Le Orme – Le Orme & Friends (2023)

Le Orme - Le Orme & Friends (2023)
Artist: Le Orme
Album: Le Orme & Friends
Genre: Rock Progressivo Italiano
Label: MaRaCash Records
Year Of Release: 2023
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

Tracklist:
1. Ouverture – 02:57
2. Acqua di luna – 04:25
3. Ferro e fuoco – 04:29
4. Lucciole di vetro – 05:59
5. L’alba della partenza – 04:36
6. Rosa dei venti – 04:54
7. Caigo – 07:23
8. L’Indeciso – 04:52
9. Partire – 03:45
10. Adamo dove sei – 03:57
11. Prologo – 03:38
12. Fly fly my friends – 04:15
13. The waiting (feat. Tolo Marton) – 04:47
14. If I could go back (feat. Tolo Marton) – 04:30
15. Valzette (feat. Tolo Marton) – 03:33
16. La mia musica (feat. Jimmy Spitaleri) – 05:04
17. Al mito Orme (feat. Francesco Sartori) – 04:04
18. Il mio Capitano (feat. The Trip & Nico Di Palo) – 06:04
19. Prog garden Medley (feat. Osanna) – 12:43
20. The Mask (feat. Mangala Vallis) – 06:07
21. 21.12.12 (feat. Mangala Vallis) – 04:45
22. Just You And Me (feat. Moongarden) – 05:10
23. Lava bollente (feat. Alex Carpani) – 04:36
24. È Nata Una Stella (feat. Sezione Frenante) – 10:11
25. Sleeping Sand, Silent Cloud (feat. Monkey Diet) – 06:33
26. Salto nel buio (feat. Le folli arie) – 03:43
27. Sirima (feat. Tal Neunder) – 04:31

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Personnel:
Michi Dei Rossi – drums and percussion
Michele Bon – Hammond C3 organ, backing vocals, piano, synthesizer, keyboards
Luca Sparagna – bass, backing vocals, 12-string guitar, EKO bass-pedal
Aligi Pasqualetto – piano and synthesizers
Tony Pagliuca – piano, keyboards on tracks 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Tolo Marton – guitar and harmonica on tracks 13, 14, 15

With:
Jimmy Spitaleri – vocals on track 16
Francesco Sartori – piano on track 17
Nico Di Palo – vocals on track 18
Alex Carpani – vocals and mellotron on track 23

For his twenty-second studio album (counting the three versions of “Felona E Sorona”), Le Orme doesn’t do things by halves. “…and Friends”, his new production, is released as a double vinyl album or a triple CD. A deceptive format, however, that needs to be deciphered.

The first volume, entitled “Il Leone e la Bandiera”, is by far the most interesting. It’s a concept album telling the story of the birth of Venice in the form of a suite of seven specially-created tracks. Alongside Michi dei Rossi, the only member to have crossed the band’s history since its creation, we find Michele Bon, keyboardist since “Il Fiume” (1996) and a new singer/bassist in the person of Luca Sparagna.

The album offers polished compositions alternating romantic movements and unbridled cavalcades in the great tradition of 70’s progressive rock, sometimes reminiscent of ELP (‘Ouverture’, ‘Ferro e Fuoco’, ‘L’alba della Partenza’), sometimes of Genesis (‘Lucciole di Vetro’, the instrumental finale ‘Caigo’, in the spirit of ‘Los Endos’), while retaining a personality all its own. Keyboards are king, and fans of piano and Hammond organ are in for a treat. Finally, Luca Sparagna’s fragile vocals fit the music perfectly, infusing it with a dose of dreamy poetry.

The mood changes with the second volume, entitled “Friends”. On this disc, former band members perform with (but sometimes without) current members, on more or less recent, previously unreleased compositions. One of Le Orme’s three historic members, Tony Pagliuca, returns on the first five tracks, which he composed himself. Tolo Marton, Fabio Trentini, Germano Serafin, Jimmy Spitaleri and Francesco Sartori also take part in this reunion of “old hands”. The result is uneven, divided between more (‘La mia Musica’, ‘Al Mito Orme’) and less (‘Fly Fly My Friends’, ‘If I Could Go Back’) successful tracks. Nice, but more like a collection of disparate songs than progressive rock, this is one of those records you listen to once or twice and never come back. Only absolute fans of Le Orme will find it of interest.

What can we say about the third volume, “Friends II – Ma.Ra.Cash Team”, only available in CD format? That it’s a compilation of various Italian groups performing tracks from their own repertoire, with no connection to Le Orme. The album has all the qualities and shortcomings of a compilation of this kind. On the one hand, it gives you a taste of a cross-section of transalpine progressive rock that might make you want to learn more about a particular band. On the other hand, the juxtaposition of classic RPI like Moongarden or Le Folli Arie with the edgy, electric rock of Alex Carpani or the jazz rock of Monkey Diet is not always a happy one. This album is aimed at all those eager to discover new musical horizons, but bears little relation to the other two albums in this box set.

It’s a pity that Ma.Ra.Cash didn’t see fit to offer listeners an edition containing only “Il Leone e la Bandiera”, so much so that this disc stood on its own. The album has everything to seduce lovers of 70’s Italian progressive rock and, considering the other two albums as copious bonuses, the acquisition of this boxed set remains a good deal.

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