Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM)

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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...!

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) forum topics / tours, shows & news


PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) forum topics
No topics found for : "premiata forneria marconi (pfm)"
Create a topic now
PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "premiata forneria marconi (pfm)"
Post an entries now

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


Showing only random 3 | Show all PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) videos (11) | Search and add more videos to PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM)

Buy PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Music



More places to buy PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) 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 | 54 ratings
Quelli (pre-PFM)
1969
4.34 | 1376 ratings
Storia Di Un Minuto
1972
4.40 | 1731 ratings
Per Un Amico
1972
4.02 | 536 ratings
Photos Of Ghosts
1973
4.22 | 881 ratings
L'Isola Di Niente
1974
4.02 | 377 ratings
The World Became the World
1974
3.94 | 469 ratings
Chocolate Kings
1975
3.18 | 306 ratings
Jet Lag
1977
3.06 | 182 ratings
Passpartù
1978
2.64 | 135 ratings
Suonare Suonare
1980
2.07 | 113 ratings
Come Ti Va In Riva Alla Città
1981
1.94 | 82 ratings
PFM? PFM!
1984
1.93 | 92 ratings
Miss Baker
1987
2.66 | 98 ratings
Ulisse
1997
2.99 | 105 ratings
Serendipity
2000
3.51 | 165 ratings
Dracula Opera Rock
2005
4.07 | 417 ratings
Stati Di Immaginazione
2006
3.47 | 118 ratings
A.D. 2010 - La Buona Novella
2010
3.87 | 160 ratings
PFM In Classic - Da Mozart A Celebration
2013
2.81 | 78 ratings
Emotional Tattoos
2017

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

4.15 | 191 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
2.21 | 19 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
4.13 | 29 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 | 87 ratings
Live In Japan 2002
2002

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

2.08 | 5 ratings
PFM - The Award-Winnig Marcony Bakery
1976
3.25 | 9 ratings
Prime Impressioni
1976
4.50 | 2 ratings
Celebration
1976
3.75 | 4 ratings
PFM - Antologia
1977
3.00 | 2 ratings
L'album di... PFM
1988
2.67 | 3 ratings
PFM - I Grandi Del Rock
1993
1.74 | 10 ratings
P.F.M. Story
1995
2.50 | 4 ratings
I Miti Musica
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Pieces From Manticore
2000
3.67 | 3 ratings
Golden Collection
2001
3.80 | 10 ratings
Gli Anni Settanta
2002
3.64 | 5 ratings
I QUELLI (pre PFM): Flashback: I Grandi Successi Originali
2003
3.08 | 3 ratings
Cuore Rock
2006
4.33 | 15 ratings
35.... E Un Minuto
2007
4.01 | 20 ratings
River Of Life: The Manticore Years Anthology 1973-1977
2010
3.25 | 4 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)

2.33 | 3 ratings
I Krel - Fin che le braccia diventino ali
1970
4.25 | 4 ratings
La Carrozza Di Hans
1971
3.67 | 3 ratings
Celebration
1973
3.67 | 3 ratings
The World Became The World
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
Four Holes In The Ground
1974
4.25 | 4 ratings
Dolcissima Maria
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
Chocolate Kings
1975
2.33 | 3 ratings
Come Ti Va
1981

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 L'Isola Di Niente by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.22 | 881 ratings

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

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

5 stars The last truly classic PFM album, L'Isola di Niente was released in 1974 and it is truly their most ambitious release to date. Opening with the title track, we are greeted with a huge church-like choir echoing a capella (an odd and daring choice for sure), it shifts to uncharacteristic crashing chords and the nimble bass of Patrick Djivas (recently pooched from the seminal band Area). Crisply recorded the song veers between flickers of Genesis, Yes and King Crimson that really don't sound as much like their influences as a synthesis that is now fully original. This is one of the better and more representative songs in their repertoire and it transitions through acoustic sections to electric sections smoothly. Echoes of Fripp from Franco Mussida over a delicate arpeggiation take us out. Second song Is My Face on Straight is the lone English lyric song on the album and sounds closer to the songwriting on their next album, Chocolate Kings. Some might find this the weak point of the album as it could sit comfortably on the second Kansas album. But with flute and convoluted bass and drum interplay-nobody is mistaking this for Kansas. Awkward lyrics that seem like this is the sequel to Mr. 9 to 5 are one of the drawbacks (it's sometimes an advantage to speak little Italian-as subpar lyrics still sound magical!). Instruments fade as the vocals repeat the question 'Is my face on straight?' to side one's fade out.

Side two begins with the violin and percussion invitation to the dance-the distinctly tarantella infused La Luna Nuova (oddly retitled Four Holes in the Ground for their US/UK release). The repeating figure gives way to a joyous synth line rivaling the seminal E Festa (or Celebration in the States). This song is one of their epics-it builds from simplest to complex very quickly in several movements. Yes fans will resonate with this song that has sweeping slow mellotron lines that underpin convoluted synth, bass, guitar and drums chasing each other in something that could have been an outtake from Relayer. Dizzyingly good stuff. This is the one tune I'd play first for any prog fans trying to dip their toes into RPI. Second song on side two is the genteel and delicate Dolcissima Maria -an acoustic guitar and flute ballad that again has some Fripp-like leads (this time the jazzy first album stylings). It leads to an instrumental outtro melody that is one of their signature themes, and one of the only times I've seen people sing along with a song that has no words Final song Via Lumiere is the jazziest this band ever got close to with a bass solo intro from DJivas that veers into a quiet Weather Report section before Mussida and Pagani introduce a violin and electric guitar duet over complex drums from Di Coccio. Electric piano keeps a faint jazzrock vibe underneath as Djivas introduces some Chris Squire impressions on bass as the band heads off into the sunset with an elegiac touch. This instrumental song is another tune I'd play for non RPI prog fans.

Overall, this album is vastly superior to the US/UK version and is well worth tracking down. I'd only owned the US version on vinyl until I recently ran across a late 70's repress on Numero Uno. The sound quality is light years beyond my US copy of The World Became the World. Djivas' abilities on bass give the band yet another weapon in their bag of tricks to make this PFM's most varied and dangerous album in their whole catalogue. Its release in the UK (and minimally in the States) as an aforementioned drastically different version with English lyrics from Peter Sinfield is easier to find. HIghly recommended-one of the best albums from one of the best bands to ever come from Italy. This one transcends RPI and belongs with the best of all 70's prog. Five stars

 Photos Of Ghosts by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.02 | 536 ratings

BUY
Photos Of Ghosts
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After churning out the first two albums, the "Premiata Forneria Marconi" starts to conquer America, and therefore a third Lp, "Photos of Ghosts", can be packaged, with the lyrics of Pete Sinfield, King Crimson's freak lyricist, and sung in English by the members of the group, especially from guitarist Franco Mussida.

Sinfield's texts have the advantage of not being the simple translation of the originals in Italian. The record contains all five songs of "Per un Amico (For a friend)", the most prog album of the group, and the most rock and festive song of the debut album, "E' Festa". To these songs is added an unpublished piece, instrumental, by Flavio Premoli, with a very relaxed atmosphere, jazz, thanks to the always precious sounds of Pagani's violin and flute. It is a very experimental piece for the PFM, which has never been so close to free jazz and constitutes the main point of interest on the album. (Rating 8).

Despite the skill of the composers, and the attention for singing in English, this Lp in my opinion does not represent the best of their music, both because they preferred the songs of "Per un amico" to those of "Storia di un Minuto", and because the integration of the various pieces and the singing in English lose something of the original artistic inspiration.

The album remains good, but not excellent. Rating 8, three and a half stars.

 Per Un Amico by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.40 | 1731 ratings

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

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

4 stars PFM churns out its second album in less than a year, that magical 1972, which will remains their best year. Flavio Premoli joins Franco Mussida and Mauro Pagani to the writing of the music and more elaborate and progressive arrangements will follow.

The first side of "For a Friend" follows the structure of "Storia di un Minuto". First piece: melodic but orchestral song; second extroverted piece, with gladness, almost an ethnic dance; an finally as third song a symphonic piece.

1. Appena un po' (Just a little (7:43)). Orchestral beginning in crescendo with synths (had PFM already heard Genesis' Watcher of the Skies?), more delicate than "Impressions of September" of the debut album, and in fact the classical guitar of Mussida arrives immediately, then accompanied by the flute by Pagani, who finally traces a beautiful melody (it took almost two minutes), and by Premoli's harpsichord, which gives an incentive to the sophistication and pomposity of the arrangements. The sound redesigns the melody with the electric instruments (it is all a continuous orchestral refinement) and around 3 minutes the singing arrives, with some sweet, unexcelled choirs. Around 4 and a half minutes comes a classic, baroque piece, a minuet worthy of the Gentle Giant, almost math-rock, a typical prog digression, nice, but too long. Until the voice returns and brings back the melody. Around 6 and a half minutes the grand finale starts, in crescendo, with Premoli's synths to draw again the main melody with a very nice solemn mood. Very pretentious track, which shows that PFM has become the most proggy Italian group, with all the positive (creativity) and negative (research of sophistication and technicality at the expense of emotion) sides of the case. Rating 8.

2. "Generale". (General (4:18)). Instrumental piece with continuous changes of rhythm, and solos of the instrumentalists. Beautiful the initial piece with Pagani on the violin and beautiful the solo of Mussica electric's guitar. It looks like an ethnic dance, we are definitely in the field of folk-rock, then the music stops and an acoustic march begins: it is the usual prog digression, now we have a syncopated acoustic blues, followed by the folk-rock piece that this time is played electric. It is a real tour de force, a music with a sustained rhythm, a display of virtuosity... in my opinion excessive, too similar to the exercise of style, although always of the highest quality. Rating 7,5 / 8.

The first two songs are good, but they don't reach the heights of "Impressioni di Settembre" and "E 'Festa".

3. Per un Amico (For a Friend (5:23)). It is the masterpiece of the album. Delicate beginning with the flute, Genesis- style, choir voices alternating with the violin pendants. The voices are a little limp, too effeminate, but the instrumental part, very proggy, is fabulous, thanks to the interlude characterized by the violin solo, which takes place together with a fine work on the guitar and an odd rhythm played by Franz Di Cioccio. Then comes the acoustic guitar and the virtuosity of Di Piazza's bass. Maybe in the solo the electric guitar would have been better than the acoustic guitar. Finally the synthesizers arrive. The song is a show of solos, until finally the initial melody restarts but ends with a crescendo of synths without the singing. The end is not good. It is a small production and technical masterpiece, with a fascinating part thanks to Pagani's violin. But there is much more sophistication than inspiration. Rating 8+. This song is better than Dove... Quando part 1. But overall this side is a little inferior to the corrispondent on debut album.

End of A-side.

The second side does not repeat the structure of the three songs of the debut album and relies on an 8-minute mini-suites, focusing on more dilated compositions.

4. Il Banchetto (The Banquet (8:39)). Beginning as an acoustic ballad, voices with choirs again, pleasant music. Around two minutes there is Premoli's instrumental interlude, graceful, cute but around 4 minutes the music becomes fabulous music, with sounds similar to the Gentle Giant of Acquiring The Taste, really cloying. When it comes to 5 and a half minutes, a jazz piano replaces the synths, bringing a more serious and classic feeling. But these Premoli solos are uninspired, worth less than those of Banks of Genesis. At the end the choirs return to conclude the narration. This song, of excessive length, in the second part described the quintessence of the flaws of prog and provided the weak point of the album. Rating 6.

5. Geranio (Geranium (8:03)). Bucolic, acoustic beginning, thanks to Pagani's flute, very present, then the choirs arrived, but they are always soft, neutral, almost asexual: they are the weak point of the album, it was much better when Mussida sang alone in the debut album . A syncopated, bluesy, very strange instrumental moment follows, in this second part Di Cioccio has a way to let off steam. An instrumental variation arrives, an interlude: it is a value, it seems to hear Richard Strauss, the violin noticed remarkable melodic peaks, and in the end a circus gong arrives. The choirs return, the rhythm increases more and more, in a paroxysmal way, we are listening to a very refined, melodic, high-class but somewhat cloying and pompous symphonic prog rock that then freezes, paralyzes itself within a repetitive phrase for over a minute, ending the record with this fading: we were witnessing all this wonder of creative arrangements and then the Lp ends repeating the musical phrase until the fading? But what came to mind at PFM? Remarkable track but missed masterpiece. Rating 8.

In this second album, more than in the first, there is a lack of a true singer, who could shows delicacy and determination, could expresses various emotions. The singing is in fact always managed with choirs, doubled voices very sweet and a little anemic, not very expressive: emotions do not convey, pathos is not present. It just whispering the words almost asexually. I am not saying that these choirs are ugly, on the contrary, they are very well balanced, and the voices are pleasant, but they lack depth and interpretation. On the contrary, the music is much more complex, layered and elaborated compared to the debut Lp, this album is definitely prog, according to the canons of symphonic prog. But the songs don't reach the quality, very high, of "Storia di un minuto", and two of them are rather weak.

Overall, rated 8.5, four stars.

 Storia Di Un Minuto by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.34 | 1376 ratings

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

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This album is still considered the most significant of the Italian prog. "Le Orme" with "Collage", of the year before, are considered the first commercial group to have brought the prog in Italy, but the "Premiata Forneria Marconi", with this LP, and in particular with "Impressioni di Settembre", is the first famous group to have produced a successful, commercial, prog - rock record. In this first album, Franco Mussida and Mauro Pagani write almost all the songs, and Mussida and Premoli share the vocal parts.

Introduction (1:10) + 2. Impressions of September (5:44). "September Impressions" combines the prog-rock to catchy but high-class melody (sung well, with a gentle touch, by Franco Mussida) and features one of the first moog synthesizers. This combination has made it a classic. The production and arrangement are still wonderfully handcrafted (live, to capture the spontaneity of live performances), definitely not perfect and inferior to those of the English bands that inspired PFM (as well as Le Orme): Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull. But a melody like that of "Impressions of September" these three groups cannot easily churn it out - with the exception of the Genesis of Tresapass and Jethro Tull of Aqualung. Masterpiece.Rating 8.5 / 9.

3. It's Party (4:52). Piece rhythmically exuberant and sustained, driven by Mussida guitar and the moog played by Premoli, who is also the singer. That it is a party can be seen from the title and the cheerful music, bordering on the nursery rhyme, and similar to a Mediterranean "tarantella". The vocal section as usual is very delicate (not having a real singer in the group). This is followed by an instrumental piece guided from the bass by Piazza and a solo by Premoli on the harpsichord. Rating 8.

4. Where ... When ... (Part I) (4:08). Fabulous, Renaissance beginning, worthy of Genesis, doubled voice, acoustic guitar, nocturnal and whispered atmosphere, Pagani's flute and Premoli's harpsichord give a very classic touch, accentuated by Mussida's guitar. The song this time doesn't have an explosion and stays on a minor pitch from start to finish. Very refined, atmospheric, it lacks a winning variation to be remarkable. Simple on a compositional level. Rating 7.5 / 8.

B- Side 5. Where ... When ... (Part II) (6:00). The second part of the song opens with an organ and a violin embroidering the same melody with which the first side ended. Here, however, the atmosphere is very baroque. Premoli's piano exhibits virtuosity in which Di Cioccio's drums participate, then the piece becomes orchestral and the melody appears to us in all its beauty. Around 3 and a half minutes Premoli's swing piano brings a nice variation, followed by Pagani's flute and Di Cioccio's drums, and at this point we are lapping free-jazz. Creativity is at its best, and is characterized by its refinement and delicacy. The initial organ returns towards the end, ending the song a little too quickly. But anyway, how beautiful it is! Rating 9.

6. Hans's carriage (6:46). Hard-rock begins then Pagani's flute and voice, finally the acoustic guitar, with the doubled voice of Mussida, very delicate, and the atmosphere becomes bucolic, pastoral. A piece on classical guitar follows in which Mussida takes some space. Strangely, the song no longer picks up the thread after the digression on the guitar, but folk and finally hard-folk concert music returns, thanks to the electric guitar similar to the initial piece. Rating 8+. Piece that brings together folk, hard-rock and symphonic piece.

7. Thank you very much (5:52). Last song with acoustic beginning and voices in chorus (Premoli), then there is a symphonic chorus, a bit 'noisy, with sounds from country band, and the voices sing a "Thank you for living." Here the production is a bit 'sensationalist, the PFM look for the GRAND FINAL, and in fact after a pause of music toward the three minutes, returns orchestral music, choirs and finally return to the grand final upbeat, much triumphalistic. Rating 8.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing a masterpiece, one of the most representative records of the Italian prog, together with Collage by the Orme, which anticipated it, with Darwin by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, of the same year, and with Arbeit Macht Frei by Area , of the following year. With this album, Italian progressive music has taken on a precise identity, linked to melody, delicate singing, orchestral folk, and orchestral and classical virtuosity. This is a very inspired, highly creative record.

Rating 9+. Masterpiece. Five Stars.

 Passpartù by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.06 | 182 ratings

BUY
Passpartù
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

3 stars I'd only acquired this on vinyl recently since owning most of their catalog up through Jet Lag for decades. (I'd been told by 'big kids' to avoid this one early on). However, I am glad I finally located a copy of this, and was pleasantly surprised. This one shows the band in a transition, finishing Bernardo Lanzetti's three album run as lead singer. Although it would seem to be a huge drop from their heady days of their 1971-1976 era, and is definitely a huge change from the LA jazz fusion of the previous album Jet Lag, I seem to put this album on quite a bit.

The first thing that makes this album different is the band has returned to singing in Italian only and abandoned English vocals. For most, this is a strong improvement (most RPI fans and original fans in Italy shunned most English vocals on Italian bands). This change alone would make the hardcore fan excuse some of the borderline easy listening and primordial world music experiments contained herein.

Instrumentation veers towards acoustic Latin/world music feel, but there are passages that show flickers of their former glory. My only complaint is that they intentionally bury the few fiery moog runs and burning electric guitar solos here far down in the mix-making the overall feel of the album the priority. They make sure that the varied folk melodies that tie this album together stay the focus of your attention and don't get overwhelmed by flashy soloing. This will drive away many fans of their earlier material that view said flashy soloing as the only reason they've shown up. The opening track Viene Il Santo has some of the spirit of old PFM, the ability to make you get up and spin around the room with abandon. Opening track on side two is the instrumental title track, another highlight.

It needs to be noted that this is the first PFM album without any violin on it, one of the signature elements of the PFM sound. (they remedied this immediately on their next album with the addition of Lucio Fabbri-still in the band today). Five guest musicians is a little worrisome, and a sign for many bands that the end of the creative road might be closer than further.

Maybe it's the return to singing in Italian that makes me more forgiving of the foibles and clunkers here, and overlook their shedding of 'prog rock icons' for a streamlined commercial approach intended to shift some units. I would have ignored this as an epic failure had I run into it when it came out, but now I can hear their ability to weave traditional folk melodies into songs that just make you feel good. It's a shame that many would never give this a chance, but honestly I am surprised that I come back to this record over and over, week after week, and brighten my day. Still some magic in there.

Still out there on original Italian vinyl pressing if you scour the web. The inner sleeve art is uncredited, but is from the Metal Hurlant school of psychedelia-a weird opposite vibe to the dreaminess contained inside. Three stars for hardcore PFM fans. Prog fans might not find much in here

 Storia Di Un Minuto by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.34 | 1376 ratings

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

Review by zeuhl1
Collaborator RPI Team

5 stars The big band for any UK/US progheads who first venture into the unknowns of Italian progressive rock on display in their impressive debut.

I just found a mint vinyl copy of this in the first (1/72) edition and it is amazing in presence and stereo imaging. (Italian 70's prog albums are generally not known for top notch recording quality) Some say this is recorded live. It's likely that much of this is, as it exudes a warmth of sound that throws it ahead of the curve for the early RPI 1971 era bands.

From the opening notes of Introductione/Impressioni di Settembre to the final echoes of the rarely played Grazie Daverro, this is a stone cold masterpiece. It is common to rate RPI albums (perhaps unfairly) against their more well known UK counterparts. But let's be clear: this album can hold its own against anything the Brit prog scene had going in 1971. The biggies of 1971: Yes, ELP, Led Zep, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd all delivered some impressive stuff that year. Other bands were just stepping into their skin that made them the prolonged influential bands for the next decade for progheads: Genesis were forming their identity, Gentle Giant's impressive Acquiring the Taste started to establish their distinct sound while Tangerine Dream were just acquiring actual synthesizers, Magma were still trying to shed their mantle of Electric Flag/Chicago trappings. In reality, many of the big prog bands across the world were mostly stripping off the 'proto prog' sound and branching out during the last half of 1971 when Storia Di Un Minuto was recorded.

You will hear some pretty original music here. The monumental musical throwdown and perennial concert closer 'E Festa' (or Celebration to the US/UK crowd) showcases an ability to truly rock out that is not hinted at in their pastoral early Genesis moments that inhabit much of this record. Mellotron, moog (they were the first band in Italy to bring the Moog into the local scene) and raucous guitar alternate with delicate flute, violin and acoustic guitar moments. Vocals (even if you speak no Italian) neither overpower or hinder the proceedings, but quietly and pleasantly narrate poignant tales.

For point of reference-think quiet 1971 Genesis mixed with 1969 era low key King Crimson. In the bigger picture though? This is some fairly hard to classify music-seamlessly integrating multiple influences and filtering it through Italian cultural music themes. Delicate and powerful at the same time, Storia Di Un Minuto is one of the best examples of Italian Progressive Rock out there, and believe me, there are hundreds of contestants that few outside of the RPI scene have ever heard of. This band was a powerful influence on many of them.

Unequivocal five stars in both RPI and general prog scenes. Must have lp for any prog fan

 Storia Di Un Minuto by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.34 | 1376 ratings

BUY
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
4.22 | 881 ratings

BUY
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 include 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 | 1731 ratings

BUY
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
4.34 | 1376 ratings

BUY
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.

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

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.