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Flor de Loto - Flor De Loto CD (album) cover

FLOR DE LOTO

Flor de Loto

 

Prog Folk

3.66 | 63 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Since the late 60's when Perú was one of the leading forces of Proto Prog in this part of the continent, we never had so many important Prog bands; FLOR DE LOTO, SUPAY and KHARMINA BURANA, are only some of the names we see once in a while in the newspapers and it's hard for a reviewer of this country, not to feel proud when we see their names in the same pages as glorious icons like GENESIS, YES, JETHEO TULL etc.

But what is more important, that they are doing something different than our most famous band (FRAGIL), and that's exploring our Andean roots and blending them with different genres, of course FLOR DE LOTO is leader in this field.

After several years of formation, FLOR DE LOTO is able to release their self titled album with the support of Mylodon Records of Chile, a country that has some experience, being home of the Andean Folk icons LOS JAIVAS.

The album is opened with "La Llegada" (The Arrival), and the name is perfect because as soon as you listen the first Antara (Peruvian wind instrument similar to the pan flute) notes of the intro, the feeling of something new starting surrounds the audience. As a thick mist, the Andean atmosphere falls upon the listener, like a sunrise in the high mountains, the drums mark perfectly the timing as the sweet flute enhances the pleasant effect. But around the middle the band explodes in a festival of sounds and moods, always melancholic as the Peruvian music from the Andes, but with the spirit of Prog present in the guitar riffs. Outstanding opener.

"Libélula" (Dragonfly) is a radical change, now without loosing that atmosphere, FLOR DE LOTO explores different sounds, like a mixture of Hard Rock and Psyche with an excellent guitar work, but again we should expect a change, a softer flute section acts as a bridge that leads us to the development of the track, where guitar, drums and keyboards blend perfectly in a faster passage but with the flute as the lead instrument. At the end they surprise us with a long jazzy section that changes the mood completely.

"Negativos de Una Memoria Inexistente" (Negatives of a Non Existent Memory) has a very short spacey intro that leads almost instantaneously to a heavy guitar based section, totally frenetic, but without loosing the ethnic atmosphere, the song develops with multiple changes, again the drum work by Jorge Puccini is simply brilliant. The flute guided finale is extremely beautiful as if a distant quena (Peruvian ancestral wooden pentaphonic flute) expressed a sentimental cry.

"Ayahuasca"(Amazonian hallucinogenic plant) surprises me, due to the name I expected something different, more psyche oriented, full of jamming, but instead it's a perfectly fluid song that flows gently from start to end, sometimes gains strength but never looses the calmed tempo, except for the short finale. In this track the band has a famous guest; Octavio Castillo from FRAGIL joins them in the flute.

"El Errante" (The Errant) shows a mature band blending a Folk sound in the style of Jethro Tull with Peruvian Folk and a Symphonic structure, it's amazing how they manage to handle radical changes so fluidly that seem like parts of a puzzle that foit perfectly, during more than nine minutes FLOR DE LOTO gives us a memorable Prog performance, with melodic speedy and frantic passages perfectly crafted.

"El Niño y el Puerco" (The Boy and the Pig) starts with a contrapuntal work between guitar and percussion, suddenly the bass announces something different is coming, but when a normal listener can expect a frenetic change, a soft but fast guitar played in a style that reminds of the great Carlos Santana starts a lengthy solo only supported by the drums, until the flute joins and the tempo changes into a frantic passage where they prove a Folk band can also rock with class, but again the atmosphere morphs into a jazzy epilog. Very interesting structure and excellent jamming.

"Y" (And) is a short and weird interlude of 1:15 minutes that combines a distorted guitar with some synthesized sounds, not too much to comment, except that works as a link to "Ritual" which starts soft and gentle, with a distant guitar jamming peacefully with an almost imperceptible keyboard making a low ranged sound, until the flute and drums join to create a soft atmospheric song that gain surrounds the listener as a mist. As the song advances keeps gaining strength, speed and volume until it morphs into a very heavy and long closing section.

"Flor de Loto" (Loto Flower) strangely sounds very medieval, as the music for a traveling Troubadour without lyrics, one of the few songs that simply flow from start to end without changes or surprises.

"Suculentas Frutas" (Succulent Fruits) closes the album in the vein of the late 60's, a Psyche mood with heavy guitar riffs and radical changes, but the show is stolen by the impressive bass solo in the middle, the drums and keyboards have their chance, but not as impressive, and after the solos, comes an impressive closing section, that finishes the album in the best possible way.

Until a few minutes ago, I was decided to rate "Flor de Loto" with five stars. But don't want to fall in chauvinism, the album is excellent, but I'm sure they can offer more, so will stay with four stars and honestly, I'm not giving this album a rating I don't believe they deserve, by the contrary, probably I'm giving them less.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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