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Amoeba Split - Dance of the Goodbyes CD (album) cover


Amoeba Split


Canterbury Scene

4.08 | 81 ratings

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4 stars NOBODY expects The Spanish Inquisition!!!!!

There´s been an ongoing thread about styles of music that are slowly dying out, and sure enough the whimsical shading of jazz - also known as Canterbury has been mentioned too. In listening to this album by Spanish group Amoeba Split, it sounds rather ludicrous and ill-informed, and it is certainly hard to see any sort of justification behind such a claim. -And yes you read it right - they´re from Spain!

This has to be the first album I´ve ever heard out of Spain, that plays this style of music. When I started out listening to the likes of Caravan, Gong, Hatfield & the North and Matching Mole, the sounds of Canterbury appeared to be a very English take on fusion, - meaning that sentences like "Tea my dear?" and "Top of the morning to you ol´ boy!" in some weird and slightly complex manner got transformed into chords and music. There´s a lot of Monty Python in it, at least according to this slightly mad listener, - and I certainly hear the mad piss-taking and demented nonsense tongue-in-cheek-humour conveyed in the music. -Especially in those English bands...

Then, what happens when we are met by Japanese, French, Dutch, Italian - and in this case Spanish acts, who venture out in these Limey board walks? Generally we get introduced to some inherent endemic musical trades from said country elegantly weaved together with the English madness, and alakazoo!: a genuine bastard in drag is born! But not on this album as it turns out...

Amoeba Split sounds very much like the good old English Canterbury bands, and could easily be mistaken for being one - except for the crucial moment, when you read those credits and you find names like Pablo and Alberto listed. When I say that they sound like the Canterbury acts of yesteryear, I mean that as the biggest compliment conceivable, as this band truly has found a sound of their own. Somewhere between pastoral symphonic folk tinged fusion to jaw breaking bone crunching whimsical jazz with all that we could ever ask of the wind instruments regarding maniacal bird modes and jumping tirades of beautiful melody laden flute whistling.

The female vocals here done by Maria Toro remind me a bit of a more tender version of COS siren Pascal Son. She can be everything from your cool, slick and laid-back jazz singer doing her best to entice you with a tiny crackling in her voice that slips into the words from time to time, but then again she can also sound dangerous and dark like some Russian mistress from your local House of Pain - delivering her goods with pointy snake-tongue and fire in her eyes - like a beautiful demon with a forceful trait to her voice that exudes that certain feminine devilish power, that imprisons and stupefies the weaker sex.

Beyond those characteristic vocals, Dance of the Goodbyes is packed full of piano, organ and saxophone -and it´s here we get introduced to those old school Canterbury conquistadors. Without ripping them off in an insincere and blatantly brown nose approach - keys man Ricardo Castro Varela certainly utilizes some of the same sonic pastures as Dave Stewart and David Sinclair - and especially in those organ leads, I find myself going back into those images of the pinkish mountains of In the Land of Grey and Pink. It´s done in a very convincing way, and I can certainly appreciate the skill of this guy, as he just like Sinclair frequently chooses to play more conservatively in the leads - and rather sticks to those notes that really flies like the wind, instead of complicating things with unnecessary fondling. I hear the Dave Stewart link in the way he plays the piano, and it gives off that extra bouncy feel to the music - like had it been equipped with go-go gadget boots and a pogo-stilt with an unnatural feel for notes and interplay.

This is music for the rainy days, when you need some cheering up and you just need tunes that hug you like an old friend wearing a big woolly sweater. On the other hand it may just work played at a ridiculously high level down at the beach, the day you´ve decided to share your love of neon yellow g-strings to the world - and all you want back is sand between your toes and frisky breezes in your hair to go together with the colourful music.

This is certainly recommended to all you Canterbury heads out there, and to those of you who would like to travel a bit outside the normal barriers of the fusion world, and get a little taste of some rather original and deliciously played Canterbury that sports a love of the gentleness of symphonic folk and ethereal foggy jazz - all wrapped up in a neat package with vocals from a woman who knows about the weight of the world and will turn against you when you´re not looking, for then to cradle you in her arms and whisper soft bitter-sweet melodies in your ear.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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