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ALAS

Alas

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Alas Alas  album cover
3.84 | 82 ratings | 11 reviews | 27% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Buenos Aires Solo es Piedra (15:48)
a) Tango
b) Sueño
c) Recuerdo
d) Trompetango
e) Tanguito
f) Soldó
2. La Muerte Contó el Dinero (17:36)
a) Vidala
b) Smog
c) Galope
d) Mal-ambo
e) Vidala Again
f) Amanecer - Tormenta
g) Final
3. Aire [bonus track] (4:35)

Total Time: 37:59

4. Rincon, Mi Viejo Rincon*

*Track 4 is only available on reissues after and including the 1997 reissue.

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Gustavo Moretto / keyboards, synthesizers, flute, trumpet, vocals
- Alex Zucker / bass, guitar
- Carlos Riganti / drums, percussion

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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Pinta Tu AldeaPinta Tu Aldea
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ALAS Alas ratings distribution


3.84
(82 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
55%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ALAS Alas reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Alas was one of the most amazing prog bands from Argentina, not only in the technical aspect (all three members were proficient performers) but also in the creative aspect - their style is based on a highly rich amalgam of jazz fusion a-la Return to Forever/Weather report, ELP-tinged prog pomposity, tango-based textures and academic flavours, all of them cohesively gathered in a powerful, original sound. Alas was, in many ways, a world of its own in their country's prog arena, yet their sound portrayed a distinct peculiarity that could only be emanated from the very heart of Buenos Aires' Creole folklore. Their debut album's repertoire consisted of two sidelong suites, both of them bearing a notable predominance of instrumental input. The first one, 'Buenos Aires es Solo Piedra', is the jazziest. The first and antepenultimate motifs sort of operate as the main centers of the whole sequence, providing an air of exuberant mystery for it. The 'Sueño' section is the only sung one, very ethereal indeed: the ethereal stuff is perpetuated in the immediate section, which turns to explore minimalistic places with its musique concrete-inspired tricks. There is another soft section before the arrival of the last one - 'Tanguito' brings some pleasant tango airs, like a dreamy sound that meanders in an unknown place of the listener's subconscious mind. The second suite is the most bombastic, meaning it is the most akin to progressive rock parameters. 'La Muerte Contó el Dinero' is a showcase for ELP's influence on Alas' style, but of course, Moretto's vision combined with the threesome's particular drive keeps them well away from any cloning temptation. The first section is a sung intro based on a delicate electric piano motif augmented by subtle touches of lead guitar and drum kit's cymbals. The lines are really powerful, as if predicting some sociopolitical disaster (which, sadly, came to be around the middle of that year 1976). Check this: "The sky crack up in crusts of lime / Pieces of the high seas cover the tombs / They sow animal birth pains / Children cry their wintertime hunger" - wow!, I understand Spanish and I can't stop my heart from shivering every time my ears listen to these lyrics in the 'Vidala' section. The three following sections determine the suite's nuclear motifs, and that is when things get electrifyingly ELP-ish, indeed: yet, like I said before, never getting to rip-off land. The organ and the synth paint amazing flourishes and leads all the way, while the rhythm section keeps an inventive pace in a most robust manner. After the first sung section is reprised in 'Vidala Again', a series of eerie sounds emanated from the synth, bass and percussive implements arrives like the birth of something new that gets in the landscape and spreads around. The sound of a storm announces a drum solo: what's the point of a drum solo after such an ethereal passage? Well, this drum solo serves as an anticipation of the final outburst, which is the resumed reprise of sections b, c & f: 'Final' brings an air of conclusive splendour to this suite, in this way providing a coherent closure. The bonus track comes from a single the band originally released the year before this album. While being less demanding, it is very neat, indeed, offering a candorous sample of jazzy 'joie de vivre'. If only it hadn't been placed after 'La Muerte.' - it somehow kills its climax. Well, if you program your CD player by locating the bonus between the two suites, the experience will be more rewarding. But even if you don't, Alas' debut album is so good that it can only motivate an excellent emotional experience in the listener's soul: "Alas" is a master opus that any decent prog collector should have.
Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Great to notice that the Argentine trio Alas has been added to this site, I just discovered this after reading Cesar his excellent review. I own a 2-CD compilation in the Grandes Exitos serie featuring the two long tracks from this first album, my review is based on that (I don't know the bonustrack). Most of those two compositions are fluent and dynamic, often with a strong jazzrock/fusion undertone. I also trace echoes from ELP (Hammond and Moog) and Yes (Hammond organ and Rickenbacker bass sound). And during some soli on the Moog synthesizer the music from USA band Lift comes to my mind, very spectacular! But don't make the conclusion that Alas doesn't make original prog after mentioning these references! The Fender Rhodes electric piano has an important role within the progrock sound from Alas, both in the more swinging parts as in the more mellow pieces, along with melancholical vocals. The special elements from Alas are the experiments with sound effects and instruments like the trumpet and the bandoneon (the South-American accordeon, known from the tango), blended with organ or string-ensemble, very unique. A good example of Alas their distinctive sound is the second, jazzy inspired track featuring virtuosic interplay between the acoustic guitar, piano and flute, followed by soli on bass, flute and Fender Rhodes piano. If you like jazzrock, ELP, Yes and the 'vintage keyboard sound' and you are up to more adventurous and experimental ideas, this is a band to discover!

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Amazing debut!

This time in my will to support South American music, i am reviewing the albums of an extraordinary 70´s band from Argentina called Alas, sadly they only released a couple of albums in the second half of the 70´s, but it is great to know that both albums were released with the musicians at their best, so as you can imagine the quality of the album, musically talking is excellent.

Alas was a trio composed by Gustavo Moretto playing keyboards, wind instruments and also vocals, Alex Zucker on bass and guitars, and Carlos Riganti on percussion, all of them are excellent musicians, very talented and we can notice it while listening to their music. In 1976 they released their self-titled album and probably better known, they choose among their music, only 4 songs in this debut album but each one full of creativity and mind- blowing moments, honestly Alas became quickly in one of my favorite bands from Argentina, and believe me that that country has been very prolific in the progressive rock movement. probably their music is obscure and not as known as they wish, but little by little more people is being aware of those magnific bands.

"Buenos Aires solo es piedra" is the first song of this album and probably one of my favorite songs of the band, it is a 15-minute epic which blends all the necessary to be called a superb song, excellent musicianship, magnific changes throughout the song, and a big creativity, this song reminds me to both ELP in the bombastic moments, and Return to Forever in the Jazz Fusion and fast moments, also let me tell you that somewhere in the song we can listen to the vocals of Moretto and a calm part of the song where trumpet appears with a delicate sound, this song is divided in 6 mini pieces.

"La Muerte conto el dinero" is the longest song of them all, at first we can listen to the part with vocals, sung in Spanish of course, but reminding me a bit to the Italian school. Then again the ELP-inspired music appears, superb keyboard playing and awesome drumming, again, this song was divided in mini pieces or parts whatever you want to call it, and this is the song when the ELP influence is strongly shown, nevertheless Alas doesn´t lose their particular sound and their orientation to tjhe jazz fusion music. There is a part which is beautiful, very soft and calm, an exquisite flute sound, along with some birds singing and also the sound of the air, making a charming moment in this long song, then a drums solo and then it returns to the bombastic music.

"Rincon , mi viejo rincon" and "Aire" are the bonus tracks, both songs make 10 minutes of extra music, being the first one the shortest of them and probably the worst without being bad, and Aire probably the jazziest one, great bass lines and some excellent arrangements, nice bonus tracks.

I really like this album and it´s music, so i highly recommend it to you, have a listen to Alas, 4 stars!

Review by crimson87
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Alas was one of those bands from my country that released a couple of LP's and then disbanded. It's a pity since they had pretty original ideas and were outstanding musicians. Their music is really complex ( specially taking into account that they were a three men group) blending lots of genres. The original release of this debut album included two long compositions , but in the remaster released in 2007 by EMI there were a couple of singles included which I shall review as well.

The first track is called Buenos Aires solo es piedra and as soon as it starts there can be heard some Chick Corea infuence in Alas' music. After this fast introduction , really calm vocals appear over an almost unhearable layer of Rhodes piano , pretty much like RTF first record (specially the track Crystal silence). This section also reminds me of some of the jazziest Canterbury acts like National Health , Gilgamesh or Hatfield's first album. Right after this part finishes we can hear Moretto's moog reminding me of ELP but without being bombastic at all. At 11:30 minutes there comes a little part with some trumpet by Moretto and some percussion by Carlos Riganti ( bells and maracas to be more specific). The song keeps on changing moode sometimes reworking on some of the themes that already were developed.

La muerte conto el dinero opens with vocals in the same mood as the previous song. Then it develops into a ELP ish section up to the fourth minute , the interplay between the musicians is top notch. some parts are remiscent of the Baba Yaga section on Pictures of an Exhibition. At 9:30 minutes Moretto sings again a brief part and some bird whistle like becomes prominent above a really spacey section. After this , a brief drum solo starts , this section is a little inconsistent for my tastes. Luckily this soon fades away and we face another fast section before the song comes to an end.

Aire is the first of the two bonus tracks and while is not long it's quite interesting.Basically , it sounds like The Rotters club meets Trilogy .Includes layers of keyboards , some pretty fast drumming and cheery vocals. The last song is Rincon , mi viejo Rincon and it's the worst of the bunch. Really a depressing tune and it's ending it's somewhat ankward.

Overall , this album is really interesting for those looking for a band with incredible musicianship. It may please the fans of the bands named above as well. I wouldn's say it's essential , but definitely worth checking out.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars ALAS were from Argentina and this is their debut from 1976. We get two side long tracks of mostly instrumental music. I was surprised (as I went to write this review) to see that they're listed under Jazz / Fusion. I must be losing it (haha). So lets call it a blend of Symphonic and Jazz then.

"Buenos Aires Solo Es Piedra" is led by drums, bass and keyboards early and the drumming is great. A sudden calm before 3 minutes then soft Spanish vocals join in. An almost dead silence 6 minutes in as faint sounds come and go. It's building then the earlier melody returns after 8 minutes. It settles again as these contrasts continue. Not much flow here.Trumpet before 11 1/2 minutes. Keyboards and drums lead 14 minutes in to the end.

"La Muerte Conto El Dinero" opens with vocals and a pastoral soundscape. Vocals stop then the tempo picks up after 1 1/2 minutes. It kicks in before 3 minutes with vocals then it stops and starts for a while before staying uptempo. This is good. It stops before 9 1/2 minutes then reserved vocals come in followed by a mellow sound. Birds are chirping but it doesn't sound real. Flute joins in, then the wind starts blowing. A drum solo before 15 minutes takes over, then they all kick in for the last 2 minutes.

Good album for sure but it doesn't capture my Prog heart.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars I know this record for some time, as I've had difficult relationship with it. Love/Hate to be correct. Let's call it jazz psychedelia (derived from word psycho, translated as "crazy"). For example end of second track. For example. All most of this record too. As long as I like this little bit experimental, add improvisation-like jamming and give it flavour of symphonic side, it's sometimes hard to understand, almost impossible to like. Last two tracks provides this much needed balance between our desire to explore new realms, but also back us up with homeland, well known structures, so we're not lost in hazy jungle of hydra-beast prog finding of ourselves. Or something like that.

3(+), but this was clear since first seconds of first track. It's good that they're treating us with original sounds, but sometimes, it's too much and they're pushing limits too far. Sometimes I think that four minus would be more fair.

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars This Buenos Aires keyboard trio made two albums at the height of Argentina's first prog boom in the late 70's. Formed and lead by multi-instrumentalist (KB, winds and violin) and singer Gustavo Moretto, with drummer Riganti, they later hooked up with bassist Zuker and recorded and released their self-titled debut in the fall of 76, on the major EMI label. They had only released single the previous year prior to that. The album came with a very bland A artwork, and the group was under the influence of Luis 'D'Artagnan' Sarmiento.

Two side-long epics (one aside) make the spine of the present album, the first of which bearing the strange name of Buenos Aires Solo Es Piedra - under which the album is sometimes referred to. Consisting of six movements, the almost 16-mins piece moves from demented ELP-like antics (the opening Tango movement) to gentler Spanish-sung pastures (Sueno) to the more experimental and slightly dissonant (the Recuerdo movement). Despite the many tango references in the suite's subsection's titles, the general feel is not nearly as Argentinean as it might let you think: indeed, if Trompetango features Moretto's trumpet, there is nothing typically tango-esque, at least not the typical dance music. And if the following Tanguito bears a jazzier and crazier feel, like ELP or Le Orme could've done it a few years before them; fear not, because we're definitely not in the usual gaucho clich's.

The 17-mins+ 7-movement suite Muerte Conto El Dinero filling the flipside opens directly with vocals, thus reminding often of Le Orme or other Italian bands (Argentina is over half of Italian descent). The piece moves in many different moods, including a pastoral flute and just after, a passage through a wind battlefield (the Galope movement) and many more. Itend to prefer the flipside.

Only really available in the 2on1 Archivos collection, the first album is followed by the two bonus tracks of the single that was released the previous year. As such this debut album s quite a remarkable first oeuvre, one of the country's earlier masterpiece, and it stands out a bit by not being too symphonic, unlike many of their crosstown rivals (Mia, Crucis, etc'). In some ways they are maybe a tad more reminiscent of El Reloj

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I've been on a bit of an Argentina binge lately, review-wise, so I figured I may as well revisit this first release from Alas. The band, like most others from Latin America, never got the chance to release very much material during the 70's. Indeed, Alas' classic period only saw the release of two discs, with this being one of them.

As it happens, this is probably only the second best of their classic run. With a humble three-piece setup of keyboards, bass and drums, the ELP comparisons are inevitable, and on this first album Gustavo Moretto certainly makes his appreciation for Emerson a lot more pronounced than on their sophomore "Pinta Tu Aldea". With that in mind, and the fact that the original album contains only two tracks, one sprawling across each side of vinyl, one might be quick to assume that this is a symphonic record. That isn't the case, though; the playing style by all involved is very much rooted in jazz, with a rather non-linear compositional style, each side meandering its way through various instrumental passages, alternating sparse, meditative interludes with energetic outbursts on the keys.

As with its successor, "Alas" is noteworthy in just how deep and multifaceted of a sound these three managed to create with such limited personnel and recording quality. Moretto showcases his talent as a multi-instrumentalist, offering some trumpet touches here and there, and even some brief vocals. So there's really no shortage of creativity and talent on display here. However, I do have a few qualms with the overall product. The music can sound a little directionless at times, and ultimately not that memorable; Moretto's energy and ability would go on to be consolidated much more effectively into a cohesive musical whole on the follow-up album, "Pinta Tu Aldea". That doesn't mean that there isn't anything to enjoy on here, of course. There are still well-done sections and this is an album I'd recommend to any fan of the Argentinian "rock nacional progresivo" style.

As it stands, 3 stars. A good album, but "Pinta Tu Aldea" is the essential release from this South American trio.

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