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ROCK PROGRESSIVO ITALIANO

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rock Progressivo Italiano definition

aka "RPI"


"So it's an established fact that in Italy during the period between 1971-1974, a music movement existed where bands would challenge each other to see who could be the most imaginative, who could create the album for the ages. They were all painters and sculptors just as in Renaissance Italy." -Tom Hayes/Gnosis


1. The background
As the 60s drew to an end, Italy experienced a wave of new ideas and ideals which coincided with the new musical era being born. It would not be exaggeration to state that the 70s were a watershed period in the history of the country. Even though the 60s are generally remembered as the years of the 'economic boom', it was only in the following decade that Italy made the long, difficult change from a relatively poor, traditional country into a fully developed Western society. A look at any timeline for 70s Italy will show an incredible concentration of events that changed the fabric of Italian society irrevocably: laws and acts were passed which affected worker's rights, family and divorce law, and women's rights and reproductive health. In a country where the physical presence of the Catholic Church has always been impossible to overlook, not least because of its open intervention in the country's political affairs, the introduction of such radical changes was no small feat.

Most of those changes were made possible by the presence of a strong left-wing component in Italian political life, even if regarded with extreme suspicion by both the Church and Italy's main ally, the United States. Though the existence of a party that openly called itself Communist was not exclusive to Italy, at the time the PCI (Partito Comunista Italiano) was considered more of a danger than, for instance, its French equivalent - mainly due to Italy's strategic position in the Mediterranean area, as well as the party's obvious connection with the Soviet Union. Such a peculiar, potentially explosive situation sadly became a breeding ground for a number of extremist groups, who were responsible for the season of violence and unrest commonly known as the 'Anni di piombo' ('years of lead'), which lasted well into the first half of the Eighties. The number of casualties due to terror acts and rioting was quite high, involving people from all walks of life. However, the defining episode of the decade was the kidnapping and subsequent murder of well-known politician Aldo Moro (a left-leaning Christian Democrat) by the notorious Brigate Rosse ('Red Brigades') in the spring of 1978.


2. The birth of a movement
The turbulent times affected countless musicians looking for something new-some way to parallel the political climate through artistic media. Ranging from highly educated conservatory students to local singer-songwriters, this spirit managed to captivate an entire country within a few short years. Young people were restless, bursting with a burning desire to change the staid, suffocating atmosphere of Italian society starting with one of its symbols, its venerable musical tradition. Most musicians had more or less strong left-wing leanings (the prime example being Area), while the few examples of openly right-wing bands never managed to break out of obscurity, or gain more than a strictly cult following.

Without a strong rock tradition in the 60s Italy had mainly produced beat bands of varying quality, as well as singers well-versed in the long-standing canzone tradition of the country. As the tidal wave of counter-culture swept in, it brought revolution not only in the form of progressive rock, but also differing forms of heavier, continental rock which was establishing itself around the same time. Psychedelic influences and the incorporation of classical music may have been the same stepping stones used by most other progressive scenes around the globe during the same period, but even at this embryonic stage there was a whiff of something else in the air. In the late 60s when the beat scene was already heading towards a decline, a number of bands formed, some of them releasing singles (or even albums) that bridged the gap between beat, conventional Italian easy listening music (musica leggera), and the new ideas coming from Great Britain - among them, New Trolls, Le Orme, Panna Fredda, I Quelli (later to become Premiata Forneria Marconi), Il Mucchio, and Fabio Celi e gli Infermieri.

"We wanted to put some improvisations between the singing parts and we had to make up our minds about the style to follow... After having been to the Isle of Wight festival, it was clear to all of us that we couldn't keep on playing the usual songs with verses and refrains." -Toni Pagliuca, Le Orme


3. The golden years
The beginning of the new decade saw the rise of a countless number of bands and artists, some of whom would go on to become successful acts. PFM, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Osanna, Il Balletto di Bronzo, Quella Vecchia Locanda belong to this group, with all but the latter being still active at the time of writing. Some others only managed to release one album (or even just a handful of singles) before they disbanded. The prog-rock bug became so widespread in Italy that some experts say every artist and band in Italy produced at least one progressive album during this time. A number of well-known mainstream artists started their career with a prog album, like singer-songwriters Riccardo Cocciante (with Mu) and Ivano Fossati (with the first Delirium album, Dolce acqua). Or, like Lucio Battisti or Fabrizio De André, they released strongly prog-influenced albums when the movement was at its height.

During the peak years of the RPI movement in the early 70s, countless bands showcased their talent in the many pop festivals organized throughout Italy. The festivals were often free of charge and boasted a level artistic freedom and competition seldom seen in popular music. Fans witnessed bands rise from obscurity to compete on the same stage as the heavy hitters. This musical competition created something of an upward spiral; everyone tried to outdo each other, producing unique sounds and incorporating disparate influences into their music. The variety of the music went through the roof, with every band sharing the same aspirations, though seldom the same sound. It must also be made clear that despite the beliefs of those who write off Italian prog as simply a British counterfeit, many of these bands were creating music that was phenomenally original, experimental, free-spirited, and creatively successful. While bands from abroad helped influence and inspire Italian bands, Italy's young bands quickly took the ball and ran with it. It is ludicrous to suggest the scene a mere imitation. The upward spiral also meant an over saturated market, in which many bands only managed to put out one or two releases with minimal budget and intense recording. Some of the best, most genuine and treasured albums of Rock Progressivo Italiano can be found in this group: Semiramis' "Dedicato a Frazz", Pholas Dactylus' "Concerto delle menti", Raccomandata Ricevuta di Ritorno's "Per un mondo di cristallo", Museo Rosenbach's "Zarathustra", and Balletto di Bronzo's "Ys" to name just a few.

"We had to tackle this tradition, we had to fight against the conventions and refuse to be integrated. The New Sounds hadn't arrived yet, there was no music for the young people, there was nothing, you had to invent and build up your space. Perhaps this was the mainspring that unchained such a creative strength." -Gianni Leone

With time some of the biggest bands achieved international success, with PFM as the best-known example. Lyricist Peter Sinfield, known from his work with giants like King Crimson and ELP, even wrote for the band, while Peter Hammill provided English lyrics for Le Orme's "Felona e Sorona". Ironically this success often meant a detour from the roots of the RPI sounds, making these albums more aligned to the British scene than the bulk of the artists and albums in the archives. Look beneath the surface in order to discover hidden (or not so hidden) gems. While the oft-mentioned big 3 of Italian prog (PFM, Banco, and Le Orme) are conveniently considered the peak by those casually mentioning this scene, RPI enthusiasts know the river runs so much deeper, and many of our personal favourites are found outside of these popular groups. Those who search beyond the surface will discover that the most daring and provocative works were often made by more obscure groups who released one fantastic album and then vanished into thin air. This common syndrome of Italian "one-shot" bands became the bane of many RPI fans.

Since so many different musicians experimented with the progressive format, you will also find a broad musical scope within RPI, something which has kept the subgenre fresh and vital over time. Examples include Franco Battiato (still a very successful artist in Italy), Picchio dal Pozzo, Opus Avantra, Stormy Six and Area, who each in their own individual way, show a more cosmopolitan flavour and range of influences than most other acts.

After its explosive development in the early 70s, the movement followed the same path as other progressive musical movements around the world as the 80s approached. Some influential artists continued to release new albums though never with the same success as in the halcyon days. Others changed with the times and became highly successful mainstream artists both in Italy and internationally. As elsewhere in the prog universe the quantity and quality of RPI began to dry up a bit in the late 70s and early 80s, although there were some quality releases from that period. These titles tended to be more melodic and less brashly avant-garde than the classic period but were respectable nonetheless. To name but a few there were Locanda Delle Fate, Stefano Testa, Pierpaolo Bibbo, and L'Estate de San Martino. Area, Stormy Six, and PFM had a good title or two left in them as well.


4. Musical features of RPI
Italian symphonic prog is notable for the prominence of classical influences, often providing the driving force behind the music. The new listener will discover that this particular branch of RPI feels more like classical music in a rock setting as opposed to occasional classical influences on top of the rock format. Furthermore, the rich, diverse musical traditions of Italy permeate the albums, creating a strong national and even regional character. The "textbook" RPI groups can usually be identified by a pervasive sense of romantic melancholy and earthy flair, sometimes enhanced by baroque elements, sometimes by more ethnic ones. Other distinctive features include overt opera and operetta influences, wild and uncontrolled storytelling, and as a general rule, bold and highly emotional vocals. There is extroverted, operatic gallantry and panache or mellow balladry; exciting use of all sorts of keyboards, with sounds heard nowhere else but in this particular scene; exotic instruments such as aggeggi, ottavino, mandoloncello, clavicembalo- names that tickle the imagination and leave their distinct mark on the music. There is a uniquely magical marriage of the traditional to the modern, of the warm to the wild. The combination of flute, piano and violin is often encountered, and the interplay between the first two instruments in particular supplies the subgenre with a fair share of its identity and flavour.

Though the symphonic element is indeed the most common in RPI, the genre would be better characterized as eclectic. Jazz-fusion, folk, hard rock riffing à la Jethro Tull, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, intense drama a la Van der Graaf Generator (whose albums were revered in Italy), singer-songwriter, proto-metal, blues, avant tendencies, pop, psych, dark/occult, electronic-the list goes on. Even more amazing, these differences in style can often be found to varying degrees on one album, and still feel natural in the distinct stylistic framework mentioned above.

No overview of RPI would be complete without mentioning the use of the Italian language, by many considered one of the most musical languages in the world. It could be safely stated that the use of Italian is inherent to the soul of RPI, a critical component to the full appreciation of the subgenre. In fact, even if some key RPI albums were translated into English in an attempt to gain international recognition, most of them fail to impress. They feel as if one of the basic ingredients of what makes RPI such a successful concoction is missing. While most serious RPI fans consider Italian vocals essential to their listening experience, it is fair to say that some believe English lyrics are not so detrimental-even if in most cases the odd phrasing, incorrect emphasis, and heavy Italian accent of the singers detract significantly from an authentic overall effect. While some prog fans can find the gregarious Italian vocal style challenging at first, newbies are encouraged to simply stick with it for a while. With only a modest effort any RPI newbie will soon find they cannot imagine this music without traditional Italian vocals-they truly are the icing on the cake.

One common misconception that must be addressed is the belief that any prog band from Italy is an RPI band. There are bands from Italy more appropriate for other genres. As an example, a pure and obvious post-rock band who just happen to be from Rome are going to be in the post-rock sub, not RPI. A pure jazz-fusion band with no RPI characteristics to their sound could be easily placed in the Jazz/Fusion subgenre. The RPI team will work hard to evaluate bands that fit the characteristics and the feel of the subgenre, and those whose primary sound is more suited for another sub are recommended to them.

"Progressive is basically a blending of three elements: the song, the improvisation inspired by jazz and the composition in classical style. This cocktail is interpreted in different ways in every country: in England, for instance, Celtic, rock and blues influences prevail. In Italy we have to cope with our classical tradition: the melodramma, Respighi, Puccini, Mascagni but also all the contemporary classical composers. It's in this legacy, in my opinion, that the specificity of the Italian Progressive Rock is concealed." -Franco Mussida, PFM


5. RPI in the new century
As recently as the 90s and early 2000s RPI again proved its longevity to the prog community. Scores of the classic albums were re-pressed in Japan, then specialized independent labels such as BTF, Mellow and Black Widow (the latter responsible for rescuing the likes of Jacula and Antonius Rex from oblivion) started to re-issue many of the classic albums. As a consequence RPI has not only reached a new generation of fans, but the increased interest and appreciation have led to new material being released. Artists whose recordings have never been in circulation, bands that are as new to our ears as they are to many of those who were there when it happened, now have a new-found audience creating an ironic worm-hole effect: brand new music straight from prog's golden years.

With the revival clearly under way the 90s produced some stellar Italian albums and the beginning of CD reissue fever. In the 2000s the trend has continued to a much more successful degree. RPI is back and fan interest has exploded for both the classic period and the new bands of today like Il Bacio Della Medusa, Pandora, Lagartija, Conqueror, Il Ruscello, Senza Nome, Coral Caves, J'Accuse, Ubi Maior, and the projects of Fabio Zuffanti to name just a few. Italian progressive rock today covers a wide range of styles and influences, but many of the bands ground a portion of their sound in the RPI tradition. Moreover, this first decade of the 21st century has seen a new round of publications (both in print and in electronic format) covering various aspects of Italian prog, as well as the creation of a number of excellent websites dedicated to the subgenre, which are extremely influential as regards the promotion of new bands and artists.

The commercial success of RPI has always been modest compared to the big bands from other countries. However, the quality of the music past and present, from its unique compositions to fiercely independent spirit, has earned the RPI subgenre some of prog's most loyal followers.

By:
Raffaella Berry
Michael Berry
Ryan Olsen
Jim Russell
Linus Wikström
Todd Dudley

For the Mick.
29 July 2009



Current RPI Team
Todd
Aussie-Byrd-Brother (Michael)




Additional information:
Italian Prog - A dedicated RPI site
http://www.italianprog.com

Italian Prog Map - A superb blog by RPI writer Andrea Parentin
http://italianprogmap.blogspot.com/

Andrea Parentin's history of RPI (essential reading)
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=33377&PID=2345095#2345095

Andrea Parentin's contemporary Italian prog (newer bands)
http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=62150&FID=58

Movimenti Prog
http://www.movimentiprog.net

Centro Studi per il Progressive Italiano
http://www.centrostudiprogitaliano.it

Mats Italian Prog Site
http://www.italianprogrock.com/index.php

John's Classic RPI blog - Another good blog on the "classic" era
http://classikrock.blogspot.com/

Arlequins - A prog rock webzine with much RPI content
http://www.arlequins.it/gb/index.asp


Where to buy Italian prog
Syn-phonic (USA) - http://www.synphonic.8m.com/index.htm
Doug Larson (USA) - http://www.hicom.net/~dlarson/
Kinesis (USA) - http://www.kinesiscd.com/index.html
Wayside (USA) - http://www.waysidemusic.com/
Mellow Records (Italy) - http://www.mellowrecords.com
BTF (Italy) - http://www.btf.it
Black Widow Records (Italy) - http://www.blackwidow.it
Camelot Music Store (Italy) - http://www.semanticweb.it/camelotstore/

Rock Progressivo Italiano Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Rock Progressivo Italiano | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.42 | 1155 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.42 | 733 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.38 | 905 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.38 | 780 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.29 | 576 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.31 | 438 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.28 | 589 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.27 | 566 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.26 | 650 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.24 | 496 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.20 | 409 ratings
YS
Balletto di Bronzo, Il
4.23 | 277 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.25 | 231 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.20 | 322 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.21 | 260 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.26 | 174 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.19 | 216 ratings
LA CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.29 | 115 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.10 | 386 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.15 | 222 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il

Rock Progressivo Italiano overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Rock Progressivo Italiano experts team

INFERNO
Metamorfosi
UNO
Panna Fredda
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
BUON VECCHIO CHARLIE
Buon Vecchio Charlie

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Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Infinity by PLANETARIUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.18 | 38 ratings

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Infinity
Planetarium Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by progadicto

3 stars This is another "one-album" band from the 70's. Perhaps the bunch of musicians leaded by keyboardist Alfredo Ferrari has not much differences with other great bands of early 70's there are some very interesting elements here, such as delicate keyboard atmospheres and pretty soaring folk sections which gives form to this almost entirely instrumental release.

The album starts with "The Beginning" a mysterious intro based on keyboards and corals which opens the way to the very quiet and floating "Life", built on a jazzy piano, chorus and a great work on guitar and flute.

Then we find the two parts of "Man". The first one is a brief intro based on an almost classical acoustic guitar. The second part is a 3 minute delicate and floating song leaded by flute. Perhaps there are not surprises here, the music is very pretty (almost romantic) and it has most of the classic RPI elements.

"Love" and "War" are another two simple but enjoyable pieces based on piano and acoustic string arrangements, not much inspired IMO. Things change a little with the three last tracks where we find more inclusion of electric arrangements even close to some psychedelic standards which enriches the folk elements of the previous tracks.

At last, a very enjoyable album not at the level of the Italian masterpieces of early 70's even when it has some really great moments? 3*

 The Missing Fireflies... by LOCANDA DELLE FATE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
3.22 | 31 ratings

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The Missing Fireflies...
Locanda delle Fate Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Jeff Carney

3 stars What's a bit perplexing about this release is not the modern re-recording of old compositional ideas, but the questionable vintage source then used to complete them.

In fact, I found the modern recordings to sound absolutely brilliant. Better than could ever have been expected, they truly capture the spirit of how this musical work was surely envisioned in 1977. What is strange is that the 1977 recordings are from a distant audio source, when much of this material was already available via a different performance as a soundboard source, as evidenced by its release on Mellow in 1993. As I've noted in my review of that very Mellow CD, those recordings were absolutely butchered with digital noise reduction, but one would have to think the original tapes used by Mellow would exist. Could those tapes have provided a soundboard quality representation of the 1977 recordings which were used to finish out this fascinating, unreleased musical work?

I guess we can presume that the soundboard tapes available for Mellow's "Live" were unavailable for license or lost to the sands of time. I will say that the 1977 recordings of this material actually sound a bit better here than those on the Mellow CD. Again, this is down to the poor mastering on the Mellow CD. Nothing to do with a vast difference in performance.

So how to rate such a release? It's difficult, but given the quality of the modern version of LDF and their ability to capture a sound so truly similar to their original, I think 3 stars is entirely fair.

 Live by LOCANDA DELLE FATE album cover Live, 1977
3.66 | 21 ratings

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Live
Locanda delle Fate Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Jeff Carney

2 stars If ever you wish to understand why there is a sonic "crusade" against the use of digital noise reduction by many, this release is a fine example.

Even one of the finest reissue labels (Mellow) got burned by some engineer with the misuse of said technique, and the results are disastrous. Nice soundboard audio is simply ruined with no-noise here, and what I suspect were some bright, treble heavy choices on EQ are made to liven this up. But the sound of no-noise gating in and out is everywhere. It pulls at the vocals, and soft piano sections are so overcooked with it that you can sometimes hear the stuff ringing. The music often sounds like it is trapped under water, trying to grasp some air.

Perhaps not perfect recordings in the first place, but given the scarcity of live LDF, it would be wonderful to hear these get a proper release today.

The performances are excellent and it's essential for any devoted fan. However, I think the poor mastering will cause you to reach for this one only very rarely.

 L' enigma della Vita by LOGOS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.26 | 174 ratings

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L' enigma della Vita
Logos Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars This band was originally formed in 1996 and this is their third album, although it is the first since 2001. They are listed as an RPI band but the music is more retro-symph-prog than RPI (old or new). The vocals however are more in RPI territory and don't sound like most symph bands. Although a quartet, there are two keyboard players while one member does both the guitar and bass duties. "Antifona" is a spacey and electronic oriented instrumental opener. Vaguely Floydian sounding. This leads into..."Venivo da un Lungo Sonno" which is more Genesis sounding. The vocals start almost halfway but they don't sound anything like a British band. I like the guitar solo towards the end which sounds like a cross between Gilmour and Hackett.

"In Fuga" starts with some Rhodes piano playing that you would not find on any Genesis or Floyd album. Some mellotron and synth join in just before the rest of the band does. After some vocals the keyboards and guitar alternate doing mini-solos. "Alla Fine Dell'ultimo Capitolo" fades in on a Genesis vibe. Love the chorus/delay effect on the crosspicked guitar. Really nice key/chord changes just before the guitar solo (and during it). Later a very symph prog sounding synth solo. One of the more interesting songs on the album. "N.A.S." is an instrumental. Generally more dark and harder-edged than what came before. The synth soloing is very good and melodic.

The synth and guitar sounds/tones are really good in the title track. The music gets faster and more symphonic starting in the middle. Then the tempo slows back down and the vocals return. "In Principio" is one of the highlights for me. Opening with synth arpeggios and some lovely acoustic guitar. Some vaguely spacey synths can be heard in the background while the vocals are out front. After the drumming arrives the music gets slightly busier. Over halfway comes a menacing sounding synth which, along with the almost funky guitar playing, takes the whole track to a different level. The music continues to get intense with a sympathetic guitar solo.

"Pioggia in Campagna" fades in on a very Genesis sounding note. Eventually things gets more acoustic and RPI sounding. A very symph prog sounding organ solo before the middle. Overall the music is classic symph prog but the vocals are more RPI. "Il Rumore Dell'aria" ends the album on a dark, mysterious note. The sound of water drops and some spoken word creates an atmosphere of suspense when coupled with the dramatic and 'dark' sounding synths. Nothing on here which is truly origin or groundbreaking but the album is still enjoyable and consistent. Recommended to fans of retro-prog or the more retro leaning modern RPI stuff. I will give this a 3.5 but round it up to 4 stars.

 Tacita Intesa by TACITA INTESA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.05 | 26 ratings

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Tacita Intesa
Tacita Intesa Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by HypnoticFM

5 stars As an Italian, I have to admit that our musicians, even the most popular ones, can be - sometimes - extremely ignorant.

Our mainstream bands/singers are 95% of the times people who work with the sole purpose of making their music the most catchy and easy-to-listen they can, in order to address a larger audience, and of course, make a lot of money.

Nowadays, we don't have many bands who really understand and transmit the boundless culture of music.

Thankfully, there are bands like Tacita Intesa in this world. I can roughly translate their name to "Silent Understanding" (such a perfect name for a Prog band).

These guys regularly rehearse in the back of a truck, in a run-down industrial area in the middle of nowhere, Tuscany. I've seen pictures of the place, and it's most likely the coolest DIY studio that ever existed. The fact that they all are about the same age (20-ish) is also crazy, they are so young yet they have already come this far in their knowledge of music. If they're able to make Prog at this level now, I can easily imagine them in 10 - 15 years being one of the best bands Italy has ever had. I know this can sound exaggerated, but I've had the chance to talk to them after one of their live performances (stunning) , and I've seen so much dedication in them, so much love for music.

Let's talk about their debut album a bit.

I have a physical copy of it, and it comes with the little lyrics booklet, which is really interesting to read if you understand Italian. As a matter of fact in some of their songs (like my favorite one, "Valzer della morte") they are trying to tell the listener a story ; that's why I'm saying that having the booklet can change your perception of the music they make.

The songs are very-well structured and diverse, that's why I really liked all of them, there is never a repetitive or dull moment. The album has the right balance between smooth, silky, interludes and schizophrenic, cacophonous refrains. There is everything, from the "traditional" Prog transitions to the most daring experimental sections.

It is a journey through the minds and thoughts of these brilliant, young men. I try to see this not as an album, but as an experience. You should, too.

I am looking forward to listening to their second record, which I heard is being currently produced.

Thank you if you read this review 'til the end, I hope you'll be able to enjoy Tacita Intesa's music as much as I did.

 ...Di Terra by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 176 ratings

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...Di Terra
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Argonaught

5 stars It's with great pleasure that I declare ... di Terra one of the best albums I have ever had.

Normally, I am not a huge fan of RPI; I used to have half a dozen to a dozen albums by PRM, Banco, and a number of albums and/or bands whose names had a word 'Locanda' in them. Some were good, others were not so good. All in all, I thought I'd moved on.

And then came ... di Terra, which I somehow had been escaping my attention for a few decade. So praise me to the PA brethren who pointed in the .. di Terra direction.

There is absolutely nothing on this album that I do not like. I classify this kind of musical as contemporary classical, which can sound like nu jazz in one place, like fusion or jazz-rock in another, and even like a Debussy composition elsewhere on the album.

In the same category, I list Viljans Öga and the latest live album by Jaga Jazzist (with Britten Sinfonia), but .. di Terra, I think, is even better.

The musicianship is flawless, as expected. The compositions are tasteful, mature and complex, but without being too convoluted or lengthy to enjoy.

Special bonus for refraining from singing, although some folks will disagree with this postulate. An extra special bonus for the length of the album that is neither too short, nor too long.

Also importantly, the .. di Terra has passed the rigorous "car test" with flying colors, which means it sounds pretty good even in mildly "audiophob" circumstances of a moving budget compact :)

I can't say I quite get the album art, but this "offence" will not cost ... di Terra half a star :)

Recommended to all those who like the late 20 century's take on romantic classical and symphonic music.

 L'Antico Regno by SECRET TALES album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 3 ratings

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L'Antico Regno
Secret Tales Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars The Italian label Black Widow specializes in dark-toned RPI, and this new band - which however has its roots on a 2010 album The Secret Wood Tales by the core duo - makes no exception for that matter. But SECRET TALES definitely isn't a typical RPI band, or typical anything. Since I got the CD long before they were added into the Archives, I noticed that the subgenre question wasn't an easy one. The Gothic tasting music has elements from several directions, such as Folk, Metal, even Psychedelic/Space Rock, but in the end, being not quite complex and progressive enough for Eclectic Prog category, the RPI choice is surely the most logical.

The Italian lyrics (plus one, slightly more commercial sounding track in English) are sung by Tiziana Radis, who co-writes the music with keyboardist Roby Tav and also plays guitar, lute, bodhran and percussion. Her rather unique vocal expression operates between low and high, from folky sincerity to opera flavour. In my opinion the key word to this music is atmosphere, and in that sense PINK FLOYD can be taken as one helpful reference. That dark and yet relatively accessible atmosphere is seasoned with fairy tale pixiedust of ancient times. On some tracks, especially 'Il Menestrello' and the finale piece called 'Saluto del Cantore', the Medieval / Renaissance flavour is very central. The wordless (not voiceless) intro piece 'Stargate' is an example of the majestic, cinematographic spirit that's also woven into the music every now and then. The title tracks leans towards Gothic Metal without completely rejecting the folk nuances either.

What this album perhaps lacks are individually memorable and strong compositions, as well as more virtuotic use of instruments, but the distinctive atmosphere and a personal mixing of various elements that all work pretty well together makes up for an interesting album. 3½ stars rounded up for beautiful cover art.

 La Zona D'Ombra by MAGNOLIA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.84 | 37 ratings

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La Zona D'Ombra
Magnolia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Italian band MAGNOLIA (not to be confused with the Swedish outfit of the same name) has a hiostory that can be tracked back to the '90s and a band called Eclissidra that released an EP back in 1995 and then folded a few years later. They had changed their name to Magnolia prior to calling it a day though, and decided to maintain this latter name when they reunited in 2010. "La Zona D'Ombra" is their debut album, released by Lizard Records in 2012.

Pleasant, harmonic progressive rock with distinct mainstream tendencies is what Italian band Magnolia provides us with on their debut album "La Zona D'Ombra". High-quality female vocals are the dominating elements on the album that blends textured post rock elements with careful, almost ballad-oriented sequences with and without symphonic-tinged keyboard support, with occasional forays into a harder edged variety of heavy, '70s-style, progressive rock. A production that merits an inspection by those generally fond of artists blending progressive and mainstream rock, and in particular if you have a soft spot for high-quality, female lead vocalists.

 La Ballata Del Vecchio Marinaio by UNA VOLTA ERAVAMO IN SETTE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.45 | 7 ratings

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La Ballata Del Vecchio Marinaio
Una Volta Eravamo In Sette Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars An Italian group from Forli, Una Volta Eravamo In Sette were formed in 2008 by Francesco Agnoletti (keyboards, electric guitar, vocals), Riccardo Fiorini (vocals, flute), Mattia Massa (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals), Fabrizio Piani (bass) and Mattia Flamigni (drums).They instantly focused on writing original music, based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem ''The rime of the ancient mariner''.Two years later they came up with the album ''La ballata del vecchio marinaio'', which was offered as a free download via the jamendo platform.

A beautiful album of modern Italian Prog and a great display of composing talent, quirky compositions and Italian lyricism, featuring elements spanning from the old years of Classic Italian Prog to modern sounds and sights.While there's not much to do with PANGEA's ''Invasori'', I would compare this album to the lost Italian gem because of its diversity, atmospheric depth and stylistical collage, which contains both psychedelic and folky parts blended with the standard love of Italians for Classical Music.Of course the sound of the band was not very retro-sounding, while there are occasional harder, guitar- oriented parts to be found plus you can add a dash of Fusion in the process.Lots of flute and piano, some delicate symphonic moments, oriental vibes on the opening ''Overture'' and great mixture of acoustic/elegant instrumentals and Medieval/Mediterrenean echoes with full-blown Prog, filled with breaks and changing tempos.I am surprised that such a concept is not dominated by lyrics, the vocals are quite limited to sentimental singing and narrations and the instrumental parts prevail in here with Jazz, Classical, Folk and Rock music meeting in different pairs.HOSTSONATEN might be the best comparison, the Zuffanti project, which loved to combine atmospheric segments with a complex instrumental edge.The guitars have more of a Heavy/Psych meet Post Rock color, but all the rest come from the aforementioned styles with a vast palette of climates completing a great little pearl.

Mattia Flamigni quit from the band in 2012 and I am pretty unsure he was ever replaced.The facebook page of the band does not leave promise for future activities.Fortunately this nice work is free downloadable and anyone in love with the more flexible side of Italian Prog should track this down.Strongly recommended, a very talented band with some true potential, apparently we will never find out if they would ever come up with an even better second record...3.5 stars.

 Il Paese Del Tramonto by UNREAL CITY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 43 ratings

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Il Paese Del Tramonto
Unreal City Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by floflo79

5 stars After the awesome La Crudelta Di Aprile, the modern kings of RPI come back with Il Paese Del Tramonto. This album contains every thing that I like in Unreal City. Great melody, great vocals, intelligent compositions, epic music, progressive keyboards solos, beautiful guitars,etc... This album is almost as good as La Crudelta Di Aprile. The final suite of twenty minutes called Ex Tenebrae Lux is for sure on of the best tracks of Unreal City. This albums seems like it will be in the top 10 (or 5) of 2015, and in the top 100 of the 2010's. Pure RPI, pure music.
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Rock Progressivo Italiano bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
A PIEDI NUDI Italy
ABISSI INFINITI Italy
ABSENTHIA Italy
ACQUA FRAGILE Italy
AD MAIORA Italy
ADHARMA Italy
AINUR Italy
AKRON Italy
L' ALBERO DEL VELENO Italy
ALGEBRA Italy
ALESSANDRO ALISCIONI Italy
ALLEGRI LEPROTTI Italy
GLI ALLUMINOGENI Italy
ALPHATAURUS Italy
ALTARE THOTEMICO Italy
ALUSA FALLAX Italy
ANACONDIA Italy
ANCESTRY Italy
THE ANCIENT VEIL Italy
ANTONIUS REX Italy
GLI APOSTHOLI Italy
APOTEOSI Italy
APRYL Italy
ARCHITRAVE INDIPENDENTE Italy
AREA Italy
ARIES Italy
ARJUNA Italy
ARMONITE Italy
ARPIA Italy
ARS NOVA (ITA) Italy
ASSEMBLEA MUSICALE TEATRALE Italy
ASSENZIO Italy
ASTROLABIO / ELETTROSMOG Italy
ATON'S Italy
ATTO IV Italy
AUDIO Italy
AURORA LUNARE Italy
IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI Italy
SOPHYA BACCINI Italy
IL BACIO DELLA MEDUSA Italy
BALLETTIROSADIMACCHIA Italy
IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO Italy
IL BALLO DELLE CASTAGNE Italy
THE BALMUNG Italy
LA BAMBIBANDA E MELODIE Italy
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Italy
BARABBA Italy
MARIO BARBAJA Italy
BAROQUE Italy
BARROCK Italy
LUCIANO BASSO Italy
FRANCO BATTIATO Italy
PIERPAOLO BIBBO Italy
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO Italy
BLOCCO MENTALE Italy
BONDAGE Italy
LA BOTTEGA DELL'ARTE Italy
BRAEN'S MACHINE Italy
BRAINDEAD Italy
ANGELO BRANDUARDI Italy
BRIGHT HORIZON Italy
BUON VECCHIO CHARLIE Italy
CAGE Italy
I CALIFFI Italy
CALLIOPE Italy
CAMERA ASTRALIS Italy
JURI CAMISASCA Italy
CAMPO DI MARTE Italy
CANTINA SOCIALE Italy
CAPITOLO 6 Italy
CAPRICORN COLLEGE Italy
CAPSICUM RED Italy
ENZO CAPUANO Italy
IL CASTELLO DELLE UOVA Italy
IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE Italy
CAVALLI COCCHI LANZETTI ROVERSI Italy
CELESTE Italy
IL CERCHIO D'ORO Italy
CERVELLO Italy
CHERRY FIVE Italy
CHIAVE DI VOLTA Italy
LUCIANO CILIO Italy
CIRCLE OF FAIRIES Italy
CITTÀ FRONTALE Italy
CIVICO 23 Italy
CLEPSYDRA Italy
I COCAI Italy
ROBERTO COLOMBO Italy
CONDOR Italy
CONQUEROR Italy
CONSORZIO ACQUA POTABILE Italy
CONTRAPPUNTO Italy
CONTROTEMPO Italy
COOPERATIVA DEL LATTE Italy
CORAL CAVES Italy
CORMORANO Italy
EMANUELE CORREANI Italy
CORTE AULICA Italy
CORTE DEI MIRACOLI Italy
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO Italy
MARIO COTTARELLI Italy
COURT Italy
CRYSTALS Italy
GINO D'ELISO Italy
GIANNI D'ERRICO Italy
DALLAGLIO Italy
DALTON Italy
DE DE LIND Italy
DELIRIUM Italy
MAURIZIO DI TOLLO Italy
I DIK DIK Italy
DISTILLERIE DI MALTO Italy
DIVAE Italy
DUEMILA12 Italy
ECLISSE Italy
EDERA Italy
EDGAR ALLAN POE Italy
EGO Italy
EGONON Italy
EMPIRE Italy
ENEIDE Italy
ENIMA Italy
ENTITY Italy
EQUIPE 84 Italy
ERA DI ACQUARIO Italy
ERIS PLUVIA Italy
ERRATA CORRIGE Italy
L' ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO Italy
EUTHYMIA Italy
EXPLOIT Italy
FABIO CELI E GLI INFERMIERI Italy
FALENA Italy
FEM PROG BAND Italy
FESTA MOBILE Italy
FILARMONICA MUNICIPALE LACRISI Italy
FILORITMIA Italy
FINISTERRE Italy
FLEA Italy
FLOATING STATE Italy
RICCARDO FOGLI Italy
FOGLIE DI VETRO Italy
FORMULA 3 Italy
FABIO FRIZZI Italy
CLAUDIO FUCCI Italy
GARYBALDI Italy
GENCO PURO & CO. Italy
GENFUOCO Italy
GERMINALE Italy
FRANCO MARIA GIANNINI Italy
GIARDINI D'AUTUNNO Italy
GIARDINO DELLE DELIZIE Italy
I GIGANTI Italy
GIGI PASCAL E LA POP COMPAGNIA MECCANICA Italy
IL GIRO STRANO Italy
GLEEMEN Italy
GOBLIN Italy
GRAN TURISMO VELOCE Italy
GREENWALL Italy
GRIMALKIN Italy
GRUPPO 2001 Italy
GUERCIA Italy
H2O Italy
HOMUNCULUS RES Italy
HOPO Italy
HORUS Italy
HOSTSONATEN Italy
HUNKA MUNKA Italy
IANVA Italy
IBIS Italy
IL FAUNO DI MARMO / THE REBUS Italy
INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE Italy
J.E.T. Italy
JACULA Italy
JANUS Italy
JESTER'S JOKE Italy
JET LAG Italy
JUMBO Italy
KUNDALINI SHAKTI DEVI Italy
LABIRINTO DI SPECCHI Italy
LAGARTIJA Italy
LASER Italy
LATTE E MIELE Italy
LUCIANO LAURINI Italy
LEO NERO Italy
I LEONI Italy
LETHE Italy
LIBRA Italy
LINEATEORICA Italy
LOCANDA DELLE FATE Italy
EMILIO LOCURCIO Italy
LOCUS AMOENUS Italy
LOGOS Italy
LOST TALES Italy
LOTHLORIEN Italy
MACROSCREAM Italy
MAD CRAYON Italy
MAD FELLAZ Italy
MADRUGADA Italy
MAGNOLIA Italy
MALAAVIA Italy
MALIBRAN Italy
MALLEUS Italy
MANGALA VALLIS Italy
LE MANI Italy
MARCHESI SCAMORZA Italy
LA MASCHERA DI CERA Italy
MAURY E I PRONOMI / AQUAEL Italy
MAXOPHONE Italy
MEDITERRANEA Italy
MELLONTA TAUTA Italy
MESSAGGIO 73 Italy
METAMORFOSI Italy
MINDFLOWER Italy
MINSTREL Italy
MIRAGE Italy
MO.DO. Italy
LORENZO MONNI Italy
MONTEFELTRO Italy
IL MUCCHIO Italy
MURPLE Italy
MUSEO ROSENBACH Italy
FRANCO MUSSIDA Italy
MYROS Italy
LA N.A.V.E. Italy
NARROW PASS Italy
NASCITA DELLA SFERA Italy
NEW TROLLS Italy
NEW TROLLS ATOMIC SYSTEM Italy
NICOSIA & C. INDUSTRIA MUSICALE Italy
NODO GORDIANO Italy
NOTABENE Italy
I NUMI Italy
NUOVA ERA Italy
NUOVA IDEA Italy
OBSCURA Italy
THE ODEJA Italy
ODISSEA Italy
OFFICINA MECCANICA Italy
L' OMBRA DELLA SERA Italy
OMBRALUCE Italy
LE ORME Italy
ORNITHOS Italy
OSAGE TRIBE Italy
OSANNA Italy
IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI Italy
MAURO PAGANI Italy
PANDORA Italy
PANE Italy
PANGEA Italy
PANNA FREDDA Italy
MARIO PANSERI Italy
PARADISO A BASSO PREZZO Italy
MAURO PELOSI Italy
I PENNELLI DI VERMEER Italy
LA PENTOLA DI PAPIN Italy
PERDIO Italy
PERIFERIA DEL MONDO Italy
PERSIMFANS Italy
PHAEDRA Italy
PHOLAS DACTYLUS Italy
GIAN PIERETTI Italy
PIERO E I COTTONFIELDS Italy
PIERO EZIO E TINO Italy
PLANETARIUM Italy
PLENILUNIO Italy
PLURIMA MUNDI Italy
LE PORTE NON APERTE Italy
PREGHIERA DI SASSO Italy
PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Italy
PRESENCE Italy
PROCESSION Italy
PROGENESI Italy
PROPHEXY Italy
PROWLERS Italy
PSYCHO PRAXIS Italy
QIRSH Italy
QUARTO VUOTO Italy
QUASAR LUX SYMPHONIAE Italy
QUEL GIORNO DI UVE ROSSE Italy
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA Italy
RACCOMANDATA RICEVUTA RITORNO Italy
I RAMINGHI Italy
RANDONE Italy
RANESTRANE Italy
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA Italy
RICORDI D'INFANZIA Italy
CLAUDIO ROCCHI Italy
ROCKY'S FILJ Italy
IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA Italy
IL RUMORE BIANCO Italy
IL RUSCELLO Italy
RUSTICHELLI & BORDINI Italy
SACKA Italy
SALIS Italy
SAMADHI Italy
SAMSARA Italy
TITO JR. SCHIPA Italy
LA SECONDA GENESI Italy
SECRET TALES Italy
IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO Italy
SEMIRAMIS Italy
LE SENSAZIONI Italy
SENSITIVA IMMAGINE Italy
SENZA NOME Italy
SHOWMEN 2 Italy
PAOLO SIANI & FRIENDS FEAT. NUOVA IDEA Italy
SIDE C Italy
IL SISTEMA Italy
SITHONIA Italy
SLOGANS Italy
LA SORGENTE Italy
ALAN SORRENTI Italy
ST.-TROPEZ Italy
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Italy
STRANAFONIA Italy
DEMETRIO STRATOS Italy
SUBMARINE SILENCE Italy
SUNSCAPE Italy
SYNDÉRESI Italy
SYNDONE Italy
TACITA INTESA Italy
TAPROBAN Italy
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE Italy
TENEBRAE Italy
I TEOREMI Italy
STEFANO TESTA Italy
THEGENERATION Italy
THREE MONKS Italy
TILION Italy
TOTO TORQUATI Italy
LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA Italy
TRIADE Italy
THE TRIP Italy
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI Italy
TUGS Italy
UBI MAIOR Italy
ULTIMA SPIAGGIA Italy
UNA VOLTA ERAVAMO IN SETTE Italy
UNO Italy
UNREAL CITY Italy
L' UOVO DI COLOMBO Italy
VEDDA TRIBE Italy
VIEUX CARRE Italy
VITTORIO DE SCALZI - LA STORIA DEI NEW TROLLS Italy
IL VOLO DI ICARO Italy
IL VOLO Italy
RICCARDO ZAPPA Italy
ZAUM Italy

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