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Témpano - Ĺtabal-Yémal CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.90 | 53 ratings

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4 stars The context of this album requests and requires a few serious inspective auditions before daring any judgment as it holds quite naturally a special place for many progheads perhaps because Venezuela is somewhat more exotic than say Stockholm or Sheffield! Back in 1979 when prog was being assassinated, like Caesar by his (rock) child Brutus Punkus, dying in imperial splendour, this remarkable album was attempting to encompass various tried and true prog influences (such as the Return to Forever feel of the suave opener Cascada, with a heavenly Stanley Clarke style rip from master bassist Miguel Echeverranta, replete with slithering guitar arpeggios, crystalline electric piano and some rippling percussivos). "Hecho de Horas" is an altogether different cat, a gentle melody with plaintive Spanish vocals from guitarist Pedro Castillo, in perhaps a more straightforward easy listening setting, but impregnated with some detailed proggisms (more good bass noodlings, wispy synths from keyboardist Della Noce and an edgy solo from the lead guitar). "Las Olas" is a synthesizer driven mid- tempo piece very reminiscent of Camel-like symphonism (hinting closely to Sebastian Hardie or Windchase territory), a laid back rhythm track leading the soloists into some fluid guitar, fretless bass and synth ventures, really a most appealing track. The title track is a playful 10 minute adventure, taking a simple chord progression and twisting it into something totally fusioned with the classic jazz- rock truisms of the period with fiery guitar a la Gary Boyle, Phil Miller or DiMeola, extensive use of e- piano as a lead keyboard, reptilian bass and swift cymbal-heavy drumming from Gerardo Ubieda. The fragile bittersweet "Anhelos" is a lovely acoustic guitar /vocal exercise with a bucolic flute patch synth solo that simply serves as a brief interlude from the heavier material before and after. "Presencias y Ausencias" continues the fusionesque style, loads of analog keyboard shimmering in the background, sterling rhythm guitar trappings, meaty synths duelling atop, simple and reflective vocal that gently sears the brain as it fades into the mist. This track ends the original album while the following 3 tracks (almost a half hour of extra material) were added as a re-release in 1998, making the Musea offering way more attractive to the shrewd prog purchaser. Obviously after such a hiatus, the differences are ear catching: a vivid sound, a wider array of keys and a way more erudite guitar display in terms of style and tone. "KTR" is a short instrumental folly that exposes all these new elements. The final 2 epics are both 10 minute + multi-part suites that maintain the original flavour but elevate the quality of the instrumental work to riveting heights. "Un Nuevo Encuentro" starts off in a highly introspective mode , drenched in heady atmospherics until Castillo's guitar comes streaming through the clouds with some polyrhythmic weavings that are complex and compelling. Once again, the hallmark use of electric piano twinned with some fuzzy electric guitar keeps the tension focused on the musical voyage. A sublime piece, to say the least. "Arbol de la Vida" finalizes the new found renaissance of this band that went on to record more magic prog albums and remains active today. The piece is quirky, mischievous and totally unpretentious, just a group of musicians enjoying the groove of playing together and staying away from any commercial trappings. Della Noce and Castillo in particular, lay down a variety of sharp licks that keep things "progressive" , unrepentantly throwing in some new twists that instantly appeal (a mid section remindful of Close Encounters! ). Not a masterpiece but a very worthy addition to any "colleccion" But get the extended reissue! 4 caracas beauty queens.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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