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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: PFM - L'isola di Niente

  1. #51
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viukkis View Post
    I don't think the vocals are the only reason why the English language albums are considered inferior. There are also some quite baffling remixing decisions, such as replacing the glorious mellotron on Appena un pò with a weedy string synth.
    This makes sense. Still, on English lyrics on their own are so inauthentic that it's a non-starter to me. I cannot enjoy an Italian artist unless they are speaking in their mother tongue. The World Became the World version is unlistenable to me.

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    I wouldn't. No. ymmv, of course.

    I didn't think too much of them when I heard to two English language albums in the 70s on Manticore. To me, they were just another 'progressive rock' band in 1975, a time filled with progressive rock bands.

    They didn't rate any higher for me than a bunch of other second stringers. Again. IMO.

    My opinion of them didn't change until I heard the Italian versions of their first two releases in the late 70s or early 80s. Hearing Per Un Amico as Per Un Amico made a huge difference. For me.
    Great, especially coming from someone who heard first the english version. I would never have thought. I was automatically blown away by the introduction of River of Life, at the tender age of 19. Converted. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by viukkis View Post
    I don't think the vocals are the only reason why the English language albums are considered inferior. There are also some quite baffling remixing decisions, such as replacing the glorious mellotron on Appena un pò with a weedy string synth.
    I am well aware that there are other differences than language. My point is not to compare albums, I think we all agree that the italian versions are better. I am just inquiring about the potential value of Photos, regardless of the original versions. Suppose there were no original versions and that was it. I spent a decade with the english versions alone and I loved them, plain and simply.

  4. #54
    Just playing it again and that opening-track really kicks in.

  5. #55
    Yeah...thanks to this thread providing a subtle prodding, I have been listening to this one during my daily commute. Good stuff...and yeah, 4 Holes is a flat-out monster.
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  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    I think we all agree that the Italian versions are better.

    Please, don't try to speak for all. IMO, the English versions are superior.

  7. #57
    I first heard the English version of this album (bought at Nearfest 2001), and wasn't very impressed (though the opening track was great). In fact, I didn't bother with them for a few years as a result. I eventually got the first two albums and was blown away. After that I got the "proper" version of this album (the Italian sung version), and found that I really liked it a lot. I never listened to The World Became the World again. I haven't listened to their albums in a while, so I'm going to have to pull them out. My memory is that I was more fond of the first two than this one, but a re-listen to all will sort that out.

    Frankly though, after having listened to the the first three in their original Italian vocal versions, I have zero interest in hearing Photo's of Ghosts or of listening to World Became the World again. On the latter, the English vocals are weak, the lyrics are mostly ridiculous (something that happened a lot with Sinfield in the early 70's), and the mixing decisions make it a much lesser sounding album overall.

    I've actually never heard anything after the first three. I'm getting the impression that I need to at least get the next two (I've probably heard tracks from them though......I've seen PFM live twice and have heard Cook once or twice.

  8. #58
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    A very strong album, although I prefer the first two albums by PFM a bit.

    The Italian versions are much stronger for me.

  9. #59
    The mountain is the only song which doesn't sound good in English. All the others sound equal

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Conti View Post
    I find much to enjoy in Passpartù as well. Definitely they are pointing toward a different direction, but still there are loads of musicianship, strong melodies and interesting arrangements going on. More importantly, I think there are many really good songs in it, so I don’t easily dismiss it.
    I tried with this one and it never really clicked. I suppose it’s fine for what it is, a Mediterranean folk album with a soft rock feel, but that’s not really what I come to PFM for. Better than Suonare suonare, but that’s damning it with faint praise. I thought that Banco and Osanna did a lot more with the same idea on Canto di primavera and Suddance (respectively); exploring their folklore roots without losing their particular identity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    The added new recording on Photos of Ghosts (in relation to Per Un Amico), "Old Rain", has a lot more going for it, IMHO - in fact I think it's one of the most beautiful P.F.M. songs overall.
    It’s OK. It wasn’t good enough to make me hold onto it. Incidentally, there’s another new recording on that one, “Celebration,” a version of “È festa” that’s weak as water compared to the original.

    Quote Originally Posted by infandous View Post
    Frankly though, after having listened to the the first three in their original Italian vocal versions, I have zero interest in hearing Photo's of Ghosts or of listening to World Became the World again. On the latter, the English vocals are weak, the lyrics are mostly ridiculous (something that happened a lot with Sinfield in the early 70's), and the mixing decisions make it a much lesser sounding album overall.
    Surely you’re referring to Photos. The backing tracks on The World (except for the title track) are identical to the originals. And what I could understand of the lyrics on that one (my copy didn’t come with a lyric sheet, and the obviously phonetically-sung vocals were of no help) weren’t anywhere near as silly as, say, “Promenade the Puzzle” (jeez, lay off the wacky tobacky, Pete!).

    And I think that’s my main issue with the English albums. I’ve never been a big fan of Sinfield’s lyrics to begin with, but it’s pretty clear that he was throwing PFM his dregs. It didn’t help that it was even clearer that, at least at that point, Franco and Flavio didn’t speak English, couldn’t understand the words they were singing, and never formed an emotional connection with the songs in this form.
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  11. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    there’s another new recording on that one, “Celebration,” a version of “È festa” that’s weak as water compared to the original.

    And I think that’s my main issue with the English albums. I’ve never been a big fan of Sinfield’s lyrics to begin with, but it’s pretty clear that he was throwing PFM his dregs.
    The rerecorded version of "E Festa" (now called "Celebration") was quite obviously inferior to the raunchier and gutsier original rendition. Absolutely. The only tune that Works significantly better on Photos than on Amico, to my ear, is "Il Banchetto" - due to a clearer mix which highlights the piano.

    As for Sinfield's lyrics, they suck cox'n'baws at casa P.F.M. Apparently he wasn't interested and/or couldn't identify with the band's pronounced social and often political Messages (which were rather common and prominent with numerous Italian artists of the 70s), choosing instead to bestow them with poor allegory and the usual D&D imagery. It didn't fit them a tiny cent.
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  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post

    Surely you’re referring to Photos. The backing tracks on The World (except for the title track) are identical to the originals. And what I could understand of the lyrics on that one (my copy didn’t come with a lyric sheet, and the obviously phonetically-sung vocals were of no help) weren’t anywhere near as silly as, say, “Promenade the Puzzle” (jeez, lay off the wacky tobacky, Pete!).

    And I think that’s my main issue with the English albums. I’ve never been a big fan of Sinfield’s lyrics to begin with, but it’s pretty clear that he was throwing PFM his dregs. It didn’t help that it was even clearer that, at least at that point, Franco and Flavio didn’t speak English, couldn’t understand the words they were singing, and never formed an emotional connection with the songs in this form.
    Well, it could be because I have the "gold" CD's of the first three albums (are they remastered? I don't remember). The World sounds muddier to me than the Italian sung album. Could just be the copy I have (due to the mix used or something, I don't know....possibly the one I have was remastered).

    The lyrics though, just don't work as far as I'm concerned, and I agree totally that the guys singing them didn't understand them at all and therefore had no real emotional connection to them. I just think it would have been better had they not bothered. Did it really help them in English speaking countries, in terms of recognition and album sales?

  13. #63
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    I always enjoyed Sinfield as a lyricist with King Crimson. Painted some nice pictures there. PFM? I don't think they're bad nor particularly outstanding, but 'Is My Face On Straight', which I think are actually pretty fun lyrics, I really really wish it would have just been sung in Italian. Would have been a much stronger track in my opinion.

  14. #64
    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Good Call!
    A good album!
    And I'll go, definetely, with the italian versions!!.

    Regards.!

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by infandous View Post
    The lyrics though, just don't work as far as I'm concerned, and I agree totally that the guys singing them didn't understand them at all and therefore had no real emotional connection to them. I just think it would have been better had they not bothered. Did it really help them in English speaking countries, in terms of recognition and album sales?
    They were really pushing hard to break in North America. It showed less in terms of album sales and more in their ticket sales. They wanted to learn English so they could conquer the States (and Canada) as a live act. Which resulted in turning up as the first on the bill with some unlikely acts (like the Beach Boys and Black Sabbath, to name but two). Which is why Bernardo Lanzetti was brought in: they needed a confident front-man, and his English was better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    As for Sinfield's lyrics, they suck cox'n'baws at casa P.F.M. Apparently he wasn't interested and/or couldn't identify with the band's pronounced social and often political Messages (which were rather common and prominent with numerous Italian artists of the 70s), choosing instead to bestow them with poor allegory and the usual D&D imagery. It didn't fit them a tiny cent.
    I think he tried to meet them half-way with “Is My Face on Straight?” But social critique was not his forté. Perhaps they should have gone with Richard Palmer-James instead, or gone the Banco route with Marva Jan Marrow’s clunky attempts at direct translations of the original lyrics to English (I am led to understand she helped out on Chocolate Kings).
    Last edited by Progbear; 06-23-2017 at 09:00 PM.
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  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    They were really pushing hard to break in North America. It showed less in terms of album sales and more in their ticket sales. They wanted to learn English so they could conquer the States (and Canada) as a live act. Which resulted in turning up as the first on the bill with some unlikely acts (like the Beach Boys and Black Sabbath, to name but two). Which is why Bernardo Lanzetti was brought in: they needed a confident front-man, and his English was better.
    I'm not sure they opened any shows for Sabbath, but they did briefly share a management company for US promotion (Manticore). For Sabbath this was just after the infamous and acrimonious split with manager Patrick Meehan (forever memorialized on "The Writ"), at which time they were becoming somewhat intent on managing themselves. Eventually Don Arden realized a long held dream which had been kept just out of his reach and convinced the Sabs to let him take control, but that's another story for another thread. Iommi and Carl Palmer are very dear friends to this day, but I'm unsure of how exactly this period of Sabbath (US) management came to be. I believe PFM were handled by Manticore worldwide (sans Italy, I should think).

    PFM absolutely must have felt they had to take their shot at the English speaking markets and acquiring Lanzetti made complete sense. Not to mention he could sing the others under the table combined. ;-)

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  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by A. Scherze View Post
    Please, don't try to speak for all. IMO, the English versions are superior.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    I spent a decade with the english versions alone and I loved them, plain and simply.
    The same applied to me, as in Greece it was hard tracking down italian originals in the years 1979-1987 that I spent with the english versions (contraty to Banco or Area albums f.e.). In hindsight, speaking of "Photos of Ghosts", I find that it still works on its own (probably to the superiority of the material???) but for the "World Became the World" I wouldn't say the same. When I encountered the italian version I never looked back. Personal opinion of course...
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  18. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    When I encountered the italian version I never looked back. Personal opinion of course...
    Me neither, but until this happened it didn't make any difference...the English-speaking version suffered on the deck from overplaying.

  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Perhaps they should have gone the Banco route with Marva Jan Marrow’s clunky attempts at direct translations of the original lyrics to English (I am led to understand she helped out on Chocolate Kings).
    Djivas's wife, and I like her words very much, this would have been an excellent route

    She penned the Acqua Fragile lyrics as well

  20. #70
    I had no idea she was married to anyone in PFM! I just know that she was from Colorado, lived in Italy, had a go at being a pop singer and wrote English lyrics for Italian singers. I know she translated at least one Lucio Battisti song.

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  21. #71
    See, that's the amazing thing: I loved the vocals on the first two English albums, whereas Lanzetti's voice (and probably his vibrato) bugged me so much I couldn't get into Chocolate Kings or Jet Lag until decades later, after the 3rd wave of awful prog singers stretched my ears' ability to tolerate weak singing.

    >PFM absolutely must have felt they had to take their shot at the English speaking markets and acquiring Lanzetti made complete sense. Not to mention he could sing the others under the table combined. ;-) <

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  22. #72
    The vocals on Just look away and The world became the world are perfectly fine. Is my face on straight is English anyway and the other 2 tracks are pretty much instrumental. The Mountain vocals suck but the English version has the extra track. So how is the English version not as good as the Italian version? I definitely prefer the English version of The world became the world and Just look away is at least equal to the Italian version. 1974 is a fine year for the band. The first 2 albums lack grunt and Chocolate Kings sounds like a sheep is singing lol

  23. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by arabicadabra View Post
    See, that's the amazing thing: I loved the vocals on the first two English albums, whereas Lanzetti's voice (and probably his vibrato) bugged me so much I couldn't get into Chocolate Kings or Jet Lag until decades later, after the 3rd wave of awful prog singers stretched my ears' ability to tolerate weak singing.
    There are probably a number of adjectives which could be used to describe Lanzetti's singing; depending upon one's subjective listening experience.

    But "weak" could not possibly be on any list with even the most remote spec of objectivity. ;-)

  24. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by PROGMONSTER View Post
    The vocals on Just look away and The world became the world are perfectly fine. Is my face on straight is English anyway and the other 2 tracks are pretty much instrumental. The Mountain vocals suck but the English version has the extra track.
    Seriously, is there some kind of collective amnesia at work? The “extra track” was previously released (in far superior form) material!

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  25. #75
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    To me, there has never been any comparison between Impressioni Di Settembre and The World Became The World. The former is just so superior to the latter in every way, shape and form IMO. It's one of my favourite pieces of music ever.
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