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Le Orme - Felona E Sorona CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.24 | 851 ratings

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4 stars What an interesting idea: a concept album about two contrasting planets, a sort of yin and yang (except that, from the album cover, the female is the lighter side and the male the darker side, which is the opposite of yin and yang). The fascinating cover - which has obviously had some thought put into it - clearly illustrates the contrast, with haunting blue-tint male and female figures shown from the front and back. Even though I understand very little Italian, the lyrics sound fascinating - I can clearly hear Aldo Tagliapietra telling a fluid story, and you really get the feeling of an epic being recounted.

This is melodious keyboard-centric music, but the guitars, drums and other percussion provide critical support and on several occasions come to the fore. There is reasonably frequent, very electronic synth but it does not sound gratuitous or out of place, just atmospheric. Given the relative sophistication of the music, it's somewhat of a surprise that just three musicians were involved. It's not the sort of flowing, rich melodious music of LOCANDA DELLE FATE (which is also haunting, but in a more romantic way) or PFM though - the atmospheric melodies sounding deeper in the most part, but not depressing or heavy in my opinion.

The first track ('Sospesi Nell'Incredibile') is often mentioned in the same breath as the album, and is touted as its best track. However to me it's just the start of the feast, as the rest of the album - to me at least - is just as good if not better. A long 'marching' intro on the first track preludes the pleasant, clear singing voice of Aldo Tagliapietra, which is not rough at all (unlike some male Italian rock and pop singers). Towards the end of the track the tune gets a bit repetitive and is less sophisticated.

The short second track ('Felona') is brilliant - I just love it and couldn't care less that it was the obvious single. It's happy, bright, starts with a peel of bells, has lovely vocals with some flute coming in later, and sounds a bit like an Italian folk tune. I can more or less follow the lyrics on this one, and they're poetry. It's LE ORME's ' Festa'. This song makes me think of going for a walk on a sunny morning. I just can't help whistling along to it.

The remaining tracks flow one into the other as the story is told, and it's just one long trail of good music which feels very tied to the story. I wish I could get my hands on a good English translation of the Italian lyrics so that I could follow it properly. I'm not going to analyse here each track individually, precisely because they feel so unified. But I will say that the keyboards (often synth), acoustic and electric guitar, drums and other percussion are just as pleasing and symphonic throughout these tracks as on the first track, with vocals usually right up front telling the story.

Well, if any album can be called symphonic Progressive Rock, it's this one. It's not in the four-part format of a classical symphony, but it does have the feel of a symphony and the last track even ends in a drawn out, very classical symphony sounding way, albeit with lots of synth. If I had to compare LE ORME on this album to any of the Anglo-Saxon Progressive Rock bands then it would not be EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, that's for sure, but early GENESIS - I'm reminded of "Foxtrot" in places, even to the mood of the music.

How to rank this album? Although I like it very much, it's just a sliver short of perfect for me. Although there are several exquisite moments, I would have liked the music to have a few more memorable moments - a few more peaks, and there are just a couple of less sophisticated musical parts that I don't like quite so much. I would have really liked to rate this at 4.5 stars if such a thing were possible, but will go with 4 stars instead of 5 (probably regretting it later). Nevertheless, don't hesitate to get it if you want to experience really good Italian Progressive Rock. It oozes quality in my opinion.

Fitzcarraldo | 4/5 |


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