For a band that has embraced the internet for all it is worth – distributing its first CD freely on the internet as far back as 2001 – Filoritmia have produced a physical CD package that is a tactile and visual joy. Produced in a heavy-duty card as a multi-fold-out sleeve with the lyrics and many photographs, it is the kind of sensual object often connected with vinyl-LPs that many music fans of my generation mourn the passing of. But what of the music? Does it live up to the sense of expectation caused by the packaging?
Well, yes and no. I think the answer depends on how you stand with regard to Italian progressive rock. Italian progressive rock has its own distinctive soundscape, its own texture, so much so that many authorities assign it its own sub-genre in progressive rock – the so-called "rock progressive italiano". And you don't get much more Italian than Passaggi, Filoritmia's second album. Mind you, if you are a fan of the Italian genre, then you may well already have heard the album because, true to their internet courtship, the band have been releasing, free, one track from it each month since last October. It's extraordinary, isn't it, how some artists embrace the net, seeming quite content to seemingly give away their intellectual property, yet presumably still finding their music making endeavours worthwhile, while others just moan that it's destroying their livelihoods.
Anyway, back to the music, which is very Italian progressive rock. It is sung completely in Italian, except for "Non è Festa", which is, in effect, an instrumental. I would say that Passaggi is guitar driven – at times it sounds like a straight rock record – but just when you think that it is descending into banality, out come the keyboards, the Hammond, the piano; out comes a divine sung melody; out come the structural changes that keep you hooked and keep you tuning back in again. It's an appealing sound, without ever really taking off in a major way.
Filoritmia are true followers of their heritage. Their live show has often featured covers of other famous Italian bands' compositions, such as those of Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. On Passaggi, Filoritmia honour that legacy with a reconstructed version of PFM's "Celebration"; hence the pun in the title of "Non è Festa" ("It is not celebration"), which the band shout out towards the end of this fine rendition. Elsewhere the music has a more individual flavour: highlights include the guitar and Hammond combination on "Colla e Gesso" and "Questo", as well as the pretty melodies of "Senza Sale", "L'Uomo Qui Torna". "Questo" has excellent rhythmic qualities to boot and is the pick of a good bunch of compositions.
If you've ever enjoyed pure Italian progressive rock, then you'll enjoy Filoritmia's Passaggi! And if you're not sure, then you can listen to it all absolutely free on the band's excellent website!
1) Colla e Gesso (7:01)
2) Senza Sale (8:47)
3) Non è Festa (5:30)
4) L'Uomo Che Torna (9:06)
5) Godo (9:39)
6) Il Sogno del Fotografo (7:48)
7) Questo (7:15)
8) Manifesto (10:04)