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Alquilbencil - From Serengethi to Taklamakan CD (album) cover



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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Alquilbencil are a very impressive band eager to leave their mark in the field of eclectic prog. "From Serengethi to Taklamakan" is their fantastic live album that shows the band's full potential and diverse interests in experimental rock. The opener 'Introduccio' is an effective high-spirited bluesy piece, something that wouldn't have been out of place in a Zappa big band album. Next comes 'La Presa', a track that starts quite heavy on the guitar and funky on the rhythm duo's dynamics: the Arabic undertones instilled in the melodic lines feel fresh and exciting, and they remain so in through the eerie and cosmic passages that follow all the way to the end. This is what it would be like if "Shamal"-era Gong and LTE collided into one single sonic source. 'Waiting Room' shifts to a very different timber, going for a reflective, slow pace sort of symphonic rock: this piece sounds like a mixture of WYWH-era Pink Floyd and "Snow Goose"-era Camel, plus Genesis nuances and The Enid-like orchestral ornaments thrown in for good measure. 'Hit' is a vivid exercise on Weather Report-inspired jazz-fusion, refurbished with a weird Crimsonian twist in the most powerful guitar parts and a flirtation with chamber-rock in the eerie interlude. 'Dire: From Serengheti to Taklamakan' gets quite ethnic from the very start: airs of Indian celebrations fill the air with those mesmeric lines played at unison on the sax and the synth, while the remaining instruments complete the theme in an abundantly dynamic fashion. The main theme is successively reconstructed on a slower tempo with a vibe heavily related to classic Zappa (including a shift to a happy-go-lucky tango portion). 'Fertil Crescent' starts on a soft, introspective note, somewhat Floydian: once the vocal section appears, things tighten up a little bit although the overall mood remains reflective and eerie. 'Estricnina' bears a sinister vibe in both the solemn passages and the extroverted ones, mostly due to the dissonant chord progressions and recurrent use of pipe organ sounds on the synthesizers. The inclusion of jazz-blues and circus interludes works as a humorous enhancement of the menacing overall tone. After the previous track's mocking terror, 'Serveix-me Un Altre Got De Vi' brings a very in-your-face jolly sense of fun that isn't too separated from the aforesaid track. The prevailing cha-cha-cha rhythm in the opening section is replaced by an apparently chaotic use of experimental jazz and chamber-rock. The track comes full circle with the cha-cha-cha's ultimate return. This piece is so weird that it could have been much better if only the musicians had found the key to contain the various ideas into a more integrated whole - it worked perfectly for 'Estricnina', it didn't totally work for this one. 'Coda' closes down the live set with a powerful mixture of jazz-rock (Weather Report-meets-Iceberg), heavy prog and subtle Crimsonian elements: the track's melodic scheme includes the 'Introduccio' theme. 'Çet' is the additional studio track placed at the end of this album's repertoire. Benefiting with the technical devices habitual in a recording studio environment, the guys of Alquilbencil feel free to explore their taste for space-rock and soaring psychedelia which hadn't appeared to often in the sundry nuances that were used in the live set. This piece is heavily cosmic, recapturing the nucleus of vintage space-rock and encapsulating it in a post-rock-friendly strategy. One might think that the label operators got mixed up and edited a Soma.Planet track in this Alquilbencil album. but no, this is really Alquilbencil, surprising us for the last time with their audacious eclecticism. "From Serengethi to Taklamakan" is a strong proof about the perennial vitality of prog rock. even if it has to be found in unusual places and beyond the musical realms of FK, PT and the like.
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Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Review Permalink

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