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Planeta Imaginario - ¿Qué Me Dices? CD (album) cover


Planeta Imaginario


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.41 | 18 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's amazing how creative and prolific is the Catalonian fraction of Spanish prog, especially regarding the realms of the jazzy and/or experimental sides of the genre. Planeta Imaginario is one of those terrific Catalonian bands that have flourished for the greater sake of contemporary prog's preservation. (Other names that come to mind are Gurth, Soma.Planet and Urban Trapeze). The band's offering is mainly based on the reactivation of the heritages from early 70s Zappa, classic Canterbury and vintage space-rock, pertinently fueled with the band's own invigorating approach. The presence of a populated wind section is no casual adornment: it plays a relevant role in the installment of the tracks' main motifs and/or orchestrated climaxes and/or soloing. The album kicks off with a brief synth soundscape, bearing a straightforward spacey feel: this cosmic vibe is immediately picked up by the first section of the segued track 2, 'Preludio Rapsodia', which eventually shifts to an exquisitely pyrotechnical delivery of jazz-oriented psychedelic rock. 'Íntimo Ritmo - 1' goes to softer places, stating a prevalently relaxing (not exempted of complex twists) confluence of Gilgamesh, Hatfield & the North and "Waka Jawaka"-era Zappa. 'El Despertar de la Siesta de un Fauno' starts with farm's ambient sounds, then the full band settles in and sets for a continuation of the previous track's mood, only this time with a more colorful treatment of the wind section interventions and extra touches of playful psychedelic rock segments (somewhat akin to pre-Hillage Gong). There is also a beautiful interlude consisting of an eerie piano passage, constructed as some sort of sonata from 19th century's Romanticism. Following is the title track, a delightful exercise on jazz-fusion, equally influenced by classic Weather Report and Metheny's archetypical lyricism: it starts soft and slow, until the tempo winds up a bit faster, and by doing so, the band momentarily finds itself flirting with Latin-jazz. 'Requiem Blues' starts as a slow piece set in a jazzy atmosphere which, in turn, follows a blues-oriented pace; somewhere in the middle, the tempo shifts into an enthusiastic dynamics that may remind us of the most exciting moments in Soft Machine's earlier albums. Not for too long, though (unfortunately, since this motif is very appealing), since the initial section returns for a majestic coda. 'El Crucigrama' brings back some of the Zawinul factor for the initial passages, but soon the band focuses on the recurrent Canterbury flavors (mostly Gilgamesh and National health, since Capel's style is very reminiscent of Gowan's). 'Íntimo Ritmo - 2' states a similar approach to the earlier related track, combining big band Zappa and the lyrical side of vintage Canterbury. At this point, the album has made it abundantly clear about its intended stylistic cohesion and the guys from Planeta Imaginario have accomplished it masterfully. Coming full circle, the track's coda is a spacey soundscape that partially mirrors the album's introductory piece. It is a pity that the sound mix isn't more robust than it actually is, since a higher engineering quality would have taken more advantage of the multiple reeds and the proficient rhythm section, which at times gets drowned and cannot totally reveal its pertinent work. I also wish that tracks 4 and 6 had been a bit longer, since their appeal is not fully exploited in these studio renditions, at least, in my humble opinion. Anyway, "¿Qué Me Dices?" is an excellent album that gives justified hope to the nostalgic lovers of all kinds of jazz-rock, jazz-prog and fusion.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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