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Congreso - Congreso CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.93 | 32 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Congreso's third eponymous album is popularly known as "El Color de la Iguana" (after the pener's title as well as the cover's main color), and also as the "Coffee Album", but let's just name it as "Congreso". This work is a clear manifesto that the band's fusion of Latin American creole folk and modern jazz has reached maturity, and indeed, you can tell that the band's sound feels more powerful than ever. The amalgam created by all members is the fruition of the style that the band had been developed throghout this seminal era. The acoustic guitars and woodwinds are quite predominant, but this is not your average folk album - most of the arrangements are patent invitations to enter the realms of fusion and adorn the final result with art-rock elements. The namesake track opens up the album on an exciting, candorous note, heavily inspired in Mexican folk. It's a pity that this track is not a bit longer, since its joyful mood feels really contagious. The following two tracks pretty much carry on with the telluric mood, albeit portraying a more serene ambiance, heading more closely toward the romantic side of fusion. The first signs of epic musical ambitiosn surface on 'Los Elementos', a track whose peculiar magic is born out of the fluid combination of exotic dynamics and candid colorfulness. The final section bears a merry spirit, as if it were some sort of sortilege of joy aimed to captivate the human heart's most intimate side. The album's second half gets started with a most beautiful cueca, 'El Cielito de Mi Pieza', arguably one of the best love songs to ever come out of Chile. I suspect that there are some touches of Paraguayan guarani cadences inserted in this cueca - anyway, it's a beautiful song that celebrates the hope of love. The last two tracks are the most ambitious regarding structure, which makes them the closest to the standards of prog fusion. The 6+ minute long 'Tu Canto' and the 10+minute long 'Arco Iris de Hollín' find Fernando Gonzalez approaching his guitar as a tool for definite melodic phrasing while Sergio Gonzalez's drumming becomes more patently complex. The motif and rhythm shifts are well ordained, and a special mention has to go to Patricio Gonzalez' deliveries on cello, particuarly for the way he paints such amazing sonic colors for 'Arco Iris de Hollín'. Thse tracks sort of complete and re-elaborate the promise previously shown on 'Los Elementos'. The CD edition comprises an extra track, a bonus piece that didn't make it to the album, although the lyricis would be later reused for a different melody in a song from their 1990's album "Aire Puro". This bonus is 'Para Ganarnos el Cielo', whose spirit delivers a marriage of tracks 4 and 7, once again with a cello that seems to effortlessly steal the limelight with its phrases and harmonies. "Congreso" is a real gem of Chilean folk-fusion, and as such, must be valued as an absolute highlight in Congreso's history.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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