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...EN AL-HAKIM

Medina Azahara

Symphonic Prog


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Medina Azahara ...En Al-Hakim album cover
3.54 | 6 ratings | 4 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Al-Hakim...Otro Lugar (4:33)
2. Otoño (4:12)
3. Velocidad (4:59)
4. La Guitarra (4:37)
5. El Destino (5:20)
6. Déjame Vivir (3:57)
7. Tal Como Es (3:38)
8. Desde Córdoba (5:07)

Total time 36:43

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Manuel Martínez / vocals
- Pablo Rabadán / keyboards, backing vocals
- Randy López / bass, harmonica, backing vocals
- José Antonio Molina / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Paco Ventura / guitar, backing vocals
Special guest:
- Vicente Amigo / flamenco guitar (4, 5, 8)

Releases information

CD-Avispa S.L.-ACD 002 CD A-

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MEDINA AZAHARA ...En Al-Hakim ratings distribution


3.54
(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

MEDINA AZAHARA ...En Al-Hakim reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This my favorite studio-album from MEDINA AZAHARA, in my opinion their most mature, varied and symphonic effort. The opener "Al Hakim ... otro lugar" has that typical Morish climate, strong and expressive Spanish vocals and pleasant synthesizer flights (in the vein of Mark Kelly). The ballad "Otono" has become one of the 'crowd-pleasers': a slow rhythm featuring emotional vocals, tender pianoplay, bluesy guitar riffs and some fiery and howling electric guitar. Next is "Velocidad", a simple but catchy up-tempo rock song delivering some fine synthesizer runs. On "La guitarra" guest musician Vicente Amigo (nowadays one of the leading flamenco guitarists!) enters the scene with a compelling acoustic guitar intro and then quick runs, accompanied by expressive vocals (this is the flamenco spirit) and later a fiery electric guitar and sensational synthesizer flights, what an exciting contrast with the acoustic flamenco guitar play! It's bluestime in "El destino" but MEDINA AZAHARA adds an extra dimension by blending expressive flamenco guitar, moving mouth-organ, wailing Spanish vocals and harder-edged electric guitar, what an emotional experience, goose bumps! "Dejame vivir" (heavy electric guitar solo) and "Tal como es" (swinging piano solo) are two simple up-tempo rocksongs in the vein of "Velocidad", tasteful but predictable. The final track "Desde Cordoba" features again the excellent Vicente Amigo on flamenco guitar, this time he delivers exciting duels with Paco Ventura's hard-edged electric guitar, again goose bumps!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#27232) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 21, 2005

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
3 stars The genre into which Medina Azahara has been slotted is "eclectic prog", and nowhere does this description match the band's output better than on "En El Hakim". This has to do with the attitude of the group towards the compositions - one of patience and collaborative arrangements - and the inclusion of guest flamenco master Vicente Amigo. The result is a band that sounds, and even looks, like a mature version of the Gipsy Kings, one that knows how to slow down, take root, and stay awhile.

This is not to say that En El Hakim is mellow or laid back, just that it acknowledges a time and place for everything in music as in life. "La Guitarra" is of course a showcase for Amigo, but also for his interplay with keyboardist Pablo Rabadán. In "El Destino", Amigo plays a central role in a ponderous bluesy song, but in "Dejame Vivir", the band goes up tempo big time, coming across like the Moody Blues a la "Story in Your Eyes", but with an even better melody and not a note wasted. It even has a succinct lead guitar solo, and a masterfully drawn out ending that betrays its deeply progressive roots. This is 4 minute prog as it has rarely been done before or since. Finally "Desde Cordoba" combines all of the hues - the flamenco, the urgency, the synths, and the power balladry of the emotive Manuel Martínez to produce a touching finale.

Three less interesting numbers spoil the possibility of a 4 star rating. The title cut tries to integrate more overt Andalusian influences with very limited success, while "Velocidad" starts well but fails to reach escape velocity, ditto for "Tal Como Es". None of them are bad but they are simply not up to the high quality of the rest of the material.

En El Hakim is a good album with plenty of great moments from this important Spanish group that more people should know.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#137805) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars En... Al Hakim is the first "real" prog andaluz album I've bought (Carmen come not from Spain). I have to say that the album doesn't follow my expectations. But I'm happy for this.

After several listenings I have to say that the eight tracks sound in their own peculiar way. It's difficult to judge works like these. Especially if you are (like I am) too much famliar with the typical sound from the seventies.

I think the icing on the cake is the interesting duet between melancholic morish vocals of Manuel Martinez and whispering synthesizer of Pablo Rabadan, as other fellow reviewers have correctly pointed out.

The excellent opener "Otro Lugar" says it all: 1989 isn't a so bad year. In fact, while some lower moments can be immidiately recognized ("Velocidad" is the lowest point in this) with its too polished keyboards' sound, subdued drums and repetitive patterns (very good, btw), at the same time the song has something more. Call it the right ingredient, call it oxigene to make it sparkle. I don't know, exactly...maybe is this the effect of andalusian atmosphere.

Other tunes are more convincing thanks to the guest appearence of Vicente Amigo on fabulous flamenco guitar. Just listen, for example, how "La Guitarra" starts off. Great atmosphere enriched by slow tempo, inspired vocals and some harder electric guitar soloing. "El Destino" has a similar structure but is even better with the alternating of flamenco guitar and sad armonica playing by Randy Lopez: "...el destino me engañò porque soñando encontré el verdadero amor. Un amor que se acabò cuando yo me desperté y ella se marchò...". Passion.

Very good also "Dejame Vivir" with its nice piano interplay. The closer "Desde Còrdoba" has a more dramatic vein, even with the usual mid tempo approach. Electric guitar and synth solos until it fades out.

All in all a very good record with moments of great pleasure. A classic from Spain's second prog phase. Many colleagues at work have appreciated very much also. Thanks for the recommendation, ERIK ;) 3,75 rounded up.

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#155783) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 17, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After the release of two weak albums (of which the last one Caravana Española was a total disaster), this band rested for a while and took four years to release En El-Hakim.

It is with some sadness that I discovered that their great guitar player Miguel Galán has left the band. He was the heart and soul from this band and he really held the level of their music to a high standard (he alone saved their third album from mediocrity).

In some sort, this is a return to their symphonic work from the early days, but unfortunately this feeling is mostly noticeable during the first two songs from this album: the opener Al Hakim ... Otro Lugar and Otoño.

This album sounds even more Spanish-oriented as their first two albums. One can feel this in the lead vocal work from Manuel Martinez (who is a founding member).

There is also the addition of some fine flamenco guitar on three songs and you'll get it all: the Triana filiation has never been closer (El Destino or La Guitarra). Still, the pop angle hasn't disappear unfortunately. I particularly dislike Velocidad, but the pop-rock Déjame Vivir is dispensable as well.

To be honest, a song as Tal Como Es can't be considered as prog either. It is simple and straight- forward pop-rock like in the darkest days of their early eighties production. Not my cup of tea. Press next.

The best you can expect from this album is the closing and bombastic Desde Córdoba. Upbeat rhythms, soaring electric guitar combined with some flamenco notes are such a nice treat. The whole band is at his best here. Passionate Manuel on vocals and symphonic keyboards. This song is fully in- line with their best album (their debut one). Not many songs here can compete actually.

If ever you would like to get the most symphonic side from this little known band, you should grab their eponymous first album released ten years prior to this one. Three stars for En El-Hakim.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#188042) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 05, 2008

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