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Le Orme - Collage CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.86 | 297 ratings

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4 stars If you had to choose one album that started Rock Progressivo Italiano, it would be Collage by Le Orme. True, bands such as Osanna, New Trolls, and Panna Fredda all released "prog" albums in 1971...but none of them had the lasting impact and formidable impression Collage did. This was a statement - a declaration - the sixties were officially over and the sound that King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer brought to the UK and US was now in Italy. I frequently see this album described at "Proto-prog" or psych but nothing could be further from the truth; it's all here, all the ingredients for a full-fledged progressive rock feast are present on Collage. But it is far from Le Orme's best album: They would accomplish that feat on 1972's Uomo Di Pezza. Still, Collage is an absolute must for anyone just getting into Italian Prog, and even recommended for fans of ELP and classical prog in general.

"Ogni notte ti prepari, Sempre bella sorridente" Aldo Tagliapietra sings on "Era Inverno" (In Winter). And that's exactly what I prepare every time I hear it - a beautiful smile. The romantic introduction is driven solidly by Michi Di Rossi, whose drumming sounds like it was launched out of a cannon. But let's back up to the titular "Collage." This instrumental has all the qualities of a prog anthem; powerful drumming, an abundance of organ and piano pomp, and fluid bass guitar. And of course no prog anthem would be complete without a spinet/harpsichord break and full brass section at the end. "Collage" is completely over the top and pretentious, and that's why it's so great. A fantastic song to blast in traffic when you want to get some dirty looks.

"Cemento Armato" is the longest song on Collage, and probably the most progressive. Toni Pagliuca drives the song, and his playing is leaps and bounds more proficient than anything on Le Orme's debut, Ad Gloriam. "Sguardo Verso il Cielo" lacks any real force at the beginning, but abruptly changes tempo halfway and showcases the new-found sound of the band perfectly. I especially love the acoustic guitar and synth lines at the end. "Evasione Totale," being quite long, allows Le Orme to jam out a bit and explore their new roles within the confines of a power trio. The song is rehearsed, but you can tell there is some studio improvisation at play. The overall feel of the song is loose and mellow. "Immagine" sets the tone for what will be a series of legendary Le Orme ballads such as "Gioco di Bimba," "Frutto Acerbo," and "Verita' Nascoste." This is really the hallmark of the group in my opinion, and what sets them apart from any of their contemporaries - the innate ability to craft a wonderfully sweet and beautiful song, with no extravagance or filler. "Morte di un Fiore" repeats the brass augmentation of the title track, and sums up the album well.

Le Orme would go through several lineup changes throughout the years, but Collage marks the start of a four-album stretch that would make these three men superstars of the genre, artists in the truest sense of the word, and craftsmen of some of the finest music I have ever heard. Collage should be on the short list of any serious prog fan, and is a necessity for all RPI collectors.

coasterzombie | 4/5 |


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