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Congreso - Congreso CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.92 | 37 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Also called Coffee Album (due to its colour and superb artwork), this third (also self-titled) album of the still intact Valparaiso original quintet, but this time, they are joined Renato Vivaldi (this could not be invented) on wind instruments. Actually by now, the group dropped the "El" -part of their name and where ready to flee the country soon, but this album was still recorded in Santiago in May 77, even if some of the material dates from 74.

Starting on the popular Color De La Iguana track, a Pacific Latin America folk (this could be ranging from Mexico to Tierra Del Fuego, in this case) number that uses much percussion (and even finishes into a duo) then following on the superb Volatin De Plumas (feather kyte I think), the album is certainly not denying its folk roots, something reaching its apex with Si Te Vas. But after three tracks, the album has not possessed much prog content; but the superb 8-mins+ Los Elementos will change this. Starting ever so softly from earth's entrails come out some percussions and later a flute and soft almost whispered vocals accompanied by delicate electric guitars, slowly crescendoing on a neat tempo, the track's haunting ambiance is beginning to cast its spell on you: this could last a half-hour you wouldn't mind but all too soon, the track returns to (almost) normal Andean folk with its closing section.

The flipside has only three tracks starting on a more relatively short Latino cuenca folk Cielito (I think ceiling of my room) first, than on the much more impressive 6-mins+ Tu Cantas, an almost- instrumental that allows for many moods to be developed with one Gonzales brother on the cello. Superb stuff. The closing almost 11-mins Arco Iris De Hollin starts melancholously and slowly on a flute and cello working along a pedestrian bass, before all gradually gain speed, while singer Sazo deals verbal blows to the Pinochet regime that they never "got". Great stuff, once again, even if this didn't change the country's course of event.

The Cd reissue comes with an 11-mins bonus track Para Ganarnos el Cielo in a demo state, but there is no indication that it dates from these years or not. Although lacking some of the finishing touches of the rest of the album (it is only a demo, they claim), musically it sounds much in the line of the later half of the album, and its subject is about the Conquistadors' invasion of the new world. So as a good gift, and improving somewhat an already excellent album, the Coffee album is nearing South American perfection. They don't come that much better thazn this one, even if the first three tracks were strictly folk and holds less interest for undiscerning progheads.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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