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Nazca - Estacion De Sombra  CD (album) cover

ESTACION DE SOMBRA

Nazca

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.24 | 30 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After an excellent eponymous debut album in which the music was persistently base don languid atmospheres and soaring sonorities, Nazca went for a fuller sound concerning their sophomore effort "Estación de Sombra", exploring a renewed sonic architecture while preserving the magical tension that had been so beautifully delivered in "Nazca". All in all, "Estación de Sombra" bears a stronger dynamics between the musicians, more confidence regarding the use of sonic structures and a more stylish use of tension. The major point of reference here is "1313"-era Univers Zero, and some of "Western Culture"-era Henry Cow. You can also find some jazzy elements working in places, but mostly what we have here is an inspired exercise on chamber-rock conceived through a delicate dialectics of muscle and delicacy. The exploration is over, now it's time to present the conclusions - this seems to be the motto behind this repertoire's writing and arranging procedures. The namesake opener starts with heavy ceremonious undertones, even stating a certain distant atmosphere; but as soon as a more extroverted section emerges, the dynamics is notably augmented, with the general grayish mood acquiring an exciting density along the road. 'Traoedia' exhibits a more pronounced chamber-oriented aura, and its mysterious ambience surpasses that of the impressive opener. Novelo's drumming is particularly inspired, with his nuances on the martial rolls and controlled pulsations, combined with his ability to merge his percussive tools with the other members' inputs. The closing sequence of violin/viola/bassoon is almost unearthly in its "mischievous" undertones. 'Espacios en Torno' begins on a very solemn note, but it doesn't take too long before the tracks shifts to a more celebratory mood, ornamented with bizarrely effective dissonances that build up an exquisite climax. 'La Morgue' does justice to its title, bearing a patently thanatic vibe through its recurrent ethereal sonorities. The martial structure in the interlude can be interpreted as portraying the moments in which body carriers go delivering their "special packages" in the morgue's main room. 'Mangle' opens up the album's second half, mostly emphasizing the line of work that has been developed so far: the clever use of tension and the effective utilization of the complex counterpoints reveal the guys of Nazca playing their specialized game on top of their game. 'Deshueso' is less disturbing than any of the previous tracks, turning into dreamy moods: this is not lyrical in the sense of symphonic prog, but lyrical anyway since the track's melodic development aims at the installment of melancholic airs. In this way, the habitual sense of mystery that is one of the stylistic cornerstones of RIO is used to point out a moment of spiritual solace. 'En la Cuerda Floja' reinforces the academic flair with bassist Gaitán playing viola and pianist Nicolau playing cello: truly loyal to the Schoenberg standard, the ensemble delivers a defying framework of twisted melodic lines and wicked cadences. 'Ipecacuana' brings the album's ultimate momentum, being in itself an effective climax in which the ethereal and the powerful merge into one nuclear sound. The last portion is based on a Latin-jazz scheme, with the rhythm duo elaborating a strong swing on which the violin lines tow the piano syncopations and the bassoon subtle ornaments. I really would have liked it if the closing portion had been expanded a bit longer, but it's OK all the same. The bonus track pretty much follows the most recurrent pattern included in the album's whole. In some moments, there is a sense of loud chaos in the shape on neurotic violin-bassoon dialogues, but mostly this is yet another exercise on complex orchestrations and controlled moods. Overall balance: what a great album!! "Estación de Sombra" is a masterful demonstration of musical illumination in the realms of RIO, conceived miles apart from the genre's original source. The Mexican guys of Nazca clearly captured its spirit and framework, providing a peculiar sensibility through the obvious influences. A RIO masterpiece, no doubt about it in my mind.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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