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Govea - Danza Urbana CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 22 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've been a Little late at discovering this contemporary symphonic prog gem from Mexico, but how glad I am currently at having enjoyed listening to this album three times in a row during the evening of the day that the corresponding package arrived at my home. Govea's "Danza Urbana" is a lovely album that combines moderately robust sonorities and fluidly complex arrangements through which the inspired musical ideas benefit from a splendorous framework. Keeping in mind that Govea is a keyboard-based power-trio (named after the keyboardist's last name), the progressive collector's mind is tempted to assume that the band to be discovered must be heavily influenced by ELP and/or Triumvirat and/or Le Orme. The idea gets stronger as we find out that the band actually plays a Triumvirat cover in concerts? But no, Salvador Govea's composing style is more consistently leaning toward stylish melodic elaborations (a-la Wakeman) and gentle dissonant developments (a-la Minnear), plus a very evident sensibility for jazz and fusion cadences that reveal influences from Corea and piano-driven Emerson (early ELP). All in all, Salvador's own personal style remains precisely personal after years of academic training and nurturing eclectic musical loves, and that is crucial for the whole trio's sonic nucleus. Veteran drumming expert Víctor Baldovinos is the keyboardist's perfect partner (as a member of Iconoclasta, he got acquainted with Salvador during the latter's 5-year tenure in this band). His rhythmic creativity and Salvador's melodic richness state the two poles for the trio's scheme, while bassist Luis Arturo Guerrero fills the middle spaces with his dynamic playing. "Danza Urbana" took around a year to record and produce, which explains the presence of a couple of different bassists in the album's first and last tracks: eventually, as an actual physical item, "Danza Urbana" happens to be a very consistent symphonic album - further details from now on. The namesake opener starts with cymbals stating an agile 5/4 tempo that the whole ensemble soon follows in an excellent exposure of musical colorfulness. The agitation of melodic textures and clever counterpoints on the keyboards' busy developments is just brilliant, even when the swing gets a bit more straightforward. After a brief spacey interlude, the main theme is reprised for the exquisite finale. This exciting spirit is conveniently perpetuated by tracks 2 and 3, both having a dominating 7/8 tempo. 'Continuum' is a symphonic gift that has the band increasing the sonic warmth for the epic 'Claroscuro': this piece has to be an undisputed highlight of the present album, situated in an ordained place where complexity and energy are dealt with in benefit of the melodic development's inherent scheme. The psychedelic coda in the last 50 minutes is just great. The next track is also a highlight - 'Convergentes' lets go of the symphonic trend and moves towards prog-oriented fusion, with a rhythmic structure based on Mexican folk. The occasional presence of a lead guitarist allows the integral framework to gain certain aggressiveness, a very useful thing to enhance the musical expression on the run. For the last section, an eerie synth solo leads the way for a symphonic closure. 'Falsa Dicotomía' is more deeply rooted in the jazzy area: Baldovinos particularly shines on this one like the virtuosos drummer that he is. 'Intersecciones' is a piano solo that serves as a genuine Salvador Govea manifesto: chamber airs and jazzy flairs intertwine in this lovely, mostly relaxing piece. The album ends with 'Concertino', a progressive adaptation of an academic piece originally written by Miguel Bernal Jiménez (himself a revolutionary of Mexican religious music during the first half of the XX century): for once, you can notice the influence of the ELP pattern in Govea, but there is no cloning here but a lesson in epic atmospheres learned and assumed in an original way. My personal balance for the whole "Danza Urbana" experience is very positive; Govea is a real reference of the enthusiastic progressive imagination that has been and continues to be generated from Latin American countries.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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