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Estradasphere It's Understood album cover
4.07 | 54 ratings | 2 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hunger Strike (19:30 )
2. Cloud Land (1:04 )
3. The Transformation (8:25 )
4. Danse of Tosho and Slavi/Randy's Desert Adventure (7:29 )
5. The Trials and Tribulations of Parking On Your Front Lawn (4:14 )
6. The Princes (2:24)
7. Los Dias Sin Dias (2:52)
8. XQuiQ (2:43)
9. Hunnahpu and Xbalanque (3:29)
10. Spreading The Disease (8:10)
11. Planet Sparkle/Court Yard Battle 1 (2:21)
12. D(flat) Hell (12:16)

Total Time: 74:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Jason Schimmel / guitars, banjo, piano, throat voice, vocals
- John Whooley / saxophones, throat voice, vocals, percussion
- Timb Harris / violin, trumpet, mandolin, throat voice, vocals
- Tim Smolens / bass, throat voice, vocals, keyboards, production & mixing
- Dave Murray / drums, didgeridoo, flute, jaminator, throat voice, vocals

- Aaron Seeman / accordion (1,4,5)
- Joel Robinow / lead vocals (3)
- Luke Kirley / trombone (3)
- George Smith / mystery rap (3)
- MonoMan (Dave Murray) / noises (12)

Releases information

Artwork: Arena Reed with Joey Ryken (photo)

CD Web Of Mimicry ‎- WoM005 (2000, US)

Thanks to licantropho for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy ESTRADASPHERE It's Understood Music

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Palace Of MirrorsPalace Of Mirrors
BMG/The End Records 2006
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Multiple Formats
BMG/The End Records 2007
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Mimicry 2003
$24.94 (used)

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ESTRADASPHERE It's Understood ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ESTRADASPHERE It's Understood reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars ESTRADASPHERE was formed in 1998 in Santa Cruz, CA and a part of the extended Mr Bungle family as the band was formed by members of Trey Spruance's (at the time) side project Secret Chiefs 3. This musical ensemble was founded by violinist and trumpet player Timba Harris and guitarist / banjoist Jason Schimmel of SC3 fame along with drummer Dave Murray. On their debut release IT'S UNDERSTOOD they take the Mr Bungle, Frank Zappa and John Zorn approach of applying technical wizardry, healthy genre shuffling and frenetic instrumental workouts that created mind-bending fusion styles such as "Bulgarian Surf", "Romanian Gypsy- Metal", and "Spaghetti Eastern" and sounded like "Psychedelic-Sci-fi", "Gypsy-Metal-Jazz" and "Epic-Cinema-Thon," as described by the band itself.

Stylistically ESTRADASPHERE is somewhat similar to Secret Chiefs 3 from which they sprang forth only whereas SC3 used Middle Eastern music and Surf Rock as their template to experiment upon, ESTRADASPHERE uses the violin saturated styles of Balkan gypsy music and Klezmer as their foundation. That means generally speaking they begin a track with an energetic violin led outburst of rhythmic gypsy sounds that ride down the Mr Bungle highway as they genre skip and incorporate everything from bluegrass and klezmer to death metal and video game chiptune. Zappa influences are abundant with whimsical titles ("The Trials And Tribulations Of Parking On Your Front Lawn") and hilarious musical contradictions ("Danse Of Tosho And Slavi / Randy's Desert Adventure") where frenetic death metal can sit side by side with placid slowed down classical violin solos. Same goes for the death metal meets yoga meditation chant on "Spreading The Disease" which finds evil sounding metal riffs alternating with relaxing soccer mom meditation class instructions!

"The Transformation" and "Planet Sparkle / Court Yard Battle 1" both find use for cleverly crafted use of classic old school video game music. The album is bookended by two monster tracks with the opener "Hunger Strike" clocking in at 19 minutes and 30 seconds. Both are based in the same Balkan gypsy folk music but deviate from their belying intros manyfold and seemingly leave no genre stone unturned in their wake and if that weren't enough ESTRADASPHERE which is a band of highly trained virtuosos is quite playful in creating some of the most sophisticated and convoluted progressive rock time signature changes that never sound forced and always succeed in blowing the mind.

ESTRADASPHERE comes off much like Secret Chiefs 3 in their focus on the ethnic elements but is more adventurous and therefore seems a bit like a more refined and less schizophrenic version of Mr Bungle so in effect, the perfect extended family member of one of the most creative branches in the experimental rock universe. IT'S UNDERSTOOD is a highly enjoyable debut and one of my favorites in the band's canon. It is well-paced with the disparate elements utilized for maximum effect while incorporating strong ethnically based hooks that often make you think you've crashed some sort of alternative music festival in Bosnia & Herzegovina or something! Very few musicians could pull off these musical gymnastics with such grace and precision but the members of ESTRADASPHERE truly conjured up some highly addictive musicomania. Another one that will surely please all the adventurous listeners out there.

Latest members reviews

5 stars as the star rating says: a masterpiece of progressive music, meaning that it is not merely a demonstration of technical skill, it is an original piece which pushes the boundries and would make other masters of prog applaud. the fact that this album appears so late in the life of progressive mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#72133) | Posted by | Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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