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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
Mercury Italy 1996
Audio CD$7.61
$5.80 (used)
Uomo Di PezzaUomo Di Pezza
Remastered
Btf 2015
Vinyl$28.69
$65.00 (used)
Studio Collection 1970-1980Studio Collection 1970-1980
Import
Universal Italy 2005
Audio CD$19.74
$19.00 (used)
VenerdiVenerdi
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$12.39
$13.00 (used)
CollageCollage
Import
Mercury Italy 1997
Audio CD$7.54
$7.52 (used)
Storia O LeggendaStoria O Leggenda
Import
Mercury Italy 1997
Audio CD$7.93
$3.40 (used)
Universal Music CollectionUniversal Music Collection
Box set · Import
Universal Italy 2009
Audio CD$299.95
$179.95 (used)
ContrappuntiContrappunti
Import
Mercury Italy 1996
Audio CD$7.85
$5.95 (used)
Verita NascosteVerita Nascoste
Import
Mercury Italy 1996
Audio CD$17.44
$20.65 (used)
In ConcertoIn Concerto
Import
Mercury Italy 1996
Audio CD$15.49
$9.17 (used)
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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)

2.76 | 80 ratings
Ad Gloriam
1969
3.82 | 247 ratings
Collage
1971
4.22 | 573 ratings
Uomo Di Pezza
1972
4.23 | 758 ratings
Felona E Sorona
1973
3.70 | 61 ratings
Felona & Sorona (English language version)
1973
3.94 | 208 ratings
Contrappunti
1974
2.80 | 95 ratings
Smogmagica
1975
3.53 | 106 ratings
VeritÓ Nascoste
1976
3.50 | 113 ratings
Storia O Leggenda
1977
3.73 | 98 ratings
Florian
1979
3.21 | 57 ratings
Piccola Rapsodia Dell'Ape
1980
1.71 | 36 ratings
Venerdý
1982
1.43 | 38 ratings
Orme
1990
3.48 | 68 ratings
Il Fiume
1996
2.86 | 30 ratings
Amico Di Ieri
1997
3.86 | 123 ratings
Elementi
2001
3.75 | 94 ratings
L'Infinito
2004
3.61 | 93 ratings
La Via Della Seta
2011
2.70 | 9 ratings
Felona E/And Sorona 2016
2016

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

3.60 | 43 ratings
In Concerto
1974
3.46 | 19 ratings
Live Orme
1986
4.67 | 46 ratings
Live In Pennsylvania (2CD + DVD)
2008
2.83 | 6 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
3.08 | 11 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
4.50 | 12 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
VeritÓ 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'Ŕ
1987

LE ORME Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Felona E/And Sorona 2016 by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 2016
2.70 | 9 ratings

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Felona E/And Sorona 2016
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

2 stars Reboots and remakes - let's face it, everyone loves them!! In the film world, nothing gets devoted fans excited and filled with hope like recreations of their favourite movies such as `Ghostbusters', `Robocop' and `Total Recall' being remade with (surely!) the purest of intentions, and no doubt beloved albums are exactly the same - the more the merrier, right?! OK, so snarky sarcasm aside, what we have here is a modern remake of one of THE most cherished, important Italian prog albums of all time, by a current version of the same band who recorded the defining original, just with some different musicians this time around, founding member and drummer Michi Dei Rossi the only original player in the group at this point.

The current trio that makes up Le Orme these days - the above mentioned Dei Rossi, bass player Fabio Trentini and keyboard player Michele Bon - carried the band forwards after founding member, bassist and singer Aldo Tagliapetra departed back in 2009 for a late run at a solo career. At the time, the band regrouped and recorded the grandly symphonic `La Via della Seta' in 2011 utilising the powerful voice of Metamorfosi singer Jimmy Spitaleri. A fine grower of an album it turned to be, beautifully lavish and pompous in that classic Italian prog style, however the group are now back to a trio here with Fabio handling the vocals this time around, and admittedly doing a reliable job of them.

With 2016 bringing the fiftieth (yes, really!) anniversary of the band, Le Orme could have simply played some commemorative concerts, released a new `best of' compilation, issued a string of reissues, or even better, planned ahead and worked on an all-new album of material to suggest the band was still vital and worthwhile in a modern Italian prog environment. Instead, they have bafflingly decided to commemorate the occasion by completely re-recording the landmark RPI release from 1973 `Felona e Sorona' (as well as including the English language version `Felona and Sorona'), and while the efforts of the players are still impressive as always, the project has ended up as a fairly redundant and unnecessary release.

Discussing each track of an absolutely definitive Italian prog work would be a waste of time here, not only because the album is overly familiar at this point if you're a fan of the original (and there's no shortage of reviews for that one everywhere), but the band more or less play the album in the exact same way, with only the most minute and superficial differences added in. For instance, you want that classic opener `Sospesi Nell'Incredibile' with a shorter intro but extended by a whole two minutes simply by an unaccompanied drum solo at the end - it's here. `Felona' kicks in a little more boisterous from the second verse onwards, and the closer `Ritorno al Nulla' is perhaps heavier and more frantic, but...that's about it. Michi's vocals work fine and there's still plenty of rambunctious fire in his drumming, and both Trentini and Bon deliver great playing, but they're all simply recreating exactly what has come before.

If `Felona e Sorona 2016' is simply meant as a loving `thank you' to fans for the support over the years, then this is a perfectly innocent recording that doesn't deserve much critical looking at (in which case, stop reading now, and this review will self-destruct in five seconds!). However, if the band remade this with the intention of giving it a vital freshening-up that stands on several original merits, to somehow hopefully make this the `new standard' version that should be considered the defining interpretation, then it's all very disappointing. Compared to something like Latte e Miele's 2014 remake of their `Passio Secundum Mattheum' with `The Complete Work' where the original was thoroughly reworked and stood strong as a powerful musical statements all its own, `Felona e Sorona 2016' sounds by-the-numbers, safe and somewhat lazy in comparison.

Back in 2013, modern Italian prog icon Fabio Zuffanti's La Maschera di Cera project released `Le Porte del Domani', a controversial `sequel' to the Seventies `Felona e Sorona' album that rather cheekily used the briefest of little themes and reprises from the classic Le Orme LP (plus similar artwork from the same artist!), but it stood proudly as a powerful standalone effort - actually one of the year's best. It's interesting that Zuffanti's sequel treated the original with honour and respect, and even better was an all-original continuation, because 2011's `La Via Della Seta' proved that Le Orme in a modern era still have plenty to offer with their own original material, so perhaps their efforts would have been better put towards making their own `official sequel' of all brand-new music?

By all means, Le Orme should celebrate their legacy by playing some live concerts performing complete albums, perhaps releasing some live DVD's or blurays of the events. But spending effort on a kind of pale imitation of something much better seems like squandered time, money and energy. Fans would love to hear all-new material from this line-up, especially if there's a chance it could turn out as well as `La Via Della Seta'.

`Felona e Sorona 2016' superficially sounds fine, and it's easy to enjoy on a surface level, but that could also simply be the comfort of already knowing what you're hearing. If you've never heard the original album, by all means give this a spin, but the only logical course of action after that is to immediately rush to the superb original and see what all the fuss is about (which then renders this new one obsolete in an instant). If this was a brand new album of fresh material recorded in the same manner, there would be plenty of reasons to praise the effort here, because all the musicians are in great form. Instead, despite curious little fleeting differences and additions that are momentarily surprising on only the first listen, as it stands `Felona e Sorona 2016' works as an interesting `different perspective' at best, and sadly that's all it will probably ever be.

Two stars.

 Uomo Di Pezza by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.22 | 573 ratings

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Uomo Di Pezza
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Romantic and dreamy

First true progressive album by Le Orme, "Uomo di Pezza" ("Rag doll man" in English) offers a music on par with its cover art: sweet, mellow, reassuring, oneiric... The disc can be divided in two sides: Side 1 incorporates classical music elements and could be described as symphonic prog, whereas Side 2 - my favorite - is more dreamy and soothing. However, the compositions possess a proper Italian sensibility that cannot be found on British bands.

Keyboardist Antonio Pagliuca plays synthesizer for the first time on this record.

To be honest, I'm not really a big fan of Side 1. The opening of "Una Dolcezza Nuova" is the introduction of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH's chaconne no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004, played by guest pianist Gian Piero Reverberi. The rest is a delicate ballad, smooth but a little cheesy. Released as a single in Italy, "Gioco Di Bimba" is a gentle naive song, typically Italian, with a slight medieval touch, a bit too sugary for me. Some nice floating passages can be found on "La Porta Chiusa", the longest track of the disc. Influenced by symphonic prog bands such as ELP or KING CRIMSON, the song contains a few changes, but is overall uneven.

Nonetheless, the dream really begins with Side 2. The soft "Breve Immagine" is a pretty moment, touching and enchanting. The spacey ethereal keyboards enhances the oneiric impression. Too short. The delicate "Figure Di Cartone" has a beautiful melancholic melody, while the trippy crystalline "Aspettando L'Alba" seems to come from the unreal world depicted on the cover, somewhere above the clouds. These three songs are simply delightful. The only intruder here could be "Alienazione" and its more oppressive ambiance. This threatening instrumental, jazzy at times, is nevertheless quite nice.

Despite the average tracks of Side 1, Side 2 is well worth the listen alone and make "Uomo di Pezza" an essential record of the genre, possessing its own charm and identity. Furthermore, the music is coherent with the cover art. As a non-Rock Progressivo Italiano fan, I recommend this album to people into symphonic or even space prog wanting to discover this style and, of course, to RPI lovers.

A romantic dream awaits you...

 Felona E/And Sorona 2016 by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 2016
2.70 | 9 ratings

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Felona E/And Sorona 2016
Le Orme Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Andis

3 stars A 2016 re-recording of one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time. How exciting! This is also a re-recording of both versions, the italian original and the english version. I don't have the english version of the album so I am going to review only the italian version. I have the double CD edition called "The gold edition". Strange is that the CD 2 contained the same song twice but in the shippment I also received another copy of CD2 with the right songs. Something must have gone wrong in the printing of the CD. This review is also more about comparing the original from this 2016 version more than the music itself, that you can find in the reviews of the original. First, when you re-record an album as original and great as this one can only assume that this is because you either want to record the album with a better sound, or you didn't like how the original composition of the original turned out. Now you have the chance to do something about it. There is only one rule; make it better! So, did Le Orme improve their original album and made it better? The short answer would be; no.

The album have the same titles as the original and the lenghts of the songs are basically the same, the first song is two minutes longer so here I am expecting something cool that the band have added. My, my. Am I disappointed? Yes. The two longer minutes consists of an expanded drumsolo. They have taken the original short drumsolo that finishes the first song and expanded it two more minutes. Aaaagh... I hate drumsolos. Not a good start. The second song have a slighter rockier approach than the original as have the 6th song. The rest of the songs are basically the same for the exception of the last song that is one minute longer.

The biggest difference between the original album and this is that the sound is a bit more fresh, more of a live feel. The singer has of course got older but still sings great. The songs are slightly rockier, the basswork is slightly heavier och more prominient but the rest is almost exactly as the original. Even the sound of the keyboards are almost a carbon copy of the original.

So, how do I feel about this then? The music is great, some of the best moments in progressive rock history, but that we kind of already knew. The sound is marginally better, it's a tad rockier and it's a bit longer but on the other hand contains a drumsolo (why...why??).

For completists only, or for us Le Orme suckers that want to hear everything with them. If you have the original, don't bother. If you don't, this could be a great start, or just buy the original album. The music would get a five star, but this re-recording, compared to the original, will get only three stars because this is basically just a re-recording and nothing else.

 Felona E Sorona by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.23 | 758 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!

 Storia O Leggenda by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.50 | 113 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 "VeritÓ 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.

 Elementi by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.86 | 123 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 ╚!"), 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...

 Storia O Leggenda by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.50 | 113 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.

 Il Fiume by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.48 | 68 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.

 Orme by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1990
1.43 | 38 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.

 Venerdý by ORME, LE album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.71 | 36 ratings

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Venerdý
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" sounded 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 Italian Progressive Rock pantheon down into a cheap mercantile sewer.

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. And the rest of the album was likewise arranged like flower petals and silken bedding around the corpse of an RPI legend.

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 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 yet: even worse was yet to come...

(Consumer Warning: the album was 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, but the music was the same mechanical synth-pop, simply re-packaged and re-named after the album's opening track)

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