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聲gel Ontalva

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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聲gel Ontalva 聲gel Ontalva & Vespero: Carta Marina album cover
3.98 | 99 ratings | 4 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Carta Marina (12:13)
2. Sea Orm (7:35)
3. Giant Lobster Between the Orkneys and the Hebrides (6:48)
4. Insula Magnetica (8:51)
5. Sledges Crossing the Gulf of Bothnia (6:45)
6. Horrenda Charybdis Near Lofoten (8:09)
7. Ziphius (10:04)

Total Time 60:25

Bonus CD from 2018 SE - Sea Orm Liventure :
1. Mirsconca
2. Esir
3. Sea Orm
4. Giant Lobster Between the Orkneys and the Hebrides
5. Carta Marina
6. Sledges Crossing the Gulf of Bothnia
7. Horrenda Charybdis Near Lofoten
8. Mare Ingenii
9. Ziphius

Line-up / Musicians

- 聲gel Ontalva / guitar

- Alexander Kuzovlev / guitar, mandolin, mixing
- Alexey Klabukov / keyboards, synth
- Vitaly Borodin / violin, dictophone loops
- Arkady Fedotov / bass, synth, noises
- Ivan Fedotov / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Alexei Klabukov with 聲gel Ontalva

CD VMS - VMS003 (2018, Russia)
2CD VMS - VMS003/VMS004 (2018, Russia) Bonus CD contains live performances of 聲gel Ontalva & VESPERO during 2017/2018

Digital - downloads and streaming -

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy 篾GEL ONTALVA 聲gel Ontalva & Vespero: Carta Marina Music

篾GEL ONTALVA 聲gel Ontalva & Vespero: Carta Marina ratings distribution

(99 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

篾GEL ONTALVA 聲gel Ontalva & Vespero: Carta Marina reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by GruvanDahlman
5 stars What excites me most about progressive rock is when a band or artist takes inspiration from the past or from litterature. I would love if someone, somewhere could bring Richard III and the battle of Bosworth to life through the medium of keyboard heavy prog. But to be sure, that is not the point of this review, airing my personal hopes and dreams. Let me retrace my steps a bit.

Being a history buff and a sucker for historic maps i can't help but being blown away by this album. I have heard of Vespero but cannot say I have listened to them. That is not to say that there hasn't been an interest to do so from my part, au contraire. But when this album landed in my phone I could not resist it. I felt as though I were a child in a candy store. Here is an album that takes it's inspiration from the old Carta Marina, essentially the oldest reasonably correct depicted map of northern Europe. Nigh on 500 years it was created by the famous cartographer (among other activities) swede Olaus Magnus. It is a beautiful map and one of my all time favorites. Thus it is safe to say that my expectations were quite high. Could this be pulled off or would it sink to the bottom of the Baltic ocean like stone dropped from a lepers hand. (I don't know what that has to do with anything, leper or not the stone is the key.)

The opening "Carta Marina" must be the perfect music to accompany you on a time travel back to the 16th century. The extremely atmosperic intro with soaring guitar and sweeping keyboards is simply marvelous. I'm going now, right back to the study of Olaus Magnus. That is the feeling I get. Halfway in the music really takes off and dense complex instrumentation takes me through the whole of the Carta Marina, as if I was flying across it. There I see the creatures of the sea, the monstrosities that dwells in the deep and the waves that transports my ship to the mysteries of old Iceland. If that is not musical brilliance, to transport me to being a part of the map I do not know what is.

And it goes on in this fashion the album through. "Sea orm" is amazing. On the map you can see the sea snake attacking a ship, pulling it down with him. The music is dramatic and the keyboards really do catch the horror of it all. "Giant lobster between the Orkneys and the Hebrides" is equally mindblowing, as is "Insula magnetica". The mysterious music finds me at the stern of my ship, watching that giant lobster go down into the darkness and unfathomable sea.

And now, for something more playful and mundane activities. "Sledges crossing the gulf of Botnia" is a wonderful track. So beautiful with the playful mandolin. The sledges, drawn by reindeers, snow in my face, laughter and creaking ice. The winter sun of the north. The speed of the sleighride, snow falling on my face. I am there, in that sledge. And now we're racing, the violin and keyboards blurrs my vision. All I care about is the ride itself. One of my favorite pieces.

"Horrenda charybdis near Lofoten" is a dramatic track with horror and beauty all intertwined. I love the rounded notes of the distorted guitar but the violin is breathtaking. The ending "Ziphius" is the most hard and heavy of the tracks. And chaotic, yet there's order. The ziphius being a whale, reaching up to seven metres in length, this track sees me watching from the distance how the creature heads for the surface of the ocean before slowly descending. Majestic track and a perfect way to end a journey through the times and space of the Carta Marina.

I have spent the past few hours really listening to this album. Going back. Going forth. Listened again. Closing my eyes and really allow myself to be overwhelmed by what I hear. This is overwhelming music. Mindblowing music. Brilliant music. When concept and music marries in this way there is really nothing that soothes my soul in the same way. This is a truly breathtaking album, a breathtaking journey and a breathtaking listen. I love it. I really do. I find no faults. Splendid instrumentation and execution. And if I feel this way after just a few hours, how much more will I find after weeks of listening? I dare say more. I can't rate it higher than five stars but that is the only thinkable rating for me. Thank you, Vespero and Angel Ontalvo.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars 'Carta Marina' is a collaboration of multi-talented artist Angel ONTALVA from Spain and Russian band VESPERO. Hopefully not the last, I would like to add straightaway. 2017 they came in touch in Astrakhan, the band's homebase, due to an exhibition of his paintings there. They also managed to play together for about a week. Soon after that Ontalva started to compose pieces of music, the Vespero members had to take care of the arrangements furthermore. That's it, here we go! The main inspiration for the process came from the eponymous map first published in 1539, which shows the nordic Scandinavian countries, this decorated with strange creatures and a bunch of other interesting details.

Thus I would have expected just an image of this map as the front cover. But, due to copyright restrictions, finally the used painting went to be another one, contributed by Ontalva. Now obviously, music-wise the project is trying to accomplish a symbiosis of an avantgarde respectively fusion oriented guitarist and some experimental space prog rockers. Well, no problem at all! This 60 minute affair is fundamented by an extraordinary chemistry regarding those musicians. Eclectic from the result, equipped with complex structure. Therefore the music is extra difficult to describe with words. You definitely must hear this, let it have a lasting effect please.

Very special, we have two guitarists in place, immediately to recognize when starting with the album's title track. Ontalva and Kuzovlev both are stylistically differing for sure, nevertheless complementing in excellent manner throughout. And Vitaly Borodin's violin comes on top. The title song evolves like ebb and flow featuring jazzy fast-paced parts in between, a real challenge for rhythm brothers Arkady and Ivan Fedotov. Insula Magnetica then marks an appealing meandering space tune, where keyboarder Alexey Klabukov is carefully juggling with quirky and twittering synths.

Extra applause for the inspired atmosphere on Sledges Crossing The Gulf Of Bothnia, a wonderful mandolin is serving some proper ethno feeling. Could be designated as a soundtrack for a movie showing people underway along the coast on the widespread frozen ice in wintertime. I would prefer it in the native way anyhow, via reindeer-driven sledge. But the band ultimately gains pace up into a somewhat wild and nervous groove, so even the modern snowmobile could be an alternative for one or two. Constantly stunning, 'Carta Marina' is an album strongly recommended! I'm sure all involved musicians will have extended their musical horizon during the recording process. 4.5 stars so far.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars The addition of guitarist 聲gel Ontalva elevates Vespero out of its rut of competent familiarity back into the level of bands worthy of the end of year Album of the Year conversations. The music is similar but Ontalva adds an exciting new aspect: a frontman. Ontalva plays the electric guitar with the tone and attack of Carlos Santana with the finger dexterity of Robert Fripp and the fretboard deftness of Allan Holdsworth. And his acoustic guitar play is even better.

1. "Carta Marina" (12:13) Angel uses a late-era JOHN McLAUGHLIN-like doubled-up synth guitar sound while the Vespero gang slowly build a hypnotic groove. Whereas I was quite intrigued and excited by drummer Ivan Fedotov's sound and style in their first studio album, By The Waters of Tomorrow, I have come to the conclusion that he is no Jaki Liebezeit: he too often stands out, above, or outside of the rock solid rhythmic groove that the song is trying to maintain. Ontalva's work is stellar, often melodic, and often effectively mirrored by violinist Vitaly Borodin. In fact, Borodin is perhaps made better by the challenge of having to keep up with the likes of a virtuoso like Ontalva. The styles 聲gel transitions among, so fluidly, are jaw-dropping. One second he's Wes Montgomery, and then suddenly he's Holdsworth or Fripp (or something above and beyond). (9/10)

2. "Sea Orm" (7:35) playing with a very fluid, unstable pitch locator (or heavy reliance on whammy bar), Ontalva makes us feel the sea sickness of being on the water with his lead guitar. A Caribbean, almost-calypso rhythm pattern holds strong for the first 3:35 before everything shifts to an entirely different albeit still Latin-shaped foundation while 聲gel and keyboardist Alexey Klabukov take turns in the lead position. (8.5/10)

3. "Giant Lobster Between The Orkneys And The Hebrides" (6:48) lazy Holdsworth-like electric leads alternating with Spanish influenced acoustic and electric guitar work accompany a slow, barely noticeable intensification of tension which then almost anti-climactically dissipates down the drain. (8/10)

4. "Insula Magnetica" (8:51) droning background to 聲gel's note-bending soloing--which is eventually matched and mirrored by Borodin on violin. More like soundtrack music. Ivan's drumming is pure brushwork and much beneath the bass synths and lead strings' weaves. Very SHAKTI-like. (8.5/10)

5. "Sledges Crossing The Gulf Of Bothnia" (6:45) opening with an acoustic orientation, this song gets me right from the start. Borodin and Kuzovlov are at their very best as they are challenged by the presence of master Ontalvo! And this is drummer Fedotov's best track (his play is mixed perfectly within the guitars/violins). And 聲gel soars! My favorite song on the album. Plus, the minimalist-math rock structure reminds me of Swiss band SONAR. (9.5/10)

6. "Horrenda Charybdis Near Lofoten" (8:09) opens like I'm about to hear guitar virtuoso Roy Buchanan burst forth with Mitch Mitchell in support! But then it smooths out into typical Kosmische form and sound while 聲gel leads from within the mix. Awesome guitar solo in the fourth minute; 聲gel Ontalva is so inventive, so quick yet fluid and mercurial! Borodin follows with a nice solo offset by some interesting keyboard sound and arpeggi. (The drumming here is rather annoying.) More great soloing from Ontalva before we switch into wind down/wrap it up mode. My second favorite song on the album. (9.5/10)

7. "Ziphius" (10:04) what starts as if it's going to be a classic blues-rock guitar showpiece becomes pure Kosmische Music by the end of the first minute. In the fourth minute, as Borodin and his seering violin join in, the song shifts into a steady four-chord rock pace. This time it seems as if Borodin has finally topped the challenger, Ontalva, and, as the song slows down and stops at 5:25, the two are left screeching what sound like their dying notes. But then the rhythm section flashes back to life with Fedotov flexing and stretching a little while the pace and energy build. (9/10)

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Over the last few years, I have come across a couple of Vespero albums. This Russian avant-garde group has made a huge impression on me with the likes of 2020's 'The Four Zoas' which I described as deep, meaningful and superb, so when Ark asked if I would be interested in hearing more of their material, I was of course intrigued, especially as the first two albums I listened to were a collaboration. 聲gel Ontalva is guitarist with October Equus but has also released a series of solo albums, often with other musicians, and 2018's 'Carta Marina' was the first of these with Vespero. The Carta Marina was the first map of the Nordic countries to give details and place names, initially published in 1539, and that is the inspiration for an enthralling release.

While Spaniard 聲gel Ontalva has more of a fusion style, Russian group Vespero are far more avant-garde in their approach, but somehow, they manage to keep it all together and create something that is vibrant, exciting, and always pushing forward. The Vespero line-up were Alexander Kuzovlev (guitar, mandolin, mixing), Alexey Klabukov (keyboards, synth), Vitaly Borodin (violin, dictophone loops), Arkady Fedotov (bass, synth, noises) and Ivan Fedotov (drums, percussion), so we not only had two guitarists with distinct styles but there were other lead melody instruments involved, and the trick was to keep it going as a harmonious whole. The result is an album which toys with the weird and discordant yet tends to keep it controlled and not as free wheeling as one may expect. This is massively complex music, with incredibly fluid lines from Ontalva, and although I believe this was recorded separately, one can imagine everyone in the studio just bouncing ideas off each other. One of the things which really stands out for me with this collaboration is that it does not sound like one: this feels very much like a single band pushing out and creating new direction and styles.

One never knows where this music is going to lead, or who is in charge, as ideas bounce between players, seemingly directed in one area and then it turns and moves in on itself as the living form takes control. This is an incredibly impressive piece of work, exciting, innovative, and essential.

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