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Le Orme - Collage CD (album) cover

COLLAGE

Le Orme

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.82 | 218 ratings

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J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The change in style from Ad Gloriam to Collage was no doubt a big step forward for Le Orme, as well as for the Italian progressive rock movement in general. This 1971 sophomore effort shows Le Orme distancing themselves substantially from the flowery psychedelic pop of their debut, and moving much closer towards Italian symphonic prog as we know it today. Collage still has a firm foot in sixties' psychedelic rock, but this time around, influences from the likes of King Crimson, Genesis, and especially Emerson, Lake, and Palmer found their way into Le Orme's music. Collage is a substantial leap in the right direction after Le Orme's unsatisfying debut, but it still is far from flawless in my opinion. Nevertheless, this is an essential album if you're interested in the development of Italian progressive rock.

By the time Uomo Di Pezza was released in 1972, Le Orme had largely left behind all of their roots in sixties' psychedelia, but on Collage there are still enough light jamming portions and upbeat choruses to have a bit of a late sixties' sound. Of course, the trio's main influence this time around is British symphonic rock, but there is a touch of psychedelic rock that sets it apart from their later efforts. When I listen to Collage, ELP is usually the first band that comes to mind - the keyboard focused style of the compositions and strong classical influence bears some resemblance to ELP's debut album, but I wouldn't say that this is a cloning exercise by any stretch. Le Orme's sound is quite pastoral at times, and the romantic Italian vocals set the trio apart from any of their British contemporaries. This is without a doubt one of the most groundbreaking progressive rock albums from Italy.

Though Collage is quite original in many regards, it is (unfortunately) not without its faults. Very much like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's debut, I feel like the compositions here are a bit unfocused and disorganized, even though Le Orme does succeed at creating memorable hooks more than ELP did on their debut. The production, especially in the drum department, is also a bit less than stellar - granted, this album was released in 1971, but it's still far from the best sound quality available at the time. While neither of these flaws are 'crippling', they do stifle a bit of my enjoyment for Collage. With that said, there are still plenty of beautiful sections throughout this LP, and once you consider how original this album was back in 1971, it's easy to recommend this to Italian prog connoisseurs. This isn't the best place to try out Le Orme's discography, but it is definitely an interesting transitional album from their earlier psych-pop days and their upcoming symphonic rock bombast.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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