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4 stars Already the third album by this band from Asturias and to my ears their best to date! The minimalistic or abstract touches have been considerably reduced, making place for stronger compositions; eclectism is still a key word when analyzing this band, be it their mix of music styles or the instrumentation chosen; about the first, there is with no doubt a great Latin feel, that here also encompasses the hit "Paraná", written by Hugo Fattoruso and featured on the '73 album "Fingers" by Airto Moreira; but bossa nova bass rhythms (on track 3) and the very Spanish feel (mixed with salsa) of the last and 13 minutes long track are also reinforcing this Latin identity; while "Gameland" opens up your fantasy towards a fictive emulation of Indonesian gamelan rhythm structures; as to the eclectism of the instrumentation, be my guest: gorgeous Minimoog outbursts, lots of various percussion, electronic pads, e-bow, bassoon, accordion, baritone sax, kaval, flute, violin, organ and several keyboards, el guitars. Let me also draw your attention on the short track "Tales from Buanga", where a superb bass playing is heard nearly solo, packed in a myriad of percussive sounds and bird calls before folding out with whole band towards the end, a much effective trick! All in all, this album is filled of a sheer energy and contagious enthusiasm. Really recommended!
Report this review (#500913)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There are so many bands out there these days playing progressive rock that it's hardly surprising that some no matter how good will slip under the radar and be known to only a small group of fans. Such a band judging from the number of reviews here on PA is Senogul. That's a shame because they deserve to be heard by a wider audience such is the overall quality of their music.

They're well placed in eclectic being a hard band to categorise, their music containing many styles and influences including jazz, flamenco, folk, latin and rock. Mainly instrumental III is the fourth album (confused?) from the band containing eight varied compositions showing off their obvious musical chops on a diverse range of both acoustic and electric instruments. The latin feel of Parana with a rare vocal is the weakest moment, ironically capturing them at their most accessible. Much better to my ears is the exciting and diverse musical interplay of the bulk of the instrumentals, the pick of the bunch being the two longest compositions, The Black Cat and album closer Sopa Colora which is a Spanish prog rock tour de force.

Well worth checking out if you haven't already done so.

Report this review (#512722)
Posted Thursday, September 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars Band formed in Asturias, Spain in 2002. Senogul always tried to mix lots of different styles in their music. III (2011) is, as the name states, their third full length album.

In its eight tracks III (2011) shows another step on the band's discography. Starting with 'The Nightstalker' and its sinister harmony. Passing through 'Pijamas' with a simple jazz tune.

'Parana' is a track that has vocals and ELP influences. 'Tales From Buanga' is a bit more atmospheric and slow. While 'Gameland' has xylophones and is a bit more robotic, the last track 'Sopa Colorá' and its 13 minutes the band goes through Prog, Jazz, latin rhythms, improvisings. A resume of all the other songs, really.

Instrumental music can be very hard to swallow, but Senogul was able to records a good album with many interesting moments.

Report this review (#549123)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm not usually a 'judge an album by it's cover' kinda guy, but this album cover got me interested in hearing what the music sounded like. Ain't that a great album cover or what? Having said all that, I don't think the music actually fits the cover too well. The music itself is still good and in it's own way just as interesting as the album cover. Senogul are a band from Spain and they do incorporate some Spanish influences in their music but also much more. This is the only release I have heard from these guys so I don't know how to compare it to their earlier stuff.

III is basically a mix of of older (pre-80s) influences and modern prog. The music is rich in diversity and generally changes quite a bit. This is a mostly instrumental album although there are some vocals, usually wordless and sometimes in harmony. A different variety of instruments are used but guitars/drums/keyboards are the main set-up along with some wind instruments and percussive instrumentation. Although eclectic (hehe) in nature, the music tends to be jazzy, rockin' and ethnic sounding mostly. Sometimes classical sounding but not necessarily symphonic. As I stated earlier, the music does have some Spanish influences but also maybe not so surprisingly there are some Latin American elements as well.

"Parana" stands out for several reasons. It is by far the most accessible song on here but is also one of the most memorable and enjoyable as well. This is the only song actually sung in Spanish, with some catchy singing. When I first heard this song one thing immediately jumped out at me: they use a chord progression on piano which sounds almost exactly like the main chord progression on the hit 1980s song "Something About You" by the band Level 42. It could be a coincidence but I don't believe in coincidences. I'm not alleging that anyone in Senogul deliberately ripped off the Level 42 song, but if these guys were much more well-known than they are they could have had their asses sued off.

"The Black Cat" starts off almost in chamber rock territory before it switches to a mix of fusion and ELP style symph prog. Great synth sounds in this track. The music is on fire until it starts to wander a bit in the middle. You can listen to the track "Tales From Buanga" here on PA. This features some great harmony singing. This isn't a bad song but it never really goes anywhere and is nowhere near being one of the best songs on the album. "Gameland" has metal and folk elements mixed with jazzy playing. Then it goes atmospheric techno on us. This track should have been longer.

Speaking of song-lengths, at 13 1/2 minutes "Sopa Colora" is the album closer. This track changes a lot with many different instruments being used. A really cool sounding altered bass sound can be heard. Features a lengthy classical style piano solo. This epic of sorts tends to drag on a bit and shows that they are better at doing shorter songs. Some of the shorter songs could have been longer, on the other hand. 'Eclectic prog' is a great description for this group. This has great playing and sound and the compositions are at least above average. Overall not perfect but a very good album, I'll give it 3.5 and round that up to 4 stars.

PS. Just to clarify, the song "Parana" is a cover of which the original is older than the Level 42 song I mentioned. It is also sung in Portuguese. Thanks to the member of the group who notified me of this.

Report this review (#549848)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'III' - Senogul (8/10)

Spanish proggers Senogul come to me at a point in my musical life when I have largely tired of modern prog music. Although the musical virtuosity is generally top notch and the compositional complexity with some of these new bands would make the old legends blush, there really isn't too much freshness to it. Perhaps I have just had some bad luck with it, but many of the bands that are calling themselves 'prog' nowadays that I've heard usually amount to fairly upbeat melodic rock, with a intage flair chucked in to warrant the label. The fact that Senogul is able to make such a refreshing escape from many of these conventions instantly draws me to them.

An instrumental act, Senogul deliver some pretty unpredictable material with 'III', their fourth album. I will say that I have heard plenty of instrumental prog acts that have my socks flying from a technical perspective, but there is not much that usually stires me. Senogul's distinction made itself clear to me from the beginning of this record. There is a much darker sound to Senogul than on many progressive rock albums, although as the rest of the album is sure to justify, this band goes everywhere with their sound. I think that if this album was not instrumental, the entire thing would sound scattered and even messy. The hodge-podge of tone that 'III' offers keeps the listener on their toes.

Jazz is a driving force for Senogul, although their Spanish origins are made evident in the Latin/Flamenco flair that moments on the album have. King Crimson may be a good drawing point for this band's more rocking elements, and a fine comparison in regards to this band's darker moments. The highlight 'Pijamas' is filled with jarring notes and dissonance, and its hard to believe that this almost disturbing music would share the same disc as the upbeat flamenco fusion found later on in the album. Senogul is a highly underrated act, and while they aren't necessarily toppling the prog genre with this statement, there is inventiveness here that draws me to this band unlike many out there.

Report this review (#569693)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing release from Spain. Those who like the spanish prog from the seventies must try this album. Senogul has his own style, but I can hear influences of international bands like King Crimson, ELP, Arti+Mestieri, Mahavishnu Orchestra or Locanda delle Fate and influences of spanish bands like Alameda, Iman, Guadalquivir or Crack.The music travel from RIO, to flamenco oriented rock, passing through free jazz or gameland style compositions with odd tempos and strange harmonies...allways surprising the listener...Senogul made a cover for first time in their releases, from Hugo Fattoruso and Airto Moreira composition "Parana"..a capoeira and maracat' rythm meet the Beach boys and Camel at the same time in this track...really beautiful music inside.The power of Senogul is inside the melodies played by the keyboard and guitars, the strong rythms of the drummer and the bass player (there is a esoteric and beautiful bass solo in "Tales from Buanga"). The sound of the album is very good and production is strong but maintaining the dynamics.Recommended to every collector of progresive rock that looks for freshness and quality music..Long live Senogul.
Report this review (#584339)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Spain is a very interesting country to explore for progheads, to compare with Italy but on a smaller scale. Both countries have an impressive history of classical music, a huge variety with ethnic/folk music and a strong tradition in growing up with music. From the late Sixties until now the Spanish progressive music has delivered many unique bands, blending classical ? and ethnic/folk music with jazz, psychedelia, rock and blues, from Seventies Bloque, Canarios, Iceberg, Triana and Itoiz to more recent Albatros, Taifa, Calle Silvio and ... Senogul, in my opinion one of the most genuine progressive rock bands in the last two decades. Unfortunately they have disbanded after their third and final effort simply named III, from 2011.

Senogul featured very talented and creative musicians, with a very varied taste. Their eponymous CD from 2007 (first official release after the demo CD Transitos from 2005) is an exciting blend of symphonic rock, jazz, avant- garde, Rock Andaluz and other ethnic elements. In 2009 Senogul released the successor entitled Aural Impressions, not really their 'usual sound': a musical stew of ambient and folk with instruments from India, Africa and Latin- America along avant-garde and some progrock.

On this third album Senogul partly returns to their formula on Senogul but now with a fair amount of jazz and avant-garde, pretty experimental like King Crimson and Frank Zappa. Despite those references Senogul have developed an own sound because every composition is a musical adventure in which atmosphere, tempo, style and instruments frequently change.

For example, Pijamas starts with experimental sounds, then a swinging rhythm with strong interplay (with hints from Gentle Giant) and synthesizer flights. Next a part on Grand piano, followed by a Hammond organ solo, the climate turns into a fluent rhythm with a powerful fagot. After a piano solo, jazzy guitar, again fagot and a wide range of experimental sounds, the track culminates in a King Crimson atmosphere with fiery guitar runs. The next track is La Serpiente De Jade begins dreamy with saxophone, piano and violin, then twanging acoustic guitar, very beautiful. This is followed by a fluent rhythm, now coloured by accordion and violin and later propulsive guitar riffs, how captivating. After a Keith Emerson inspired Grand piano solo, the composition concludes with a swinging rhythm, I enjoy the pleasant harmony of saxophone, accordion and violin. Then the only non-instrumental track entitled Parana, delivering vocal harmonies and great work on guitar and keyboards (like an exciting duel in a jazzrock climate). Next three pretty experimental compositions: The Black Cat (strong duo guitar play), Tales From Buanga (blend of avant-garde and jazzrock with Fender electric piano) and Gameland, tastefully coloured by marimba, jazzrock guitar and a final part with Minimoog synthesizer. The final track (close to 14 minutes) is the epic Sopa Colora, the first part is a wonderful tribute to Rock Andaluz bands like Alameda and Guadalquivir. We can enjoy a huge variety of instruments, including palmas (hand clapping) and howling electric guitar, this is top notch Rock Andaluz, and Senogul at their best! The Spanish guitar legend Luis Cobo "Manglis", (Gong, Guadalquivir, Triana and Manteca) delivers a very strong contribution. Halfway there's a long and impressive Grand piano solo and in the end Senogul plays in the Seventies symphonic rock tradition with Rick Wakeman inspired fat Minimoog flights.

My conclusion about this final Senogul album: captivating, surprising and adventurous but also complex, quirky and contrasting. Those progheads who are into styles like jazz, avant-garde, RIO and bands like Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Frank Zappa will be pleasantly surprised. This is progressive rock in the true meaning of the word, so I award this unique prog music adventure with four stars. Because if you like this kind of prog it's an excellent addition to your collection.

Report this review (#1885991)
Posted Friday, February 16, 2018 | Review Permalink

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