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Album Review

By 1979, the progressive rock movement was pretty much dead and the bands that were still hanging on had gone through severe and often ill-fated transformations, alienating their fan base without managing to reach wider audiences. Le Orme didn't go down that road. Instead, after releasing two albums in 1977, the band took a breather in 1978 and came back in 1979 with an all-acoustic record, Florian. Granted, it is a weaker effort, and most listeners will find it lacks ambition and grandeur. And yet, what a splendid endeavor for a band that was once known as an organ-led powerhouse trio. Picking up on the increased presence of acoustic guitars (and increased importance of the Italian songwriting tradition) on 1977's Storia o Leggenda, Florian offers a blend of neo-classical compositions and pastoral songs. All four members of the band go out of their way to expand their palette of acoustic instruments: singer/bassist Aldo Tagliapietra plays some cello; keyboardist Antonio Pagliuca adds harpsichord and harmonium to his grand piano; drummer Michi Dei Rossi spends a lot of time on mallet percussion; finally, guitarist Germano Serafin (who joined the band for Verità Nascoste in early 1977) whips out a violin, in addition to playing bouzouki and lots of mandolin. As a result, the opening of "Florian" sounds almost like a string quartet — it is by far the most neo-classical-sounding piece on this short album. "Il Mago" and "Fine di un Viaggio" are two gorgeous songs that would have fitted in with the material on Storia o Leggenda, and Tagliapietra delivers sensible vocal performances. "El Gran Senser," the closing track, steps outside the box for a freer piece with improvisation and experimental sonorities from the harpsichord and violin. Low-key and understated, Florian makes a strong case toward proving that Le Orme were always willing to reinvent their approach. And Pagliuca and Tagliapietra had the composing chops to pull off such a bold project. The album is beautiful, both in terms of writing and execution. And though it is not what you would expect from Le Orme, it unmistakably sounds like late-‘70s Le Orme — much more so than Smogmagica, for instance. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Formed: 1967

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

It's easy to forget that America and England didn't exist in a vacuum in the 1960s, and that rock's influence was felt far beyond the English-speaking world. France, Italy, Germany, and much of the rest of Europe spawned their own groups emulating the sounds of psychedelia and other cultural exports from the U.S.A. and the U.K. Le Orme were part of this phenomenon, a quintet formed in Italy in the late '60s that cut two albums of psychedelic rock for the Lord label in Milan. Aldo Tagliapietra (vocals,...
Full Bio
Florian, Le Orme
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  • $5.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, World
  • Released: 1979

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