Collage (1971) is the real "first" Le Orme LP, after two previous albums of beat music. It is also the first album to feature the trio's progressive rock sound, albeit in an embryonic stage. As such, it is a mixed bag. On the one hand you get pompous, excessive keyboard workouts that owe a lot to the Nice ("Collage," "Sguardo Verso Il Cielo"), down to orchestral arrangements. On the other hand, you also get songs like "Era Inverno" and "Morte di un Fiore," both typical Italian prog songs (with acoustic guitar), both heralding what will become Le Orme's classic sound. "Evasione Totale" takes things deeper into experimental territory (ELP-style), with improvised passages and more arcane developments. The basic elements of the band are all there: Aldo Tagliapietra's velvety voice, Antonio Pagliuca's inventive organ playing, Michi dei Rossi's skillful drumming, but there's still a radio hit-centric focus, and a too-strong identification to the Nice -- Pagliuca has yet to blossom as a songwriting force. If Collage represents a large step from Ad Gloriam (Le Orme's 1969 debut), it's nothing compared to what Uomo di Pezza (1972) will represent in terms of evolution. Still, Collage yielded two classic cuts ("Sguardo Verso Il Cielo" and the title track).
AllMusic Review by François Couture