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Los Canarios - Ciclos CD (album) cover

CICLOS

Los Canarios

 

Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 117 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gerinski
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Did you think that "Tales from Topographic Oceans", "The Lamb" or ELP's "Pictures" were bold and ambitious projects? Well, they pale in comparison with this album from Canarios, mostly the creation of band leader Teddy Bautista. Another adaptation of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" to rock? Aargh no, vade retro! Well don't worry, this one is really special and in my opinion deserves full credit. It never intends to be a transcription of the classical work to rock instruments, it's an avant-garde loose re-interpretation of the theme which revisits several fragments of the Vivaldi's work, but has also a lot of own material.

The ambition put in this work was huge, double vinyl album with a trascendental concept, integrating early 70's prog-rock, classical music, electronic experimentation with Moogs, Mellotrons, ARP's, Theremin and such stuff, opera, classical choir, gregorian chant, broadway musical, greek chorus narration, lyrics partly in english, spanish and latin, you name it.

With such a daunting task the result would inevitably be a totally ridiculous pastiche or a masterpiece of modern art, and they achieved the latter. We also need to consider the context. If this album would be released now in 2010 I'm not so sure what my opinion would be, but this was made in early 70's underdeveloped Spain, which was in most respects 10 to 20 years behind compared to the main european countries. The sense of authenticity and the conviction and professionalism with which Canarios undertook this mamooth task makes you take your hat off in front of this work.

The cyclic nature of the seasons is re-interpreted into a mystical adaptation of the Eastern culture cyclic concept of the universe and life in it. As in Genesis "The Lamb", the booklet includes apart from the lyrics a text explaining the story (in spanish at least in my edition, which being my mother language I understand).

Spring is translated in the first concert "El Paraiso Remoto" (The distant paradise) as the creation of the universe and the birth out of mother nature's Matrix of the perfect life form, Embryo, eager to assimilate everything around him.

The second concert "El Abismo Proximo" (The nearby abyss) takes the place of Summer, with life now around the year 1700 impersonated as Febos, sucumbing to the temptation of mastering the world, the process of alienation from nature and its creator, discovering technology and becoming an impersonal and anonimous being.

The third concerto "La Ciudad Futura" (The Future City = Autumn) sees life (now middle- aged Metantropus in the year 2126) immersed in an extremely technocratic and grey society where beings are given doses of "alcoholin and nicotin" to keep them quiet or even subjected to the "cybernetic process" where they are reprogrammed to be submissive (George Orwell and Aldous Huxley revisited). Metantropus escapes to the mountains where he has a revelation telling him that the only way out is to recover his sense of unity with the universe and the creator, but he gets caught.

In the fourth concert "El eslabon recuperado" (The recovered link = Winter), life is now the elder Anacros and finds itself in an impersonal dying world in the year 2700 where the radiation of the sun has been depleted and society keeps a hopeless life harnessing some remaining cosmic energy. The prophet Oracle tells Anacros that his fate is to reunite with the creator ("the Supreme Programmer") by crossing the doorway of death. Anacros submits to his fate, voluntarily going to the Expiatory Machine which gives his prana-less material body back to Matrix, while his spirit or karma returns to sit at the right of the Supreme Programmer, from where they witness the Apocalypsis of the material world and its return to the primeval state, from where the cycle will start all over again. A truly astral voyage not only in its storyline, but also in the music which goes along with it.

This album is surely not for everybody's taste. For my personal taste there is a bit too much experimental material and the parts of true 70's symphonic rock (reminiscent of King Crimson, The Nice, Focus, the most experimental side of Yes etc) feel too short because of it, but they are nevertheless great, with wonderful work by all the musicians.

At any rate this is an often forgotten masterpiece, an album which every lover of early 70's prog-rock should have or at least know, a classic in its own right.

Gerinski | 5/5 |

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