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Flotante - En la Agitación CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.86 | 13 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For their second album, the splendid Chilean quartet Flotante expanded their sonic pallet, adding post-rock oriented atmosphere, avant-garde tricks and krautrock electronic adornments in some notorious places among their usual stylistic nucleus, based on the confluence of modern Crimsonian prog, prog-metal, math-rock and jazz-rock. The band feels as solid as ever, but definitely, this expansion has really worked beautifully for them. This situation was undoubtedly helped by the fact that all four musicians have included the occasional use of keyboard layers, PC-programmed instrumentation, concrete percussions and other sundry sound effects to augment the power that they naturally create with their format of dual guitars, bass and drum kit. You can also notice some trumpet in the last two tracks, courtesy of a friend musician. So, how does the repertoire sound like, more specifically? Well, the oponer 'El Desayuno del Oso' is a catchy exercise on jazz-rock whose dynamics is properly enhanced by the utilization of heavy rock ornaments in the mood variations - something like Attention Deficit meets Canvas Solaris, but with slightly less stamina. The heavier parts sound a bit creepy, but the track's overall feel is one of subtlety and lightweight density. 'Pasos Elefantiásicos' bears a more candid feel during its first section, but things will make a dramatic shift for the last section, when they get really electric in a metallic point of view. The fact that the tempo is kept somewhat slow makes the impression that the energy is, to some degree, constrained in a well-balanced tension. 'Sonar' finds the band exploring their frenzy side explicitly for the first time in the album, and this is when their boldness, intelligence and penchant for musical complexity are expressed with no strings attached. The funky elements that flow underneath the dual guitar riffing will remind you of early 90s Primus-meets- Tryo, but once the guitar solos emerge, there's no stopping for the fire that is released in an incandescent eruption. The rhythm section feels incredibly solid, keeping things in order while they shine in flames. The last two minutes are full of synthetic layers (processed guitar FX, PC sounds) and free-form percussive sounds, as if something had been irremediably destroyed by the heavy prog attack that had occurred earlier. Now, this is one highlight of the album. 'El Beso del Gorila' is a brief, easy-going piece that may remind you of the most joyful side of 80s KC, and as such, its main function is (or seems to be) serving as a prelude to 'Soy el Peque', another explosive highlight. This piece brings back much of the tension and heavy dynamics you found in the rougher passages of tracks 2 & 3, including a memorable cacophonic interlude underlined by a powerful drum solo (Has the drummer of Don Caballero stolen Felipe Morros' seat? No, it's Morros himself!). This section ends when the opening motif returns with an extra guitar lead. Awesome!, really awesome! 'La Patá del Zancudo' brings back a Zeppelinian heritage (not unlike their compatriots of Tryo at their rockiest), and this element is kept constant despite some variations that emerge in the middle - the guitar solos bear a Gary Moore-meets-Jeff Beck feel. 'Fat James' gets started on a more mysterious note, obviously flirting with the languid atmospheres of standardized post-rock; the second motif puts an end to this only to find the band exploring, once again, a marriage of math-rock and prog metal, although the mid-tempo structure seems to keep the band with part of their mind still stuck on the post-rock influence (not unlike Explosions in the Sky or Kayo Dot). 'Bichos' is as psychedelic as Flotante can be, with a rocking fire that is very patent, almost bordering on the chaotic at times, but a few more attentive listens reveal that the ensemble can manage to keep thing under control. 'Fate James' and 'Bichos' are other highlights worth of a special mention here. The album's closure is 'Tema con el Pez', a dreamy exercise on cosmic sonorities, where guest trumpeter Patricio Carrasco plays a more obvious role than on the previous track. The slow tempo and surreal sonic layers define this piece as a hybrid of post-rock and electronic krautrock, with the drummer adding some soft jazzy cadences to his overall constraint delivery. Generally speaking, this album is nothing shor of excellent. Lovers of heavy prog all over the world should have Flotante as part of their collections - "En la Agitación" is definitely a superb demonstration of the large amount of creativity that exists in the current Chilean experimental rock scene.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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