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SOBRE EL ABISMO

Ficcion

Symphonic Prog


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Steve Hegede
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I started to like "Sobre el Abismo" ...until the vocalist opened his mouth! As a 1970s Venezuelen prog rock band, FICCION were not known to exist. Thanks to the research work from the French prog label Musea, collectors will be able to add this band to their collection. Instrumentally, these guys were good. We find a three-piece band, influenced by ELP, offer Hammond and Moog-based symphonic prog with a strong Latin American sound. The music isn't on par with groups like FUSIOON from Spain, or Le ORME from Italy, but FICCION are okay. Their music reminds me mostly of the 80s Mexican prog scene. Unfortunately, and like I've mentioned before about countless other prog bands, the vocals are rather mediocre. They are either flat and lifeless, or completely out-of-tune. I'm not sure why great musicians who carefully record complex instrumental music insist on leaving mediocre vocals on their final product. Anyway, if you can overcome that fact, and enjoy collecting rare South American prog CDs, then FICCION should be kept in mind.

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Send comments to Steve Hegede (BETA) | Report this review (#30844)
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ficción is a Venezuelan trio that played a symphonic prog adorned with Latin jazz nuances and some refreshing jazz-pop airs: the original material (tracks 1-7) was most certainly a labour of love, since it was all recorded in the 79-86 time lapse, while they were struggling to obtain a recording contract. The major progressive influences seem to come from "Works"-era ELP, late 70s Camel and Bozzio-era UK. The band's repertoire is clearly focused on dynamics and excitement, as well as on an articulated foundation of the melodic lines and harmonic progressions. For his solos on synth, organ and electric piano, Lares manages to keep his virtuosity well harmonized with the melodic traits delivered in each track, while the rhythm duet provides a solid, precise basis. Those are the high points, but there is also a serious minus point that keeps this album from getting further than just good - this stuff starts to feel evidently repetitive while you are going from track 3 onwards, not in terms of musical ideas (keyboardist Lares never clones himself in his writing), but in terms of the rhythm section arrangements and the combinations of these with the keyboards' basic harmonies. While the freshness is still there, you can't avoid the thought that there is a certain lack of depth and originality in the development of the specific structure of each individual track - luckily, 'Pasiones' and 'No es Contigo' contain enough energy and bombast as to compensate for this negative factor [which actually isn't that serious, either]. These ones and the opening number are the best in the original repertoire: in fact, thanks to its fluid complexity, 'Isla Misteriosa' makes a most impressive opener. Tracks 8-10 were recorded by a reformed line-up, in 2000. The instrumentals 'Picacho de Gavilán' and 'El Virus' show us a much stronger Ficción, developing a more aggressive power trio sound, adding pompous Flamenco-like nuances in the former and keeping their penchant for Latin jazz in the latter - in fact, these tracks turn out to be the best ones in the whole CD, together with tracks 6 & 7. On the other hand' Noches de la Gran Ciudad' is nothing but a vulgar pop rock number that should pass unnoticed in its sandwiched location between the aforementioned instrumentals. A few days before I started writing this review, a Venezuelan prog friend of mine informed me that this band is starting the recording of their comeback album. If this project is properly accomplished, then it would be fair to hope for better things to come, given the sense of energy displayed in tracks 8 and 10.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#30845)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Baqueta2@msn.
4 stars It is hard to believe that this was going on almost 30 years ago in South America. The strength and the passion that this band shows is unbelievable. I just don't want to imagine how this band would sound today with all the new available recording techniques, it would be just sound awesome. Despite the rudimentary recording though, they managed to come across as very solid performers and they deserve kudos for that. Only through pure mystique such a thing is possible. The wall of sound that these three musicians generate is massive when one considers the circumstances of how this work was created. These guys came up with a work of art difficult to replicate. This is a historic and legendary treasure that should belong to any serious collector of world progressive music.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#47718)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Coming from the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, Ficcion were formed in late-70's by two members of the Jazz-Rock act Aditus,keyboardist José Ignacio Lares and drummer Edgar de Sola.Along with bassist José Martínez,the band tested several guitarists, but finally decided to go on as a trio.With a great number of live appearances,the band was active for several years without successing a record deal.Because of this the band fell into hiatus after the mid- 80's,however the interest of Musea Records on their early recordings brought Ficcion back on surface,this time featuring only Lares from the original line-up.With seven pieces recorded between 1979 and 1986 and three new tracks from 2000,Ficcion finally debuted with ''Sobre El Abismo'' in 2000.

Their early sound was somewhat in a Symphonic-Fusion style with rather commercial vocals but also some great musicianship to be discovered and many listeners will find these recordings as falling into a typical keyboard/synth-driven symphonic style.However, a more careful listen will reveal a bassist playing in a pure jazzy style and a drummer not only offering a powerful performance but often imitating this jazzy style.The interesting core of this rhythm section is helping keyboardist Jose Lares deliver a versatile style of playing,from flashy grandiose synthesizer solos to symphonic organ sounds to almost jazzy/fusion-esque electric piano passages.The overall style sounds very personal and only the sometimes dull vocals can be regarded as a negative point.The three tracks of the new Ficcion era continue in the same style with little changes: Heavy use of floating synthesizers,even more dominant organ sounds battling with a solid rhythm section.Only the track ''Noche en La Gran Ciudad'' has a strong commercial vocal vibe,but even this is supported by some nice instrumental performances and has a certain charm.

Another band from the past just one click away from being totally forgotten.With ''Sobre el abismo'' any prog fan will have the chance to listen to some great mix of Symphonic Rock and Fusion and the album comes warmly recommended to the prog community,especially to those loving listening to endless keyboard sounds.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#583606)
Posted Tuesday, December 06, 2011 | Review Permalink

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