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Le Orme - Smogmagica CD (album) cover

SMOGMAGICA

Le Orme

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.77 | 83 ratings

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Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "I felt a void inside myself and a sensation of fear while the darkness of the clouds was still around me." (from Los Angeles).

At first cover's look (nice Paul Whitehead's album cover), Smogmagica seems to be a great follow up of the previous symphonic works Contrappunti and Felona and Sorona. At first listen, things change! A strong electric guitar appears from behind those traditional organs, moogs and keyboards.how is it possible? The band was then in search of a new and fresher sound and enroled a fourth member, great guitarist Tolo Marton. The band also flew to Los Angeles the recording sessions, leaving behind their shoulders that classic predominant keyboard's trade mark. Reviewers can be disconcerted in listening to Smogmagica. That electric guitar, even if so damn-good played seems to be something extraneous and absurd for Le Orme! I think this 1975 work is a good surprise, yet! It's not so simple to shock the audience! This shock is not only caused by the different arrangements and line-up, but also by the lyrics' subject of the second side of the album, rich of humour and far from their traditional seriousness. From an eye-bird's point of view we seem to fly over that famous Californian city.over a strange isolated place which, differently from others is distinctly enriched by the amazing green of nature! Ike other reviewers have noticed, Smogmagica is a mixture of rock, pop, blues and boogie all dressed up in a commercial outfit. Prog trend is not completely disappeared, yet. You can recognize it on the first side of the album.

Los Angeles is a great 7,13 mns song with only some words sung in its first part with amazing instrumental playing. Surely the best of the album with that its proggy interludes and synths from the 4th minute, in particular. Great drums by Michi de Rossi, great electric guitar provided by Tolo Marton, great non-dominant keyboards and bass by, respectively Toni Pagliuca and Aldo Tagliapietra. ".an ocean of lights, so many at the same time I had never seen before.", the description of the feelings of whom's visiting that famous city for the first time.

Amico di Ieri (Yesterday's Friend) is the most famous song of the album. I remember my father playing it with his M1 keyboard.what a great melody and sad atmosphere! ". autumn wind, sodden with sand.desert is your cradle.you carries the memory of ancient pioneers.".

Ora o Mai Più (Now or Nevermore) is the first real commercial one of the album, sung also by Tolo Marton. Pagliuca's synthesizer cannot distract from the pop reality! The end of the song has some humouresque vein, with noises of a car crash and the sirens of police cars and ambulance.

Laserium Floyd is a great and soft instrumental track, the third highlight of the album, but with some repetitive guitar riff.

Primi Passi (First Steps) follows, in Ora o Mai Più's similar commercial vein, while Immensa Distesa (Huge Expanse) is a nice mellow short ballad with good acoustic guitar and ambient keyboard' playing.

Amanti di Città (City's Lovers) is the proof of this new trend of Le Orme. Rocky well conducted, with humour lyrics about the discussion between two lovers (two male voices.one with strange elium-like effect!!): ".it's me who brings you always flowers! - yes, you are. But you forgets always my allergy!!!!

L'Uomo del Pianino (Little Piano's Man) is another (boogie) funny commercial track, while Laurel Canyon is a good instrumental piece with good contribution from all the Orme's members. Not a real progressive effort, but more serious than the previous song.

What can I say? You wouldn't say this is a Le Orme's album.but the demonstration of the great vitality of this wonderful Italian band, able to critisize theirself! Not at the symphonic level of Contrappunti, but good for the fresh imagination and, at least, three very good tracks!

Andrea Cortese | 3/5 |

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