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Amoeba Split - Second Split CD (album) cover


Amoeba Split


Canterbury Scene

3.96 | 100 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Proving that the English Canterbury Scene jazz-rock of the 1970s has long evolved past the geographical location and into a unique nook of the world of progressive rock, Spain's AMOEBA SPLIT has been active since as far back as 2001 but hasn't been the most prolific band since as i write this in the year the 2023, the band is only now about to release its third album. In fact it took nine years for the debut "Dance Of The Goodbyes" to emerge and then another six for this sophomore effort SECOND SPLIT to follow. This band was formed in the Galician city of A Coruña and has nurtured the retro sounds of such acts as Soft Machine, Supersister, The Muffins, Hatfield & The North and Robert Wyatt and carried the torch proudly into the 21st century with only a smattering of other bands following suit.

One of the reasons for these long delays between albums seems to be that the members of this band are studio perfectionists with large swaths of tones and timbres all polished smoothly like a diamond into a sparkling production-rich extravaganza. Whereas the debut featured a lineup of five with a brief cameo guitarist, SECOND SPLIT goes above and beyond the call of duty with a new roster of six band members and another eight guest musicians adding all kinds of supplemental sounds that give SECOND SPLIT a much more robust plentitude of musical fortitude. Of the five members of the debut, only four have returned for round two with the most notable difference between the two albums being that vocalist / flautist María Toro has left the band and SECOND SPLIT features no vocal parts at all. This album is exclusively instrumental which allows for more complex instrumental interplay to unfold.

While the band's primary underpinning centers around the dueling keyboard parts of Ricardo Castro Varela and Alberto Villarroya López, the addition of the new member Rubén Salvador on trumpet and flugelhorn brings AMOEBA SPLIT's sound even further into the world of jazz-fusion and add yet several guest musicians who contribute violin, viola and cello, likewise the already rich musical entourage is fortified by elements of classically infused chamber rock. The other new member Eduardo "Dubi" Baamonde took over Toro's flute duties but also serves as a tenor sax player so in essence with the exception of the vocal parts, SECOND SPLIT pretty much takes the template laid down on the debut release and takes everything to the next level.

Keeping more in line with a classic album's playing time of over 41 minutes rather than the bloated hour plus playtime of the debut, SECOND SPLIT offers a more sophisticated approach that sounds like the perfect mix of classic 70s moog and vibraphone infused jazz-rock fusion and fortified with all the warmth and familiarity of classic Canterbury sounds that range from those unique chord progressions, psychedelic overtones and light, breezy musical passages that offer just enough hooks to keep your senses enthralled but laced with enough hi-brow complexities to give your more intellectual sensibilities a stellar workout. Given the lack of lyrics, SECOND SPLIT doesn't provide the comic whimsical relief that many a classic Canterbury act would excel in and instead delves into the meaty compositional staples that make this subgenre of the world of jazz-fusion so endearing and enduring.

With only six tracks, four of which are more than eight minutes long, the music is on the mellow side with plenty of musical motifs allowed to develop slower and slowly unfold. Tracks like "Those Fading Hours" are light and fluffy like musical representations of clouds slowly shapeshifting in the sky as they hover at glacial speeds above. Other tracks like "Clockwise" and "Backwards All The TIme" are a bit more upbeat with stealthy bass grooves, jazz-fusion grit and robust horn sections that are brass rock in essence only steered into the retro vaults of classic Soft Machine's instrumental jazz classics of the early 1970s. Although i loved the band's debut i think i love this one a tad bit more simply because i find their idiosyncratic take on the Canterbury jazz scene is best suited for instrumental interplay. No sophomore slump here. This is excellent musical mojo strutting itself in full Canterbury regalia!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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