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PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM)

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) picture
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) biography
Formed in Milan, Italy, in 1970 - Still active (after many changes and a hiatus between 1987 and 1997) as of 2017

The pioneer of Italian Progressive groups, PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM for short) is one of the leaders of the 70s prog movement. PFM developed a style which is uniquely Italian while maintaining links with the rest of the prog world. A lyrical, romantic and delicate music, full of fineness. A great melodic and instrumental richness, somptuous compositions and arrangements. Sometimes compared with the early KING CRIMSON, the group had its own musical personality, with its elegant music.

"Per Un Amico" ("Photos of Ghosts") and "L'Isola Di Niente" as well as their first, "Storia Di Un Minuto" are all virtual classics of progressive music, obviously influenced by early KING CRIMSON and GENESIS yet sounding nothing like them. The instrumentation is superb with fluid guitar, highly original synthesizer sounds, beautiful violin and flute, and ethereal vocals that are so important to the music, that replacing them with English vocals becomes a detriment. "The World Became The World" is another English-language album, but this time with the same music, so it's not as bad as "Photos Of Ghosts".

"Marconi Bakery" is a compilation of music from the first three Italian albums. "Jet Lag", from 1977, had much of the original PFM spirit with a jazz inclination, akin to groups such as ARTI + MESTIERI, though somewhat more low-key. "Suonare Suonare" came out in 1980, and saw PFM turning back toward their original sound, from the style of "Passpartu". On "PFM - Live In Japan 2002 (Tokyo)" the band plays classic tunes from the Seventies. A must for all prog fans...!

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PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Music


Per Un AmicoPer Un Amico
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
$6.32
$11.45 (used)
Storia Di Un MinutoStoria Di Un Minuto
Sony/Bmg Italy 2005
$6.83
$16.05 (used)
L'isola Di NienteL'isola Di Niente
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
$19.89
$13.97 (used)
Pfm/Fabrizio de Andre : Vol. 1-In ConcertoPfm/Fabrizio de Andre : Vol. 1-In Concerto
Imports 2002
$18.98
$18.50 (used)
CookCook
Limited Edition · Remastered
Jvc Japan 2004
$22.99
$18.53 (used)
Chocolate KingsChocolate Kings
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
$6.84
$4.66 (used)
Stati Di Immaginazione-ReissueStati Di Immaginazione-Reissue
Columbia 2014
$7.49
$13.25 (used)
Manticore Studio Albums 1973-1977Manticore Studio Albums 1973-1977
Manticore Uk 2018
$26.31
$31.80 (used)
Photos of GhostsPhotos of Ghosts
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
$19.24
$12.00 (used)

More places to buy PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) music online Buy PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.55 | 50 ratings
Quelli (pre-PFM)
1969
4.33 | 1319 ratings
Storia Di Un Minuto
1972
4.40 | 1659 ratings
Per Un Amico
1972
4.05 | 522 ratings
Photos Of Ghosts
1973
4.23 | 842 ratings
L'Isola Di Niente
1974
4.02 | 369 ratings
The World Became The World
1974
3.94 | 457 ratings
Chocolate Kings
1975
3.18 | 301 ratings
Jet Lag
1977
3.08 | 176 ratings
Passpartù
1978
2.64 | 133 ratings
Suonare Suonare
1980
2.05 | 108 ratings
Come Ti Va In Riva Alla Città
1981
1.98 | 78 ratings
PFM? PFM!
1984
1.94 | 88 ratings
Miss Baker
1987
2.67 | 95 ratings
Ulisse
1997
3.01 | 103 ratings
Serendipity
2000
3.52 | 162 ratings
Dracula Opera Rock
2005
4.09 | 410 ratings
Stati Di Immaginazione
2006
3.48 | 117 ratings
A.D. 2010 - La Buona Novella
2010
3.88 | 159 ratings
PFM In Classic - Da Mozart A Celebration
2013
2.85 | 74 ratings
Emotional Tattoos
2017

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.15 | 186 ratings
Cook (aka Live in the USA)
1974
2.48 | 33 ratings
Performance
1982
3.27 | 24 ratings
PFM - 10 anni live 1971-81
1996
3.18 | 11 ratings
PFM - Absolutely Live 1971-1978
1996
2.86 | 3 ratings
PFM - The Best Of Absolutely Live 1971-1978
1996
3.13 | 27 ratings
www.pfmpfm.it (il Best)
1998
3.38 | 15 ratings
A Celebration Live
1998
3.78 | 14 ratings
PFM - Live In Japan
2002
3.87 | 83 ratings
Live In Japan 2002
2002
3.99 | 56 ratings
PFM & Pagani - Piazza Del Campo
2005
2.19 | 18 ratings
PFM canta De André (CD + DVD)
2008
4.28 | 48 ratings
Live in Roma (With Ian Anderson)
2012
4.29 | 14 ratings
Paper Charms: The Complete BBC Recordings 1974-1976
2014
4.16 | 28 ratings
Un' Isola
2014
4.05 | 20 ratings
Un amico
2014
4.08 | 21 ratings
A Ghost
2015
4.06 | 18 ratings
Un Minuto
2015
4.09 | 23 ratings
The World
2015
4.88 | 8 ratings
Il suono del tempo
2015
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live Collection - 25 novembre 1980
2015
3.50 | 2 ratings
Celebration - Live in Nottingham 1976
2019

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.42 | 86 ratings
Live In Japan 2002
2002

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.04 | 4 ratings
PFM - The Award-Winnig Marcony Bakery
1976
3.19 | 8 ratings
Prime Impressioni
1976
5.00 | 1 ratings
Celebration
1976
3.33 | 3 ratings
PFM - Antologia
1977
3.00 | 2 ratings
L'album di... PFM
1988
2.00 | 2 ratings
PFM - I Grandi Del Rock
1993
1.65 | 9 ratings
P.F.M. Story
1995
2.50 | 4 ratings
I Miti Musica
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Pieces From Manticore
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
Golden Collection
2001
3.80 | 9 ratings
Gli Anni Settanta
2002
3.69 | 4 ratings
I QUELLI (pre PFM): Flashback: I Grandi Successi Originali
2003
3.09 | 2 ratings
Cuore Rock
2006
4.36 | 14 ratings
35.... E Un Minuto
2007
4.01 | 20 ratings
River Of Life: The Manticore Years Anthology 1973-1977
2010
3.00 | 3 ratings
Amico Faber
2011
3.50 | 12 ratings
Celebration 1972-2012
2012

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 2 ratings
I Krel - Fin che le braccia diventino ali
1970
4.00 | 3 ratings
La Carrozza Di Hans
1971
3.50 | 2 ratings
Celebration
1973
3.50 | 2 ratings
The World Became The World
1974
3.50 | 2 ratings
Four Holes In The Ground
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
Dolcissima Maria
1974
3.50 | 2 ratings
Chocolate Kings
1975
3.00 | 2 ratings
Come Ti Va
1981

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Storia Di Un Minuto by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.33 | 1319 ratings

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Storia Di Un Minuto
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

2 stars PFM is one the most loved Italian progressive rock bands from the seventies. Most RPI is heavily inspired by King Crimson, ELP and Genesis and then personalized with influences from classical music and the keen Italian eye for beauty. This is the fourth studio album by PFM that I managed to find on a vinyl, after The World Became the World, Photos of Ghosts and Jet Lag. It's also the fourth album I will sell after giving it five spins or so.

First let me excuse myself, I do hear and agree this album has moments of explicit beauty and finesse. My problem with PFM is their ability to screw things up by experimenting beyond their capability. Opening song 'Impressioni di Settembre' is a beautiful melodic symphonic song with that typical Italian cultured feel. I myself however experience physical pain when hearing these out of tune synths during the main theme. 'E' Festa' is a chaotic song that just keeps firing ideas on the listener. Fun at times, but because of the harsh production also a bit frantic. Moreover, it is clearly based upon Beggers Opera's track 'Festival' from the year before (Waters of Change, 1971). On the second side the music remains highly chaotic and unfocused with those staccato runs derived from the middle section of King Crimsons '21th Century Schizoid Man' - coming out of nowhere. The folky parts with vocals are all highlights and can appreciate the ELP influenced jazzy section. The final song 'Grazie Davvero' is another track with some great ideas (the brass section for instance) but is again destroyed by a lack of interest in proper song-writing over noodling.

I would have actually liked to hear a more poppy version of this PFM record, without the progressive noodling. Or a compilation of their least chaotic songs from the early and mid-seventies. For such a record you would however have to cut up songs. Please believe me when I state I find no pleasure in criticizing this record, but I just can't reward the listening experience with more then two stars.

 L'Isola Di Niente by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.23 | 842 ratings

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L'Isola Di Niente
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I must admit that I question whether "Rock Progressivo Italiano" is a bona fide subgenere of progressive-rock music. To me, it's a historically important regional variation of art and progressive rock along the lines of "Krautrock" and the "Canterbury Scene."* But whether RPI is a distinct style or just a useful category, L'Isola di Niente is one of its best albums.

Like Premiata Forneria Marconi's first two LPs, this one contains a series of twists and surprises, which begin immediately with the title song. "L'Isola di Niente" opens with an unaccompanied choir singing wordlessly. At one minute into the track, there's a pause where the listener may anticipate a rock break-in, but in a daring move (in my opinion, anyway), the chorus goes on, with another pause around 1:30. Once two minutes have elapsed, it's fair to wonder whether "L'Isola di Niente" will feature any hint, vocal or instrumental, or popular music. Finally, at 2:07, the voices converge on a chordal resolution and a few seconds later, the symphonic rock begins.

But the musical shifts here are unlike those on the group's earlier albums, where some of the changes seemed to be non-sequiturs. Now the changes - - which are just as unorthodox and unanticipated as before - - are somehow cleverer. And once again, the band's confidence has increased since their last album - - or, more correctly, since their last album of new material - - Photos of Ghosts (1973) was comprised primarily of English-language versions of songs from their first two Italian LPs. L'Isola di Niente contains PFM's first from-scratch English-language song, "Is My Face on Straight," with lyrics by Peter Sinfield. Even forty-five years later, it's a song I'd call humorous, though others might find it annoyingly liberal: "we have ways to make you cheer / as long as you're not sick or poor, a Negro or a queer." Interestingly, it predates by more than four years Supertramp's classic "The Logical Song," with which it shares a similar theme and approach.

Constituted by "L'Isola di Niente" and "Is My Face on Straight," Side One is by far the stronger; the remaining three tracks represent a return to the group's 1972 albums. "La Luna Nuova" echoes the usual suspects like Yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer - - and even the Beatles (the "mai mai mai fine" (never, never, never end") section). In "La Luna" PFM also manages to in a healthy dose of the progressive folk they're evidently fond of, but whereas their debut album included three soft, folk-tinged pieces, L'Isola di Niente includes only one: "Dolcissima Maria," the shortest song here by several minutes. The first part of "Via Lumiere," the album-closer, is a mediocre medley of ambient, Crimsonian, and fast- paced jazz segments, but the soaring denouement - - beginning at 4:33 - - is the strongest passage on the album.

Perhaps owing to the group's experiences on the road and in the studio since their prior album, L'Isola di Niente represents a substantial refinement of the PFM sound. I'd recommend it it without reservation to fans of prog-rock, especially those who, like me, enjoy the genre's mainstream 1970s "classics."

====

*However, I'll admit that RPI would be more significant than a hypothetical "Midwest Scene" of early-1970s US symphonic rock (Kansas, Starcastle, and Styx - - maybe Pavlov's Dog or Frijid Pink as well). And for what it's worth, Allmusic.com identifies twenty-one genres, from Classical to Comedy/Spoken to Holiday to Electronic. Pop/Rock is one of the twenty- one, with fifteen subgenres, including British Invasion and "Europop." So maybe I'm wrong that geography can't constitute a subgenre.

 Per Un Amico by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.40 | 1659 ratings

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Per Un Amico
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Per un Amico is an eclectic mix of styles, including a little bit of jazziness ("Geranio") and a bit of what today we'd call "crossover prog" in the form of the title track. Nonetheless, on their second album, Premiata Forneria Marconi sticks close to the combination of styles on their debut, Storia Di Un Minuto, released ten months earlier: prog- folk and classically-oriented rock music along the lines of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes. But while the influences are similar, Per un Amico is not just a rehash of Storia Di Un Minuto.

To begin with, the balance of those influences has tipped in favor of the symphonic. Per un Amico is more energetic; while much of Storia Di Un Minuto was pastoral, subtle, and deliberate, the approach here is relatively forceful, dynamic, and spontaneous. While these qualities aren't superior per se, they seem to suit PFM better.

Secondly, the band seems slightly more confident. In retrospect, we can see an increase in risk-taking over their first three albums; for example, the near-camp of "Generale," which would've fit nicely on an early Steve Howe solo album, most certainly would not have fit on PFM's debut. While "Generale" isn't really successful, the band's next move is. "Per un Amico," which finds the band confidently mixing contrasting styles, is an early high point in the young band's discography. While the PFM of late 1972 isn't yet competitive with Focus for the Least Self-Conscious Prog Band Award, they're heading in that direction on Per un Amico.

Ultimately, Per un Amico is another good album from this Italian group. While it surpasses Storia Di Un Minuto, it's nonetheless a three-star album, albeit on the higher end of the three-star range. Of course, that's just my opinion: 88% of Prog Archives reviewers rate each album higher than I do! In fact, they are considered to be two of the top three Rock Progressivo Italiano albums of all time. I prefer to think of them as Symphonic Prog albums comparable in quality to Focus's Hamburger Concerto (1974) or Genesis's Nursery Cryme (1971) - - good, and worth listening to, but not essential. And very much like Genesis in 1971, Premiata Forneria Marconi would soon surpass itself again with its next album.

 Storia Di Un Minuto by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.33 | 1319 ratings

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Storia Di Un Minuto
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album's first cut, "Introduzione," was also the world's introduzione to Premiata Forneria Marconi, which chooses to introduce itself with a quiet pastoral-symphonic piece which breaks abruptly into a Crimsonian vamp. My own first taste of PFM was the song "Celebration," courtesy Rhino Record's various-artists compilation Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock Era. I shouldn't have been surprised to hear that song presented here as "È Festa:" the same track, but with Italian lyrics. Anyway, while "È Festa" might be a good track to represent PFM - - I've only heard three of their albums and two other songs - - it doesn't provide a fair impression of Storia Di Un Minuto.

To be fair, Storia Di Un Minuto is a compendium of approaches to Western music, from energetic centuries-old classical piano to modern flute-led jazz - - and that's just on the two parts of "Dove... Quando...(Parte II)." So it might be tricky to select just one representative song. But despite the diversity of styles, much of the album is progressive folk; three of the seven songs ("Impressioni di Settembre," "Dove... Quando... (Parte I)," and "La Carrozza di Hans") are light folk-rock, albeit with intriguing filigrees and tangents.

And while quite a few reviewers regard PFM's first LP as among the very best prog-rock debut albums, I disagree. Storia Di Un Minuto is la storia di a very good band finding itself. The result is good, if a little uneven and a little repetitive - - much like many debuts.

Within the year, PFM would take several steps forward with their second album, Per un Amico.

 Per Un Amico by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.40 | 1659 ratings

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Per Un Amico
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars After seeing the extreme amount of 4 and 5 star reviews of this album, I really feel like I've missed something major with this album, as it's another one of those that even after many listens, I still cannot fully enjoy. I definitely believe that PFM are capable of doing some amazing things, as their debut album is a very high quality, beautiful album, but with Per Un Amico, I really struggle with a lot of it. I find that the band definitely works best when trying to create soft, beautiful melodies in their music, rather than during their energetic or experimental moments, both of which the album has a lot more of than Storia di un Minuto, unfortunately having the majority of them either carry on too long for me, add little to the overall feel f the song, or are just somewhat clunky in execution. Whatever the exact reason is, all I know is that I just seem unable to connect with this album properly.

I feel like the most confusing part of this all to me is thatI find the opening track, Appena un po' to be a near perfect song in every way. The classical inspired opening is absolutely incredible, being soft, incredibly catchy, and evoking a feeling of royalty, as if this could be played in a movie scene of a king walking down his halls, with layers upon layers of guitars and flutes building on top of one another until the song kicks into more proggy territory. The accompaniment of the violins to this more complex, heavy section works incredibly, and displays the highly symphonic sound of the band. The layered vocals that come in after this are soft and very pleasant, carrying a lovely melody along with them, while the warm mellotron lines are nothing short of majestic, all in all making this an absolutely stunning song in basically every way, and an easy to choose highlight of the entire band. I then get very quickly taken out of this awe inspiring beauty by the opening section of the following song, Generale. To be fair, this opening section is very fun, reminding me of a more rock oriented take on Emerson Lake and Palmer's Karn Evil 9's second moevement. The song unfortunately has the same issues as it however, as it feels like more of an unstructured jam rather than a cohesive song, and doesn't really do much for me beyond the opening riff, which admittedly is extremely enjoyable. On the whole, the song does jump around far too much, trying out a range of different tones and styles, such as one quite sinilar to that of a marching band, and another making heavy use of an organ, but none of them really sounding particularly good.

The last 3 songs all have a similar issue to them, that being that they're simply quite boring, albeit with some decent moments. The title track has the issue of the main, mellow aspects of the song aren't anything particularly special to me, which is a shame considering this is usually where I find the band finds their stride the most, but at least the faster instrumental section manages to be much better, especially with the drums that progressively get faster as it goes on, all without ever losing the tightness at hand. It's unfortunate that the song eventually goes back to this quieter verse later in the song, as it causes my mind to start wandering again. Il Banchetto shows much better grasp on great melody, being the other song on the album that I can find some enjoyment in. Everything about it just feels very well crafted, oh, except for that dreadful middle section reminding me of King Crimson's Moonchild, but with worse production and borderline unlistenable instruments. This section derails the entire rest of the song, which had a beautiful ebb and flow, going between pleasant verses and intrumental sections, making this much more experimental, sparse section just ruins the song for me, which is a massive shame, given the fact that the rest of it is so nice. Geranio is what I consider to be a fairly mediocre song, having some decent elements throughout, but shifting gears far too often in ways that simply don't quite work out properly, such as the fun, but ultimately average upbeat pop section. I do however, like the way the song crescendos as it approaches its end, and do find it to be am excellent way to end the album, even if the rest of the song is very hit or miss.

Overall, no matter how I've listened to this album, whether it's analysing it incredibly attentively, listening to it casually in the background while doing other things, or somewhere in between, little on this album has connected with me outside of the incredible opening track. Some songs feel thrown together, while others just feel like they simply were missing any particularly great ideas to begin with. It's great that on the next couple of albums after this, along with what came before, I can appreciate this band's work, but this one just doesn't work for me at all, mo matter how much I try.

Best tracks: Appena un po'

Weakest tracks: Generale, Geranio

Verdict: I personally find this album to be pretty ill conceived in quite a number of ways, but despite this, the love this album has received shows that it's likely that I'm just missing something here. I'd recommend starting of with PFM's first album in any case, due to the more conventional writing and the greater beauty it has, but if you want some symphonic prog with some quirkier touches to songwriting, than you may enjoy this album.

 Celebration - Live in Nottingham 1976 by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Live, 2019
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Celebration - Live in Nottingham 1976
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The very first album I ever bought by an Italian progressive rock group was 'Chocolate Kings' by P.F.M., and to be honest I knew very little about them at the time but was impressed that they were on ELP's own label. It was the first album to feature new singer Bernardo Lanzetti and the complex music, which also contained violin and woodwind, just blew me away. The band's performance on 1st May 1976, at Nottingham University, was recorded for posterity and as it was the 'Chocolate Kings' tour I must confess I am in my element. These guys were/are masters of their instruments, and the complex layers they intertwine shows just why they were accepted outside the Italian market, and indeed by this time they had toured Japan, were returning from their fourth tour of the USA, and 'Chocolate Kings' had reached gold status.

They do get lumped into the RPI (Rock Progressive Italiano) sub-genre just because they play progressive rock and are Italian, but to my ears they are quite different with a much greater use of jazz and interplay between instruments as opposed to heavy layers of keyboards which seems to be a signature of many. With Mauro Pagani moving between flute and violin, often within the same song, he provides extra emphasis and dynamics while Lanzetti has always been a star, as anyone who knows his work with the likes of Acqua Fragile or Mangala Vallis (among others) will attest to. His Roger Chapman style vocals may not be to everyone's taste, but it allowed the band to expand their market more than they could otherwise.

Okay, so it is 1976, which means that there are long solos, some which work more than other, but this double CD set really does capture a band at probably the pinnacle of their career (fans may not always agree on their best album, but for me it is 'Chocolate Kings' followed by 'Jet Lag'). There is an interesting essay from Mark Powell to introduce the band to anyone who may not have previously come across them, and overall this is yet another great release from Esoteric who continue to show just how old albums should be treated.

 Per Un Amico by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.40 | 1659 ratings

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Per Un Amico
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

5 stars What maturity!

What hasn't been said about this band, evenmore this record? Yep, everything's been said. You can digest multitudes of reviews, over-analysing their style and describing songs or musical textures. It takes a certain amount of imagination and comprehension to transcribe art into comprehensible linguo.

In the end, the best is just to listen to it. So do it!

I have to admit: this album shows how 'complete' and mature they are. Violin use à la Curved Air? Check. ELP loudness? Check. Gentle Giant complexity and keyboard palette? Check. Genesis flute and delicate touch? Check. They dabble in almost everything and still hitting high marks in every song: atmospheric, joyous, grandeur, complexity, technical pyrothecnics, you name it. Rarely I heard a blend so many genres flowing effortlessly BUT still feeling original, this has to be a feat in itself.

This short album is one heck of a curiculum vitae making « The Award Winning Marconi Bakery » one monumental band not only in RPI but in Rock History.

 Celebration - Live in Nottingham 1976 by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Live, 2019
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Celebration - Live in Nottingham 1976
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars For years I've been appreciating the releases of the British label Esoteric Recordings. Usually they are reissues of old albums, very often from the 70's, covering both highly regarded classic artists and less known acts and their hard-to-find-as-originals albums. The well written liner notes and some bonus material on discs are an essential part of it all. And what's best, progressive rock plays a significant part in ER's impressive and ever growing catalogue.

This recent release offers something new, ie. previously unreleased material. P.F.M. is without a question the most notable of Italian prog bands, and the first one to reach wide international success. The ELP fellows Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield were to thank for that; in December 1972 Lake witnessed PFM's homeland gig and invited them to England, and Sinfield wrote English lyrics for them and produced albums released via ELP's own label Manticore. The whole history of PFM is once again told (by the label boss Mark Powell) in the liner notes of this 2-CD.

The end of 1975 saw the Italian release of the album Chocolate Kings with the new vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti (formerly of Acqua Fragile), and Manticore's UK/USA release followed in April 1976, coinciding with a UK tour. This particular gig was held at the University of Nottingham, and it was captured on tape by Manticore Records and broadcast on a local radio. The line-up is Lanzetti, Flavio Premoli (keyboards), Franco Mussida (guitar), Mauro Pagani (woodwinds, violin), Patrick Djivas (bass) and Franz Di Cioccio (drums). I haven't listened to the mentioned studio album, which contains five tracks, three of them included here. The set opens with 'Paper Charms', a 10-minute piece of Yes & King Crimson influenced intense prog rock in which Lanzetti's vocals come and go. His raspy voice has always reminded me of Family's Roger Chapman. On the heavily extended version of 'Four Holes in the Ground' (originally from The World Became the World, 1974) Pagani plays both flute and violin. The energy of the band at the top of their game is strongly felt. In fact for a large part Lanzetti, fluent enough in English but not very brilliant vocalist technically, remains in a pretty small role, which is actually positive. As he raises his voice he sounds also like the rockiest voice in Gentle Giant (whichever Shulman he was, Derek?).

The third track widens the dynamics towards the more delicate end of the spectre: 'Dove... quando' is on PFM's debut album Storia di un minuto (1972) an acoustically oriented, calm and folky song, and pretty well its thoughtful spirit was captured in this gig too, although I think that for example the electric piano makes it a bit different. 5-minute 'Acoustic Guitar Solo' proves that Franco Mussida's competence doesn't badly pale in comparison to Howe or Hackett. The 1st disc is finished by two further Chocolate Kings tracks. There are effective riffs and strong playing, but all in all I'm missing the Mellotron-contained, more pastoral prog style of PFM's earliest albums.

Two further early tracks come on 2nd disc, the jolly near-instrumental 'Celebration' and 'La Carrozza di Hans' which are to me more rewarding in this set than the "thicker" Lanzetti-era material. The live sound is relatively good, just slightly stuffy, but the live energy makes up for little imperfections. This is a fairly recommended release if you're a fan of PFM and especially if you're fond of live albums in general. 3½ stars.

 Storia Di Un Minuto by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.33 | 1319 ratings

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Storia Di Un Minuto
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Plain and simple, I can say that Storia Di Un Minuto is one of my favorite prog-rock albums of the 70's!

A marvelous record almost from beginning to end with some influences from Genesis, but with an incredible romantic Italian flavor which makes the hearing of Storia Di Un Minuto an unique and unforgettable experience.

I especially like the masterful work in keyboards, the splendid acoustic sections, the beautiful singing of Franco Mussida, the orchestral elements and the good rhythmus that this album has which makes this disc truly enjoyable, despite some forgettable moments like the overlong jazz ending of Dove?Quando? Part 2 and the bit disjointed La Carroza di Hans.

However, the albums is short, addictive and very well written!

Best Tracks: Impressioni di Settembre (a very good example of the music of this band), E Festa (funny and with great keyboards) and Dove?Quando? Part 1 (just incredibly delicate)

Conclusion: Storia Di Un Minuto is an almost flawless example of the best 70's prog-rock. It has some influences of similar acts like Genesis and Yes, but just like the Spanish band Triana they were able to mix these elements with other sounds of their own country like folk, medieval and romantic Italian music to create something unique, beautiful and truly remarkable.

A much-recommended piece of true progressive music!

My rating: ****

 Dracula Opera Rock by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.52 | 162 ratings

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Dracula Opera Rock
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars Between 1972 and 1974 PFM produced five legendary albums, inspired by early King Crimson, Per Un Amico (1972) is generally considered as their finest effort. King Crimson ex-member Pete Sinfield even contributed with English lyrics to two PFM albums, and was the support-act (with Mel Collins) during their first European tour, in mid-1973. Then PFM started to sound more jazzrock inspired, and on this album from 2005 PFM even presents a blend of rock and opera! It took a few listening sessions before I go tinto this music, but gradually I started to appreciate PFM their musical adventure.

The shorter compositions sound elaborate, featuring compelling sumptuous parts (with classical orchestrations and The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra), strong vocals (loaded with the typical opera pathos) and powerful soli on guitar and keyboards.

Some pieces are more mellow or dreamy, like Non Guardarmi (warm melancholical vocals, classical guitar and violins) and Terra Madre (emotional vocals and sensitive guitar). Remarkable is the track La morte Non Muore: swinging with fiery guitar and a female choir, reminding me of the musicals Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar.

The long final compositions Un Destino Di Rondine (just over 11 minutes) is my highlight of this album: compelling and bombastic with intense, almost desperate sounding vocals from Dolce Nera, and a strong build-up tot a splendid, sumptuous grand finale with howling guitar runs and fluent synthesizer flights.

If you are up to this captivating blend of rock and opera, this is an interesting album to discover from the Classic Italian Prog formation PFM, always in the mood for scouting musical borders.

My rating: 3,5 star.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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