Page 1 of 8 12345678 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 196

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

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nothern Virginia, USA
    Posts
    2,516

    FEATURED ALBUM: PFM - L'isola di Niente

    Perhaps overshadowed by the first two albums, L'isola di Niente completes a trilogy of sorts, with some of the more memorable and influential Italian progressive rock of its time.



    Review from ProgArchives:
    After two stunning albums, the Italian prog pioneering guys of Premiata Forneria Marconi managed to top themselves even further with their maximum masterpiece, 'L'Isola di Niente': basically, what they did here was, while preserving their own melodic leaning enriched with crytalline acoustic sensibility, expand their sonic boundaries by inserting some rough Crimsonian touches (specially on track 1), and more importantly, open up the gates to the influence of jazz fusion (new bassist Djivas was a crucial item on this), something they would pursue in a more focused manner in their following efforts... but let's not get too ahead of ourselves.

    As I've stated before, I consider this album as their top achievement. The opening title track starts with a sombre, mysterious choral arrangement that announces something like impending doom, and that's exactly what happens when the distorted guitar riffs, together with the furious complement of a fiery organ and a more fiery electric violin, display a powerful wall of sound solidly supported by DiCiccio and Djivas. It won't take long before a softer interlude appears in order to pave the way for the beautiful pastoral section that feautres classical guitar, piano, mellotron, and a flute duet that resembles the sound of birds singing at early morning; then, a jazzy electric section will set the stage for the re-entry of the first rocky section. The whole thing ends with a Frippian guitar solo displayed upon a sequence of classical guitar arpeggios. Stunning! Perhaps the weirdest thing in the whole PFM repertoire.

    Track 2 is pitifully sung in English, but still works effectively as a catchy, funny jazz oriented number - a special mention to the playful accordion solo at the end. 'La Luna Nuova' brings us back to the spirit of 'Per un Amico', but with the extra dose of energy exhibited all through this album, with Premoli's keyboards being specially featured here: I do consider this piece as archetypical PFM, the perfect individual sample for the newbie. 'Dolcissima Maria' is the most beautiful ballad written by the band, a romantic theme that serves as a proper oasis of emotional calm between the amazing colourfulness of the previous track, and the jazzy tour-de-force 'Via Lumiere'. The latter features a Pagani showing his maddest side alternately on electric violin and flute: Djivas' intro bass solo is quite effective, and DiCioccio's drumming is also a display of out-of-this-world precision and amazing energy.

    The grand finale is a church-like hymn, where the organ fills the leading role, complemented by dissonant touches on guitar and violin, as well as a choral ensemble performed by the PFM fivesome. In conclusion: an Italian masterpiece, moreover, a prog classic of all time. - Cesar Inca



    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  2. #2
    If memory serves, this was the first PFM I owned, on used vinyl circa the late 90's. Good stuff, although I gravitate more toward Per Un Amico and Choco-Kings these days.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  3. #3
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    in a cosmic jazzy-groove around Brussels
    Posts
    4,851
    always preferred the debut (especially)and the sophomore efforts
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  4. #4
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Fluffy Cloud
    Posts
    4,132
    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    Perhaps overshadowed by the first two albums, L'isola di Niente completes a trilogy of sorts, with some of the more memorable and influential Italian progressive rock of its time.
    imo, it's overshadowed by the 1st two because, while still a very good album, it simply isn't as good as the amazing first two. ymmv.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  5. #5
    My fave P.F.M.

    I initially got the English-tongued version as my first by them, and then I moved to the first two - both in mother tongue. But then when I got L'Isola it instantly caught my warmest heart and has essentially stayed close to it. Rarely do I hear anyone attempt anything as (presumably) impossibly pompous as the title track - and actually get away with it, rock factor intact and all. Completely successful, to my ears.

    I would wish to hear the originally intended Italian lyrics for "Is My Face On Straight", though. One of their defining tracks.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  6. #6
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Fluffy Cloud
    Posts
    4,132
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    My fave P.F.M.
    Cool!

    I agree about the impossibly pompous-ness of the opening track!
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  7. #7
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    5,515
    The first PFM album I heard and bought was Cook, and I just loved the energy and sound of the more vivid tracks, so when I subsequently got their two previous albums I was a bit underwhelmed.
    Have learned to love them later, and agree that the first two albums are far better as coherent albums - I have them as 'gold' cd's, and the sound is also much better than Isola and Photos.

  8. #8
    My second PFM album after Chocolate Kings, and my first Italian language CD. Bought both of these at a small shop in Nashville when I was in grad school in 1991 or so, and those are still the versions I have.

    I like this album, but it doesn't grab me like Chocolate Kings, Jet Lag, or the first two. On the plus side, it does have perhaps my favorite overall PFM track, La Luna Nuova. All these years hearing it, and I still love it like hearing it for the first time. I also like the title track, but feel that opening chorus goes of a bit too long and gets a bit tedious.

    Is My Face on Straight and Via Lumiere are OK. I've never heard an Italian version of Is My Face on Straight. I might like that one better because I think the English vocals are a bit odd on this track and that diminishes my enjoyment. Via Lumiere starts OK, but then just seems to drift into that repeated part that doesn't go anywhere, and the song just sort of fades into nothing. A bit disappointing. For me, Dolcissima Maria is a waste of space. Pretty song, I guess, but at barely 34 minutes, I'd like to hear more group interplay, particularly of the Proggy kind.

    Overall, it feels like the band were a bit short on great ideas. To me, the album needs another meaty tune, and without that it is a good listen, but not really a gem.

    Bill

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,710
    As much as I love those first two I think this and Choco Kings are my favorites. Fabulous record.
    Prog's Not Dead

  10. #10
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    14,691
    I can't stress enough how much I prefer this Italian version of the album. The bombast of the opening notes totally draws you in. I think you could possibly view this as an underrated album because of the foreshadowing of the first two. Not quite as strong but if it were released first people would be clamoring for it.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    If memory serves, this was the first PFM I owned, on used vinyl circa the late 90's. Good stuff, although I gravitate more toward Per Un Amico and Choco-Kings these days.
    Not a bad place to start! My first PFM was their first album, followed in order (sort of) by Photos of Ghosts and then L'Isola. Eventually I got Per un Amico and much prefer it to the English version (naturally). Per Un Amico will always be my fave I think, but Chocolate Kings is certainly no slouch.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    My fave P.F.M.

    I initially got the English-tongued version as my first by them, and then I moved to the first two - both in mother tongue. But then when I got L'Isola it instantly caught my warmest heart and has essentially stayed close to it. Rarely do I hear anyone attempt anything as (presumably) impossibly pompous as the title track - and actually get away with it, rock factor intact and all. Completely successful, to my ears.

    I would wish to hear the originally intended Italian lyrics for "Is My Face On Straight", though. One of their defining tracks.
    Awesome! Glad to see this album getting some love. The first time I heard the title track and it got into that "heavy" riff after the opening choir part, I remember thinking "This is PFM?!" Of course it's nothing compared to today's standards of heaviness, but it was quite effective in showing that these guys could bring the muscle when they wanted to.

    "Is My Face On Straight" is one of my very favorite PFM songs, in spite of the awkward English lyrics. The music is just so beautiful throughout.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Cool!

    I agree about the impossibly pompous-ness of the opening track!
    Yeah, but that's what makes it so cool!

  12. #12
    "La Luna Nuova" is the one that still just blows me away to this day.

    That guitar/violin/synth bit where Mussida, Pagani and Premoli are twisting and turning that melody and all in perfect sync ... holy SMOKES that is nuts! And it's completely musical so those ridiculous chops are being used within the context of the song. Love it.

    It was also an absolute monster live. And I think it worked well in English ("Four Holes In The Ground").

    The whole album is a gem.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    "La Luna Nuova" is the one that still just blows me away to this day.

    That guitar/violin/synth bit where Mussida, Pagani and Premoli are twisting and turning that melody and all in perfect sync ... holy SMOKES that is nuts! And it's completely musical so those ridiculous chops are being used within the context of the song. Love it.

    It was also an absolute monster live. And I think it worked well in English ("Four Holes In The Ground").

    The whole album is a gem.
    Totally agree. "La Luna Nuova" is a song that I never get tired of hearing, and there are so many live versions available -- many of which are excellent.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    Via Lumiere starts OK, but then just seems to drift into that repeated part that doesn't go anywhere, and the song just sort of fades into nothing. A bit disappointing.
    From what I understand, Djivas brought that riff with him from AreA, and it was used in midst of other themes basically intended for album-closer-functions alone, as the song essentially serves as intro to, er, that outro. I think it works, and you'll now have to return to "Via Lumiere" with a whole new perspective and promptly change your view on things, Bill.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  15. #15
    Member emperorken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Mesquite Nv
    Posts
    103
    I first heard this album when it was released in 1974 as "The World Became the World". It was many years later before I heard the Italian version. I still think it is PFM's best album and one the best Italian albums ever released. The opening choir on "The Mountain"(L'Isola di Niente) leading into the guitar riff blew me away back then, and still does.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Belo Horizonte / Brazil
    Posts
    409
    It is certainly a very good album, but I agree with the idea that its long-term impact is somehow diminished by the two great albums that came before and, why not, the great studio album that came after (Chocolate Kings).

    I also share the enthusiasm for La Luna Nuova, which is possibly my favorite track by PFM. The interplay along the outro is absolutely phenomenal, those guys could really play. Its version in the Live in the USA album is unbelievable for its sheer energy and musicality at faster-than-light speed. Maybe I’m biased because the live versionof the track (and the live album for that matter) was the first PFM I listened/owned, so La Luna Nuova/Four Holes in the Ground remains really special.

    In L’Isola de Niente, I quite like the the title track, and "Is my Face" but in general when I’m in the mood for PFM I’d rather reach Chocolate Kings, Per un Amico or Jet Leg. I do like Storia di un Minuto a lot, but lately I’ve been less enthused by it than before.

  17. #17
    Member at least 100 dead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Treetops High
    Posts
    274
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    "Is My Face On Straight" is one of my very favorite PFM songs, in spite of the awkward English lyrics.
    Mine too. For some reason, it always reminds me of Nina Hagen's "Auf'm Friedhof", atmospherically speaking. Lovely tune (and I actually like it because of the Italian accent).

  18. #18
    I love it! I also belong to those who are emotionally more attached to the first two LPs (italian romanticism to the core) but I've never considered this in any way inferior. We have to keep in mind that moving forward from the ultra-successful first duo could not have been easy. They've done it brillantly imo, the jazzier/fusion sounds helped them to refresh their sound.
    Count me in with the ones that speak of an underrated masterpiece.

  19. #19
    Me too. It's such a powerful entrance that it catapulted them into my Big Six alongside Tull, Yes, KC, Genesis and ELP. And back in the day, the appearance on the Manticore label said "ELP thinks you should hear this."
    Quote Originally Posted by emperorken View Post
    I first heard this album when it was released in 1974 as "The World Became the World". It was many years later before I heard the Italian version. I still think it is PFM's best album and one the best Italian albums ever released. The opening choir on "The Mountain"(L'Isola di Niente) leading into the guitar riff blew me away back then, and still does.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    From what I understand, Djivas brought that riff with him from AreA, and it was used in midst of other themes basically intended for album-closer-functions alone, as the song essentially serves as intro to, er, that outro.
    Odd, Djivas isn't credited at all on the version I have. The opening bass solo and the first sort of funky riff through abut 2:45 (and even in the groove from 2:45 to 4:07) definitely have an Area vibe, so it wouldn't surprise me he was involved in those parts, but it's strange he gets no credit. The ending starting at 4:38 sounds like pure Mussida/Premoli to me, though. That part could easily have been on one of the first two albums and I don't think Djivas had anything to do with that. It's a pretty part, to me it just doesn't deserve three minutes of the song as it doesn't particularly go anywhere. It also just seems to be "tacked on" to the end of the other parts, it never seemed particularly organic to me, but I feel what way about a lot of the stuff on the first two PFM albums as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I think it works, and you'll now have to return to "Via Lumiere" with a whole new perspective and promptly change your view on things, Bill.
    If it works for you that's great. I'm not sure what you said changed my perspective on it at all, because I don't think Djivas was involved in the part I'm talking about. I did enjoy re-listening to the song though, the first 4:37 are awesome!

    Bill

  21. #21
    A monster!

    Even though it is a very small step, in my opinion, lower than the first 2, does not mean it doesn't get spun just as often.

    The best pieces on this album are still as brilliant as the best pieces in the first 2. The only reason why I consider it a slight step down, is based on overall consistency.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    ...in showing that these guys could bring the muscle when they wanted to.
    Yes! This was a rock band for sure, and they could - and did - bite
    Last edited by Zappathustra; 06-21-2017 at 01:42 PM.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post

    (1) The ending starting at 4:38 sounds like pure Mussida/Premoli to me, though. That part could easily have been on one of the first two albums and I don't think Djivas had anything to do with that. It's a pretty part, to me it just doesn't deserve three minutes of the song as it doesn't particularly go anywhere.

    (2) It also just seems to be "tacked on" to the end of the other parts, it never seemed particularly organic to me, but I feel what way about a lot of the stuff on the first two PFM albums as well.

    (3) I'm not sure what you said changed my perspective on it at all, because I don't think Djivas was involved in the part I'm talking about. I did enjoy re-listening to the song though, the first 4:37 are awesome!
    1) The ending part was apparently (AFAIK) a theme already used for some endings at concerts and performances in general, and the first part (including the "funky riff ála AreA") more or less assembled together and then attached in front to somehow "justify" the ending.

    2) MANY early PFM tunes (as well as ones by numerous other Italian progressive bands from the 70s) were fragmented or at times even disjointed - like the infamous case of Osanna's Palepoli or several classic pieces by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso or Museo Rosenbach for that matter. The concept of unifying coherency or binary structures seemed to escape a number of these artists.

    3) Djivas wasn't involved, but I won't be satisfied until you've changed completely on the issue, Bill. It's simply not good enough to merely change a bit; you'll have to go change full throttle. Total change. Perpetual.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  24. #24
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    southern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,245
    I love the album, perhaps not as much as the two before it, but it's certainly part of a string of classics IMO. That opener!
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    2) MANY early PFM tunes (as well as ones by numerous other Italian progressive bands from the 70s) were fragmented or at times even disjointed - like the infamous case of Osanna's Palepoli or several classic pieces by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso or Museo Rosenbach for that matter. The concept of unifying coherency or binary structures seemed to escape a number of these artists.
    True. IMO, some do it better than others (by that I mean have more compositional coherence). You mention Banco. For me much of their stuff makes a lot more sense to me compositionally and seems to develop more organically, while still having just as many parts. And the Osanna sounds to me like a mish-mosh of totally disjointed parts. I never particularly cared for Palepoi and Banco is one of my all time favorites, but whatever. Largely I think PFM leans more toward Banco than Osanna, but they have their moments, and for me that Via Lumiere transition is one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    3) Djivas wasn't involved, but I won't be satisfied until you've changed completely on the issue, Bill. It's simply not good enough to merely change a bit; you'll have to go change full throttle. Total change. Perpetual.
    You say this like I'm somehow trying to change your mind. I'm not clear on your point is with all this, but if it makes you happy, I promise, "you'll see Perpetual Change."

    Bill

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •