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Redd - Tristes Noticias del Imperio CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.48 | 18 ratings

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4 stars Another outstanding Argentinean act from the seventies. This is a band I mentioned a year ago as one that deserved some attention, as does a follow-on Esteban Cerioni band known as Redd Land (and apparently is sometimes also known as the Esteban Cerioni Band). The debut Redd album was made with the support of members of M.I.A., and it shows in the depth of the arrangements.

The variety of instrumental sounds here is quite impressive considering the liner notes only credit three musicians. It probably doesn’t hurt that the drummer also played keyboards (and various percussion add-ons). Cerioni expands the band’s capabilities considerably by adding a string section courtesy of an ARP synthesizer, and Luis Albornoz plays both acoustic and electric guitars with equal advanced ability. There are some apparent influences here, ranging from CSNY-like vocals on “Reyes en guerra” to some of King Crimson’s odd rhythmic experimentation on the title track and elsewhere, to what could be considered a Led Zeppelin rhythm section on “Parche armónico”.

But most of all, this album is full of really graceful compositions that flow out of the trio with disarming ease. I especially like the acoustic guitar and ARP interplay that make up the three-part “Kamala”. This is not your typical three-part progressive tune though; the third part is actually a live recording thrown in on the CD reissue. And while the second part is a studio track, it is sandwiched between a couple other bonus songs on the CD version of the record, and sounds like it was recorded somewhere other than where the first part was. But this doesn’t take a bit away from the smooth and fluid bass/ drum rhythm atop which the ARP strings and Albornoz’ guitars dance. While this isn’t flamenco or salsa or any other kind of traditional Latin music, the inflection (possibly tuning) especially of the acoustic guitar makes it clear these are Latin musicians.

Most of the album is instrumental, although there are a few vocals spread about on the title track, plus “Reyes en guerra” (harmonies no less), and especially on the lengthy “Matinée”. The singers are a bit understated, which in this case serves to accentuate the music’s keyboard arrangements and allow the synth strings to fill in around the guitar. A beautiful song not quite in the symphonic bent of contemporaries like M.I.A., Espiritu or Amagrama, but more like very smooth jazz with a taste of heavy prog thrown in for spice.

But the highlight for me is the title track, a nine-minute plus affair which starts out with a rock drum/ bass beat and soaring synths before slowing down to a jazzy interlude before turning almost eighties hair band just briefly and finally returning to the opening riffs and strings to bring the whole thing to a definitive and solid close. I’ve no idea what statement the band was trying to make with that track, but the variety and seamless transitions are impressive and captivating. A great opening impression for the band’s debut album and brief career.

This albums is quite rare, and from what I understand sold out almost immediately when it was released nearly thirty years ago. But fortunately the Argentinean label PRW reissued it in the nineties, and Musea did as well. An outstanding and definitely eclectic band that wouldn’t last all that long, but left a legacy in this album that is well worth hearing. Four stars and highly recommended to lovers of Latin and world music, symphonic prog fans who like some rock in their prog, and probably to most other progressive music fans as well. Worth seeking out.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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