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Le Orme - Elementi CD (album) cover

ELEMENTI

Le Orme

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.89 | 102 ratings

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LinusW
Special Collaborator
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Released thirty years after the progressive baptism of fire that was Collage, Le Orme continues to impress me with Elementi, with an uncompromising feel for quality. New members on-board, but thankfully playing music of the same tradition.

Full of dense, action-packed symphonic force and sweet balladry, possibly more so than ever, considering the massive use of synthesisers (not the same possibilities in the early 70s) and some extra goodies in the shape of glockenspiel, sitar and violin. The sound is more modern - and not only when it comes to recording - there is a slight neo-prog influence to be found; slick, clear guitar work and soloing, modern keys and a general crispness, tightness and easy-going atmosphere that actually manages to shine through the flamboyant keyboard excesses and heavily romantic outbursts. Including an electric guitar to this extent may at first feel kind of alienating for a fan of the older albums, either in dominating the soundscape or just the simple truth that parts featuring it don't feel particularly 70s. Much of the overt classical leanings in the music are also replaced by a more contemporary symphonic sound, with motifs and structure that sound familiar for those of you who have made excursions into the modern symph scene.

Just like on Collage, the band manages to create a fuller sound and a more varied effort here than on their two classics while losing a little consistency along the way. Apples and oranges, and I can't say it troubles me exchanging one for the other. The band shows amazing talent in filling up all the gaps in the music with just the right tone from say a glockenspiel or a piano, creating interplay between the instruments that I'd love to here from more bands.

Loosely held together by a couple of recurring musical themes and the four elements, the songs found on Elementi work just as well individually as they do collectively, playing the album from start to finish. Quite varied in style and mood but neatly grouped together due to the taste for drama and beauty. A colourful display of synth and organ madness, Hammond groove, heavier interludes, a touch of 60s psych-rock and sweet guitar-driven sophisto-pop is what a listener will face when listening to Elementi. Some of it in the same song; a quite impressive feat since the medium song length is about 3-4 minutes. A nice touch is that the albums first and last song both have the same hopeful, positive vibe to them, which adds a sense of circular completion to the music. Perfect match to the change of seasons and their respective elements that can be witnessed on the front cover.

With an impressive power to last, Elementi's made it into my top three from the band without much effort. Very mature and surprisingly good for a band that has such a long career - and above all - music that suggests fresh spirits instead of tired ones makes this a worthy part of my collection.

4 stars.

//LinusW

LinusW | 4/5 |

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