Franco Mussida, the legendary guitarist and founding member of the Italian progressive rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), has recently released his new solo album The Planet of Music and the Journey of Iòtu (or in Italian, Il Pianeta della Musica e il viaggio di Iòtu).
Most notably for audiophiles, the album is Mussida’s first to be available in both the 5.1 surround sound & Dolby Atmos immersive formats. The immersive mixes are available on a Blu-Ray disc from Pure Audio Recordings and as a hi-resolution digital download through IAA’s shop.
The Planet of Music and the Journey of Iòtu is a conceptual piece that tells the story of Iòtu, a curious traveler who encounters a series of fascinating characters that each represent a different musical instrument. The album is a masterful work of art that showcases Mussida's exceptional talent and technical skill.
"All the work done [re]mixing the album in Dolby Atmos tries to respect the music’s peaceful and relaxed dimension, aiming to expand the spatial perception of the listener and lead [them] by the hand into the new world of immersive."Lorenzo Cazzaniga, Immersive Mix Engineer
The album opens with “Iòtu and the Planetary Plane,” a beautiful and melodic piece that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The track features Mussida's signature guitar sound, which is super-clean and treated with reverberation that fills out the entire listening space.
After some narration, we then segue directly into “The Gold of Sound.” The 5.1 & Dolby Atmos immersive mixes – created by Lorenzo Cazzaniga at Lara Park Studios in Milan, Italy – curiously make little use of the center channel, instead featuring the lead vocals primarily in the front speakers. Around the three-minute mark, female backing vocals appear exclusively in the rear height speakers to great effect.
“The World in a Note” is another slower, introspective track that showcases Mussida’s emotive guitar playing. We suspect the album was natively mixed in the 9.1 (5.1.4) Auro-3D format and later transposed to Dolby Atmos, as the rear surround speakers contribute little to the overall presentation.
"The Dream and the Road" marks another highlight of the immersive presentation, featuring background vocals from behind and above plus more room-filling guitar ambience. The clarity is striking, as if Mussida is somehow performing live in your living room.
The album closes with “Trees,” a beautiful and melancholic track that again spotlights Mussida's soulful playing. The song is a fitting end to the album, with an introspective tone that leaves the listener with a sense of contemplation and awe. The technical production of the track is also noteworthy, with a clean and precise mix that highlights the beauty of the music.
Overall, the album is a testament to the power of music and the beauty that can be created when a master musician is given free rein to explore his art. The technical production of the album is also exceptional, with a clear, balanced mix that allows the listener to fully appreciate the complexity and beauty of the music. The Planet of Music and the Journey of Iòtu is a must-listen for anyone who appreciates great music, immersive audio, and the power of the guitar to move and inspire.
Purchase The Planet of Music and the Journey of Iòtu in the IAA Shop!