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Adrián Zárate - De La A A La Z CD (album) cover


Adrián Zárate


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Even though the drum kit is statistically his most recurrent instrument, Adrián Zárate is both a composer and a musician, a factor that enables him to expand his artistic vision beyond the rhythmic Framework. Nothing wrong with that, especially when his particular dynamics served as a major asset for Saena's debut album a couple of years ago (one of the best progressive releases in 2008), but now that it's time for him to lead his own solo Project, "De La a A La Z" states a well-articulated amalgam of eclectic art-rock whose dual nucleus lies alternately on the jazz-rock and RIO grounds. The first track, '...Y Tres Hacen Todas Las Cosas', finds Zárate multiplying himself into the drum kit, keyboards and percussion duties. The title reads "Three Guys Do All This Stuff", but in fact it is him alone, and so one gets in awe of him since this piece is an intricate exercise on RIO according to Henry Cow's "Western Culture" standard. Sordid and complex as this track is, it is its polished development which mostly catches the listener's ear. What comes next is more focused on the progressive jazz mode in a healthy dose of variations: 'Dónde Es' is calm and introspective; 'Coincidencias' is explicitly based on an exciting funky scheme (not unlike classic Return To Forever); 'Heavy Mental' is closely related to the heavier approach delivered by most jazz-prog bands nowadays. As a playful prelude to the former, the brief title track displays an elegant exercise on chamber-rock dissonances, like some sort of twisted sonata written by Cage. The politics of constant novelty is graciously preserved with 'Banda De Rock' ('Rock Band', mmm? what a poetic title for a song from a progressive album), a satyrical rock'n'roll augmented with subtle new wave moods that wouldn't have been out of place in a Zappa album during the late 70s ("Zoot Allures", for instance): the sarcastic lyrics make fun of all commercial rock bands that sell a rebel image in order to gain fame and fortune in the short run under the main market's guidelines. The brief adventure 'Avándaro' is a Dadaistic exposure of piano random notes, weird soliloquies and soaring synth layers that anticipate the full RIO-style splendor of 'Dunkellicht', whose combination of evocative lyricism and bizarre musicality makes it a definitive highlight. Oh my? bands like 5UU's or Univers Zero might as well have been proud. Of coming up with a piece such as this. For 'Luz Vestal', Zárate takes a rest as a performer and devotes himself exclusively to arranging this mysterious chamber piece for two violins, violectra and contrabass ? it features Saena colleague Alejandro Sánchez. This piece is crucial for the elaboration of the moods and textures to be featured in the following three tracks: 'Grrins Liivs' (surrealistic deconstruction of the classic 'Green Sleeves' through inscrutable humming and alleatory percussive ornaments), 'Memorias Del Origen' and 'Florece' (both being complex exercises on RIO frameworks with lots of digital synth inputs featured in the mix). The album's last 8 ˝ minutes are occupied by 'Estuve En Tiempo Encerrado', whose peculiar charm is focused on a mixture of fusion ambiences (mostly based on extensive percussions) and Bruford/Levin textures (in no small degree due to the Stick work provided by guest Hugo Santos, another Saena colleague of Zárate's). It is in this piece, more than on any other from this album, that Zárate's drumming comes to its maximum expression of swing and dynamics. No better way than this to end an album like this: "De La A A La Z" and Adrián Zárate are highly recommended to any prog and jazz collector with an open mind and an adventurous spirit.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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