Acqua Fragile


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1971-74)

- Gino Campanini -- lead guitar, backing vocals 

- Piero Emilio Canavera -- drums, acoustic guitar,  backing vocals 

- Franz Dondi -- bass

Bernardo Lanzetti -- vocals, guitar 
- Maurizio Mori  -- keyboards, backing vocals

 

  line up 2 (1974)

- Gino Campanini -- guitar, backing vocals

- Piero Emilio Canavera -- drums, acoustic guitar,  backing vocals 

- Franz Dondi -- bass 

Bernardo Lanzetti -- vocals, guitar
NEW - Joe Vescovi -- keyboards (replaced Maurizo Mori)

 

  line up 3 (1974-75)

- Gino Campanini -- guitar, backing vocals

- Piero Emilio Canavera -- drums, acoustic guitar, backing vocals

- Franz Dondi -- bass 

NEW - Roby Facini -- lead vocals (replaced Barnardo Lanzetti) 
- Joe Vescovi -- keyboard

 

 

- Dik Dik (Roby Facini)

- Gli Immortali (Bernardo Lanzetti)

- I Moschettieri (Franz Dondi and Maurizio Mori)

- I Top 4 (Roby Facini)

- Bernardo Lanzetti (solo efforts)

- Mangala Vallis (Bernardo Lanzetti)

- PFM (Bernardo Lanzetti)

- Rocky's Filj (Piero Emilio Canavera and Franz Dondi)

- Shout!  (Pier Emilio Canavera and Franz Dondi)

- The Trip (Joe Vescovi)

 

 

 


 

Genre: progressive

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Mass-Media Stars

Company: Import

Catalog: IMP 1005
Year:
 1974

Country/State: Parma, Italy

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+ top right corner

Catalog ID: 5445

Price: $25.00

 

Pretty much every review I've read over the years compares these guys to Peter Gabriel-era Genesis ...  Depending on how you feel about Genesis that may be good, or not so good.

 

Bassist Franz Dondi and keyboardist Maurizio Mori had been members of the band I Moschettieri.  Guitarist Gino Campanini, drummer Piero Emilio Canavera, and singer Bernardo Lanzetti had been with I Moschettieri.  In 1971 the five musicians came together to form Acqua Fragile.

 

It took two years, but the group eventually found a mentor in the form of the Italian progressive band Premiata Forneria Marconi (aka PFM), who introduced to manager Franco Mamone.  With Mamone signing on as their manager the band became a regular mid-1970s opening act for a wide array of English bands touring Italy.

 

Co-produced by PFM and Claudio Fabi, their second release was 1974's "Mass-Media Stars".  Released by RCA's small Italian Dischi Ricordi label (catalog number SMRL 6150), the English lyrics were probably a key in getting the set an American release via the Import Records label.  Showcasing six Canavera - Lanzetti compositions, the album was clearly in the progressive mode with more than a nod to Genesis; though to my ears lead singer Lanzatti's labored English and gruff stylings recalled Roger Chapman (of Family fame) more than Peter Gabriel.  The music was clearly influenced by English progressive bands, bouncing around between different time signatures and complex arrangements.  The English lyrics were occasionally somewhat clunky, but the performances were all pretty impressive with the band showing a knack for retaining a commercial edge - notably the pretty ballad 'Bar Gazing' (which recalled the debut's more folk oriented sound), 'Opening Act', and the title track which with it's three part group harmonies actually sounded a little bit like 'Roundabout'-era Yes''.   Maybe not exactly a classic progressive LP, but far better than I would have expected and one that I bring out and play every now and then (which is actually quite a compliment when you've got 35,000 LPs). 

 

"Mass-Media Stars" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Cosmic Mind Affair   (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 7:14   rating: **** stars

Opening with Lanzetti's heavily treated vocals 'Cosmic Mind Affair' came as a surprise; even more so when Gino Campanini's slicing guitar kicked it.  And when the band's harmony vocals entered the picture, the song turned into a surprisingly catchy treat.   Genesis comparisons ?   Yeah, especially towards the second half of the song, but not overwhelming.

2.) Bar Gazing   (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 3:56   rating: *** stars

To be truthful, I liked the ballad 'Bar Gazing' - particularly Gino Campanini 's tunningly pretty lead guitar solo, but Lanzetti's voice was highly irritating on this one.   It would almost have been better as an instrumental.  Anyone got a clue what the song was about ?    Something seems to have gotten lost in the Italian-to-English translation.  Neither the video, or sound quality are very good, but YouTube has a 2004 reunion performance of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdlCuf1fO-w   In Italy the the tune was tapped as a single:

.

 

- 1974's ''Bar Gazing' b/w 'Opening Act' (Dischi Ricordi catalog number SRL 10746).

3.) Mass-Media Stars   (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 6:08   rating: **** stars

It too awhile for the tune to settle down, but when it did, the title track proved to be one of the album's highlights.  Yeah, Bernardo Lanzetti's heavily accented vocals sounded a bit like an Italian version of Roger Chapman (they shared the same distinctive vocal warble), but the song had a great melody and an almost funky rhythm going for it.  When the bouncy group harmonies kicked in the song turned into a hoot.  Imagine what Lake might have sounded like had they been Italian, rather than German and English.   

 

(side 2)
1.) Opening Act   (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 5:30  rating: **** stars

Hum, I certainly wasn't expecting the a capella opening, nor the sweet folky sound ...   Were it not for Lanzetti's incredibly dry and warbly voice, this one could have actually enjoyed some radio play.   

2.) Professor   (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 6:42  rating: **** stars

I saw a YouTube comment to the effect "if Yes and Genesis had a baby it would be Aqua Fragile ..."  And that's the perfect description for the rocking 'Professor'.   

3.) Coffee Song   (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 5:52

 

Shortly after the album was released original keyboardist Mori was replaced by ex-The Trip keyboardist Joe Vescovi.  The band struggled on, but was basically killed by singer Lanzatti's decision to join PFM.  Lanzetti was briefly replaced by former I Top 4 and Dik Dik singer Roby Facini, but by the end of 1975 the group had called it quits.

 

 

 

 


Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Live In Emilia - Spring 1975

Company: Prehistoric Records

Catalog: PR 03
Year:
 1994

Country/State: Parma, Italy

Grade (cover/record): --

Catalog ID: --

Price: --

 

I've never heard it but there's a posthumous live set - released in 1994 by the Prehistoric Records label (catalog number PR 03) "Live In Emilia - Spring 1975".  From what I've read, it isn't particularly good, suffering from lukewarm sound quality that was apparently taken from an audience tape.  Musically the set wasn't all that special with six of the nine tracks coming from their first two studio collections. 

 

"Live In Emilia - Spring 1975" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Take 9  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 
2.) Cosmic Mind Affair  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 
3.) Bar Gazing  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 
4.) Professor  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 
5.) Going Out  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 

(side 2)

1.) Science Fiction Suite  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 
2.) Mean Woman Blues
3.) Morning Come  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 
4.) Prelude in C Major (instrumental)  (J.S. Bach) - 
5.) The End  (Pier Emilio Canavera - Bernardo Lanzetti) - 

 

 

There's at least one interesting Acqua Fragile website out there, unfortunately it's in Italian: http://acquafragile.altervista.org/

 

Similarly, Lanzetti and Dondi both have  a web presence, but there also in Italian (funny since Lanzetti spent some of his teen years living in Texas): http://burgandr.altervista.org/bernardo_lanzetti/central.htm

 

http://www.franzdondi.com/

 

 

 

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