Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM): The Manticore Years
It didn't hurt that, after two Italian language albumsStoria di un minuto (RCA, 1972), and the even better Per un amico (RCA, 1972)the group which began life as I Quelli, recording Italian versions of international hits like The Turtles' "Happy Together" ("Per vivere insieme") and Traffic's "Hole in My Shoe" ("Tornare bambino"), caught the interest of ELP's bassist/vocalist/guitarist Greg Lake, who signed the group to the progressive rock super group's fledgling Manticore label. Prepping PFM for the international market meant they'd need to turn to English lyrics, and with ex-King Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield onboard, it seemed that they had all the ingredients to make a good run at breaking out of Italy and to attract a global audience, at a time when "progressive" wasn't a dirty wordand was, in fact, selling LPs in the millions, with bigger acts like Yes, Crimson and ELP drawing arena-sized crowds.
While PFM's Manticore releases have been available off and on over the years, they've largely suffered from poor availability and/or substandard digital transfers. The good news is that, as part of acquiring the rights to Manticore's entire catalog (also including Banco's two English language releases), UK's Esoteric Recordings has been reissuing, during 2010, PFM's entire Manticore discography, with significantly upgraded sound and a bounty of bonus materialthe most important of which can be found on 1976's Chocolate Kings, with its full second disc containing a previously unreleased live show from Nottingham, UK in 1976, and an expansion of the group's only official live album of the 1970s, Cook (1975), from a single disc into a comprehensive three-disc limited edition box that also includes an entire concert from Central Park in New York City, newly remixed from the original 16-track masters.
PFM may have peaked in the mid-1970s with its five Manticore releases, despite committed prog fans typically preferring the group's Italian releases, but continues to this day, still drawing crowds in Italy and Japan, with a 2009 return to America at NEARFest, after three decades, proving that the resurgent progressive rock camp of the past decade has not forgotten this groundbreaking group. PFM also continues to deliver new releases, despite having a lot to live up to with a series of 1970s albums widely considered to be the group's high watermark. A particularly excellent double-live set, Live in Japan 2002 (Sony Music, 2002) mixes old classics with newer material equally deserving of consideration, and proves that the core groupguitarist Franco Mussida, keyboardist Flavio Premoli, drummer Franz Di Cioccio and bassist Patrick Djivasstill has what it takes to deliver the goods. A more recent all-instrumental effort, Stati di Immaginazione (Sony, 2006), found this line-up reduced to a trio with Premoli's departure, but regardless, PFM continues to remain vital and viable, even though its glory days seem long past.
Photos of Ghosts
1973 (reissued 2010)
Photos of Ghosts benefitted from the group already possessing a repertoire ripe for the plucking, though many of the album's seven original tracks are more than simply instrumental tracks from Storia di un minuto and Per un amico with its Italian vocal tracks replaced. The calm, string-driven intro to "River of Life" that appears on Per un amico's "Appena Un Po'" is gone; instead, Mussida's classical guitar starts on a more definitive note, with woodwind multi-instrumentalist / violinist Mauro Pagani joining in on flute, the counterpoint gradually expanding to include Premoli and bassist Giorgio Piazza (the group's original bassist, replaced on subsequent albums by Djivas) in a melodic whirlwind reminiscent of Gentle Giant but with a sunnier disposition. When Di Gioccio enters with a propulsive backbeat that grounds a weightier section so fluidly filled with intertwining lines as to make finding "one" a challenge, it's clear that, for the international market unfamiliar with its extant Italian releases, PFM has arrived.
It's a strong opening as potent as any progressive rock album of the time, defining PFM's broad characteristics in a scant, but texture- and idea-rich seven minutes. "Episodic," moving from near-pastoral folksiness to thundering, mellotron-driven power, is of its time, yet somehow avoids sounding dated, even with its vintage synths. The group wears its influences a bit too heavily on its sleeve, perhaps; Gioccio, in particular, who draws from the spare but innovative approach of King Crimson's founding drummer, Michael Giles. But while there's plenty of virtuosity on display here, there's also precious little of the grandstanding to which many of PFM's English cousins were, by this time, falling prey. Not that Photos of Ghosts doesn't possess its fair share of bombast; but it's somehow a more selfless kind of musical grandiloquence that doesn't isolate any one musician (they're all good); instead, it's unmistakably a group effort and feels like one. Few groups are capable of true democracy, but with Premoli and Mussida writing almost all the music, its focus remains on the music, rather than overt individuality. That would come later, with its live shows.
Storia di un minuto's "È Festa" is even more extensively revampedand improved uponas "Celebration," the radio-friendly but still uncompromising mini-epic that garnered the PFM's first radio play in the UK and helped push the album into the BillBoard's Top 200 in the United States, significant airplay across North America, and even an appearance on NBC's popular Midnight Special television show in 1975. The title track, " Mr. 9 'til 5" and "Promenade the Puzzle" were all more faithfully drawn from Per un amico"Per Un Amico," "Generale" and "Geranio," respectivelywith Sinfield's lyrics the only significant change, though they were remixed for the English release.
Perhaps the only flaw with Photos of Ghosts and its follow-up, 1974's The World Became the World is that PFM's singersPremoli, Gioccio and Mussidaspoke very little English, and with Sinfield's lyrics sung phonetically, whatever emotional resonance the vocals might have possessed was through instruction rather than actual connection with the words themselves. Still, while foreign groups singing in their native tongues is now much less an issue on the international front (though still far from being a non-issue), at that time it was rightfully felt that PFM would have little chance at success abroad, if still singing in Italian.
Still, forgiving ears can and should give PFM a break for their overt attempt to crossover. The pronunciation and enunciation may be a bit stiltedsomething brought into even sharper focus with the contrast of one song included in Italian, that was lifted, unchanged (other than, perhaps, being remixed), from Per un amico, the folk-informed "Il Banchetto." Based on Photos of Ghosts and The World Became the World, PFM's original singers possessed unmistakably lovely voicesa mellifluous quality that would be largely lost when the group recruited an English-speaking Italian singer, Bernado Lanzetti, for its last two Manticore discs.
But more about Lanzetti later. There's simply not a single weak track on Photos of Ghosts, including the short instrumental, "Old Rain," a particularly gentle feature for Mussida's classical guitar, and Pagani's violin and flute, not found on either Storia de un minute or Per un amico. With its stunning international debut, in many ways PFM demonstrated a more thorough classical background that actually surpassed its English peers. During the middle section of "Il Banchetto," a keyboard extravaganza of surprisingly selfless proportions, Premoli's synths recall the Camarata Contemporary Chamber Group's series of synth-laden reworks of French composer Erik Satie, beginning with The Velvet Gentleman (Deram, 1970). Even when the keyboardist switches to grand piano for a solo segment as impressive (albeit less overtly pyrotechnic) as anything Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson ever did, again there's a refreshing focus on the music and not the musician. Perhaps the members of PFM would be better-known individually today, had they behaved more like their English counterparts, but it's what makes Photos of Ghosts such a refreshing record.
Esoteric's reissue also includes thirty minutes of additional material, including first mixes of "River of Life," "Old Rain" and "Il Banchetto," as well as instrumental mixes of the title track and "Mr. 9 'til 5," and a single edit of "Celebration." Most are of passing interest and far from essential, with the exception of "Mr. 9 'til 5," which actually works better as an instrumental, without what is the group's least successful English language vocal on the album.
The World Became the World
1974 (reissued 2010)
In Ernesto de Pascale's liner notes to Photos of Ghosts, PFM drummer Franz Di Cioccio is quoted as saying, "From the very beginning we decided that every PFM album had to be different from the previous one, even if it was a massive success...Every song belongs to an album that reflects a specific way of feeling and that was recorded in a specified period of time...If you are a professional musician, you always have to deal with your present, not only with your past." While each successive album in the group's Manticore run from 1973-1977 demonstrates unequivocalin some cases, completely redefiningevolution, they're also clearly built on past lessons. And so, while The World Became the World is an album that couldn't have existed without Photos of Ghostsbefore it, it's also a major step forward, in no small part due to the replacement of bassist Giorgio Piazza with Area's Patrick Djivas. Not that there was anything inherently wrong with Piazza, but Djivas possesses a voice instantly more dominant and immediate on the opening nearly 11-minute opener, "The Mountain," where his driving pulse elevates one of PFM's most exhilaratingly dramatic epics.
But before the group enters, there's a two-minute introduction, featuring an uncredited choir, that supports Cioccio's suggestion that, compositionally speaking, PFM never repeated itself. Mussida's choppy rhythm guitar signals the entry of the group, and his serpentine lines running underneath the vocal possess a more biting tone that adds to the album's more aggressive stance, also heard on tracks like "Is My Face on Straight?," which features a fluid flute solo from Pagani, over Djivas and De Cioccio at their funkiest, and "Have Your Cake and Beat It," that brings the introduction of Djivas as a significant new voice to the group full circle. His opening bass solo on this instrumental album closer is a virtuosic (and more self-directed) lead-in to a fiery 13/8 section where, with Pagani's violin soaring over Mussida's again choppy rhythm guitar, PFM moves towards a decidedly jazz-fusion approach it would explore further on subsequent records.
The World Became the World may hold some of PFM's most assertive playing to date, but the group's symphonic roots and Mediterranean tinges remain a part of its overall sound. "Just Look Away," propelled by Mussida's elegant classical and warm electric guitar overdubs, is another folkloric track, its pastoral ambiance supported by Pagani's violin, this time soft and lyrical, with Premoli's synths more orchestral in texture as one of PFM's most beautiful tunes leads to a descending four-chord pattern at the end that slowly builds with the addition of Premoli's expansive mellotron. The title track is a re-recording of Storia di un minute's "Impressioni di settembre," already sonically improved over the Italian version but here, with Esoteric's remastering, sounding even bolder, more dramatic, as Premoli's memorable synth line winds its way through layers of mellotron, acoustic guitars and an overall vibe reminiscent of early Crimson.
"Four Holes in the Ground" is, perhaps, PFM at its transitional best; mellotron orchestrations supporting a classically informed vocal track that comes after an introductory section that, taking up nearly half of the song's six minute duration, builds to an elliptical theme that seems to accelerate, despite the time remaining fixed...until, that is, the song's end, where the instrumental opening is recapitulated before the theme is, indeed, sped up to a fever pitch that only suggests how it would ultimately sound in breathtaking live performance.
With the majority of The World Became the World recorded in London with its international audience in mind, PFM still released an Italian counterpart, L'Isola di niente (RCA, 1974), but without the rework of "Impressioni di settembre," bringing it down to a brief 35 minutes. While Italian takes of "The Mountain," "Just Look Away," "Four Holes in the Ground" and "Have Your Cake and Beat It" received Italian lyric treatments that many PFM fans still find preferable to their English language versions, PFM reversed Photos of Ghosts' assertion that, by including "Il Banchetto," it was still a decidedly Italian band (not that, with the group's heavily accented English, this was ever in question). There are no Italian vocals to be found on The World Became the World, but L'Isola di niente does contain the English version of "Is My Face on Straight?," making it clear to its still significant Italian fan base, that PFM was now and English band. And by significantly re-sequencing the Italian versionwith only the album opener and closer in their same positionsPFM also suggests that how its home audience perceived the overriding arc of the album was different than that of its growing intentional fan base.
Esoteric's reissue also includes an additional 12 minutes of bonus features. A single edit of "Four Holes in the Ground" supports its "previously unreleased" status, the edits choppy and destructive; the same can be said for a previously unreleased single edit of "Celebration" that suffers the same problems, and is surprisingly inferior to the single version included on Photos of Ghosts, given it's actually 24 seconds longer. A UK single version of "La Carrozza di Hans," first released on Storia di un minute fares far better, though the addition of crowd noise at the beginning and end, to suggest it's live (when it isn't), doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Still, considering it's one of the group's earliest tracks, it positions well on The World Became the World, an album that found PFM moving in a new direction that would evolve even further with the release of Chocolate Kings.
1976 (reissued 2010)
1975 saw the release of Cook, a live album that proved PFM as thrilling live as it was compelling in the studio, with Esoteric's expanded, three-disc reissue to be reviewed in a subsequent review. In many ways, it acted as a consolidation of the group's accomplishments to date, and put a period on them as well, as there were changes afoot that would further alter the group's complexion, leading to what many consider to be its high point, though not without its own controversy.
In addition to being sensitive to the polarized critical response to its first two Manticore releasesa Melody Maker reviewer echoing many others when he wrote, "PFM are not bad musicians, the only problem is that they are Italians singing in English"the group also felt that, as welcome as Peter Sinfield's often flowery lyrics were, they didn't reflect the band's experience or interests. It was difficult enough to sing the lyrics, given their poor command of the language; but when the lyrics held little personal meaning for the singers, it meant that the vocals could never really possess the necessary ring of truth.
And so, 1975 brought significant change to PFM, as it recruited a new member, Bernado Lanzetti, a lead singer from Acqua Fragile, who certainly possessed a distinctive voice, albeit one that fell into the category of "acquired taste," much like other Italian vocalists including Banco's Francesco Di Giacomo and, decades later, Deux Ex Machina's Alberto Piras. PFM also began writing its own lyrics, for the first time, in English; not just Lanzetti, but Pagani and friend of the group, Marva Jan Marrow. More overtly political, PFM began to explore subjects like the American entry into Italy at the end of World War II, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, but its lyrics also reflected a cultural gap where comic absurdity and outrage sometimes coexisted.
The result was Chocolate Kings, PFM's first album written in English, without any Italian songs, and featuring a new vocalist who, while certainly capable, possessed a strange, almost harsh edge that seemed in sharp contrast with some of the album's music. While his odd, somehow compressed vibratoand the feeling that, while he was making the notes, they were a constant struggleactually worked on the more expressionistic material, like the incendiary middle section of the episodic "Harlequin," earlier in the same song, when Mussida's steel-string acoustic guitar creates a more folksy vibe alongside Pagani's lyrical violin, it just feels somehow wrong. On the other hand, with Premoli, Mussida and Di Cioccioall lead singers previouslynow relegated to the position of background vocalistsand rarely used ones at thatit allowed them to focus more exclusively on the instrumental side of PFM. And while Lanzetti's voice is, at best, an acquired taste and, at worst, an unfortunate distraction, the reality is that Chocolate Kings is PFM's most fully-realized album to date; if Photos of Ghosts was an impressive shot across the bow of international prog, and The World Became the World a powerful follow-up, Chocolate Kings became the instrumental masterpiece that PFM had been aiming for, a career peak that the group might approach, but never again reach.
From its alternating rapid-fire unison lines and atmospheric textures, "From Under" announces a major step forward, both compositionally and instrumentally. With organ a more dominant voice and Premoli shelving his mellotron, PFM moves further away from its symphonic origins towards a jazz-fusion vernacular, though its inherent lyricismespecially Pagani's flute and violinkeeps the group away from the excesses and "look at me" posturing of its English peers. Virtuosity was a prerequisite to perform complex music with shifting tempos, meters, textures and harmonies, but the collective remains paramount above the individual, though Djivas continues to be a dominant presence, with his new Ripper bass possessing the brighter texture and punch, when required, of Yes' Chris Squire and Genesis' Mike Rutherford, but still capable of greater depth and warmth. Impressive throughout its tenure to date, Di Cioccio is, in many ways, the hero of Chocolate Kings, a powerful force who, leaving early influences behind, finally seems to have found his voice.
A capable single-note player, Mussida's greatest strength may actually be more as a rhythm player, his playing on the intro to the title track as grittily compelling as Yes' Steve Howe, with his execution more precise. A brief tune at under five minutes, "Chocolate Kings" may have been the album's best possibility as a single, with a strong rock pulse and jig-like synth theme that gives it a "Celebration"-like vibe, but it's hard to imagine a track like this on radio, as the reductionist Punk movement was already well underway when the album was released in 1976. There are, in fact, no bonus tracks from the studio sessions to mirror Esoteric's earlier issuesno first mixes, no instrumental mixes and, most importantly, no single edits. What makes this issue definitive is its second bonus discthe lion's share of a concert from Nottingham in 1976, which proved this incarnation of PFM to be, perhaps, an even better live group than on Cook. Lanzetti may not have been an ideal singer, but he did free up the rest of the group to focus on their instruments.
Live versions of the studio album's second side actually surpass the originals. If Chocolate King is PFM at its hardest-rocking, then live the group turned things up a notch or 10. The recording quality isn't as good, and the mix a little odd (Mussida's guitar dominating Lanzetti's vocals on the opening "Paper Charms," and the drums sounding relatively flat); but the group's performance transcends all sonic deficiencies, as Mussida and Pagani (on violin) combine for some frighteningly fast runs of near-Mahavishnu Orchestra proportions. In the studio, PFM may have eschewed rampant individualism, but live there were plenty of solo features, with Mussida taking a stunning classical guitar solo ("Acoustic Guitar Solo"), and the closing "Alta Loma Five 'til Nine/William Tell Overture" an instrumental tour de force for Pagani, who combines reckless abandon and unrelenting focus. Nowhere is the divide that allowed American and British artists of the time to become lifelong superstars, while equally talented players from elsewhere in the world operated in relative obscurity, more evident than with Pagania player who has led a successful post-PFM career, to be sure; but had he lived elsewhere, might well have become a much bigger name.
A live version of The World Became the World's "Four Holes in the Ground," with its expanded middle section a solo feature for Premoli, largely on electric piano, is another stunner, though it would have been better with its original singer. Chocolate Kings may have deserted PFM's symphonic origins, but this live performance demonstrates that they remained intact when the group hit the stage.
1977 (reissued 2010)
After a career high like Chocolate Kings, how could PFM possibly follow up? In truth, it couldn't; Jet Lag isn't a bad album but, relative to its first three Manticore studio releases, ranks as its weakest. Pagani was gone, having chosen to pursue a solo career and, with the group recording its follow-up away from Europe for the first timeat Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CaliforniaPFM not only largely deserted the Mediterranean inflections that gave it its initial voice, but the influence of British progressive rock as well. Instead, as the group fell increasingly under the sway of American fusionDjivas even making the switch to fretless electric bass, à la Weather Report's Jaco Pastorius, who had emerged the previous year as a near-overnight jazz superstar. Premoli focused exclusively on organ, electric piano and Micro Moog, and Di Cioccio's tone and approach turned from thunderous expansiveness to more backbeat-driven grooves.
If it had been from any other band, Jet Lag would have been merely forgettable; average fusion-informed prog, played by a group with not inconsiderable skill, but lacking a distinct voice. Instead, coming from PFM, it serves to highlight all the things it was had mistakenly deserted. While the group was excited at the recruitment of replacement violinist Gregory Blochan American who had come from String Cheese Incident and an incarnation of It's A Beautiful Day after its heydayhe simply didn't possess Pagani's ability to think in both short and long terms. With parts of Jet Lag little more than vamp-based jamsin particular "Storia in 'LA,'" which seems a lot longer than its mere six-and-a-half minutesthe selfless aspect to PFM is no more. Instead, lengthy and often uninteresting solo excursions replace detailed writing and tight arrangements. Not all of Jet Lag is dull, but a lot of it is flabby and unnecessarily turgid, despite the majority of its tracks running between three and six minutes. Only one track breaks the nine-minute mark. Not that length is a determining factor of greatness; but that PFM couldn't maintain interest in a sprint means that its one marathonthe lengthy title tracksimply hasn't a chance, even though Premoli's electric piano solo over Djivas' greasy fretless in the second half of the track, remains one of the album's high points.
But, at the end of the day, Jet Lag suffers from a group who, finally finding its voice, decided to summarily dismiss it in search of influences that may have seemed exciting to them, but to which they couldn't relate on a mitochondrial level. The bonus tracka 14-minute live version of "La Carrozza di Hans," from the same Nottingham concert that makes up the second disc of Chocolate Kings, and featuring the pre-Jet Lag line-up with Pagani on violin, and a staggering solo from Di Ciocciois the clear winner on this release, and while its greater jam-centricity makes it a good choice to include here, it only goes to show just how much PFM lost when Pagani left and the group decided to desert its inherent Euro-centricity for a forgettable American fusion veneer.
River of Life: The Manticore Years Anthology 1973-1977
Curiously, Esoteric chose to release its generous, double-disc PFM anthology, River of Life, before it released individual titles. It does, however, do what a good anthology should do: drum up interest; provide a strong entry point for the uninitiated, who might then go on to check out individual titles that interest them, based on what they've heard; and provide some bonus features for the PFM completist.
It's hard to pick anything but all of Photos of Ghosts and Chocolate Kings for an anthology of PFM's best, but that would defeat its purpose. Credit to Esoteric, then, for selecting four of Photos' strongest tracks, and a live version of a fifth; three of Chocolate Kings' five tracks, with a live version of one more; and, including live versions from the expanded version of Cook, all but one track from The World Became the World. That Jet Lag is represented by a diminutive three of its eight tracks, representing a mere 15 of River of Life's two-and-a-half hour running time, speaks volumes.
It is, indeed, a terrific starting point, and a thorough cross-section. For the completist, live versions of "Dove Quando," from Storia di un minute, appearing nowhere else in the Esoteric reissue series, and a kick-ass version of "Celebration," both from the Nottingham show also represented on Chocolate Kings and Jet Lag (together, totaling nearly 100 minutes and, perhaps the entire show) are unique to the collection; whether they're enough to attract those who are picking up the individual titles will speak to the depth of their pathology. But whether or not 11 minutes is enough, River of Life remains one of the best group anthologies in recent years, focusing heavily on PFM's many strengths and doing its best to minimize its late-1970s weakness.
That PFM, after Jet Lag, chose to desert its adoption of all things North American, and return to Italy, where it has enjoyed a successful career ever sinceand no shortage of success on an international level either, on the relatively rare occasions that it has ventured outspeaks to a refreshing self-awareness. That its subsequent albums haven't reached the high plateaus of Photos of Ghosts, The World Became the World or Chocolate Kings matters little; what counts most is that Premiata Forneria Marconia group almost sweetly named after the bakery where it rehearsed in its formative yearsdidn't repeat the mistake of Jet Lag. Instead, PFM returned to its progressive, Mediterranean and classically informed roots, and has, in the three decades since, remained all the better for it.
Tracks and Personnel
Photos of Ghosts
Tracks: River of Life; Celebration; Photos of Ghosts; Old Rain; Il Banchetto; Mr. 9 'til 5; Promenade the Puzzle; Photos of Ghosts (instrumental mix); River of Life (first mix); Old Rain (first mix); Il Banchetto (first mix); Mr/ 9 'til 5 (instrumental mix); Celebration (single edit).
Personnel: Flavio Premoli: keyboards, vocals; Franz Di Giocci: drums, vocals; Giorgio Piazza: bass; Franco Mussida: guitars, vocals; Mauro Pagani: violin, woodwinds.
The World Became the World
Tracks: The Mountain; Just Look Away; The World Became the World; Four Holes in the Ground; Is My Face on Straight; Have Your Cake and Beat It; La Carrozza di Hans (UK single version); Four Holes in the Ground (unreleaed single edit); Celebration (unreleased 1975 single version).
Personnel: Flavio Premoli: keyboards, vocals; Franz Di Giocci: drums, percussion, vocals; Patrick Djivas: bass, vocals; Franco Mussida: guitars, vocals; Mauro Pagani: violin, woodwinds, vocals.
Tracks: CD1: From Under; Harlequin; Chocolate Kings; Out of the Roundabout; Paper Charms. CD2 (Live, all previously unreleased): Paper Charms; Four Holes in the Ground; Acoustic Guitar Solo; Out of the Roundabout; Chocolate Kings; Mr. 9 'til Five; Alta Loma Five 'til Nine/William Tell Overture.
Personnel: Flavio Premoli: keyboards, vocals; Franz Di Giocci: drums, percussion, vocals; Patrick Djivas: Ripper bass; Franco Mussida: guitars, vocals; Mauro Pagani: violin, woodwinds; Bernado Lanzetti: lead vocals.
Tracks: Peninsula; Jet Lag; Storia in "LA"; Break-in In; Cerco La Lingua; Meridiani; Left-Handed Theory; Traveler; La Carrozza di Hans (unreleased live track).
Personnel: Flavio Premoli: "Pari" organ, electric piano and Micro Moog (1-8), keyboards and vocals (9); Franz Di Giocci: drums, wood percussion (1-8), percussion (9), vocals (9); Patrick Djivas: fretless bass and Moog B12 (1-8), bass (9); Franco Mussida: acoustic and electric guitars, vocals (9); Bernado Lanzetti: lead vocals; Gregory Bloch: electric and acoustic violin; Mauro Pagani: violin and woodwinds (9).
River of Life: The Manticore Years Anthology 1973-1977
Tracks: CD1: River of Life; Photos of Ghosts; Il Banchetto; Promenade the Puzzle; La Carrozza di Hans (UK single version); The Mountain; The World Became the World; Just Look Away; Four Holes in the Ground; Alta Loma Five 'til Nine. CD2: Is My Face on Straight (live, previously unreleased); Harlequin; From Under; Chocolate Kings; Dove Quando (live, previously unreleased); Out of the Roundabout (live, previously unreleased); Celebration (live, previously unreleased); Storia in "LA"; Jet Lag; Traveler.
Personnel: Flavio Premoli: keyboards and vocals (CD1, CD2#1-7), "Pari" organ, electric piano and Micro Moog (CD2#8-10); Franz Di Giocci: drums, percussion and vocals (CD1, CD2#1-7), wood percussion (CD2#8-10); Giorgio Piazza: bass (CD1#1-5); Patrick Djivas: bass (CD1, CD2#1, CD2#5-7), Ripper bass (CD2#2-4), fretless bass (CD2#8-10), Moog B12 (CD2#8-10), vocals (CD1, CD2#1); Franco Mussida: guitars, vocals (CD1, CD2#1-7); Mauro Pagani: violin, woodwinds and vocals (CD1, CD2#1-7); Bernardo Lanzetti: lead vocals (CD2#2-10); Gregory Bloch: electric and acoustic violin (CD2#8-10).