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SARAX

Post Rock/Math rock • Chile


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Sarax biography
SARAX is an experimental/progressive rock band born in Santiago, Chile. It was originally formed as a trio in 1995 by bassist Demetrio Cifuentes, who was later joined by Marcelo Larenas on guitar and Juan Pablo Velasco on drums and keyboards. SARAX became a quartet with the incorporation of lifelong friend and collaborator Nicolás Figueroa as an official member during the writing sessions for "570.Kyhtera", the band's third album. Their manifesto in their web page reads: "Our main interest is to create music that is defiant, innovative and, why not, insulting!". Their strategy is mostly based on the use of diverse musical sources in the context of rock: psychedelia, metal prog, jazz-rock, Crimsonian stuff (similarly to their illustrious compatriots TRYO), electronic ambiences, weird adornments and effects.

With a prolific background behind their backs, each founding member agreed to assume an uncompromising eclectic attitude toward the type of experimental rock they wanted to create; also, the fact that drummer Velasco is also a professional sound engineer helped the band to find an early reliable source for the kind of sound they intended to achieve for their music. Their debut album "Fécula Bicorpórea" is a collection of musical ideas gathered across 11 pieces, which were recorded in several times during the mid 90s. The next two albums were more focused; in fact, they both are concept-albums that revolve around Juan Pirrón's cycle of death and rebirth. This character represents the half-anarchist, half-existentialist philosophy of Cifuentes and Velasco (the band's most recurrent writers). In "Ejecución", Pirrón is a rebel in jail, awaiting for his execution, scheduled for the next morning; in "570.Kythera", this same character is reborn into the namesake asteroid, only to find out that his new environment is about to meet its final cosmic collapse. The sense of confusion and despair that the tyranny of reality provokes in the mind of man suits perfectly well SARAX's music, which is full of anger, irony and rebellious moods. Nowadays the band's activity is scarce, since drummer Velasco resides in LA: anyway, according to an interview he and Cifuentes gave to a Latin American e-zine in early 2004, there is the possibility of releasing yet another chapter in this peculiar Pirrón saga somewhere in the future.





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Buy SARAX Music


EjecucionEjecucion
Cantera Producciones
Audio CD$24.29
$19.99 (used)
570.Kythera570.Kythera
Mylodon Records
Audio CD$24.29
$9.95 (used)
Fecula BicorporeaFecula Bicorporea
D.X.B. Records
Audio CD$24.29
$14.95 (used)

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SARAX discography


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

3.00 | 3 ratings
Fécula Bicorpórea
1997
3.98 | 3 ratings
Ejecución
2001
3.98 | 3 ratings
570.Kythera
2003

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

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SARAX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ejecución by SARAX album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Ejecución
Sarax Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was one of those cds i had given up hope of finding until I saw it on some obscure vendor's internet site and was able to get it. Believe me this was worth the search. This is heavy, experimental and spacey. And the singing, yelling and talking that goes on are all in Spanish. See Cesar's review to read what the concept of this album is about.

"Vatkrakis" opens with an outburst of a riff before a nice heavy soundscape comes in. The vocals are almost sinister sounding followed by some whispering. Great guitar solo follows and more whispering. Vocals are back before some demented laughing 2 1/2 minutes in as it settles down briefly. The heaviness is back before 3 minutes to the end. "Capsula Roja" opens with more heaviness. I love their sound. The guitar is fantastic.The tempo picks up and some screaming guitar arrives after 2 minutes. Just a great instrumental track that blends into "Sentencia" a short song with people speaking with background sounds. "Matapaco" opens with sirens and the sounds of people yelling and running before some fast heavy riffs take over. The heavy riffs slow down and speed up the rest of the way. "Delirio De Krinia" opens with gentle guitar and synths as different sounds come and go. Lots of atmosphere for over 2 minutes then the drums, guitar and bass create a dark mood with tempo changes. Cool section. "Extencions" features the band TRYO on bass, drums and guitar. How cool is that ! It opens with piano that reminds me of Kevin Moore on his amazing "Dead Air For Radios" record. The heaviness comes and goes until it stays for good a minute in. The guitar is grinding it out 2 1/2 minutes in. The piano is back a minute later. Incredible song. "Juan Pirron" is a short piece that is quite haunting with people yelling.

"Palpito" is a heavy, guitar led tune with some chunky bass. Some guest flute a minute in. "Demencia" is much like "Juan Pirron" with piano added. "Organon" is dark and heavy with some great bass and screaming guitar. Someone is yelling. The tempo changes as drums and bass dominate for a while. Heavy guitar 3 minutes in and more yelling. "Kovyankho" opens with waves of synths before some fat bass comes into this atmospheric section. The guitar and drums change the mood before 2 minutes as the tempo picks up. More chunky bass after 3 minutes and some outstanding angular guitar a minute after that. Nice. "Vertigo" opens with piano before a light melody follows. Some heaviness after 2 minutes before a solo piano interlude returns. All hell breaks loose 4 minutes in. "Bruma" is mostly a haunting and eerie soundscape with no real melody except for the brief heavy drums 3 minutes in. "Engranje" is the 1 minute closer that is upbeat with xylophone and silliness including a sheep.

Easily 4 stars, this is my kind of music.

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 Fécula Bicorpórea by SARAX album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Fécula Bicorpórea
Sarax Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I wish I understood Spanish because these guys seem to have a real sense of humour, as witnessed with the strange spoken words and singing that pops up once and a while.There is nothing funny though about the way these guys play. I remember being so surprised that they were listed under Experimental / Post Rock, until I clued in and thought "This isn't Post-Rock stupid ! It's Experimental !" Oh the conversations I have with myself. Anyway this does have a lot of experimental passages throughout that are seperated by some heavy guitar / bass / drum sections.

"Telefono Solo" opens with these experimental sounds as someone shouts and speaks in Spanish. The song kicks into gear 1 1/2 minutes in with them yelling for quite a while, as drums and strange sounds can be heard. There is a word for this, and I believe it's called chaos. "Kovyankho" opens with a cool, spacey intro as random sounds come and go before the song picks up 2 minutes in with drums, bass and guitar. A nice heavy sound is the result. The angular guitar melodies are great 4 minutes in to the end of the song. "Compacto" opens with a thunderstorm that is followed by guest female vocalist Ema Pinto, no I don't think she's related to the Ford Pinto people. At least I hope not. Some good synths on this one that ends ominously with lots of atmosphere. "Palpito" is an uptempo track that features some great sounding bass along with guitar and drums. The bass lines are fat to say the least. "Organon" is another bass driven, uptempo tune with vocals that are yelled. These guys can really play !I really like the heavy sound. "Corto" opens with the birds chirping and then you can hear someone doing things. I have no idea what though. Yes I would call that experimental.

"Subcutanya" is a song I really like. It slowly builds to begin with but settles back down.The guitar grinds away as the bass and drums create a heavy but sparse rhythm. "Resent" has some nice synth work as someone starts shouting out Spanish words. Keys comes in as the speaking continues ending with laughter. "Subterbano" has a stange intro before pounding drums take over with angular guitar coming and going. The vocal melodies also come and go. The melody stops and you can hear a guy breathing really heavy like he's been running. This uptempo melody followed by our man on the run continues. Kind of cool actually. Love the Frippian guitar 2 minutes in. "Tiranao" is an eerie and haunting soundscape that is well done. "Semilla" is the only song on here that reminds me of RUSH. The restrained guitar sounds like Lifeson, while the synth work recalls Lee.This is one of my favourite four songs on the album along with "Kovyankho" , "Subcutanya" and "Subterbano".

Good album that is worth 3.5 stars in my opinion. I like their next two albums better though. Hey if you want something a little different check SARAX out.

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 570.Kythera  by SARAX album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.98 | 3 ratings

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570.Kythera
Sarax Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars SARAX are an experimental band from Chile who go from heavy KING CRIMSON / RUSH like soundscapes to spacey, atmospheric moods in a blink of an eye. This is a concept album that is a continuation from their previous record "Ejecucion". Although the vocals are not in English they do give English lyrics in the liner notes, as well as a story line in English even with the instrumental tracks. I am such a big fan of this style of music that combines heavy soundscapes with spacey,atmospheric passages.

"They Appear" is a short eerie, spacey intro. This sounds amazing played loud. "Zirok" has vocals and 60's sounding organ melodies.The vocals turn theatrical as the heaviness comes and goes. "Pirron" might be my favourite with the TOOL-like drumming as the guitars grind away.This is nice and heavy with deep vocals. Some ripping guitar follows, this sounds incredible ! This is 5 minutes of heavy guitar driven bliss. "Glorio's Prayer (Resent II)" continues the assault for over a minute before it settles down with piano and spoken words. The heaviness returns and the guitar after 2 1/2 minutes is fantastic ! Some nice angular melodies.This is heavy ! "Boycoting The Propulsor" opens with some brief spoken words before grinding guitar and heavy drums take over. Check out the rhythm section 1 1/2 minutes in. Spoken words close out the song after the heaviness stops. "Makronas Nightmares" opens with a haunting atmosphere as bass, piano, synths and cymbals play slowly. The heaviness and vocals arrive reminding me of BI KYO RAN. The contrast continues.Some scorching guitar 3 minutes in.

"Events At Kop(Mother Spider)" is an uptempo tune with fast paced drumming. Great guitar and vocals too. "Storm's Horns" opens with slow paced piano, and the guitar sounds are tremendous. Lots of atmosphere and deep vocals.Very good song. "Deliberating" has a catchy melody of drums and organ. "Iarkos Escape" has some nice fat bass lines with some beautiful lazy guitar melodies. A great instrumental. "Final Party" is a bit of a ride as it opens with vocal melodies and lots of atmosphere before it changes with light drums and piano in a jazzy section. More atmosphere 3 1/2 minutes in as it gets a little creepy with almost death-like vocals as well. "Cristalized" features slowly played piano with synths in the background while the album ends with the very short "Monologue" that has some spoken words with dissonant sounds.

I know this isn't everybody's cup of tea, but i'll have the whole pot thank you. Highly recommended album and band.

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 Fécula Bicorpórea by SARAX album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Fécula Bicorpórea
Sarax Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Released in 1997, Sarax's debut album "Fécula Bicorpórea" is a collection of tracks that the original trio (guitarist Marcelo Larenas, drummer-keyboardist Juan Pablo Velasco and bassist Demetrio Cifuentes) recorded at different moments during the band's seminal era. The style developed throughout the repertoire is not as consistent as in their two following albums, more brilliant efforts, indeed. Nevertheless, this 11-track collection manages to capture the major influences - 90's King Crimson, Mr. Bungle, technical metal, RIO, electronic avant-garde, all of it seasoned with dadaistic humor (weird chanting and vocal effects) and sinister nuances in places. 'Teléfono Solo' kicks off with a solemn soliloquy laid on creepy synth adornments and piano chords, after which a bizarre exhibition of industrial-meets-thrash metal kicks in an ultra-neurotic fashion. This opener really grabs the listener's guts by storm, almost like forcing them to decide if they want to explore any further or just leave it alone for good. I remember my first "Fécula Bicorpórea" experience: I listened to this track twice before going on with the remaining tracks. That was my way of getting attracted by this band's vision. Later on, "Subterbaño" will continue to provide more of this radical neurosis, even taking it to an enhanced level of aggressiveness. As a contrast, the band shows its softer moods in numbers such as 'Compacto' (an eerie, soothing amalgam of symphonic-oriented keyboard layers) and 'Tiranao' (a somber interlude that sort of emulates the soundtrack for a sci-fi movie in a thrilling scene). Tracks 2, 4 & 5 are the most notably typical of Sarax's rock essence: in fact, all of them reappeared in their "Ejecución" album benefiting from a finer sound mixing, but anyway, even in this album they serve as real highlights. 'Kovyankho' is an amazing killer, no matter the album it is in: the spacey intro, the complex sequence of rockier sections that come along in an impressive mixture of wild prog rock and jazz-rock. Very influenced by their compatriots Tryo with added keyboards. 'Subcutanya' and the closer 'Semilla' also bring more of that reckless psychedelic rock vibe of Crimsonian origins. I don't truly recommend this album as an entrance into the world of Sarax since it lacks enough cohessiveness, but it sure will please all lovers of experimental prog with a hard rocking edge, and of course, all those who are already familiar with the band's other efforts.

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 570.Kythera  by SARAX album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.98 | 3 ratings

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570.Kythera
Sarax Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Sarax's third album find the band turned into a quartet, and in the process, augmenting the doses of energy and diversity in their own progressive style. This album is a conceptual follow-up to their previous effort "Ejecución": this time, our executed prisoner's soul is reincarnated into a resident in an asteroid that is soon to meet its conflagration. The ideas of constantly dying and not being really captains of our own ships fit perfectly the main character's recurrent frustration, which in turn, meets a most accurate correlation in the band's sonic angst. With the entry of guitarist Nicolás Figueroa, a lifelong friend and collaborator, the band's style wasn't actually changed but, as I stated before, enhanced in terms of a greater intensity in the instrumentation and a major colorfulness in the arrangements and adornments instilled in the musical ideas. This surely helps to enhance the cinematographic nature of the repertoire, making it a real musical narrative. The band's increased tightness is easily noticeable all along: right after the brief cosmic prologue 'Aparecen', comes 'Zirok', a bizarre calypso-meets- grunge number with a 90s-era KC twist, followed by the somber prog metal- tinged 'Pirrón'. With the next two pieces, 'La Oración de Glorio' and 'Pesadillas Makronas', things don't get smoother precisely, both being robust hybrids of space- rock and heavy metal, full of neurotic vibes: but never as neurotic as the ultra- aggressive 'Eventos en el POK', a sort of punk-meets-prog, somewhat similar to the legendary Cynic. 'Los Cachos de la Tormenta' is more ethereal, although still portraying an uneasy aura. 'Boicoteando el Propulsor' is indeed more serene: despite the underlying heavy guitar riffs, the Arabic synth lines take center stage, creating some sort of evocative mood. After the brief serene interlude 'Deliberando' (a tribute to old-fashioned 60s beat), comes 'Escapando de Iarkos', in which the stamina of hard rock, the exuberance of jazz and the standardized intricacy of prog metal get mixed in a fluid manner. The almost 5- minute long 'Fiesta Final' kind of recapitulates the somber and the rocking facets of the album, adding again some good dose of jazzy exuberance to the fold. These two tracks are arguably the richest and most complex in the album: sometimes I wish they had been expanded a bit longer, but anyway... The last two tracks are brief keyboard-based soundscapes, which sound obviously related to the previous album's closure: evidently, this is a hint of a future continuity in the extravagant saga of the Pirrón character. Overall balance: excellent album, indeed - "570.Kythera" surpasses the high standards of experimentation in rock as they had been set in "Ejecución", and so, we can say that Sarax is one of the most outstanding 'unclassifiable' prog acts nowadays.

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 Ejecución by SARAX album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Ejecución
Sarax Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars From the very first riffs and beats that get the opening track 'Vatkrakis' started, you can tell that this is going to be a very robust album. The promise of "Ejecución", Sarax's second album, gets solidly fulfilled by the time it reaches its end. A concept-album revolving around the morbid thoughts and emotions that fill an incarcerated man's mind during the night before his execution, "Ejecución" turns out to be a powerful catalogue of hard rocking sounds that cleverly translate the main character's inner turmoil into progressive and/prog-oriented music. This opening track sets an explosive mood, something like early Anekdoten-meets- standardized prog metal; then comes 'Cápsula Roja', an exciting 2+ 90s Crimson- inspired tour-de-force. The almost thrash bombast of 'Matapaco' and the sinister excursions of the excellent 'Delirio de Krinia' (one of the most complex tracks) reiterate the band's interest in displaying consistent aggressions toward the listener's psyche. All in all, even though Sarax was, by then, a guitar-bass-drum trio with a ballsy attitude and a taste for clever complexity, their sound didn't (and still doesn't) fit the power trio structure exactly, since they are very keen on the introduction of synthesizer textures and adornments, even in those tracks in which harshness prevails. Another aspect that is very noticeable in Sarax's offering is the presence of some sort of extravagant madness, especially when it comes to the introduction of brief, freaked-out monologues: 'Sentencia' is a complaint about the pointlessness of human life plus a contemplation of suicide, 'Juan Pirrón' is a display of angst against authority, 'Demencia' is a call for lunacy to release the man from his current fear of death. All three monologues are quite useful in order to clarify the conceptual nature of the repertoire, given the fact that most of the material is instrumental. It is hard (and even arbitrary) to pick up particular favorites from such a cohesive album, but most certainly, the aforementioned 'Cápsula Roja{ and 'Delirios de Krinia', together with 'Extenciones', 'Kovyamkho' and 'Organon' are real gems in their own terms. 'Extenciones', which contains an interesting mix of prog metal and jazz rock, has the peculiarity of being mostly performed by the three members of Tryo, while drummer Juan Pablo Velasco handled the keyboards; the latter two are actually repeated numbers from Sarax's debut album, only with a different mix. 'Vértigo' is a very odd track, indeed: initially led by the piano and ambient synths, the band displays an almost cinematographic mood of suspense, occasionally interrupted by space rock interludes, until a heavy metal coda emerges during the last 50 seconds right until the fade-out. 'Bruma' is an electronic synth-based excursion that brings memories of early electronic krautrock (Kluster, TD's "Zeit"), scary indeed, but mostly dark and mysterious. The ambience of the epilogue 'Engranje' creates a more frivolous mood: the basic idea is quite funny, the soundtrack to the dead man's transition to the afterlife is that of a merry-go- round. Well, there you go. Overall conclusion: "Ejecución" is one of the most extravagant prog recordings of the current South American scene. Sarax is the perfect example of how you can use musical inventiveness to mix complexity, hardness and humor.

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Thanks to Cesar Inca for the artist addition.

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