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Mar De Robles - Indígena CD (album) cover


Mar De Robles

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Four years after their debut album, Mar De Robles came out with an awesome release named "Indígena". Unlike "MdR", this album is purely instrumental except for little passages in "X_2000" and "Chileneos", and that means Lucho Tobar mostly played the sax and flute throughout it. The results are beautiful: 9 tracks of ethnic latin prog, chaotic at times and mellow at others, but this fulfills what we were expecting from the band. Every band member knows how to make his instrument sound like his own soul, being it Rodrigo's guitar or Ignacio's djembé, and that's extremely appreciated when listening to progressive music. I bought this and I can tell you that it is worth every cent and I give it four stars because I know Mar De Robles has much more to show and sooner or later will come out with a five-stars amazing records.

Recommended to: any fan of King Crimson, Focus and latin prog in general, specially fans of Akinetón Retard.

Be aware of this exquisite chilean band!!

Report this review (#124368)
Posted Saturday, June 2, 2007 | Review Permalink

This is indeed one of the best bands i´ve heard from South America and maybe the whole Latin America! I had the big, big luck to see these guys playing live in march this year and it was a blast, the way they took the stage and performed like only the experimented ones do, really amazed us all. Also i had the chance to meet Julio Tobar (Sax, flute player and singer) and Cristián Larrondo (Bass & stick) and let me tell you that they are very nice, young and humble guys. It was a great experience to chat with these extremely talented musicians.

OK, to the album... I did get to know this CD and their debut at the same time because i bought both arfter the concert and i really liked their first homonym disc but this second album is just something else. You can clearly hear the improvement of the compositions and their tighter and more original sound. Althought you can still listen to the KC influence, they reached maturity and creativeness at the top. Another thing i liked about this output is that Julio doesn't sing as much as the 1st album, and that's a good sign because they focused on the instrumental part which is their real strength (keep playing sax and flute pal !).

All of these guys are very high skilled musicians, and you can hear it as the songs progress, no one really overshadows another member. It is very common to say that the guitarist or the keyboardist (here doesn't exist) or X person is the leader or the dominant player of the band, but in this case the group is quite cohesive and you can enjoy equally all instruments (BTW they have both drummer and percussionist).

Without being exactly influences, i can hear some little flashes here and there from bands like Anekdoten(and KC of course), Rush, Cabezas De Cera, Fromuz, VDGG, Porcupine Tree, Naikaku, Jethtro Tull and Flor the Loto among others.

Highlights: THE FULL ALBUM!

I'm pleased to see how are emerging new great bands in all the different fields of Prog, like Fromuz in the Jazz-Rock fusion genre or Flor the Loto and Cabezas De Cera from Latin America, and the excellent Mar De Robles which fits in both categories i mentioned.

5 stars. Yes... 5

Viva el Prog!

Report this review (#133425)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars For their sophomore effort "Indígena", Mar Robles achived the ultimate confirmation of their ballsy, multi-textured and dynamic prog- fsuion style. Enhancing their robust side (particularly, the use of hard-rocking guitar riffs and Crimsonian cadences) and augmenting their input with the inclusion of Chpaman Stick, their music now has aquired a more hardened presence without losing an inch of the refreshing vibe that they portrayed oh so well in their excellent debut "MdR" some years ago. the fire never stops, it is always lit up, shining in ever-explosive colors, at times getting more subtle, but always in flames. It is amazing how the energy is consistently incandescent, yet the five performers create such a well-ensembled unit that the explosion is always under control: proof of Mar de Robles' talent as an outstanding prog act of our times. 'Chúcaro' opens up the album in categoric fashion, a perfect example of combination of fusion and psychedelia, a sort of hybrid between Ergo Sum and Gordian Knot. The track's aggressive vibe gets enriched with successive elements of jazz-fusion and funk rock that go on with the track's development until the initial theme's reprise. Eight minutes of pure musical excitement. 'X_2004' allows the band to continue delivering their energetic mixture of various moods and motifs, this time with a lesser degree of complexity. 'Perimontu' kind of follows a similar scheme, ony with a more mteiculous and challenging management of contrasts between the various moods, hence generating an incredible sense of tension and adventure. The dialogues betwee nflute and guitar add up to the track's overall sophistication. If 'Chúcaro' had been the perfect entrance, this number serves as a perfect assurance of the album's general statement. 'Rancagua Nocturno' bears an ostensibly agile vibe, heading fluidly toward the more avantgarde side of the band, with that heavy-rocking tribal interlude that intrudes the candid colorfulness of the first motif. The ethereal textures that flood across the final motif are simply awesome, becoming incresaingly dreamy as the fade-out approaches. A real highlight, together with tracks 1 & 3, also, a genuine paradigm of MDR's sound. After these 26 minutes, the band is far from exhausted, as the delirant frenzy of 'Aborigen' shows, all over its sick funny vibe - this piece includes an inserted tribal section, dynamically interrupting its flow as a breath from a parallel universe. 'Sobreviviente' gets started with some Stick's spacey chord progressions, very much a-la "Disciplne"-era Levin. This is, all in all, an interlude to yet another exhibition of powerful fire by the whole ensemble. 'Chileneos' is set on a 6/8 tempo with a lilting mood, a thing that the band takes advantge of to explore their occasional eerie side; that is until the frenzy side emerges at its most Crimsonian. Not unlike track 4, the one that bears the same title as the band's name incarnates an example of the band's versatile ideology: hard psychedelic rock, jazz-fusion, Crimsonian ornaments, all of them fused in a compact progressive unit. Finally, 'Ubuntu' closes dwon the album with a major emphasis on teluric cadences and rhythms, which helps the rhytm section to assume a more prominent role than usual, especialy during the climatic passages. In conclusion, "Indígena" reveals itself as a masterful work that invigorates both MDR's CV and South America's prog scene in a crucial manner - the dramatically abrupt ending of the closer 'Ubuntu' proves tremendously effective for this Mar de Robles masterpiece.
Report this review (#141093)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars MAR DE ROBLES have become my favourite band from Chile, and that's saying something considering how many bands I really like from this country. After their amazing debut they have come out with "Indigena" which in my opinion is even better. I completely agree with Fran's comments in his excellent review. These guys actually create a sound that could be called Heavy-Prog because it has a ton of bottom end, but the sax and flute really make this music special. Oh, and once again there are no keyboards. I would be foolish not to mention the lead guitarist who offers up a nice variety of styles, and can absolutely shred when he wants to.

"Chucaro" opens with some outstanding bass as drums pound and sax plays over top. Guitar starts to add some fire in this uptempo gem.This sounds so good. Check out the guitar 2 1/2 minutes in ! Flute 4 minutes in sounds so cool as the tempo continues to shift. The sax is back before 7 minutes. "X_2004" features drums, bass and some great sax work. The guitar comes in with some blistering melodies. It becomes spacey as sax plays after 2 minutes. Nice bass lines after 3 1/2 minutes as vocals come in briefly. "Perimontu" is a little more relaxed as gentle guitar and bass are joined by flute. Drums and bass become prominant. The sound sort of fades in and out then flute returns. Lots of atmosphere. "Rancagua Nocturno" opens with atmospheric guitar as bass comes in. It picks up as flute arrives a minute in. Great sound. Percussion a minute later followed by some aggressive guitar and sax. The best part might be when the bass solo before 4 minutes is followed by some killer guitar. It becomes atmospheric after 5 minutes. Nice. Beautiful sax melodies follow. What a song ! "Aborigen" opens with a heavy soundscape as angular guitar solos over top. It lightens some as sax comes in before it gets heavy again. I love the rhythm after 2 minutes. Native chanting before 3 minutes before the guitar rips it up.

"Sobreviviente" takes a minute to kick in but man when it does it's a wall of sound. A change after 2 minutes as we get some atmosphere. A psychedelic climate arrives as flute plays. It's loud again before 4 minutes and check out the guitar ! "Chileneos" has a dark intro as sax comes blasting in with heavy bass. The tempo picks up after 3 minutes as the guitar makes some noise and vocals come in. It gets really heavy before 4 1/2 minutes. A calm follows. Heavy drums end that a minute later as the guitar fills the soundscape with metal. I like when bands have a song named after themselves. "Mar De Robles" is a good example of the bands strengths. Heavy bass and drums with scorching guitar. Flute and sax later. Excellent track. "Ubuntu" opens with atmospheric guitar as sax comes in. Amazing sound ! It gets heavy duty sounding as bass and drums provide a ton of bottom end as sax continues. You have to hear this ! Flute 4 1/2 minutes in.

This is all just perfect for my taste in music.

Report this review (#167132)
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars With this album Mar de Robles consolidates its music, and consolidates itself as an important band in these lands. Indígena is similar in style to MdR, but augmented in quality. Indígena is a great album that is a little difficult at times to me. I don't know, it's no easy for me, for instance, to understand the last part of Rancagua Nocturno, or to clearly picture Chileneos. Some times I find myself just hearing the songs, but when I get to really concentrate on the music, the answer is only one: brilliant.

Here again we have a mix of native sounds with some anger exposed more obliquely now, like in Chúcaro, in a confusing way of playing the riffs. Here again is present a second percussion building the pillars of the music. Here again stands out Cristian Larrondo, playing fretless base and stick all the album long. Hey, there are also traditional basses!

Here is an almost entire instrumental album, with just a couple of lines here and there, just like a complimentary resource. Here is a really sincere album, with five musicians playing what they want to play. Here, one of the good products of these our lands of Chile, one to recommend to people outside there.

Report this review (#207101)
Posted Saturday, March 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The four years that separate their two first releases was definitely well spent. The band is in full flight on this excellent record. From the start to end there's a strong feeling or urgency emanating from the music which is given a more aggressive edge this time around. The whole album is overwhelmingly catchy and while Christián Larrondo shows us his agility on the Chapman Stick and fretless bass, the wind instruments and percussions add to the already organic feel with the scarce vocals coming in as a support for the instrumentation or as climactic agent. Tribal elements can be heard throughout and hints of Chilean folklore also appear. The musicianship is very well executed with everyone complementing each other and no one trying to overdo it, in fact the compositions are attributed to the band as a whole.

This is really something you must listen too and I'm sure many of you, as I, will enjoy letting the whole thing play throughout, and again?

Report this review (#268881)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Indígena is one of those obscure albums that received raving reviews from the few in the know. At first the high praise made complete sense, but gradually, my first impression of having found yet another gem that fell through the cracks of the mainstream has waned to a more regular appreciation.

Mar De Robles play a very Crimson-inspired type of jazz-rock with touches of Latin music. The hard edged jazzy guitar playing and funky rhythms bring Crimson albums such as Discipline and Thrak to mind. Apart from some occasional Latin vocals, Indígena remains entirely instrumental. The Crimson-goes-fusion style is also very reminiscent of Djam Karet, but when comparing Mar De Robles to that band, Djam Karet is sure the more original and interesting option for me.

One of the main problems is how safe and predictable the album sounds after a while. The playing is competent and energetic, and the ripping guitar solos especially are great, but the compositions disappoint. I miss an element of surprise and adventure in the songs, and at times the album even sounds formulaic and uninspired. There are sparkling moments as on Rancagua Nocturno or Cileneos, but there is also average material such as Mar De Robles and Ubuntu.

This is a solid album from competent musicians, but it lacks originality and the songwriting creativity to live up to the true masters in the field. Recommended to fans of the jazzy instrumental side of King Crimson and Djam Karet. There are flashes of excellence, but not enough of them to warrant 4 stars.

Report this review (#287873)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second album from this Chilean band is really enjoying one! Plenty of energy, very optimistic sound, elements of Latin folklore added...

Just to imagine their music there, just think about King Crimson ( who is their huge influence!) with characteristic Stick angular sound, played on a Latin manner - with Chilean flute, Latin folk elements, nice melodic sax, few jazz fusion arrangements and plenty of metal guitars over it.

All the music is not complex, but more dynamic, energetic, oriented more to your heart, not minds. Compositions are quite different, and all the album is pleasant and accessible listening. For sure, you will feel King Crimson shadows on every step there, but it looks guys don't worry too much about it. They just play music they like on their own, Latin metal fusion manner.

Don't expect to find some new things there - this album is great energizer, and it's enough! Not the music for jazz fusion fans for sure, but those with love to KC legacy, Latin flavour and melodic metal guitars would like it I think.

P.S. Mostly instrumental work, it has few vocals on The Mars Volta manner (In Spanish).

My rating is 3+.

Report this review (#293552)
Posted Friday, August 6, 2010 | Review Permalink

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