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ACQUA FRAGILE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Acqua Fragile biography
ACQUA FRAGILE formed in Parma, Italy in 1971. They are perhaps best known for the band that were to supply PFM's English singing vocalist Bernado Lanzetti, making his debut with them on Chocolate Kings.

Lanzetti with guitarist Gino Campanini and drummer Piero Canavera had played together in Gli Immortali. Joined on keyboards by Maurizio Mori and bassist Franz Dondi, formerly of I Moschettieri, who released a single in 1967, they shortly changed their name to ACQUA FRAGILE.

It was to be two years before their eponymous debut album saw the light of day, due to difficulty in finding a record company that would allow them to release it with English sung lyrics. Musically they bore a resemblance to GENESIS and GENTLE GIANT, with harmony vocals not unlike CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG, no doubt influenced by the time Lanzetti spent in the USA. Lanzetti's vocals have a similar feel to Roger Chapman of FAMILY and the album is skilfully played by the already at the time, well versed players. The plan to sing in English backfired as it wasn't well received in Italy and didn't receive a release abroad. Undeterred, their second album Mass Media Stars, released in 1974 saw the band treading similar musical territory and did receive a release in the USA.

Mori quit and was replaced by ex-THE TRIP keyboardist Joe Vescovi and shortly after a bigger blow came when Lanzetti left for PFM. The band soldiered on for a while longer bringing in former I TOP 4 and I DIK DIK man Roberto Facini. Lanzetti remained with PFM until 1980 followed by a successful solo career. He is now a member of MANGALA VALLIS. Canavera and Dondi went on to play with ROCKY'S FILJ and the ACQUA FRAGILE name has recently been reborn as the ACQUA FRAGILE PROJECT by Dondi. He is the only original member participating in the project.

-Paul Fowler/Nightfly

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Buy ACQUA FRAGILE Music


Mass Media StarsMass Media Stars
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2011
Audio CD$10.98
$15.89 (used)
Acqua FragileAcqua Fragile
Import · Limited Edition
Bmg Japan 2004
Audio CD$11.11
$5.44 (used)
Acqua FragileAcqua Fragile
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2011
Audio CD$17.88
$15.68 (used)
Acqua Fragile Import, Original recording remastered Edition by Acqua Fragile (2011) Audio CDAcqua Fragile Import, Original recording remastered Edition by Acqua Fragile (2011) Audio CD
Esoteric
Audio CD$57.72
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ACQUA FRAGILE discography


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ACQUA FRAGILE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 78 ratings
Acqua Fragile
1973
3.21 | 66 ratings
Mass Media Stars
1974

ACQUA FRAGILE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Emilia - Spring 75
1994

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ACQUA FRAGILE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mass Media Stars by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 66 ratings

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Mass Media Stars
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Mass Media Stars' - Acqua Fragile (6/10)

Italy's Acqua Fragile delivered a fairly unassuming facsimile of the British symphonic prog sound over the course of two albums. Although their vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti's future participation on Premiata Forneria Marconi's English-language albums might make for a greater claim to fame than the music itself, Acqua Fragile demonstrated some excellent musicianship and an ability to capture some of the same pastoral magic as the giants they hoped to emulate. The band's second album "Mass Media Stars" does nothing to avert or disprove the common criticism of Acqua Fragile as a 'Genesis clone', but lively musicianship and fairly memorable songwriting makes the record worth checking out for proggers outside the RPI inner circle.

Although the same could be said for many lesser-known prog acts, Acqua Fragile's sound seems split between the likes of Yes and Genesis. It's a comparison that should spark groans from many who have heard the same comparisons made for every 'typical' prog rock act, but there are few I've heard that follow the footsteps so accurately. "Cosmic Mind Affair" truly sounds like Yes and Genesis met up to collaborate sometime around the recording of "The Yes Album". The guitars are filled with a bright electric twang you might hear delivered by Yes guitarist Steve Howe. On the flipside, the acoustic guitars here are evidently influenced by Genesis' Steve Hackett. Although such an explicit lack of originality would normally be a death sentence, Acqua Fragile's replication of the 'British sound' is surprisingly convincing. The musicianship is lively and organic, and though the songwriting isn't quite up to the par of the bands they try to emulate, there's clearly been some sincerity and thought put into these pieces. "Cosmic Mind Affair" and the rich title track stand out as highlights.

Bernardo Lanzetti's vocal contribution to Acqua Fragile is no doubt a reason why many listeners found the band in the first place. Later singing on some of PFM's late-70's albums including "Chocolate Kings" and "Jet Lag", Lanzetti is best known for his similarity to Peter Gabriel. While some might enjoy the comfort and familiarity Lanzetti's resemblance to Gabriel provides, I never found his performance to be particularly effective with PFM, and the same applies to his work with Acqua Fragile. Although Peter Gabriel is one of my favourite classic prog vocalists, Lanzetti's voice has a strain and warble to it that wears on the ears. Although the band's instrumental performance is remarkably solid throughout, there are many times here where it feels like Lanzetti's voice feels like more of a distraction than a compliment to the rest of the performance. The lilting acoustic piece "Bar Gazing" is especially guilty of this; although there is some very warm acoustic playing that recalls the work of Steve Hackett, the vocals come across as a little annoying, helped no bit by poor lyrics that sound like they were roughly translated from Italian- the 'dictionary fails' indeed!

Like Acqua Fragile's self-titled debut, "Mass Media Stars" shows tact and potential, but it lacks any sort of unique personality or identity. First impressions are certainly brighter than the album's lasting impact, as some of the album's weaker aspects- Lanzetti's vocals especially- tend to wear down the enjoyment before too long. They may be little more than a Genesis clone, but they do manage to recreate the style faithfully.

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 Mass Media Stars by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 66 ratings

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Mass Media Stars
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars ''Acqua Fragile'' was actually heading for an export release, something that eventually never happened, and the album went rather unnoticed within the Italian borders.For the second album Acqua Fragile insisted on writing English lyrics, but this time the new album ''Mass media stars'' was released on the Ricordi label and succeeded a US release as well by Import Records.

By the time of the release of ''Mass media stars'', PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI had already started writing albums in English for a possible abroad success and Acqua Fragile followed exactly the same receipt both lyrically and musically.With a talented and highly expressive singer in the line-up, Acqua Fragile sounded like a poor man's P.F.M., having little personality, but musically the band played a rich and passionate Symphonic/Art Rock with intense interplays and plenty of dramatic moments.Organs and mellotrons along with the alternating acoustic and electric guitars remain the band's driving forces, offering nice symphonic arrangements with some great ideas popping out and a pretty solid songwriting, combining vocal- and instrumental moments with comfort.The resemblance to P.F.M's and GENESIS' style sounds often a bit annoying, as the album is dominated by the multi-vocal harmonies, the numerous piano paces and the folky acoustic textures, sometimes with a slight Mediterrenean feel, but again the virtuosic instrumental battles and the first-class harmonies are not an easy thing to achieve, thus Acqua Fragile overcome the lack of originality with passionate and very tight musicianship all the way.

At the fall of 1974 Mori left the band and was replaced by The Trip's keyboardist Joe Vescovi.The live album ''Live in Emilia - Spring 75'', issued in CD format in 1994, gives a good idea of the sound with the new line-up.The same year though Bernardo Lanzetti quit to join Premiata Forneria Marconi, he was replaced for a short time by future-I Dik Dik Roby Facini, but Acqua Fragile disbanded for good shortly after.

Another nice album along the lines of P.F.M.'s English versions of Classic Italian Prog.Top notch Symphonic Rock, where the word ''originality'' is totally absent, still strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Acqua Fragile by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 78 ratings

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Acqua Fragile
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I must admit I really hesitated in checking this band out because of all of the negative reviews. The fact they sing in English and sound more British than Italian is one common complaint, but the biggest is that they sound too much like other bands. The strange thing with this album is that almost each song sounds like they are copying a different band. Usually a band will sound like one band throughout. So we get strong flavours GENTLE GIANT, GENESIS, CSNY and YES. The appeal for me is the amazing instrumental work and very good vocals. Also I just have too much fun when listening to this so it's hard for me to be critical.

"Morning Comes" opens with gentle guitar and vocals then it kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes with vocal melodies. The vocals that follow are Gabriel-like. Organ and guitar then lead and passionate vocals follow. Vocal melodies again before 5 1/2 minutes followed by a calm. Just an excellent GENESIS flavoured track. "Comic Strips" sounds amazing instrumentally and when the vocals arrive it's clear that this is inspired by GENTLE GIANT. Such a fun song. "Science Fiction Suite" has strummed guitar and vocals that recall CSNY.

"Song From A Picture" has intricate guitar and subtle bass as reserved vocals join in. There is a very GENESIS-like instrumental section before 2 1/2 minutes. Beautiful stuff. "Education Story" is fairly heavy with passionate vocals. "Going Out" has strummed guitar and reserved vocals. Vocals melodies follow as these contrasts continue. "Three Hands Man" is the over 8 minute closer and i'm impressed with the instrumental sections on it.

A low 4 stars.

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 Mass Media Stars by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 66 ratings

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Mass Media Stars
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by historian9
Special Collaborator Jazz Rock/Fusion Team

4 stars I might just repeat myself from the review of ACQUA FRAGILE's first album; they are to GENESIS (with bits of YES and GENTLE GIANT but mainly PETER GABRIEL era GENESIS) what THINK FLOYD is to PINK FLOYD basically. That said, this is still a very good melodic album and as long there isn't actual plagiarizing of notes and riffs going on I couldn't care less if a band is regarded as a clone of a more famous one. Definitely worth checking out at least to make judgement for yourselves; recommended to fans of British symphonic rock scene, it's weird this kind of band came from Italy.

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 Acqua Fragile by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 78 ratings

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Acqua Fragile
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by historian9
Special Collaborator Jazz Rock/Fusion Team

4 stars Maybe not the most original style, but still good music. Classic symphonic of early GENESIS era, all in english, with none of the elements of the italian prog scene that you usually hear, like domination of classical music over rock. Also added to the mix are some folky guitar pieces which suit them nicely. It's an enjoyable listen if you're not gonna nitpick how unoriginal or derivative the music may be , as I am quite tolerant of 70's bands that sound similar, it's quite a different story when a band in the 2000's try to emulate these sounds then they just bore the hell out of me. Recommended to symphonic fans, but not for someone who looks for italian sound though.

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 Mass Media Stars by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 66 ratings

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Mass Media Stars
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is such a catchy and melodic album that is played at a very high level and includes vocals in English from Bernardo Lanzetti. I don't even detect an accent which might be because at 14 years of age he spent a year living in Texas, then a few years later he would go back for another 6 months. He knows the English language well. I'm surprised he doesn't have a Southern drawl though (haha). He does kind of warble when he sings which I find amusing. It reminds me of the vocalist on the SPLIT ENZ debut. Mellotron on 4 of the 6 tracks doesn't hurt.

"Cosmic Mind Affair" sounds good when it kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. The keyboards sound amazing 2 minutes in and check out the vocals that follow. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. A calm before 5 minutes then it kicks back in one more time. I must admit I tired of this song very quickly. "Bar Gazing" has acoustic guitar and vocals reminding me of GENESIS. It kicks in after 2 minutes. Some nice intricate electric guitar around 3 minutes. Harmonies follow. I like it !

"Mass-Media Stars" has so much going on here early on. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in and i'm really reminded of YES on this one including the guitar. "Opening Act" opens with vocals only then the music and vocal melodies follow. Harmonies and vocals are next and themes are repeated on this one. "Professor" opens with the guitar and drums standing out. Vocals a minute in and it's uptempo.Tempo changes will continue to be contrasted. "Coffee Song" ends it in a great way after two so-so tunes. Intricate guitar to start then the vocals take over as the guitar is strummed. Mellotron joins in. The bass and drums become prominant. Beautiful stuff. Love how he warbles here.

I'm glad I took a chance on this one but I do prefer the debut. 3.5 stars.

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 Acqua Fragile by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 78 ratings

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Acqua Fragile
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Forming in 1971 in Parma, Italy, Acqua Fragile were yet another progressive Italian band that didn't achieve the success they deserved and their greatest claim to fame is in providing the springboard for their singer Bernado Lanzetti to move onto greater things with PFM. That's a shame as they certainly had the musical skills, both in playing and composition.

A criticism sometimes levelled at the band is their lack of an authentic Italian sound. This is true as their sound has a much more British feel and parallels can be drawn with early Genesis and Gentle Giant in particular. However taken on its own terms, this, their eponymous debut released in 1973 is a very good album and well worth seeking out. They make good use of vocal harmonies bringing Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to mind, perfectly illustrated on Science Fiction Suite.

The aforementioned Genesis influences are immediately apparent on opener Morning Comes which starts with a mellow pastoral vibe like on Trespass. The track packs a considerable punch however with some powerful instrumental work including pleasing organ and guitar solo and good use of light and shade; dynamic stuff indeed. Comic Strips is where the Gentle Giant influences first become apparent with the quirky vocal lines and jittery structure. It won't go unnoticed by fans of Family how Lanzetti's vocals bear a resemblance to Roger Chapman with plenty of tremolo in his delivery.

Science Fiction Suite is all about the vocals, harmonising over an acoustic guitar backing. Song From A Picture is a lovely piece, mellow and tastefully played. Education Story is more powerful with a unison guitar and organ riff. It doesn't sit in one place too long however and runs through plenty of changes for such a short song, by prog standards anyway. Going Out is another acoustic track and they save the longest until last with the eight minute Three Hands Man. More vocal harmonies overlay a complex instrumental structure. It twists and turns through many changes and an exciting instrumental workout. A great way to close.

If you're looking for some genuine RPI then this won't be what you're after but let's not hold that against them. Putting that aside, Acqua Fragile's debut is a well above average release and worthy of 3 stars.

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 Mass Media Stars by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 66 ratings

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Mass Media Stars
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by progpositivity
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Musically speaking, this is a beautiful album featuring medium-length songs ranging from the pastoral to the powerful. At their best, Acqua Fragile achieves an exquisitely elusive magic that is usually only found on classic Genesis, Gentle Giant or PFM albums.

2 "words of warning" however.

Warning #1 - Vocals: If you have heard PFM's Jet Lag or Chocolate Kings, then there is little doubt you have already formed a strong opinion on the vocal styling of Bernardo Lanzetti. On the one hand, he has a certain classic-era Peter Gabriel timbre to his voice that is almost irresistible. On the other hand, the pitch warbles incessantly. Is he gargling or is he singing? In the end, I've decided that it is a distinctly unique sound, a 'trademark' type sound. You just don't hear it duplicated almost anywhere, so I take it as a plus. Not all feel the same way. Lanzetti is a very polarizing vocalist. Some simply cannot stand abide it, so be forewarned.

Warning #2 ? Lyrics: These lyrics were obviously written in another language and then translated (or should I say transliterated?) into English. The end-result is cringe-worthy. i can only hope that these lyrics were nowhere near as awkward and insipidly shallow in the original language. That said, I've discovered that these lyrics provide a great source of amusement for family and friends. Certainly this comedic accomplishment should count for something!

And so, if you can tolerate a most unusual warbling vocal style, and you don't demand much in the lyrics department, you will be richly rewarded with some very high quality 1970's Italian and Symphonic prog on this disc. This band often gets compared favorably to bands as diverse as Genesis, Gentle Giant and Yes, and not without reason. This is good stuff. Check it out!

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 Mass Media Stars by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.21 | 66 ratings

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Mass Media Stars
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Although the band didn't released any work after this one, there is a tentative for a come back (some demo were recorded in 2004 and 2006) with a new line up around Franz Dondi.

This "Genesis" oriented band released two efforts in early / middle seventies. But their influences also include PFM for instance. This is mostly heard while the opening song "Cosmic Mind Affair". Vocal harmonies are well arranged and the use of keyboards adds a good feel to this quite good song actually ("Professor" also has the same patterns but with a more "Yes" flavour attached to it).

Most songs are of medium length (between five and seven or so) which is fine since it enables to propose decent developed tracks, with theme changes and vocal/instrumental interplay. "Bar Gazing" is a more pastoral song fully in line with the Trespass period. Sweet passages (mellotron) mixed with some rockier ones. You might know that I am quite found of this album ("Trespass"), I mean, and I'm generally not too harsh with bands emulating this period of my youth.

The title track is less catchy: more jazz-oriented, loose, weak melody and weird vocals. Not my cup of tea. The next song is also quite average: a mix of "Yes" and "Gabriel" vocals (!) on a jazzy background. The closing number is sowehow a kaleidoscope of the whole album: acoustic guitar to start, weird vocals but crafted instrumental.

In all, this is not a bad album (just above average). I upgrade it to three stars mainly for the "Cosmic Affair", "Bar Gazing", and "Professor".

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 Acqua Fragile by ACQUA FRAGILE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 78 ratings

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Acqua Fragile
Acqua Fragile Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Since this band sings in English it could have fit into Symph Prog as well. But now we have one melting pot called "RPI" so. Anyway?

When one listens to this debut album from "Aqua Fragile", there is no doubt that the similarities with the very early "Genesis" ("Trespass" of course, not the "Revelation" stuff).

Same sort of plaintive and so recognizable Gabriel style of vocals, pastoral moments combined with some strong guitar and keyboards at the same time. These are the ingredients for the excellent opener "Morning Comes".

The second track "Comic Strips" is much more related to "PFM": it is heavier, jazzier and vocals are quite close as well. Somewhat loose and chaotic, which is in total contrast with the sweet melody of "Morning Comes" and can also be related to VDGG to some extent.

The band goes on with some acoustic notes, which at this time reminds me of a tranquil "Yes" part or a "Crosby, Stills and Nash" one. All this is not bad but one can argue that we are more confronted to a cover band (covering many) than to an original band.

Having said this, I am still charmed by the delicacy and tenderness of "Song From A Picture". A folkish and very melodic tune which offers some nice fluting and sweet acoustic guitar parts. Again, it contrasts with the following "Education Story" which is much darker, almost scary. VDGG again mixed with some enjoyable violin play.

The closing number is the more achieved and complex of the whole: GG, Genesis again are on the menu. Quite upbeat passages, but not only for this quite well arranged track. It changes often from theme but the whole is still very consistent. The best song from this album IMHHO.

This work is not very original but it offers some good chunk of nostalgia for some old freak as I am. Therefore, I rate it with three stars. You won't miss anything if you never listen to it, but if you come close to this work, why not giving it a spin?

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