Italian progressive rock
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The Italian progressive rock scene was born in the early 1970s, mostly inspired by the progressive rock movement in Britain, but with certain features of its own that make some sources mention it as a separate musical genre.
In the early-to-mid-1970s, Italy was one of the European countries most interested in this genre; many English bands such as Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator and Gentle Giant were discovered by the Italian public before they had consolidated a fan base in their home country. Consequently, progressive Italian groups were prolific. Some received worldwide attention, such as Goblin, Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Area, and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. The group of Celeste used mellotron for the string sections, flutes, classical guitar and percussion as rhythm instruments to replace the drums.
Most of the bands were mainly known inside Italy. But as CD reissues started appearing and the Internet made information flow easier during the 1990s, these Italian bands were discovered and rediscovered by a number of progressive rock fans internationally. Reissues proved so successful that several recordings, which were never released at the time, received their first pressings on CD in the 1990s and 2000s decades. The "discovery" of Italian progressive rock by foreign fans also led to bands such as Celeste being re-evaluated as core bands, despite the fact that they were virtually unknown in Italy at the time.
The 1990s also saw a resurgence in Italian bands performing progressive rock. The first of the well known bands to do so was Ezra Winston, and other groups such as Nuova Era, Finisterre, Deus Ex Machina, Delirio Sonoro and Moongarden soon established themselves as well-respected progressive rock acts. More recently, La Torre dell'Alchimista, Höstsonaten and La Maschera di Cera have carried on the Italian progressive rock tradition, sporting a very 1970s style.
From beat to pop
The first genuinely progressive work to attract attention abroad came in 1971 with the release of Collage, the second LP by Le Orme. A year earlier, keyboardist Tony Pagliuca, with the help of Armando Gallo, a historical photographer and music journalist, had introduced the keyboard player Tony Pagliuca to the London progressive scene, where he saw the emerging prog groups and absorbed many influences. When he returned to Italy, he and his two bandmates retreated to a cabin in San Boldo, a mountain village near Caorle, and after a month of rehearsals the seminal Collage was born, with arrangements by Reverberi. The LP, beyond its indisputable technical merit, had a great reception because the Italian musical environment was now ready for this style. Since 1966 the work of early British prpgressive bands such as Moody Blues or Procol Harum had been a great success in Italy. In the late 60s and early 70s many British progressive bands, such as Genesis, Gentle Giant, and Van der Graaf Generator, whose first album had been ignored at home, found success in Italy. Also, the Italian beat scene was distinhuished by considerable technical and compositional proficiency. When the more demanding avant-garde British ideas reached Italy, they were quickly taken up.
This was the case of the above Le Orme and Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), both authors at the beginning of parts and hard beats. Le Orme had made his debut in 1969 with Ad gloriam, one of the best albums of the psychedelic period, while the nucleus of the future PFM as "Quelli" he had only a few cover tunes, including "La bambolina che fa no no no" and "La ragazza ta ta ta". Even the New Trolls began creating works beat well made, that already contained in embryo the style of what would be the future production (the 45 rpm "Visioni"/"Io ti fermerò e Sensazioni"/"Prima c'era luce" and the album Senza orario Senza bandiera (1968) are works that anticipate the progressive genre). Many other groups were born during the era beat, but apart from the few mentioned above, left no recordings documenting their origins. We refer in particular to the Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, was born from the merger of two small groups arose at twilight era beat. A unique story of Trip, the group arrived from England, one of the few in Italy to offer an array of psychedelic sound before moving to progressive rock.
The Italian progressive in the early 1970s
The output of Collage in September 1971 was the start of a new phase for the Italian rock. Less than a month later, PFM released the single "Impressioni di settembre", with text by Mogol, which contained the famous phrase of Minimoog remained one of the cornerstones of progressive most famous of all time. The instrument, at the time very innovative and expensive, it was borrowed. Many years later the drummer, one of the leaders of the group, says:
"At the time the new instrument that launched the progressive music was the standard piano keyboard that has become something more. The mellotron has raised the possibility of creating a group sound of an orchestra. With tapes created an enveloping effect and live had an effect indescribable. The moog is a tool that has given a new sound, a sound that evokes feelings sound non-ancestral, which produces a vibration that shakes you up inside. As they altered the instruments we were always up to date. " (Franz Di Ciocco)
The success abroad
Work brightest remain those related to the production of the most celebrated, which attracted the attention of the country where he was born on progressive. The group Le Orme, shortly after the release of Collage (1971) was contacted by Charisma, the legendary label of Genesis and VDGG. Soon after, Pagliuca and members were able to establish relations with the supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who in 1972 invited the band to participate in a date of their tour. From this arose the proposal stage for a tour of our English trio - who was off in December - and the subsequent publication of the UK market and Felona e Sorona. The English text of the long suite was composed by Peter Hammill, VDGG leader, who was also invited to open the concerts of the band overseas, as a "guest star". The Banco and PFM were approached by ELP, looking for talent for the new label Manticore. For the adaptation of the lyrics PFM could involve Pete Sinfield, guru and lyricist of early King Crimson. Banco recorded two albums in English (Banco and As in a Last Supper), the PFM came to engrave three (Photos of Ghosts, The World Became the World and Cook, a live album). Banco despite a promotional tour in 1976, did not record significant sales abroad.
The PFM instead managed to succeed in the difficult U.S. market, and all three of their albums entered the "Top Pop Catalog Albums" (in 1992 became Billboard 200), with the live album Cook (1974, also known as Live in USA) that managed to reach the 150th position. But it was in concert that the group consolidated its reputation as rock's most famous group of Italy. Historical in this regard were the four American tours, propitiated through the efforts of the promoter Franco Mamone who was also the manager of Le Orme. The first LP in the Italian language to be published in England and West Germany in 1972 was the second album of the Balletto di Bronzo, titled Ys. But it was a complex and difficult to listen to, and did not have the expected success even at home.
- Italian progressive rock article on progarchives.com
- Le Orme: dall'Isola di Wight a Collage
- Banco del Mutuo Soccorso
- La voce del moog
- Franz Di Ciccio: Due volte nella vita
- PFM Cook
- Franco Mamone, dal rock alla cocaina