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ROCK PROGRESSIVO ITALIANO

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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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 | 1339 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.38 | 896 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.38 | 831 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.36 | 1059 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.31 | 684 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.29 | 666 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.28 | 509 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.24 | 675 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.23 | 742 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.23 | 556 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.25 | 322 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.21 | 467 ratings
YS
Balletto di Bronzo, Il
4.23 | 350 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.22 | 280 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.22 | 256 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.21 | 256 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.18 | 288 ratings
LA CRUDELTÀ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.19 | 227 ratings
PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO
Celeste
4.27 | 135 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.16 | 248 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.10 | 344 ratings
STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.08 | 430 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.10 | 325 ratings
FORSE LE LUCCIOLE NON SI AMANO PIÙ
Locanda delle Fate
4.19 | 152 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.20 | 147 ratings
IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO
Nuova Era
4.09 | 272 ratings
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
4.19 | 145 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM: THE COMPLETE WORK
Latte e Miele
4.09 | 260 ratings
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.09 | 254 ratings
IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.09 | 227 ratings
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
4.16 | 140 ratings
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA
Reale Accademia Di Musica
4.12 | 168 ratings
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
4.09 | 202 ratings
BANCO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.26 | 90 ratings
TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
4.05 | 260 ratings
LE PORTE DEL DOMANI
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.06 | 231 ratings
DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
4.18 | 112 ratings
TALSETE DI MARSANTINO
Estate di San Martino, L'
4.15 | 130 ratings
IL GRANDE LABIRINTO
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.02 | 311 ratings
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
4.02 | 272 ratings
IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTO
Unreal City
4.06 | 196 ratings
ROLLER
Goblin
4.00 | 297 ratings
THE WORLD BECAME THE WORLD
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.13 | 111 ratings
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium
4.04 | 188 ratings
IN HOC SIGNO
Ingranaggi della Valle
4.12 | 118 ratings
VIETATO AI MINORI DI 18 ANNI
Jumbo
3.95 | 381 ratings
CHOCOLATE KINGS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.04 | 147 ratings
MALEDETTI
Area
4.00 | 167 ratings
LA NOTTE ANCHE DI GIORNO
Coscienza di Zeno, La
3.98 | 193 ratings
INFERNO
Metamorfosi
4.06 | 116 ratings
WINTERTHROUGH
Hostsonaten
4.01 | 159 ratings
INTORNO ALLA MIA CATTIVA EDUCAZIONE
Alusa Fallax
4.01 | 157 ratings
ALIENATURA
Tempio delle Clessidre, Il
3.94 | 270 ratings
SUMMEREVE
Hostsonaten
3.97 | 198 ratings
COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.11 | 85 ratings
CAPITOLO 7 - TRA LE ANTICHE MURA
Castello Di Atlante, Il
4.01 | 133 ratings
LUXADE
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.11 | 80 ratings
DELIRIUM III (VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMPO)
Delirium
4.11 | 79 ratings
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI
Trono Dei Ricordi, Il
3.93 | 201 ratings
CONTRAPPUNTI
Orme, Le
4.05 | 95 ratings
SULLE CORDE DI ARIES
Battiato, Franco
4.19 | 58 ratings
DRAMMA DI UN POETA UBRIACO
Pandora
3.95 | 162 ratings
CAUTION RADIATION AREA
Area
4.04 | 94 ratings
ATTOSECONDO
Alphataurus
3.98 | 124 ratings
LA MASCHERA DI CERA
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.09 | 76 ratings
STRIGMA
Taproban
4.02 | 89 ratings
1984 - L'ULTIMO UOMO D'EUROPA
Fabbrica dell'Assoluto, La
4.03 | 85 ratings
CONCERTO GROSSO, THE SEVEN SEASONS
New Trolls
3.93 | 137 ratings
CHERRY FIVE
Cherry Five
3.91 | 152 ratings
SENSITIVITÀ
Coscienza di Zeno, La
3.98 | 97 ratings
AUTUMN SYMPHONY
Hostsonaten
3.94 | 120 ratings
APOTEOSI
Apoteosi
3.93 | 119 ratings
PFM IN CLASSIC: DA MOZART A CELEBRATION
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.01 | 80 ratings
DEDALO E ICARO
Cerchio d'Oro, Il
3.92 | 121 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM
Latte e Miele
4.00 | 81 ratings
ULISSE: L'ALFIERE NERO
Progenesi
3.96 | 95 ratings
ODYSSÉAS
Syndone
3.96 | 93 ratings
DI CARNE, DI ANIMA
Gran Turismo Veloce
3.91 | 125 ratings
1978 GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO
Area
4.14 | 49 ratings
HYBLA ACT 1
Randone
3.91 | 120 ratings
IO SONO MURPLE
Murple
4.04 | 65 ratings
NOUS
Nodo Gordiano
3.90 | 122 ratings
PROFONDO ROSSO O.S.T.
Goblin
3.83 | 241 ratings
COLLAGE
Orme, Le
3.98 | 80 ratings
DIARIO DI VIAGGIO DELLA FESTA MOBILE
Festa Mobile
4.19 | 43 ratings
HYSTERO DEMONOPATHY
Antonius Rex
3.87 | 154 ratings
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER - CHAPTER ONE
Hostsonaten
3.90 | 116 ratings
ESSERE O NON ESSERE?
Volo, Il
3.98 | 75 ratings
SULLA BOLLA DI SAPONE
FEM Prog Band
4.15 | 44 ratings
UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE
Testa, Stefano
4.09 | 47 ratings
FRONTIERA
Procession
3.91 | 94 ratings
DNA
Jumbo
4.11 | 44 ratings
STORIE DI UOMINI E NON
Rocky's Filj
3.99 | 62 ratings
L'ISOLAMENTO DEI NUMERI PARI
Astrolabio / Elettrosmog
4.12 | 42 ratings
E TUTTO COMINCIÒ COSÌ...
Sensitiva Immagine
3.86 | 117 ratings
ELEMENTI
Orme, Le
4.04 | 51 ratings
VOCI
Basso, Luciano
4.06 | 47 ratings
THE LEGEND OF THE HOLY CIRCLE
Three Monks
3.82 | 149 ratings
CAMPO DI MARTE
Campo di Marte
3.89 | 87 ratings
ARIA
Sorrenti, Alan
3.87 | 98 ratings
IL VOLO
Volo, 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

GLI OCCHI DI UN BAMBINO
Torquati, Toto
OPERA PRIMA
Rustichelli & Bordini
POA
Blocco Mentale
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium

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Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls by NEW TROLLS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.69 | 175 ratings

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Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls
New Trolls Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Named after a baroque music format in which a group of soloists trade licks with an orchestra, this doesn't actually include a full orchestra to my ear but does have a string section coming in from time to time to back up the New Trolls. Not that they entirely need it - they prove themselves to be a more than capable prog unit here, taking influences ranging from some decidedly Jimi Hendrix-like guitar (one of the songs here being a tribute to Jimi) to early King Crimson to the sort of sound Jethro Tull best captured on the Living In the Past compilation. (Vittorio De Scalzi has Ian Anderson's "toot then yell" motif down to a fine art.)

Where the Trolls excel is in taking all of these distinct influences and mashing them up into a whole which has a personality of its own. It is no surprise, then, that this release ended up being an important foundational document of the Italian prog scene, coming out at around the same time as Le Orme's Collage did and thus, along with that album, prompting the deluge of Italian prog that would later emerge in 1972.

 The Sun is New Each Day by ARMONITE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 15 ratings

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The Sun is New Each Day
Armonite Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Sun is New Each Day' - Armonite (78/100)

I have an undying respect for Italy's progressive rock underground. In the good old days they were arguably second only to the British prog powerhouse, and even then they had a theatrical sound that was distinctly their own. I'm not sure it would be quite fair to lump Armonite in the same canon as Premiata Forneria Marconi and their ilk, there's a similar sense of adventurousness in their sound that you seldom hear in modern prog anymore. The Sun is New Each Day bridges the gap between avant-prog and art rock. Blended together under an instrumental approach, it's surprising that this is only Armonite's second album. While they're a bit too eclectic to have a distinctive sound of their own, their consummate playfulness clearly indicates they're confident enough to know what they're doing.

In my experience of avant-prog, I've noticed groups fall into one of two categories. The first focus heavily on the cerebral element of the avant-garde, treating their art as an intellectual exercise. The second tries to inject that serious framework with character and humour. While it's lamentable that few of these artists are as skilled as comedians as they are as musicians, it's a great blend when it works well. It's impressive in its own right that Armonite are able to get the impression of humour across with a minimum of vocals. Save for a handful of spoken word samples, The Sun is New Each Day is entirely instrumental, but you can still tell Armonite approach their craft with tongue-in-cheek. Arguably the best example of their humour at work is on "Insert Coin", where a playful rhythm is spruced up with 8-bit video game samples.

Musically, Armonite are defined by Jacopo Bigi's electric violin arguably filling in the role of a lead guitar. Although the band's sound shifts too much more song to song to develop a singular sense of character, his violin carries a lot of the band's performance along. As performers, Armonite are at the top of their game; such as it is, I'm shocked they've been relatively silent since their debut release nearly two decades ago. Veteran proggers may be excited to hear that Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin takes part on the album. The thick bass grooves on PT's material are replaced here by playful licks, but the same talent is undeniable. Hopefully it won't be another sixteen years before we hear another record from Armonite. This approach may have been heard before, but it's not often you hear it done with such liveliness.

 Storia Di Un Minuto by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.36 | 1059 ratings

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

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

5 stars 34 minutes in length, this album is about 3500% longer than the title would suggest! Barring this one mild creative misdirection from the band, I'd say that PFM just about nailed the Italian style of prog right on the head with this one.

The lush instrumentals, the pastoral interludes, sweeping mellotrons, the romance, the passionate Italian vocals, the toying with classical ideas, it's really all here, and all executed to its fullest. Side one of the album is an example of the all-too-rare perfect side; after a brief "Introduzione", we're greeted by the nostalgic "Impressioni di Settembre", which takes just about every aspect of RPI I just listed and stuffs it into one 6 minute package.

And if you didn't think that the album could possibly live up to the standard that its opener set, the vibrant, jovial "E' Festa" delivers some stunning guitar and keyboard interplay in what starts out as almost a blues rocker, but soon weaves itself into a very creative mosaic of a track. The absolute gem of the album, though, in terms of beauty is the classically-influenced "Dove... Quando..., Pt 1", which tugs at the heartstrings like little other music can.

After the powerhouse first side, side two does seem a little bit weaker in comparison, but certainly not enough that this first entry in the classic PFM catalog can't be considered a masterpiece. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys symphonic prog or romantic music in general. 5 stars.

 Metafora di un Viaggio by SEZIONE FRENANTE album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.24 | 10 ratings

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Metafora di un Viaggio
Sezione Frenante Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars My good friend Jean Roby (not to be confused with John 'the Cat' Robie of Alfred Hitchcock fame, the suave cat burglar in the legendary film 'To Catch a Thief') and I have been exchanging progressive rock discussions for a couple of years now and he suggested I strive to hunt this sucker down, as it was his opinion that I would go gaga over this Italian band from Venice whose name would be translated as The Braking Section. He was dead right as this debut album owns all of the hallmarks of a classic RPI release but fondly wrapped in a modern lustre. Hints of Le Orme, PFM and Banco are front and center, festooned by some terrific modern production techniques and a pristine recording. The seasoned musicians are simply first rate, especially the bass player Sandro Bellemo who just knocks it out the park throughout the set list. The rest of the squadra are no slouches either, as Dario Mestriner plays a mean guitar with a wide variety of tones to satisfy the axe technician, keyboardist Mirco de Marchi favors rolling organ, delicate piano and subtle synthesizer moves , while drummer Alessandro Casagrande pounds like the best of them. The biggest surprise is lead lung Francesco Nardo, who owns a deluxe and expressive set of pipes that verges on the outstanding and thus providing a highly enjoyable upfront presence that does wonders to the stylish arrangements.

There are plentiful moments where the mood is perhaps closer to a lighter version of Deep Purple or even Uriah Heep what with the slick interplay between Mastriner and de Marchi as well as the rock-solid partnership on bass and drums. I was immediately impressed from the very first notes, stunned into submission by the crisp edges and overt melodies that litter this album. Fresh and powerful, the production is deliriously attractive, the melodies are simple yet divine, as I have caught myself many times humming certain passages.

When first hearing the opener 'La Quiete In Un Attimo', I was quite surprised by the sizzling touches from axeman Dario Mastriner, purveyor of stinging leads and shrieking riffs that ultimately lead to the delicate piano and the suave voice of Francesco Nardo in loving embrace.

Then comes the 2 part 'La Meta non Trovata' which offers a binary beat, dancing organs and a shuffling funky guitar swath that once again switches to a piano and voice duet, organ in the background. The guitar then scours gently like some stringed lullaby. The second part is typical RPI in all its simplicity and delicate nature. The electric guitar takes over the main melody and forges ahead with bold determination.

With 'Attesa', I was tempted to believe that I was listening to a new version of the Cars 'Let the Good Times Roll' as the first few seconds are nearly identical, before veering into outright RPI mode, with striking guitar scratches and organ rumbles. I wonder if Braking Section and Cars have anything in common? Nah'just my overtly abundant imagination. Anyway, the track then evolves into this galloping march, the raunchy bass leading the way for the thumping binary drums a la Lee Kerslake. Short, sweet and fun with a cool organ flurry to exit. 'Passagio' is a minute of oddness, the guitar and keys in a tandem tornado that kicks up a mini-storm. Only to prepare for 'Viscido Ambiente', another brief but powerful piece that has all the fine little musical touches that ultimately showcase the dazzling voice of Francesco Nardo, a clean and startling belt that has all the emotions one can ask for.

'Pace Immaginata' is perhaps the finest RPI song in a decade, a stupendous slice of perfection led by a monster bass groove that just keeps pounding furiously at your brain. Everything about this piece is sumptuous, incredible vocalizations, deadly guitar stokes, subtle keyboard interventions and tremendous drum support. The initial melody is subtly carved out on triangle hand percussion, then a takeover the lead bass jumps in to propel this masterful piece forward with drums, bass and choir in hot pursuit. A buzzing, fuzzy lead guitar really kills it. Tremendous tune.

Bass, tubular bells and e-piano infect 'Quattro Stelle', another monumental song that provides intense resolution from Nardo's booming voice, keys and guitar in unison in a decidedly Mediterranean feel (that accordion-like patch). The bass undertow is sublime, this man Bellamo knows how to play his instrument, up-front and center.

The album finishes off with 2 longer pieces, the 8 minute + epic 'Nota Stonata' forging ahead nicely, riding the bass player's crest, with the De Marchi organ loyally following behind and expert aid from drummer Casagrande. The lead singer does perhaps his finest work on this tricky vocal arrangement, both demanding and complex, a real quality delivery of an ultra-expressive melody that is not an easy chore. The honking Hammond is also in the spotlight, keeping things very 70s a la Toni Pagliuca of Le Orme legend, later tossing in some fine synthesizer layers to add to the texture.

Another superb piece is the 9 minute 'Svegliati Luce', a more tortuous composition once again dominated by a marvelous bass run, slithering synthesizers, and powerful drum support. The Hammond does it smoking thing quite convincingly, playful and burning. Guest Antonio Zullo does wonders on acoustic guitar, the choir mellotron heightening the voice to even loftier pinnacles and then one more go-around, lead guitar soloing from Mastriner that shudders and soars, while Bellamo threatens below. Bombastic symphonic prog Italian style. Si, per favore, ancora!

This is an obviously mature crew of seasoned musicians who have waited a long time to put their craft into a recording and in my opinion, they succeed brilliantly in combining the glory years with a modern, fresh and direct approach, with crystalline sound and intense presentation. This is one hell of a debut album, for sure and I thank 'the Cat' for not putting the brakes to this disc-overy !

4.5 Excursion allegories

 Arx Atlantis by CASTELLO DI ATLANTE, IL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.67 | 6 ratings

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Arx Atlantis
Il Castello Di Atlante Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by aenimarecordings

5 stars Seven years after their previous studio album "Capitolo 7 - Tra le Antiche Mura" Il Castello di Atlante is finally back with its latest "Arx Atlantis" celebrating the band's 40th anniversary of music career.

The band took a new path by evolving their sound and recording techniques, giving this new record a whole new level, maybe the highest point they ever reached: mature arrangements together with a fresh and punchy sound are the main ingredients of the 5 tracks featured in "Arx Atlantis".

Aldo Bergamini (guitar, vocals), Andrea Bertino (violin), Davide Cristofoli (keyboards), Paolo Ferrarotti (keyboards, vocals, drums), Dino Fiore (bass) and Mattia Garimanno (drums) painted this dynamic portrait of the most genuine italian progressive rock, telling stories of life experiences through the songs: "Non Ho Mai Imparato", the perfect opener; "Il Vecchio Giovane" the story of an old man that still feels young and tells how important is to still keep on dreaming and open our minds; "Ghino e l'Abate di Clignì" representing a novella from Giovanni Boccaccios' The Decameron - must be noted that this song is featuring Tony Pagliuca (ex-member of the historical band "Le Orme") and will be featured on the compilation "Decameron" for the Finnish progressive magazine "Colossus"; "Il Tempo del Grande Onore" a fresh progressive song with a great orchestration work; "Il Tesoro Ritrovato" a progressive masterpiece where the heart of the musicians can be felt beating underneath the harmony weaving. "Arx Atlantis" turns out to be one of the best album so far by Il Castello di Atlante, a perfect element for every prog lover to have in their music collection.

 A Space Odyssey Part Two H.A.L. by RANESTRANE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 23 ratings

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A Space Odyssey Part Two H.A.L.
RanestRane Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Bucklebutt

5 stars It's tough to rate this album for me considering the progarchives rating system. This isn't particularly an essential ablum, but for people like me who love themselves some sci-fi Space Rock/Rock Progressivo Italiano (Neo-prog?), it is. If you are not a fan of Space Rock or Rock Progressivo Italiano or Neo-prog, then you are not likely to find anything here that will change your opinion, but for those who are I thoroughly recommend.

The album is intermittent with dialogue taken from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. I'm a big fan of this film. The dialogue segments taken from the film are dealt with very well, with the band playing over the dialogue with spacey atmospherics. Again, if you aren't a fan of the film or the use of audio tracks in this manner, be wary.

'Jupiter Mission' is a short track featuring lovely operatic vocals and introducing the spacey atmosphere. The track builds and feels as if it's about to explode but stops abruptly leading into the next track..

..'Discovery One'. A spacey synth riff and wailing guitar introduce us to the general feel of the album. The highlight of this track for me is it's fantastic chorus, I find myself singing along without having a clue what is exactly being said (oh yes, I butcher it).

The next track, 'Broadcast News', is a real gem. Here a dialogue segment introduces us to the crew of ship with a mission statement. An absolutely beautiful instrumental section follows with a great little synth solo and some downright tasty drumming. Another audio segment introduces to the "full-proof" artificial intelligence system H.A.L. through a dialogue segment. H.A.L. tries to reassure us that we are in good hands, what can go wrong right? A great guitar solo follows, ending with a last bit of dialogue Interviewer: "Do you believe that HAL has genuine emotions?" Dave Bowman: "Well, he acts like he has genuine emotions. Um, of course he's programmed that way to make it easier for us to talk to him. But as to whether he has real feelings is something I don't think anyone can truthfully answer."

Man, HAL creeps me out. Why the hell would they would they program him with "emotions"?

'Freddo al Cuore' is a nice slow track which slowly builds to a breakdown with a gorgeous guitar solo with some great drumming. The calm before the storm.

'AE-35' starts with HAL talking to Bowman: "I know I've never completely freed myself from the suspicion that there are some extremely odd things about this mission.( Nice rhyme there HAL - maybe HAL just wants to be a singer or poet or something) I'm sure you agree there's some truth in what I say." After some chatter between the two, HAL informs us of a "fault in the AE-35 unit". The beginning of the storm. There is a shift in atmosphere as a haunting synth solo backed with a pounding drum bit explodes into one hell of a haunting jam.

'Space Walk' starts off with an audio of someone breathing heavily with a sound of seeping oxygen in the background reminding us that this is happening in space, thousands of miles from the comfort of our atmosphere. Soaring vocal passages evoke a feeling of despair throughout the song. This is a more restrained track with some very solid playing all around without taking focus on the poignant and evocative vocals and atmosphere. Great outro jam.

'La perfezione che si cerca' takes us back to a pretty straight forward track. That's not to say that it isn't great, nothing to hate here.The ending guitar solo and drumming steal the show here. "It can only be attributable to human error." reminds HAL regarding the supposed failure of antenna on the ship, which HAL himself falsified. HAL... you literally heartless bastard!

'Sono Come Morte' is yet another fantastic track. Absolutely beautiful instrumental passages definitely make this a highlight of the album.

Dave Bowman: I'm not sure, what do you think?

Dr. Frank Poole: I've got a bad feeling about him.

Dave Bowman: You do?

Dr. Frank Poole: Yeah, definitely. Don't you?

Oh hell yes I do. In space, rogue AI governing survival chances, what could go wrong?

'Buio Interno' is a vocal and piano driven ballad where Daniele Pomo shows us his vocal chops. Beautiful piece.

The album comes to an explosive end with 'Computer Malfunction' which is a bombastic track with all the bells and whistles. The 'computer noises' at the end send a chill down my spine much like the movie. We are living in one hell of a time where Kubrick's fears seem more real and impending then ever. A great ending to a great journey.

So all in all, I unabashedly love this album. I even sat on this review for a few weeks to ensure I wasn't being swept up in the moment. There is not a weak track on the whole disc, the musicianship is downright fantastic. Easily one of my favorites from 2015, probably listened to it more than any other album considering I love to drum along to it. What would have Stanely Kubrick thought? Who knows, he probably wasn't much of a prog fan. But as a fan of both the movie and prog I feel that this album does do the movie justice evoking the horrific implications of space travel and unruly AI, even if it relies a bit heavily on it the material. I think I'm gonna go watch myself some 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 The Missing Fireflies... by LOCANDA DELLE FATE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2012
3.30 | 35 ratings

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

Review by arschiparschi

4 stars Being a massive fan of the original 1977 album as well as their reunion concert in 2010, this EP provides some more really enjoyable listening material. I'm talking of the first four tracks here of course. As mentioned before, they were composed in the 70s and never made it to an album (apart from Sequenza Circolare, which is a new composition by Maurizio Muha to introduce La Giostra). All of the four tracks (Muha provided an excellent link) are highly enjoyable with all the elements and sounds we love about their 1977 album. The sound is also great, which already makes it a worthy investment. As the RPI performance (and the live snippet here) show, "Non Chiudere A Chiave La Stelle" was originally sung by guitarist Gaviglio with Vevey doing backing vocals. It is too bad neither were involved in this album or there was a vocal recording as it would have been great to hear this enjoyable song in good quality with their vocals, which sound great in the RPI video. This is of course not to say Sasso's voice does not sound great but this alternative would have been interesting. Now, the first 4 tracks I would definitely rate with 5 stars as they capture the lovely 70s sound with very warm and rich textures. The Live tracks are, of course, a great disappointment with regards to their sound. "Non Chiudere A Chiave La Stelle" is only a strange 1-minute snippet in basically unacceptable audio quality. The recording of the others is a bit better but still not anything you would want to listen to a lot, which is a shame since the performance is great (that much you can tell). Therefore, I wouldn't really count them for the album, which is why I consider it more of an EP than an actual album - even though it is sold for the price of a full album. I'm not sure if new ideas would have been disappointing but it is a shame that this release only offers such a short glimpse of the lovely compositions I wish there would be more of. Still I'll rate it as four stars because of the nice songs included here - probably it's enough to buy those in digital format.
 Felona e/and Sorona 2016 by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.18 | 2 ratings

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Felona e/and Sorona 2016
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Andis

3 stars A 2016 re-recording of one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time. How exciting! This is also a re-recording of both versions, the italian original and the english version. I don't have the english version of the album so I am going to review only the italian version. I have the double CD edition called "The gold edition". Strange is that the CD 2 contained the same song twice but in the shippment I also received another copy of CD2 with the right songs. Something must have gone wrong in the printing of the CD. This review is also more about comparing the original from this 2016 version more than the music itself, that you can find in the reviews of the original. First, when you re-record an album as original and great as this one can only assume that this is because you either want to record the album with a better sound, or you didn't like how the original composition of the original turned out. Now you have the chance to do something about it. There is only one rule; make it better! So, did Le Orme improve their original album and made it better? The short answer would be; no.

The album have the same titles as the original and the lenghts of the songs are basically the same, the first song is two minutes longer so here I am expecting something cool that the band have added. My, my. Am I disappointed? Yes. The two longer minutes consists of an expanded drumsolo. They have taken the original short drumsolo that finishes the first song and expanded it two more minutes. Aaaagh... I hate drumsolos. Not a good start. The second song have a slighter rockier approach than the original as have the 6th song. The rest of the songs are basically the same for the exception of the last song that is one minute longer.

The biggest difference between the original album and this is that the sound is a bit more fresh, more of a live feel. The singer has of course got older but still sings great. The songs are slightly rockier, the basswork is slightly heavier och more prominient but the rest is almost exactly as the original. Even the sound of the keyboards are almost a carbon copy of the original.

So, how do I feel about this then? The music is great, some of the best moments in progressive rock history, but that we kind of already knew. The sound is marginally better, it's a tad rockier and it's a bit longer but on the other hand contains a drumsolo (why...why??).

For completists only, or for us Le Orme suckers that want to hear everything with them. If you have the original, don't bother. If you don't, this could be a great start, or just buy the original album. The music would get a five star, but this re-recording, compared to the original, will get only three stars because this is basically just a re-recording and nothing else.

 PFM In Classic: Da Mozart A Celebration by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 119 ratings

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PFM In Classic: Da Mozart A Celebration
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by arschiparschi

4 stars It's become a real fashion to perform your music with an orchestra again these days so I wasn't too sure what to think of this release when I first saw it, whether it would be pretentious and done just for the sake of it or a great collaboration. While I don't know about PFM's intention with this release I must say that I'm mostly very satisfied with what they've done. They haven't just done orchestral reworkings of their own songs but the first CD is filled with great classical pieces that have been rearranged to work together with the band and for the most part it works very well.

It goes without saying that the musical quality of the pieces selected could hardly be improved but PFM have treated them with respect and added their own ideas in between while some passages remain as in the original piece. Sometimes this also makes it seem a bit forced to mingle the classical orchestral piece with the band's performance so that they stand alongside each other a bit but for the most part their approach is very pleasant to listen to.

The opening of "Il flauto magico - Ouverture" with Djivas' great bass playing is absolutely gorgeous, I could listen to this bit many times in a row and still be delighted. They've included Mozart's themes so well that it could not have been a better opener. After that the quality drop a bit for me but not by a lot. Certainly Mussida's great guitar playing also really puts PFM's stamp on the music and his solo guitar opening of "Sinfonia no 5 IV mov" really comes as a highlight to me again. As Mahler's emotional symphony then sets in, the atmosphere becomes very intense (positively), followed by a great jazzy part, which balances this slow beginning nicely. The track then closes with the symphony again. While the two parts seem only formally connected, the track is still overall a nice bit two listen to, even if rather as two songs. Verdi's Nabucco Overture closes the first CD brilliantly and is again beautifully arranged. The first and last tracks on CD one are certainly the highlights to me.

Unfortunately, I find the second CD less interesting as the orchestral engagement seems a bit forced. While the classical bits were mainly orchestral with the band added later on, in this bit it's the other way round and I guess that makes it more difficult to give the orchestra cues that bring new excitement to the music. The songs themselves are no doubt great, which is why the CD is in no way bad. To me, it's just rather a rerecording of classic PFM tracks with a bit of the orchestra in the background. I don't know if they could have made more out of it but I see it more as a rerecording than an exciting new arrangement.

Finally, "Suite Italiana" is very disappointing to me. I got very excited when I heard Mendelssohn's 4th "Italian" symphony (1st movement), which is one of my favourite symphonies. It is then followed by "È Festa" (or "Celebration") but the two seem entirely unrelated. The music is great of course but it is entirely unclear to me what the link is supposed to be. So the disappointment only lies in the way the two pieces are arranged, not the pieces themselves.

Overall a nice CD to listen to, certainly for fans of classical music and of PFM. Some really nice arrangements can be found on CD 1 especially. A great addition to any PFM-collection without a doubt. Recommended!

 A Space Odyssey Part Two H.A.L. by RANESTRANE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 23 ratings

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A Space Odyssey Part Two H.A.L.
RanestRane Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Ranestrane is a Rome 'based Italian group that does NOT fit into the classic RPI mode, as they opt for a more conventional methodology, staying away from the classic RPI ingredients of injecting such influential details as operatic vocals, pastoral acoustic tinges, wild changes of pace and mostly, the tried and true influence of canzone, Italian folk/popular music that gives it such character. Though they are listed here as RPI, the focus is more on Floydian soundscapes, elongated mood samples on which the soloists (Massimo Pomo the guitarist and the talented keysman Riccardo Romano). In fact, at the very best, Ranestrane encompass a new and modern style of prog that looks at the future and less at the past. Ironically, the theme here is both an old and a new one, clearly proving once and for all, how the 60s minds were deeply forward-thinking and futuristic, as Arthur C. Clarke's monumental masterwork '2001 Space Odyssey' really remains far-flung, even by today's standards. Yes, we know, the latest I-Phones have more memory than the Apollo missions to the moon combined but the concept of computers having a soul and feeling regret, like HAL, WOPR (Wargames) and Colossus (Colossus: The Forbin Project) was quite a stunner back then but if you look up the number of movies where computers take over the world, you will be wired out!

Ranestrane made quite a deal with Marillion's stalwart guitarist Steve Rothery as a backing band for his solo live Steve Rothery in Rome, with Romano even invited to play on the stupendous 'Ghosts of Pripyat' album. Only fitting that the Marillion man returns the favour by guesting on Ranestrane's 'Monolith-live in Rome' (2014) extravaganza. Needless to say, we are in tremendously gifted territory and as such 'HAL- Monolith Part2 'is the furtherance of the Monolith concept, all referring to the black floating obelisk that has puzzled and startled readers and movie goers for over 45 years. Interspersed with samples of HAL's monochrome voice, a tone both puerile and evil, the tale takes on conceptual form in a naturally efficient sci-fi style that just takes the listener to another plane of enjoyment.

As befitting the subject matter, the operatic 'Jupiter Mission' sets the tone right from the start, almost an overture to a modern soundtrack for this hallowed 60s cinema classic, docking into the sophisticated and Italian-sung theme of 'Discovery One', which seeks the instill both a sense of voyage and song, with both guitarist Massimo Pomo and keysman Riccardo Romano doing a stellar job of setting the right cosmic mood. This segues naturally into the instrumental jewel 'Broadcast News', a heady mixture of multiple voice snippets, various sonic effects as well as exalted playing by the synthesizer, piano and electric guitar, in an overtly bombastic fashion that hits the emotional mark successfully. HAL gets to 'speak' in a media interview and begin defining his eventual 'humanity', as Romano's refined piano duels with cymbal slashes and the rumbling undertow of Maurizio Meo's fretless low end. The resulting music is 'foolproof and incapable of error'. 'Freddo al Cuore' sparkles with deepening melancholia, featuring a dramatic whispered vocal from drummer Daniele Pomo, lush with delicate crispness and intensity, a sweltering synthesizer foray leading the charge. HAL then announces the first 'mistake', a fault in the 'AE-35' unit that is underlined by huge swaths of sorrowful synth loops and jangly piano amid colossal orchestrations and propellant rhythmic support. The main synth solo is squarely spectacular though simple in its execution, all of these natural sounds swim in a cosmic ocean of voice effects. 'Spacewalk' evokes the sense of floating and endless drift that the universe provides, echoing voices bouncing off the passing asteroids and a sizzling guitar/synth booster fuel duel that excites and explodes the senses. There is little doubt that the musicianship is deliberately restrained yet highly creative, just enough pizzazz to effectively titillate the senses and move to the next plateau. Guest Steve Rothery unleashes one of his patented bursts, a whopping and glorious comet that whizzes by at the speed of sound. Back to the song in 'La perfezione che si cerca', a tune that reattaches the Italian vocals to the whole, here with a typical RPI-like delivery (wink, nod) and a relatively straightforward modern prog piece that broods and soothes equally. The mid-section fusions Floydian exhilaration with an almost soundtrack-like theme, sweet and eternal. Rothery again caresses his fretboard like only he can, full of romantic inference and dazzling efficiency. 'Sono Come Morte' is the longest track at 7 minutes+ , boosted with more sampled commentary (a trait which would normally distract but not here, as it clearly parallels the story-line) and a hyper-mood that underlines the weirdness of space travel and all its fatalistic impulses. This is perhaps the trippiest track here, even though there are more Italian vocals but the overall feel is one of a frozen and dying cosmic corpse plugged into some electronic machine, with a main refrain that is absolutely cinematographic (sounding almost like an old Bond theme). Ponging electronics lead into the gorgeous piano and voice duet of 'Buio Interno', a diminutive yet striking ballad of intense purpose, Pomo really showing off a strong and operatic voice. But the true highlight of this recording remains the massive finale, the aptly titled 'Computer Malfunction', a sensational piece of bravura and pathos, completely bombastic with those patented 'zipper' synth slashes, the anxious drumming, amid arching crescendos and rash guitar orbits.

Yeah, this is a really entertaining discovery, a remarkable challenge and a brilliant endeavor. Fans of sci-fi and prog- rock are most welcome to join the ride.

4.5 kubricks

Data cached

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
AMMINISTRAZIONE CAOS POPOLARE 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
AVALON LEGEND Italy
IL BABAU & I MALEDETTI CRETINI Italy
SOPHYA BACCINI Italy
IL BACIO DELLA MEDUSA Italy
THE BADGE 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
BORNIDOL 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
LA CURVA DI LESMO 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
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