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4 stars The second (and last studio) effort of Nazca. Compositions (or collective impro- compositions of all the band) are shorter but the soundspectrum talks even more interesting language! And in addition to these eight tunes released on LP in 1986 we have the greatest pleasure to listen one bonus track Nadja (originally recorded on the compilation of Recommended Records). Very impressive record - probably my fave of all these tree - 4,5 stars really!
Report this review (#70727)
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After an excellent eponymous debut album in which the music was persistently base don languid atmospheres and soaring sonorities, Nazca went for a fuller sound concerning their sophomore effort "Estación de Sombra", exploring a renewed sonic architecture while preserving the magical tension that had been so beautifully delivered in "Nazca". All in all, "Estación de Sombra" bears a stronger dynamics between the musicians, more confidence regarding the use of sonic structures and a more stylish use of tension. The major point of reference here is "1313"-era Univers Zero, and some of "Western Culture"-era Henry Cow. You can also find some jazzy elements working in places, but mostly what we have here is an inspired exercise on chamber-rock conceived through a delicate dialectics of muscle and delicacy. The exploration is over, now it's time to present the conclusions - this seems to be the motto behind this repertoire's writing and arranging procedures. The namesake opener starts with heavy ceremonious undertones, even stating a certain distant atmosphere; but as soon as a more extroverted section emerges, the dynamics is notably augmented, with the general grayish mood acquiring an exciting density along the road. 'Traoedia' exhibits a more pronounced chamber-oriented aura, and its mysterious ambience surpasses that of the impressive opener. Novelo's drumming is particularly inspired, with his nuances on the martial rolls and controlled pulsations, combined with his ability to merge his percussive tools with the other members' inputs. The closing sequence of violin/viola/bassoon is almost unearthly in its "mischievous" undertones. 'Espacios en Torno' begins on a very solemn note, but it doesn't take too long before the tracks shifts to a more celebratory mood, ornamented with bizarrely effective dissonances that build up an exquisite climax. 'La Morgue' does justice to its title, bearing a patently thanatic vibe through its recurrent ethereal sonorities. The martial structure in the interlude can be interpreted as portraying the moments in which body carriers go delivering their "special packages" in the morgue's main room. 'Mangle' opens up the album's second half, mostly emphasizing the line of work that has been developed so far: the clever use of tension and the effective utilization of the complex counterpoints reveal the guys of Nazca playing their specialized game on top of their game. 'Deshueso' is less disturbing than any of the previous tracks, turning into dreamy moods: this is not lyrical in the sense of symphonic prog, but lyrical anyway since the track's melodic development aims at the installment of melancholic airs. In this way, the habitual sense of mystery that is one of the stylistic cornerstones of RIO is used to point out a moment of spiritual solace. 'En la Cuerda Floja' reinforces the academic flair with bassist Gaitán playing viola and pianist Nicolau playing cello: truly loyal to the Schoenberg standard, the ensemble delivers a defying framework of twisted melodic lines and wicked cadences. 'Ipecacuana' brings the album's ultimate momentum, being in itself an effective climax in which the ethereal and the powerful merge into one nuclear sound. The last portion is based on a Latin-jazz scheme, with the rhythm duo elaborating a strong swing on which the violin lines tow the piano syncopations and the bassoon subtle ornaments. I really would have liked it if the closing portion had been expanded a bit longer, but it's OK all the same. The bonus track pretty much follows the most recurrent pattern included in the album's whole. In some moments, there is a sense of loud chaos in the shape on neurotic violin-bassoon dialogues, but mostly this is yet another exercise on complex orchestrations and controlled moods. Overall balance: what a great album!! "Estación de Sombra" is a masterful demonstration of musical illumination in the realms of RIO, conceived miles apart from the genre's original source. The Mexican guys of Nazca clearly captured its spirit and framework, providing a peculiar sensibility through the obvious influences. A RIO masterpiece, no doubt about it in my mind.
Report this review (#183997)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars RIO fans, pick this album!

Though I don't usually begin with those kind of statements, this time I want to bring the attention of people who loves Rock in Opposition, because besideds Decibel, Nazca is a Mexican RIO band which I feel very proud of, because they created a couple of albums of the most exquisite level. In 1985 this band released his first album, which I like a lot, and one year later they brought this wonderful record entitled "Estación de Sombra" where they show their skills at their best.

With nine compositions and a total time of 38 mintues, this album was very praised by the Mexican (and international) press, and also by the progressive rock fans. When you put the album, you will understand why. To open the album they put the title track, "Estación de Sombra" begins softly and gradually progresses, creating a dark atmosphere in moments but in other changing to a gentler sound. I love the piano and the violin especially. There are moments where the music will take you and wont let you go, believe me.

"Tragedia" as the name suggests, could work as a soundtrack for a tragedy, the music speaks for itself. Here a stronger bass sound appears, collaborating in the creation of a tension that will be heard throughout the song. "Espacios en Torno" is a shorter track whose piano work takes you to a drama film scene.

In "La Morgue", the music produces what again the title suggests; you can close your eyes and imagine people being there, in that not so comfortable place delivering dead bodies. Once again, I would like to remark the bass sound, which always puts that special flavor that the music needs. "Mangle" starts with a calm sound, but later piano, bass and oboe appear in order to build up new structures, I said it in pleural, because there are at least two. What the music here can do left me speechless, so again let it take you and you will be happy.

The diversity of elements found on "Deshueso" could please the strictest RIO fan, if you are into bands such as Henry Cow or Art Zoyd, then you will enjoy this album for sure. Once again I have to remark both, the bass and piano sounds. "En la Cuerda Floja" is a violin- oriented track, well at least in the first moments, because later it stops and other instruments appear. Though I would not think this adjective is the correct, I would say this track is entertaining.

"Ipecacuana" has an excellent piano sound that emerges from nowhere and tells something, the violin appearing here and there brings a superb characterization to the music. It later stops, and begins to build the structure again, with that inherent nervousness that some RIO acts can share. And the last song is "Nadja", with bassoon (as in the entire album), cool violin sound and nice percussion. This song completes the album, each single track could be a nice example of what Nazca is about, all of them work together as a team and created a strong album that I would recommend to all the RIO fans. My final grade is four stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#314995)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Estacion play a style of RIOish chamber rock reminiscent of similar work by Univers Zero and, to a lesser extent, Art Zoyd and Henry Cow. The music is a bit more somber and funereal than the spooky soundscapes evoked by UZ and AZ; rather than making you think eldritch horrors are about to jump out and kill you, the music rather gives the impression that some tragedy has already come to pass; beyond this subtle difference in atmosphere, there really isn't a lot to choose from between Nazca and more prominent chamber rock acts. But then again, when the acts they're so heavily inspired by are the likes of Present or Univers Zero, and when the imitation is this competently done, that's interesting enough in itself.
Report this review (#585288)
Posted Friday, December 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Perhaps the best band within Mexican RIO music, Nazca was a splendid ensemble playing dark, somber and complex chamber rock. While influences of Univers Zero and Present are clear and obvious, Nazca adds its own musical flavour to the formula, resulting in an album that truly is (in my eyes, at least) a pinnacle or Mexican Rock in Opposition movement. Especially amazing are piano and bassoon parts, which I love to death, although the rest of the members play great roles too. One thing I don't really like about the album is a rather boring cover - both the debut and the live album had much, much better and fitting cover arts. However, this doesn't change the fact that this album is an absolute blast and a bliss for any Univers Zero/Present/Stravinsky/Bartók freak out there. Give it some attention, it is amazing.
Report this review (#1588677)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2016 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars After unleashing their debut album in a part of the world unaccustomed to such musical weirdness, the Mexican RIO chamber rock band NAZCA followed up their excellent first album with a more mature and further developed sound. While the debut could have easily been passed off as some long lost Univers Zero or Henry Cow artifact from the vaults, ESTACIÓN DE SOMBRA (season of shade) takes the "1313" meets "World Culture" sensibilities of the aforementioned influences and adds healthy doses of sophomoric characteristics that allow NAZCA to feel like they have come of age. While still dosed in lugubrious atmospheres that ring of classically trained compositions from the long lost world of Stravinsky heading towards Schoenberg, the band more confidently builds their chamber rock edifice with stronger elements that allow each segment to connect to a larger whole creating an ever expanding sum of the parts.

While the most noticeable distinction from the debut is the production with every one of the instruments shining like a bright star in the sky, the roles of the instruments are even more distinct and clearly delineate passages of counterpoints that attack at dizzying speeds. While the piano tends to range in the classical realms often entering angelic domains with prancing arpeggios, the violin, viola duke it out with the oboe and bassoon to create twisted angular rhythms and anti-melodies that act as terrifying micro-syncopations that display the uncanny talent of the band's members. The fact is that despite displaying their influences on their sleeves, NAZCA go the extra mile to match and at times even exceed their heroes across the Atlantic.

Overall, ESTACIÓN DE SOMBRA is a much more highly refined album than the excellent debut. The complexity is off the chart with every element seeming like it was designed to fit in its proper place. Seemingly less lugubrious and more playful, ESTACIÓN DE SOMBRA comes off as a more twisted take on adventurism than trying to evoke a state of emotional sadness and even delivers scant elements of jazz dispersed throughout the tangled web of syncopation and instrumental trade-offs. Unfortunately RIO was not the happening thing in Mexico back in 1986 when this was released and the band would soon part their ways but in their wake of dedication released two extremely strong albums that have pretty much gone under the radar as a whole new renaissance of RIO chamber rock bands have stolen their thunder throughout the ensuing decades. NAZCA were one of the earliest second wavers who took their game seriously and unleashed an amazingly brash, bombastic and confident second release.

Report this review (#1781865)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 | Review Permalink

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