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Zaal - Onda Quadra CD (album) cover

ONDA QUADRA

Zaal

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.86 | 9 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Agostino Macor continues to explore, elaborate and develop his jazz-prog vision in thsi vehicle named Zaal. "Onda Quadra" is an excellent successor to the debut album "La Lama Sottile" (which included his friend and also progressive workaholic Fabio Zuffanti as a special guest). Now, with a massively modified line-up, Macor & co. instill bigger dosis of stamian to the fusion elements within the refurbished sound of the band, which implies that they have taken good advantage of the rhythmic trio (drummer, bassist and percussionist). On the other hand, the level of nu-jazz atmospheres remains quite solid, even becoming more recurrent, while the ambient thing has receded a bit. In a few words, the band has managed to keep a musical axis intact without quitting the need to renew the musical purpose, and so the listener can get the impression that they are already familiar with the basic foundations of the Zaal's style but the album in itself is far from comfortably cloning teh debut release. Going to the repertoire itself, the 1 1/2 minute long prologue 'Antefatto' displays a mood of minimalistic expectation before the polished vigor of 'Quinto Palindromo' delivers a lovely exercise in fusion a 5/4 tempo: I find this track quite inspirational from Weather Report and pre-Connors Return To Forever. The percussion is quite vital to sustain the overall swing, while the sax and the trumpet deliver magical phrases as if the notes were pencils and not actual sounds. Right beofre the 4-minute frontier, a languid passage delivers a moment of introspective psychedelia, almost like a sad scene from a David Lynch movie. Once the central fusion motif returns, it does so with a vengeance, bearing an augmented intensity that fgoes all the way until the climax finalizes. Things have really started in an exciting way. 'Contare In Cerchio' sounds almost like a homage to the intro of the Crinsomian classic 'Exiles', an abstract musical journey that does not anticipate the soft, velvety warmth of 'Dyane 6', once again, prog-fusio at its best. This has to be one of the most moving compositions in any of the two Zaal recordings. Well, the next track is 'Reveil (In The Capsule)': the intro theme is quite cosmic, and then the main body delivers a nu-jazz ambience filled with tranquil nostalgia and a soft sense of constrained joy. 'ZLG Reprise' t firs tseems aimed at a continuation of the preceding track's mood, but soon it turns more extroverted and vivid, not unlike 'Quinto Palindromo' or 'Dyane 6', only this time the band generates a more ambitious melodic construction. This piece is so patently colorful that one cannot point at a particular climatic moment that stands out above others, not even its contagious final section. This is why it makes sense that 'Epilogo' should close down thsi album with its minimalistic atmopsheres and cosmic airs. This track sounds like a hybrid of Tortoise and mid-70s Tangerine Dream, and indeed it wouldn't have been out of place as part of Rohmer's namesake album (yet another project involving Macor and Zuffanti). This is a great album, indeed, a musical jewel waiting to be purchaed and enjoyed by any lover of prog music with a jazzy twist, or contemporary fusion, or just experimental modern music that is more sugfestive than strident. Zaal rules!
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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