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NOCHE ABIERTA

Cai

Symphonic Prog


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Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Cai's second album, 'Noche Abierta', is one of the finest offerings of Southern Spain's progressive movement, carachterized for its massive Flamenco-oriented nuances. The progressive aspects of Cai's music are very similar to those of Iman Califato Independiente's, only with a more moderate touch of jazz, and a more recurring presence of vocal parts. The musicianship is superb, and by that I not only intend to praise the excellent labour of Dominguez on keyboards and Fernadez Mariscal on guitar (crafty purveyors of sonic magic), but also the well-oiled rhythm section, with an incredible bassist that every now and then comes briefly to the front, and a versatile drummer (who, by the way, has a beautiful voice, too) who can translate his jazz sensibilities into the band's Flamenco essence with incredible ease. Major foreign influences are Camel, Hackett-era Genesis, some of Pink Floyd's ethereal melancholy, and some of Return to Forever - these ingredients help to emphasize the enormously passionate melodic romanticism of flamenco as an integral part of Cai. For example, the opening track, very moving, and very catchy, captures the listener's heart even if they can't understand Spanish. The same romantic aura is reiterated in the following song, only with a more moderate level of passion, as if the emotional flow were a bit more constrained and focused on meditation. The two instrumentals, 'Alegrias de Cai' and 'La Roca del Diablo' are my personal faves: the former captures the cheerful spirit that is present in most parts of Flamenco folklore, while the latter finds the band exploring a more Cosmopolitan trend, that of Camel and "WYWH"-era Pink Floyd, with added flavours from Weather Report, in this way creating a subtly somber air. In both cases, the result is stylish, with a perfect equilibrium between all instruments' inputs. Anyway, generally speaking, the repertoire is very consistent and cohesive: my favourite sung tracks are the title track and 'Extraña Seduccion', both of them driving the band to their most majestic peaks. The latter takes Cai's ability to create beautiful melodies and arrange them inventively to levels of progressive grandiosity, making the final result both overwhelming and cleverly designed. Every time I listen to this album, I regret that this song's fade-out comes so soon, when actually the song is 6+ minute long. 'La Fábula' is beautiful prog ballad constructed in an eerie ambience - had this song been a bit longer, it would have reached its full potential for mesmerizing the listener and deprive them of their waking lucidity. But again, things are just fine as they are. In short, "Noche Abierta" is one of the best things that came out of Spain, hand in hand with the finest works by Mezquita, Iman and Triana.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#27225)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
ibelderr@terr
5 stars This one's been a very pleasant surprise. This group is not very well known, not even in Spain, and it's one of the few groups from Spain that can be considered "top level". It's a pity they only recorded three albums.

This record is well built, subtle and really interesting. It reminds of Camel or Pink Floyd but with far better vocals and a soothing and dreamy atmosphere that carries the listener to the south of Spain. It's really a great album; as far as I know, the best one I've heard from Spanish prog.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27227)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars CAI was a harmonic Spanish quintet with Diego Fopiani Macias (drums/vocals), Jose A. Fernandez Mariscall (guitar), Francisco Delgado Gonzalez (guitar), Sebastian Dominguez Lozano (keyboards and piano) and Jose Velez Gomez (bass/vocals). They released three albums entitled "Mas Alla Mentes Diminutas" ('78), "Noche Abierta" ('80) and "Cancion De La Primavera" ('81). The second and third album are released as a 1-CD. The album "Noche abierta" (1980) is one of the gems of Spanish progressive rock. The seven tracks sound pleasant with warm Spanish vocals, tasteful keyboards (piano, strings, synthesizers and organ) and sensitive electric guitar. The integration of "the art of the flamenco" guitar gives this progrock an extra dimension. IF YOU LIKE MELODIC AND TASTEFUL SEVENTIES PROG, EMBELLISHED WITH SOME FLAMENCO, THIS ONE IS FOR YOU!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#39456)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Unlike their debut, this album was recorded on a major label (Epic). It still has the same keyboard sounds, with the string synth and electronic combo organ, but the MUCH higher production values make it all sound considerably less thin and weedy. Funny, that.

The shorter song length actually works to their advantage. The long tracks on their debut tended to meander a bit, but here everything is tight and economical, saying just what it needs to without wearing out its welcome. Of course, the album's finest moments are its more extended ones, with the moody "Extraña seducción" being a fine centerpiece, and the gorgeous instrumental "La Roca del Diablo" a clear apex. It's the latter that makes the album mostly worth purchasing, never failing to get me all choked up, with beautifully emotional melodies expressed through fantastic guitarwork. It gets my vote among the greatest Spanish flamenco-prog moments of all time.

Elsewhere, the flamenco influence seems to be even stronger, as on "Soñé contigo" and the rhythmically-driven title track. Surely a band that wear their cultural influence on their sleeve, and is all the better for it.

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Send comments to Progbear (BETA) | Report this review (#45327)
Posted Saturday, September 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars WARNING: THE CONSTANT LISTENING OF THIS RECORD CAN CAUSE A SEVERE ADDICTION

This is simply a jewel of Symphonic Prog; my skepticism was beaten by the great musicianship that this Spanish band showed. The mix of the Flamenco-Andalusian style with the classical symphonic elements fit perfectly on the sound that these guys tried to emulate in a very successful way. It was such a surprise for me to find in them such an outstanding album in my own language; which is not precisely the most prolific in this genre. A keyboard oriented album which is performed perfectly by each member.

The increasing structure of each song is awesome, and the vocal style leaves you speechless. But let's get it on with the review of this great experience.

"Soñé Contigo" is some kind of love song that is magnificently sung by Diego Fopiani, the keyboards and the bass are also remarkable. The lyrics are very simple, but deep at the same time, they forget about all the rhetoric and they only concentrate to reach their goal.

"Despertar" has an excellent performance that continues almost the same line of the previous track, but the vocals have here a more relevant role.

"Alegrías de Cai" is an instrumental piece where the band makes a show of their ability on each one of their instruments. I know it may sound too exaggerated but it's almost inevitable the comparison with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso.

"Noche Abierta" is, in my opinion, the strongest moment in the album in which the guitar acquires a more important place in the song with the Flamenco feel.

"Extraña Seducción" ironically posses a unique charm, the song has some excellent progressions especially when the band explores through different time signatures, the complexity is increased as the song goes by.

"La Fábula" starts with some kind of psychedelic sounds. Once again, the unique vocal style stands out from the rest of the band, and the guitar takes off for a pretty decent performance through all the track, the lyrics have a more intricate develop as the name says, it's told in some kind of metaphor as in a fable that contrasts in some way with the rest of the album.

"La Roca Del Diablo" is the second instrumental track and it's the longest one too. The sound is too hard to describe, because it's very changing, but it's also one the most solid passages of the record.

In conclusion, the sensation after playing this album is pretty grateful. All put together form a sensational release, enjoyable since the beginning to the end. This is obviously a masterpiece in all senses. I can't give it less than 5 stars.

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Send comments to MadcapLaughs84 (BETA) | Report this review (#113690)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I agree with the other reviewers: "Noche abierta" is a fine album. But I must confess that rather than the "flamenco moment" (in "Soñe contigo" or in "Noche abierta", for example. oh! pretty played, of course, but how I could say, just, just as you can expect it) I found more interesting some registers (sorry, I don't know whether the word is correct or not, but I hope to make myself understood) chosen for the synth: quite original in my opinion; also notheworthy the mosaical recourses to the organ and to the harpsichord. Finally, the voice of Diego Fopiani did not seem to me so persuasive, however at least less persuasive than his drums section. but my rate is (why not?) four star.

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Send comments to Fargue (BETA) | Report this review (#152428)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Cai combines the authenticity and sense of place of flamenco music with prog instrumentation and an easy jazzy flow, to produce a subtly beautiful work. Don't expect it to jump out at you and grab you - instead just let it possess you over time, and diffuse over you.

The opener "Sone Contigo" sets the tone with its distinctly latin keyboards, sometimes cascading sometimes rollicking. The lead guitar and vocals both add to the romantic air of this lovely piece. "Despertar" has a similar mood but the mellotron is more prominent and the lead guitar is oh so flamenco. "Alegrias de Cai" has especially nimble percussion in the mix, while the title track actually contains acoustic flamenco guitars. "Extrana Seduccion" alternates an atmospheric melody with more vivacious guitars. The middle section is more improvised, but here as throughout the disk, Cai balances the ragged forays with a gentle structure.

The closest thing to an outright ballad is "La Fabula", and it is also one of the less interesting cuts on the CD. It seems that Cai's strengths are best served by an integration of more energetic sections into the vocal tracks. The longest piece is the closer "la Boca Del Diablo". It is an intriguing instrumental featuring more synthesizers along with the mellotron, and allows the band to stretch out alot more than in its shorter siblings. Parts remind me of Camel gone Spanish, or even Caravan, especially in the peculiar synth sounds, but this is dreamier, more ambient than both.

"Noche Abierto" is Cai's classic, which can be enjoyed by most symphonic, folk, jazz and Latin music fans, although fans of harder edged music may not take to it so well. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#162938)
Posted Friday, February 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Cai - Noche Abierta (1980)

Best record of the year 1980 perhaps?

Recently I was able to buy some new vinyls from my buddy Erik Neuteboom, an important member of our Dutch symphonic community. His devoted appreciation for the Prog Andaluz subgenre (not shown on PA) made me try some of it's fruits. The first record I will review is Cai's Noche Abierta.

The good think about non-English prog is that it's eeeh.. non-English. Instead, some of the influences from the home-country of the band become apparent. The classical art style of the RPI is a good example, but this warm, energetic Flamenco influenced progalbum from Spain is yet another great example. I was very pleasantly surprised by it's innovative power, it's Fado-like vocals that seem to float freely over the multi short note (Gentle Giant comes to mind) melodic structures. The style is a fusion between our beloved classical prog and the traditional Spanish Flamenco. Other influences might be space-rock and some Fusion. The musicians are all very professional and all sophisticated interpretations of Flamenco styled music are played as if it was easy. The symphonic parts are sensitive and the vocals gives the music a totally new dimension. The guitars sound gentle and accurate, sensitivity over note-shredding. The recording is one of the major successes of this album: It sounds like an late seventies record with a perfect production. Don't be afraid, you won't hear any eighties like synths or drums!

The first side has extended song type tracks. The form of the songs isn't always that special, but the level of composition is high and some it's symphonic/space parts are great. The vocals are truly a blessing.

The second side has two longer compositions and is slightly better then side one. Extraña Seducción has one of my favorite ending sections , whilst the fully instrumental La Roca del Diablo proves Cai can play as a 100% symphonic prog band (this track his little Spanish influences). The pace is low, but the solo's are sensitive and the melodies have a big emotional appeal. The symphonic soundscapes are the best of the album. A great ending track for this amazing Prog Andaluz album.

Conclusion. Well.. I fell in love. This is not only high quality prog, but it will also seduce you to listen to it very very often! The Spanish influences are great. I don't think I know of any album of 1980 that sounds better as this one. A very big four star record. Highly recommended!

* Edited

Everyone knows you can't by happiness. However, spending money on this album will surely make it easier to facilitate some happiness! One of the most special records of my collection and it deserves the five star rating.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#268089)
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
4 stars Spanish progressive band Cai have recently released their first album for almost three decades, but 1980's ''Noche Abierta'' remains their undisputed classic. It's a generally soothing blend of melodic symphonic prog, with sprinklings of light fusion and a dab of flamenco all served up like a dish of fish. The multi-part ''La Roca del Diablo'' is the album's centrepiece, an 8-minute instrumental that features some brief but tasteful vocoder effects. The album's second instrumental ''Alegrias de Cai'' is another highlight, based around a cheerful groove that's reminiscent of Return To Forever with its fine guitar and synthesizer interplay. The title-track is a beautiful piece Rock Andaluz, complete with flamenco guitar and genial vocals. The second half of the album maybe doesn't quite match the first, although it finishes strongly enough with the above mentioned ''La Roca del Diablo''. Overall it's not as good as Gotic's ''Escenes'' although it is even harder to find, but anyone that does manage to get their hands on a copy of ''Noche Abierta'' is in for a real treat.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#296886)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Flamenco prog rules! If you don't know it, I invite you to listen to some old-school Spanish bands such as Triana, Crack, Mezquita or Cai, they all have a distinctive sound that can please the strictest prog fan. I particularly enjoy that kind of music, love the vocals and the guitar style. Now I am reviewing Cai's second but most recognized album to date, entitled "Noche Abierta" and released in 1980. The eighties was not really the prog decade, however, this album is just an example that if you dig and search you'll always find great music, no matter the year.

This 36-minute album features seven compositions, starting with "Soñé Contigo", a symphonic song with great guitars and an exquisite piano sound, after a minute vocals appear and then you will understand why these Spanish bands have that unique sound, I really love that conjunction between symphonic music with flamenco (vocals and guitars).

"Despertar" is a nice song, a bit weaker than the first one in my opinion, however it is still enjoyable to listen to that soft piano sound accompanied by those Spanish vocals, also, there is a moment where electric guitar add a special flavor to the sound. Next track is better, "Alegrías de Cai" is an excellent composition that starts slow but it gradually progresses, the drums work is extraordinary here and the atmosphere created by keyboards and guitars also good. This is an instrumental, gentle and friendly track that can ease everyone's tension.

Now the title track, "Noche Abierta" offers a similar style to the previous song, fast keyboard- guitar-drums play making some good symphonic (in moments jazzy) sound, and actually, seconds later you will notice that Andalucía sound, and I say it before vocals appear, just listen carefully. When they appear, along with the flamenco guitar, the sound is more evident, of course.

"Extraña Seducción" is a pretty interesting and complex track. Since the first minutes we can appreciate that the band aimed to something big, so they created a piece with odd-time signatures, difficult to appreciate In the first listen, and of course, if we add that Spanish sound then we have to be patient if we want to truly enjoy it. One of their best symphonic pieces!

"La Fábula" creates some kind of spacey sound at first, later it slows down and sounds actually as a ballad but just for ten seconds, because later guitars appear and produces a rockier sound. However, it stops and returns as it began, just in order to change again later, to the second verse. This is a weaker song, in my opinion.

And the album finishes with the longest and best composition, "La Roca del Diablo" which starts slow with some atmospheric sounds, and after a minute it makes a sudden change and a new mood is being build up, the addition of new keyboard elements, drums and guitars leads the song to an intriguing direction. The song is pretty interesting, all the minutes have something to offer, its changes in time and tempo produce several things while listening to it. Worth listening to this track, believe me.

Well, I like this album and play it every now and then, I love its Spanish sound, but to be terribly honest, I am not really convinced by the music on this whole record, I mean, it is that feeling that don't leave you alone, despite I would like to give it a better rating, there is something that stops me and I just cannot do it. My final grade is three stars.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#304671)
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars The success of ''Mas alla de nuestras mentes diminutas'' led Cai to a change of label and a good contract with CBS' sublabel Epic Records.Additionally the band welcomes new guitarist Jose Fernandez Mariscal in the line-up and the best had yet to come for the Spanish group.In 1980 the second album of Cai was released, entitled ''Noche Abierta''.

The potential of the debut finally becomes reality in the sophomore work of Cai.Top-notch Andalusian Prog with symphonic and strong Fusion hints in compositions, where romantic textures are combined with virtuosic performances.The album is highlighted by the warm singing of Jose Velez Gomez, the incredible guitar twists of the Mariscal/Gonzalez duo and the excellent, delicate piano themes of Sebastian Domínguez Lozano.The band combines the synth-drenched soundscapes of MEZQUITA, the atmospheric lyricism of TRIANA and the musical diversity of GUADALQUIVIR in beautiful arrangements, full of both calm and technical deliveries.Some guitar melodies really stick in the listener's mind, the nice Flamenco-styled crescendos next to the electric solos are masterful and the overall mood is absolutely dreamy with tremendous musicianship all the way.

Definitely one of the best Prog albums from Andalusian lands.Intricate, adventurous but also deeply atmospheric material, which deserves at least a high recommendation.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#938153)
Posted Monday, April 01, 2013 | Review Permalink

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