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Los  Exploradores - Inventure CD (album) cover


Los Exploradores

Eclectic Prog

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5 stars Los Exploradores plays a eclectic style of progressive instrumental fusion music that comes from Norway. Their style is fun and playful and it utilizes influences from music style around the world. The band has been together since around 2011, and have finally released their debut album "Inventure" in August of 2019. The album consists of 5 tracks that have been written over the years since their formation. The band currently consists of Erik Hjortdahl (guitars), Elvind Knutsen (bass), Kristoffer Rystad (percussion) and Ole Mathias Samuelsen (keyboards). Their brand of music evokes mostly a playful and catchy atmosphere with songs that grab your attention quickly, that showcase all of the instruments well, and utilize both progressive and world music influences aplenty, with even some heavier passage thrown in to create fun dynamics and give a good variety to the music.

The album has a loose concept that pay homage to human achievements through history, even addressing pre-historic times. There is a nice variety of styles, yet the music is quite cohesive. Each track has a comic-book style graphic associated with it to help illustrate the main concept of each individual song, yet still provide enough space to allow the listener to give their own interpretation.

"From Fish to Man" (9:46) begins with a field recording but soon goes to a rapid arpeggio which builds up to a rousing drum and guitar the build up to a main theme played by guitar and keys, which take improvisational liberties with it. The music moves freely between jazz and heavy rock as instruments toss the thematic element around passing it through various textures and styles. The beat remains upbeat and the meters change and shift, but even the elaborate solos still allow the music to be accessible and enjoyable as both guitars, bass and keys get plenty of soloing time while the band stays tight and the overall theme persists throughout. It's a great track that introduces the band's enticing music that should attract lovers of progressive fusion.

"Metroparis" (5:42) has a moderate beat that acts as the background for this bright and catchy track. The synth takes over early and drives the music forward with a cheerful theme. Guitar lines come in later and have a go with it while the piano punches out rhythmic chords getting the guitar to do its own improvising that later moves to the organ and the drums becoming more aggressive. After this, the instruments toss the music around and mix things up into a more progressive style, later resolving into a smoother passage again involving the guitar to finish out the track.

"Genie Type A" (5:52) has a heavier background and a whirling synth that soon gives way to a piano, guitar and synth trading off the spotlight. There is a bit of a middle Eastern influence in the theme of this one, but it's not overwhelming as the music remains in the fusion realm, continuing to become more heavy at times while bouncing along playfully at others. Different guitar styles seem to drive this track more than anything, though there are still some keyboard passages in there to keep variety in the track, including a great piano solo that closes it all off.

"Monkey Paw" (6:42) starts off with a conversation, probably from a movie. The music then goes into a rousing and toe- tapping riff with the entire band contributing, and the old-timey ragtime feel of this one will grab you instantly. Progressive passages complicate things a bit, only making the whole thing even more interesting and catchy while guitars churn and keyboards swirl around in a fun and exciting track. If this one doesn't get you bouncing, then you must be dead. I absolutely love this track especially the heavy guitars churning along and the cool bass and organ passage further in. The last few minutes puts the catchy beat in suspension for a while for a more stately feel, but it returns to close it all off.

"Evil Scientist" (7:19) calms things down when a more thoughtful sounding guitar starts it off then provides background while the synth establishes the theme which it passes on to the guitar later. The music is mostly smooth except for some more evil sounding outbursts from the guitar, which eventually takes it over backed by the organ and the plinkity plunk of a piano. The improvised melody passes around the instruments, then the music gets dark and mysterious. The synth creates a choral effect as the guitar plucks along with a wandering melody, then things build again and remain a bit dark, yet with a playful attitude in the organ and synth. Later, the piano picks up on a rhumba style pattern while voices chatter in the background. The guitar builds on this along with the drums that try to distract the piano, then the drums take over the spotlight for a short while. Everything finally compromises, and then the main theme returns, but now everything is more upbeat and is carried to a grand conclusion.

This is quite an excellent and entertaining album with top-notch production and musicianship. The band seems quite tight, and the exceptional quality of the music proves that these tracks have been perfected over time, also demonstrating that the band members work so amazingly well together to create some outstanding instrumental pieces. People that love jazz-rock fusion will love the sound of this album, but so will all lovers of progressive, instrumental and eclectic music that takes it's inspiration not as much from previous musicians as much as from real life experiences from throughout the world. This is definitely a highlight for 2019 and deserves 5 stars.

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Posted Monday, October 21, 2019 | Review Permalink

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