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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars iX is the musical Project created and led by Giuglio Cesare Della Noce alongside his usual commitments to Témpano. The varied musical offering comprised in "Ora Pro Nobis" gives no signs of shyness at all when it comes to displaying colorful sets of ideas within the frame of a concept-album. Once you have listened to the whole album you have valid reason to suspect that a large amount of the most bizarre compositions in Témpano's repertoire come from this individual mind. This is an album in which a multitude of sources from symphonic rock, chamber rock, jazz, ambient, electronica and avant-garde set an amalgam of kaleidoscopic sounds, sometimes linked in a fluid succession, other times wisely juxtaposed. The recurrent use of sampled voices plus the occasional presence of choral arrangements and orchestral textures helps to build a full-swing ambience into some of the most climatic passages of the album. There is a price to pay for all this exercise on free spirit and that is putting the potential cohesiveness in danger of collapsing into itself. I personally think that sometimes the album bears a disjointed feel, but mostly the results of this experimentation turn out to be well accomplished and quite distinct. Regarding this matter, it is only laudable that there's still room for inventiveness and uniqueness in the world of contemporary prog music. The namesake opener is just a brief series of Latin and Spanish prayers soon joined by martial percussions and disturbing keyboard layers that make the whole thing shift from the mystic to the sordid. This creepy introduction gives way to 'The Expert', an essentially jazz-prog piece with a rhythm section based on electro-jazz and melodic colors based on a confluence of symphonic and fusion (this sounds somewhat related to Témpano's "The Agony & the Ecstasy"). 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' goes to similar frontiers, albeit with a more pompous scheme and a major presence of electronically driven psychedelic elements. As a humorous description, let me say that this is something Ozric Tentacles would have written after spending two days in a row listening only to Art Zoyd and Univers Zero records. The final section of 'Seven Pillars' states an amazing climax, which only makes the brief piano sonata 'Keyla' serve as a pertinent contrast, a moment of melancholy and contemplation elaborated in a climate of serenity. This contemplative stance is completed with the stylish power ballad 'Ocaso': Edith Salazar's vocal delivery brings a soul-friendly vibe to the track. 'Hombres Honorables' and 'Radiante' are two successive highlights: the former is an amazing sonic journey that may instantly remind us of "De Profundis"-era After Crying. This chamber-rock orientation is taken to a higher level of complexity in the demanding 'Radiante', an exercise on visceral avant-garde that brings on the most defiant facet of Della Noce's vision. There are moments in which the sounds seem to flirt with a mysterious silence, while others ramble through the oppressive realms of creepiness. 'Warriors' and 'The Promised Mind' take us back to the symphonic-meets-modern jazz territory that had made the most of tracks 2 and 3 - 'Warriors' includes pleasant Arabesque nuances in its melodic development, while 'The Promised Mind' displays a straightforward joyful mood. Both tracks are the most Témpano-related numbers in the album. The mid-ballad 'Invocando a la Luz' closes down the album with a clever combination of simplistic melodies and reasonably charged ornaments, very coherent with what one can simply expect from a progressive album that ends on a solemn note. "Ora Pro Nobis" is the undisputed symptom of musical excellence: this album and Odrareg's "God's Garden" will help the prog collector to better grasp the essence of Témpano.
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Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 | Review Permalink

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