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miércoles, 22 de junio de 2016

Premiata Forneria Marconi - Jet Lag (1977)


El Canario se despacha con un clásico de los tanos de oro, al cual no le hace falta presentación alguna salvo que sea un novato en estas tierras cabezonas. Dijimos que hoy tendríamos mucho progresivo italiano y ya lo ven, y ésto aún no ha terminado. ¿Sobre el disco? Bueno, entren al post...


Artista: Premiata Forneria Marconi
Álbum: Jet Lag
Año: 1977
Género: Progresivo italiano
Duración: 42:50
Nacionalidad: italia


Lista de Temas:
1. Peninsula
2. Jet Lag
3. Storia In "LA"
4. Breakin In
5. Cerco la Lingua
6. Meridiani
7. Left-Handed Theory
8. Traveler
9. La Carrozza di Hans (Bonus Track Live)

Alineación:
- Franz Di Cioccio / batería, sintetizador Moog, voces.
- Franco Mussida / guitarra acústica, guitarra eléctrica, guitarra de doce cuerdas, mandolina, voces.
- Gregory Bloch / violín.
- Patrick Djivas / Bajo, voces.
- Flavio Premoli / teclados, melotrón, clave, piano, sintetizador Moog, voces.
- Bernardo Lanzetti / percusión, voz líder.



Un disco que algunos amana y otros odian, pero en todo caso siempre es un clásico cuya tapa y arte se hizo famoso y estuvo en todos lados, desde una tapa del conjunto venezolano RC2, hasta la cabecera del blog cabezón. ¿QUÉ PODRÍA AGREGAR YO A LAS PALABRAS DEL cANARIO QUE VIENEN A CONTINUACIÓN?? Sería un sacrilegio agregar algo más...


Me cuesta un poco ordenar las ideas para hablar de un álbum que me ha marcado y que he escuchado tanto que ya forma parte de mi. Trataré de ser todo lo objetivo que pueda.
Jet Lag, el quinto álbum de estudio de Premiata Forneria Marconi, nunca obtuvo demasiada aceptación tanto por parte de la crítica como por los seguidores de la banda, en especial los italianos, acostumbrados a temas más liricos, con muchos matices barrocos y renacentistas.
Se dijo que la banda en este álbum se había americanizado demasiado, hasta el punto de dejar de ser progresiva, convirtiéndose en un grupo de jazz-rock más.
En realidad, como dice Jeff Wagner ( alias “Slipperman”), comentarista de rock progresivo, en un artículo posteado en “Cabeza de moog” a propósito del álbum “Chocolate Kings”: - “se les ve evitar los estereotipos del sonido progresivo italiano que ellos mismos ayudaron a definir, en un esfuerzo por evolucionar y no quedar atrapados en una jaula de su propia fabricación. ( No es que yo tenga nada en contra del progresivo italiano de los ’70, por supuesto, pero una vez que una banda progresiva se torna predecible, deja de ser progresiva.)”-
Creo que en eso este señor acierta plenamente: un verdadero artista, una persona creativa, sea del género musical que sea, jamás termina de renovarse. Su inquietud es explorar nuevos caminos.
Y ese nuevo camino en 1975, para la PFM, fue “Chocolate Kings”.
Corrían tiempos duros para el rock progresivo: el punk empezaba a sonar con fuerza y a desbancar de su trono a un rock cada vez mas preciosista, que hacía alarde de un tremendo derroche de
virtuosismo, reivindicando en su lugar la sencillez y el encanto de lo espontaneo, aunque pudiera resultar a menudo burdo y primario. La New Wave estaba a punto de aparecer, con su carga de nihilismo y decadencia heredada del punk. La mayor parte de las discográficas apostaba por la “Dance music” que estaba en la cresta de la ola. La “Fusión” se hacía más y más popular con exponentes como Chick Corea, Weather Report, y Jean-Luc Ponty, entre otros. En ese contexto todo invitaba a reinventarse, a abrirse a nuevos conceptos.

AMÉRICA
Tras el considerable éxito de su gira por los EEUU, de la cual el álbum “Cook” es testimonio, los de Premiata Forneria Marconi empezaron a plantearse la idea de hacerse un hueco en el mercado discográfico del gigante norteamericano. Este sueño se materializó en “Chocolate Kings”, álbum tremendamente novedoso con respecto a su discografía anterior, que sin embargo no obtuvo el éxito deseado, en parte debido a que algunas de sus letras estaban tan cargadas de críticas y de sarcasmo respecto a los Estados Unidos, que no gustaron nada a los poderes fácticos de allá. Además, su declarada amistad con la OLP y el pueblo palestino, les mereció el repudio de la comunidad judía de EEUU. Pronto Premiata supo quien mandaba realmente en el lejano oeste. Y no era John Wayne. Ya las puertas estaban cerradas para esos forasteros… Shalom!
Varios comentaristas dijeron además que la voz de Bernardo Lanzetti, el nuevo vocalista de la PFM, procedente de Aqua Fragile, era demasiado parecida a la de Peter Gabriel, y con eso les bastó para dar una baja calificación al álbum (me tengo que morder la lengua para callar lo que pienso de ciertas críticas). Sería como decir que Zucchero es una copia italiana de Joe Cocker, solo porque los dos tienen la voz cascada.
En fin, el disco tuvo muy buena acogida en Japón y el Reino Unido; no así en EEUU. Sin embargo no se dieron por vencidos: después de un tiempo, lanzaron “Jet Lag”, que fue grabado entre California y Gran Bretaña, durante el año 1977.
La línea musical iniciada en “Chocolate Kings” llegó a su culminación en este nuevo trabajo, el más rico en jazz-rock/fusión de toda su discografía. De hecho, nunca volverían a repetir esa fórmula, y después de este álbum, siguieron por otros derroteros completamente distintos.
Su apuesta por el jazz-rock tuvo que ver con que durante su estancia en EEUU hicieron buenas amistades nada más y nada menos que con Jaco Pastorius, Frank Zappa, Billy Cobham, y muchos otros grandes del Jazz-rock de la “west coast”, cuya influencia en ellos fue decisiva. Premiata, profundamente transformada y sin Mauro Pagani, crea entonces un puñado de temas de talante más jazzístico, de una madura y vigorosa calidez, que constituirán su próximo álbum: “Jet Lag”.

JET LAG
Mussida y compañía se habían pasado varios años viajando de Italia a Estados Unidos y viceversa, tratando de abrirse camino en el Nuevo Continente, pero sin abandonar definitivamente el suyo, hasta que saliera “Chocolate Kings” que les llevó de tour por América. La consecuencia de tantas idas y venidas fue el famoso “síndrome de los husos horarios” ( más conocido como jet lag) que suelen padecer aquellos que viajan atravesando varios meridianos en un tiempo relativamente corto. Ese síndrome normalmente conlleva desajustes psicofísicos de carácter leve.
Escogieron el nombre “Jet Lag” para el disco, queriéndole dar un doble sentido: el del ya mencionado síndrome, que padecieron con frecuencia, y el del estrés que les produjo el vivir alternando entre dos culturas tan distintas entre sí.
También habría que mencionar la nostalgia de su país natal, que les sobrevino durante la gira de promoción de “Chocolate Kings” y finalmente el fracaso en su intento de conquistar el mercado estadounidense.
Todo ello, sumado al aprendizaje directo con unos colosos musicales que se adelantaban a su tiempo , fue un poderoso cocktail que dio como resultado este magnífico disco, en el que ellos tuvieron el valor de crear un nuevo lenguaje que pienso que muchos no supieron comprender.
La carátula del álbum, basada en una idea de Franz Di Cioccio, fue incluida en “The Illustrated History of the Rock Album Cover” libro en el que salen las más hermosas portadas de la historia del rock mundial.
Muchas veces me he preguntado qué significa ese avioncito de papel que sale en la carátula del disco, y he terminado pensando que tal vez lleve escritas canciones, canciones que cruzan meridianos, husos horarios, océanos y continentes. Quizás con esa imagen los de la PFM quisieron expresar su sueño… me encantaría que si a alguien se le ocurre otra lectura, o se entera de algo interesante acerca de esta portada, lo comentara...




ITALIA
La nostalgia por su país se adivina desde el primer tema, “Peninsula”, el corte con más sabor mediterráneo del disco.
“Cerco la Lingua”, el quinto corte, comienza con unos minutos de violín que evocan danzas del folklore del sur de Italia (apostaría a que esa parte fue escrita por Pagani, que aparece en los créditos como coautor, aunque el que la ejecuta es Greg Bloch), y su texto parece expresar el deseo de encontrar en su italiano natal esa lengua musicalmente perfecta con la que todo letrista ha soñado.
El octavo y último tema del disco, Traveller, evoca al viajero que como Ulises regresa cansado de una larga travesía. Cansado pero también lleno de sabiduría. Casi en los últimos compases de Traveller, la guitarra de Mussida retoma el tema inicial, “Peninsula”, como para indicar cuál es el lugar de regreso, la Ítaca de esta historia. Es el hogar, la vieja Italia.
Después de “Jet Lag” con su breve gira, la PFM regresó por fin a Italia y grabó algunos álbumes en los que se decantó por una música más ligera y con textos exclusivamente en italiano. Primero “Passpartú”, luego “Suonare, suonare”, “Come ti va in riva alla cittá”... todos ellos basados en una formula bastante comercial y orientada a un público local.
En mi opinión, estaban atravesando una época de escasez creativa, que mas tarde afortunadamente remontaron. Pero pienso, y se muy bien que es una apreciación muy subjetiva, que nunca volvieron a llegar tan arriba como llegaron con “Jet Lag”.
El Canario


Y vamos con algún comentario en inglés, por si a alguien le hace falta...

This excellent album saw PFM breaking new ground, with the inclusion of fretless bass (the first time I heard that instrument), and a jazzier feel overall. Four of the five tracks with vocals are sung in English, but the Pete Sinfield (ex Crimson) lyrics of earlier English language releases (like "The World Became the World") are missing this time out. If the words don't soar to Sinfield's poetic heights, however, they still do a serviceable job.
Poetry aside, the music is center-stage here, and it is superb music indeed! The opening track, "Peninsula," is a beautiful piece of classical guitar work (sort of like Genesis - "Horizons") that serves as a lovely prelude to the title track. At over 9 minutes, "Jet Lag" is the longest track on the album, and it's also the finest: in the best traditions of classic Prog it changes musical direction more than once, offering both power and beauty. Alone worth the cost of the disc (then some!), this masterful and highly original 'suite' is one of the best blends of jazz and rock that I've ever had the pleasure to hear. The rest of the album doesn't quite measure up to "Jet Lag," but is still very good, and diverse in flavour. There are soaring violins, great guitars and keyboards (lots of electric piano) and solid bass and drums. The final cut, "Traveller," is particularly good, and brings the set to a memorable close.
Though it represents a departure from the band's earlier sound, I liked this disc in '77, and I love it now!
Peter

Mostly this is purely fast and complex "hard to play" progressive rock without the earlier mellow & delicate moments, like on "Photos of ghost" and "World became the world". WOW! This record is very loaded: the drums and bass and very fast and complex. There are some very fast and hard rock/bluesy electric guitar parts. Mauro Pagani left the band here, so there are no more woodwind instruments; he is replaced by Gregory Bloch, a very good violinist who does a very good job. The long eponymous song "Jet lag" amazingly sounds like Ozric Tentacles! "Story in la" is a monumental Zappa-esque (circa "One size fits all") chef d'oeuvre. It is impressive to notice all the good synchronization involved here to produce dense tracks! Bernardo Lanzetti still sings here with his annoying voice. The keyboardist can easily be compared to George Duke's in the 70's; many song styles can be associated with the Zappa's work of the mid 70's. The side 2 is less spectacular. There is nothing bad to say about the technical performance, but of course I prefer the earlier stuff.
greenback

Strangely enough, this is probably my favorite PFM album beside « Chocolate kings ». Sure it's their last very good album, but this one has some magic in it. The voice is awesome, and what about a song like « Traveler ». Everything on this album has some magic in it. You can feel they are at the end of their path and that they achieved something. A difficult album to understand, but I can't stop listening to it again and again.
Belz

It's a classic album. The first time I got this album was in the form of tape at the time of release. Am fortunate that at the end, after having been chasing many years, I got the re-mastered edition CD in a digipak format with an excellent sonic quality, last year. This album is one of the finest that the band has ever produced. The music is a blend of jazz, rock and some classical music touch. It opens with an instrumental track, acoustic guitar based, with a stunning style. It reminds me to Genesis' "Horizon" before "Supper's Ready". This track is longer - it consumes 2:35 minutes. Very nice opening.
The title track "Jet Lag" is opened with a powerful vocal line backed with keyboard sound. The music flows excellently with a heavy influence of jazz. The instruments that contribute to the music are blend nicely to form an excellent composition. The instruments that are noticeable are combination of guitar fills, keyboard and violins. Also important to notice is the changing beat of drumming, it's cool. This track offers shifting tempos as well. I think, this track is masterpiece. The way keyboard /organ is played reminds me to GENTLE GIANT style even though I'm not claiming that PFM is heavily influenced by GG. The interlude with keyboard solo is wonderful.
"Storia in "la" " is opened with a solo keyboard and some cymbal's sound. The melody and nuance of this intro remind me to GONG music (Shamal album), especially the woodwind instrument used in this opening. It's an instrumental track with relatively slow tempo, stunning violin and guitar. Next track, "Breakin in" continues with similar vein of melody, but this time with a vocal line. The tempo is slightly much more upbeat than its predecessor. You will find interesting blend of violin and percussion in this track. The tempo is relatively stable with minimum high-low range.
"Cerco la lingua" has a relatively long violin intro. I find the intro is too long as it is almost played as solo. But when the music flows, I find the bass guitar is played wonderfully. The other interesting part is the "banjo"-like guitar play and violin. "Left-handed Theory" is a track that has a long intro part as instrumental; guitar sound dominate the track. The lead guitar work is excellent. There are some violin work as well to accentuate the composition in early part and solo during interlude.
I consider this album is good. Even though musicianship is excellent and relatively complex composition in some segments, however there are some monotonous part especially in its tagline music background. A good example is at last track "traveler"; the first part is too long and little variations of melody. Yes, at later part the tempo is changing but it does not help the overall track. To enjoy this album, you need to be in the right mood. I think. Rating 3.5 / 5. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.
Gatot Widayanto

A wayward, unfocused album follows up the great 'Chocolate Kings'. Who knows why? It's only one year later and 5/6 of the members return for another excursion. No doubt the album has its moments, "Jet Lag", "Meridiani" and "Cerco La Lingua" exemplifying prime PFM. The quirky "Left-Handed Theory" is the best indication of the band's increasing infatuation with jazz/fusion, and though they're quite good at it, it's unfortunate that this would dominate over their epic/symphonic element. "Storia In 'LA'" is a good song, but it seems neutered by a production soft-lens focus: the cleaner tone that would exemplify so many late '70s prog albums. (It almost sounds like one of Brand X's safer compositions). With a reach toward the middle ground on several tracks, like "Breakin' In" and "Traveler", 'Jet Lag' constitutes a textbook-definition "transitional album". Unfortunately they transitioned to less exciting material, like much of their prog brethren in the late '70s.
The recording of the instruments seems dampened compared to previous efforts, and curiously, Bernardo Lanzetti doesn't exert himself as forcefully as on 'Chocolate Kings'. There's plenty to like here, but very little to love (or hate). Far more important than just a "completists-only" album, but any prog fan would be advised to get ALL the albums that came before it before venturing into this part of the band's evolution.
Jeff Wagner

The title track "Jet Lag" is one of those elusive pieces of music i have been looking out for since i heard it on a Prog radio show back in 1977. This amazing piece had always stuck in my mind, though i had forgotten what it was called, i waited all this time until i managed to get an idea from PA listings of what it actually was, i bought a copy of the LP some weeks ago - and there it was just as i remembered it, the vocals very similar to Roger Chapman in places, the jazz-rock style playing, the catchy hook in the main theme all came back to me.
Side one begins with the instrumental track "Peninsular", delightful acoustic guitar piece though rather short, an unusual start to an album. The aforementioned "Jet Lag" is the longest track on the album at nine minutes, and is followed by "Storia in LA", a relaxing instrumental piece featuring what sounds like some beautiful flute playing (could be that mysterious "Pari" organ?) , followed by an electric violin solo, backed by fretless bass. "Breakin' In" ups the tempo, with electric violin, guitar and keyboards with the aforementioned gravelly vocals from Bernardo Lanzetti.
"Cerco la Lingua" starts off Side two with a beautiful violin solo, reminiscent of an Irish gypsy folk tune, accompanied by tambourine before the drums and electric guitar and keyboards kick in, that fretless bass is very prominent here, the singer is singing in Italian on this lively track which has an interesting mix of styles and intruments! "Meridani" drifts in with an interesting guitar solo backed by drums and bass, almost a blues-style jam in places, a very enjoyable piece! I would have liked to see them play this live.The next track "Left-handed Theory" is a very Jazzy-style piece featuring keyboards, a violin solo and again Chapman-style vocals, which is followed by the last track "Traveller", which has a very catchy theme and bass line running through it, interspersed by vocals and a winding guitar solo, and acoustic guitar. The "Family" comparison is really startling on this track, that is not to say the music is detracted by this, quite the opposite - i have hardly heard any other albums by "PFM" but i am extremely impressed by the sophisticated musicianship on this album - i gather this album is something of a departure from their usual style, but i shall be investigating their others with interest - an excellent addition to any Prog collection!
Steve Trowbridge

This is the first PFM album I've ever heard, and I'm 39 years old, which means I've wasted 38 years looking for something that was there all along. Jet Lag is mid-period PFM, not the best stuff in the barrel, and yet it immediately vaunted the band ahead in my mind. Imagine the better parts of Brand X and Gentle Giant combined, sung with a slight Peter Gabriel affectation, and you'll see why PFM is AOK with most prog fans. I'd still recommend starting with Genesis and Gentle Giant, but you shouldn't be wasting your money on GG's later albums (The Missing Piece, Giant For A Day) until you've delved into PFM. English isn't their strength, so you wouldn't mistake the lyrics for poetry, but on a track like "Traveler" you might mistake the band for vintage Genesis, and that's a mirage worth following. In defining the band's sound, it's really a sum of their parts: vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti sounds most like a less-convincing Peter Gabriel (think of a small Fish), fretless bassist Patrick Djivas invites comparison to Brand X's Percy Jones, keyboardist Flavio Premoli could be a cross between Tony Banks and Soft Machine's Mike Ratledge, and so on. In other words, PFM stays within the soft fusion/prog field for the bulk of Jet Lag. Drummer Franz Di Ciccio and guitarist Franco Mussida are outstanding, and it's tempting to think how good they could have been in a band like Gentle Giant. Part of the purpose of Progrography is to turn listeners on to new artists, and if I've pushed at least one person in the direction of PFM, I've done my job. I wouldn't suggest starting your PFM collection with Jet Lag, but no harm done if you do. There are a handful of tracks like "Jet Lag," "Cerco La Lingua" and "Traveler" that will tickle the tastebuds of prog connoisseurs and keep them hungry for more. In that spirit, onward and backward to Chocolate Kings!
Dave Connolly

A contentious title, but thumbs-up from here. Give it time...
....to grow on you. When I first heard "Jet Lag" I thought "Yikes.this ain't PFM!" Well it may not be the PFM of 1972 but it is still a great piece of music on its own. The album garners reviews ranging from "1-star crap" all the way to "the finest album PFM made." You'll have to decide that on your own, but please pretend the album came from some new band instead and hear it with fresh ears. It's really quite a concoction of musical talents pushing their own buttons, likely the product of a band wanting to try something new while subconsciously having been influenced by everything from their Italian roots, the English prog bands, American jazz and rock, and the more esoteric flavors of Area, Gentle Giant, etc. I don't like English vocals in my Italian prog and most of them are on this album. The vocal qualities of Lanzetti will always be a pebble in the shoe of many PFM fans but again, those who take to the music of Jet Lag will quickly tune him out as they listen to the playing of the musicians.
"Peninsula" is an amazing piece of acoustic guitar soloing by Mussida that just flows, it could easily have shown up on their more pastoral early albums. It reminds of something Steve Howe would do with a solo acoustic number, lots of color. "Jet Lag" changes course completely to something resembling a jazzy Gentle Giant. There is amazing bass guitar playing here and violins dropping in and out providing a cool texture. Obviously the guitar work is great. There is a sparse interlude in the middle for some laid back noodling (sometimes a bad word, sometimes not...here it works.) "Storia in LA" opens with fantastic keyboard moods and fretless bass that evoke warm, blue sky feelings. The pace is quite slow but things pick up as the song progresses, adding acoustic guitars and then violins to the amazing keyboard exploration.marvelous! "Breakin In" is the shortest (besides the introduction) and most forgettable track here with some feisty violin playing drowned out by too many vocals. "Cerco La Lingua" begins with a violin solo and becomes a mid-paced track with Italian vocals (yeah!) The violin/guitar workouts get pleasantly feisty between the verses and the drumming cooks yet again. "Meridiani" is another tasty instrumental of medium speed serving up some awesome guitar playing. Halfway through it kicks into overdrive with fast fusion interplay that is thrilling, burning electric guitar, ferocious rhythm section and some keys in the background. The closing section shifts again to a more introspective space-rock vibe quite flawlessly and this builds to a big finish. Great stuff! "Left-handed Theory" starts with brisk keyboard runs and then some excellent e-piano soloing. Here the vocals work great off the bass and guitar flourishes. Then some lilting violins and interesting percussions add much icing to the cake. Sounds a bit like the 1978 Area album. "Traveler" is a bit tepid in the first half but the second recovers nicely into a decent, more basic prog-rock track.
To help describe this complex album a bit more I like these excerpts of a review by one C.F. Kemp: ".. this album is neither failed nor a fusion experiment. Although certain songs are jazzier than anything the group had done before, it is a highly original album with few equals in the progressive rock pantheon. Sure it's a departure from the group's classical roots, coinciding with the exit of seminal violinist and flautist Mauro Pagani. And his loss was undoubtedly difficult for many fans to handle. But as time passes, Jet Lag has come to stand up as one of PFM's strongest efforts.. ..this is one of the group's most diverse efforts. It includes a solo classical guitar piece (Peninsula), a mini-epic with distinct movements (the title cut), a dreamy keyboard-dominated piece with a hint of New Aginess (Storia in `LA'), a folk/progressive blend complete with Mellotron (Circo la Lingua) and a Genesis-flavored anthem (Traveler). Even the more fusion-dominated cuts (Jet Lag, Left Handed Theory) are distinctive and a little strange - something I've valued in progressive rock since Genesis' Nursery Cryme days." [these sentences from CF Kemp's online review]
Despite a few shaky moments, my view is that the rich playing of Jet Lag combined with its sense of fun and adventure makes it a fine moment for PFM. 3 ¾ stars. Not perfect by any means but enough to eke its way to 4 stars on the required rounding. A must for fans of great rock with the emphasis on adventurous interplay of instruments. I really think that if you dig Gentle Giant, Area, Crimson, or the most adventurous Gabriel moments, you may well end up enjoying Jet Lag very much.
Jim Finnforest

Este es un disco que no podía faltar en la Biblioteca Sonora, guste o no guste.
Ya saben dónde encontrar ésto...

Web de la banda: http://www.pfmworld.com/


1 comentario:

  1. Aaay, qué alegría que hayan subido este tremendo discazo!!!!! Muchas gracias a vos Moe, al Canario y al Mago Alberto por las dosis de progresivo italiano y jazz rock!

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