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Magma - Canto para una consagracion CD (album) cover

CANTO PARA UNA CONSAGRACION

Magma

 

Prog Folk

3.45 | 6 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars One of the many bands named MAGMA that doesn't have Christian Vander or Kobaians in it. This one is from Argentina and emerged all the way back in 1974 in the city of Paraná founded by lead vocalist Alberto Felice who was the only constant member appearing on all five albums with the purpose of promoting his poetry accompanied by his own version of strange ethereal folky jazz music which led to the band's first release CANTO PARA UNA CONSAGRACIÓN (Song For A Consecration). MAGMA was part of the underground music scene in Argentina in the 80s along with other local contemporary bands like M.I.A. (Músicos Independientes Asociados), Redd and Irreal, all of which remain fairly obscure even within the greater niche world of progressive rock in general.

This is some rather strange music i must say. The first time i heard this it kinda went over my head as it's somewhat accessible but just sounds off and may alienate many listeners unless a few spins are given to calibrate your perceptions to it. This is above all a dreamy and pastoral symphonic folk with jazzy underpinnings and just enough progressive rock touches to create a very eclectic and unique overall sound. The make or break deal for most i'm sure will be the vocals of Alberto Felice who has a rather androgynous way of keeping you guessing if this is a female mezzo-soprano or a male falsetto with the latter being the correct answer. The only equivalent in prog i've heard is David Surkamp from Pavlov's Dog, not because they sound alike but more in the eclectic approach they take in setting themselves apart in their own vocal universe. The music is super laid back and perhaps a tad too mellow for its own good but after a few listens it has actually clicked and now i find this to be extraordinarily beautiful albeit surreal and utterly outside any familiarities i've had of Argentinean progressive music. Whereas bands like M.I.A., Alas or La Máquina De Hace Pájaros are clearly symphonic prog bands emulating their favorite European heroes, MAGMA doesn't sound like any other band out there to my knowledge. It even eschews the catchy pop sensibilities of other popular Argentinean bands such as Sui Generis.

MAGMA incorporates a healthy dose of Andean folklore, eclectic progressive rock quirkiness and a healthy dose of symphonic touches that can for fleeting moments bring The Moody Blues to mind but then dish out an arpeggio that can also speak the language of early 70s Pink Floyd, an early Trespass era Genesis sound or even the mellower side of PFM but these are small moments as the music is much stranger and quirkier than any of those bands. This is a nice blend of dreamy vocals, jazzy percussion, acoustic guitar, flittering flute and melodic piano all embellished with surreal synth sounds. However mellow this may be it is quite complex in its compositional approach with oddly spaced out passages where time seems to melt at times and speed up only to fall into a steady beat for a while. The vocals of Alberto Felice are equally bizarre as he has strange ways of keeping with the music and slowly drifting out. In fact all the instruments seem to be only partially tuned into each other just enough to keep the relativity dynamics in play. The whole thing really does feel as if i'm in a dream state where elements are familiar but are just kind of off, just like when you wake up and realize that the characters in your dream are familiar but nothing is actually as it is in reality. It's just out of reach of getting but seems so close at the same time.

When all is said and done, this is an album constructed for the Spanish speaking audience for it is about the poetic folklore which is just as dreamy and pastoral as the countryside in rural Iowa. The whole thing will remind the listener most of the mellower Italian symphonic prog bands of the early 70s and since the singer is of Italian decent and the Spanish language is a close relative of the Romance languages, it is not too hard to understand how the music revolves around the rhythmic flow of the poetic lyrics on display. However it's not mandatory to understand the lyrics because the music is very strange and eerily beautiful. As a metalhead i have to be in the right mood for this kind of mellow and ethereal type of strangeness but when the mood hits, this scratches the itch in a very satisfying progressive way.

While all the tracks have interesting progressive ideas woven into the parade of poetry, the last track "Un Pequeño Tema Para Jugar" (A Small Subject To Play) is probably the most interesting as it reaches the 12:21 length and has lots of cool instrumental meanderings into the most progressive experiments on the album drenched with trippy synth runs, guitar licks, jazzed up drumming and off-kilter song developments. I like to think of this album as psychedelic angelic folk jazz because it is the soundtrack of the clouds in some ethereal realm where angels licked the toads or sipped the nectar of the peyote or something. Just weird. This one was a grower but i have ultimately succumbed to its charm, however the band was clearly misnamed as the name MAGMA makes it sound hot and sizzling while this is super-chilled and of course they probably had no idea there was another band with the same name thousands of miles away doing much stranger things with a much higher energetic intensity!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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