Ever since I first heard Le Orme's “Ad Gloriam” in a set last September at The Prospector by DJ Frederick Phases, I've been enchanted with the song. Imagine if the Beatles ca. 1967 had grown up in Roma rather than Liverpool and had those extra-hot Italian women to inspire them to unparalleled heights of blissful psych pop—or maybe Os Mutantes if they were less spazzy and disjointed. That would be “Ad Gloriam.”
The accompanying video appears to be a montage from '60s-era films by Federico Fellini and/or Michelangelo Antonioni. Whatever the case, it offers enticing—if sometimes incongruous—eye candy for Le Orme's soaring, gossamer psychedelia. “Ad Gloriam” blossomed into existence in 1969. Held aloft by angelic vocals (Italian rockers can sing like motherfuckers), chiming organ, funky tambourine hits, and a serpentine guitar solo that triggers kaleidoscopic paisley shapes in your mind's eye, this tune surely was a hit somewhere, even though it barely made a blip on the Anglo-American consciousness. Such is the, uh, gloriousness of the tune (albeit tinged with a subtle wistfulness), though, that it ought to be made the national anthem of Utopia. I say that as a skeptic who doubts such a place can exist, but “Ad Gloriam” at least offers a glimmer of hope.
This is the final edition of Video Savant; my last day at OC Weekly is Aug. 1. It's been fun and then some. I want to thank all of my readers and whoever contributes footage—especially footage of obscure, amazing musicians—to YouTube. If you want to follow my scribblings in the future, find me on MySpace under “editaurus,” and I will keep you abreast of my textual adventures.