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PLANETA IMAGINARIO

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Spain


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Planeta Imaginario biography
Originally formed in 1999, PLANETA IMAGINARIO is a Spanish band from the region of Catalonia: their style is clearly oriented toward the jazz trend of prog rock, yet it is somewhat friendly to additional psychedelic touches and chamber adornments. The band's line-up has undergone through some variations, but the structure of guitar-keyboard-bass-drums plus a brass section has remained consistent. The band's debut album "¿Y Qué Me Dices?" (2004) was recorded as a septet, while the 2008 follow-up effort "Biomasa" finds the band as an octet - it all depends on the number of wind players. The band cites SOFT MACHINE, HATFIELD & THE NORTH, Pat METHENY and ZAPPA as major influences, as well as ICEBERG and KING CRIMSON (in the most powerful passages of their repertoire); the textural approach of DEBUSSY and playful subtleties of SATIE are also mentioned. The band's compositional strategy combines order and improvisation. Chris CUTLER, a much respected prog legend and critic, praised this band regarding their "fine arrangements" and "intelligent compositions".

PLANETA IMAGINARIO is strongly (almost mandatorily) recommended to those who love Canterbury and fusion and aim for an extra dose of power infused in this musical area. Properly diffused and appreciated, this sort of jazz-prog will really help to revitalize the sub-genre.

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Buy PLANETA IMAGINARIO Music


Optical DelusionsOptical Delusions
Cuneiform 2011
Audio CD$10.77
$3.98 (used)
BiomasaBiomasa
Cuneiform 2008
Audio CD$10.88
$5.95 (used)
Que Me Dices?Que Me Dices?
Import
Margen Records
Audio CD$29.99
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PLANETA IMAGINARIO discography


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

3.47 | 10 ratings
¿Qué Me Dices?
2004
4.16 | 17 ratings
Biomasa
2008
3.83 | 27 ratings
Optical Delusions
2011

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

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PLANETA IMAGINARIO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Optical Delusions by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 27 ratings

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Optical Delusions
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tmay102436

4 stars My goodness, the consistency of Planeta Imaginario is very impressive. This newest outing - Optical Delusions - is proof that their output is always changing, and yet their focus remains embedded deep in jazz/rock at its finest.

This time around the horn harmonies are beautiful, reminiscent of almost the "classical jazz" era of American composers. Yet don't think for a minute they have forgotten their Rock Music roots, as the keys are wonderfully jazz rock oriented. No guitar in this outing, and none needed, as the composition and improvisation come from the keyboard, bass, brass and winds sections fantastically rich and full, with enough percussiveness in their playing that any other instrumentation would be clumsy. And the drumming is solid and imaginative.

And as with all great modern recordings, the production is outstanding, as the prolific Bob Drake handles mixing and mastering in his usual professional manner.

If you liked the first two Planeta Imaginario albums, this is a must - if you're new to this Spanish group, this isn't a bad place to start, and work backwards, as all of their music is mature and exciting.

Well done musicians, well done!

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 ¿Qué Me Dices? by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.47 | 10 ratings

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¿Qué Me Dices?
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tmay102436

4 stars This is a bit different, and quite American sounding, but yet very much a Spanish band. The music ranges from straight ahead jazz to rock to fusion, painting quite a nice picture of tone and color.

The emphasis here is on harmonic development and structure. Combined with some nice soloing and an interesting addition to a bit of spacey synth (very little - but quite effective!) this album is a great start for a talented group of players.

I believe that this one is getting quite hard to get (I think I read that it was going out of print) so snap it up...I have heard bits of their next two releases, which go in a bit of a different direction from their freshman release.

The wonderful world of music has no boundaries, and thank goodness brings us talented groups like Planeta Imaginario to enjoy!

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 Optical Delusions by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 27 ratings

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Optical Delusions
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A lot of changes in the three years since their last album "Biomasa".They've gone from an eight piece band to a six piece with only three members returning. Mind you there's lots of guests helping out this time around. So yes we get the same style of Jazz / Rock music but without the guitar.This one is a lot longer too at over 78 minutes. Bob Drake mixed and mastered this album so if one thing is better than the previous one it's the sound. Overall though I like "Biomasa" better. By the way they thank OCTOBER EQUUS in the liner notes among others.

"Collective Action" is a laid back jazzy number (get used to it) with horns arriving a minute in. Drums before 3 minutes as the sound gets fuller.The bass throbs as the horns play over top. It's mellow with keys before 5 minutes then it picks back up. I like when it builds late. "The Garden Of Happy Cows" is again light and jazzy. Some brief organ early. The tempo shifts often and the organ is back then the horns start to lead. It's the organ's turn after 7 minutes. It turns spacey around 9 minutes to end it. "Xarmmandusea" has these outbursts of sound that come and go in an almost dissonant manner. Electric piano too. I love it ! A steady beat with piano takes over then the horns and random sounds start to come and go. A calm after 5 minutes then it picks back up a minute later with horns leading. "Good Luck, My Friend" opens with animal sounds then birds as the piano slowly plays. "Angioma" opens with drums and organ as the horns join in then lead after 2 minutes. It blends into "Scalpel" and then into "Hemangioma" where we get some organ along with the prominant horns and drums. Dissonance late.

"Introduction To Sidewalk Licker" is laid back piano that blends into "Sidewalk Licker". Bass and drums kick in after 1 1/2 minutes then the horns join in. Piano then organ follows with intricate drumming. Flute comes and goes. "Imperfect Purity" is mostly electric piano, drums and horns. "Pure And Imperfect Art Element" opens with these spoken words then the sound of a phone ringing then more spoken words.The music kicks in before 2 minutes and it sounds great. Synths after 4 1/2 minutes then a calm with piano a minute later. "Imperfect Persuasive Element" has the sounds of birds before flute, horns and drums take over. It picks up a minute in and we get some dissonance. "The Sea...And Later The Sun...And The Reflection" opens with piano as horns and drums join in. A calm after 4 minutes with piano and drums. Nice. Love the organ before 6 minutes. Flute leads after 8 1/2 minutes then it's the horns turn before 12 minutes, then back to keyboards.

A low 4 stars but I feel this deserves that rating even if I wish they added more heaviness and darkness. Still this is a fine listen that Jazz / Rock fans should enjoy.

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 Biomasa by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.16 | 17 ratings

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Biomasa
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars PLANETA IMAGINERIO are a fairly young band out of Spain and this is their second release from 2008. An 8 piece band here with two sax players along with trombone, trumpet, bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. By the way the keyboards include Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, piano and synths. As Chris Cutler has excaimed publically, these guys know how to compose and arrange songs. A very talented group.

"Cosmic Speech From The Imaginary Planet" is a short atmospheric intro with Spanish spoken words. "Washington Sniper" kicks into a Jazzy mode right away. Piano comes to the fore after 2 1/2 minutes as the bass continues to throb. Horns then guitar take turns leading then the tempo picks up after 4 1/2 minutes. "Capture" features relentless and prominant bass. I like when the guitar leads as the piano and drums help out.Horns to the fore after 2 1/2 minutes. Some crazy and funny vocals a minute later then the organ comes in when the vocals stop.The tempo starts to speed up late. "Biomass" has a relaxed sound with acoustic guitar, bass and drums. Horns follow then vocal expressions after 3 1/2 minutes. Horns replace the vocals then intricate guitar replaces the horns. Nice. Vocals join in after 7 minutes then the horns return.We get that relaxing sound from the intro back before 10 minutes.

"Black Box" is my favourite. It kicks in after 30 seconds with horns but the tempo will shift often. Some nice electric piano, guitar and bass before the organ starts to float in and out. Great sound 6 minutes in. Sampled words before 7 minutes with an intense soundscape. Some ripping guitar before 10 minutes then a jet flies over and crashes.Just a killer track. "Farandulero's Theatre" opens with piano as acoustic guitar joins in followed by sax as it slowly builds. Spoken words can be heard at one point. "Cosmic Speech" is a short piece with spoken words and atmopshere. "Today Is A New Day" is jazzy, bright and uplifting. It settles with piano after 1 1/2 minutes then picks up 3 minutes in with the piano leading. It's bright again to end it. "The Summer" opens with piano and drums as horns join in before 3 minutes. It's fuller 3 1/2 minutes in then the horns lead a minute later. It's the guitar's turn then it calms down before 6 1/2 minutes to end it. "Optical Delusions Of A Bipolar Bear" opens with different people talking then it kicks in fairly heavily. It settles with intricate guitar after 1 1/2 minutes then kicks back in at 3 1/2 minutes. It's heavier 6 1/2 minutes in. A little dissonance as horns and clapping end it.

These guys mix it up just enough to keep me interested. An enjoyable Jazz / Rock album.

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 Optical Delusions by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 27 ratings

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Optical Delusions
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sancho Panza

4 stars Optical Delusions, the 2011 album from Spanish fusion outfit Planeta Imaginario, serves us rich jazz rock with constantly changing rhythmic structures that characterize Frank Zappa and the Canterbury scene. There is an excellent balance between the interplay of instruments, with none dominating the whole song or given the whole share of freedom within the phrasing of the song. While some sections are complex and tightly composed, other sections lay down a steady beat so that all of the instruments can jam and improvise.

Whenever the rhythm gets predictable on this album, there are layers added or there is a flourish that keeps you interested and moving. There is almost a big band sound that comes from the horns playing in harmony. The solo piano and horn interludes that are interspersed throughout the songs provide a relaxing break from the varied instrumentation and complex composition.

The first half of "Collective Action" quickly shows us the layered jazz jams and rich rhythms that are all throughout the album. After another piano interlude, however, there is a tightly composed section with constantly changing time signatures and rhythms which provides a satisfying rest before a steady drum, bass, and keyboard beat accompanies a horn solo. "The Garden of Happy Cows" distinguishes itself after the first few minutes when the band launches into a breakdown which slowly gains layers and complexity until the instruments can unite again with a melody that transitions into a piano interlude. "Hemangioma" and "The Sea...and Later the Sun...and the Reflection" are also noteworthy for their slowly building climaxes. "Xarramandusca" has a much larger number of free jazz sections which provide an atmosphere that breaks up the light upbeat feel of the rest of the album. The opening of "Angioma" shows the compositional characteristics of progressive rock, with changes that are unpredictable but go well with the song structure. "Sidewalk Licker" begins with a meditative piano solo which sets the mood perfectly for the beats to follow.

This album makes it clear that Planeta Imaginario has many influences all across the musical spectrum. Optical Delusions never loses your attention because of the amount of musical variety that is being showcased. Anybody that's a fan of energetic rhythms, rich composition, and layered instrumentation should find a lot to enjoy on this album.

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 ¿Qué Me Dices? by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.47 | 10 ratings

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¿Qué Me Dices?
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by jerryverrier

4 stars This is one of the most exciting albums I have listened to for some time. The playing is exemplary and the care with which the terrific range of tone colours and cracking jazzy tunes are constructed is of a very high order. This album carries you along on a melodic journey that is utterly absorbing and rewards repeated listening. Intimo Ritmo part 1 is a standout track that features keyboards strongly in a way that is reminiscent of Dave Stewart's work with Hatfield and the North and National Health. The guitar has a rockier edge on solos but is utterly disciplined and melodic in the jazzier parts of the arrangements, which feature horns mostly in ensemble playing. The scale of this piece has similarities with some of Zappa's major jazz pieces, although without some of the cutting edge of Big Swifty or It Must Be A Camel, anyone who likes this period of Zappa's work ? and what's not to love about it, will thoroughly enjoy this track and the great El Despertar de la Siesta de un Fauno that follows it. The latter has a particularly fine ending; a few minutes of lyrical solo piano followed by a terrific coda with horns guitar and great funky organ sound. Take a quick breath, because the title track is next and it's an absolute gem. The mood is bluesy Cinematic Orchestra with almost St Germaine keyboards which spend some time grounding a wonderful melodic guitar solo that made me replay on the ipod several times to appreciate the full depth and beauty of what had passed through my ears, and that's followed by more Zappa horn section moves and tempo changes that finally succumb to a fading flute phrase. Gorgeous stuff! The interplay between drum and bass in El Crucigrama is reminiscent of the finest work of Soft Machine, by which I mean the third album. The horn work that moves over it is great, giving chunks of growing sound that are on a par with those Mike Ratledge created for Slightly All The Time. Canterbury scene fans will be utterly delighted with this. It is wonderful to hear a track where drum and bass are so central without solos, just due the sheer beauty of the way they work together and support everything else. This is playing of the highest quality. Intimo Ritmo part 2 features a splendid trombone solo, and the sound takes me straight back to the brilliant ensemble playing on Lizard by King Crimson. There's not enough trombone in jazz-rock, but this track makes up for that. Don't get me started on the subject of bassoons! I love them! However, the more conventional sax and guitar riff put some real energy into this track before a great anthemic ending. If you have Hatfield and the North, Soft Machine and Frank Zappa as major players in your musical life you won't merely like this album in your collection, you will need it.

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 Biomasa by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.16 | 17 ratings

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Biomasa
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Steven Västman

3 stars "Biomasa" is the second release of this young spanish group. In this work they show their influence by, and admiration for, our legendary "Soft Machine". The cd consists of 8 instrumental themes, with wide and diverse sound elements: keyboards, guitar, trumpet, flugelhorn, fretless bass, drums, tenor saxophone, trombone, and alto saxophone. This "little machine" is now functionning. As the cd advances, it is to be observed that Planeta Imaginario are mastering their music genre. The themes are often very "canterbury" and complex, and the group have obtained a broad and constant variation of sounds. Sometimes the group seems to stumble in the attempt of overcomplicating the music, and leaves you with the sensation of lacking air, whishing that the music would flow more lightly. The difficulty of music is to know how to unite the complicity and the spontaneous, that all is in it´s rightful place and time. But in general the themes of "Biomasa" are well put together, and especially interesting in the development of the solid compositions and the adept solos: "El francotirador de Washington", "Capture" and "Trastornos opticos del oso bipolar". Particularly the guitar has a pleasant sound, and the great agility of the keybord player is heard when playing fender rhodes piano. All in all the group is displaying a good impulse and high intensity in their music.

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 ¿Qué Me Dices? by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.47 | 10 ratings

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¿Qué Me Dices?
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Named after an educational TV show on Spanish television,PLANETA IMAGINARIO are an awesome new band,formed in 1999 in Barcelona by keyboardist Marc Capel.By the rise of the new millenium the band started gigging in various festivals and their sound transformed from the early psychedelic style to jazzy progressive rock with the addition of new musicians.In 2004 they released their debut ''Que me dices?'' on the Galician Margen Label,which experimented with bands with a somewhat groundbreaking sound.

Featuring a really strong brass section of trumpets,trombones and saxes,PLANETA IMAGINARIO deliver great progressive music with a wide spectrum of influences coming from classic prog and jazz to R.I.O,Canterbury prog and avant-garde music.As said,most of the compositions feature very strong brass section parts similar to those offered by bands like UNIVERS ZERO or ART ZOYD with a dark contemporary feeling.Really imaginative music,followed many times by challenging guitar work in a typical jazz/fusion style and alternating between smooth and slow melodic parts and complicated,frenetic interplays.At the later stuff,you'll recognize sounds with a familiar Canterbury feel,while keyboards often lead the way reminding of bands in the style of NIACIN.Definitely it's not the most original work around,but the succesful combination of brass rock and classic prog will leave most of you quite satisfied.A very good release by a band with a bright future,which comes strongly recommended only for those who are after something different and experimental...3,5 stars are a fair rating for this nice work I think...

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 Biomasa by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.16 | 17 ratings

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Biomasa
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Phenomenal sophomore album by one of the most interesting prog-jazz bands to hail from Europe in the last few years - "Biomasa" is undisputed proof that Planeta Imaginario is a band to pay real close attention to. Compared to the debut album "¿Qué Me Dices?" (another one that I can't praise enough), "Biomasa" shows a band with a more powerful sound and a more accomplished tightness in its functioning as an ensemble. The album kicks off with a cosmic speech (literally!) voiced in a surrounding of spacey synth layers (very much in the early 70s TD vein). I didn't expect this krautrock- oriented opening, but it is effective. Abruptly segued into 'El Francotirador de Washington', when the aforesaid track settles in, Planeta Imaginario displays a clever, agile mixture of Canterbury (Nucleus, Gilgamesh) and Weather Report. 'Capture' is more humorous, weird in a Zappa sort of way (something like "Waka-Jawaka'-meets-"One Size Fits All"): it even includes some funny falsettos that enhance the sense of whimsical weirdness. Near the end, things get more lyrical and playful at the same time in a typically Canterburian note (this time, Hatfield & the Norht is the obvious reference). The 11 minute long title track follows, being a relaxing exercise on soft jazz, closely related to what you may identify as a melancholic mood, although I feel that it is mostly meditative. When things get slightly spiced up, the band shifts to an African-inspired fusion jam, not really furious, but intense in partially constrained fashion: the rhythm section works beautifully as a constantly reliable source of rhythmic evolution. For the epilogue that fulfills the track's last 2 minutes, the band returns to the initial motif. 'La Caja Negra' is another long composition, this time clocking at 12 minutes. The first 6 ½ minutes are focused on a well-structured jazzy jam very much in the Hatfield-meets-Nucleus vein, until things turn toward a different ground, one of Gong-related space-rock featuring sounds of airplanes rising up and crashing down. As usual, the band chose to retake a portion of the opening motif as a coda, completing a full circle of organized sound. Brilliant! 'El Teatro de los Faranduleros' is a lovely, yet weird exercise on soft dissonance that finds the piano, acoustic guitar and various horns orchestrating a delicate set of counterpoints (it reminds me a bit of Picchio dal Pozzo's first album, actually). Track 7 is the second cosmic speech (literally!), which stands in contrast with the highly melodic 'Hoy Es un Nuevo Día'. This one starts as yet another revision of Gilgamesh's heritage, until a piano motif starts a section that might as well been a Watkins' leftover for an old Happy the Man album. 'L'estiu' starts as a deepening into the reflective vibe that had been prevalent in the preceding track, but eventually the track leads to a funk-oriented jam. Anyway, this shift doesn't kill or replace the previous mood, but takes it to a more extroverted notion. A favorite resource of Planeta Imaginario's is the reprise of the initial motif for the coda, and this piece is no exception. The album's last 9 minutes are occupied by 'Trastornos Ópticos del Oso Polar', which is perhaps the most energetic track in the album. The composition bears a Crimson- like sense of tension to it among the Zappa "big band-era" chops. At times, the keyboardist explores some extravagant spacey sounds. But nothing is more extravagant than the closing section, with the guitar phrases stating heavy-RIO lines, the brass section going berserk, the full band flirting with chaos. The funny circus-like coda, instead of relieving the tension, adds more madness in a Dadaist manner. The guys of Planeta Imaginario master the art of honoring their favorite influences and instilling a series of refreshing moods into the resulting sound. "Biomasa" is a really great prog-jazz treasure of 2008.

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 ¿Qué Me Dices? by PLANETA IMAGINARIO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.47 | 10 ratings

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¿Qué Me Dices?
Planeta Imaginario Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It's amazing how creative and prolific is the Catalonian fraction of Spanish prog, especially regarding the realms of the jazzy and/or experimental sides of the genre. Planeta Imaginario is one of those terrific Catalonian bands that have flourished for the greater sake of contemporary prog's preservation. (Other names that come to mind are Gurth, Soma.Planet and Urban Trapeze). The band's offering is mainly based on the reactivation of the heritages from early 70s Zappa, classic Canterbury and vintage space-rock, pertinently fueled with the band's own invigorating approach. The presence of a populated wind section is no casual adornment: it plays a relevant role in the installment of the tracks' main motifs and/or orchestrated climaxes and/or soloing. The album kicks off with a brief synth soundscape, bearing a straightforward spacey feel: this cosmic vibe is immediately picked up by the first section of the segued track 2, 'Preludio Rapsodia', which eventually shifts to an exquisitely pyrotechnical delivery of jazz-oriented psychedelic rock. 'Íntimo Ritmo - 1' goes to softer places, stating a prevalently relaxing (not exempted of complex twists) confluence of Gilgamesh, Hatfield & the North and "Waka Jawaka"-era Zappa. 'El Despertar de la Siesta de un Fauno' starts with farm's ambient sounds, then the full band settles in and sets for a continuation of the previous track's mood, only this time with a more colorful treatment of the wind section interventions and extra touches of playful psychedelic rock segments (somewhat akin to pre-Hillage Gong). There is also a beautiful interlude consisting of an eerie piano passage, constructed as some sort of sonata from 19th century's Romanticism. Following is the title track, a delightful exercise on jazz-fusion, equally influenced by classic Weather Report and Metheny's archetypical lyricism: it starts soft and slow, until the tempo winds up a bit faster, and by doing so, the band momentarily finds itself flirting with Latin-jazz. 'Requiem Blues' starts as a slow piece set in a jazzy atmosphere which, in turn, follows a blues-oriented pace; somewhere in the middle, the tempo shifts into an enthusiastic dynamics that may remind us of the most exciting moments in Soft Machine's earlier albums. Not for too long, though (unfortunately, since this motif is very appealing), since the initial section returns for a majestic coda. 'El Crucigrama' brings back some of the Zawinul factor for the initial passages, but soon the band focuses on the recurrent Canterbury flavors (mostly Gilgamesh and National health, since Capel's style is very reminiscent of Gowan's). 'Íntimo Ritmo - 2' states a similar approach to the earlier related track, combining big band Zappa and the lyrical side of vintage Canterbury. At this point, the album has made it abundantly clear about its intended stylistic cohesion and the guys from Planeta Imaginario have accomplished it masterfully. Coming full circle, the track's coda is a spacey soundscape that partially mirrors the album's introductory piece. It is a pity that the sound mix isn't more robust than it actually is, since a higher engineering quality would have taken more advantage of the multiple reeds and the proficient rhythm section, which at times gets drowned and cannot totally reveal its pertinent work. I also wish that tracks 4 and 6 had been a bit longer, since their appeal is not fully exploited in these studio renditions, at least, in my humble opinion. Anyway, "¿Qué Me Dices?" is an excellent album that gives justified hope to the nostalgic lovers of all kinds of jazz-rock, jazz-prog and fusion.

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Thanks to César Inca for the artist addition.

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