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Le Orme - Smogmagica CD (album) cover

SMOGMAGICA

Le Orme

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.77 | 84 ratings

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Alberto Muņoz
3 stars It was the year of 1975 and Le Orme makes delivery of a new disc called Smogmagica, in which, they for the first time, include a guitarist as full member in the formation of the group, Tolo Marton, electric guitar, harmonic, voice, and our already known: Toni Pagliuca, keyboards, Aldo Tagliapietra, bass, acoustic guitar, voice and Michi Dei Rossi drums, percussions.

I consider that to this one of the controversial records, and different of all the artistic carrer of Le Orme, if not that is controversial, also a very steep change of Progressive musical direction notices, happening of classic the Felona and Sorona and Contrappunti, to a sound infected by a guitar that obviously has its roots in the blues rock, Tolo Marton is one an excellent guitarist and with very fast licks, but... I feel that in this work they wanted to amalgamate of way very forced that bluesrock root, with progressive the classic elements of Le Orme, result: a disc very different, strange, and enigmatic sometimes.

Sure without doubt is no absolutely bad, since there are excellent songs, and others not very good, but with justice it is necessary to say that it contains an "Americanization" element, since the disc was recorded in Los Angeles, and really note in some songs (e.g. Or or mai Pių in its beginning, that seems intro of any song of the Doors), although most of the songs they were composed in the old continent.

Really a very different and inconsistent disc, by the minus Verita Nacoste (1976), and Storia or Leggenda (1977), discs that followed this, inside have a uniformity of the own work, gives the impression, that they wanted to include so many musical styles and to combine them, but to stick them with their previous classic structure of previous albums as well, and to being honest, in some songs it seems that here Tolo Marton, are playing in another group and the others in Le Orme. I feel who the integration of Marton did not work (unlike Germano Serafín, very fine guitarist, and that him fit perfect, in following 4 discs of the group), and for that reason left the group after they release this album.

Nevertheless making justice to this recording, also it contains some of the best songs and melodies of Le Orme of its history, (e.g. Laserium Floyd, Amico di Ieri, Los Angeles) and that will not become to repeat. It was the this first attempt to incorporate poppier elements, within its Progressive repertoire, shorter songs and with one more a simpler line, hard rock tones, pastoral elements and even passages boggie rock in all an amalgam, and Tolo Marton sharing the voice with Tagliapietra, as well as most of the compositions of the group they are signed by Marton/Pagliuca/Taglapietra, which is clear that Tolo Marton entered by the great one in this its first one and only one disc, granting to him the facilities that could have been given, and sometimes, dominating the musical phantom of the work and relegating to Pagliuca, mainly, to mere support.

It has to emphasize that the production of the disc is good and that, clearing the rapid guitar solos of Marton, not has individualities of other members of group, also could to affirm that this disc is very martinian, since the guitar is the element that outshadows the others, unlike others albums of Le Orme, is the oriented disc more to the guitar of all its discography, including the 4 later, in aim this recording is really what it is known like a landmark in the trajectory of Le Orme. The rescue thing of this disc, in addition to some songs, is the cover ironically that was designed by Paul Whitehead, who in the successive thing would decorate futures albums of Le Orme, and reflects the metamorphosis that was happening in the group, that imagines the inner garden, and that, this first attempt to extend its musical view, on which serious the rest of the cover, that is to say, the city that is observed outside the garden. In any case this one is a work that is important, to listen to include/understand destiny of Le Orme in the future, but he is not essential in a progressive collection.

Then derivative of the previous thing, we go to the songs: 1. - Los Angeles. - Song with that they open Smogmagica, and that is totally, different in the musical conception, in where one realizes change provoked in the music of Le Orme, this is the guitar like dominant and catalytic element, a single length of guitar, the keyboard of Pagliuca, relegated to some sounds and melodies within this, and far from the spectacular playing of long ago, the voice of Tagliapietra, as always it magnifies and the only song with letters in english of this disc, of which volume this excellent passage:

I felt to void inside myself and to sensation of to fear while the darkness of the clouds was still around me...

Very good passages of guitar, in this work are where better the guitar of Marton arranges, with old Le Orme. Around minute 4:40, sound begins interlude very good with of keyboard of Pagliuca and guitar of Marton, recreating a little as the dusk in Los Angeles would be seen (according to my analysis and the sensation that produces me when listening to it), the drumming of Michi, as always reliable and this is a very good song of this disc. Very Good.

2. - Amico di Ieri. - Definitively one of masterpieces of all the times of the Progressive Rock, the song basic of the disc and most closest to its previous works, with an extreme melancholy on the part of Taglapietra and one excellent guitar on the part of Tolo Marton, the only thing that I create does not go "ad hoc" with the song, is the solo of harmonic in half of the song, the lyrics, about the friends of yesterday, one of the best ones written by Le Orme and I transcribe a delicious example:

"Vento d'autunno intriso di sabbia Posi il tuo vento sulla cittā, iI deserto č tua culla Non conosco la tua etā".

These divine 3:18 minutes of duration of the song, are worth all one the album. Excellent.

3.- Ora o mai Pių. - Here is a perfect example which it is known like Americanization of the leormenian sound, in its totality, sung by Tolo Marton, that definitively does not have a great voice and with a sound very boggie rock, the song in its beginning makes me feel as if it was listening to L.A. Woman of the Doors, by intro of the guitar, and this is of the most loose pieces of all the disc (single surpassed by L'uomo del Pianino), and fatal its end, with a recreation of an automobile shock, I feel here that in the eagerness to obtain acceptance and a greater market for the commercial turn which they treated to do, result in badly an experiment, definitively nothing that to see with unrecognizable previous works of plane. Bad.

4. - Laserium Floyd. - Instrumental song with obvious dedication... here Tolo Marton perfectly recreates that guitar sound of David Gilmour, in Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here and hints of Genesis' Squonk, and it gives the impression to me that this sound was fashionable, between several groups of rock, aside from the Floyd, for example the Fly By Night and 2112 of Rush listen and will see what it said to them, this melodie makes me feel as if it embarked in a length and quiet way to me, through a series of natural landscapes, that make think me about the decisions or the one that had happened if... of the life of any person, including the own one. One definitively very good melody on the part of the group. Very Good.

5. - Primi Passi. - It means in Spanish First Step... but towards the precipice! One of the songs that or could remain for a compilation of outtakes or peculiarities, here unlike Verita nacoste, the poppier elements is not integrated for anything and suddenly the vocal treatment to me remembers to Ritchie and Poweri!!... incredible no? Mainly being those who are. The influence of Tolo Marton here goes of badly in worse, making sound to Le Orme like a species of Western Spaghetti and very flat, balancing risky, almost on the verge of falling, in the absolute disaster, luckyly last 3:29 minutes. Avoid if you can.

6. - Immensa Distesa. - Fortunately for the group and the disc, Aldo Taglapietra tapeworm very in clear what meant Le Orme in the international plane, so it composes this small jewel of song, one of the best ones of the disc in comment, and those that save to this work, of the commercialization and more absurd mediocrity, than I has listened in Le Orme, a very pastoral song almost magician in its purer conception and with good acoustic guitar of Tagliapietra and Marton, the drums of Michi that was been very dull, it stands out with certain touches poli rythmical that makes to the bottom of the acoustic harmonies competes with Amico di Ieri but it does not equal it. Very Good.

7. - Amanti di Cittá. - Very peculiar song and could affirm that the strangest song of all the leormenaian discography, very good work of Tolo Marton in the guitar, relegated Pagliuca to mere support (if it felt to taste or it were taking a rest from the previous recordings, single therefore I do not explain its participation poor man in the disc), only in the end emphasizes mini keyboard solo, but nothing else. The peculiar thing is the voices that they establish I engage in a dialog between two lovers, and who I believe that for this song they had obtained a true woman for the voice that assumes represents the lover (the one of Circus 2000 it had been perfect), and not to try it so that the first impression whom it gave me is that it was of a boy! The lyrics not at all memorable and outside the guitar and the drumming, it could be a serious excellent pop song, strange really, but I do not get tired to listen ha!; structured, the truth well I confess that it is of my like, but in general they do not hope to listen to in this song something very Progressive. Regular.

8. - L'uomo del Pianino. - Definitively the worse song of the disc. This is a perfect sample of which it happens when the elements and the influence of different musical conceptions (Tolo marton versus Le Orme), hits off plane; between own rates of the scene of the clowns in any circus, and the sensation to be in pianobar., the truth gives the impression that they did not have another thing whereupon to fill the remaining minutes and improvise letters and music and volia! leaves this complete disaster. For that reason by songs as this the album is considered a reject in the discography of Le Orme. Very Bad.

9. - Canyon Laurel. - Last melody of the album and the one that returns to save the disc, after listening by far, the worse song of Le Orme, (L'uomo del Pianino), do jam more serious when playing this instruments where all have a homogenous participation but and with a rhythmic rate, either could be confused with a song of Bad Company of the Straight Shooter era, or structured and with null Progressive influence, this the more is oriented to the North American rock that was playing in that then (which it is much of my affability), that to the Progressive one per. Good to droughts.

Well, because as above indicates, this it is a nonessential disc of the discography of this great group of the Italian Progressive rock and that are good 50% and 50% of regular to bad, so once read this, if you want to go further in and drawing your own conclusions, go ahead.

Alberto Muņoz | 3/5 |

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