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FJIERI

Neo-Prog • Italy


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Fjieri biography
Italian band FJIERI was formed in 1997 by Elio Lori (bass), Nicola Lori (guitars), Stefano Panunzi (keyboards and loops) and Angelo Strizzi (drums, percussion). And although working with their musical visions for several years, it wasn't until keyboardist Richard barbieri heard some of their compositions that they managed to take some giant steps forward.

Barbieri decided to contribute with his skills as a musician and also decided to produce Fjieri's forthcoming debut effort, and with him onboard some of his other musical associatons decided to contribute as well. The final result was issued as "Endless" in 2009, with several guest appearances from well known names from the internation progressive rock scene.

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Words Are All We HaveWords Are All We Have
Import
Fjieri
Audio CD$14.79
$14.25 (used)
EndlessEndless
Forward Music 2010
Audio CD$21.89
$32.07 (used)
Endless by Fjieri (2010-01-19)Endless by Fjieri (2010-01-19)
Forward Music
Audio CD$45.36
Words Are We All We Have by FjieriWords Are We All We Have by Fjieri
Emerald Recordings
Audio CD$55.44


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FJIERI discography


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

3.83 | 34 ratings
Endless
2009
4.12 | 57 ratings
Words Are All We Have
2015

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FJIERI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Words Are All We Have by FJIERI album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.12 | 57 ratings

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Words Are All We Have
Fjieri Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Fjieri's career debut Endless was a scorcher album, a sensational 2009 release that had a great deal going for it. Gorgeous cover art, pristine production and a modern prog feel that winks strongly at acts such as Tim Bowness, No-Man and Mick Karn (that devilish fretless bass attack). No surprise then that Bowness sang often and well, Karn was featured on one track and Porcupine Tree stalwarts Richard Barbieri and Gavin Harrison colored it all up. All in all, a refreshing new player on the prog scene.

The band is now essentially Nicola Lori on bass and guitars as well as Stefano Panunzi on keyboards, with a new major contributor in the legendary Jakko Jakszyk on vocals and guitars (he of the Tangent, King Crimson, Level 42, Battiato, etc?). Bowness sings on one track and Harrison guests again. The hour long (68 minutes) material is smokier and perhaps even jazzier with the input of Mike Applebaum's urban trumpet and Nicola Alesini's saxophone while Jakko adds his rather unique rock/jazz/Canterbury style in both his mercurial singing as well as his blitzy guitar rants. Lori's tortuous bass rules supreme nevertheless, slithering out from the speakers very detected and overt, carving deep rumbles into the dreamy compositions and redefining a sound that is hard to emulate. Quirky, ardent, distinctive and yet deeply chic and current, this music has so many applications as head music, feet shuffle and feel good mood creator.

The sweeping opening instrumental "Oriental Dream" is a perfect example of their method, that fat four string wobbler creeping into the brain , monstrous yet determined, building up quite a euphoric plateau of sound and structure that features cohesion and adventure. Obtuse rhythmic collisions, steadfast drumming, ardent e-piano motifs all collaborate in the endeavor. The insistent and rash guitar infuses a sense of momentary insanity, the trumpet doing the opposite. The sax does a great Mel Collins-like blur when prompted. Darn brilliant! Sidestep into a chill setting, "The City Lights" suggests subtler expanses, a pre-dawn essay on a sleepy urban spread, a smooth track that needed a few return visits to fully admire, with a slight Level 42 feel, blaring neon trumpet and rubbery bass tripping the light fantastic and only serving to set the table for a series of stellar songs that really define and perfect their craft.

The thrilling "Before I Met You" has a driven urgency that astounds immediately, Jakko's snarling voice leading his raging and at times blaring rhinoceros guitar, a strong deliberate beat and a sense that there is strong Steve Wilson feel here to please that progfan. This could easily have figured on the majestic "Hand. Cannot. Erase", it's that expressive. The slide guitar solo skimming over the bass grumble is primo stuff and a thorough thumbs up.

As if that was not yet conclusive enough, "Not Waving but Drowning" delves even deeper into surreal images and sounds. Suave and persuasive, the temperamental ballad is expertly sung by the mercurial Jakko, that metallic trumpet twang providing even more brassy substance, again winking at a modern prog style that will be the future standard bearer for our genre. Insidiously charming and highly addictive. The up-front bass defines the guiding light and carves the road ahead.

Things get markedly more intense as "It Would All Make Sense" again takes it straight into this Canterbury- styled British jazz-pop that Jakko excels at (with bands like Manzanera, No-Nan, The Tangent, Henry Fool), complete with wispy soloing on guitar and synths and a masterful vocal performance. Only slight respite comes from a Bowness/Barbieri title track remake from their 1994"Flame" album that really slays some dragons. Jakko doing a lovely job on a sublime piece of music that is even better than the original, further hyped up by that 'queefing' bass vroom that never ceases to amaze. The tremendous spirit of Mick Karn is perfectly audible here. I kneel before the shrine.

A second series of tunes develop their sound even further into distant sonic landscapes as "Sati" and "Hidden Lives" paint surrealist images of daily 21st century life. The first is a slow-paced snailfest, almost reminiscent of early David Sylvian, very morose and distinctive until that bristling trumpet curves into the trembling synths and that darn bass loop, the drums a la Steve Jansen. Highly adventurous and creative, the musical equivalent of night dreaming amid pleasant hallucinations. The second is a sorrowful reflection once again, something Steve Wilson is doing with that hushed voice standing out amid the sadness, the spooky apathy and the funereal beat, tortured sax notwithstanding. The angelic Tim Bowness adds his distinctive voice, which certifies the No- Man connection completely. The screeching overhead synth melody is utterly enchanting, oozing with symphonic pain and metronomic propulsion. Stefano Panunzi is a masterful color coordinator on his subtle keyboards throughout this splendid opus.

The silky splendor of "In the Morning" is perhaps the highlight track, exuding that cottony sense when one wakes up from a gloriously restful sleep. Sleepy and disjointed at first, the bass shepherds the mood into a more impactful performance, sweeping and stately, a curious guitar splice that is pure Jakko (he is an exceptionally underrated axeman), harnessing tone and quirkiness with unparalleled ease, in a style all onto its own. Tremendous and grandiose music.

"Zombie Love" is forceful and attractive, so as to shuffle the cards, a piece that is desperately darker and with a twinge of sinister. The sizzling bass operates again under the floorboards, helping to exude a sense of gloom and doom, somewhat reminiscent of Shawn Guerin's "Monsters in my Room" or the Cure's creepy "Lullaby". But the big surprise is the heavy middle section, armed with bang-bang guitar riffs that collide with a zippy synth solo. Rampant, livid, insane and delirious, the wake-up is brutal indeed.

The edgy and nervous bass jumps into the fray on "Damaged Goods", handing the arrangement a jaunty and jazzy feel, closer to that Level 42 feel, albeit in a proggier form. (It must be said that Level 42 had a well- documented commercial side but also a progressive side when Jakszyk and Allan Holdsworth were the guitarists!). The brief guitar solo here is jangly, oblique and totally delightful.

"Those Words" finishes off this masterpiece that truly deserves a greater audience, certainly deserving if only as an honorable elegy to a disappeared talent (Mick Karn sadly died in 2011, RIP) but proposing intelligent music for our ongoing progressive renaissance. Fjieri proposes a different take on prog and we are all the merrier for it. Wilson fans should definitely check this one out. Not a single track is out of place and thus , proceeds to the winner's podium for 2015 releases.

5 Concealed Fabrications

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 Endless by FJIERI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.83 | 34 ratings

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Endless
Fjieri Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars I generally find myself in complete and total agreement with the astute Mellotron Storm when it comes to prog but why have a clone , after all we do have our own tastes (I am not such a huge Rush fan). Here is an example where we differ significantly , as I am a mammoth fan of the very recently departed and oh so regretted Mick Karn, a superlative bassist who simply redefined the fretless 4 string wobbler and took it into the rhythmic stratosphere. His magical fingers grace a piece here called "Ad Occhi Chiusi" and you will see what all my fuss is about. That being stated, I adore ambient music, always have and always will , as floating in dreamland is a personal heaven and refuge from life's basic injustice (without the necessary use of any drugs BTW).

This Italian album is a killer when listened to properly, a sizzling set of moody soundscapes that are somewhere in Porcupine Tree grooveland and the No-Man catalogue, both reputedly shepherded by some Steven Wilson fellow. Fellow Italians No Sound may also be a reference , although this material is bit more rhythmic. So it will come to no surprise that we have a few known guests here besides Karn, namely ex-Japan partner Richard Barbieri on synths, the impressive Gavin Harrison on drums and the suave vocals of Tim Bowness. When prog is bass-led, I generally find myself rapt in gaga agreement, as I am finding groove beats so rewarding in terms of movement and pace, atmosphere and aura. Now decorate the deal with ornate keys (namely the elegant piano), some fascinating strings (cello), a singe of clarinet and wrap it all up with riveting guitar breaks and solos, plus a dash of sound effects to give it a modern sheen and presto!

All is delicious here; the opener "A Reality Apart" sets the table with a dreamy, fizzy ambiance, the rambling bass plowing forward through the swirling effects, a basic guitar riff and unending stops and starts characterize the composition. "A Big Hope" introduces a continuum of sorts with Elio Lori's rubbery fretless bass leading the way across a subtle piano motif, caressed by ornate synth swells and some acrobatic lead guitar. But when the somber cello slides in, the mood increases and the beauty of the melody is heightened. A simmering axe solo gracefully decorates the piece, courtesy of Nicola Lori. The afore mentioned "Ad Occhi Chiusi" (Closed Eyes) presents some tired Italian vocals, half whisper and half plaintive regret, whilst Karn's swirly fretless scours the carpet relentlessly. Sax and clarinet recalls his solo album material. Gavin drums the drum. "Marcinelle" continues the aural incantation with French narration effects, a preamble to the delicate harmonics that gently infuse the teaming neo-electronica, crowned by another searchlight guitar solo that soars magically. Panting voices augment the mystery. Luscious music, indeed. It only gets better with the next 2 tracks, the texturally splendid "Breathing the Thin Air" that heralds Tim Bowness' handling of the vocal microphone as only he can (arguably one of the most distinct voices in prog) and a sultry companion to the No-Man catalogue. Smooth, melancholic and distressing, the band gives the proceedings a harder edge yet still showcasing some wondrous piano runs and a plethora of various sonic effects. The cello haunts once again (such a brilliant instrument!!), a truly precious track. The longest track, the 7 minute+ "Endless" has Bowness following through once again on his heavenly promise, a slithering wisp of tortuous space , careening synth loops and hoops, funky guitar scratches and Harrison pounding hard and mighty. The mid-section decides to ratchet up the angst and the mood gets quite heated, furthering one from the too navel gazing ambient tag that some may label this extraordinary music. (John, you got to give this another spin! This is down your hedgehog forest!) . "Soul Eaters" has a female lead vocal in Japanese/English that has shades of Toyah Wilcox, Kate Bush or Terri Roche, a screeching vocal whirl led by that Karn fellow again. This is not ambient at all, but closer to Exposure era Fripp, an edgy, nervous almost neurotic piece that pings and pongs wildly. A brash trashy guitar foray adorns the deal, original to say the least. "The Breath of the Earth" is my fave here, a pounding beat (Gavin, you rock, buddy), a simple riff and a metronomic bass (played by Nicola), an evocative instrumental that astounds and playfully bounds in rocky territory. The axe solo has a Holdsworth touch, whirling dervish of crazy notes ascending, all kept tightly in check with an amazing groove. Wow! The brief "Lotus Flower" puts the final stroke on this much-maligned recording that is also graced with a beautiful cover and general artwork A huge winner and my kind of music. 5 azure arches

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 Endless by FJIERI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.83 | 34 ratings

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Endless
Fjieri Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars FJIERI are a four piece Italian band who play laid back ambient music. Lots of guests here including Tim Bowness doing some vocals. In fact NO-MAN is who they sound most like in my opinion. Even though Barbieri and Harrison from PORCUPINE TREE help out I didn't think of PT at all.

"A Reality Apart" opens with some atmosphere before it kicks in around a minute. It settles again as contrasts continue. Some spoken word samples on this one too. "A Big Hope" opens quietly once again then drums arrive after a minute followed by piano. Cello after 2 1/2 minutes and some guitar after 4 minutes. "Ad Occhi Chiusi" opens with some bass clarinet before sax takes over then Italian vocals. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Not a fan of this one at all. Sax and bass 4 minutes in. "Marchinelle" features spoken Italian words and atmosphere to start. A beat after a minute, some guitar too.

"Breathing The Thin Air" has a light beat as Bowness comes in vocally. Piano and cello later. "Endless" again opens with little going on. Bowness on vocals again before 1 1/2 minutes. A fuller sound a minute later. Guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. "Soul Eaters" has female vocals and the guitar is heavier early before it settles. "The Breath Of The Earth" has a light beat but it gets fuller. A lot of the same sounds and style song after song so i'm being repetitive like the music I suppose. "Lotus Flower" has a beat with piano.

Not nearly as good as NO-MAN in my opinion but certainly if your into the ambient tunes this might impress you. Barely 3 stars.

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 Endless by FJIERI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.83 | 34 ratings

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Endless
Fjieri Neo-Prog

Review by Soul Dreamer

4 stars Fjieri is all about Stefano Panunzi, there is not much difference between this record and the solo projects of Stefano (notably "a Rose") . Great, relaxing music, rock based but with a lot of jazz influences, ambient but with a punch. There is a huge influence here: No-Man, which also shows in the guests on this album, Tim Bowness (singer of No-Man), Richard Barbieri and Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree fame. Best tracks on the album are Breathing the thin Air and the title track, Endless. Very good if you love Ambient influenced music, not quite a masterpiece, but recoomended to any prog lover who likes ambient soundscapes...4 stars

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