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LE ORME

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Le Orme biography
Excellent early-70's Italian progressive trio (still around today) with classical stylings, featuring keyboards to the fore and a unique dreamy/powerful style. Le ORME was one of the three major Italian groups, the other two being PFM and BANCO. This band is usually considered as the Italian EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER and even BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO by the Italian singing. Its music is based upon organ developments and soli reminding Seventies groups which works are essentially built upon keyboards parts.

The band's truly classic period begins with their third next releases. "Uomo Di Pezza" (1972) is one of Le Orme's definitive Italian progressive rock albums. Although there is definitely an significant EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER influence here, as in the bombastic Moog and Hammond workouts countered by mellow balladry. It's not quite as integrated a feel as would characterize their next two albums, "Felona E Sonora" and "Contrappunti", though its fantastic nonetheless, and one of Le ORME's three essential albums. "Collage" and especially "Florian" offer a music tinged with classical music. "Felona E Sonora" (1973) is probably one of my top favorite Italian progressive rock albums. "Contrappunti" (1974) is another fantastic Le ORME album, and really the close of their classic trilogy. This album would effectively close out the band's streak of success.

"In Concerto" is an excellent live album from 1974 with many unreleased tracks. "Piccola Rapsodia Dell' Ape" is more recent, an excellent mixing of Progressive and Italian baroque music. "Collage" and especially "Florian" offer a music tinged with classical music. In 1993 the Japanese progrock label Crime Records released the 2-CD "Live Orme" with live-material from '75-'77. A far more captivating document than "In Concerto" from '74.

Their story goes on. After "Piccola Rapsodia Dell' Ape" (1980), in 1982 the band decides to break up. In 1986 they rejoin only for concerts but in 1990 a further work is issued ("Orme"). In 1992 Tony Pagliuca leaves the band, replaced by Michele Bon. That year they obtain the title of best Live-Act band seen in Italy. They never give up symphonic prog and their further works show it clearly. In spite of the success obtained by their live performances, in 1996 they publish a suite ("Il fiume"). After obtaining a great success at the Los Angeles PROG FEST and at the PROG EAST in Quebec, they commit themselves to the new work which will be finished in 2001 ("Elemen...
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Felona E SoronaFelona E Sorona
Import
Universal Italy 2011
Audio CD$11.53
$11.52 (used)
Storia O LeggendaStoria O Leggenda
Import
Mercury Italy 1997
Audio CD$7.34
$7.33 (used)
Uomo Di PezzaUomo Di Pezza
Import
Mercury Italy 1999
Audio CD$6.62
$5.95 (used)
CollageCollage
Import
Mercury Italy 1997
Audio CD$5.49
$5.48 (used)
Ad GloriamAd Gloriam
Ams 2014
Vinyl$40.59
CollageCollage
Limited Edition
Btf 2015
Vinyl$34.02
$29.87 (used)
L' Aurora Delle OrmeL' Aurora Delle Orme
Import
Akarma Italy 2007
Audio CD$15.43
$10.52 (used)
L'infinitoL'infinito
Import
Crisler 2004
Audio CD$15.78
$11.65 (used)
FlorianFlorian
Import
Mercury Italy 1996
Audio CD$17.70
$7.00 (used)
Universal Music CollectionUniversal Music Collection
Box set · Import
Universal Italy 2009
Audio CD$299.95
$179.95 (used)
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Le Orme Rarita Nascoste Japan Promo only 7 inch Vinyl Single 1986 Italian PROG USD $149.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Felona e Sorona by Le Orme (CD, Mar-1996, Universal/Polygram) USD $7.69 Buy It Now 16 days
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LE ORME shows & tickets


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LE ORME discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LE ORME top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.75 | 77 ratings
Ad Gloriam
1969
3.83 | 234 ratings
Collage
1971
4.23 | 544 ratings
Uomo di pezza
1972
4.24 | 726 ratings
Felona E Sorona
1973
3.67 | 59 ratings
Felona & Sorona (English language version)
1973
3.93 | 198 ratings
Contrappunti
1974
2.78 | 92 ratings
Smogmagica
1975
3.52 | 102 ratings
Verità nascoste
1976
3.50 | 108 ratings
Storia o leggenda
1977
3.74 | 97 ratings
Florian
1979
3.21 | 53 ratings
Piccola rapsodia dell'ape
1980
1.66 | 33 ratings
Venerdi
1982
1.41 | 35 ratings
Orme
1990
1.58 | 15 ratings
Biancaneve
1995
3.48 | 66 ratings
Il fiume
1996
2.84 | 29 ratings
Amico Di Ieri
1997
3.86 | 113 ratings
Elementi
2001
3.75 | 89 ratings
L'infinito
2004
3.60 | 91 ratings
La Via Della Seta
2011

LE ORME Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 41 ratings
In Concerto
1974
3.45 | 18 ratings
Live Orme
1986
4.67 | 42 ratings
Live In Pennsylvania (2CD + DVD)
2008
2.40 | 5 ratings
Progfiles: Live In Rome
2010

LE ORME Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LE ORME Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.43 | 26 ratings
L'aurora delle Orme
1970
3.69 | 4 ratings
Beyond Leng
1975
2.00 | 3 ratings
Canzone d'amore
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Le Orme Vol. 1
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Le Orme Vol. 2
1977
1.50 | 2 ratings
Le Orme Antologia 67-69 vol.1
1978
3.50 | 2 ratings
Le Orme (70s collection) - 1983
1983
2.00 | 3 ratings
Grandi Incontri
1990
3.06 | 10 ratings
Antologia 1970-1980
1993
2.48 | 3 ratings
Le Orme
1996
3.50 | 2 ratings
"Gioco Di Bimba" E Altri Successi
1998
3.69 | 8 ratings
Studio Collection 1970 - 1980
2005
2.60 | 5 ratings
1967 - 1969 - Le Origini
2005
2.00 | 1 ratings
I Successi
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Studio Collection 1970/ 1980 (slim case edition)
2006
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Collection
2008
4.55 | 11 ratings
The Universal Music Collection (11 CD)
2009
4.18 | 11 ratings
Felona e Sorona - Deluxe Edition (English and Italian versions)
2011

LE ORME Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 2 ratings
Senti L'Estate Che Torna
1968
2.00 | 3 ratings
In Fiori E Colori
1968
2.00 | 2 ratings
Milano 1968
1968
2.00 | 2 ratings
Senti L'Estate Che Torna / Fiori E Colori
1968
2.00 | 2 ratings
Irene
1969
2.00 | 2 ratings
Il Profumo Delle Viole
1970
2.00 | 2 ratings
L'Aurora
1970
3.00 | 3 ratings
Sguardo Verso Il Cielo
1971
3.67 | 3 ratings
Gioco Di Bimba
1972
3.00 | 2 ratings
Felona
1973
2.50 | 2 ratings
Frutto Acerbo
1974
2.50 | 2 ratings
Sera
1975
2.50 | 2 ratings
Verità Nascoste
1976
2.50 | 2 ratings
Amico Di Ieri
1976
2.00 | 2 ratings
Canzone D'Amore
1976
3.33 | 3 ratings
Se Io Lavoro
1977
2.50 | 2 ratings
Fine Di Un Viaggio
1979
2.00 | 2 ratings
Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape
1980
1.33 | 3 ratings
Rosso Di Sera
1982
1.67 | 3 ratings
Marinai
1982
1.33 | 3 ratings
Dimmi Che Cos'è
1987

LE ORME Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Felona E Sorona by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.24 | 726 ratings

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Felona E Sorona
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I knew that someday I would have to discover for myself what all the fuss was about with Rock Progressivo Italiano. That day came about two years ago now when I decided for my first foray into RPI "Felona E Sorona" would have to come home. From the first listen I was impressed and pleasantly surprised. For an album that is basically keyboards, bass and drums along with vocals (only some acoustic guitars and no electric guitars), I enjoy this album quite a bit.

The concept has been discussed before but in brief it is the story of two planets, one prosperous and glorious the other destitute and plague-ridden, whose fates become inverted. Though I don't understand Italian more than the odd word, I like Aldo Tagliapietra's vocals and so I don't care about the language barrier. More so, I'm glad to hear him sing in his native tongue.

Largely keyboard-based, there's an array of sounds produced by synthesizers, organ, and piano. The drums are also pretty intense at times, especially near the end of "Sospesi nell'incredibile" where I swear the drummer is seeing ants crawling over his kit and trying to smash each one!

Acoustic guitar makes its appearance on "Felona", a cheerful song describing, I presume, the glorious planet. It's a short but very uplifting song that segues into "La solitudine di chi protegge il mondo". Most of the songs are pretty short, around three minutes or even shorter, but there's a variety of music and good use of keyboard sounds (I find "Attesa inerte" interesting for its 1980's video game synthesizer effect).

The whole album is actually rather short but well thought out. I have found that my enjoyment depends a lot on my mood. Sometimes I think this is an exciting and brilliant piece of work while other times I find parts a bit vacuous with rather empty parts. It's all part of the mood in some of the songs. From every bit of sparseness comes something beautiful or rewarding.

I don't know if this is the best album to hear for an introduction to Italian prog but it impressed me enough to go out and check out two more bands. Recommended!

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 Storia o leggenda by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.50 | 108 ratings

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Storia o leggenda
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The last album released by Le Orme in their Progressive Rock heyday is, despite its fairly modest score in these Archives, one of the highlights of their Golden Age discography. The music was gentler than the keyboard-heavy workouts of earlier albums, and more obviously song-driven. But the songs themselves are some of the warmest and richest in the greater Orme catalogue, and no less affecting for being so economical, with every track falling neatly into a radio-friendly four to five minute range.

It's also arguably the band's most well-rounded and balanced effort since becoming a quartet: more classic GENESIS than classical ELP, although both are lazy comparisons. Le Orme always had its own voice, regardless of the influence: lyrical, romantic, and genuinely emotional, as only the best Progressive Rock can be, especially in Italy during the mid-1970s.

The striking cover illustration by Walter Mac Mazzieri pays tribute to his own artwork for one of Le Orme's best-loved albums ("Uomo di Pezza', 1972), but the newer LP was never meant as a re-tread. The band instead took the simpler musical arrangements of "Smogmagica" and "Verità Nascoste", and gilded them with a delicate magic, leading even the unlikely ersatz-reggae verses of "Tenerci per Mano" toward a soaring RPI chorus.

I shouldn't have to remind regular visitors to these pages that a softer, more accessible Prog album doesn't indicate an immediate sell-out. The music here might be easier on the ears, but from start to finish it's pure Rock Progressivo Italiano, beautifully written and performed. And the album closes with a real humdinger, in the aggressive throwback instrumental "Al Mercato della Pulci" (The Flea Market), in retrospect four of the strongest minutes in Le Orme's later history. It's hard to imagine a more dynamic or appropriate ending, to the album and to the era itself.

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 Elementi by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.86 | 113 ratings

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Elementi
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Having rediscovered their creative enthusiasm making the 1996 album "Il Fiume", Le Orme returned five years later with the second volume in what would eventually become a loosely-bound trilogy drawn around the endless cycles of life and nature: good thematic fodder for a re-born Progressive Rock band. The new music was even more overtly, unashamedly Proggish than before, composed as if in preparation for another NEARfest performance, with louder synths, less acoustic guitars, and a not unattractive air of dramatic bombast.

The cloud within that silver lining was an unfortunate tendency toward Neo-Prog posturing, perhaps a natural side-effect of the band's renewed vigor and confidence. You can hear it clearly in Aldo Tagliapietra's insecure electric guitarmanship, and in an unconvincing opening synthesizer motif sounding like Tony Banks working through a mid-life crisis. Francesco Satori's elegant acoustic piano from "Il Fiume" is missed, but the expressive violin of newcomer Andrea Bassato brings the music closer to the classic RPI ideals of Le Orme's youth. It's too bad his skills are underutilized here.

In its better moments, and especially during the purely instrumental breaks ("Danza Della Terra"; "Danza Della Pioggia"; the cool sitar groove of "Dove Tutto È!"), the album presents a calculated, crowd-pleasing throwback to Golden Age Progressive Rock excellence, performed by veterans. And yet the contrarian spoilsport in me has a nagging reservation or two. I have to wonder if Le Orme are simply opportunists switching musical hats with each new decade, from psychedelic boppers in the 1960s to Prog Rock stars in the 1970s to synth-pop wannabes in the '80s...and then just as quickly taking their prog-colored duds out of mothball storage when the twenty-year nostalgia cycle turned 360-degrees.

Too much of the album sounds like a retro-Prog contrivance rather than a natural artistic impulse: the sort of Prog-by-numbers experience that excites our more conservative instincts (and isn't a conservative Proghead the ultimate oxymoron?) But at the end of the day it's the music that actually matters, not the amateur five-and-dime critical analysis from a nitpicking party pooper. On its own terms this would have to be considered one of the strongest Le Orme albums since the late 1970s. But the '70s ended a long time ago...

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 Storia o leggenda by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.50 | 108 ratings

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Storia o leggenda
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by RaelWV

3 stars I've got a bad habit of buying my first album by a particular band, getting home and reading some reviews, and discovering that I bought the wrong album to use as an introduction. Thankfully, I didn't make that mistake with Le Orme, one of the classic bands from the 1970s Italian prog scene. My first exposure to them was a hunk of their 2005 NEARFest performance on the Rising to the Surface DVD. So I grabbed Felona e Sonora and Uomo di Pezza and was hooked.

Well, there's a flip side to digging into a band's catalog in the right place and falling hard - you keep exploring and, eventually, you find a dud. That's the case with Storia O Leggenda. It's not right to say it's "bad" - it really isn't. But it's not a classic and it's not what really moves me when I think of Italian prog bands.

Le Orme was always one of the more lush, symphonic of bands ? much more Genesis than King Crimson, if you catch my drift. So long as they were working through lengthy instrumental sections with occasional vocals, that's cool..Technically, Le Orme avoided "epics," but tended to run a lot of shorter tunes together to achieve the same effect. But here, the songs stay short, but are more individualized. There's a greater emphasis on lyrics and vocals, with the music becoming less involving.

Which leads to a problem of my own limited faculties. One of the cool things about prog is that it really flourished in outposts around the world. Although it's generally thought of as particular English, it first made popular headway in Italy and eventually spread all over. I've got albums from every inhabited continent except Africa, for crying out loud! That means lots of lyrics I have no chance of understanding since they're, you know, in foreign and such.

Generally, that's not a problem. With very few exceptions, prog is not about the words, it's about the music. Vocals in another language don't pose a problem because the voice itself is more important than the message. Hell, after all these years I'm still not sure what Jon Anderson is on about most of the time, and that's in English! But it sounds good, right?

Yeah, until the words do start to become more important. It's one of the reasons I don't really get a lot of neo-prog with lyrics in other languages. That's a subgenre where words make more of an impact and if I can't understand what they're saying, what's the point? Unfortunately, that's the problem I've got with really digging into this album. The music is nice enough, but it doesn't do much more than support the vocals, which might as well be gibberish for all I know. Judging by the cover art, it has something to drooling horses. As a result, I just can't get that much out of it.

Which is only to say, in the long and storied history of Le Orme, they had an off day. Everybody's entitled to that.

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 Il fiume by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.48 | 66 ratings

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Il fiume
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I first encountered Le Orme's comeback album through the band's 1997 Prog Fest performance (the CD document and not, alas, the actual concert), which included a show-stopping medley of newer material, easily a highlight of the weekend event. The studio version of the same music, released one year earlier, was equally exciting in a welcome, retrograde sort of way, especially when considered alongside the truly awful soft rock the band had been playing over the previous decade.

Rarely has a musical group been in such a hurry to make amends for lost time. Orme's nose-dive from grace in the '80s was precipitous, and their return to form almost fifteen years later was equally sudden (but a more pleasant surprise). This was the sound of a band falling in love with its muse all over again, while retracing its steps to a place that almost looked like home.

The harder RPI edge of classic Orme was deliberately muted. But the album restored much of the romantic grace and melodic appeal of their better efforts from the 1970s, and with a likewise familiar respect for thematic unity. As suggested by its title, the album follows a winding musical river from source to sea, buoyed on the acoustic piano of newcomer Francesco Sartori: the star instrument here, and the perfect vehicle for depicting the ebb and flow of a meandering stream.

Don't expect any whitewater rapids, however. The piano sets a warmer and more relaxed mood than the ubiquitous synths that once tarred the band as the Italian ELP. And Aldo Tagliapietra's renewed fascination with the sitar was used to even gentler effect, in the song "Madre Mia" and elsewhere. My only gripe is with the overloud, artificial boom-thud of Michi Dei Rossi's drum kit, a sign of the times I suppose but totally out of sync with the rest of the album.

In retrospect the abbreviated live set on the Prog Fest disc culled the best material from the studio album, condensing it to a more digestible 16-minute sampler. It also played better without the album's occasional mild touch of boilerplate pomposity, like the additional gospel choir augmenting the song "Grande Acqua"...an indication of recharged ambition, or of self-conscious Neo-Prog overkill?

Maybe a little rust should have been expected, after so many years in pop music purgatory. In the end the album was a more than respectable three-star achievement, but with four-star implications. If Le Orme could find redemption in their bygone Progressive Rock past, there's hope for all of us.

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 Orme by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1990
1.41 | 35 ratings

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Orme
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Nobody here (I hope) really enjoys writing negative reviews, especially about a favorite band fallen on hard times. Nevertheless I feel obliged, strictly as a public service, to warn fans away from (Le) Orme's self-titled career nadir, released at the tail end of the anti-Prog 1980s.

Without wanting to repeat my belated tirade against their 1982 studio sell-out "Venerdi", I'll just say the music here makes the worst compromises of '80s YES and GENESIS sound downright avant-garde by comparison. If morbid curiosity, stubborn fanboy loyalty, or some form of insidious retroactive masochism should bring you within earshot of the album, expect a lot of schmaltzy, radio-friendly ballads, all bathed in a coagulating syrup of synthetic strings and passive rhythms, lacking even the tepid New Wave energy of its predecessor.

Years later, talking about the youthful Progressive idealism of the band's earliest efforts, frontman Aldo Tagliapietra would say, "What we wanted to do was change the world, change the music, and change society" (quoting from Will Romano's book "Mountains in the Sky: the Illustrated History of Progressive Rock"). In the end the opposite happened: the world, and society, changed them. But the less said about this unfortunate phase of Le Orme's career, the better.

So, enough already.

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 Venerdi by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.66 | 33 ratings

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Venerdi
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars The title of (Le) Orme's 1982 pop sellout album doesn't translate to English as "Love Beach", but it's close enough. The ace Italian proggers obviously weren't the only musical group caught in a lemming-like rush toward commercial suicide at the start of the decade. But not many bands made the same leap so blindly, or hit the ground with such an immediate thud.

For most Progressive Rockers the transition was gradual, and spread out over several albums. Orme achieved the same inglorious results in the first notes of a single song. The melodic tuned percussion at the start of the album opener "Biancaneve" was promising, but when drummer Michi Dei Rossi slammed into that big '80s down-beat it was like a drain plug being suddenly pulled, sucking one of the most distinctive ensembles in the entire RPI pantheon down into a cheap mercantile sewer.

A belated knee-jerk reaction from an unreformed Prog Snob? Well, not entirely. The album wouldn't have sounded quite so mercenary if the songwriting had any merit. But when the group lost their ambition they also misplaced all their melodic hooks, along with every shred of musical taste and sensitivity. Earlier, lightweight Prog-Pop efforts like "Smogmagica" at least had genuine character, and legitimate Italian flavor. Unlike the strictly derivative, totally anonymous synth-pop collected here.

Part of the blame can be assigned to producer Roberto Colombo, recently of PFM and an eclectic jazz-rocker in his spare time. Otherwise lovely songs like "Rubacuori" might have been salvaged by more sympathetic handling, but sledgehammers and gelignite were the studio tools of choice at the time. The album's only saving grace is the familiar lilt of Aldo Tagliapietra's singing, conspicuously out of place in such an artificial setting.

The album's title, by the way, actually translates as "Friday". And the band's name, as any fan can tell you, means something like "Footsteps". But where the Orme style was previously light on its toes, here it affected a shallow plod leaving no imprint whatsoever, all the more disappointing after the delicate neo-classical refinement of "Florian" and "Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape". Sadder still: even worse was yet to come...

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 Biancaneve by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1995
1.58 | 15 ratings

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Biancaneve
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Here's an album so bad it had to be released again, thirteen years later, so that fans could enjoy the privilege of avoiding it a second time. The name of the band was restored to its original 'Le' Orme; and the dishonest cover photo showed a much hipper, more hirsute trio from the early 1970s. But the music was the same mechanical synth-pop first presented as "Venerdi" in 1982, simply re-packaged and re-named after the album's opening track.

That song title can be rendered in English as "Snow White", which may or may not refer to the animated fable of the same name. If so, the music definitely resembles the Disney princess as she appeared after biting the poisoned apple: comatose in a shiny glass coffin. The rest of the album was likewise arranged like flower petals and silken bedding around the corpse of an RPI legend, with a silver lining evident only in retrospect: the CD appeared just one year before the band's unexpected Prog Rock rebirth in the 1996 album "Il Fiume".

A happy ending (actually, a happy new beginning) was around the next corner. And it's always darkest just before the dawn, so forth.

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 Piccola rapsodia dell'ape by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.21 | 53 ratings

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Piccola rapsodia dell'ape
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When Orme shortened their name and ditched their electronic equipment at the end of the 1970s, the effect was like a mild gust of unsullied air in an increasingly stale musical environment. It was a short-lived epiphany, lasting only a little more than a year. And by the time they recorded this 1980 companion piece to their gently unplugged 'Florian' the band was already diluting the acoustic purity of the earlier album, with more assertive percussion and the occasional electric bass guitar (not listed in the credits, but hard to miss).

So the new album was a compromise of sorts, between the classical chamber pieces of its predecessor and the exquisite RPI of the group's better-known masterpieces. The music was still attractively switched-off, but held all the melodic appeal of the best Orme balladry from the '70s, minus only the synthesizers. In an age of Arena Rock bombast and Neo Prog ascendancy, the simplicity of purpose and clarity of presentation was refreshing, precisely because it was so out of step with changing fashions.

The album doesn't rock, despite the emphatic momentum of songs like 'Il Treno', and the atypically forceful chorus of 'Raccogli le Nuvole'. But it rolls with a natural grace that hasn't aged in 35-plus years: the sound of classic (if no longer classical) Orme, stripped to its lyrical essence.

And when Aldo Tagliapietra sings the album's closing lullaby, he's bidding a wistful 'Buona Notte' to a decade of creative music making, the likes of which would not be heard again from this band for another fifteen years. Upcoming efforts would mark Orme as quintessential sellouts in a dumbed-down marketplace. But they at least ended the '70s on a welcome note of pristine benevolence.

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 Florian by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.74 | 97 ratings

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Florian
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

4 stars From the opening notes of "Florian," it's clear you are in for a treat. Le Orme abandon all the preconceptions of Prog on this 1979 release, and accomplish something truly progressive. Trading in electric guitars, bass, synthesizers and drums for baroque instrumentation, the group manages to seamlessly and effortlessly transition into an 'unplugged' version of themselves, and the result is mesmerizing; Florian is beautiful, majestic and powerful in a reserved way. But don't let the acoustic instrumentation scare you away - this is vintage Le Orme, featuring all the trappings of the classic band but in a new presentation. Considering the timeframe, it's clear Le Orme knew something had to change considering the rise of punk and new wave and the wane of progressive rock in general. And change it did...Florian defies all convention, achieving a timeless, dignified result while pushing the boundaries of what Italian Prog is and what it isn't. What this album lacks in raw energy and aggression it more than makes up for in concise songwriting, unique instrumentation, and true emotion.

The instrumental "Florian" sets the tone sublimely. Michi Dei Rossi's percussion ping pongs its way forward, propelling the song in new directions while retaining the classic Le Orme sound. I suppose you could call this 'Chamber Prog'. Newest member Germano Serafin lilts by on violin, expressing himself confidently. Singer Aldo Tagliapietra swaps his trademark bass for cello, and plays more of a reserved role; Antonio Pagliuca trades in vintage analog synthesizers for piano, harpsichord and harmonium. Aldo's familiar voice finally graces the somber "Jaffa," a reflective piece that is full of emotion and the characteristic Le Orme balladeering. "Il Mago" incorporates Eastern sounds, while retaining a driving, rhythmic touch. I especially love the strummed classical guitars on this one. "Pietro il Pescatore" takes things down a notch, and breezes its way through these three-and-half minutes. Don't let the brief running times of these songs fool you - Florian is concise yet fully fleshed out. The playful "Calipso" finds the second side as enjoyable as the first. The longer "Fine di un Viaggio" leads perfectly to the concluding "El Gran Senser." This instrumental bookends the album wonderfully, leaving the listener satisfied yet wanting more.

Florian is one of those albums that may seem like background music at first, but don't let the gentle instrumentation escape your attention. I would consider this one of the more important releases in Le Orme's long history, and one that more than meets the test of time. Florian easily stands next to Contrappunti and Collage in their discography, even if falling a bit short of the masterpiece achievements of Uomo di Pezza and Felona e Sorona. Florian would predate the similar, if somewhat less effective Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape which attempts to recapture some of this Florian magic. Florian is definitely recommended for all Le Orme fans, Rock Progressivo Italiano collectors, and especially those with a more adventurous spirit. While I can't quite get to five stars, Florian is every bit of four and probably closer to 4.5. Buy with confidence.

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