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Thread: Progressive Italia boxes

  1. #1
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    Progressive Italia boxes

    RPI Experts and Fans: Need your opinions. I dusted off my Progressive Italia box (vol 1) a few months ago and have given all the discs many listens. Awesome! 2 stone classics, 2 really interesting but too odd (IMHO) to be masterpieces, and 2 rock solid. This is what's in the box:

    Il Balletto Di Bronzo – Ys; Just too odd to be a full-on masterpiece. Hatfield & the North on acid?
    De De Lind - Io Non So Da Dove Vengo...; Strong flute rocker, a la Jade Warrior
    Jumbo - Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni? The second odd one. Great instrumental bits. Hard to get past the vocals.
    Sensations' Fix - Portable Madness; Masterpiece #1 beats the Krautrockers at their games.
    Latte E Miele - Passio Secundum Mattheum; Masterpiece #2 One minute they jam like Traffic, the next they sound like orchestral Rick Wakeman. It works.
    Mauro Pelosi - Al Mercato Degli Uomini Piccoli; Solid singer/songwriter effort w/ mellotron.

    I wouldn’t mind picking up 1-2 more of these boxes. So what do you all think of the rest of these? What jumps out as a possible classic? I have never heard any of these other than the Cacciapaglia (Vol. 2), which I own.

    Vol. 2 Locanda Delle Fate - Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Pui, Ibis - Same, Sensations' Fix - Finest Finger, Roberto Cacciapaglia - Sei Note In Logica, Pasquale Minieri & Giorgio Vivaldi - Carnascialia, Stradaperta - Maida Vale
    Vol. 3 Jumbo - Same, Billy Gray - Feeling Gray?, Sensations' Fix - Boxes Paradise, Tritons - Satisfaction, Toni Esposito - La Banda Del Sole, Mauro Pelosi - Same
    Vol. 4 Ibis - Sun Supreme, Jumbo - Dna, Madrugada - Same, Sensations' Fix - Fragments Of Light, Mauro Pelosi - La Stagione Per Morire, Latte E Miele – Papillion
    Vol. 5 Claudio Pascoli - Naifunk, Maurizio Arcieri - Trasparenze, Sensations' Fix - Flying Tapes, Claudio Dentes - Pantarei, Mauro Pelosi - Il Signore Dei Gatti, Madrugada - Incastro
    Vol. 6 Franco Falsini - Cold Nose, Maurizio Fabrizio - Movimenti Nel Cielo, Pangea - Invasori, Carlo Siliotto - Ondina, Pueblo - Same, Sensations' Fix – Same
    Vol. 7 Maurizio Fabrizio - Azzurri Orizzonti, Francesca Messina - Medio Occidente, Latte E Miele - Papillon (English Version), Gino D'eliso - Santi Ed Eroi, Ermanno De Biagi - L'albero Della Pazzia, Saro Liotta - La Seduzione
    Vol. 8 Gens - Same, Mauro Panseri - Sulla Spiaggia D'inverno, Maurizio Fabrizio - Primo, Gianni Bonfiglio - Luci Spente A Testaccio, I Nuovi Angeli - Stasera Clowns, La Stanza Della Musica - Same

  2. #2
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    There's a lot in there that I haven't heard, (S-SW, I suspect,) and much that I have. That said, if I had to purchase 2 more sets, I would opt for 2 and 4.

  3. #3
    Vol. 2 Locanda Delle Fate - Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Pui, Ibis - Same, Sensations' Fix - Finest Finger, Roberto Cacciapaglia - Sei Note In Logica, Pasquale Minieri & Giorgio Vivaldi - Carnascialia, Stradaperta - Maida Vale
    The LDF is a classic. The Sensations’ Fix is another really good one. Beware, the self-titled album is probably the worst Ibis release. Haven’t even heard of the others.

    Vol. 3 Jumbo - Same, Billy Gray - Feeling Gray?, Sensations' Fix - Boxes Paradise, Tritons - Satisfaction, Toni Esposito - La Banda Del Sole, Mauro Pelosi - Same
    Not familiar with the majority of these apart from the SF, which is OK, but not their best. Haven’t heard that Jumbo but it’s supposed to be not on a par with their other two.

    Vol. 4 Ibis - Sun Supreme, Jumbo - Dna, Madrugada - Same, Sensations' Fix - Fragments Of Light, Mauro Pelosi - La Stagione Per Morire, Latte E Miele – Papillion
    The Ibis is excellent, the missing link between Led Zeppelin and Yes. The Jumbo album is on a par with Vietato..., though if you couldn’t get past the vocals you probably won’t like this one. The Madrugada is pleasant but not essential. The SF is another one of their best, practically a Franco Falsini solo album though, with excellent guitar and synths. The LEM is an odd duck, two long suites interleaved with a couple of short, jazzy instrumentals. One of the suites uses Beethoven’s “Pathétique Sonata” as a jumping off point. The other has some great organ playing but grinds to a halt on the vocal passages, which sound like children’s music (appropriately, since it’s a concept piece about a puppet who comes to life).

    Who the hell even is Mauro Pelosi and why is he so heavily represented on these sets?

    Vol. 5 Claudio Pascoli - Naifunk, Maurizio Arcieri - Trasparenze, Sensations' Fix - Flying Tapes, Claudio Dentes - Pantarei, Mauro Pelosi - Il Signore Dei Gatti, Madrugada - Incastro
    Incastro is the only one from this I have heard. It’s absolutely nothing like the first Madrugada, much more experimental and odd. They drop a couple of commercial-sounding tracks from a single in there just to catch you off guard. I am led to believe that SF album is a compilation, so I’d definitely skip this set, and see if you can get Incastro separately if it sounds like it might interest you.

    Vol. 6 Franco Falsini - Cold Nose, Maurizio Fabrizio - Movimenti Nel Cielo, Pangea - Invasori, Carlo Siliotto - Ondina, Pueblo - Same, Sensations' Fix – Same
    Two Sensations’ Fix-related releases, since Cold Nose is a Falsini solo album. I am led to believe that that self-titled SF release is actually a library release; one of their least satisfying albums in any case. Never heard of any of these others.

    Vol. 7 Maurizio Fabrizio - Azzurri Orizzonti, Francesca Messina - Medio Occidente, Latte E Miele - Papillon (English Version), Gino D'eliso - Santi Ed Eroi, Ermanno De Biagi - L'albero Della Pazzia, Saro Liotta - La Seduzione
    Why are they bothering with the English version of Papillon when the excellent (and underrated) Aquile e scoiattoli is right there? No idea about any of this other stuff.

    Vol. 8 Gens - Same, Mauro Panseri - Sulla Spiaggia D'inverno, Maurizio Fabrizio - Primo, Gianni Bonfiglio - Luci Spente A Testaccio, I Nuovi Angeli - Stasera Clowns, La Stanza Della Musica - Same
    *shrug* Who even are these guys? Friends of the compilers? I thought I knew Italian prog, but I haven’t heard of any of these. At least the compiler’s best friend Mauro Pelosi is nowhere around.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  4. #4
    From where does the logic stem that something "odd" can't be a "masterpiece"? If "oddness" equals expressive and/or conceptual originality, then this is often a significant factor in achieving a lasting artistic impact due to the creativity involved in actually saying something else, new or different.

    Today, of course, an artist may be heralded for openly admitting to counterfeiting the sound and vision of someone else, apparently rooted in a view along the lines of "since [---] were the best prog band, the best we can do is naturally to copy them as close as we're able!" Thereby aschewing the fact that this is the exact opposite of what the progressive idea in rock was all about.

    Il Balletto di Bronzo's Ys is an all-time classic and it'll stay that way. It influenced loads of names which would otherwise not bother about anything "prog" to begin with. It has that transcendent power to it; it levitates, distorts or alters the hitherto known.

    Jumbo's Vietato does so as well, and the vocals are magnificent and not the least difficult to get by whatsoever, while those 487 vocalists stuffing a potato down their throat to reach that Peter Gabriel-effect, preferably with an unfathomably intriguing mask or facepaint to boot - they are.


    Lots of fine titles in those boxes, but many of them are second-tier pedestrian workouts on formulas that were already wornout by that period. Latte e Miele made some wonderfully sweet tunes, especially on Papillon, but they created absolutely nothing and are consequently not remembered by anyone except for those adhering to the rationale of duplication - which obviously can be a viable artform in itself, but hardly a 'progressive' one.

    Madrugada's Incastro needs to be heard by more folks, though - and Ibis' Sun Supreme really is the most fabulous work Rush or Nektar never realized.
    "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

  5. #5
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Outside the three Jumbo albums, DDL, LDF and BdB, I've not heard of most of those albums, even if only by name.

    Other than Vol 1, I'd say only Vol 4 would be worthy for me if I hadn't already most of the albums (or at least heard them), but if I'm not familiar with most of the other stuff, I'm also not willing to jump blindly in the pool's deep end, especially that Italian Prog is hit & miss for me.

    Who the hell even is Mauro Pelosi and why is he so heavily represented on these sets?
    https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/mauro-pelosi

    something tells me that this is a Polydor/Phillips label collection, though I'm not about to check if it is the case or not.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    Pelosi is a SSW, somewhat dark and depressing (but not too dark). Comparable with Nick Drake. " La Stagione Per Morire" (his 1st) features Gianni Leone on mellotron quite heavily, and very nice.

    On the titles that didn't get mentioned,

    Vol. 2 Roberto Cacciapaglia - Sei Note In Logica,
    *electronics based minimal music. very good for what it is, though not Rock / Prog at all.

    Pasquale Minieri & Giorgio Vivaldi - Carnascialia,
    * Very interesting collaboration between Area / Canzoniore del Lazio / Mauro Pagani. Kind of experimental folk / world music that mixes South Italian Folk with Jazz, Minimal Music, North African Music.

    Have no idea on Stradaperta - Maida Vale

    Vol. 3
    Billy Gray - Feeling Gray?
    *Blues Rock by guitarist of early Trip.

    Tritons - Satisfaction
    * New Trolls in psedonym coverng rock'n' roll songs (hence the title Satisfaction). Pass.

    Toni Esposito - La Banda Del Sole,
    *Nice but not spectacular fusion with a mediterranean touch.

    Mauro Pelosi - Same
    *His 3rd album I believe. Getting bit poppier but still o.k..


    Vol. 4 Mauro Pelosi - La Stagione Per Morire,
    *As I wrote above his first. Probably the darkest and the most sinister sounding one.

    Vol. 5
    Claudio Pascoli - Naifunk,
    *Rather vague melody, but solid but average fusion I recall.

    Maurizio Arcieri - Trasparenze
    *No idea on this.

    Claudio Dentes - Pantarei,
    *Nice mixture of electronics and instrumental guitar fusion. Reminds me of Michael Rother's early solo albums.

    Mauro Pelosi - Il Signore Dei Gatti,
    *His last album. Even more poppier than the third one. Pass.

    Vol. 6 Maurizio Fabrizio - Movimenti Nel Cielo,
    *A total album that have Orchestral works on one side, and full fledged symphonic rock (in rock instrumentation) on the other. Overlooked, but quite good.

    Pangea - Invasori
    *O.K. ish prog band that is related with Madrugada. I believe this was only pressed as a promo (though BTF reissued it later).

    Carlo Siliotto - Ondina
    * Former Canzoniere del Lazio violinist. O.K. violin fronted melodic Prog / fusion with a great cover artwork.

    Pueblo - Same
    * Have no idea on this one.

    Vol. 7
    Maurizio Fabrizio - Azzurri Orizzonti,
    *Haven't heard this. Been told Pop and totally different from "Movimenti..."

    Francesca Messina - Medio Occidente,
    *Haven't listened to, but been told it as an early 80s electronics album related with Battiato. Could be interesting.

    Gino D'eliso - Santi Ed Eroi
    *Haven't heard. his "Il Mare" was a mostly pop but had one nice proggish track (around 10 min).

    Ermanno De Biagi - L'albero Della Pazzia,
    Saro Liotta - La Seduzione
    *No idea at all !

    Vol. 8
    Gens - Same
    *Italian romantic pop that aren't too different from I Pooh and the likes. Their earlier singles used mellotrion heavily, but not on this album (only real orchestra).

    Mauro Panseri - Sulla Spiaggia D'inverno
    * Have not heard. His earlier album "Adolsenza" was an ok half prog-half pop total album.

    Maurizio Fabrizio - Primo
    *Have not heard. Again been told as a pop album.

    Gianni Bonfiglio - Luci Spente A Testaccio
    *No idea at all.

    I Nuovi Angeli - Stasera Clowns,
    *Have not heard. Been told an Italian romantic pop band / album.

    La Stanza Della Musica - Same
    *No idea at all.

  7. #7
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    So in total, Vol.4 is a quite safe bet. Vol.2 and Vol.6 varies in quality, but I think both have more goodies than bad.
    Vol.3 and Vol.5 still have some interesting items, but the return is getting diminishing. Vol.7 & 8 are best avoid unless you are a) a perfectionist, b)heavily into Italian romantic pop.

  8. #8
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    So in total, Vol.4 is a quite safe bet. Vol.2 and Vol.6 varies in quality, but I think both have more goodies than bad.
    Vol.3 and Vol.5 still have some interesting items, but the return is getting diminishing. Vol.7 & 8 are best avoid unless you are a) a perfectionist, b)heavily into Italian romantic pop.

  9. #9
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    I have all 8 of these, and I actually just re-listened to all of them recently. Generally, volumes 1 to 6 contain solid at-least-somewhat-proggy material (though I think volume 3 is perhaps the weakest, on average), and there's a big drop in progginess with 7 and 8.

    I'll try to fill in the remaining blanks from nnknsh's post above:

    Volume 2:
    Stradaperta- Maida Vale- This might be my favorite "surprise" from all 8 volumes. It's well-produced commercial rock with a Mediterranean flair, with great songs and melodies, but solid musicianship and some interesting acoustic instruments. But I admit that most people don't seem to like this one nearly as much as me.
    Volume 5:
    Maurizio Arcieri - Trasparenze - IIRC this is singer/songwriter stuff and not so great.
    Claudio Pascoli - Naifunk: This is a great album IMO. Pascoli was a top session sax/flute player, and this is odd-meter instrumental funk/fusion/prog.
    Claudio Dentes - Pantarei : Another pleasant instrumental surprise from a "Claudio" on this set. This is space-rock/prog, maybe similar to Sensations Fix, with a couple of really standout tracks.
    Madrugada- Incastro- This is the better and proggier Madrugada album. The first one (on volume 4) is pretty underwhelming.
    Volume 6:
    Pueblo - Same - A total dud. Mediocre bland commercial rock, maybe broadly comparable to the Seals and Crofts or CSNY. Not even sung in Italian.
    Volume 7:
    Maurizio Fabrizio - Azzurri Orizzonti: This is different from the symphonic "Movimenti nel Cielo" but still pretty good IMO.
    Francesca Messina - Medio Occidente: Some folks like this, but I did not. It's very 1980's and minimalistic, though I think there was 1 track I kind of liked.
    Gino D'eliso - Santi Ed Eroi- This is mediocre rock.
    Ermanno De Biagi - L'albero Della Pazzia - Mediocre singer/songwriter stuff
    Saro Liotta - La Seduzione - IIRC this is solo acoustic guitar, not very interesting
    Volume 8:
    Gens - Same - This is the second of my two favorite surprises. It is late 1960's/early 1970's- style croony orchestral Italian pop, but it's one of the best examples of that I've heard. There are several "bonus tracks" that have mellotron all over them.
    Mauro Panseri - Sulla Spiaggia D'inverno - Forgettable rock
    Maurizio Fabrizio - Primo - This is indeed pop, and not great either. Totally unlike "Movimenti nel Cielo"
    Gianni Bonfiglio - Luci Spente A Testaccio - This is rock, but I thought it was better than the other similar albums in these collections.
    I Nuovi Angeli - Stasera Clowns - This is from 1974 and had some members who played in the proggier Pangea. Although it's more like pop/rock, it's borderline prog and pretty decent.
    La Stanza Della Musica - Same- This is a pleasant surprise, more singer-songwriter, but with some interesting instrumentation and good songwriting.

  10. #10
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    From where does the logic stem that something "odd" can't be a "masterpiece"? If "oddness" equals expressive and/or conceptual originality, then this is often a significant factor in achieving a lasting artistic impact due to the creativity involved in actually saying something else, new or different.
    Precisely. Masterpieces are most often those that are at first blush, perceived as odd because they are unique, quirky, original, break the rules, break new ground etc. The definition of progressive in my mind. Popularity != Masterpiece. It is for us proud snobs to determine, not the masses of unlettered asses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Il Balletto di Bronzo's Ys is an all-time classic and it'll stay that way. It influenced loads of names which would otherwise not bother about anything "prog" to begin with. It has that transcendent power to it; it levitates, distorts or alters the hitherto known.
    Oh yes absolutely killer album. For me it is the Van Der Graaf Generator of the Italian Scene and contains some monumentally evil riffs. One of my favorites of the entire rich tapestry of the Rock Progressivo Italiano world. Did you have anyone particularly in mind as being heavily influenced by Ys?
    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.

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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    Oh yes absolutely killer album. For me it is the Van Der Graaf Generator of the Italian Scene
    This, and Melos of Cervello.

    Nice rime there (masses/asses)

  12. #12
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    This, and Melos of Cervello.
    Yes, very nice and in particular early on has one of the most beautiful melodies in all of Progressivo Italiano IMO (and that's saying something).
    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.

    Buddhabreath's Rescued from Oblivion album from the 80's. The critics are raving (raving mad that is).
    Do you have what it take to survive I Can't Stand My Own Mind? Hint: smoke something strong first...

  13. #13
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    Thanks everyone for the thorough analyses. Sounds like I'll give Vol. 2 or 4 a shot next!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    From where does the logic stem that something "odd" can't be a "masterpiece"? If "oddness" equals expressive and/or conceptual originality, then this is often a significant factor in achieving a lasting artistic impact due to the creativity involved in actually saying something else, new or different.
    It doesn't, of course. My use of the term "odd" was meant to convey "odd for oddness sake" or a sense of idiosyncrasy and arbitrariness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Il Balletto di Bronzo's Ys is an all-time classic and it'll stay that way. It influenced loads of names which would otherwise not bother about anything "prog" to begin with. It has that transcendent power to it; it levitates, distorts or alters the hitherto known.
    I'm aware of the reputation the record has; I just don't share the enthusiasm. I did enjoy it a fair amount--I gave it probably more than a dozen spins, and I'm glad I own it. But they get a great sound, and then they fuck around a lot (academic term for idiosyncrasy and arbitrariness). Doesn't leave me with all that much when it's done. You get far more mileage out of it than I do. I'm fine with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Jumbo's Vietato does so as well, and the vocals are magnificent and not the least difficult to get by whatsoever, while those 487 vocalists stuffing a potato down their throat to reach that Peter Gabriel-effect, preferably with an unfathomably intriguing mask or facepaint to boot - they are.
    The Jumbo is another perplexing one. Maybe if I knew Italian the material might coalesce around the lyrical concepts? I'm not sure how for example Trout Mask Replica, which I think is great, would sound to a non-English speaker.

    But as I said there are wonderful instrumental moments, so again, I'm happy to own this. Though I might not play it all that often.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Madrugada's Incastro needs to be heard by more folks, though - and Ibis' Sun Supreme really is the most fabulous work Rush or Nektar never realized.
    Will try those two. Peace.

  14. #14
    I'm trying to remember the name of an Italian heavy prog band that made three or four albums (CDs) in the Nineties who I always thought were kind of updates of the Ys sound, and they got progressively heavier. They were widely available and recognized at the time.
    Found them! A Piedi Nudi. Apparently they are now classified as Itallan neo prog, but I don't see that at all.

    Last edited by yoyiceu; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:27 PM.

  15. #15
    Franco Falsini Cold Nose is a very good album as well.

    I 've listened to a couple of these boxes at a friend of mine and I had the impression they're awfully compressed. So, if I were you, I would proceed with care.
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  16. #16
    ^ That was A Piedi Nudi's debut, and patchier than the two to come (Creazione and Eclissi). I personally think the parallel to IBdB was abit far-fetched, but I believe it was due to them being the first 90s Italian group to fully embrace the general style of the more manic 70s sound of their homeland; listening again today those A Piedi Nudi tunes point as much to Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno, Campo di Marte, JET or Il Biglietto Per L'Inferno (first album). Meaning that there were indeed quite many 70s Italian acts going for that semi-hysteric, chaotic hard-rock approach to things. IBdB's Ys and Cervello's Melos just happened to do the best and most idiosyncratic of it - which is why they make for some of the most interesting rock from Italy overall.
    "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

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