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CONCIERTO DE EVOCACI?N SONORA

Senogul

Eclectic Prog


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Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the warm reception for Senogul's masterful debut release, the sophomore album "Concierto de Evocación Sonora" offers an entirely new trend from the band. The dominant use of fusion and ethnic elements in the album's repertoire results in a display of vibrant colors and textures encapsulated in an amazing variety of moods. More than a prog rock album per se, this effort is a ritual of sound. The concept behind this musical experiment also involved members from an interdisciplinary group called Hábitat. The opener 'Itamaracá' sets a very playful pace, peacefully stretching a candid motif through the easy-going vibe displayed in the rhythmic pace and instrumentation - in fact, the accordion never fails when it comes to delivering musical warmth. 'En Permanente Estado de Vigilia' is a whole different thing. This piece lasts 8 ½ minutes: the first section is focused on an extended, dreamy ambient, featuring mesmerizing synth layers; the last section is based on a subtle, minimalistic piano motif. The eerie mystery delivered on this piece gets some slightly weird variations when percussive and other sundry effects go appearing occasionally, ultimately ending with footsteps and clock alarms. 'Mae Floresta' persists on this generation of dreamy atmospheres, but this time the ethnic flavors dominate the sonic structure dearly. The section 'La Senda Verde' is a very gentle African celebration bathed in noticeable Latin moods; 'El Espíritu Que Nos Inunda' goes to Hindu-related places in a deeply soaring fashion, featuring a guest on clarinet; 'Las Almas Inmóviles' is set in a slow jazz-friendly framework, wrapped in a soaring atmosphere; the ethnic factor returns with a revenge for the track's last section 'La Naturaleza de la Vida', whose joyfully tribal pattern feels truly completed with the multiple percussive amalgamation, the intertwined woodwinds and vocal ornaments. There go 11 ¾ minutes of pure eclectic joy. 'Swaranjali (Sangama Mantra)' is yet another exercise on multiple, successive atmospheres sustained by the link of various motifs. A particularly grandiose section from this track is a slow-tempo psychedelic jam, liberal on Crimsonian guitar textures (a terrific lead, indeed) and full of dense nuances. Before and after that, the listener is greeted with zither, sitar, tempura Catalonian pipe, and even a sung mantra. 'Siete Lunas (La Canción del Nómada)' is a showcase for bassist/percussionist Pablo Canalis' explorations: it is a snippet of rhythmic cadence featuring kalimbas, Tibetan bowls and Jew's harp. 'De Nooijer' states an ethereal mood at the starting point, bringing a spacey melancholy that ultimately ends up evolving into a calm, symphonic climax. The track's coda centers on a fusionesque motif on marimba-like synth and dual guitar textures. 'Terra - Terreiro' is another track with individually entitled sections. 'El Mar Nuestro de Cada Día' indulges solemnly in some sort of ceremonial chanting, and so it happens that 'Un Canto a los Antepasados, la Conmemoración' brings this celebratory ambience to a more extroverted mood, featuring African percussions and a jazzy ensemble of piano and exotic reeds. 'Reflexiones del Día de Mañana Sobre una Roca Gris' portrays sounds of birds in the jungle, while 'Invocanción' and 'El Poder de la Madre Tierra' reiterate the gusto for ceremonial chanting, this time reinforcing the mystical aura implied in this imagery. The overall result of this 'Terra - Terreiro' concept is quite close to the sort of experimental environments performed by Jade Warrior during their Island days. 'Lughnassad' is deeply rooted in mesmeric waters, elaborating an oceanic atmosphere firstly featuring the grand piano, then the confluence of guitar effects and acoustic guitar washes. At some point, the piano reprises a motif from 'En Permanente Estado de Vigilia'. The sense of ethereal emotiveness delivered in this enchanting piece is followed by the playful reprise of 'Itamaracá' (on solo accordion) that ends this album, a great endavour from Spain to grace the world of prog in 2009. I'm sure there will be more suprises in store from this band in future times. 4 1/3 stars for this one.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#226754)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Images-evoking sounds by Senogul

As the name of this release suggests, we are presented with a variety of sounds to trigger our minds to imagine as we hear it and to go on a mental journey guided by Senogul's music. Do not choose to listen to this album because you liked the previous one. You'll find that not much resembles that one. Instead, listen to this if you're intrigued at the possibilities and the potential that Senogul has shown in their previous output and if you'd like to hear them in a different context; that is, in a creative and free-spirited setup.

As with their previous album, this release too is varied in style, though it's quite different its predecessor but in a good way. The album embarks on a world tour with the influences and sounds it incorporates into it: from African tribal rhythms and chants, to Indian music, to Spanish and South American flavoured melodies to abstract and free form avant-garde and electronic experimentation. The band employs a wide range of instruments and not only that but manages to conjure up and create a fascinating array of sounds and effects.

Their special ability to create convincing soundtrack-like aural vision can be heard in the second track, En permanente estado de vigilia, which travels through different states of mind: from calm to eerie and agitated, all very well presented with efficient use of percussion, piano and keyboards and a whole set of other instruments that create a horror movie-like scene. It sounds like a depiction of a nightmare and at the end the waking up. It is a splendid depiction of human distress in sounds.

With Mae Floresta vocals come in the picture to create a pleasant atmosphere, along with back up instruments all achieving a cool South-American (Brazilian) sounding theme. It then transforms into an abstract scene, where I imagine, due to the sound of water, a boat in the Amazon River, making its way peacefully among the exotic wildlife. Another section begins, as the previous fades out, when an electric guitar plays gently in a daydream-inducing manner, soon followed by gentle drumming and vocals singing wordlessly. It keeps on changing later on, but you get the picture. The transitions are done seamlessly. This track alone is a great example of the breadth of elements, fashions and approaches Senogul can take on in their music.

Swaranjali [Sangama Mantra] takes us to India next and alongside the section lead by the sitar and female vocals, they play a rock section that fits well with its more aggressive touch next to the trance-inducing sitar sound.

I could go on about the other pieces here, but I think the main point got across by now. What is left is for you to sample their music through their website and Myspace.

It is not often that one finds a group of musicians that is able to conjure up aural images so efficiently and to play in a wide range of styles and moods. Senogul is an ensemble of talented musicians that is a delight to listen to. I applaud them for the move with this album and for their willingness to release what is probably a hard to swallow release for most people. This requires, more than other albums, an active role of the listener and permanent attention to the music. Recommended for the listener looking for experimentation and eclecticism in music and soundscaping. I can't wait to hear what next they present us with.

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#231935)
Posted Sunday, August 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars From the silence comes the music

This is the kind of music in this 'Concierto de evocacion sonora' (concerto for aural impression) by Senogul. One needs to feel the silence before gathering into this album. Yes, this is not the natural way in our crowded-noisy-nervous world of the 21 century. But this is the appropriate way that comes to my mind. This state of mind recalls association of some ancient music, and also for world music. Indeed, there are world music elements here: The listener is about to visit in many places all around the world, such as Brazil, India, perhaps the Bali islands, (as far as I concerned) and more. But it is much more than your average superficial mish-mash world journey in so many 'new age' records. There is much more thoughtful and depth here.

Thematically, this concerto is build from 9 parts. Each track is a part of the whole 'concerto', and also good as a standalone one. Each track is made up of several pictures, or visions, that relate to the other track pictures associatively, and by sounds and sonorities. Do not expect here for a 'western', European by the book development, in spite of the 'Concerto' in this peace-of-music name. For further details, read the short assay that the band members themselves wrote on the inner notes of the disk. Among the pictures there are some pure soundscapes. So, the listener is set to a unique serenity, or meditation feel, before entering into the next picture.

In order to come down into some details and not just remaining in the high spheres which this album suggests, the album begins with a relatively 'innocent' tune, 'Itamaraca', featuring some vocals without words. But soon it emerges into a threatening piano and some other noises that turn out as a true nightmare. ('En permanente estado de vigilia'). This nightmare would come to a relief only with the help of the alarm clock. From now on we are in Brazil, ('Mae floresta') and than on we go.

Some memorable moments: the Brazilian batocada toward 'Mae floresta' end, the guitar solo in 'Swaranjali ? Sangama mantra', vibraphone a-la Steve Reich at 'De Nooijer', the beautiful vocal art doing just one world, 'Lughnassad' at 'Terra-terreiro' - shouts and whispers included, and the closing track, the wonderful execution of the 'Itamaraca' opening tune, in accordion, by Alejandro Martinez.

Sound and production are in a very high quality. Each instrument could be heard bright and clear. There is a minimal set of instruments at a time, but the whole instrumentation list is very long, and given for each track separately. The list contains a lot of exotic instrument, such as peculiar percussion, guitars, reeds and more.

In short, this one is highly recommended for those who are willing to listen to something else from the regular bass-drums-guitar-keyboards sound, and who could drop once in a while the demand for a 'western', by-the-book development and go for something little bit different, with much thoughtful and beauty.

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Send comments to ShW1 (BETA) | Report this review (#301896)
Posted Sunday, October 03, 2010 | Review Permalink

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