Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

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 AndrÚ, 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 Ó 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 Wikstr÷m
Todd Dudley

For the Mick.
29 July 2009



Current RPI Team
Todd
rdtprog (Louis)
progaardvark (Ken)
zeuhl1 (Paul)




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

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.synphonicmusic.com
Doug Larson (USA) - http://www.douglarsonimports.com
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/
Discogs - www.discogs.com

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

4.40 | 1853 ratings
PER UN AMICO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.39 | 1289 ratings
DARWIN!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.37 | 1178 ratings
IO SONO NATO LIBERO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.34 | 1474 ratings
STORIA DI UN MINUTO
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.33 | 971 ratings
ZARATHUSTRA
Museo Rosenbach
4.31 | 987 ratings
BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.27 | 729 ratings
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
Area
4.25 | 1028 ratings
FELONA E SORONA
Orme, Le
4.27 | 547 ratings
MAXOPHONE
Maxophone
4.25 | 659 ratings
YS
Balletto Di Bronzo, Il
4.22 | 743 ratings
UOMO DI PEZZA
Orme, Le
4.21 | 948 ratings
L'ISOLA DI NIENTE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.25 | 449 ratings
PALEPOLI
Osanna
4.24 | 408 ratings
CRAC !
Area
4.22 | 351 ratings
DISCESA AGL'INFERI D'UN GIOVANE AMANTE
Bacio Della Medusa, Il
4.19 | 380 ratings
L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA
Logos
4.23 | 241 ratings
SADAKO E LE MILLE GRU DI CARTA
Logos
4.18 | 339 ratings
CONTAMINAZIONE
Rovescio Della Medaglia, Il
4.17 | 327 ratings
CELESTE [AKA: PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO]
Celeste
4.15 | 397 ratings
LA CRUDELT└ DI APRILE
Unreal City
4.15 | 383 ratings
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.13 | 410 ratings
ALPHATAURUS
Alphataurus
4.12 | 369 ratings
IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA
Quella Vecchia Locanda
4.14 | 309 ratings
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
4.20 | 193 ratings
RISVEGLIO
Egonon
4.10 | 452 ratings
FORSE LE LUCCIOLE NON SI AMANO PI┘
Locanda Delle Fate
4.19 | 180 ratings
AVENOTH
Bocca Della VeritÓ, La
4.17 | 198 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM - THE COMPLETE WORK
Latte E Miele
4.16 | 204 ratings
IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO
Nuova Era
4.17 | 176 ratings
VIETATO AI MINORI DI 18 ANNI ?
Jumbo
4.12 | 242 ratings
MELOS
Cervello
4.05 | 445 ratings
STATI DI IMMAGINAZIONE
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.21 | 140 ratings
TERRA IN BOCCA
Giganti, I
4.06 | 390 ratings
IL PAESE DEL TRAMONTO
Unreal City
4.07 | 329 ratings
DEDICATO A FRAZZ
Semiramis
4.02 | 589 ratings
PHOTOS OF GHOSTS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.05 | 381 ratings
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE
Tempio Delle Clessidre, Il
4.10 | 227 ratings
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO
Coscienza Di Zeno, La
4.03 | 408 ratings
THE WORLD BECAME THE WORLD
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.07 | 239 ratings
LA NOTTE ANCHE DI GIORNO
Coscienza Di Zeno, La
4.05 | 283 ratings
INFERNO
Metamorfosi
4.07 | 215 ratings
MALEDETTI
Area
4.07 | 208 ratings
WARM SPACED BLUE
Ingranaggi Della Valle
4.08 | 202 ratings
REALE ACCADEMIA DI MUSICA
Reale Accademia Di Musica
4.03 | 297 ratings
COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.02 | 293 ratings
BANCO
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
4.03 | 283 ratings
ROLLER
Goblin
4.01 | 336 ratings
LE PORTE DEL DOMANI
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.07 | 193 ratings
IL GRANDE LABIRINTO
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.02 | 279 ratings
IN HOC SIGNO
Ingranaggi Della Valle
4.04 | 223 ratings
ALIENATURA
Tempio Delle Clessidre, Il
4.08 | 158 ratings
IL NOME DEL VENTO
Delirium
4.02 | 222 ratings
INTORNO ALLA MIA CATTIVA EDUCAZIONE
Alusa Fallax
3.98 | 294 ratings
CONTRAPPUNTI
Orme, Le
4.08 | 137 ratings
SULLE CORDE DI ARIES
Battiato, Franco
4.16 | 99 ratings
TALE OF A DARK FATE
Albero Del Veleno, L'
3.94 | 514 ratings
CHOCOLATE KINGS
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
4.05 | 158 ratings
WINTERTHROUGH
H÷stsonaten
4.04 | 168 ratings
MYSOGINIA
Syndone
4.03 | 160 ratings
ATTOSECONDO
Alphataurus
3.96 | 251 ratings
CAUTION RADIATION AREA
Area
4.02 | 155 ratings
S.E.I.
Maschera Di Cera, La
3.94 | 310 ratings
SUMMEREVE
H÷stsonaten
4.05 | 121 ratings
CAP. 7 - TRA LE ANTICHE MURA
Castello Di Atlante, Il
4.19 | 72 ratings
APOCALYPSE NOW
RanestRane
3.97 | 202 ratings
SENSITIVIT└
Coscienza Di Zeno, La
3.99 | 166 ratings
1984 - L'ULTIMO UOMO D'EUROPA
Fabbrica Dell'Assoluto, La
3.98 | 175 ratings
LA MASCHERA DI CERA
Maschera Di Cera, La
3.97 | 182 ratings
LUXADE
Maschera Di Cera, La
4.06 | 111 ratings
CONCERTO GROSSO - THE SEVEN SEASONS
New Trolls
4.00 | 144 ratings
TALSETE DI MARSANTINO
Estate Di San Martino, L'
4.11 | 86 ratings
DRAMMA DI UN POETA UBRIACO
Pandora
4.15 | 74 ratings
STORIE DI UOMINI E NON
Rocky's Filj
4.02 | 123 ratings
III (VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMPO)
Delirium
4.20 | 62 ratings
LA BELLA ╚ LA BESTIA
Syndone
4.01 | 122 ratings
NOUS
Nodo Gordiano
4.03 | 105 ratings
IL TRONO DEI RICORDI
Trono Dei Ricordi, Il
3.92 | 199 ratings
APOTEOSI
Apoteosi
3.86 | 352 ratings
COLLAGE
Orme, Le
3.91 | 201 ratings
CHERRY FIVE
Cherry Five
3.97 | 131 ratings
AUTUMNSYMPHONY
H÷stsonaten
4.05 | 88 ratings
NEO
Torre Dell'Alchimista, La
3.98 | 121 ratings
DIARIO DI VIAGGIO DELLA FESTA MOBILE
Festa Mobile
3.97 | 129 ratings
DI CARNE, DI ANIMA
Gran Turismo Veloce
3.94 | 153 ratings
ODYSS╔AS
Syndone
3.91 | 182 ratings
PASSIO SECUNDUM MATTHEUM
Latte E Miele
3.91 | 176 ratings
IO SONO MURPLE
Murple
3.88 | 214 ratings
CAMPO DI MARTE
Campo Di Marte
3.98 | 103 ratings
ULISSE - L'ALFIERE NERO
Progenesi
4.22 | 47 ratings
H.E.X.
Nodo Gordiano
3.90 | 160 ratings
ESSERE O NON ESSERE ?
Volo, Il
3.99 | 96 ratings
A SPACE ODYSSEY, PART ONE - MONOLITH
RanestRane
4.07 | 69 ratings
HYBLA ACT 1
Randone
4.29 | 40 ratings
DESTINAZIONI
Melting Clock
4.10 | 62 ratings
E TUTTO COMINCIĎ COS╠ ...
Sensitiva Immagine
4.08 | 67 ratings
UNA VITA UNA BALENA BIANCA E ALTRE COSE
Testa, Stefano
3.94 | 117 ratings
SULLA BOLLA DI SAPONE
FEM Prog Band / Forza Elettromotrice
3.96 | 100 ratings
NOI AL DIR DI NOI
Promenade
3.93 | 119 ratings
DEDALO E ICARO
Cerchio D'Oro, Il
4.37 | 33 ratings
IN ORBITA
Conqueror

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

ASRAVA
Logos
GLI OCCHI DI UN BAMBINO
Torquati, Toto
POA
Blocco Mentale
VOCI
Basso, Luciano

Latest Rock Progressivo Italiano Music Reviews


 L Anno del Contatto by MODIUM, I album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.49 | 3 ratings

BUY
L Anno del Contatto
I Modium Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "L'anno del contatto" is the debut album of I Modium, a band based in Marano Lagunare, in the province of Udine. The album was self-released in 2019 with a line up featuring Silvio Frausin (vocals), Elvio Tavian (electric and acoustic guitar - previously member of Quasar Lux Symphoniae), Alessandro Filippo (keyboards), Michele Seravalle (drums, percussion) and Gianni Regeni (bass, acoustic guitar) and is the result of a long evolution since before the recording sessions the band had been active on the local scene for more than ten years, playing covers of the masters of Italian prog from the seventies such as PFM, Area, Le Orme or BMS and composing new material in the same style. The art cover by Federico Cautero tries to give a clue of the musical and poetic content of this work...

The title track, "L'anno del contatto" (The year we make contact), opens the album. It's a piece that recalls Le Orme and was inspired by "2010: The Year We Make Contact", a 1984 American science fiction film written, produced, shot and directed by Peter Hyams as a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey". The music and lyrics evoke a message of peace and hope from a mysterious alien power. There are far signals coming from another time and hidden words carried by the wind falling like confetti, when the humankind will heed the message everybody will look up and all the differences and distances between people will dissolve...

"Sorona dove sei" (Sorona, where are you?) is a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to le Orme's masterpiece "Felona e Sorona". The music and lyrics depict a man in the night who looks up to the sky. He's a prog fan, no doubt! Suddenly an explosion of light makes reality vanish and he can see for a moment Felona and Sorona, the two imaginary planets lost in the universe spinning in balance and harmony like twin roses...

"Un attimo di infinito" (A moment of infinity) is a short, dreamy acoustic piece evoking a sudden warm light that can drive you across a boundless space where rivers of stars will cradle your dreams. Eventually, wrapped in peace, you'll wake up in the hidden infinite that lies within you...

"La fabbrica del silenzio" (The silence factory) depicts in music and words a gloomy dystopic future where there's no music and fragments of sound blot out the sun and fall down like ashes. The men no longer sing and a continuous background noise covers those who still try to see, think or speak up. But inside the sound screen a clandestine factory works in the dark and cleanses minds by producing and spreading silence...

"Per favore musica (P.F.M.)" (Music, please) is a funny, sarcastic criticism against trashy music broadcast on radio and TV. The protagonist can't find a single channel he can listen to with pleasure, he's fed up and begins to think that all the music is over. So he asks to listen to his favourite music again, certain that it will be a real celebration for those who will be there to listen to it?

"L'altra" (The other) is a short, dreamy acoustic track where vocals are used just as an instrument... It leads to the following "Piccoli galli" (Little roosters) where a strange thought begins to fly like in a psychedelic vision and the beat of the heart never stops...

"L'anello del bufalo" (The buffalo's ring) is an excellent, evocative piece that conjures up in music and words the image of an old sea dog, an experienced mariner with a strong will and a stubbornness that allows him to overcome the adversities of wind, sea and life. He has the looks and strength of a pirate and in his nose there's a ring, the ring of a Namibian buffalo. I'm sure you will be fascinated by the stories he tells...

The last track, "Rifletto" (I reflect), is a caustic piece that portrays an unscrupulous social climber, a man who talks about things he doesn't know, a false moralist disguised as a nonconformist, politically ambiguous and always on the winning side. If you look at him in a mirror, you'll see that he is never the man reflected...

On the whole, a good and passionate album quoting with respect and personality the RPI's masters!

 Per Un Amico by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.40 | 1853 ratings

BUY
Per Un Amico
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by arymenezes

5 stars Some albums, for me, aren┤t good or great to hear. They go further and deliver a profound experience. I know this effort for a long time, and it still moves my heart and mind. If the whole work was really made for a friend, as its title suggests (Per um amico ? For a friend), this relation was truly inspiring and full of high-standard emotions/experiences.

The CD on which I'm making this review is the 2001 BMG Ricordi edition, which doesn't have any bonus tracks. And my translation of the titles of the songs are made with Google translator. First I'll present an overall view of my analysis, then some observations will be pointed on each track.

When it comes to show how italian prog rock scenario is one of the bests in the world, this work can be indicated as an illustrious example. Four or maybe the totallity of the five musicians masters their instruments, and all of them make vocal participations, even though there is a lead vocalist. There are magnificent tunes based on avant-garde rock, classical music, mediterranean songs and some jazz feelings, almost all the time structured as symphonic prog.. If you don't know this work, my description can induce you to think that it can be confusing, too noisy and/or excessive. Not at all, at least for me. And it's easy to discover that many other listeners and I agree on this point. But if you're a fan that doesn't like complex prog, when too much instruments play at the same time, and/or when there are too many notes together at once. In this case, I'd suggest you start with side B of this release. And if you enjoy complexity, I think you'll know what to do. For me, even the most complex snippets are accesible, including when almost all of them are kind of soloing at the same time. This is the characteristic most intriguing to my rational mind, how they managed to reach such perfect balance between harmony and disharmony, with such richness, and therefore keeping it fresh through so many years of hearing. About the instruments, the sleeve informations states that three of the line-up handles many instruments. Even though the drummer doesn't appear playing many instruments, he performs a wide variety of rhythms and harmonies. And has a rare abbility, to modulate the force of the hits.

First track, Appena um Po (Just a Bit), starts with the synth and a tune that looks like it's coming from an harp, but I suppose it's taken from the mandolim. Very angelical. The acoustic guitar, with a mediterranean touch, makes the transition to the flute and harpsichord. This last one is played with an absolutely surprising and stunning harmony, which I've never heard on such instrument, while the others make an apotheotic crescendo. Vocal harmonies with one, two or three singers are subtle, elegant and lyric. Acoustic guitar and flute, by the end of this song, makes some unusual tunes.

Guitar, piano, drums and violin print a vigorous introduction to Generale (it's more probable that the translation is General, however it can also be Generic). Then they go to a march on drums,/piano, flute and the synth. A transition is made with a church organ, and it finishes with that vigorous mood once again.

Track three starts angelical. Per um Amico (For a Friend) is the track where the chords and the bass make awesome contributions, especially the violin solo and the fiercing lyricism of the acoustic guitar. The last one leads a fantastic and rapid harmony. And it is also the acoustic guitar that slows down the path to brilliantly end the track.

A vibrant tune on the acoustic guitar is accompanied by some effusive singing on fourth track Il Banchetto (The Banquet). The piano keeps up the pace. This spirit lasts through practically the whole song, with the exception to an avant-gardÚ synth work on its middle. This is the only short part of this track that IMO isn't perfect. But it's short, and they slowly regain most part of their genius.

Flute, acoustic guitar and vocals gently and moderatly begin GerÓnio (Genarium). They delicatly and gradually explore the composition. Indeed, this happens many other times on this album, there is no hurry to execute. Part of the middle of this song is the only part that is not so brilliant, but is a very good part. Well, the second half of the track is a fabulous symphonic prog effort that slowly grows in complexity and energy.

Side A is all 5-stars. Side B is between 4.7 and 4.9.

 Kim by ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO, L' album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.94 | 7 ratings

BUY
Kim
L' Estate Di San Martino Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by freddy59

4 stars L'Estate di San Martino with Kim has arrived at its fifth album. The band began in 1975 with the intention of writing music for a theatrical work and has come a long way with a very articulated path. Their debut with the 45 rpm "Il bimbo e l'eroe", with which they participated in a music competition, dates back to 1978. After some changes in the lineup, they only released their debut album in 2006, based on two concerts in 1983, which tells the story of a fisherman, "Alder". In the same year, one of the members, Adolfo Broegg, passed away, and the band dedicated the song "Il ricordo" to him. The album that the musician had actively collaborated on, Febo, was released in 2007. In 2012, the archivist Talsete di Marsantino (an anagram of the band's name) idea came to life, resulting in a mostly instrumental album presented live with the help of a narrator between each track to explain the story. The album featured two important figures in progressive rock, Steve Hackett - former Genesis guitarist - and the unforgettable and great Francesco Di Giacomo. Finally, in 2015, to celebrate the band's fortieth anniversary, they released ESM#40, an acoustic version of Talsete. The band then began working on this new project, Kim, which was released in November 2022. The album was performed in its entirety and presented during the preview of the third edition of the Trasimeno Prog Festival at the Giardini del Frontone in Perugia in August 2022. The work focuses on the figure of the young Kim - terminally ill with cancer - who, hoping for a future where a cure will be possible, is cryogenically frozen. The novelties are a couple: the most appreciated is the debut of Andrea Pieroni and his voice on the recording, which finally gives the band a well-defined identity; moreover, a more pronounced use of electronics contributes to personalizing the band's sound. In this perspective, the album starts off with the instrumental track "Cretto", which is very catchy. "Sul prato" starts with a dreamy introduction, followed by Pieroni's beautiful voice, and then a riff with overlapping sax and keyboards. "Inanna" features elements of folk music, while "Gocce" has some Genesis-style references that won't go unnoticed by fans of this musical genre. A more rock sound is present in the initial part of "Libera"; once again, Pieroni's voice is highlighted, and then Tofi's keyboards take over; it's another great track. "Il ciclope" is a short instrumental track, starting with electronic elements and continuing with a guitar solo, while "Il Monaco Pierre" travels into rock territory, tempered by the voice and a quieter final part. "Immaginami" is my favorite track; I had the chance to listen to it in preview, and I immediately noticed Andrea's voice. When the atmosphere becomes calmer, and the acoustic guitars start arpeggiating, a beautiful electric guitar pattern starts under a powerful drumming. Winds and keyboards join in and conclude the track greatly. But there are still about 20 minutes of music left to listen to...and what a finale; "Caleidoscopio" starts off very calmly, then the rhythm becomes powerful, and in the end, a beautiful keyboard solo embellishes everything. The album concludes with "Tewar," which is just eleven minutes long, but actually quite short since it includes a ghost track. The band members improvise freely in this instrumental finale, punctuated by a few brief vocalizations. The album is available in both CD and limited edition vinyl, with only 300 copies produced. L'Estate di San Martino has truly made its mark with this modern work, which tastefully draws from the 1970s progressive rock - undoubtedly the band's best album yet. We can only hope to enjoy it live in concert sometime in the near future.
 Kama Sutra by SYNDONE album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.99 | 38 ratings

BUY
Kama Sutra
Syndone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I must be honest and say I wasn't sure that Manticore Records were still going after more than 50 years, but here they are with the latest release from Turin-based prog band Syndone. The band have been around since 1989, led by Nik Comoglio (Hammond, Moog, Juno dist., Mellotron, keyboards), and this is their eighth studio album. - Riccardo Ruggeri (vocals), Marta Caldara (vibraphone, timpani) and Gigi Rivetti (piano, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Hammond, clavinet) have all returned from 2018's 'Mysoginia' but there is a new rhythm section in Simone Rubinato (bass, fretless, Taurus bass) and Eddy Franco (drums & percussion). I enjoyed their last album a great deal, and there is also plenty in this one to cause interest.

They are indicated as being RPI on PA, and as I have not heard their earlier albums I cannot comment if that is correct for those but certainly is not right for what they are currently performing which is far more eclectic in so many ways. They bring in elements of Indian styles in keeping with the lyrical ideas where we hear of Georgio Perlasca, a hero against Nazism, but there are also times when we feel as if we are being thrown whole heartedly into the Hammond worlds of Vincent Crane and Jon Lord, with Keith Emerson just getting a look in. The bass is often very smooth and quite at odds with the maelstrom taking place above. There are plenty of guests, including the Budapest Scoring Symphonic Orchestra, and this all allows the band to really spread their musical wings. All lyrics are in English so can easily be understood by the non-Italian, and it crosses not only musical boundaries but time as it spends a great deal in the early Seventies while also dropping into the Eighties.

This is progressive music in its truest sense where the band is attempting push and create new styles instead of sitting inside a recognised genre or sub-genre, and the album is all the better for it as one never knows where it is going to lead. Fully worthy of further consideration.

 Papillon by LATTE E MIELE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.60 | 117 ratings

BUY
Papillon
Latte E Miele Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by AJ Junior

4 stars "Papillon," is the magnum opus by Italian Progressive rock band Latte e Miele. After releasing their most famous album, "Passio secundum Mattheum," they released this one. Both albums are concept albums and are classics of the RPI genre. The album has a very ELP-ish sound coupled with beautiful melodies and musicianship. The album consists mainly of 2 longer tracks "Papillon" and "Patetica," both of which contain many movements.

The album opens with the 20-minute epic suite, "Papillion," which has eight total movements. The first 3 three movements (Ouverture, Primo La Fuga, and Secondo Quadro Il Mercato) are among some of the best progressive rock ever made, all based on the same theme. The keyboard work from Oliviero Lacagnina is magnificent. In the 4th movement, (Terzo Quadro L'Incontro) we hear another softer theme based on keys and vocals, that reoccurs in the song. It is one of the highlights of the album. For some reason, I can't find credit to anyone who plays horns on this record, yet the song has great horn overtures as well as choir work. Movement 5, (Quarto Quadro L'Arresto) adopts a weird combined sound of PFM/Gentle Giant, which sounds great. After the soft and short beauty of movement 6 (Quinto Quadro Il Verdetto), movement 7 (Sesto Quadro La Trasformazione) opens up with a beautiful piano bit that progresses the main theme of the song and transforms back into the cross of PFM/Gentle Giant. After the somber movement 7, movement 8 (Settimo Quadro Corri Nel Mondo) ends the suite with a happy ELP-sounding adaptation of the main riff of the suite.

After the short 2-minute jazzy, mellotron-driven, "Divertimento," the 17-minute suite that is "Patetica" begins. The suite only contains 3 movements, albeit much longer ones. The suite is very classical, with movement 1 (Parte Prima) opening up with Bach-esque piano before a drumroll introduces the organ into the mix. This is another keyboard-driven track with excellent work from Oliviero Lacagnina and jazzy drum work from Alfio Vitanza. Movement 2, (Parte Seconda) begins with an interpretation of a Vivaldi song on the violin. The Hohner Clavinet work goes wonderfully with the jazzy drum work and mellotron in this section. This is one of the keyboard highlights of the album featuring every sound imaginable (Mellotron, Clav, Organ, Piano, Moog, etc). The third movement (Parte Terza) starts very softly with an acoustic guitar intro. The section is very mellow, with somber vocals, but picks up a bit at the end with a grand horn ending. The closing track "Stutture," (lit. Structures), is ironically enough quite structureless. By far the weakest song on the album, it is a 4-minute rambling jazz interpretation of one of the riffs from "Patetica." On the 2003 double CD, there is a bonus track called "Rimani Nelle Mia Vita," which is a radio broadcast of the 3rd movement from "Papillon." The recording is super fuzzy with 2 Italian guys talking over it for the first minute or so, but has such a beautiful old feel to it. Absolutely heartbreaking song.

This is a super strong album and highly recommended to lovers of classic RPI bands such as PFM and Maxophone. Latte E Miele seems to be able to put together an awesome album that contains Symphonic Prog, Jazz, and Classical. It is a little messy with all the movements, but after a few listens the flow becomes evident.

 L'Isola Di Niente by PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.21 | 948 ratings

BUY
L'Isola Di Niente
Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

3 stars PFM? PFM! In the grand scale of the RPI movement, there are three bands I commonly think of: Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Area, and Premiata Forneria Marconi, or PFM for abbreviation. PFM is kind of the most stand out and recognizable band of the whole RPI movement, kinda like how, say, Caravan was for the Canterbury Scene, or Can in the Krautrock department. There is a good reason why, they are not only the most accessible in terms of RPI, with all the weirdness of Area or the more psychedelic Le Orme, but their sound is very comfortable to get through in terms of symphonic and folk styles of progressive rock fans. Obviously, their most recognizable workings are Storia Di Un Minuto and Per Un Amico, or even the odd Photos Of Ghosts and Chocolate Kings, but recently I have been listening to their fourth (technically third since Photos Of Ghosts is a English remix album for Per Un Amico) studio album, L'isola Di Niente, quite a bit, and it does deliver in terms of some really golden RPI music, but it is not without its flaws..

Unlike the band's previous, more folk and classical sounding works of prog rock fare, L'isola Di Niente takes a different approach and instead implements more rock, jazz, and even slight bits of Gentle Giantesque experimental rock flairs, specifically with the last track of Via Lumiere. I think this new interpretation of PFM's sound definitely has its benefits, as it shows the band can dabble to more prog rock ideals than what they were comfortable doing within their last three records. Additionally, the focus on making their music more proggy in a sense is a great change of pace for me, as previous records had a lot more short handed songs, as opposed to here with the title track being this long and spiraling 10 minute piece. This album really does give itself a new PFM flair for appreciation.

I think that, while this change of direction is good for the band to take, I also feel like they are pulling their inspirations a bit too heavily here, and I think it became a bit of a habit later on with their next 2 records. While these songs are admittedly great, a lot of them feel very much like songs you'd hear from other bands, specifically Yes and Genesis. The guitar playing provided by Franco Mussida has the same flairs and catches as Steve Howe, and a lot of the keyboard playing elements from Flavio Premoli has a considerable Tony Banks aspects to them. They are sort of losing themselves within the threshold of their inspirations, and it is showing a bit more than usual. This, to me, is where I think PFM was losing their original magic, as, while this may sound like an original sound to PFM, they really aren't making it their own on here. It isn't bad to pull from your contemporaries or your inspirations, in fact that is how retro prog bands like The Flower Kings and Wobbler got their footing later on, but here, it, to me, PFM is starting to ditto out and become a bit of copycats, kinda like what bands like Gryphon would do with records like Treason later on after the prog rock hype died down in the late 70s.

This is far from a bad record, not by a long shot, but I cannot help but see it as far from an original and magical album. All of these songs are good and played to the best of the band's abilities, but I cannot help but find the abilities here to be in a rather muddy place. While I cannot say it is all downhill from here in terms of good music from the band, it is the beginning of a new, less PFM sounding PFM.

 il Viaggio da farsi by WILSON PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 7 ratings

BUY
il Viaggio da farsi
Wilson Project Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Wilson Project took form in 2015 in Acqui Terme, a town in the province of Alessandria, Piedmont. After some years spent honing their skills and a good live activity on the local scene, in 2022 they released an interesting debut album, entitled "Il viaggio da farsi", on the independent Ma.Ra.Cash Records label with a line up featuring Annalisa Ghiazza (vocals), Giovanni Giordano (guitar), Andrea Protopapa (keyboards, backing vocals), Stefano Rapetti (bass) and Mattia Pastorino (drums, backing vocals). Producer Marcello Chiaraluce helped the musicians during the recording sessions in the studio and contributed to the song-writing while Daniele Cavallero's Za! Factory, a design firm from the near town of Valenza, took charge of the art work. The overall sound of the band draws on many influences ranging from Italian prog masters of the seventies such as PFM or BMS to contemporary, heavier acts and the music perfectly fits the subject matter the musicians have chosen to develop in this work. In fact, this is a concept album that tells a story about a woman who leaves planet Earth and goes to Mars, a kind of space odyssey inspired by the launch of Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy...

The short, spacey instrumental "Intro" sets the atmosphere and leads to "Non pensare vai" (Do not think, go) that describes in music and words the expectations and the doubts of the protagonist who is embarking on a spacecraft directed to Mars where she'll start a new life. What she's left behind is a broken relationship and some regrets, what lies ahead is the dream of better days to be reached on the wings of a heavy falcon...

"Come mi vuoi" (As you want me) deals with the nostalgia of real relationships and the choice of a virtual lover to replace them. The music and lyrics depict the protagonist trying to teach her new mechanical companion how to laugh with her and how to love. While she's programming its artificial intelligence she goes through many errors but at last she seems to reach her goal...

Then it's the turn of the bitter-sweet "Complice innocente" (Innocent accomplice) that describes the strange relationship between the protagonist and her new companion, a toy man docile and tireless... On "E' stato un errore" (It was a mistake) the protagonist experiences doubts and regrets looking at the infinite space that surrounds her. She begins to realize that an aseptic, odourless virtual companion can't really erase the deep sense of loneliness she feels in her silent Martian new home...

"Ingannando i miei sensi" (Deceiving my senses) describes in music and words the confusion of the protagonist whose memories come back and hit her senses almost leading her on the brink of madness... Imagination and reality almost melt together on "Quando cerchi di respirare" (When you try to breath). The protagonist, looking at the creature she shaped, keeps on thinking of her broken relationship and she almost fears her new virtual lover might let her down like her ex boy friend on Earth. She even think of keeping it closed in a glass box as it tries to breathe and behave like a human being...

The ethereal "Se solo avessi un'anima" (If only you had a soul) begins softly, then the music and lyrics depict the sense bewilderment of the protagonist in front of her new companion... What she misses more is the feeling of a real interaction in front of a creature without soul and heart, she would like to teach it to believe in God or to make it understand how important relationships with other human beings are. But something seems to go wrong... On "Un gioco" (A game) the machine in some way begins to feel human! It's thunder, light and uproar but it tried to be good and what does it discover? It's just a game. But it's too late and it can't stop what she has created, they're both victims of a sterile world...

The last track, "Il viaggio da farsi" (The journey ahead) is open to various interpretations. The protagonist feels that her creature is just an extinguished fire, time is running out and hysteria prevails, the creature is about to die. The melancholic finale depicts the creature hanging in the room of her maker, swinging lightly. The protagonist, in her madness, feels a strong sense of guilt and becomes aware that there's no way out to escape the spectre of silence and there's no need of heavy suitcases nor ships for her next journey...

On the whole, a very interesting concept and an excellent work.

 Tribal Domestic by ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.89 | 16 ratings

BUY
Tribal Domestic
Il Rovescio Della Medaglia Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Tribal Domestic" is a studio album that was released by historic Roman band Il Rovescio della Medaglia in 2016 on the Cramps - Sony Music label with a line up featuring founder member and main composer Enzo Vita (guitar) along with John Macaluso (drums), Cristiano Micalizzi (drums), Gianluca Catalani (drums), Fernando Petry (bass), Nalle Pahlsson (bass), Rino Amato (keyboards), Vivien Lalu (synth), Chris Catena (vocals), Pino Ballarini (vocals), Jannes Stark (guitar) and the Orchestra Filarmonica Calabrese directed by Alexander Frey. This work mainly comes from the initiative of Enzo Vita, as can be guessed from the art cover where he's portrayed in the forefront with is guitar ready for action while in the background you can see many gears and wheels turning to support him. It marks the return of Il Rovescio della Medaglia to the complex structures of the band's heyday after the disappointing pop rock oriented 2011 album "Microstorie"...

The opener "Tribal Domestic Suite" is a long, complex piece divided into nine parts respectively subtitled "Le note degli idoli" (The idol's notes), "Tributo agli dei" (Tribute to the gods), "Raduno dei vecchi" (Gathering of the old men), "L'ultimo dei sogni" (The last of dreams), "La notizia" (The news), "Il diario" (The diary), "Simbiosi" (Symbiosis), "La chiave inglese" (The wrench) and "Il crepuscolo delle illusioni" (The twilight of illusions). In my opinion, it's an excellent piece, composed by Enzo Vita and arranged with the help of Rino Amato, where the guitarist and his group of rock musicians perfectly interact with the orchestra. The music flows without drops in tension as the lyrics, well interpreted by Chris Catena, conjure up images halfway between a confused stream of consciousness and divertissement. Shocking, alarming articles about a world where solidarity and freedom crumble provoking rash reactions, the sad reflections of a man on the brink of a personal crises leading to madness, the search for balance and the refuge in an inner-self able to create its own world, regret and bewilderment and finally the image of a man running barefoot in the evening without the tools to fix up his life...

"L'origine" (The origin) is another beautiful track where orchestra and rock instruments interact. The mysterious incipit sets the atmosphere, then the music and lyrics take us on inner journey to the origin of life. Birth is a big bang for everyone, it's the moment of the perception of the whole, a truth we progressively forget giving names to things and identities to persons...

On the instrumental "Mutazione X" (Mutation X) Enzo Vita's guitar is in the forefront and takes the listener on a fiery ride through the hard rocks of Sodom and Gomorrah and to the atmospheres of Il Rovescio della Medaglia 1971 debut album, "La bibbia", although with an updated sound. Then it's the turn "La sacra eternitÓ" (The holy eternity) explicitly inspired by "La bibbia", in particular by its last two tracks, "Il giudizio" (Judgement day) and Il diluvio (The flood). Here, introduced by a dark marching beat and a hint of liturgical choir, the music and lyrics describe the protagonist's soul entering the afterlife where it joins the whole, beyond good and evil. It's a place where there's no one to judge, no measure or need to invent anything, here come those who have the dignity of looking straight in the face their own oblivion, beyond the sky and the sea, because the eternity is holy...

"L'apocalisse" (The apocalypse) is the only track featuring the vocals of Il Rovescio della Medaglia old singer Pino Ballarini. It's an ironic piece that blends hard rock, classical influences and a touch of operetta evoking a daily, raging apocalypse in a world where media confusion rules. In a story containing many other stories, restlessness carries away the protagonist, on the wings of madness, towards a place where he can enjoy a panoramic view on his memories and regrets... Last comes the sparkling instrumental "Proclama II" (Proclamation II) that concludes the album with a lively beat and electric guitar fireworks.

On the whole, an excellent work that marks a rediscovered creativity for Enzo Vita and his new and old companions.

 Buon Vecchio Charlie by BUON VECCHIO CHARLIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.75 | 133 ratings

BUY
Buon Vecchio Charlie
Buon Vecchio Charlie Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by AJ Junior

4 stars Buon Vecchio Charlie was a prog band from Rome, formed in 1970. They recorded this absolute gem of an album from 1971-1972 and it was shelved for 20 years until Melos records picked it up and released it. I took the liberty of writing the Wikipedia page for this band and as a lover of Italian prog, this album is right up my alley.

The opener "Venite gi¨ al fiume" is a rock adaptation from "In the Hall of the Mountain King." The track exceeds 10 minutes with a lot of variations and jams. The flute work is really nice, and they even added some vocals. The vocalist Richard Benson was a half-English and half-Italian man who you can barely tell is not fully Italian from the tone of his voice. The song is mainly driven by Hammond which seems to either have an extremely high rotor rate or an effect on it. Saxophone occasionally comes in when the song shifts from a jam back into the main riff. It's a really nice track but, considering the other two tracks on the album, I would say this is the weakest one (even though it's far from bad).

The second song '"Evivva la contea di lane" is my personal favorite song off of the album. It is a beautiful symphonic masterpiece. The first minute begins with a melodic guitar intro which is picked up by the vocals and flute. The saxophonist and flutist, Sandro Cesaroni, really goes off during this song. The end of the song is dominated by one of the dirtiest yet, most astonishingly amazing saxophone solos I have ever heard. I genuinely could not even fathom a saxophone being able to make the noises that it did.

The closing track "All'uomo che racccoglie i cartoni" is a five-movement epic that stretches 15 minutes. It includes some really great guitar soloing and acoustic sections. The vocals throughout the album are pretty subtle but, on this song they definitely shine some more. The translation of the name of the song is "To the man who collects cartoons," which is written about a man from some of the band members' neighborhoods who collected cartoons. My only takeaway from the song is that it's all over the place, even going into a swing section at a point, and is very hard to follow. It is a 15-minute song, so that is probably why.

The keyboardist Alessandro Centofanti went on to collaborate with and play with some famous Italian pop artists as well as forming the fusion group "Libra". Richard Benson, the vocalist, went on to do a bunch of stuff on television like a talk show and as a producer. The rest of the band went on to form the progressive rock group "Bauhaus." Overall a really great album, with great history and some awesome pre-PFM Italian Prog. It's very rare that you will find bands like this before the classic era of Italian prog, and it is unfortunate that they didn't release any others.

 Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.02 | 63 ratings

BUY
Orlando: Le Forme dell'Amore
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars While indisputably one of the prog scene's greatest bands ever to emerge from 1970s Italy, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO better known as BANCO dominated the world of symphonic prog but like most proggers of the day totally derailed once musical tastes shifted and left the band struggling to adapt to the new world of punk, heavy metal and new wave. BANCO was not very good at watering its classic sophisti-prog down into the sugary realms of pop music and despite crafting some of the all time classics with albums like "Darwin," equally churned out some of the most nauseating attempts of a band of such caliber trying to fit in with the newer contemporary sounds. The 80s was not kind. After a final attempt to gain some momentum in the alternative 90s and even an ill-fated attempt to re-record "Darwin," BANCO fell silent presumably never to be heard from again.

This was made all the more so when legendary lead singer Francesco Di Giacomo perished in a car accident in 2014. Who in the world would have thought that this legendary band had any second life in them? BANCO shocked the prog world it was reformed by the only original member still standing, pianist and keyboardist Vittorio Nocenzi with a new cast of characters and released "Transiberiana" in 2019. The track record of forty year old prog bands reforming and recapturing the spirit of their original run isn't very good and although nobody initially thought anything of this comeback, BANCO exceeded expectations with a brilliant album that melded the soulful performances of decades ago with a new modern sheen that incorporated all the newer production techniques to the mix. I was pleasantly surprised for sure and now it's officially no one off fluke. BANCO are back with ORLANDO: LE FORME DELL'AMORE (The Shapes of Love), officially the band's 18th studio album.

Hard to believe that ORLANDO: LE FORME DELL'AMORE has arrived just in time for the band's 50th anniversary of the self-titled masterpiece and "Darwin" but a half of a century has elapsed making it so. Unbelievably BANCO sounds amazingly reinvigorated with the same music mojo that brought them to the world's stage so many decades ago. This is a concept album not based on the famous city in Florida but rather the 16th century poem "Orlando Furioso" written by Ludovico Ariosto which first appeared in 1516. ORLANDO was a Christian knight who fought in the war between the Charlemagne Christian paladins and the Saracen army that invaded Europe for the sake of overthrowing the Christian empire. The poem itself was divided into 46 cantos. The concept and complex nature of the poem lends to an amazing display of musical antics that accompany these themes.

ORLANDO, the album is like a double album from the classic prog era with 15 tracks and a running time of a whopping 79 minutes, quite a risky endeavor for a band some 50 years in existence but let's face it: this is BANCO in name only with only one original member. Despite the fact that Vittorio Nocenzi is the only original knight in this musical escapade though doesn't mean that this lineup of six hasn't successfully captured the essence of BANCO's classic sound. In fact ORLANDO is an even better album than "Transiberiana" which i rather liked quite a bit. Like any great Italian prog album, lyrics are exclusively in the Italian language and the diversity of sounds matches anything from the golden years. The new vocalist Tony D'Alessio performs the unthinkable task of replacing the late great Franceso Di Giacomo and while this may prove to be an insurmountable task, D'Alessio delivers stellar performances despite not being a young whippersnapper himself.

Paced like a traditional concept album from the classic prog years, ORLANDO opens with poetic prose and then breaks into a never ending series of melodic developments, strong composiitons and of course excellent musical deliveries. Although not original members, the five musicians sound like seasoned veterans in the prog field with the ability to craft pastoral intricate melodies or bombastic outbursts of prog excesses often within the same track. The track "Il Palidino" showcases some of the knottiest hefty workouts on the entire album. Lush ballads and adrenaline fueled heaviness more or less perfectly narrate the concept without the listener having any idea what the Italian lyrics are referencing. Most of all much effort was obviously put into the album's diversity of individual tracks which makes ORLANDO a most surprising comeback indeed.

Perhaps the biggest downfall of ORLANDO: LE FORME DELL'AMORE is its excessive playing time. I mean 79 minutes is a lot to ask for in our contemporary short attention span era. There's no way i would've even considered listening to this album if not for the fact it was BANCO! While BANCO's classic albums are in no danger of being outdone, this one is so much better than i could've possibly hoped for. The album basically builds on what what was presented on "Transiberiana" as the new BANCO and carried out to classic BANCO progginess. None of the guys in this lineup are youthful so don't expect any virtuosic performances on par with past glories but for a band of aging prog rockers you really couldn't expect anything better than what is presented on ORLANDO. The album could be shorter but even so there are really no substandard tracks, just too many of them! An excellent comeback for BANCO who appears to be on a roll with its second coming. Bravissimo!

Data cached

Rock Progressivo Italiano bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
A PIEDI NUDI Italy
A.S.T.R.A Italy
ABISSI INFINITI Italy
ABSENTHIA Italy
ACQUA FRAGILE Italy
AD MAIORA Italy
ADHARMA Italy
AELEMENTI Italy
STEFANO AGNINI Italy
AINUR Italy
AKRON Italy
L' ALBERO DEL VELENO Italy
ALGEBRA Italy
ALIANTE 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
ANCIENT VEIL Italy
ANTONIUS REX Italy
GLI APOSTHOLI Italy
APOTEOSI Italy
APRYL Italy
AQUAEL / EX MAURY E I PRONOMI Italy
ARCAMIRI 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 / EX ELETTROSMOG Italy
ATON'S Italy
ATTI PUBBLICI IN LUOGO OSCENO Italy
ATTO IV Italy
AUDIO Italy
AURORA LUNARE Italy
AVALON LEGEND Italy
B-RAIN 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
BANDA BELZONI Italy
BARABBA Italy
MARIO BARBAJA Italy
BARO PROG-JETS Italy
BAROQUE Italy
BARROCK Italy
LUCIANO BASSO Italy
LA BATTERIA Italy
FRANCO BATTIATO Italy
PIERPAOLO BIBBO Italy
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO Italy
BLOCCO MENTALE Italy
LA BOCCA DELLA VERIT└ 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
BUTTERFLY SYSTEM 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
CARPINETA 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
CHRISTADORO Italy
LUCIANO CILIO Italy
THE CINEMA SHOW Italy
CIRCLE OF FAIRIES Italy
CITT└ FRONTALE Italy
CIVICO 23 Italy
CLEPSYDRA Italy
I COCAI Italy
ROBERTO COLOMBO Italy
CONDOR Italy
CONQUEROR Italy
CONSORZIO ACQUA POTABILE Italy
MICHELE CONTA Italy
CONTRAPPUNTO Italy
CONTROTEMPO Italy
COOPERATIVA DEL LATTE Italy
CORAL CAVES Italy
CORMORANO Italy
CORPORESANO 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
DISEQUAZIONE Italy
DISTILLERIE DI MALTO Italy
DIVAE Italy
LA DOTTRINA DEGLI OPPOSTI Italy
DUEMILA12 Italy
ECFONETICA Italy
ECLISSE Italy
EDERA Italy
EDGAR ALLAN POE Italy
EGO Italy
EGONON Italy
ELISIR D'AMBROSIA Italy
EMPIRE Italy
ENEIDE Italy
ENIMA Italy
ENTITY Italy
EPISCOPIO VISTARAMA Italy
EQUIPE 84 Italy
ERA DI ACQUARIO Italy
ERIS PLUVIA Italy
ERRATA CORRIGE Italy
L' ESTATE DI SAN MARTINO Italy
EURASIA Italy
EUTHYMIA Italy
EXPLOIT Italy
LA FABBRICA DELL'ASSOLUTO Italy
FABIO CELI E GLI INFERMIERI Italy
FALENA Italy
IL FAUNO DI MARMO / EX THE REBUS Italy
IL FEDELISSIMO BRACCO BRANCO Italy
FEM PROG BAND / FORZA ELETTROMOTRICE Italy
FESTA MOBILE Italy
FILARMONICA MUNICIPALE LACRISI Italy
FILORITMIA Italy
FINISTERRE Italy
FLEA Italy
FLOATING STATE Italy
RICCARDO FOGLI Italy
FOGLIE DI VETRO Italy
FONETICA Italy
FORMULA 3 Italy
THE FORTY DAYS Italy
FOSCHIA Italy
FABIO FRIZZI Italy
CLAUDIO FUCCI Italy
FUFLUNS Italy
STEFANO LUPO GALIFI Italy
GAN EDEN - IL GIARDINO DELLE DELIZIE Italy
GARYBALDI Italy
GENCO PURO & CO. Italy
THE GENERATION Italy
GENFUOCO Italy
GERMINALE Italy
FRANCO MARIA GIANNINI Italy
GIARDINI D'AUTUNNO Italy
I GIGANTI Italy
GIGI PASCAL E LA POP COMPAGNIA MECCANICA Italy
IL GIRO STRANO Italy
GLEEMEN Italy
GOBLIN Italy
GOBLIN REBIRTH Italy
GRAN TURISMO VELOCE Italy
GREENWALL Italy
GRIMALKIN Italy
GRUPPO 2001 Italy
GRUPPO AUTONOMO SUONATORI Italy
GUERCIA Italy
H2O Italy
HOPO Italy
HORA PRIMA Italy
HORUS Italy
HÍSTSONATEN Italy
HUMANA PROG Italy
HUNKA MUNKA Italy
I GIULLARI DI CORTE Italy
IANVA Italy
IBIS Italy
IL BUCO DEL BACO Italy
IL PORTO DI VENERE Italy
IL TESTAMENTO DEGLI ARCADI Italy
INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE Italy
ISPROJECT Italy
J.E.T. Italy
JACULA Italy
JANUS Italy
JESTER'S JOKE Italy
JET LAG Italy
JUMBO Italy
JUS PRIMAE NOCTIS Italy
KALISANTROPE Italy
KUNDALINI SHAKTI DEVI Italy
LA CRUNA DEL LAGO Italy
IL LABIRINTO DI ALICE Italy
LABIRINTO DI SPECCHI Italy
LAGARTIJA Italy
LAPERA Italy
LASER Italy
LATTE E MIELE Italy
LUCIANO LAURINI Italy
LEO NERO Italy
I LEONI Italy
LETHE Italy
LIBRA Italy
LIMITE ACQUE SICURE Italy
LINEATEORICA Italy
LOCANDA DELLE FATE Italy
EMILIO LOCURCIO Italy
LOCUS AMOENUS Italy
LOGOS Italy
LOST TALES Italy
LOTHLORIEN Italy
MACCHINA PNEUMATICA Italy
MACROSCREAM Italy
MAD CRAYON 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
MAXOPHONE Italy
MEDITERRANEA Italy
MELLONTA TAUTA Italy
MELTING CLOCK Italy
MESSAGGIO 73 Italy
METAMORFOSI Italy
MINDFLOWER Italy
MINSTREL Italy
MIRAGE Italy
MO.DO. Italy
MÍBIUS PROJECT Italy
I MODIUM Italy
LORENZO MONNI Italy
MONTEFELTRO Italy
MOSAICO 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
NATHAN 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
OPHICINA Italy
OPRA MEDITERRANEA Italy
ANDREA ORLANDO Italy
LE ORME Italy
ORNITHOS Italy
OSAGE TRIBE Italy
OSANNA Italy
OSCILLAZIONI ALCHEMICO KREATIVE (O.A.K.) Italy
OVERTURE Italy
IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI Italy
MAURO PAGANI Italy
PANDA FIGHT CLUB Italy
PANDORA Italy
PANE Italy
PANGEA Italy
PANNA FREDDA Italy
MARIO PANSERI Italy
PANTHER & C. Italy
PARADISO A BASSO PREZZO Italy
IL PARADISO DEGLI ORCHI Italy
NICOLA PARDINI Italy
MAURO PELOSI Italy
I PENNELLI DI VERMEER Italy
LA PENTOLA DI PAPIN Italy
PERDIO Italy
PERIFERIA DEL MONDO Italy
PERIPLO Italy
PERSIMFANS Italy
PHAEDRA Italy
PHOLAS DACTYLUS Italy
GIORGIO FICO PIAZZA 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
POSTO BLOCCO 19 Italy
PREGHIERA DI SASSO Italy
PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (PFM) Italy
PRESENCE Italy
PROCESSION Italy
PROGENESI Italy
PROMENADE Italy
PROMETHEO Italy
PROPHEXY Italy
PROTOCOLLO C Italy
PROWLERS Italy
PSICOSUONO Italy
PSYCHO PRAXIS Italy
QIRSH Italy
QUARTO VUOTO Italy
QUASAR LUX SYMPHONIAE Italy
QUEL CHE DISSE IL TUONO 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
RES GESTA 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
SELDON Italy
SEMIRAMIS Italy
LE SENSAZIONI Italy
SENSITIVA IMMAGINE Italy
IL SENTIERO DI TAUS Italy
SENZA NOME Italy
SEZIONE FRENANTE Italy
SFARATTHONS Italy
SHOWMEN 2 Italy
PAOLO SIANI FT. NUOVA IDEA Italy
SIDE C Italy
SINTESI DEL VIAGGIO DI ES Italy
SINTONIA DISTORTA Italy
IL SISTEMA Italy
SITHONIA Italy
SLOGANS Italy
LA SORGENTE Italy
ALAN SORRENTI Italy
ST.-TROPEZ Italy
UNA STAGIONE ALL' INFERNO Italy
LA STAZIONE DELLE FREQUENZE Italy
LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO Italy
STRANAFONIA Italy
DEMETRIO STRATOS Italy
SUBMARINE SILENCE Italy
SUNSCAPE Italy
SYND╔RESI Italy
SYNDONE Italy
TACITA INTESA Italy
TAPROBAN Italy
IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE Italy
TENEBRAE Italy
I TEOREMI Italy
STEFANO TESTA 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
UTOPIA 239 Italy
VEDDA TRIBE Italy
VERGANTI Italy
VIEUX CARRE Italy
VITTORIO DE SCALZI - LA STORIA DEI NEW TROLLS Italy
IL VOLO DI ICARO Italy
IL VOLO Italy
VUOTI A RENDERE Italy
WILSON PROJECT Italy
RICCARDO ZAPPA Italy
ZAUM Italy
ZED & I BOLIDI LENTI Italy

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.