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Madrugada - Incastro CD (album) cover

INCASTRO

Madrugada

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.85 | 15 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Second album from this trio, that gets lots of help from guest musicians, yet I'm not sure calling themselves (even in a subtitle) Electronic Avant-garde is a fitting word for them, no matter how superior this album is to the acoustic ballads of their self-titled debut. This second album is not much improvement on the debut but has such a wider spectrum that it has certainly a problem focusing on a musical direction and maintaining it. The album came out with a gatefold artwork representing fragments of dunes and the back cover had the full picture restored.

Indeed the 12-mins Romanzen starts out very much like an early PFM track with an outstanding flute from guest Bertocchi and the whole shebang, slownly dying into a bongo solo that signals a second movement. The bongos are quickly double tracked and joined by hard-to-define shrill sounds, but nothing electronics I figure. A solid Aftrican drum joins with bunches of percussions to make this an Voodoo-like dance until the piano slowly steps in and takes over as the percissions disappear. The piano soon becomes double tracked and dissonant, before dying out at the end of the track, leaving us puzzled as to what this "trip" meant. The cover Sad Wind picks up a bit where the first movement of the previous track had left, minus the flute, but a violin as bonus. But dying on an Elton Dean or Archie Shepp-like sax improv, having us wonder why again.

The flipside opens on a drone that gets up-ended by that same sax, but this time it's not improvising) and a very modern and technical jazz-rock; and once it calms down, the drone reappears but in a higher register and the whole group flies into a You-era Gong trip that's simply too close for comfort, but the group moves on and return to an easier jazz-rock than the one that had first opened this very Aragon track. Katmandu has the obvious sitar opening the track; but once the intro is gone, this becomes an atrocious and completely out-of-context pop song. Melting in the gospel-like Noter de Berghem, hesitating between Clegg and Afro-American church music. Both tracks are best skipped to keep a semblance of unity in musical direction. The closing Hobbit is again flirting with atonal and dissonant improvisations, until a steady drum installs an order that the bass soon transfers in a wild GG- like trance with keys and saxes reaching an impressive level of complexity. This is for me the most impressive track of the album, by far: everything sounds well though-out (if not written), unlike the much clumsier Romanzen and Aragon.

The three live bonus tracks are not of the same sound quality, but hardly devoid of quality, a show of the band's live performance. The first two are fairly different live renditions of Aragon and Hobbit, especially for the former. Most interesting is the 14-minjs+Pinto Suite, which could've been easily added to this album in place of some two shorter tracks. And should that track have been on the studio album, it would've been the highlight with hobbit. So the bonus tracks add some value to the album, but I deplore such a difference of sound between the album original and the live bonus track, especially the recording level. In spite of such heavy flaws I spoke out throughout my review, this album still has some very recommendable moments, but not enough to make this album a sure and clear nod. I think it's best you listen to this carefully before deciding on it.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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