their sound no individual bands spring to mind yet it all sounds familiar, no doubt because they'd almost certainly been paying attention to what was going on in the USA and UK in that proto prog late sixties era where bands were really starting to stretch out. Add this to some classical influences, baroque flavoured harpsichord and a few experimental flourishes.

The band play well and vocalist Angelo Giardinelli is a fine singer as well as a competent guitar player who gets plenty of opportunities to shine along with keyboard player Giorgio Brandi in the frequent instrumental sections, as good an example as any being on opener La Paura where halfway through this six minute piece it shifts through a number of Hammond/guitar fuelled parts to close. The rhythm section of Filippo Carnevale (drums) and Carlo Bruni (bass) are tight and hold it all together well. Il Vento, La Luna E Pulcini Blu is the longest track at almost ten minutes. Harpsichord plays a prominent role, with acoustic guitar including a short flamenco styled part and some experimental touches on the lengthy instrumental workout and is the most complex of the six tracks.

Not an essential RPI album in my opinion but still very good and well worth checking out. Go for the BTF papersleeve edition which is full of bonus tracks which are less progressive than the main album and show the more commercial side of the band. A real shame we only have one album as Panna Fredda had the potential to be one of the greats of the Italian prog scene. 3 ½ stars.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Panna Fredda is one of the one shot bands from early '70 from italian school who never made it on this scene. Quite obscure and little known thay release in 1971 Uno. The music offered is quite ok, but nothing special about it, some combination between psychedelic moments with progressive rock elements thrown in. The guitars and keyboards are present on every piece, showing good musicianship but somehow fail really to please me as a whole. The voice is pretty much typical for that period, Angelo Giardinelli has a pleasent voice that goes ok in this context. The first half of the album is the best from here , the rest are only ok, nothing bad nothing impressive either. Panna Fredda remains unknown even the album was released on CD by vinyl magic some years ago. 3 stars
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is an album of good rock music but nothing very special or too innovative here--and I even find myself wondering if it is even prog--though it is bombastic and pretentious. But, then, so were The Doors. I do wonder, however, what might have happened had the band members stuck together and done some more albums. The production engineering are surprisingly clear and the mixing done very well.

1. "La Paura" (6:02) a kind of cool, melodic, though simple blues rock song in the DOORS or DEEP PURPLE vein. I guess it's the panned "wind" synth and organ play that make this one proggy. The weave of multiple soloists in the final two minutes, too. (9/10)

2. "Un Re Senza Reame" (5:06) such clear engineering is a delight to hear--even with the lead vocals. I don' t know why it's so difficult to record and mix choral or background vocals, though. Melodic and in your face, this one could prove memorable. (8.5/10)

3. "Un Uomo" (4:56) opens with some aggressive, fairly fast whole-band chord play before dropping back into a very simple foundation for the vocals to begin. The alternating quiet vocal-heavy instrumental sections used here seems fairly common in Italian prog. At 2:16 a sole bass bridges to a new kind of jazzy jam section. Bass and organ seem both on the verge of soloing though it is really the drummer who is doing the interesting stuff. Then we get a lead guitarist to step forward in a kind of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD solo section. The spirit of URIAH HEEP seems also strongly present. (8.5/10)

4. "Scacco Al Re Lot" (4:32) opens with some quick-to-engage melodic hooks from guitar and organ. It is interesting how essential to each melody structure the bass play is. It is highly unusual to here such prominence given to the bass throughout an album as it is here. The vocal section in the second half of the second minute is quite nice. This is then followed by a bridge into a "mediĉval" section with guitar and harpsichord providing old background to the emotional vocal. Again, URIAH HEEP comes strongly to mind here. The final minute shifts back into heavier rock mode before playing an electrical variation on the classical theme using in the mediĉval section. (9/10)

5. "Il Vento, La Luna E Pulcini Blu" (9:58) opens with a kind of rock founded ancient theme (as in the previous song) with spinet and acoustic guitar. These remain to accompany the vocal section but is then followed by an instrumental section in which some experimenting with bass and electric guitar sounds in the third minute is accompanied by spinet arppegi and cymbal play from the drums. This section then repeats three times as it is alternated with variations on the theme from the opening. The plaintive vocal only recurs twice in the entire song for perhaps a total of one minute's time, making this virtually and instrumental composition. An entertaining and nice sounding song--though it could have been developed with more variation and an additional theme or two in the ten-minute mix. (7.5/10)

6. "Waiting" (3:08) opens with recorded noise either from a factory or a train station which is then joined and commuted into distorted portamento space sounds before being replaced by fast-paced blues rock music of two main alternating themes, the first ejaculatory and bridge-like, the second more organ-based blues cruising. The alternating occurs four cycles before ending in a kind of crescendo of cacophonous sound coming from all of the instruments at one time. Interesting but... (7.5/10)

A solid four star album; a nice addition to any prog lover's music collection and especially recommended for RPI fans.

Review by zeuhl1
4 stars When you think of Italian rock, it's difficult to think of any albums that are good old freak you out acid albums, you know someone like Hawkwind or Amon Duul II who can lure you in and then quietly but effectively freak you out. I think Panna Fredda's only album could be a contender for the title.

First, this album is very together, not a loose jam affair, but it is in the manner songs are constructed that create the effect. Things begin with rough synth swoops (audio generator style) with wooshes of wind. Drums skitter in the best Michael Giles snare style. Bass guitars simulate La Brea tar pits burping through primitive reverb and wah. Harpsichords do nearly side long uninterrupted scales as a staccato accompaniment to the organized madness while tubular bells occasionally sound a note here and there.

Panna Fredda are one of the first recorded, if not first, genuine prog band in Italy. Their one and only album Uno is a surprisingly solidly performed and very well recorded release for late 1970. There are really no weak points here. All songs are translated on the inner gatefold into English, and the titles on the back cover also are translated into English, leaving one to wonder if the label had international plans for the band. (which makes one ask why this album was delayed for so long before it hit the streets? The band actually broke up waiting for it to eventually come out the next year in 1971)

Opener La Paura (Fear) has the aforementioned synth swoops and wooshes and is appropriately creepy with hints of their 1960's origin. Reminded me a bit of all the good parts of Uriah Heep less the histrionics. From there to the end though? Fully amazing and original Italian rock and roll. Second song Un Re Senza Reame begins to show drummer Filippo Carnevale in his unique snare abilities to play heart skipping beats that propel songs into another realm. Un Uomo finishes up side one in a style that begins to show hints of an Italian flavored version of Eloy. Like Eloy, they are good musicians but not virtuosos, yet can weave tapestries of sound that are simple but effective. They stop on a dime in the middle of a furious run in abrupt and deft touch of playing to finish side one.

Side two continues further down the path with Scacco Al Re Lot (Checkmate for King Lot), a favorite for many. It bleeds into the next song Il Vento La Luna E Pulcini Blu - Sole Rosso (The Wind And The Moon And Little Blue Chicks) where things start to get weird. A ten and a half minute centerpiece of acid madness. "I'm listening to the sounds that the mind refuses, my blood will burn what is left of me" Check out the photo of Angelo Giardinelli lysergically staring at you from the inner sleeve with the words "The evening before we were as nervous as though we were about to undertake some fantastic trip and we spent the entire night going over all the details. It was a trip for sure, a trip in search of us, of something we had inside.". This song is one of their best for its ability to really take you on a journey. Instrumental closer Waiting is the closest they get to Eloy, a final bit of prog/proto kraut madness.

The green vinyl gatefold reissue has two bonus tracks that predate the album, Delirio and Strisce Rosse. Both are influenced by late 60's pop and only hint at the brilliance looming on the horizon.

Great vocals, great playing, fantastic drumming. One of the more unique sounding and best recorded examples of early Italian prog.

Early 69-70 UK prog and Eloy with an Italian touch.

4.25 stars. Could easily be five for being the pioneers of a sound.

Latest members reviews

3 stars An early progressive Italian work, Panna Fredda's sole release is something of a product of the time - a great rock band that wears its late 60's influences with pride, and is unafraid to take a few chances. At times heavy on the psychedelia, at other times just plain heavy, it has an occasional pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#292990) | Posted by Pirx the Pilot | Sunday, August 1, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album was released in 1971 and anticipated the great wave of italian prog, which actually started in 1972, with the important exceptions of New Trolls' Concerto Grosso and The Trip's Caronte (both 1971). It is a surprisingly mature work, with real good singing and a lot of keys. The peak moment ... (read more)

Report this review (#18389) | Posted by | Wednesday, April 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another one of those magnificent typical Italian progressive with excellent heavy organ,superb guitar,thundering drums.Brilliant compositions,rhythm changes all over.The music has that typical Italian feeling but has in some moments a certain Canterbury influence (Some parts reminds me a little bit ... (read more)

Report this review (#18388) | Posted by | Monday, February 9, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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