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PSICOTROPIA

Eclectic Prog • Spain


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Psicotropia biography
PSICOTROPIA means "mental place". The musical creations of Pablo Tato, Jaime Mariscal and Juan Llull from Madrid, Spain intend to take the listener to an ambient as intense as artistic by treating the music in a complex manner based in the mixture of both rhythmic and melodic modern arrangements like jazz scales, improvisation and the use of theater-like, ambiental, esthetical stage presentation.

Their music is unmarked in the frame of experimental progrock style receiving their most important influence from bands like KING CRIMSON, MUSE, RADIOHEAD, TOOL, Mr. BUNGLE, jazz and vanguard classical music. They take advantage of the metal and experimental sonority to create their own and personal style, reflected perfectly in their first album showing all of their different tunes.

"Psicotropia" is the first LP from the band of the same name, recorded, mixed and masterised by Calamb Records company between 2001 and 2002. It compiles all the work of PSICOTROPIA from their beginnings; it's one hour of music in ten songs for which they got the collaboration of some great musicians like Nacho Cuevas, Iván Caramés, Cristian Garma, Raúl Moya, Elisa Puerto, Iván Orosa or Álvaro Tato. It was presented in the live music bar Ritmo & Compás in January 2003 within the First Spanish Progressive Rock Party, where the senior band "Omni". After this presentation, they promoted the album in several interviews for local and national radio stations like Radio 3, Radio Enlace, Radio Vallekas and Onda Latina; also in some stations abroad : Radio 10 (Panama); Zona 820, EXA, Radio Evolución and Universal FM (Mexico).

During the year 2004, PSICOTROPIA will release his "non official second album" with company Nuevos Medios, the original soundtrack of the film Muertos Comunes, which includes two songs of their first album and the complete score composed by Santi Ibarretxe and played by PSICOTROPIA.

: : : Pablo Tato, SPAIN : : :

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PsicotropiaPsicotropia
Musea/Luna Negra 2004
Audio CD$17.21
$43.56 (used)
PsicotropiaPsicotropia
Import
Musea 2003
Audio CD$17.55
$11.11 (used)
GrogGrog
CD+DVD
Musea 2007
Audio CD$20.51
$47.11 (used)
IIIIII
Import
Musea 2010
Audio CD$18.97
$43.56 (used)

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PSICOTROPIA discography


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

3.84 | 6 ratings
Psicotropia
2003
3.66 | 5 ratings
Grog
2005
3.95 | 3 ratings
Psicotropia3
2010

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PSICOTROPIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grog by PSICOTROPIA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 5 ratings

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Grog
Psicotropia Eclectic Prog

Review by migue091

4 stars The world scene of progressive rock sometimes trembles with spanish rhythms. At the time of their second effort, this band from Madrid have become a trio and are helped here and there by some keyboards and strings. This is a more polished work than their debut but it still oozes nerve, dynamics and extremism.

Far away from typical or natural cadences, they bet for a hard progressive rock with crimsonian flavours to build complex passages, with complex signature changes and break ups, where the guitar riffs and arpeggios lead the songs. Let me tell you these guys really love to write complex signatures and develop them so naturally.

But after all, this doesn't end in unintelligible music. Furthermore, it takes you into a hard psychedelic universe that delights you enriched with dreamy and cosmic lyrics. The music is brilliant and the vocal performance from guitarist Pablo Tato is quite accomplished too.

Psicotropia is a great band from Spain and they should be taken into account in the international scene, just like other spanish bands like Senogul or Kotebel, just to name a few.

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 Psicotropia3 by PSICOTROPIA album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Psicotropia3
Psicotropia Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The title of Psicotropia's third release states that the band's essence is cubed. Is this what we really find in "Psicotropia3", a Psicotropia3? No, not really, but surely there is something enhanced here, and that is the tapestry of power and dynamics that the band had installed so successfully in their sophomore release "Grog". In turn, "Grog" had signified an increased focus on the trio's most extroverted side, so we can now make it clear that this third album has its main foundation in the reinforcement of a straight musical direction that the band has decidedly pursued after their first namesake effort. Messrs. Tato, Mariscal and Llull take the guidelines and benchmarks of roads they know so well and add renewing textures to the fold. 'Habanera' kicks off the album with a direct reinforcement of the sort of energy and vigor we cometo expect from any metal-related type of progressive rock. The inclusion of a famous quote from Ravel's "Carmen" in a habanera-like mood turns out to be such a humorous variation through the track's development, which essentially showcases the Tool-infected Primus-meets-90s Crimson that Psicotropia knows so well. This initial musical voyage makes the listener ready for the drum solo that starts 'Piedra'. Once the whole ensemble settles in, a jazz-rock mood establishes the overall ambience which seems to emulate a police thriller movie with a touch of Zappaesque humor. After the 3 ˝ minute mark, things shift toward math-rock territory; at this point, the listener needs to pay close attention to the clever keyboard input made by guest Carlos Plaza, who knows how to emphasize the funk-friendly colors emerging from the rhythm duo. After a straightforward heavy number and a neurotic one, 'Tinta' is welcome as a provider of spiritual calmness. With its reasonably slow delivery of alternated 6/8 and 7/8 tempos, the stage is set for an introspective moment. The presence of string arrangements halfway onward to the end helps to fulfill the emotional aura that is taking place is such a controlled fashion. The coda that shifts things toward an electrifying display of prog-metal stamina wraps things up on a healthily surprising note. The rocking fire is prolonged and augmented in the instrumental 'Country Grog', a delightful exercise on prog- metal that incarnates the robust nucleus of this power trio. 'Patos' starts in a melancholic mood that easily reminds us of 'Tinta' (besides the string section that also appears here), but the track soon evolves into a sequence of varying motifs and moods that probably makes it the album's highlight. At least, this has to be one of the best Psicotropia compositions ever. 'Los Espectros De Kronstadt' returns unabashedly to KC-meets- Primus territory, yet another example of Psicotropia exploiting its power-trio format with flying colors. 'Oigo Silencio', on the other hand, moves to different realms, as a kindof opposition against the musical thunderstorm delivered in an older song entitled 'Oigo Voces' (from the debut album). It is languid and calm, almost like a sonic elaboration of ethereal sounds? but it certainly is not peaceful, you can really sense an unquiet turmoil latent beneath the calm, minimalistic surface. Some brief passages provide momentary rocking explosions like windows through which one can glimpse at the sunlight's remains in the afternoon. Generally speaking, its 6 minutes pass by unadvertedly since its melancholic drive is very appealing. The album's closer alternates architectonic frenzy and controlled bombast in a way that reminds me of the debut's song 'Madre Tierra'. Only this time we find additional keyboard inputs that effectively create an extra dose of progressive sophistication. I wish this track had been a little longer than it is, but no doubt that it brings an efficient end to an excellent album: perhaps it will be a progressive master opus from Spain for 2010.

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 Grog by PSICOTROPIA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 5 ratings

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Grog
Psicotropia Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Psicotropia is one of the most exciting bands to arise from the Spanish art-rock scene of our time. I own the Luna Negra's 2007 edition of "Grog", a double pack that comprises the CD itself plus a live DVD taken from a 2005 show in Madrid. The DVD shows the band exploring its rockiest side, as well as some occasional antics by bass player Jaime Mariscal. Let's check the CD itself. "Grog" is less expansive but more cohesive and focused than the band's very good debut effort "Psicotropia" - now we can tell that this power trio have reached their own musical maturity, and from now on, they will have to find their own way to evolve so their music can remain a very interesting item in conteporary prog. The material contained in "Grog" is concentratd upon the influences of contemporary King Crimson, Primus, Tool and the less classicist side of prog-metal, wrapped in a modern sound that is alternately inspired by the schemes of math-rock and the melancholy ambiences of post-rock. Now... let's check the repertoire. The first two tracks are notable examples of how to display energy and intelligent complexity with metallic-based riffs that alternate repetition and variation in a consistent manner. 'V˙' has enough ctachniess as to capture immediately the empathetic listener's attention: the ballsy drive created by the three instrumentalists is taken to a different level once the variations emerge along the way. 'Zas' has less lyrics (in English, by the way) and more instrumental developments, building a solid bridge betwwn prog metal and psychedelia. So far, we can res tassured that the band's energy is exploited on the convincingly powerful use of riffs and disturbing harmonies and not so much on pyrotechnics (not that these are not skillful musicians, because they obviously are): it seems as Psicotropia's main leit-motif is one of integral conjunction and not one of individual features. The intro motif of 'Quasar' is very Primus-esque, an undeniable fact, indeed, with the sung passage built on a blues tempo performed in an aura of hard rock. This highlight ends with a reprise of the opening motif. 'Leuven' is a semi- ballad that finds the band coming down to less expressionist realms, setting a melancholy mood of introspection in both music and lyrics. Psicotropia knows how to elaborate more simple rock structures without getting into the usual patterns of comercially accepted pop-rock. Pablo Tato's leads bear a very emotional essence, stuck right between two candid interludes. The use of a backup of strings helps this song to acquire some sort of artistic sophistication, not overwhelming, subtle but, in the end, easy to notice. After this introspective oasis, comes a new version of the instrumental 'Cinco Mundos': although loyal to the art-rock nature of the original version, this one brings a funky vibe that makes it sound less heavy. Bassist Jaime Mariscal assumes the leading role for this one in a very effective way. The sense of storm and fire that had been so solidly displayed in the first 3 tracks returns with a vengenace in 'Pájaro', another highlight of the album. The contrast between the most intrepid instrumental passages and the eerie moments is very well accomplished, which only comes to show how cleverly these guys are capable are of creating variety with three instruments and moderately complex compositions. The final moments are definitely a tribute to 73-75 era King Crimson, an obvious salutation to helpless fans of good old prog. 'Nana Negra' is a very beautiful ballad marked by the Spartan acoustic gutiar chords and the emotionally charged singing by Tato. The song's dramatic vein is conveniently enhanced by the string section textures that appear as a hermetic background, a detail that may remind the listener of the Sigur Ros prototype to a certain degree. The namesake instrumental closes down the album in a very exulting mood. This number mixes jazz, experimental metal and psychedelia with an added touch of humour: yet another example of thi band's devotion for Primus, metallic rock and KC. A very good wa yto end an excellent album. Psicotropia's "Grog" deserves this 4 star rating.

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 Grog by PSICOTROPIA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 5 ratings

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Grog
Psicotropia Eclectic Prog

Review by Mr Krinkle

4 stars Grog, Psicotropia's second cd, represents an improvement in their short carreer. This album shows a mature band, more focused than in its previous work, with a superior quality on recording and production. The most significant change on the band's line-up is the departure of singer Nacho Cuevas, assuming Pablo Tato the role of lead vocalist.

At first, we notice a harder sound, in tracks like "V˙", "Zas" or "Quasar". But there's also space for beautiful moods and melodies, as we hear in "Leuven" and "Nana Negra". Odd-time signatures and stylistic variations whitin the same song listen are also a main feature on this album. Just listen to the last track, there's about 20 rhythm changes!

Shades of King Crimson, Primus and Tool are evident within Grog. Even bizarre and funny bits, reminding of Mr. Bungle or Zappa.

For fans of experimental prog and the above mentioned bands, this is a must! (my rating: 4 and a half stars)

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 Grog by PSICOTROPIA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.66 | 5 ratings

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Grog
Psicotropia Eclectic Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars PSICOTROPIA's second effort wasn't quite as fascinating as their much rewarding debut for me. I couldn't say that it was a complete disappointment but I realised a considerable decrease in uniqueness and versatility during listening to this CD. Maybe I should emphasize that my review is restricted to the audio part of this set since I do not own the live DVD. The sound of the band became altogether more modern and heavy metal-oriented which is not necessarily a bad thing but especially in the first two tracks here which did not much to me they could be easily mistaken with any technically oriented metal prog band XY. Without any doubts their music is still highly intricate but I've to mention as well that the riffing though played in a highly technical perfection easily become quite boring if played repeatedly again and again.

Unlike on their debut songs are here mostly with vocals (in Spanish language) which I don't really mind since the voice of the singer is excellent. First three tracks are rather similar in style that is quite aggressive, technical heavy metal. Not really bad I've to say but as well not the type of music I could listen to over and over again. Forth track "Leuven" is a sort of modern Spanish "romantic" rock song possibly influenced by MUSE, a nice listen but actually not very special. "Cinco Mundos 2.0" is a quite short instrumental track driven by intricate bass play and would have fit well on their debut. As well next one "Pájaro" reflecting quite nicely their previous experimental style."Nana negra" is more a kind of ballad and almost sounds a bit inspired by RADIOHEAD and the addition of some cello and violin here is a large enrichment of their sound I've to say. The final title track is a quite humorous and interesting metal jazz mix which I found very much enjoying in fact.

As a summary I'd like to say that their second album "Grog" is still a very good and entertaining but not really an excellent one (at least if considering the audio CD alone). Unfortunately the band could not quite keep the promises taken on their debut and references to other modern bands became a bit too obvious for me. But let's be hopeful that they are still in a phase of finding their own identity and let us expect big things to come from them in future. Nevertheless PSICOTROPIA is a highly talented young band full of potential as they've shown on their debut which I'd recommend to check out first if you're new to this band. "Grog" might be a worthy additional purchase most notably since it comes together with a live video (which I still miss).

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 Psicotropia  by PSICOTROPIA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.84 | 6 ratings

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Psicotropia
Psicotropia Eclectic Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Spain is not best known for being a place with excellent conditions for progressive rock band. Nonetheless every now and then I discover very promising bands off the beaten tracks of common neo/retro prog hailing from there, AMAROK being the other one. Now here we have PSICOTROPIA who had to go to the Mexican label Luna Negra which luckily works together with MUSEA to bring back their CDs to Europe. Well, that's what we call globalised madness! When I first listened to their CDs (got them both together) I was immediately fascinated by and addicted to their experimental yet very accessible approach I've to say. Though their music is as well rooted in the seventies it's anything else what we usually know as retro prog and actually it sounds completely unique and different from any band I've heard before. Most obvious influence is KING CRIMSON, mainly in their guitar style. But beyond this there isn't any similarity present with this seminal band. I'll try to describe what's their debut album alike by doing a brief track-by-track overview:

"Negro" is a rather short instrumental and very atmospheric piece which does an excellent job to introduce into the music of the band. (6/10)

"Madre Tierra" is one of the few ones with vocals which are surprisingly in English language despite the Spanish title. It's a very hard edged song in early 70's vein with TULL-inspired flute ,intricate guitar playing and a good measure of oddity and time shifting. By the way singer Nacho Cuevas has an excellent voice without any accent and a great blues/soul/rock feeling. (8/10)

"PQTQ" is a very melodic instrumental played on guitar/bass/drums with some keys and though being easily accessible it's a very interesting and versatile track. Revealing the excellent musicianship of all band members it's a highly entertaining one for me. (8/10)

"Suite Urdalia" is the longest one here with ten minutes and brings in some cello as an additional instrument. Starting as well very melodically the track shows a really nice and interesting development within six different parts from atmospheric to hard psyche rock with complex rhythm changes. We can enjoy Nacho Cuevas' vocals in Spanish here for the first time. So far the best track of the album. (9/10)

"Cinco Mundos" is a short quirky instrumental with highly intricate and virtuoso bass play by Jaime Mariscal. This one shows the strongest KC-resemblance. (7/10)

"Viaje en Re" with some guest appearance of Iván Caramés playing cello is again all instrumental and shows with a running time of less than three minutes that it's possible as well to compose excellent prog songs with such a rather uncommon length. (8/10)

"Bajo el Oceano del Sueńo" is another one of the few having vocals (in Spanish) and could be specified as complex and hard psyche rock, again with some great flute play. Great one as well! (8/10)

"Discotropia" is as the title suggests obviously meant as a dancing song and therefore very rhythmic. Most probably one of the heaviest moments of the disc with awesome guitar/bass interplay. (9/10)

"Oigo Voces" starts in a mellow vein with acoustic piano, nice flute play (by guests Elisa Puerto and Iván Orosa) and acoustic guitar before it enters into a more fiery part with vocals sung in Spanish language. Then piano and flute are returning and the latter one leads over to another more hard-edged section with sombre chorus and dominated by electric guitar. (8/10)

Last track "Delicada Sal Titánica" is a narration accompanied by piano and though my knowledge of Spanish language is not sufficient at all to follow it I would say it's a worthy closure for this CD. (7/10)

Overall rating: 78% and an excellent addition to any prog collection. Music lovers looking for something different than the usual prog diet shouldn't be disappointed by this band. Highly recommended!

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 Psicotropia  by PSICOTROPIA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.84 | 6 ratings

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Psicotropia
Psicotropia Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The debut album by this new prog band from Spain has certainly caught the attention of many fans, as it is noticed from the different web sources where reviews for this recording are submitted. Psicotropia's good fame has only been increased via their praised live performance in BajaProg 2004, in which they reportedly exhibited their aggressive energy in a most convincing manner: this is basically what is expected from almost every power trio, pure energy. Energy is indeed the key word when it comes to defining their prog style - an incendiary combination of 73-75 KC and early Primus, with touches of modern psychedelia, some clear hints to prog metal, and even some occasional minimalistic nuances on synthesizer (as in the opener 'Negro' and the initial section of 'Oigo Voces'), courtesy of bass player Jaime Mariscal. The recurrent use of powerful guitar riffs and chord progressions, as well as cleverly crafted mood shifts, bear the signal of the Crimsonian thing: but all in all, Psicotropia manages to create a voice of their own. The band's line of work is framed in a unitary strategy: the threesome obviously feeling at ease as a well- oiled ensemble. Yet, they don't conform to the rules of the guitar/bass/drumkit sound all the time: guests on flute, cello and additional lead guitar add musical colours of their own in order to help the band expand their sonic spectrum. In my opinion, 'Madre Tierra', 'Oigo Voces' and 'Discotropia' are the most featured examples of the album's overall statement; but it is on the 10 minute 'Suite Urdalia' where Psicotropia accomplish their most ambitious facet, with total progressive splendour, may I add. The more ethereal 'Viaje en Re' shows the band's ability to work with subtleties in an inventive way, while 'Pqtq' states a compromise between the ethereal and the rocky. The album's closure 'Delicada Sal Titánica' is just a recitation delivered over a background of piano arpeggios, and dreamy synth and guitar layers: a proper moment for meditation after the rocking outburst that had been taking place in most parts of the previous repertoire. I only wish the ensemble in itself sounded more cohesive, but I guess it's just a matter of maturity and experience: these guys are right on track, and the album is very good, almost excellent -- 3 1/2 stars.

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