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Ibio - Cuevas de Altamira CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.26 | 35 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ibio's "Cuevas de Altamira" is a very impressive Spanish prog recording from the late 70s. What particularly impresses me most of the band's overall style is their ability to fluidly combine the bright colours of Northern Spanish folk and the somber ambiences of their sound, in which the leading role is assumed by Mario Gómez's layers on mellotron, Moog and Solina synths. Sometimes the band seems eager to invite the listener to evoke a walk along a dark cave, which is not frightening nor scary, but mysterious in a strange kind of way: the sense of mystery is filled with the magical interplay created in tandem by the guitar and the keyboard parts (harmonies, solos), while the rhythm section performs their sustaining role with confidence and precision. The listener may find in Ibio some stylistic coincidences with what Apoteosi and Corte dei Miracoli had been doing in Italy, and Granada in the Iberian Peninsula itself. Definitely, Ibio's overall sound has a definitive Southern European flavor in it, not really close to anything that was being done - or had been done - in the UK (prog rock's fatherland). The opening title track is a bit deceitful, since its somewhat oppressive, melancholy mood is not precisely an accurate indication of most of the stuff that will come afterwards: its languid tempo serves more as a delicate, reflective introduction to the musical world of Ibio than as a sample of their most recurrent vivid facets. These facets are more suitably represented in the up-tempo 'Romance del Conde Lara', as well as in 'La Virulencia del Ferrocarril' - explosive guitar solos in here - and 'Pastor', two of the most outstanding pieces in the album. The closure 'La Baila de Ibio' is my fave track: the basic musical theme is quite simple, yet it is delivered with great inventiveness, in a combination of folkish exultation and psychedelic density (in some ways, this track reminds me of Fusioon). These three pieces together conform Ibio's main statement. I happen to find 'Las Chicas de Laredo' and 'A lo Alto y a lo Bajo' a bit less interesting than the aforementioned numbers, but still they are quite exciting to listen to, particularly for that folkish factor the band clings to, celebrating their own musical roots while reconstructing them in a prog manner. In conclusion: "Cuevas de Altamira" is an excellent recording from a country full of beautiful progressive surprises.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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