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Abrete Gandul - Cuentos Para Dormir CD (album) cover


Abrete Gandul


Eclectic Prog

3.75 | 35 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sophomore release by this fabulous Chilean band called Ábrete Gandul after undergoing a major line- up change with the departure of one of the original guitarists: "Cuentos Para Dormir" finds the band adjusted to an exclusively instrumental format and working solidly on an enhanced hardening of their experimental prog sound, and may I add that I like the band better (no disregard for the excellent debut album, whatsoever). Not unlike a host of other great compatriot bands (Ergo Sum, Tryo, Exsimio, Koiak, Autómata, Flotante, Mar de Robles, Estigma,.), Ábrete Gandul bears and flaunts a particular way to absorb the King Crimson influence and exploit the psychedelic potential in an inventive way. Ábrete Gandul are specifically related to Estigma and Ergo Sum, since they tend to create clever mixtures of powerful, neurotic displays (Crimsonian with slight connections to heavy prog) and ethereal, colorful nuances (jazzy and fusion). Despite the evident technical competence of all members, the band's sound is not based on pyrotechnics but on articulations: the two guitarists preferentially concentrate on complementing each other's harmonic bases and counterpoints; the keyboardist states lots of atmospheres in order to fill spaces; the rhythm duo handles the tempo and mood shifts with total ease. The opener 'No Se Metan con el Capitán Problema' gets started with a brief intro of spacey synth before the main body gives way to a series of 80s Crimson counterpoints, with a jazzy rhythmic foundation that turns a bit Fighter in the rockier moments. This pertinent opener states a preparation for 'Al Fin y al Cabo', a piece that focuses on the jazz element, including a ceremonious intro that reminds us of Present-meets-Naikaku. 'Hay que Volver a los Chinos (De Nuevo)' can be described as a missing track from 81-84 era King Crimson refurbished and rearranged by musicians from Mahavishnu Orchestra in a relaxing situation. Of course, some tense passages must emerge in some strategic places. it's almost a higher statute! 'Alguin Intrascendente' is not an intrascendent piece at all, but a beautiful example of Ábrete Gandul exploring the jazzier side of their musical realms. The candid melodic drive developed in the piece is occasionally seasoned by a magnificent, sober bass solo; meanwhile, the drummer states a cleverly complex foundation without going over the top. 'Dr. Finger' seems to go for a similar trend, but the accentuation of Crimsonian vibrations is easy to notice, as well. There are also a few passages in which the bands states a hard jazz-rock dynamics (like "Flex-able"- era Steve Vai) in an interesting contrast against the more atmospheric installments (including a beautiful flute solo, very Focus-like). The conclusive climax is simply hypnotic. 'Primanocte' starts on a mid-tempo note, until teh second half brings a more intense ambiente, sounding like Gordian Knot- meets-Djam Karet. 'La Ira (. de la Novia de Byron)' brings back a combination of moods from tracks 1 and 3: the band takes good advantage of the 9 minute span, generating epic moments that mix Crimsonian neurosis, cacophonic space-rock and heavy prog. 'Dilema' is a brief yet varied piece that uses sources from Baroque, jazz-rock, funk and chamber-rock. Its main mission is to serve as a prelude to 'Disminuyéndote', the monster track that occupies the album's last 9 ˝ minutes. Tha band turns into similarities with Flotante and Estigma: some parts on rhythm guitar, bass and keyboard remind me of Gentle Giant and Soft Machine. The section that begins at minute 4 states a cosmic aura that borders with the creepy: from then onward, the piece is developed through a sustained climax built on a tense crescendo, culminating on a powerful ending for this great album. "Cuentos Para Dormir" is a real exciting album that shows how alive the prog rock genre remains in these days. Latin American bands never cease to bring relevant inputs for the world of art-rock.

(Review dedicated to my Chilean friend Fabio Salas Zúńiga).

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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