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Planeta Imaginario - Optical Delusions CD (album) cover


Planeta Imaginario


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.88 | 35 ratings

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Sancho Panza
4 stars Optical Delusions, the 2011 album from Spanish fusion outfit Planeta Imaginario, serves us rich jazz rock with constantly changing rhythmic structures that characterize Frank Zappa and the Canterbury scene. There is an excellent balance between the interplay of instruments, with none dominating the whole song or given the whole share of freedom within the phrasing of the song. While some sections are complex and tightly composed, other sections lay down a steady beat so that all of the instruments can jam and improvise.

Whenever the rhythm gets predictable on this album, there are layers added or there is a flourish that keeps you interested and moving. There is almost a big band sound that comes from the horns playing in harmony. The solo piano and horn interludes that are interspersed throughout the songs provide a relaxing break from the varied instrumentation and complex composition.

The first half of "Collective Action" quickly shows us the layered jazz jams and rich rhythms that are all throughout the album. After another piano interlude, however, there is a tightly composed section with constantly changing time signatures and rhythms which provides a satisfying rest before a steady drum, bass, and keyboard beat accompanies a horn solo. "The Garden of Happy Cows" distinguishes itself after the first few minutes when the band launches into a breakdown which slowly gains layers and complexity until the instruments can unite again with a melody that transitions into a piano interlude. "Hemangioma" and "The Sea...and Later the Sun...and the Reflection" are also noteworthy for their slowly building climaxes. "Xarramandusca" has a much larger number of free jazz sections which provide an atmosphere that breaks up the light upbeat feel of the rest of the album. The opening of "Angioma" shows the compositional characteristics of progressive rock, with changes that are unpredictable but go well with the song structure. "Sidewalk Licker" begins with a meditative piano solo which sets the mood perfectly for the beats to follow.

This album makes it clear that Planeta Imaginario has many influences all across the musical spectrum. Optical Delusions never loses your attention because of the amount of musical variety that is being showcased. Anybody that's a fan of energetic rhythms, rich composition, and layered instrumentation should find a lot to enjoy on this album.

Sancho Panza | 4/5 |


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