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Metamorfosis - Papallones I Elefants CD (album) cover

PAPALLONES I ELEFANTS

Metamorfosis

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Gerinski
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A very little known treasure of spanish prog deserving to be rediscovered.

Metamorfosis was finally classified as Jazz Rock / Fusion in PA and although I do not argue the decision it is worth to start by saying that it contains quite a lot of symphonic prog as well, and it will please symphonic fans as well as those of jazz rock, and probably quite a few of eclectic prog. Influences range from the purely jazzy such as Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock to actual symphonic such as early King Crimson, Bacamarte and even PFM or a bit of ELP, passing by the fusion of Weather Report or the also spanish Iceberg in their instrumental era. However they do not mix so much the styles together but rather alternate fragments of each style.

This is their only album, totally instrumental and released in 1982 although hearing the music one could think that it's from 7 or 8 years earlier. In full honesty this is probably a 4 star album but by virtue of its obscurity and because it's impressively well played and recorded for such a modest project, I have been generous and given it 5 stars.

Keyboardist Jaume Montcusi wrote 4 out of the 5 tracks, but the funny thing is that the only track not written by him, "Morir per Viure" written by guitarist Luis Garcia, is maybe the best IMHO. One wonders that if Garcia had written more of the material the album might have been even better!

The opener title track "Papallones i Elefants" (all the titles are in catalan language and this one means "Butterflies and Elephants") has a totally symphonic first 5 and a half minutes followed by another 5 and a half totally jazzy. We can already feel that all the musicians are highly competent but the keyboard work is specially outstanding.

"Un joc als cinc anys" (A game at the age of five) is more jazzy with a typical spanish feel and again features great piano and keyboards.

"Pel a pel per al proxim dia" (Step by step for the new day) starts with a jazzy upbeat first 2 minutes and changes to a soft middle section with some symphonic elements which grows in intensity until the 6 minutes where fast jazz takes over again until at 1 minute to the end it blends cleverly with the middle section theme again for the ending. Great work by all the musicians and additional percussions courtesy of guitarist Joan Ramos.

"Morir per Viure" (To die to live) is the most symphonic and best track for my taste. Being written by guitarist Luis Garcia it features more prominent guitar work although the keyboards are still brilliant and the bass and drums contribute always strongly.

The closing track "El reflex del teu mirall" (The reflection of your mirror) combines again jazz- rock with symphonic and even some light eclectic experimentation but never too dissonant or weird.

The production quality is surprisingly good, and another pleasant fact is that unlike many other instrumental albums with strong jazz-rock / fusion component, it does not abuse of excessively long solos and jams, the soloings contain a lot of melodic phrasing and alternate frequently so they never feel tedious.

As a curious footnote, the album was originally released in Spain by a small religious label called AVE (Audio Visuales Evangelicos) although I have no idea if the band really had any christian inclinations or it was simply a matter of economical necessity.

A lost gem deserving to be rediscovered, which is possible since it has been re-issued by a japanese label in digipack and is available at least in the catalog of some european online distributors. Alternatively (and cheaper!) you can listen to all the tracks in YouTube, just search by the band and album or track names.

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Send comments to Gerinski (BETA) | Report this review (#292162)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars METAMORFOSIS were an early eighties band from Spain.They play a Jazz / Fusion brand of music but there is also a strong Symphonic flavour at times.The star of this band for me is the drummer, he's incredible to say the least. No horns here but lots of keyboards and guitar. I must admit while I like the piano I don't think much of the synths or the tone of the guitar.Too bad because if I look at this album objectively it's easily 4 stars but the problem is I don't enjoy it that much and i'm a subjective reviewer. I've listened 6 times now to this album called "Buterflies And Elephants" (English translation) and my opinion hasn't changed even though there are some fantastic sections.

"Papallones I Elefants" is very Symphonic once it settles in with keyboards and drums leading. Intricate guitar after 4 1/2 minutes. A change before 6 minutes as piano and drums lead. Guitar before 8 1/2 minutes takes the lead, nice bass too. "Un Joc Als Cinc Anys" opens with intricate sounds and synths before the piano takes over. Guitar takes a turn then the piano returns as the bass and drums continue throughout. A Spanish flavour to this one. "Pel A Pel Per Proxim Dia" is led by piano and drums early. Guitar before a minute. The drumming is so good. It settles 2 1/2 minutes in then kicks back in at 6 minutes.

"Morir Per Viure" opens with sirens and explosive sounds followed by a baby crying. Mellow music then takes over. It picks up 5 minutes in with piano out front. Guitar takes a turn then we get a drum solo after 8 1/2 minutes. From 9 1/2 minutes to the end is the best part of the whole album. A Jazz / Fusion section with fantastic drum work. "El Reflex Delteu Mirall" picks up before 2 minutes with piano and drums. It turns jazzy after 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar a minute later then keyboards. A calm 6 1/2 minutes in then the bass and drums start to lead. Synths join in as well.

A good album that has some great moments. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#295603)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
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3 stars Butterflies & Elephants

Just about sums it up really. This album consists of two different halves, one of them being just a teeny tiny bit more interesting than the other - at least to this reviewer, -and putting images of either pachyderms or daytime moths on this kind of music is rather easy. Natural like skiing.

This sole album from Spanish group Metamorfosis is one of those brilliant little gems that simply defies the actual time-frame of its birth. Luckily so one might add. A lot of albums from 1982, incidentally the year of my own birth - were marred by the production tendencies of the time. Not this one though, and maybe apart from the occasional atmospheric synths here and there - it sounds like a record from 1977.

Getting back to the two sides of this album. One of them is the electric side, that boasts some seriously mouthwatering synthesizers, ethereal drum work, larger than life guitar sculptures and a walking clean bass bobbing away underneath it all - all of this together creating some magnificent symphonic musical sections. These are by far my favourite thing about this album. And while Papallones I Elefants never really gets unmelodious - these symphonic sprees do overflow in some kind of natural melody lines that put the rest of this album to shame. Think mid period Genesis or maybe Grobschnitt, and you're not that far off. This is guitar country and often it'll be duetting with itself - birdlike - twittering clean and crisp in the morning air. As I mentioned before these symphonic grandiose sections are beautiful and damn near to die for.

Then you have the other part of this recording, which is the more acoustic side of it. Still the bass remains electric as does the guitar, but this time around it sticks to muffled rhythmic splashes and more earth toned traditional jazz patterns. The synths trade in for their older brother the piano. It feels like some sort of late night jazz club sound this emanates - like the music you'll hear in one of those old school food programmes: "Then we pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes or so - and just wait..." I know, I'm not making any sense - as usual, but then again this is music.

There are moments on here that successfully manage to splice up these different trades - piles them together to form this heavy, docile staccato, jazzy and slightly effervescent thing - just like the second track called Un Joc Als Cinc Ans, which to me sounds like a somewhat symphonic jazzy excursion to the northern parts of Egypt. S'got that special melodic slightly skewed phrasing that truly reminds me of those sand coloured parts of the pyramid country.

If you enjoy melody to go with your fusion, and moreover want something that treads lightly like the butterfly - y'know those fizzing airy symphonic textures that flap their wings high over the confines of our world, and yet also incorporate the earthbound, meaty and well trusting confidence of the mighty elephant - all of this manufactured through deliciously playing instrumentalists - then Metamorfosis' one hit wonder could be your next purchase. It's truly like fondling a pinkish daytime moth whilst straddling a big heavy pachyderm under the silhouetted skies of the Hispanic peninsula. An experience to say the least...

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Send comments to Guldbamsen (BETA) | Report this review (#626124)
Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 | Review Permalink

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