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Le Orme - Florian CD (album) cover

FLORIAN

Le Orme

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.81 | 135 ratings

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zeuhl1
4 stars Le Orme's penance album.

Very few have heard of Florian, including some Le Orme fans, and that is a shame. For the casual Le Orme fan, this won't even sound like the band. Shorn of the 'Le' for the first time, Orme are also shorn of all of their familiar instruments-electric bass, organ, synth, drum kit? None of these make an appearance on this album. Instead, Orme utilize violin, cello, acoustic guitar, bouzouki, vibraphone, marimba, hand drums, piano and harpsichord to create a chamber music effect that many have mistaken for the band performing with a smaller orchestra.

But fans of the band will still hear what makes the Le Orme sound so recognizable-close your eyes and listen to the violin and cello arrangements of the opener, title track Florian, and you can hear this song played as an organ/bass/drums arrangement that is dancing in the background. This theme continues throughout this baroque inflected mini gem, where those familiar with the band can interpolate these acoustic themes into more familiar electric arrangements. Another highlight is the album closer, El Gran Senser, with some attempted spacey moments and more playful string moments that wouldn't be out of place on a Kronos Quartet album. Very few weak points here, but for those expecting a full on electric blitz, this is not that at all.

One gets the impression that this is somehow late penance for the LA slickness that pooched the 1975 'recorded in California' album Smogmagica that nearly sank them. They recovered strongly on followup Verita Nacoste but couldn't really sustain it on 1977's Storia o Leggenda. Which makes this album so astounding-who would follow up a dollop of the worst of LA with a tribute to the first Gryphon album? Certainly one of the most peculiar follow ups to the usual career killing pop arc in the history of rock, an aberration so startling that one is temped to add another half star for sheer brazenness. Very few in rock could have pulled this off, and even fewer would attempt this, never mind it is the crucial cusp year of 1979 when prog rock officially abdicated. Delicate and beautiful, this album will bear repeated listenings.

Recommended for Le Orme fans that have a few albums under their belt, and acoustic classical/prog fans.

3.75 stars

zeuhl1 | 4/5 |

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