From Rock Progressivo Italiano: an introduction to Italian Progressive Rock
Le Orme began life in
in 1966 as a “beat” band. After two albums in a beat, psychedelic style and some line-up changes, in 1971 they released what many people think is the first Italian progressive rock album, “Collage”. The line-up here features Aldo Tagliapietra (vocals, bass, acoustic guitar), Antonio Pagliuca ( Venice organ, electric piano) and Michi Dei Rossi (drums, percussion). In studio they got the help of an expert producer, Gian Piero Reverberi, who helped shape their innovative sound blending British prog influences (Emerson Lake & Palmer and, most of all, Quatermass) with Italian melody and classical music. The result was an extremely successful album that is now considered a cornerstone of Italian progressive rock. Hammond
Le Orme began life in
The opener title track is almost a “prog baroque” anthem inspired by Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in E major, K 380. It starts with a powerful organ surge soon backed by a lively marching beat while the middle section is softer and has a strong classical flavour. Organ and rhythm sections then come back for the “grand finale”. It’s a magnificent track and it has become a kind of trademark of the band.
“Evasione Totale” (Total breakthrough) is a long instrumental where the members of the band can showcase their musicianship. It begins softly and the atmosphere is dark and spacey. After a chaotic, improvised middle section a church-like organ pattern and pulsing bass lines bring back a sense of order for the finale.
“Immagini” (Images) is a short organ driven piece. The lyrics suggest evocative images with a psychedelic touch... Well try to imagine a stream on the moon, a garden in the middle of the sun, a cypress in the desert, violet lawns, a moving statue and people talking around... But there’s something missing! “A wonderful sun, a wonderful day / Many stars in the night / Some smiles on the lips, some lips on the lips / But she isn’t there, she isn’t there...”.
“Morte di un fiore” (Death of a flower) begins with acoustic guitar and vocals, then organ and piano bring a melancholic, elegiac feeling. The lyrics describe the death of a young prostitute in a poetical way... “They wrote that for you the music was over between four and five in the morning / As the water of the stream running toward the sea / In a pale morning your last short time ran away / And the wind that kissed you was your only companion...”.
Well, “Collage” is a great album featuring many evergreens of the band and they still perform in concert “Collage” and “Sguardo verso il cielo” in medley as a “gran-finale”. This excellent, successful album paved the way for many other prog bands as Premiata Forneria Marconi, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Osanna...