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Ibio - Cuevas de Altamira CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.26 | 35 ratings

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3 stars These guys got back together for a reunion album in 2006, but this is not that album. This one is the only thing they actually released when they were together the first time, way back in the 1978. I don't know much about this band from Northern Spain, but it seems like they may have gotten into the progressive symphonic/ethnic game a bit late, as this released at a time when this style of music was in decline. That may also account for the nearly thirty year gap between this and their second album.

No matter, it is a very decent symphonic-leaning album with enough Latin guitar treatments and percussion to be classified as progressive world or folk music. The band's heavy use of mellotron and synthesized keyboards (and also quite a bit of clavinet) is also a bit dated, but there are clear influences of some of the masters of the genre from further south in Europe. I believe this originally released on Gong's label, and the keyboards for sure have some of the lively and spry Canterbury leanings. The bass and especially electric guitar are more timely in their approach however, with some great electric guitar riffs especially on the title track, "La Virulencia del Ferrocarri", and the rather heavy-prog "La Baila De Ibio". Other tracks like "Pastor" and "Romance del Conde Lara" are strongly keyboard-driven, although I don't hear much variety really in the keyboard passages from one track to the next. Some of them sound almost identical except for the variations on guitar and bass.

There is a bit of singing (all male) on some tracks, although the majority of the album is instrumental. The production is fairly weak - not poor really; just pretty standard fare for a progressive album. I think this may have been a four track recording, and while the separation between instruments in quite clear the overall impression tends to become a bit flat and muddled at times. This sounds more like it was recorded in 1974, although the liner notes state that the sessions were conducted in early 1978.

At times the band seems to be struggling to find their musical purpose, most notably with the rhythm- heavy "La Baila de Ibio". This one has a bit of a martial feel at times, even though it starts off giving the impression of being a heavy rock tune.

I can't say this is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection, but it is decent music and makes for a nice curio in a stack of prog albums. The CD reissue is pretty accessible, but the lack of extensive liner notes is a drawback since these guys are pretty much unknown outside their region.

In all I'd say this is a clear-cut three star affair, worth picking up for the Latin-inflected arrangements and vivacious guitar work, but not something that most progressive music fans will find indispensible by any means. Recommended to folk/world music fans who like a bit of spice in their music.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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