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CONTRALUZ

Prog Folk • Argentina


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Contraluz biography
CONTRALUZ was born as a rock group at the end of the '60. In their first stage (Carlos Barrio in guitar, Néstor Barrio in drums, Freddy Prochnik in bass and Alejndro Barzi in flute and voice) their style can be seen, with certain influence of the English group JETHRO TULL. But at the beginning of the '70 they started to show a more personal style, marked by their search of fusion of rock with national musical roots, incorporating folklore rhythm. The carnavalito and other autochthonous sounds appear once and again in the creations of the group.

Their first LP: "Americanos" appeared in 1973. "Indios sin Prisión" and "La Sarna del Viento" were their promotion tracks and with Alvaro Cañada in voice, the group consolidated their own style. Without any doubt the sound of CCONTRALUZ was unique between the groups of the moment, because they included our musical and folklore roots - without neglecting their fidelity to rock -, careful lyrics, with a high social compromise, a very precise base rhythmic base and the powerful voice of Alvaro, unprecedented until that moment in the national rock.

Apparently CONTRALUZ would consolidate as a new group of the national rock, after their great success at Buenos Aires Rock ("Barock") I y II, and an intense activity in different concerts and radio and television performances. But unfortunately a combination of problems made the group enter a long winter, after surprising us with their last single in 1974: "Que tu voz escuche", a carnavalito-rock, that, had it not been for the censorship of the moment, it would have had a great success and it could have avoided the definite break up of the group. More than twenty years have gone by but the foundations of that line up lasted in the heart of the group: the brothers Barrio (Carlos and Néstor) and Freddy Prochnik. And what seemed a miracle to many, finally happened. CONTRALUZ went back together with their ideals intact, renovated, with Jaime Fernández Madero in voice and keyboards.

Three years of intense rehearsals, evolution and creation of new songs with complex and elaborated arrangements - true to the original style of the group -, recreated the foundations of the group, making a new album: "El Pasaje", CD produced independently. More than 60 minutes of music, with symphonic rock, folklore, careful lyrics, a sound enriched by the keyboards and the incredible voice of Jaime, a complex and solid rhythmic base and the flute (now played by Carlos), are part o...
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Buy CONTRALUZ Music


AmericanosAmericanos
Import
Mardel-X
Audio CD$21.99
El PasajeEl Pasaje
Self-Produced
Audio CD$21.99 (used)
Novus OrbisNovus Orbis
Import
Contraluz Records
Audio CD$19.99
$12.99 (used)
Ramos GeneralesRamos Generales
Self-Produced
Audio CD$21.99 (used)
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CONTRALUZ discography


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CONTRALUZ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 8 ratings
Americanos
1973
3.04 | 6 ratings
El Pasaje
2000
3.65 | 8 ratings
Ramos Generales
2003
3.15 | 8 ratings
Novus Orbis
2011

CONTRALUZ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CONTRALUZ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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CONTRALUZ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 El Pasaje by CONTRALUZ album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.04 | 6 ratings

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El Pasaje
Contraluz Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars With Alejandro Barzi saying goodbye to Contraluz, the rest of the team recruited Jorge Guarnieri on guitar and Gustavo Dinerstein on sax/flute.By the end of 73' a first single was published by EMI and, entering 1974, the band started rehearsing new material for a second album.But first came the second single of the band, but El COMFER, the authority responsible for audiovisual releases, prevented its commercial release.With Nestor Barrio joining the army Contraluz decided to dissolve sometime in 1974.Over 25 years later the Barrio brothers along with Prochnik and newcomer, keyboardist Jaime Fernández Madero revived the Argentinian band.Two years of hard work followed before a second, long-awaited and self-produced album was released in 2000 under the title ''El pasaje''.

While the material is generally softer and less raw than Contraluz'es early stuff, it contains a pair of the band's most ambitious pieces.Actually the eponymous track is a multi-part semi-Symphonic Rock epic with loads of organ and piano and interesting guitar melodies akin to LA MAQUINA DE HAJER PARAJOS.There are still some light Folk references, but the majority of this piece contains Classical-drenched keyboard themes, symphonic orchestrations and harmonic tunes, offered in a calm enviroment with occasional bombastic passages, supported by nice Spanish vocals and a few psychedelic touches in the guitar department.The other long epic, the 18-min. ''Exilio en el espacio'', is closer to Contraluz'es pre-90's days, although a bit updated due to the use of synthesizers.This one contains elements from Folk, Singer/Songwriter stylings akin to LITTO NEBBIA and Heavy/Psych Rock upbeat, electric tunes with only injections of symphonic flavors.It changes radically from acoustic themes to electric exposions, featuring nice flute parts and a solid rhythm section with the keyboards sounding a bit synthetic.The rest of the album is less risky and adventurous with balanced musicianship, led by sensitive vocals, flutes, keyboards and guitars, exploring Folk soundscapes and Hard Rock in equal doses and ranging from rural textures to powerful grooves and even a ballad-like lyricism, again some of the keyboard parts are rather thin, while the songwriting is good but not entirely convincing.

Anyone in touch with Contraluz'es 70's work should be informed about the hard, psychedelic lines sacrified in the name of additional keyboard flashes.The new style has strong links with the past and it's still charming, exploring the combination of traditional music with demanding rock instrumentals.Recommended.

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 Americanos by CONTRALUZ album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 8 ratings

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Americanos
Contraluz Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The history of Contraluz started in 1969 in Buenos Aires, initially playing Beat Music with brothers Carlos (guitars) and Nestor Barrios (drums) along with bassist Diego Prochnik.After abandoning the names ''Lemon'' and ''Celofan'', they chose the Contraluz moniker and played in a Jethro Tull style by the beginning of the 70's.The unstoppable presence at several concerts, festivals and competitions earned them a wider recognition and in 1973 the band recorded the debut ''Americanos'' for EMI Records with Alvaro Canada on vocals and early member Alejandro Barzi on flutes.

Contraluz'es music mixed the raw power of Rock music with the delicacy of Spanish vocals and the flute-based drives to come up with an album very close to the sound of early JETHRO TULL or even better JUMBO and OSANNA.Most of the tracks combined the psych-tinged flavor of Latin-American Rock bands with warm vocals and sensitive guitar work with the sharp edge of powerful flute solos, Hard Rockin' guitars and a strong rhythm section and the result is an album dangerously balancing between the softness of a singer/songwriter album with the exterme forces of in-your-face Hard Rock.Does this combination works?The answer is definitely yes, despite the muddy production.The great energetic grooves with plenty of edgy guitar solos and dynamic flute work will leave you wanting for more.The more mellow vocal parts appearing inbetween are also nice with Cavada having a lovely style of singing, while the flute passages have a welcome and very attractive folky flavor.

Latin-American Prog of very good quality, recommended for lovers the style and of course Spanish vocals, as well as anyone into 70's Hard Italian Prog in the vein of OSANNA...3.5 stars.

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 Novus Orbis by CONTRALUZ album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.15 | 8 ratings

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Novus Orbis
Contraluz Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Argentinean act CONTRALUZ was formed way back in 1969, and with their debut effort "Americanos" in 1973 they were among the first Argentinean bands to utilize folk music influences in a progressive rock setting. Due to that they are generally regarded as pioneers and regarded as highly influential for the following bloom of Argentinean and South American progressive rock bands. "Novus Orbis" is their third full-length production since they reformed around the beginning of the millennium.

"Novus Orbis" is the fourth full-length production from this semi-legendary Argentinean band, and is a fine display of melodic progressive rock incorporating the musical legacies of folk music and symphonic art rock into a seamless whole; perhaps lacking a bit of an edge material-wise and arguably a tad too pleasant and safe for some, but a finely-crafted creation nonetheless. In particular for those fond of easy-to-grasp melodies and harmonic arrangements set within a fairly sophisticated framework.

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 Americanos by CONTRALUZ album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 8 ratings

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Americanos
Contraluz Prog Folk

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars I can easily go with Jethro Tull classification. Not Folk at all, in fact this is more on the Rock side. Far more melodic than Tull (even some flute solos really reminds Ian Anderson, I won't deny this fact when I feel it that way).

Starting with calm background jam and gentle flute, Indios Sin Prisión slowly turns into pretty RPI-like song (I can't help myself but see RPI influences in albums like this). Sin Trabajo again starts slowly, but this time it also continues in this pace. It's basically Prog ballad. I like these. How can I tell that it's not Rock ballad ? It's not that simple, that's it, on the other hand, my consideration is that simple. That's life.

Songs are basically heavy or calm, guitar or flute driven. As I said, melody is strong with this album, which in combination of previous factors makes this record damn interesting.

From other songs I quite like distorted guitars, heavy sound, Jethro style flute and emotional performance of Alvaro Canada, their vocalist.

4(+), negatives would be these of RPI too (can anybody else hear these similarities between these genres or do I hear/see ghosts?), from pure melody it sometimes turns into jamming or jazzy part, also some parts in general aren't that interesting, even majority of them is.

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 Americanos by CONTRALUZ album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.35 | 8 ratings

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Americanos
Contraluz Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars There seems to be a tendency in music to label anything that has a flute in it as folk music, and anything that has both flute and keyboards as progressive folk. And of course anything with flute and heavy guitar automatically merits a “Jethro Tull-like” branding.

That said, in the case of Contraluz’ debut album there are places where it sounds like folk music; place where it sounds progressive; and places where it sounds like a Latin band featuring Ian Anderson and Martin Barre. Stereotypes persist because some parts of them are true, I suppose.

The first time I heard this I didn’t think it was much of a progressive album, nor a folk one. And at times the music does range well into standard popular Latin music territory, particularly on tracks like “Sin Trabajo” with its lounge-act arrangement and Latin Elvis vocals. Elsewhere though, such as right after that track when “No sea que caigas Mendigando” kicks off with as Tull-like an intro as I’ve heard since ‘Heavy Horses’, you find yourself thinking there are at least some progressive qualities to this music.

Vocalist Alvaro Canada reminds me just a little of the Chilean band Congreso’s Francisco Sazo in his intonation, although Canada does seem to be a little more interested in the rock star posturing than anyone on Congreso ever was. He tends to over-articulate some phrases and seems to take every opportunity to show his vocal range and power, even at times when the music doesn’t seem to call for that.

Carlos Barrio is an excellent guitarist, but in a strictly rock sense. There is almost no indication he is a Latin musician when listening to this album; no tango, no zambas, and this is not Andean music at all. The influences seem to be largely the aforementioned Jethro Tull and other European and North American rock bands. At times the band’s sound takes on characteristics of the Grand Funk / Deep Purple Mk II / BTO heavy behemoth bands (“La Sarna del Viento”, “Seamos”), while elsewhere the sound is very bucolic and folk-like, such as with the ballad-like “El Charco” and the short instrumental “Abrir el Día”.

The CD reissue has a couple of bonus tracks that probably shouldn’t have been included. Both of them lean much closer to radio pop than the songs from the original vinyl release, and don’t add much to the character of the album.

I wouldn’t put this up in the same category as some of the really impressive Argentinean music I’ve heard like MIA or Crucis, but I could see them as at least on-par with Espiritu or Amagrama. This is a solid three star effort in my opinion, and don’t look for this to be a strongly Latin-sounding record, but it will probably be something that appeals to fans of Chac Mool, Crucis, Banda do Casaco, Los Jaivas and Amagrama.

peace

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 Ramos Generales by CONTRALUZ album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.65 | 8 ratings

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Ramos Generales
Contraluz Prog Folk

Review by diegovidart

4 stars This is a very good album. Contraluz is a group of mature musicians; they had been a cult band in the 70's. This is their last production of 2003. The songs in this album are an excellent blend of progressive rock with Argentinean folklore and some "tango" influences. 1. Surge: opens in a symphonic way, and soon come a strong Argentinean folk influence. This song alternates energetic, folk and delicates moments. It has very nice flute interludes. Very good opener. 2. El Regreso del Hijo Prodigo begins with a heavy bass riff, and then the electric guitar takes the main role. The guitar alternates with the keyboards and whe can hear a nice vocal melody. In the last part the flute sets in. 3. Vuela Viento is a soft ballad with a strong tango feel. The "bandoneon sounds" come from Jaime's keys and we can hear two sax solos. 4. Llevo .. a mi padre is a song that Carlos Barrio dedicates to his father. It opens with acoustic and delicates arrangements. Then the tempo goes in crescendo and the song derives in an emotional melodic melody played by the keyboards. Again, the flute plays an important role. Carlos plays charango ( a little 10 strings guitar) on this tune. 5. Toribio el Pintor is the shortest song. Is a simple song with piano and a lot of flute. A nice melody but nothing special. 6. El Abismo is the darkest song. Again some bandoneon sounds and in the middle section a heavy guitar riff. 7. Vida en el Desierto is the longest track. This one is full of variety. The main role alternates between the keyboards, the guitar and the bass. Sometimes the guitar has a Floydian style. 8. Aconcagua has a nice and simple melody with acoustic guitar, flute, piano and Jaime's voice. 9. El Depertar de la Bestia . Some dark sounds introduce a flute section plenty of energy. The Toll influences here are evident. Then the piano, again the flute, and some symphonic keyboard. The closing section repeat the initial flute parts.

.Contraluz have some Focus, Tull influences but they have their own style that I define as an Argentinean style (I am from Argentina). The rhythm section is very solid and can change the tempo as many times as they want. The singer has a pleasant voice. Generally the tunes are in the melodic side, but alternates whith a few hard moments, but never loosing the sense of melody In summary, an album full of variety, highly recommendable for any prog fan, specially for those that likes fusion between rock and other kind of music

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