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Thread: Cervello/Semiramis/Picchio Dal Pozzo/Celeste/Area

  1. #1

    Cervello/Semiramis/Picchio Dal Pozzo/Celeste/Area

    These 5 Italian bands stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack imho. I'm not a big proponent of the RPI movement and I find a great deal of it to be derivative of the English bands that are held in such high esteem. To MY ears, there is a clumsiness and hodgepodge approach to composition. I even find the more polished groups such as PFM, Banco and Le Orme to be extremely boring and calculated. I'm also of the opinion that the vocals of most of these RPI groups are affected and lack nuance. Lastly, most of what I have listened to is organ based, so there seems to be a pervasive blues based influence.

    Cervello-How they manage to come up with this sound and they are in their fucking teens!! The first 9 and a half minutes are perfection and can sound like something Morricone could have composed. When the chanting starts, my tits get hard and I know I'm about to go on a journey. One and done

    Semiramis-Another young, one and done band that composes beautiful music. I adore how they are able to incorporate all of the tuned percusion into their tapestry of sound as well as their highly developed sense of melodicism.

    Picchio Dal Pozzo- 2 masterpieces of Canterbury flavor that continue to reveal their earthly delights. When I spin these albums, it's as if the air around me turns into a sweet, fragrant perfume. Intoxicating!!

    Celeste-Pastoral and elegant are just two words that describe this wonderful group of musicians.

    Area-Avant at its finest! If you like your peach sour and unripe, this is the band for you. One you press play, you will encounter an onslaught of catastrophic proportion. Experience the fucking mayhem!

  2. #2
    I'm with you totally on Area, one of my all-time favorites. Picchio Dal Pozzo I also like, though their second album kind of wears me out. I may actually prefer Camere Zimmer Rooms, which despite being kind of a compilation is still a very good album, imo.

    Cervello and Semiramus I go up and down on. They certainly have their charms, and yeah they were young when they did these. To me, that often shows, and a lot of it seems "amateurish" to me. But often that is compensated for by exuberance. So for me, good but not really great. But I know these albums do it for a lot of folks.

    Celeste bores me to death. But you're bored by Banco and PFM, so I exist merely to even that out a bit.

    Bill

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    I'm with you totally on Area, one of my all-time favorites. Picchio Dal Pozzo I also like, though their second album kind of wears me out. I may actually prefer Camere Zimmer Rooms, which despite being kind of a compilation is still a very good album, imo.

    Cervello and Semiramus I go up and down on. They certainly have their charms, and yeah they were young when they did these. To me, that often shows, and a lot of it seems "amateurish" to me. But often that is compensated for by exuberance. So for me, good but not really great. But I know these albums do it for a lot of folks.

    Celeste bores me to death. But you're bored by Banco and PFM, so I exist merely to even that out a bit.

    Bill

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by betty humpter View Post
    Picchio Dal Pozzo- 2 masterpieces of Canterbury flavor that continue to reveal their earthly delights. When I spin these albums, it's as if the air around me turns into a sweet, fragrant perfume. Intoxicating!!
    I recently fell in love with their first album, and listened to it almost non-stop for a while. I'm not so sure about the second one, it's quite different and lacks the reckless carefree quality of the debut. I haven't heard "Camere Zimmer Rooms" yet, or the live album.

  5. #5
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    I love all of these bands, although I have to be in the right mood for Celeste as otherwhise they can be
    a bit boring.

    Celeste will have a comeback with a new studio album in September.

    There is also a recent live CD/DVD by Semiramis which is really fine. The live in Japan album
    (one off comeback performance ) by Cervello form last year sounds incredible awesome .
    The opening drone of that Performance always gives me the goosebumps.

    I really miss Demetrios and I wish there would have been much more of Area,
    (I count Deus ex Machina as a worthy Heir)
    Last edited by TheH; 08-09-2018 at 05:49 AM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TheH View Post
    I really miss Demetrios and I wish there would have been much more of Area,
    (I count Deus ex Machina as a worthy Heir)
    Totally agree. I actually popped in and surprised Alberto Piras at his musical instrument store Scolopendra in Bologna in June. He is a super-nice guy and gave me a copy of their old live album (and I gave him a copy of all our CDs):

    20180626_170153_Film1 (2).jpg

    Scolopenrda is amazing, like a museum of 60s-70s keyboards, guitars, effect units, etc. No wonder the DeM albums sound like thy do! He said the band is dormant at the moment, but when the time is right they will be doing more work. Hope so!

    Bill

  7. #7
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    Of the five bands you mention, Semiramis gets my vote (although that Celeste album is gorgeous.)
    I've only recently been completely immersed in RPI and count the usual suspects as my favorites: PFM, Le Orme, Banco, QVL, Locando Della Fate, etc.
    They all take British symphonic to a different, very Italian, place.
    I can understand the OP's position. That was me a year ago...

    Long live Italian Prog!!!!

    (I guess I need to check out that second Picchio Dal Pozzo album. Only heard the first one and it's pretty sweet.)
    Prog's Not Dead

  8. #8
    Fantastic bands all 5 of them, Cervello, Area, Picchio would be in my top 10 from Italian prog and the other 2 in my top-20. The most difficult to get in was Celeste for me. I found it too mellow for a long time. But then its beauty sank in.

    So good call. But PFM or Banco were giants too, Le Orme less. Polished? Listen to PFM's Cook or Banco's debut.

    Cheers!

  9. #9
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Agree with everything you wrote betty except I also love PFM, Banco and Le Orme althogh they're not all gems and your criticism is applicable to certain albums IMO. Maybe you haven't heard all the output from these later bands?
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  10. #10
    PFM sounds like an Italian ELP knockoff at times. I don't know if being on the Manticore label had anything to do with that? Banco's lead singer employs the operatic style which I find to be disdainful and Le Orme is just "there". I do appreciate the dialog that comes from having differing opinions. At the end of the day, WE all love music or we wouldn't be here.

  11. #11
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I like all the band listed but, for me, they're 2nd tier compared to the greatness of PFM, Banco, and Le Orme.

  12. #12
    I'm hopelessly addicted to RPI. I like every band mentioned so far, however I find myself equally gratified, satisfied and as passionate over the modern RPI.

  13. #13
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    I love every band mentioned in this thread, and don't find Celeste boring at all. As for Picchio Dal Pozzo, if you're going to explore their albums beyond the first one, they are all good but bear in mind they are a different style than the debut. A lot less of that Canterbury influence.

    As for the "Big 3", I will always hold them in tremendous regard no matter how many lesser-known Italian bands I listen to and love.

    Do yourselves the favour and check out Unreal City for a great modern band firmly rooted in the classic RPI style. Some of you already know them of course, but for anyone who doesn't....
    Two boys have been found rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.

  14. #14
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    PFM sounds like an Italian ELP knockoff at times.
    As Bartellb mentioned that might apply to early le Orme, not to PFM IMO. PFM have a much more diverse sound to my ears, just not very comprable at all with ELP if you consider PFM's strong presence of guitar and often violin, acoustic elements and their drop-dead gorgeous melodies. PFM were seldom overbearing in the way the ELP could be (and I liked their overbearingness usually).

    I guess we hear things differently which we seem to agree is fine. Vive la difference.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post

    I guess we hear things differently which we seem to agree is fine. Vive la difference.
    No it's not fine. People who describe Di Giacomo's style as "disdainful" must be eradicated.

    I am joking of course. Well, almost.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    No it's not fine. People who describe Di Giacomo's style as "disdainful" must be eradicated.

    I am joking of course. Well, almost.

  17. #17
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    ^^^

    I would go along with perhaps only a minor beating that leaves no permanennt marks for disdaining the late great Francesco Di Giacomo, but again reasonble people can disagree on these things.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  18. #18
    I'm a classically trained singer and I can't stand the Opera. My voice professor was not amused to say the least.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by betty humpter View Post
    I'm a classically trained singer and I can't stand the Opera. My voice professor was not amused to say the least.
    I also can't stand opera. I respect the skill, but it's like nails on a chalkboard for me. However, Banco is right up there with Area as one of my favorite Italian groups. I actually like Di Giacomo's vocal style, though it did take a little getting used to, so I can see where you're coming from. I might suggest you try Di Terra, which has no vocals, but the music is awesome. One of the better integrations of rock band with orchestral instruments, imo. Garfono Rosso, also instrumental, is also nice, but is a soundtrack and not as challenging as some of Banco's other stuff. But I really suggest you try Di Terra.

    Also, I agree with others about comparing earlier Le Orme with ELP. But not so much PFM. PMF has more of a Genesis feel, but even that comparison is a stretch.

    Bill

  20. #20
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    I might suggest you try Di Terra, which has no vocals, but the music is awesome. One of the better integrations of rock band with orchestral instruments, imo.
    I like Di Giacomo just fine, but Di Terra is my favorite Banco album. So, that's a fine suggestion.

    And it might be my favorite 'rock band with orchestra' album as well.
    Steve F.

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  21. #21
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    I for one absolutely love opera. It's has arguably the very higest level of vocal artistry in the western world and some of the most beautiful melodies ever conceived by man not to mention the arrangements, drama, pomp and circumstance that can all be magnificant. Finally many operas actually tell wonderful and heart rending stories. One of my dearst memories as a child is of my old man (a volinist and one-time walk-on/extra for operas) listening to a performancd of Madame Butterfly being broadcast live on the radio and seeing him actually shed tears when the famous soprano in the lead role made an obvious mistake ruining what had apparently been up to that point perfection. Puccini bitches!

    I would suggest giving it a try with an open mind and watching and listening to a good opera with subtittles so you can follow the story. These days a lot of opera companies project subtitles during live performances. If not, your loss.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  22. #22
    I love the less conventional operas, like Debussy's Pelleas et Melissande or Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. Those two are some of the finest works of art ever.

    I hear the same about some of Wagner's operas, but I haven't yet delved into these. I am still young though. Only 44 years old. Possibly the youngest puppy here.

  23. #23
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Everything is a matter of taste..

    But for me Francesco is (still) one of the Top 5 vocalists ever.
    (and I will never understand why someone might have a problem with him)

    PFM do not sound like ELP (not even remotely so).

    Banco, PFM and Le Orme are the among the cream of every list about Prog
    I can imagine. Le Orme may be the most consistent Prog band since the
    beginning of the genre (with only 1 or 2 crappy Pop albums).

  24. #24
    I knew this might have struck a nerve. Francesco is a talented vocalist, but the style in which he sings grates on my fucking nerves. Give me some lieder/art song by Schubert or something from Ives' hymn book and I'm happy as a lark, but opera irritates the hell out of me. Le Orme has always sounded flat to me and their music hasn't aged well to my ears. I also stand by my statement about the PFM/ELP correlation. For instance, "Generale" reeks of Emerson's musical stylings. I also think that the chorale intro to "L'isola" is cringeworthy as is, "Is My Face On Straight". Finally, they do their version of "I've Seen all Good People" halfway through "La Luna Nuova". I can already see the torches and pitchforks arriving at my front door with the prog faithful yelling, "BLASPHEMY"!!

  25. #25
    To say that PFM doesn't have even a remote influence from ELP is an overstatement in my opinion. Il Generale is a very evident example, the middle section of it. I've stated it elsewhere: I am not the greatest fan of ELP but Keith Emerson's influence on the Italian progressive music was of fundamental importance. To my ears I hear more of ELP, King Crimson and Jethro Tull in the italian movement than Yes or Genesis.

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