Release Date: 1974

Track Listing
1)  L`Isola di Niente (10:42)
2)  Is My Face On Straight (6:38)
3)  La Luna Nuova (6:21)
4)  Dolcissima Maria (4:01)
5)  Via Lumiere (7:21)

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Member: Aereosol Kid
Date: 6/27/2002

One of the most important Italian record companies of the 70's, Dischi Ricordi has started the long overdue task of remastering their 70's progressive catalogue, transferring to 24 bit technology, classic treasures like Banco's Darwin or the very first 4 albums by Premiata Forneria Marconi.

L'Isola di Niente is one of the lucky records to get a 21st century treatment and the title track "L'Isola di Niente" (meaning the Island of Nobody) proves that it has aged well. It starts with a complex, gloomy choir that leads to a heavy riff with very hard rocking vocals, interspersed with some atmospheric interludes full of nice acoustic guitars, mellotron and flute, making a strong opening statement that shows why ELP and Pete Sinfield got interested in the "warm Mediterranean progressive sound".

"Is My Face On Straight" is a more conventional progressive track featuring lyrics by Peter Sinfield with nice effect guitars and a strong interaction between bass and drums, very much in an early Crimson vein.

"La Luna Nouva" is the highlight from the album, the catchy theme has a folky-epic flavor provided by violin and keyboard interaction, erupting into a flute/keyboard solo supported by sturdy bass and drums. A flawless performance from all players with a beautiful soft vocal part in the middle, the song ends with another heavy arrangement that could teach prog metal groups like Dream Theater a lesson or two.

"Dulcissima Maria", a ballad named after Virgin Mary is the closest the group gets to Italian pop, but the acoustic approach makes it beautiful and worthwhile.

The album ends with "Via Lumiere", showcasing the abbilities of their new bass player at the time: Patrick Djivas, it starts with a fretless bass solo supported by eerie, jazzy guitar(Franco Mussida) and keyboard chords (Flavio Premoli), reminiscent of Return to Forever, and it kicks into a hard fusionesque ensemble with excellent solos provided by violin and flute player Mauro Pagani.

Not as progressive as the previous two efforts (Storia di un Minuto and Per un Amico) L'Isola di Niente blends perfectly early Genesis and King Crimson influences with a sound of their own and finds the group at the peak of their virtuoso playing and creativity, a must for Italian Prog fans!!!

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Member: Big Hairy Monster! (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Big Hairy Monster!)
Date: 9/20/2004
Format: CD (Album)

As a relative newbie to Italian prog, I looked forward with great anticipation to seeing this disk arrive in my mailbox mail. AH! Nothing like hearing classic prog for the first time! After all, I had just received their debut, Per Un Amico, only a few weeks before and was greatly impressed. Their debut and Balletto's YS were the only two Italian releases I'd heard to that point, and I was ready for more!

I arrived home after a hard day at the office to find one of those familiar cardboard CD boxes on my desk. I kissed the wife and kids, and went straight for my headphones. AH! There is NOTHING like hearing classic prog for the first time!! First off, the gold 24-bit remasters are of exceptional quality...they sound great; however, I admit that I have never heard they original albums, so I have nothing to compare to. Packaging to is excellent, although (like the Banco remasters) all of the text is in Italian.

The title track (10:42) begins some interesting operatic choral work that at first made me cringe. "What the hell did I buy?" thunk I. Now that I am familiar with the album, I enjoy the voices, although I still think that a nearly 2 minute vocal intro is a bit long. Once the song proper launches, we are treated to some excellent music in the Yes/Genesis vein. There is excellent keyboard work throughout the album, but to me it really shines on this first does the bass playing (which I wish was mixed a little louder).

"Is My Face On Straight" is a Peter Sinfield penned lyric which feels very out of place on this album. I had heard many reasons as to why Italian albums sung in English should be avoided...and I guess this song proves the point. It isn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but just isn't a high point on the album. In fact after repeated listening, I have become used to the vocals. Again, there is some great playing on this tune...but this is probably my least favorite song on the disk simply because of the vocals. Again the Yes/Genesis feel is prominent, but there are also moods akin to Gong and maybe Gracious.

"La Luna Nuova" begins with some curious percussion and violin, and leads into what prog is all about to me: wonderful songwriting, adventurous arranging, and virtuosic performance. This song should thrill any Gentle Giant fan, or fans of the group Hands. This is by all means my favorite song on the disk. At 6:26, it is entirely to short.

Next up is "Dolcissima Maria", a soothing ballad that reminds me to a degree of Crimson's softer moments. It strikes me as a strange cross between Crimson's "Fallen Angel" and The Beatles "Goodnight", and sung in Italian. Nice tune!

The album closes with "Via Lumiere". Starting with a nice little fusiony bass solo, the song moves in what almost seems like Hatfield & The North territory. Angular rhythms and very tight playing provide a backdrop for what can be described as a half-hearted violin solo. However,
the electric piano and the flute solos which follow are much easier on my ears. After these solos have run their course, a nice organ driven theme leads toward the close of the album in an almost Pink Floyd fashion.

In the months since I have received this disk, I have also picked up Storia Di Un Minuto. Of the first three PFM disks (not counting Photos Of Ghosts), I would honestly have to say that L'Isola Di Niente is my least favorite. That is not to say that this is a bad disk by any stretch of the imagination...this disk fully deserves credit as a classic prog recording, but it is not quite a masterpiece in my book. In fact, I am going to play it again!

AH!! Did I mention that there is nothing like listening to classic prog for the 129th time?
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