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Le Orme - Contrappunti CD (album) cover


Le Orme


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.96 | 234 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Poor old `Contrappunti'...coming after three of Le Orme's more defining and higher regarded albums such as `Collage', `Uomo di Pezza' and `Felona e Sorona', this solid work is frequently seen as something of a step down in comparison to the quality of those ones. This despite the fact there's not a bad track to be found here, and a whole lot of different styles and sounds that show the band experimenting and challenging themselves. Mixing acoustic ballads with daring instrumental pieces and experimental passages, the album is well titled in `Counterpoints', and it greatly improves on repeated listens to quickly prove it's worth alongside their other early 70's classics in it's own right.

`Contappunti' is definitely not the band merely on auto-pilot and lazily recreating music in the same style as what has come before. Right from the opening title track instrumental, the band is more bombastic, frantic and noisier that anything heard on their previous discs. It's perhaps a little modelled after Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but some that dismiss this piece because of that are being a little harsh. It's a bombardment of heavy Hammond organ crunching, eerie Moog and creeping piano with Michi Dei Rossi's furious drumming, but there's a lovely ambient floating synth passage in the middle too. There's such a threatening menace to the urgency in the final minute as well! `Frutto Acerbo' is a nice come-down, a sweetly warm and sedate acoustic ballad, full of dreamy haziness through a wistful vocal from Aldo Tagliapetra and the slightest of Mellotron wisps. `Aliante' is a noodly experimental piece that almost ends up quite symphonic in parts, full of stop/start patterns of punchy drumming and Tony Pagliuca's loopy electronic shimmers. There's psychedelic unease with some thick ominious bass throughout `India', spiced with seriously disorientating clockwork-like synth loops, ghostly faraway Mellotron choir calls and an intoxicating middle-eastern vibe.

`La Fabbricante...' that opens the second side is a gentle acoustic rocker that includes a twinkling-star synth pulse, Renaissance-like piano pomp and a joyous Mellotron melody around a heartfelt and comforting vocal from Aldo, all over deceptively busy drum-work and a blustery Yes-styled finale. `Notturno' is a restrained and achingly beautiful piano, Mellotron and organ interlude with a creepy suspensful and bent middle paired with a pulsing drum-beat that makes it truly perfect for night-time listening. The band close on a complex nine minute number `Maggio', overloaded with warped wavering quirky synth freakouts, hypnotic bass and intricate drum-patterns around a main tune that is truly a joyous flight of fancy, with plenty of upbeat positivity and the band truly brimming with confidence.

It says a lot to me that several of the people I think so highly of on the Prog Archives rate this album very highly, and I've sure come to love it in the same way. Besides, `Smogmagica' was to show up only a year later, and considering this album is sometimes considered a little unspecial, there's nothing here that's even close to the same level of disappointment to be discovered with the mostly average material on that one. As far as I'm concerned, Le Orme had a terrific run of five albums in a row (the above mentioned as well as the live `In Concerto' LP), and `Contrappunti' is an excellent addition for followers of Le Orme, and for curious newcomers wanting to look into this classic Italian prog band after they've checked out the previous works from the group.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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