(All Album Reviews by maribor)
It's the end of the 1970s and the progressive rock movement is in its decline. Some of the biggest bands of the genre decided to try and follow the trends while others simply ceased to be. But there were a few bands that persevered and actually even developed their sound and evolved. One good example is Banco with Di Terra and another is Le Ormeís Florian recorded in 1979.
With the addition of multi-instrumentalist Germano Serafin in their midst, the band, previously a trio, created a truly magnificent work of art. They used a very different approach. This is an unplugged album recorded 15 years before MTV popularised the term. Many albums from the 70s era are seen as outdated by many critics because of the instruments used. Instruments such as the moog, the mellotron and others were products of their time and unfortunately became outdated rather too quickly. There is little chance of the same kind of criticism regarding this album since the instruments used are pretty much timeless; some have been in use for several hundred years.
The main characteristic of this recording is its simplicity. But underneath all the simplicity hide layers of sophistication and subtlety that takes time to uncover. To achieve this kind of sophisticated simplicity, the musicians need to be very skilled. Bands like Dream Theater and other ďtechnicalĒ bands could learn a lot from the likes of Le Orme about keeping things simple yet still challenging.
The prevailing element throughout the album is Serafinís emotive violin playing. The lovely violin sound seems omni-present but itís never too complicated and has enough refinement in it to make you want to hear more of it. Pagliucaís keyboard playing is equally as subtle. Sometimes, he plays only the melody, abandoning the familiarly big chords to achieve that minimalist effect. And he actually doesnít need the big chords because the instrumentation on this album is so rich that itís better to keep things simple and leave some breathing space, so that all the instruments can offer their power of expression. He also uses harmonium to replace his lush organ sound and mellotron and the lovely harpsichord, favoured by many Italian keyboard players of the time. A real find on this album is Michi Dei Rossi, who abandons his drum kit and more or less returns to the basics. He does an amazing job on the vibraphone, glockenspiel and the drum passages not played on a kit. Tagliapetraís voice is as smooth as ever. A sense of longing seems to emanate from him every time he starts to sing.
The pervasive mood on this recording is that of melancholy. But itís not all bad. Thereís a sweetness added to the sorrow that creates a nostalgic feel. Only few artists are able to conjure up this kind of emotionally charged music. Truly magical! Every song, from the opening and closing instrumentals, to the wonderful vocal tracks oozes a longing for a different world, where things were simpler. Even the minimalism omnipresent in the songwriting suggests it.
This is a truly sublime piece of work and I can only hope that my words did it some justice.
9 out of 10.