On June 25, 2010, the very first post on Fire of Unknown Origin was published. It was a very short statement of intent, no more than a couple of sentences, illustrating to my would-be readers what this blog was going to be like. At the time, I was still writing for another prog-based site, so the blog was meant to host reviews of older (and often rather obscure) material, mainly revamped versions of reviews I had already posted elsewhere in the early years of my ‘career’. With a growing backlog of to-be-reviewed CDs (which eventually reached the staggering number of 80), there was simply no time for me to do anything else – such as writing brand-new reviews of some of the lesser-known albums in my collection.
However, as my regular readers will already know, things changed quite fast in the following months, and, at the beginning of October 2010, the first reviews of recently-released albums started to appear. The floodgates were open, and the older stuff – now tagged, in not completely original fashion, as ‘from the vault’ – eventually took a backseat to the new. After a relatively brief adjustment phase, the monthly post count began to climb, and so did the views. The end-of-year stats for those mere 5 months of operation were extremely flattering for a venture started in such an unassuming way. But the best was yet to come…
In the following six months, Fire of Unknown Origin has received almost 9,000 views, with some articles garnering a level of success that I would not have foreseen when I decided to start my own blog. The two essays written as a consequence of the cancellation of NEARfest 2001 were viewed over 600 times altogether, and sparked a lively debate with over 60 comments. Moreover, though there is obviously a core of loyal readers and subscribers, the number of people who have stumbled upon the blog, or been otherwise directed to it by well-placed links, seems to be steadily growing. This has encouraged me to strive for quality, and avoid giving in to the temptation of writing a higher amount of shorter, more superficial reviews. Each and every one of my posts has a lot of work behind it, and obviously the frequency of the postings depends on a number of factors – such as occasional bouts of writer’s block versus periods of high inspiration. Even if I am my own boss and have no deadlines to honour, I am as disciplined a writer as I can, and try not to keep the artists or labels that send me their material waiting too long.
In the past few months, Fire of Unknown Origin has expanded from a mere repository of reviews to something on a larger scale, in spite of the constraints inherent to any one-person operation. My very first interview was posted a few days ago, and reviews of live events have already become a regular feature. I also hope to include more press releases to inform my readers about events of interest, especially those happening in my native Italy. While progressive rock has been the blog’s main thrust since its inception, I will continue to publish reviews and articles covering other genres that can be seen as tangential to prog, from classic rock to jazz to world music, reflecting the constant expansion and growth of my own musical tastes.
Even though I am on the verge of starting a new collaboration with a rather high-profile website, I will not put Fire of Unknown Origin on the back burner, but keep it up and running as a parallel project to host reviews and articles on music-related issues. I am proud to say that this blog has probably been the greatest success story of my life, and the friendships and interesting contacts that were born out of it more than make up for the lack of that financial reward that these days seems to have sadly become the be-all and end-all of many people’s lives.
Therefore, I wish to thank all of you who have been supporting this blog since its earliest days, as well as those who have come to it in more recent times – the artists and label owners who have encouraged me with their praise and given exposure to my writings, the friends who have become regular guests, and also those who have chanced upon it through Google searches. I hope to keep delivering the goods for a long time yet!