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Panna Fredda - Uno CD (album) cover


Panna Fredda


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.62 | 93 ratings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

zeuhl1 | 4/5 |


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