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Lalo Huber - Lost in Kali Yuga CD (album) cover


Lalo Huber


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4 stars Lalo Huber is a very skillful keyboardist well-known from Argentinian band "Nexus". His first solo album is quite similar to music presented by his main group which is dynamic symphonic rock with neo-prog tendencies. Just like in "Nexus" music is loaded with Hammond organ and synthesizers (both digital & Moog). However there are 2 differences:

- no electric guitar

- Lalo adds more electronic music elements in his solo album

But it doesn't change a thing that "Lost In Kali Yuga" should be listened by all fans of "Nexus" as a good addition to this band's collection.

1. "All Computers Die" - unfortunately album doesn't start too well. We can treat it as an atmospheric intro to this record...but it's still boring. Floating synthesizers, no drums or bass. It's very near to electronic prog a la J.M. Jarre, Vangelis, Brian Eno or Klaus Schulze and bring me memories of Don Airey's "Light in the sky" album (which I've reviewed few days ago). However Don included few such tracks which were about 1 minute long, while "All Computers Die" is more than 3 min., and it's not easy to keep an attention so long time listening such ambient music (anyway for me).

2. "Universal Legion" - fortunately next track is a really splendid instrumental very much in the vain of "Nexus" best staff. Pompous synthesizers flights, dynamic percussion and - the most important - sharp as razor Hammond organ runs. If you already like "Nexus" you know what you can expect here, if you don't I can explain to you in one simple sentence: Keith Emerson meets Keiko Kumagai ("Ars Nova") meets Toshio Egawa ("Gerard")...

3. "To Play and Die" - it's the first composition where we can listen to Lalo's voice (all lyrics are sang in English on this album)...and it's not too impressive to be honest but quite suits mellow atmosphere of the song which blend neo-progressive rock with (again) some electronic noodling. Lots of sting-like synthesizers, a little organ in the background (not too audible) and quite lazy drumming style (of Lalo's friend from his band - Luis Nakamura). It's not very bad, but 4 minutes instead of 8+ would be enough.

4. "The Entangled World (Lost in Kali Yuga Part I)" - after sleepy last song, Huber comes back to what he does the best: ELP-inspired, high-speed symphonic instrumental suite. Ultra fast organ runs with typical for this keyboardist percussion effect (which brings resemblance to "Tarkus") very well "melt" in synthesizers solos and leads (it seems from time to time instead of modern keys we can also hear some good-old Moog in this composition). Lalo Huber surely proves that he's nowadays master of Hammond & real successor of 70s symph-prog tradition.

5. "Still I Sense Your Hand" - this one is very similar to song "To Play and Die". The pace of the song is very mellow/relaxing and vocals are also "lazy" and they seem to be heavily electronic transcoded. However I like this one a bit more because keyboards emulate more interesting sounds here. We have no Hammond at all, but Lalo's synths are varied from flute-like to pipe organ & strings imitations or eternal sounds similar to mellotron. Not bad but just like the previous neo meets electronic song ("To Play and Die") too long and repetitive.

6. "Last Trip in Buenos Aires" - this track is the only real surprise on the album. It breaks "equation" of soft song/dynamic instrumental/soft song (and so on) structure of the album 'cos this is...jazz-rock composition. It seems it's the first time we have occasion to check out Huber's electric piano skills! The beginning of the song really reminds me of Brian Auger's instrumentals, in 2:30 minute synth (Moog?) solo joins the party which seems to be out of place...but in fact isn't. After several seconds another surprise...harmonium solo. I don't know when last time I've heard this instrument (probably in last Beardfish's album "Destined Solitaire"). In the middle of the track Hammond organ kicks in again and doesn't leave as until the end of the "Last Trip in Buenos Aires". This 3 minutes organ spot is really fantastic and shows that Lalo is very talented keyboardist who can perfectly sounds jazzy and symphonic in the same time.

7. "In the Labyrinth (Lost in Kali Yuga Part II)" - jsut like "Universal Legion" & "The Entangled World (Lost in Kali Yuga Part I)" this is another progressive rock delight. As usual ELP, Triumvirat, Collegium Musicum, Ars Nova, Gerard, Social Tension influences are obvious, however I'd like to stress that in this suite music the most reminds me of Russian band Little Tragedies, especially "busy"-sounding synthesizers are very similar. In general: swirling Hammond all over the place!

8. "Failed to Feel (Lost in Kali Yuga Part III)" - after highly exciting last epic, Lalo comes back to more electronic sounding music full of eternal synthesizers, digital sounding piano and decoded vocal with echo effects. I can't say that it's bad song. Some arrangements are even very enjoyable for my ears (like simple acoustic guitar licks played by Lalo himself) and calm synthesizer (Moog?) solo in the middle is very atmospheric. But as I said before, if it was a bit shorter, would be better.

9. "The Hecatomb (Lost in Kali Yuga Part IV)" - as title suggests this is a real BOMB. The longest composition is again an instrumental one...and it's a good one too. High pitched synthesizer leads and backings (think "Little Tragedies" again), but mainly heavy organ riffs and solos with this incredible percussion effects makes it the real highlight of the album. It's a real heaven for keyboards-oriented prog! No time for boring moments here, Lalo shows that only few artists these days can keep up with his technical skills. When you listen to this epic you'll surely believe in all these stories that Lalo often leaves blood on his Hammond during "Nexus" concerts...

10. "Back to Dust" - church bell is followed by massive, digital synth sound and we know that we reached farewell track of "Lost in Kali Yuga" album. This is another mix of mellow electronic & neo-prog. Eternal synthesizers, slow tempo, strange-sounding voice, this kinda staff. Near the end of the song J.M.Jarre/Vangelis/Tangerine Dream mood appears again. So the circle of the album is closed.

It's difficult to summarize this album because tries to mix 2 completely different styles (IMHO..): dynamic, organ driven symphonic prog rock in the best 70s tradition with electronic music, and additionally he also puts some inch of neo-prog for good (?..) measure. Quite clear formula of the album: one slow song with mainly mellow synthesizers "landscapes" and pianos, after that fast one with organ and more aggressive synths and again soft one, reminds me another Huber's project called Subliminal and their (only) album called "Limbo Experiment". Similar concept of building albums has Japanese prog keyboardist Motoi Sakuraba which is especially evident on his album "Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks". Who I can recommend this album? Many people! Especially I can recommend it to fans of "Nexus" and "Subliminal", and it's obvious. But in general I recommend it too all fans of modern keyboards oriented prog with clear 70's sympathies like Gerard, Ars Nova, Social Tension, Little Tragedies, Motoi Sakuraba, Par Lindh Project, Ryo Okumoto (solo), Don Airey (solo) and so on. I'm sure that people who only listen to "traditional" seventies staff like ELP, Triumvirat, Refugee, The Nice, Collegium Musicum, Le Orme, UK or The Trip will also find a big please while listening to Lalo Huber's solo effort.

Best tracks: "The Hecatomb (Lost in Kali Yuga Part IV)" and "In the Labyrinth (Lost in Kali Yuga Part II)"

I was thinking what rating will be appreciate for his recording. While about 35-40% of "Lost in Kali Yuga" isn't so exciting for me, the rest is a full blown symphonic prog with incredible Hammons runs so I can't give it less than 4 stars.

Report this review (#283370)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 really

Lalo Huber is one of the most underated keybordist I've ever known, being the founder and main composer of argentinian prog rock band Nexus and aswell part of Subliminal band also from Argentina. He release his first solo album in 2009 named Lost in Kali yuga, a great ride in Lalo's universe dominated by keyboards. helped here by drumer from Subliminal Luis Nakamura he did a great job on this release. Lalo playes on all instruments here minus the drums of course and aswell did the vocal parts. What I expected from this album is what I get, ELP influence album but combined with more sounds and layers from his keyboards , also he provides more electronic parts then the masters and the result is quite good most of the time. Is not an electronic album for sure, is symphonic prog, where the synthesizers, hammond flows perfectly from one piece to another, dynamic album with up tempo pieces, the more relaxed are with voice, Lalo's voice is not a fantastic one, but is warm and fits perfect in this context, a perfect example is To Play and Die, great track. Atmospheric passages are melted with more furious ones, not far from his main band Nexus only there is no guitars here like on Nexus, giving an enjoyble atmosphere, his skilss are excellent, wuth some intristing ideas and well balanced pieces. Even is not an excellent allbum , at least for me, for sure is a good towards great release, I'm bothering about manner of composing and I mean, to much time the pieces sound almost the same one to another, and aswell the album is to long, almost 80 min of music, I think is little to much, if it were shorter with 20-25 min then for sure were something diffrent and more focused. Anyway a pleasent album coming from this little know keyboardist from Argentina that for sure needs a wider recognition. 3 rounded to 3.5 for the great 4 parts of the Lost in Kali Yuga piece.

Report this review (#589817)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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