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Torga Ostera - Queda Ascendente CD (album) cover


Torga Ostera

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars Other than for the ubiquitous '10,000 Anos Depois Entre Venus E Marte' album by Josť Cid, I have hitherto overlooked the Portuguese music on this site. However thanks to a friendly collaborator I'm finally getting a nice education in this area of South European prog. And a good place to start the journey is with Torga Ostera's recently released debut album 'Queda Ascendente' which reveals itself as a meeting point between British Space Rock and Portuguese romanticism.

The sounds of waves and foghorns that open and close the album give the impression of one piloting a course on a forgotten sea before returning to the world of real life - a voyage of discovery recalling Portugal's great nautical past. There is an immediate and unmistakable similarity to Pink Floyd with the siren call of synthesizer pulsations and ethereal-sounding slide guitar, and the music generally flows calmly like pure water although there's an earthier feel once the vocals kick in. Keyboards intermittently burst out with brief solos but their main role is to blend in, to help shape the songs. The twin guitars are the key players here - check out 'Balada Ao Ensandecer', a nighttime excursion to the dancing stars where the guitar erupts in a dramatic finale like a solar flare attack in the black night sky. Gooseflesh material!

The Portuguese influence is probably strongest on the more song-oriented tracks like 'Rosa Dos Ventos' (Wind Rose), a symbol of the Age of Discoveries with its title taken from the ornate designs on early compasses. Again, this name conjures images of the deeds of famous Portuguese explorers and astronomers although it actually sounds more like a love song. Then there's the centrepiece 'Apicultor De Homens' (Beekeeper of Men) which saunters lazily along like a ride through endless Manueline arcades, the unified force of the rhythm section reshaping itself into varying patterns as it follows winding paths that lead in different directions, while the guitars erect ever-towering columns of sound. Epic stuff. But the Pink Floyd influence is what really forms the basis of the album and a review could be summed up succinctly in five short words - dark side of the moon. The seeming obsession with Pink Floyd even manifests itself in lyrics about a shining diamond.

For sure, 'Queda Ascendente' borrows liberally from Pink Floyd and I'm obliged to say it's pretty much devoid of originality, although that's its only flaw and if you're into laid-back spacey prog this is a must-buy album. It's like a lost relic of the seventies and as such it's as good as it's entitled to be.

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Posted Thursday, December 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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