Formula 3 - Sognando E Risognando (Italian Progressive Rock 1972)

Senin, 14 Januari 2013

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FORMULA 3 were one of Italy's first and most popular psychedelic prog rock band of its time. This band was a trio made up of Alberto Radius on guitar, vocals and bass, Gabriele Lorenzi on keyboards and bass, and Toni Cicco on drums and vocals. The melodies still have that unique Italian-Mediterranean tunefulness, but their voicings are unique. Musically these guys are somewhere in the DEEP PURPLE school with heavy emphasis on guitar and keyboard interplay. In the end they combined to write and record perhaps my favourite Italian Psych rock album ("La Grande Casa") of all time.

They put out four early albums which are all different in style. "Dies Irae" their first album is greatly overhadowed by their later releases, but let me say that you must start with this album. The second album, the eponymous FORMULA 3, appears to be a collection of singles, although the first track runs eleven minutes in length and in fact only two of the tracks were released as singles. 

Probably the only one worthy of high praise is their third "Sognando E Risognando" a highly inventive album who's styles are very diverse. "La Grande Casa" is possibly their best release, and should appeal to those who enjoy PFM, Le ORME, and Il VOLO. To be fair, "Sognando E Risognando" is supposed to be more progressive than this, earlier albums more psychedelic.

Sognando e Risognando aka "Dreaming and Re-dreaming", is the most memorable and compelling work released by Formula 3. It is generally regarded as their masterpiece. I got it in its recent and elegant 2003 BMG papersleeve cd re-issue.

The album's title (and the self titled opener 10,42 mns long track) derives from the omonimous song of Lucio Battisti from his 1972 album "Umanamente Uomo: Il Sogno". And the song performed by Formula 3 is the same one. They re-elaborated the arrangements with those well-know and appreciated trio of powerful and majestic keyboards, nervous guitar (sometimes a la young Deep Purple) and fiery drums. Battisti was also involved in this work being the producer (under the famous Numero Uno label) and not only the songwriter.

The cover art was always like a punch on my head: never understood it. Above all, the most strange thing is the opened chest of the naked woman. No, no sexual allusion in it! 

That ugly cover apart, the band's performance is very convincing and varied, with some evident references to ELP but, at the same time, some other pastoral interludes. The best tracks feature in the first half of the album: the self titled track and the long instrumental L'Ultima Foglia (The Last Leaf) which is on about 11,51 mns and is composed of: - L'Albero (The Tree); - Non Mi Ritrovo (I Cannot Find Myself); - Finale. 

The second half is also very good but not at the same level, mainly due to the more popish and romantic Storia di un Uomo e di una Donna (Story of a Man and a Woman). By the way the nice vocals of Alberto Radius are well worthy of special mention.

The last one immidiately starts with a strong and proud electric guitar: the third suite titled Aeternum (11,31 mns long) which is formed by: - Tema (Theme); - Caccia (Hunting); - Interludio; - Finale. Another exciting proof from the master hands of this excellent trio.

I strongly recommend Sognando e Risognando to anyone who wants to enter the fantastic world of the italian progrock scenario! []

01. Fermo al Semaformo (2:53)
02. Sognando (2:15)
03. La Stalla con I Buoi (4:10)
04. Risognando (1:19)
    L'Ultima Foglia
05. L'Albero (5:15)
06. Non Mi Ritrovo (4:21)
07. Finale (2:12)
08. Storia Di Un UomoE Di Una Donna (4:57)
09. Tema (2:32)
10. Caccia (1:42)
11. Interludio (5:56)
12. Finale (1:18)

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