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Asturcón - Asturcón CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 25 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
5 stars Who knew that in 1981 in the Asturias area of Spain, there was a group that developed a Celtic prog style not unlike what Mike Oldfield was honing at that time, seemingly independently? Of course, Asturcon contains natural Latin influences less prevalent, but not entirely absent, in Oldfield's concurrent work QE2, but what sets it apart if the Galician feel if you will, and the fact that it seemed to be even more ahead of its time than Oldfield.

In fact this is a superb work of strength and beauty. The 12+ minute opener, "Mayu" is a great place to start, with its quiet beginning, use of Galician pipes, dramatic spoken voice, and great lead guitar, keyboards and flute interplay. The melodies are well thought out and bolstered by very active drums and bass. This is truly rock and folk blended together, neither overshadowing the other. It is not unlike what Asturian pipe player Hevia would create nearly 20 years later, but actually far more informed by progressive rock.

What sounds like electric keyboards combines with discoey guitar and those not very mellifluous pipes on "Xareu en la 214". Here I think about newer artists like Nahoo, Martyn Bennett and Afro Celt sound system who melded ancient rhythyms and melodies to technology in the last decade or so, but remember, this album is from 1981!

"El ventolin" is divided into a guitar solo with plenty of layers of keys and rhythym, not unlike Oldfield's early 80s work, and skirling flutes. It also features simple and sparse timely vocals, sometimes all at the same time. Another distinctive piece.

The almost title track "El galope del asturcon" again sounds like an organic yet technological marvel, with a number of shifts of mood and style, from jazzy to pastoral to psychedelic. The asturcon is a (wild, I believe) horse native to that area, and the group plays homage to it.

The deliberate "Anada pa la mio Aidina" is one of the most profound melodies on a disk with many. It's a short tune but a powerful one.

The track with the most Latin feel is the closer "La Coralina", and it is also the only one I would really call a song, as the lyrics are belted out in rapid fire, over an insistent flute riff. I cannot think of anyone to even compare this one too. In a way it sounds as eastern European as Spanish. Anyways, it really rocks, as does much of this debut and sole published work of Asturcon.

In the world of prog that we love, really not that much can be said to be truly unique. Given that I feel this way about Asturcon, and that it is a fantastic album in which every song is well above average, I really can only give it 5 stars. I urge you to discover it for yourself.

kenethlevine | 5/5 |


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