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Le Orme

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Le Orme Smogmagica album cover
2.87 | 137 ratings | 11 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. Los Angeles (7:09)
2. Amico di ieri (3:15)
3. Ora o mai pi¨ (2:40)
4. Laserium Floyd (4:16)
Side 2
5. Primi passi (3:28)
6. Immensa distesa (3:50)
7. Amanti di citta'(3:28)
8. L'uomo del pianino (3:18)
9. Laurel canyon (4:18)

Total Time: 35:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Tolo Marton / electric guitar, harmonica, vocals
- Antonio Pagliuca / keyboards
- Aldo Tagliapietra / bass, acoustic guitar, lead vocals
- Michi Dei Rossi / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Whitehead

LP Philips - 6323 041 (1975, Italy)

CD Philips - 842 509-2 (1990, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LE ORME Smogmagica ratings distribution

(137 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

LE ORME Smogmagica reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Getting sentimental, this was the first italian prog record I bought in Italy way back in the 70's. It is not my favourite Le Orme record but it is still good and it has this beautiful Paul Whitehead cover, which makes you wish back the good old Vynil Record Covers. Well, the main change on this record, after Contrappunti is the addition of a guitar player. the record was produced in L.A. and has a more americain sound in a positive way, it is broader and richer compared to some earlier records.My favourit track is Laserium Floyd an instrumental with a very nice bass/ guitar interplay.Amico d'ieri an italian sung ballad is very nice too and more in the mood of the earlier records. It is a rather melancolic record apart from one catchy pop tune (aimed for the F.M market?) and TMHO their last good record of the 70's.
Review by 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 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 carries the memory of ancient pioneers.".

Ora o Mai Pi¨ (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 Pi¨'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 CittÓ (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 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!

Review by andrea
4 stars Smogmagica is Le Orme's seventh studio album. It was recorded in Los Angeles in 1975 with a line up featuring, along with the historical members Aldo Tagliapietra (bass, vocals, acoustic guitar), Tony Pagliuca (keyboards) and Michi Dei Rossi (drums), a young, skilled musician with a solid rock-blues background, Tolo Marton (electric guitar, harmonica, vocals). With this album Le Orme tried to change slightly their sound following a more straightforward musical direction. The result might not be completely satisfying for old prog fans but, even if it represents a step back when compared to the band's previous masterpieces, this is still a good album with some magnificent tracks. Anyway, the wonderful album cover painted by Paul Whitehead and inspired by the music is a special asset and makes of this work a very special item in any progressive rock collection.

The opener "Los Angeles" begins by a frenzied guitar solo flying on a cloudy rhythmical carpet that melts in a quiet piano section with a short vocal part. The lyrics describe the feelings of a passenger on a plane landing in L.A., the "magical polluted" city of the title (it's very difficult to translate the word "Smogmagica" indeed!)... "I felt a void in me and a sensation of fear / While the darkness of the clouds was still around me / Then, suddenly, below me an ocean of lights / I had never seen before so many lights at the same time...". Then the rhythm sets off again in a instrumental "crescendo" with some changes in rhythm and mood and a good interaction between the guitar and the other instruments. A great track!

"Amico di ieri" (Yesterday's friend) is one of the most famous songs by Le Orme. It's a melancholic acoustic ballad where a delicate melody sets a dreamy atmosphere. The lyrics tell about the autumn wind that blows to Los Angeles from his cradle in the desert, bringing with him the memories of the ancient pioneers who were driven to the sea and to a new reality by their dreams of freedom... "Autumn wind / Yesterday's friend / Today nobody cares of you / Your rising voice / Takes away the sleep from resting people / It just soils the city...". Well, in this case the lyrics represent also a way to tell about the contrast between past and present, dream and reality in a poetical way... This song has always been one of my favourites.

Unfortunately, the following "Ora o mai pi¨" (Now or nevermore) is not as good as the previous tracks. It is a kind of prog'n'roll featuring lyrics about a man who drives like hell "collecting red lights" just to get in time to a meeting with his girlfriend. The song ends with the noise of a car crash! Good idea, but the result is not completely convincing...

Then comes "Laserium Floyd", a good instrumental with a slow pace and a nocturnal atmosphere that could recall Pink Floyd's echoes. It leads to "Primi passi" (First steps), a nice pop rock song about the need to look for new experiences that makes you jump on the first train running to seek your fortune far away, without waiting for useless promises... "Hello, new day that moves on by uncertain steps...".

The following delicate, acoustic ballad "Immensa distesa" (Immense plain) is definitely better with Aldo Tagliapietra's soaring vocals that conjure up a dreamy mood... "You would like to follow me and move far away / But eventually you prefer the shelter of dreams...". Remarkable the particular coda with a fine drum work running under the melody played by the acoustic guitar.

"Amanti di cittÓ" (City lovers), despite the good guitar work, in my opinion is the worst track of the lot, especially on account of the strange, unpleasant vocals. The lyrics are absolutely nothing special, just an ironic dialogue between two lovers in the city.

"L'uomo del pianino" (The street organ man) is an interesting experimental track, a kind of "country-prog" song with a beautiful short ragtime section... "Distant fogs of my home town / Make safer the old way... How many strange things I keep inside me...". A good effort to cross the styles.

The instrumental "Laurel Canyon" is another good effort to blend the rock-blues influences of the guitarist with the prog vein of the other members of the band. This track was named after Laurel Canyon Boulevard in L.A., the place where the band set their headquarters during the recording sessions, and concludes an album with some ups and downs but that is really worth listening to.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I remembered that I wrote in one of my Le Orme review, that I was lacking some guitar work, well this wish has been fulfilled since there is now a full-time guitarist on board.

I really like the opening track "Los Angeles". It combines a magnificent vocal part full of passion and the most rocking instrumental parts. For sure that this sound is quite new for "Le Orme" but so well performed.

The band is still producing a sweet and so harmonious "Amico Di Ieri". Full of poetry. This is one of the best track available on "Smogmagica". This album starts really well. But, unfortunately, the same quality level cannot be seen throughout this work.

What comes next is hard to describe. Fully in line with some "Banco" or "PFM" production from the eighties if you see what I mean. Electro pop music, synthetic beats. This is for "Ora O Mai Pi˙". Press next. You will then reach another good number, although a bit repetitive IMO. "Laserium Floyd" is a soft rock instrumental. Of course, after a song as "Ora" almost any song would sound great.

The band is investigating into a more easy listening music, shortly formatted. It is not as bad as their ealier work (which you can found on their compilation "L'Aurora Delle Orme") but "Primi Passi" can't be considered as a jewel. Just average Italian pop music.

The band reverts into more genuine "Le Orme" music with the beautiful ballad "Immensa Distesa". Vocals again are the highlight. So emotional, so passionate, so.Italian. The contrary of the disastrous "Amanti Di CittÓ". An upbeat rock song with commercial flavour and weak.vocals. What a contrast! From heaven to hell in a few seconds. This shouldn't be allowed!

The problem is now that from this number onwards, there won't be anything good any longer. Another one of the worst moment of this musical "experience" is a punishment for the listener. Press next while you listen to the first seconds of "L'Uomo del Pianino".

And the closing instrumental is just another second-rate rock piece of music.

This album is not poor, but one could have expected more after the first two songs which are really good ones. But as a whole this album is a disappointment. Two stars.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars A second major departure for LE ORME in as many albums, "Smogmagica" sees the addition of a full time, if temporary, guitarist Tolo Marton, who not only provides the group with its first guitar oriented album, but also with vocals here and there to offset those of Mr Tagliapietra. For many, merely introducing guitar as a major instrument to the Le Orme sound constituted blasphemy of the highest order, but add in the clear influence of America and the Los Angeles recording environs and you can pretty much write this one off in the eyes of the prog public both then and now.

Yet this is a vast improvement over the vapid "Contrappunti". It is true that some vestiges of the dead end compositions of that album remain, particularly in the dreary "Laserium Floyd", possibly engendered by the popular laser light shows that made planetariums the cool places for teenagers during the 19mid 70s. And the closer "Laurel Canyon" is an ersatz mid 1970s blues-rock instrumental reminiscent of FLEETWOOD MAC in all the wrong ways. But "Los Angeles" breathes a firestorm of new life into a group seeking a credible new sound, a workable mix of Marton's licks and the old Le Orme sound circa Uomo. "Amico di Ieri" and "Immensa distesa" are both gorgeous wistful ballads also very much in the prior style.

A decidedly pop prog vein is mined in two quirky songs, "Ora o mai pi¨" and "Amanti Di CittÓ", which sound ahead of their time, reminding me of some of FRANCO BATTIATO's 1980s work. Granted, this might not be the fodder for progarchives listeners, but they nonetheless exhibit a good deal more imagination than most of their English progenitors at this stage, not to mention rather catchy melodies.

For those who enjoy successful transitions to a more accessible style by prog bands, "Smogmagica" remains a breath of fresh air to this day.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Around mid-70's Le Orme have established themsleves as one of the best Italian prog bands with releases ranging from very good to excellent quality.In 1975 it was time for a new Le Orme LP,this time the band travels to Los Angles for the recordings,while in the line-up the one-shot guitarist Tolo Marton was added.Reasonably anyone was prepared for some change in the usual process...but it was'nt for good.

''Smogmagica'' is simply a very uneven album with an excellent track,a few good ones but lots of plain moments as well.The ''Los Angeles'' opener is absolutely amazing and among the best Le Orme compositions ever despite its average starting gears,especially the vocals and the keyboard-based middle section is amazing,close to early ELOY.A few soft prog tracks like ''Amico di ieri'',''Laserium Floyd'' or ''Immensa distesa'' hold some interesting moments with nice synth work and good vocals,but unfortunately the rest of the album is very boring,just straightforward rock with Marton given a basic role,but without any sufficient or memorable playing,while listening to Le Orme performing that kind of music is like a fish out of the doesn't match at all.

The album is not a total waste of time,about just a bit less half of it is worth the band's legendary name but compared to their earlier works it loses the battle by a mile.If you ever run through this band's 70's era,''Smogmagica'' should rather stand as last in line.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is definitely not among the greatest Le Orme albums. I was expecting a little bit more of this album after listening to "Collage" and "Uomo di Pezza". In my opinion, the cover is the best thing the album has to offer. Nonetheless, it contains two songs that I highly recommend, namely "Los ... (read more)

Report this review (#2455303) | Posted by mimacondo | Saturday, October 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What a disappointment. After an amazing four-album run between 1971 and 1974, Le Orme adds a guitarist and travels to California for the recording of their next album. The result was Smogmagica, a radical departure for the band and a failure in terms of consistency and lasting appeal. There ... (read more)

Report this review (#927184) | Posted by coasterzombie | Saturday, March 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It was the year of 1975 and Le Orme makes delivery of a new disc called Smogmagica, in which, they for the first time, include a guitarist as full member in the formation of the group, Tolo Marton, electric guitar, harmonic, voice, and our already known: Toni Pagliuca, keyboards, Aldo Tagliapiet ... (read more)

Report this review (#169917) | Posted by Alberto Mu˝oz | Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is the first album by Le Orme I listened to, and hadn't I listened to other songs by this band on a local radio, I would have dismissed it completely. The good numbers here are few, and even these few ones are not that special. If you find the way to, just try and fetch these titles: Lase ... (read more)

Report this review (#116882) | Posted by paolo.beenees | Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars No good. Even considering Le Orme one of the best prog groups in the world, and trying to appreciate the attempt of giving a chance to a good guitar player (and Tolo Marton is very clever, and recently has played in some live show with Tony Pagliuca), this is definitly not a good album: only ... (read more)

Report this review (#37982) | Posted by NIC* | Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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