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Le Orme - Florian CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.80 | 130 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Le Orme's ninth studio album (or tenth, if you include the English-language "Felona & Sorona") sounds even better today than it did in 1979. But even then the LP was a small miracle of musical understatement, released at a time when Progressive Rock was nearing its apex of decadent overkill (Pink Floyd's bloated Wall was erected that same year).

While other acts were dumbing down their sound with commercial Pop and New Wave clichés, Le Orme moved forward by looking backward, trading their guitars and synthesizers for violins and harpsichords, and presenting themselves as an acoustic classical quartet. Even the band's name was trimmed, to the leaner, tidier "Orme". In retrospect it was a brilliant way to sidestep the convulsions shaking the music industry at the end of the decade, while at the same time maintaining a high level of creative integrity. It's too bad more Proggers didn't find a similar escape hatch.

The new direction took a lot of fans by surprise, and apparently still does. But keep in mind this was exactly the sort of music that had always underpinned the Progressive Rock experience. All Orme did was separate the Rock from the Prog, and present the unembellished core of their familiar sound. The album positions two longer instrumental tracks (at seven minutes actually quite modest, by Prog standards) around five shorter songs, all of them suitable accompaniment for after-dinner liqueurs at an upscale café, but still recognizably from the same band responsible for such 1970s RPI classics like "Uomo di Pezza" and "Contrappunti".

Owners of the original vinyl (let's see a show of hands) can also enjoy the handsome packaging, perfectly matched to the unplugged elegance of the songwriting and performances. The textured cardboard sleeve, simply yet beautifully illustrated by Mirella Brugnerotto, opens to a laminated gatefold portrait of the band, formally attired and bathed in a soft-focus, sepia haze: an image out of time, for an album that will never age. The only reason it doesn't earn that coveted fifth star is because of my strict adherence to the ProgArchives rating guidelines..."Florian" may in fact be a masterpiece, but not of anything resembling progressive Rock 'n' Roll.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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