It's curious, but it's the first time that I dedicate my time to review just one work from the Italian masters and I don't know how to start. I guess that the name of Le Orme brings itself so much history that it seems impossible to write just a bit about them and not to fill several pages.
Supposing that by now everybody knows, more or less, who are Le Orme, so we will focus on its new album.
I've noticed that people hasn't talked much about this new record. I don't know if you have the same feeling but I think people talked about "Il Fiume" much more than about "Elementi". I suppose that "Il Fiume" represented the come back of a master of prog-rock and everybody grabbed it. But I really think that it was not a so fantastic work. It was a brilliant return to their old structures but they didn't dig much in their roots. I guess they wanted to do a medium album to be accepted by the demanding progressive fans and the market place. Anyway, they got the bull's eye with it, they got successes and that allowed them to record a compilation of re-recorded old songs ("Amico di Ieri") and now they have created a new classic that can be compared with their old records from the seventies.
Knowing that they have the acceptance of the public whatever they do, Aldo Tagliapietra (bass, guitars, sitar, vocal), Michi dei Rossi (drums and percussion), Michele Bon (keyboards), Andrea Bassato (keyboards, violin, vocals), head for their historical sound that made them huge in the past. The result of all this is the fantastic "Elementi" , a record of classic progressive rock. A record that maybe doesn't innovate and it doesn't progress to the ears of many people, but anyway it is a work with the highest quality in terms of composition and artistic performance.
The CD is a collection of compositions that goes from the minute and a half to the seven or eight minutes, as usual. The sleeve is made by the great Paul Whitehead, creator of some of their fantastic old sleeves like "Smogmagica". A work that takes as a concept the four natural elements; water, wind, land and fire. The structure is very similar to "Felona e Sorona", which is big songs connected each other with little and delicious musical bridges, making a colorful collection of many kinds of songs. "Danza del Vento" is a great overture made of excellent and pompous keyboards. "Il vento, il cielo e la notte" is long and emotive piece where Aldo shows again how indestructible his voice is and his great job with any kind of instrument. "Danza del Vento (seconda parte)" takes again the first song leading to "Danza della Terra" short but strong and complicate keyboard and drum exercise a la ELP. "Risbeglio" is a celestial chanting accompanied by a soft keys and which opens the next piece called "Canto di preghiera" and "Lord of Dance" a Hammond cascade and distorted voice of Aldo. At this point the record seems to be the best of all released this new millennium. "Danza della Pioggia" follows with a melancholic solo piano work. "Dove tutto e'!" is that little space reserved for Mr.Tagliapietra and his instruments. Instruments like the sitar that together with the violin of Andrea Bassato creates a moment of oriental mysticism."Luce dorata" is a bridge to "Danza del fuoco" that is a fast and happy composition just like their earliest songs, based on the lines of the Hammond with a strong drum and bass work. "Il respiro" leads to the third part of "Danza del vento" fast guitar work and excellent keyboard playing makes a superior piece. The second part of "Risveglio" closes the CD with bell sounds and a emotive farewell.
It's a five star record, a classic made in the 2000. A record that would fit perfectly well between the "Uomo di pezza" and "Felona e Sorona". None of the progressive fans should miss it. Is healthy, interesting and not much complicated. Recommend "Elementi" is a nonsense because it's an obligatory purchase.