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MAR DE ROBLES

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Chile


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Two percussionists, one bassist, one tenor sax player and a guitarist seem like an excellent recipe for some sizzling, exotic prog if MAR DE ROBLES' first album is anything to judge by: great compositions, exciting rhythms bearing an exquisite latin flair, delicate flute play that provide a welcomed breather between fiery numbers, and heartfelt Spanish lyrics with an attitude. Biographical information about this Chilean band from Concepcion is unfortunately scarce, but the excellent musicianship displayed on their first release leaves no doubt about their professionalism.

Their debut album is quirky, almost edgy, and definitely fun - not a dull moment throughout. Their well-crafted compositions combine latin jazz-fusion à la AKINETÓN RETARD with 70's symphonic prog CRIMSON-style and some psych flavours. Tight and complex percussive lines, crunching yet melodic guitar riffs and powerful sax. Very entertaining indeed.

Absolutely recommended to fans of FOCUS, KING CRIMSON and particularly AVANT GARDEN.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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MdRMdR
Import
Mylodon Records
Audio CD$19.99
IndigenaIndigena
Import
Musea Records France 2007
Audio CD$142.02 (used)

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MAR DE ROBLES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.79 | 36 ratings
Mar de Robles
2003
4.10 | 76 ratings
Indígena
2007

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MAR DE ROBLES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mar de Robles by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.79 | 36 ratings

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Mar de Robles
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Rancagua-based Chileans Mar De Robles got together in mid-90's, when Rodrigo Moris and Cristi'n Larrondo met each other as members of a Hardcore band, which did not last long.They formed then a Pink Floyd tribute band, eventually developing original ideas with Julio Tobar on voice/sax/flutes, Cristian's brother Ignacio on percussion and drummer Luis Lopez.In early 98' Lopez left to make room for Victor Munoz and this line-up recorded and self-procuced the band's self-titled debut.It was finally released on Mylodon Records in 2003, containing pieces written between 1997 and 2003.

Mar De Robles' sound draws influences from both the Progressive Rock and Jazz/Fusion styles with light Ethnic colors here and there.It is a very well-balanced work with some incredible instrumental parts next to groovier moments and the expressive vocals of Julio Tobar.Guitars, bass and drums play the prominent roles in Mar De Robles' music, going from very complex workouts and breaks to heavy riffing, melodic solos and jazzy overtones, often with a slight KING CRIMSON inspiration.However their music contains plenty of flute and sax parts to become even richer, at moments these seem to be the leading instruments with some impressive solos.Among the harder passages the band sets series of more minimalistic and calmer soundscapes with light bass, percussion and flutes to soften things up.Smooth Ethnic vibes here and there add the album another welcome dimension and the overall mix is a very tight Fusion of different moods and influences.

An album with a heavy amount of energy and passion behind the well-crafted compositions.If you are enjoying this type of music or even more you are a fan of modern Chilean Prog bands, ''Mar De Robles'' is definitely the album to search for.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Mar de Robles by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.79 | 36 ratings

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Mar de Robles
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Very promising debut!

Some years ago I had the luck of witnessing a great show by this Chilean band, as a support act of my beloved Mexican act Cabezas de Cera, I remember I left the place really happy, surprised of how good they were, and of course, I bought their albums. Mar de Robles are a band from Chile, as I mentioned, who so far have released two albums (I really hope to see a new one soon), their self-titled debut was released on 2003.

Since this first album they show high quality music, original compositions that please the strictest prog fan. The album has eight songs that make a total time of 53 minutes, and it starts with "Introducción al Universo Desconocido" , a one minute intro with radio noises and words in different languages, like listening to the news. It leads to "Involución", an explosive atomic bomb of music, with great saxophone, bass and drums. A minute later it changes, slows down but then it arises again, when the vocals appear and make a fast and nervous sound, accompanied by constant guitar and a cool flute. The final minutes are spectacular!

"Nómadas" has a less explosive sound, actually it is a soft and calm track with nice guitars and flute, the voice is not really my cup of tea, it is good but that's it, in moments I prefer the instrumental passages. After two minutes the song's direction changes, so as the rhythm, the guitar is heavier now. Well, this song is pretty rich because it changes and changes in so little time and space, and all of those changes are for good, none of them are lost so each and every of them are necessary to the music's structure. Love the bass sound here!

"Tantic" starts with some bird whistles, and then bass starts its quirky sound, seconds later it is joined by guitars and drums, and then by flute. After a minute the rhythm becomes faster and more challenging, great guitar riffs appear and a wonderful musicianship is shown. What a great decision was the introduction of percussion, I love how the band manages to work with a percussionist and a drummer.

"Milodon" starts once again with the prominent bass sound, and seconds after is joined by the other instruments. That combination of winds, strings and percussion works really well with Mar de Robles, none of the instruments is the leader, all work together as a team, all have their moments. After that introduction, the guitar makes some cool riffs while bass and percussion work as rhythmical base. Then it is the flute which makes its spot. After two minutes vocals appear, with great lyrics (in the whole album), and then as you imagine, several changes in the song.

"Aire Chileno" has a bombastic start, then those percussions and bass work together and create a fantastic sound, a nervous rhythm which is contra rested with the beautiful flute sound. What is remarkable on this song is the use of harmony vocals in some parts, most evident is at the final part, which sounds pretty good. This is another cool track that shows once again their quality.

"El Flecha" is probably my favorite song here. I love how it is progressing and that fantastic game of nuances and moods that shares. The music creates an atmosphere of anxiety or tension, the rhythm is fast, it provokes something on you, like standing up and look for something in despair until you find it, I love the nervousness incited, and how it all ends. The bass sound is once again great, as well as the percussion which always add a wonderful rhythm.

Finally: "V/S?" which seems to follow the same line as the previous instrumental track. The sound is pretty alike, elaborated and challenging, showing off the musician's skills and creating a strong composition. Nothing new to add actually, though it is an excellent closer.

Mar de Robles is a band I like a lot, I love this debut and believe me, it is just the beginning of a high quality band. My final grade is four stars, recommendable for any prog rock fan.

Enjoy it!

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 Indígena by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.10 | 76 ratings

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Indígena
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Second album from this Chilean band is really enjoying one! Plenty of energy, very optimistic sound, elements of Latin folklore added...

Just to imagine their music there, just think about King Crimson ( who is their huge influence!) with characteristic Stick angular sound, played on a Latin manner - with Chilean flute, Latin folk elements, nice melodic sax, few jazz fusion arrangements and plenty of metal guitars over it.

All the music is not complex, but more dynamic, energetic, oriented more to your heart, not minds. Compositions are quite different, and all the album is pleasant and accessible listening. For sure, you will feel King Crimson shadows on every step there, but it looks guys don't worry too much about it. They just play music they like on their own, Latin metal fusion manner.

Don't expect to find some new things there - this album is great energizer, and it's enough! Not the music for jazz fusion fans for sure, but those with love to KC legacy, Latin flavour and melodic metal guitars would like it I think.

P.S. Mostly instrumental work, it has few vocals on The Mars Volta manner (In Spanish).

My rating is 3+.

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 Indígena by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.10 | 76 ratings

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Indígena
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Indígena is one of those obscure albums that received raving reviews from the few in the know. At first the high praise made complete sense, but gradually, my first impression of having found yet another gem that fell through the cracks of the mainstream has waned to a more regular appreciation.

Mar De Robles play a very Crimson-inspired type of jazz-rock with touches of Latin music. The hard edged jazzy guitar playing and funky rhythms bring Crimson albums such as Discipline and Thrak to mind. Apart from some occasional Latin vocals, Indígena remains entirely instrumental. The Crimson-goes-fusion style is also very reminiscent of Djam Karet, but when comparing Mar De Robles to that band, Djam Karet is sure the more original and interesting option for me.

One of the main problems is how safe and predictable the album sounds after a while. The playing is competent and energetic, and the ripping guitar solos especially are great, but the compositions disappoint. I miss an element of surprise and adventure in the songs, and at times the album even sounds formulaic and uninspired. There are sparkling moments as on Rancagua Nocturno or Cileneos, but there is also average material such as Mar De Robles and Ubuntu.

This is a solid album from competent musicians, but it lacks originality and the songwriting creativity to live up to the true masters in the field. Recommended to fans of the jazzy instrumental side of King Crimson and Djam Karet. There are flashes of excellence, but not enough of them to warrant 4 stars.

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 Indígena by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.10 | 76 ratings

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Indígena
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by monkey in orbit

5 stars The four years that separate their two first releases was definitely well spent. The band is in full flight on this excellent record. From the start to end there's a strong feeling or urgency emanating from the music which is given a more aggressive edge this time around. The whole album is overwhelmingly catchy and while Christián Larrondo shows us his agility on the Chapman Stick and fretless bass, the wind instruments and percussions add to the already organic feel with the scarce vocals coming in as a support for the instrumentation or as climactic agent. Tribal elements can be heard throughout and hints of Chilean folklore also appear. The musicianship is very well executed with everyone complementing each other and no one trying to overdo it, in fact the compositions are attributed to the band as a whole.

This is really something you must listen too and I'm sure many of you, as I, will enjoy letting the whole thing play throughout, and again?

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 Indígena by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.10 | 76 ratings

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Indígena
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Proglodita

4 stars With this album Mar de Robles consolidates its music, and consolidates itself as an important band in these lands. Indígena is similar in style to MdR, but augmented in quality. Indígena is a great album that is a little difficult at times to me. I don't know, it's no easy for me, for instance, to understand the last part of Rancagua Nocturno, or to clearly picture Chileneos. Some times I find myself just hearing the songs, but when I get to really concentrate on the music, the answer is only one: brilliant.

Here again we have a mix of native sounds with some anger exposed more obliquely now, like in Chúcaro, in a confusing way of playing the riffs. Here again is present a second percussion building the pillars of the music. Here again stands out Cristian Larrondo, playing fretless base and stick all the album long. Hey, there are also traditional basses!

Here is an almost entire instrumental album, with just a couple of lines here and there, just like a complimentary resource. Here is a really sincere album, with five musicians playing what they want to play. Here, one of the good products of these our lands of Chile, one to recommend to people outside there.

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 Mar de Robles by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.79 | 36 ratings

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Mar de Robles
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Proglodita

4 stars I think Mar de Robles is one of the best bands playing nowadays here in this country, and I had the pleasure to see his 10th anniversary show in 2008. Those are ten years of music, and only two CDs. That's Chile and prog.

This debut CD is really beautiful, in a kind of conceptual format, with lyrics in some songs, and with a clear aim of what they wanted to do. Maybe it's discussable that of the lyrics, considering that they were suppressed from their second release, but that is only a detail. The core of the music, the north, it's clearly defined on this CD. This flute/sax and guitar leaded progressive rock, with a close relation with the most native aspects of these lands, builds a particular sound of anger, love, sorrow and companionship.

The second percussion builds a sincere background of Chilean airs, and the bass playing gives a value added to the music itself; great work from Cristián Larrondo, here playing bass guitar and fretless bass.

I love this band and I love this CD, from the beautiful mellow verses of Nómades, to the angriest madness of Milodón, all the hard guitar work and the softly flutes. Mar de Robles made an excellent debut album and, for all of our joy, not only the debut.

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 Indígena by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.10 | 76 ratings

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Indígena
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars MAR DE ROBLES have become my favourite band from Chile, and that's saying something considering how many bands I really like from this country. After their amazing debut they have come out with "Indigena" which in my opinion is even better. I completely agree with Fran's comments in his excellent review. These guys actually create a sound that could be called Heavy-Prog because it has a ton of bottom end, but the sax and flute really make this music special. Oh, and once again there are no keyboards. I would be foolish not to mention the lead guitarist who offers up a nice variety of styles, and can absolutely shred when he wants to.

"Chucaro" opens with some outstanding bass as drums pound and sax plays over top. Guitar starts to add some fire in this uptempo gem.This sounds so good. Check out the guitar 2 1/2 minutes in ! Flute 4 minutes in sounds so cool as the tempo continues to shift. The sax is back before 7 minutes. "X_2004" features drums, bass and some great sax work. The guitar comes in with some blistering melodies. It becomes spacey as sax plays after 2 minutes. Nice bass lines after 3 1/2 minutes as vocals come in briefly. "Perimontu" is a little more relaxed as gentle guitar and bass are joined by flute. Drums and bass become prominant. The sound sort of fades in and out then flute returns. Lots of atmosphere. "Rancagua Nocturno" opens with atmospheric guitar as bass comes in. It picks up as flute arrives a minute in. Great sound. Percussion a minute later followed by some aggressive guitar and sax. The best part might be when the bass solo before 4 minutes is followed by some killer guitar. It becomes atmospheric after 5 minutes. Nice. Beautiful sax melodies follow. What a song ! "Aborigen" opens with a heavy soundscape as angular guitar solos over top. It lightens some as sax comes in before it gets heavy again. I love the rhythm after 2 minutes. Native chanting before 3 minutes before the guitar rips it up.

"Sobreviviente" takes a minute to kick in but man when it does it's a wall of sound. A change after 2 minutes as we get some atmosphere. A psychedelic climate arrives as flute plays. It's loud again before 4 minutes and check out the guitar ! "Chileneos" has a dark intro as sax comes blasting in with heavy bass. The tempo picks up after 3 minutes as the guitar makes some noise and vocals come in. It gets really heavy before 4 1/2 minutes. A calm follows. Heavy drums end that a minute later as the guitar fills the soundscape with metal. I like when bands have a song named after themselves. "Mar De Robles" is a good example of the bands strengths. Heavy bass and drums with scorching guitar. Flute and sax later. Excellent track. "Ubuntu" opens with atmospheric guitar as sax comes in. Amazing sound ! It gets heavy duty sounding as bass and drums provide a ton of bottom end as sax continues. You have to hear this ! Flute 4 1/2 minutes in.

This is all just perfect for my taste in music.

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 Mar de Robles by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.79 | 36 ratings

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Mar de Robles
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. This is one record that seemed to be made for me from beginning to end. Like Eric mentioned in his review I didn't realise either that there are no keyboards on this album. I was just enjoying the scorching lead guitar, chunky bass and the sax / flute melodies too much to even notice. There also is a drummer and a percussionist rounding out the sound. The vocalist by the way sings in Spanish and is very dramatic in his delivery a lot of the time. I should mention as well that there are samples used at the start or end of the songs here.

The first track "Intrduccion Al Universo Conocido" for example features the sound of someone walking and then opening a door, and then changing channels before flushing the toilet. This is a short intro song(no music) of one minute. "Involusion" is an uptempo track with sax, drums and guitar standing out to begin with. Percussion arrives then a calm as bass only can be heard before vocals a minute in and a full sound returns. Flute is great with more terrific bass lines. Another calm after 2 1/2 minutes with gentle guitar, flute and bass. Percussion joins in, and the song takes off again before 4 minutes. Vocals and a nice heavy sound as flute plays over top. Great section ! Blistering guitar follows. Sax is back. Nice.The song ends with samples of traffic sounds, then birds and water. "Nomades" is pastoral to open as gentle guitar and flute play. They are then joined by bass, drums and reserved vocals.The guitar 2 minutes in grinds away beautifully as bass comes in and more passionate vocals. It settles back down a notch before 4 minutes.The percussion, strummed guitar and bass melody to follow is cool. Flute 6 minutes in joins the melody. More great guitar before 7 minutes as bass and drums play on. Some crazy laughing comes and goes. It ends with the birds chirping.

"Tantic" is one of my favourite songs on here, it opens with some nice bass as the guitar comes in grinding away. Flute joins in. This sounds fantastic ! Love the guitar. Flute and bass after 3 minutes as it has settled down. More amazing guitar after 4 minutes and later around 5 1/2 minutes. More samples to end this one of water and other sounds. "Milodon" is another favourite, it opens with some heavy bass as guitar, drums and flute join in. Check out the ripping guitar solo to follow. Incredible. Vocals after 2 minutes, then flute takes the lead with gentle guitar. Percussion before some strange vocal melodies. Drums then keep a steady beat as guitar cries out much like on RUSH's "Xanadu" song. More fat bass follows 5 1/2 minutes in and then a full sound. More samples. "Aire Chileno" again brings to mind RUSH to open before tribal-like drumming and flute take over. The bass is throbbing and the guitar comes and goes. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. I love the guitar / bass melody 4 1/2 minutes in that goes on and on until it becomes even heavier with sax a minute later. Vocals are back after 7 1/2 minutes. Great song.

"El Flecha" is a cool sounding tune with prominant flute and bass. Sax after 2 minutes with some grinding guitar a minute later as drums pound away. "V/S..." opens with some outstanding guitar with bass and drums. Flute joins in. Bass solo comes and goes. Guitar 3 1/2 minutes in is angular again just the way I like it. Flute, gentle guitar and bass after 4 minutes. Vocals 5 minutes in. Bass solo follows as guitar again makes me smile. Dead silence after 7 minutes for a minute. Why ? Laughing ends it.

I really have a connection with so many bands from Chile, and it's no different with this remarkable band. This was a blast.

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 Indígena by MAR DE ROBLES album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.10 | 76 ratings

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Indígena
Mar de Robles Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars For their sophomore effort "Indígena", Mar Robles achived the ultimate confirmation of their ballsy, multi-textured and dynamic prog- fsuion style. Enhancing their robust side (particularly, the use of hard-rocking guitar riffs and Crimsonian cadences) and augmenting their input with the inclusion of Chpaman Stick, their music now has aquired a more hardened presence without losing an inch of the refreshing vibe that they portrayed oh so well in their excellent debut "MdR" some years ago. the fire never stops, it is always lit up, shining in ever-explosive colors, at times getting more subtle, but always in flames. It is amazing how the energy is consistently incandescent, yet the five performers create such a well-ensembled unit that the explosion is always under control: proof of Mar de Robles' talent as an outstanding prog act of our times. 'Chúcaro' opens up the album in categoric fashion, a perfect example of combination of fusion and psychedelia, a sort of hybrid between Ergo Sum and Gordian Knot. The track's aggressive vibe gets enriched with successive elements of jazz-fusion and funk rock that go on with the track's development until the initial theme's reprise. Eight minutes of pure musical excitement. 'X_2004' allows the band to continue delivering their energetic mixture of various moods and motifs, this time with a lesser degree of complexity. 'Perimontu' kind of follows a similar scheme, ony with a more mteiculous and challenging management of contrasts between the various moods, hence generating an incredible sense of tension and adventure. The dialogues betwee nflute and guitar add up to the track's overall sophistication. If 'Chúcaro' had been the perfect entrance, this number serves as a perfect assurance of the album's general statement. 'Rancagua Nocturno' bears an ostensibly agile vibe, heading fluidly toward the more avantgarde side of the band, with that heavy-rocking tribal interlude that intrudes the candid colorfulness of the first motif. The ethereal textures that flood across the final motif are simply awesome, becoming incresaingly dreamy as the fade-out approaches. A real highlight, together with tracks 1 & 3, also, a genuine paradigm of MDR's sound. After these 26 minutes, the band is far from exhausted, as the delirant frenzy of 'Aborigen' shows, all over its sick funny vibe - this piece includes an inserted tribal section, dynamically interrupting its flow as a breath from a parallel universe. 'Sobreviviente' gets started with some Stick's spacey chord progressions, very much a-la "Disciplne"-era Levin. This is, all in all, an interlude to yet another exhibition of powerful fire by the whole ensemble. 'Chileneos' is set on a 6/8 tempo with a lilting mood, a thing that the band takes advantge of to explore their occasional eerie side; that is until the frenzy side emerges at its most Crimsonian. Not unlike track 4, the one that bears the same title as the band's name incarnates an example of the band's versatile ideology: hard psychedelic rock, jazz-fusion, Crimsonian ornaments, all of them fused in a compact progressive unit. Finally, 'Ubuntu' closes dwon the album with a major emphasis on teluric cadences and rhythms, which helps the rhytm section to assume a more prominent role than usual, especialy during the climatic passages. In conclusion, "Indígena" reveals itself as a masterful work that invigorates both MDR's CV and South America's prog scene in a crucial manner - the dramatically abrupt ending of the closer 'Ubuntu' proves tremendously effective for this Mar de Robles masterpiece.

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