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Codice - Alba Y Ocaso CD (album) cover

ALBA Y OCASO

Codice

 

Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 36 ratings

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Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars As far as I'm able to tell, this is the only album this Mexican prog band had ever released. At nearly two hours of music, I find it unusual that a debut album would be a 2-CD set, which is quite a risky venture indeed, especially since there'd be way more music that say, old 2-LP set debuts like Frank ZAPPA & The MOTHER's "Freak Out" or the debut from Chicago when they were known as The Chicago Transit Authority. Apparently this band had enough material to warrant a 2-CD set, but given this amount of material, there is your share of hit-and-miss here. This 2-CD set was released on the California-based Art Sublime label (responsible for reissuing albums from ICONOCLASTA, Holding Pattern, José CID, as well as new releases like from Tony Spada). Unlike most other titles on that label, this was issued in a normal CD jewel case (instead of LP-sized packaging), and it comes with artwork from (I believe) Rubén Viloria, whose style is very much in the style of H.R. Giger.

The band consisted of guitarist/keyboardist Marco Corona, drummer David Martinez, vocalist Luis Maldonado, keyboardist Mario Mendoza, and bassist Arturo García. Apparently Marco Corona has spent his time in Los Angeles, and even learned to play guitar from Robert FRIPP, if I'm not mistakened. Of course he went back to Mexico to form this band.

Not exactly the most original band on the face of the planet, you'll find plenty of influences from ELP, KING CRIMSON, GENESIS, ICONOCLASTA, Italian prog acts, even electronic acts like TANGERINE DREAM. Marco Corona's guitar style is often in the FRIPP and HACKETT style. And the keyboards are a combination of digital and analog, plus an EMU Vintage Keys, which they used in place of a real Mellotron (and unfortunately, I can tell was a digital replication, not the real deal, meaning the Vintage Keys is useful for those who don't quite have the money for the real thing, which are plenty of people out there). Some of the Hammond organ you hear on the album sounds a bit digitized, they use an XB-2, an organ I'm not familiar with, unlike the classic B-3. Also David Martinez is still in need of practicing his drums as his style still seems a bit sloppy, but I guess it's no more sloppy than the early works of ICONOCLASTA.

Now let's get with the music: the first disc opens up with the title track, which is actually a pretty cool electronic piece. Next piece is "El Eco de Tu Voz", which features some nice ICONOCLASTA-like guitar work and female vocals. But the problem I have with this song is the same problem I have with ICONOCLASTA's "De Todos Uno", guest Marisa Calderón sounds a little too close to ICONOCLASTA's bassist's Nohemi D'Rubin's attempt at singing showing that Mexican Spanish isn't always the best in a prog setting. It also proves the most of the other songs, with Luis Maldonado doing the vocals, prove the same, even though handled by a male vocalist. Occasionally you get some short, acoustic piece like "Paseo" and the medieval-influenced "Vorágine". Perhaps the most effective vocal cut here is "Corriente Abajo", which brings to mind such Italian greats as PFM or CELESTE. The last cut on the first disc, "Requiem" I felt was a big waste of time, played entirely on digital synths, it sounds like Marco Corona is delving perhaps a little too deep in that dreaded New Age there.

But it's the second disc shows what the band was really made of. Doing what prog bands couldn't do on a single LP because of time constraint (unless they wanted the whole album just one piece, like JETHRO TULL's "Thick as a Brick" or Mike OLDFIELD's "Tubular Bells"), with a nearly hour long suite called "Iconos". Luckily the vocals, for the most part are absent, leaving it a largely instrumental piece, which is fine with me. Here, the piece is loaded with all sorts of prog influences you come to expect, without exactly being original, but still making it interesting. Some of the parts of the album can sound quite sinister, other parts sound a bit too lighthearted for my liking, while some sound like something off KING CRIMSON's "Larks Tongues in Aspic". There's also a section where the band gets in to TANGERINE DREAM style electronic music, making them sound like how I wished TD would sound like in more recent times. After that, they ended up sounding like an early '70s heavy prog band. There's even a section with Gregorian chanting (and it sounds like it's in Latin). Being an hour long piece, "Iconos" does have it's dry spells, especially near the end. The disc does have one other independant cut, called "En El Umbral de la Paz", which is one of those acoustic pieces that do little for me.

This 2-CD set is really hit or miss, but has a lot of worthwhile material. But do avoid if you're completely anti-digital, but for those who aren't, the good thing is both Marco Corona and Mario Mendoza use digital (as well as analog) synths in a tasteful manner. One of those albums, just like all the ICONOCLASTA albums I've heard that is worth having, but not essential.

Proghead | 4/5 |

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