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Bauer - Astronauta Olvidado CD (album) cover

ASTRONAUTA OLVIDADO

Bauer

 

Crossover Prog

3.68 | 15 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars People don't believe me when I tell them that I do not listen to radio anymore (haven't really for a decade or so), unless by pure accident. I just gave up on finding anything creative there, so I have little knowledge of Muse or Radiohead or the other allegedly popular "proggy" new bands. Makes me feel like a hermit living in a barrel ("The" Harold?) but I find I can only listen to prog whether complex or neo, experimental or electronic, old or new. Such penance! So when I landed on this Bauer album and read sinkadotentree's review stating the similarities with Radiohead in particular, I felt that I was sticking my toenail into the unknown pool for the first time (Madonna's like a virgin). "Astronauta Olvidado" translates as "Forgotten Astronaut" certainly is far removed from commercialism and definitely basks in the distant horizons of experimental fodder, once the realm of Ummagumma period Pink Floyd or even Italy's Sensation's Fix . They kickoff (they are from Argentina , hence the football and earlier Madonna reference) with an opener where the mood is very soporific, highly psychedelic, with tons of effects from a variety of clanging guitar arpeggios, electric piano awash in synthesized veneer, plodding drums Ó la Mason and dreamy echoed vocals in Spanish. The next track is ever more floating, with substantial amounts of string synths and assorted other massed keyboards, giving guitarist Julian Paz (yeah, Peace to you brother) the platform to send some slide howls swerving into the galaxy's deepest regions. The title track relies on some outright Floydian interpretations that swerve into an almost "Us & Them" universe, very convincing, as the crescendo spirals towards the heavens, with tons of assorted effects and samples. The riveting "Novelty" features singer Gabriel Ardanaz and his ability to convince with unabashed hypnotic zeal while the band showcases its capacity to suddenly push the piece into interstellar overdrive,in particular Martin Mykietiw's manic twirling of synth knobs that remind of Eno's work on Roxy Music's debut. "La Manana Verde" has a "Chicago- Colour My World" piano motif that goes in a completely different direction, more nostalgia and hopelessness than anything, with Ardanaz again supplying some heavy breathing vocals and a simple Moog Prodigy solo that just glides effortlessly. Drummer Losada gets busy here with loads of taps and fills, pushing the theme deeper into the brain. "Zurich queda en Paris" plods on innocuously for a while until it suddenly veers into a gigantic cascade of orchestral sound, resonating atmospherically and almost inducing a trance like hypnosis. Quite transfixing I must say. "Falla." is a more minimalist ditty with melancholic piano and exalted vocals slashed by an angry guitar blast (Careful with that Axe, Julian), full of sustain and harsh reverbs, more Manzanera than Gilmour (even though the two are old-time pals), showing off again the more researched aspects of their craft. Track 8 returns to gentler, loping lilts with the same relaxed style that induces dreams for some and strangely schizophrenic nightmares for others. This is almost an ionospheric lullaby, swerving in the solar wind with slow abandon, with Ardanaz's soft tongued touch and some studious keyboard experimentations. "Durmiendo..." remains clearly in the highly reflective musical zones of space, echoing bizarrely and providing more of those Eno-ish beeps and radio frequency burps. I must say that by now, the sameness can effect your enjoyment of this music as the mood stays very linear, as most of the compositions rely on the same tempo with perhaps different variations on nevertheless the same theme. Perhaps a little contrast would suit these lads better, at least within the scope of an entire album. But as a debut , this certainly worthy and would certainly qualify as a quirky alternative to other forms of contemplative prog. 4 gaucho space builders.
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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