Friday, 7 February 2014

RAG MEN AND BROKEN DOLLS


After the successful album “Collage”, Le Orme developed some ideas already present in their previous work and released another masterpiece, “Uomo di pezza” (Man of rags). This album features the same line-up (Aldo Tagliapietra, Antonio Pagliuca and Michi Dei Rossi) and the same producer (Gian Piero Reverberi) of the previous work and is reputed one of the most influential albums of the Italian prog scene. The wonderful art cover features a painting by Walter Mac Mazzieri titled “Garbo di neve” that perfectly describes the mood of this work. There’s a perfect symbiosis between the music and lyrics and all the tracks are in some way linked by a thread. This work was conceived almost as a concept album and it’s a kind of journey in the feminine universe. Every song tells the story of a woman but the mood is not at all light or romantic. Troubled stories of violence, broken dreams, fears and madness are told in a very poetical, bold way while the music underlines the poetical content of the lyrics...

Walter Mac Mazzieri: Garbo di neve

The opener “Una dolcezza nuova” (A new sweetness) begins with a church-like organ sound. The organ tries to evoke the dreams of a young girl, such as a romantic relationship and a happy marriage, but sometimes things go wrong and the first experience with love and sex can be a real trauma. The rhythm section carries away those dreams. Then comes a new beginning, with a delicate piano pattern and soaring vocals... “I pick up your glance and I hold it tight in my hands / There’s an old fear in your eyes / Now dreams of ash are burning inside you / When your fears melt away, you believe in me...”. A new relationship with the right man can lead to a new sweetness... “The storm is inside your heart / And you find a shelter in me... Your voice becomes a whisper / And you, you are shaking beside me... I pick up your glance and I hold it tight in my hands / There’s a new sweetness in your eyes / New for you...”.

Gioco di bimba” (Little girl’s game) is a wonderful acoustic ballad about a broken charm... “She gets up in the night as if compelled by a spell / She silently walks with her eyes still closed / As if she would follow a magic song / And on the roundabout she comes back to her dreams...”. Well, despite the dreamy mood of the music this song is about a rape. A man tears apart the dreams of the young girl, then it’s too late for him to repent... “A stealthy shadow gets off the wall / In the little girl’s game a woman gets lost... In the morning a scream resounds in the middle of the street / A man of rags is invoking his tailor / In a lost voice he keeps on saying / I didn’t want to wake her up this way / I didn’t want to wake her up this way!”. In this case the tailor is a metaphor for God...


La porta chiusa” (The closed door) is about a woman who lives locked in her house fearing an impending meeting with her destiny... “As every evening you are alone in the dark / Your innocence keeps you company...”. The woman has renounced the struggle for love but suddenly she hears someone knocking on her door, what’s up? She would like to open and she doesn’t know why. The music helps raise the tension... Well, it’s difficult to say whether it was just a scoundrel or love passing by... “You didn’t open the door, why? / It could be him...”.

Breve immagine” (Short image) is a short, dreamy track describing an ideal woman through the eyes of a boy. She appears like a mirage, a light trick reflected in the water... “Over there, where the sky ends melting into the sea / There’s a young woman who is smiling to me... It’s an image that lasts just for a while / It’s an image that the sundown carries away...”.


Figure di cartone” (Cardboard figures) tries to depict in music and words madness. It’s about a woman closed in her room and completely cut off from the real world. She has lost her youth as a flower cut off from its branch in springtime... “You live in your own strange world made of cardboard figures and rag dolls / You live closed between those four walls / You can’t remember who took you in / You don’t know anyone but who plays with you / You don’t have the anxieties of the future / Time is worthless for you / Tomorrow you will do again what you did yesterday / And in your dreams you talk with angels...”. Despite the subject matter in this track the music is not aggressive and there’s a feel of mercy and melancholic sweetness... “You hold tight to your chest the pillow / And on the white wall shadows draw the profile of a woman with her baby / And so you fall asleep, happy...”.

Aspettando l’alba” (Waiting for sunrise) is about a summer night spent on a beach waiting for dawn. The sound of a guitar, songs soaring in the night, boys and girls on the sand around a bonfire... Nonetheless the music doesn’t express joy, there’s something wrong, a disquieting feeling in the air. There’s a girl with an empty, dazed face among so many smiling ones, so many eyes have become just one look... What happens next? Well, the lyrics don’t tell us but probably it was something so nasty that made even the wind angry... “A strong wind at dawn became angry with the sun / And the sea waves raged all over beach...”.

The last track “Alienazione” (Alienation) is an instrumental that tries to express madness and estrangement. It starts with a dark burst of energy, then a disquieting feeling soars from wild rhythm patterns hanging on until the end...


You can listen in streaming to the complete album HERE