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Planeta Imaginario - Biomasa CD (album) cover

BIOMASA

Planeta Imaginario

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.16 | 17 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Phenomenal sophomore album by one of the most interesting prog-jazz bands to hail from Europe in the last few years - "Biomasa" is undisputed proof that Planeta Imaginario is a band to pay real close attention to. Compared to the debut album "¿Qué Me Dices?" (another one that I can't praise enough), "Biomasa" shows a band with a more powerful sound and a more accomplished tightness in its functioning as an ensemble. The album kicks off with a cosmic speech (literally!) voiced in a surrounding of spacey synth layers (very much in the early 70s TD vein). I didn't expect this krautrock- oriented opening, but it is effective. Abruptly segued into 'El Francotirador de Washington', when the aforesaid track settles in, Planeta Imaginario displays a clever, agile mixture of Canterbury (Nucleus, Gilgamesh) and Weather Report. 'Capture' is more humorous, weird in a Zappa sort of way (something like "Waka-Jawaka'-meets-"One Size Fits All"): it even includes some funny falsettos that enhance the sense of whimsical weirdness. Near the end, things get more lyrical and playful at the same time in a typically Canterburian note (this time, Hatfield & the Norht is the obvious reference). The 11 minute long title track follows, being a relaxing exercise on soft jazz, closely related to what you may identify as a melancholic mood, although I feel that it is mostly meditative. When things get slightly spiced up, the band shifts to an African-inspired fusion jam, not really furious, but intense in partially constrained fashion: the rhythm section works beautifully as a constantly reliable source of rhythmic evolution. For the epilogue that fulfills the track's last 2 minutes, the band returns to the initial motif. 'La Caja Negra' is another long composition, this time clocking at 12 minutes. The first 6 ½ minutes are focused on a well-structured jazzy jam very much in the Hatfield-meets-Nucleus vein, until things turn toward a different ground, one of Gong-related space-rock featuring sounds of airplanes rising up and crashing down. As usual, the band chose to retake a portion of the opening motif as a coda, completing a full circle of organized sound. Brilliant! 'El Teatro de los Faranduleros' is a lovely, yet weird exercise on soft dissonance that finds the piano, acoustic guitar and various horns orchestrating a delicate set of counterpoints (it reminds me a bit of Picchio dal Pozzo's first album, actually). Track 7 is the second cosmic speech (literally!), which stands in contrast with the highly melodic 'Hoy Es un Nuevo Día'. This one starts as yet another revision of Gilgamesh's heritage, until a piano motif starts a section that might as well been a Watkins' leftover for an old Happy the Man album. 'L'estiu' starts as a deepening into the reflective vibe that had been prevalent in the preceding track, but eventually the track leads to a funk-oriented jam. Anyway, this shift doesn't kill or replace the previous mood, but takes it to a more extroverted notion. A favorite resource of Planeta Imaginario's is the reprise of the initial motif for the coda, and this piece is no exception. The album's last 9 minutes are occupied by 'Trastornos Ópticos del Oso Polar', which is perhaps the most energetic track in the album. The composition bears a Crimson- like sense of tension to it among the Zappa "big band-era" chops. At times, the keyboardist explores some extravagant spacey sounds. But nothing is more extravagant than the closing section, with the guitar phrases stating heavy-RIO lines, the brass section going berserk, the full band flirting with chaos. The funny circus-like coda, instead of relieving the tension, adds more madness in a Dadaist manner. The guys of Planeta Imaginario master the art of honoring their favorite influences and instilling a series of refreshing moods into the resulting sound. "Biomasa" is a really great prog-jazz treasure of 2008.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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