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JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ LEDESMA

RIO/Avant-Prog • Mexico


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Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma biography
José Luis FERNÁNDEZ LEDESMA is a big name in the Mexican avant-garde musical scene. He is acknowledged as an adventurous creator and a proficient musician: his performing skills include guitars, keyboards, various ethnic wind, string and percussion instruments, something like a Mike OLDFIELD with a RIO heart. His first steps in the world of prog took place in NIRGAL VALLIS, a band contemporary of ICONOCLAST and others, that never got to release a proper LP. After the band disbanded, FERNÁNDEZ LEDESMA began his solo venture determined to explore his unique musical vision. Singer/keyboardist Margarita BOTELLO is his recurrent partner in almost all his records. His music has been publicly eulogized by Chris CUTLER, as stated in the liner notes of the "Sol Central" album. In early 2007 he began the SAENA project, a symphonic prog band formed by veterans (just like him), but his solo career remains active.



The writing and arranging modus operandi for FERNÁNDEZ LEDESMA's material is profoundly based on atmospheres, going from the ethereal to the somber and from the dreamy to the inscrutable, always dense and mysterious, at times colorful, other times grayish. The combination of acoustic and electric instruments bears enough amounts of mixing console processes as to make the original sounds go somewhere else. Instead of using traditional instruments according to the standards of fusion and prog-folk, what FERNÁNDEZ LEDESMA does is incorporate these ancient items as parts of the sonic amalgam that would match his modernistic vision. Influences range from krautrock (POPOL VUH, CAN, early 70s TD) to RIO (ART BEARS, HENRY COW, UNIVERS ZERO), as well as the avant-garde chamber music pioneered by Cage, Stockhausen and others. "Al Filo" comprises a dominant sinister tendency, while "Sol Central" displays a more developed sense of colorfulness. Albums such as "La Paciencia de Job" and "Híbridos" may lean closer to one trend or another. "Designios" stands out as a special exception to the rule, since its repertoire is a venture in the fields of symphonic-meets-folk prog, in this way exposing a not-so-usual melodic side of FERNÁNDEZ LEDESMA - it includes new versions of two old NIRGAL VALLIS tracks. Through the years, he has created music for theater, contemporary ballet and documentary films, and collaborated with other avant-garde artists (ALQUIMIA, OXOMAXOMA, etc.). Additionally, he works as a sound engineer and producer.



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JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ LEDESMA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 8 ratings
Motivos Para Perderse
1996
3.04 | 5 ratings
Extractos
1997
4.00 | 5 ratings
Dicen Que Somos Dioses y Nos Sońamos Hombres
2000
4.53 | 17 ratings
Sol Central
2000
3.97 | 10 ratings
Al Filo
2002
4.58 | 9 ratings
Designios
2003
4.57 | 7 ratings
La Paciencia De Job
2006
3.91 | 4 ratings
Hibridos
2007

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JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ LEDESMA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Extractos by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.04 | 5 ratings

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Extractos
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Ledesma followed his impressive debut from 1996 with yet another solo album called ''Extractos'', released in 1997 and belonging among the first productions of the emerging Mexican label Luna Negra.Most of the musicians appearing in ''Motivos para perderse'' are present here as well, but the line-up was actually quite expanded with 10 singers and musicians helping out in the 14 displayed compositions.Ex-Nirgal Vallis guitarist Alejandro Schmidt teams up with Ledesma again in one track, playing the electric guitar.

''Extractos'' sounds a step closer to atmospheric Prog Folk, having a more peaceful, gentle and relaxed side compared to Ledesma's debut, always driven by the Mexican's beautiful keyboard and piano passages and exhibiting an array of traditional instruments, the final result coming close to the mellow sound of Italian's HOSTSONATEN.The basic lines of the album are built around the work of Ledesma on acoustic strings and a nice combination of synthesizers, electric and acoustic piano, producing rural soundscapes with a slightly atonal mood and an overall ambiental approach.The music becomes occasionally richer with the addition of percussion, violin and wind instruments and obtains a dreamy feeling via the presence of the guest female vocalists.The MIKE OLFDIELD principles become also apparent during these tracks, some of them feature a discreet touch on electric guitars.Ethereal folky orchestrations with a genuine identity, which could have a been a little more energetic.But Ledesma never forgets about his previous days with NIRGAL VALLIS and certain pieces in here, especially the longer ones, still retain a symphonic atmosphere with more pronounced electric guitars and keyboards.The music of course remains very delicate and polished with some dark parts at times, led by Ledesma's tricky synth, organ and piano plays, which result to some fine instrumental Progressive Rock with a challenging sound.

I can't say that I am that impressed by this album after Ledesma's fantastic debut.It is less balanced and more towards ambiental Prog with folky colors, but the arrangements are always of high class with good use of acoustic instruments over a palette of keyboard flashing.Recommended.

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 Al Filo by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.97 | 10 ratings

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Al Filo
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt

4 stars J.L. Fernandez Ledezma's "Al Filo" (2002), is intricate and enticing. It will be a shame to just pin it down to a specific "tagging".

Song writing progresses in each track to opposite moods. From the "dark" chorales of "Las Siete Columnas" its first track, to an immediate change of pace with the beautiful single acoustic guitar composition "Presencias". Both worlds come togethet in its third track "Oniromante", where all time collaborator Margarita Botello displays her talents in "invisible" singing. "Espejismo" the fourth track, as its name suggests, is an almost ethereal track, full of minimal hypnotic structures, which turns to be an exquisite background for both electric and acoustic guitars to come forward and then just vanish. These songs could be enjoyed by any kind of Prog-audiophile.

Next comes the mysterious 5th track "El Triangulo" this one is closer to electronic/acoustic experimentations. What makes it tick, is the extraordinary structure constructed solely with long flowing flute notes and menacing eerie lament like choruses, which makes it quiet clear why this musician was included in the RiO/AV prog sub-genre.

As the tormentous sky clears away, comes "Ojo de Venado" the sixth track, a more dynamic even festive song, with a blend of up-front Rock and a rain of not very Rock likely instruments vanishing all borders with his always great sense of musical composition and arrangements. The heavy 'RiO" bass is delightful.

After the "party" things slow down again in probably the most beautiful song along with track 2, "Las Cuatro Imagenes" ("The Four Images") the seventh track. Its minimal intrumentation brings it close to the best kind of "ambient" music. Again the marvelous voice choruses, the recurring guitar theme into a parallel harmonic environment even more "naked" than its introduction, but with the howling grief of a distant sax and its counterpointing sister flute. As the song evolves the "third" image" appears, to shower the track with an up-beat rhythm and "close to heaven" musical arrangements and song writing. To wave the day goodbye comes along the ephemeral dark closure, the "fourth image". Full of chaotic yet distant choruses. The 5 star song of this project .

To end things up track 8 "El Enyerbao", a mixture of prog/electronics and "native" music, which sounds as an extremely refined ritualisic "Residents" tribute. Short and fun.

I highly recommend this album to any follower of prog, but with a taste for the Avant Garde!

****4+ my review, PA stars.

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 Dicen Que Somos Dioses y Nos Sońamos Hombres by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Dicen Que Somos Dioses y Nos Sońamos Hombres
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt

4 stars Admirable heir of the RiO/AV founders. Must be heard to believe!

Some reviewer points out, wisely, that whenever you see this musician's name on an album, do not hesitate to aquire it. Well I did and glad to have done so. Here is my review.

In the true manner of this Prog sub-genre's greatest talents, this mexican multi-instrumentalist, composer, is brave and daring enough, to add up his own musical "discoveries" to this quiet chaotic and extense "musical planet".

For starters his language has a wide scope of "moods" and directions. From symphonic to heavy/prog to electronic to folk and other routes. Not everything is as the art cover suggests, a dark grieving matter. Next and best, there is no close connection to any kind of mexican transvestite "folkloric" music, apart from its some songs being sung in spanish by vocalist Margarita Botello. Let's say this music has no exact physical geography, besides its inherent place among "universal" great music.

It is epic, it is poingnant, it is restless, it is eclectic and sometimes, if required, it is sweet and soft.

It is enticing. It holds no unecessary "paraphernalia". This music is extremely well balanced and intelligent, yet unpretentious, but still excitingly daring. It reminds me of a lot of bands, but never to the point of surrendering its own musical idiom, which is quiet a thrill and an unexpected surprise.

Therefore, whenever you are "lucky" enough to see JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ LEDESMA's *"Dicen Que Somos Dioses y Nos Sonamos Hombres", get it asap, you would not regret it at all! *"They say we are Gods and dream ourselves Men."

****4 + my review, PA stars.

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 Motivos Para Perderse by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.98 | 8 ratings

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Motivos Para Perderse
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars José Luis Fernández Ledesma is a Mexican keyboardist and composer, also the founder of the 80's Progressive Rock band Nirgal Vallis.After the demise of the group Ledesma focused on composing his personal ideas in a solo project.For his first album he collaborated with female singer Alquimia and four more musicians on bass, guitars and saxes, while he handled all keyboard, percussion and ethnic instruments.The material was written in 94'-95', eventually released on Musea Records in 1996 as ''Motivos Para Perderse'', around the time the French label published the 80's works of Nirgal Vallis.

Having a strong Folk background already from his time with Nirgal Vallis, Ledesma proposed in his first work a somewhat cinematic mix of Ethnic Music, light Progressive Rock and Fusion, very intricate though at moments a bit too soft yet always attractive.In ''Motivos Para Perderse'' the listener will face the two different faces of Ledesma.The first is deeply rooted in Mexican Folk and interpretated in the album through mellow acoustic textures blended with traditional folky tunes (offered by the performance on sax, ocarinas and mandolin) and lush keyboard sounds in the background.Very atmospheric and highly esoteric musicianship.The second one comes straight from his days with Nirgal Vallis.Intricate Progressive Rock, very much driven by the work of Ledesma on synthesizers, and containing plenty of shifting climates with light solos and interplays, reminding a bit of PABLO EL ENTERRADOR.Guitars are used sporadically and the arrangements are strongly based on piano passages, fiery synth solos and lush orchestrations.

The whole listening brings to mind the diverse works of HOSTSONATEN.A great mix of challenging Progressive/Symphonic Rock with Ambient Folk textures surrounding the most demanding material.Beautiful stuff and highly recommended.

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 Al Filo by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.97 | 10 ratings

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Al Filo
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Wonderful!

When one is familiarized with a band or artists, it is common to share the same thoughts regarding their different albums and compositions, with Jose Luis Fernández Ledesma's music happens that I always end up with a huge satisfaction after listening to his music, because it is not the conventional kind of prog rock, it is really original, dynamic and diverse, so I share the same feeling with all the albums he appears (the ones I've listened to, of course). And what a better way to share these feelings than writing a review, besides, I help a little bit spreading the word, inviting people to listen to this Mexican progressive rock icon.

"Al filo" is an album released in 2002, one of his better known works along with "Sol Central" and "Designios", here as usual, Margarita Botello is an essential piece of this puzzle, helping Ledesma in every composition. This album consists of eight compositions that make a total time of 69 minutes; we will find six average-length songs, while we will also listen to a 10-minute track, and a 24-minute epic.

The first song is entitled "Las siete columnas", relaxing ethnic and environmental music can be heard in the first moments, after some four minutes Botello's voice can be softly heard, while strings, percussion and synth create the background that never stops, taking our souls and essence to a different world, sharing peace and harmony. In the last two minutes a male voice can be also listened, spreading the inherent ethnic and even new- age-like sound that Ledesma's albums have.

"Presencias" is a short acoustic guitar track that shares serenity and ease during its four minutes. It is linked to "Oniromante" in which the female voice returns accompanying the acoustic guitar, the wonderful soundscapes and the delicious ethnic percussions. After two and a half minutes the intensity increases, the volume is higher as well as the emotions; a flute enters along with more percussion, vocals and a superb synth work. In the last minute it slows down and offers a delicate passage with acoustic guitar.

"Espejismo" has a weird sound that clearly shows the avant-garde tendencies of this composer, who besides Botello, is complemented by two guest musician's talent: Raul Flores, whose help in the sounding structure for this particular track was essential, and Germán Bringas with a saxophone. The second part of this track has the addition of the electric guitar for some moments; later we will listen to soundscapes and the female voice as background fading out delicately.

"El triángulo" follows with the ethnic and atmospheric path, however, here I can feel some uncertainty and fear in some brief moments, I mean, compared with the previous tracks, this one makes me open my eyes and lose the peace I had, which does not mean it makes a failed song, no, it simply provoked a different thing on me and only in brief passages, I repeat. "Ojo de venado" has a more pastoral sound created by flute, strings and percussions. Later the bass creates a darker atmosphere, while the electric guitar keeps doing its work, and the diverse percussion instruments complete the body. Just before the fourth minute the song becomes more intense, with higher intensity and energy, however it lasts only for a minute because later it slows down and finishes with a soft sound contrasted with a strong bass.

One of the most complex and challenging compositions in Ledesma's repertoire has to be this 24-minute song entitled "Las cuatro imágenes", which is divided in four passages. A warning here: you better listen to it (and the whole album, by the way) with good headphones if you truly want to appreciate the diversity of textures, colors and nuances offered; another warning, do not listen to it when tired, because you may feel deeply relaxed and fall asleep (not because it is boring, not at all, but because its purity and laid-back mood may soften your mind and soul). In this track we can listen to the exquisite saxophone, along with the already known elements they have shared in the previous tracks. In the different passages of this epic we can appreciate how it changes, how it fades out and reappers, and how it progresses. One of my favorite moments is the folkish and ethnic sound produced after 15 minutes, with a richness of elements, a soulful structure and a tune that immerses us into their realm.

The last track of the album is "El enyerbado (pilón)" which is like the extra track of "Al filo". This song features percussions and the inherent ethnic sound. Well, here the quality of Fernández Ledesma is evident once again, he composes challenging and not-so-easy-to- dig music, but once you appreciate it, you will surely get caught by its charm. This album is guarantee of quality, howeve, I admit it is not my favorite of him, it does not reaches the perfection that I found in others (I said I found, because after all subjectivity is what counts here), that is why I am giving four stars to this album, which I highly recommend to fans of original ethnic prog.

Enjoy it!

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 Sol Central by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.53 | 17 ratings

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Sol Central
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars And this Mexican musician never ceases to impress me!

For those who don't know, José Luis Fernández Ledesma is an iconic and incredibly talented musician from Mexico, who has worked in several projects such as Nirgal Vallis or Saena, and with the help of his unconditional partner Margarita Botello, he has released a vast amount of "solo" albums, in which we can appreciate his compositional skills, and a richness of sounds. Back in 2000 he released "Sol Central" which has been by several people named as his masterpiece. It is an album that comprises two compositions, though the first one can be divided in seven parts.

So that first track would be "Sol Central", a complete 36-minute song, but since it is divided and each piece has its name, I will review them one by one. "Datura Inoxia" starts with a soft atmosphere and the beautiful voice of Botello, but seconds later it explodes all of a sudden creating a surprising and chaotic atmosphere. Since this first piece, we will notice that the album is full of changes, colors, textures, nuances, sounds, everything, it is vast and rich music. Returning to the piece, I love the keyboards and how they put a specific mood; worth mentioning the guitars and other arrangements, because this is first class music, written and performed very intelligently.

"Amnesia" has a totally RIO sound, the female vocals of Botello and the prominent oboe may remind you to Art Bears or Henry Cow. This is the shortest piece, but one can find a wonderful package of musical and visual elements here, you have only to close your eyes and let the music do the rest. The vocal game here is actually wonderful. "El Avatar" is one of my favorite passages here. I love its first seconds with that tense atmosphere; the keyboards and piano play here a leading role, because they mark the rhythm and create the ambient and sensations. A thing I like a lot from Ledesma's album, is that intercalation of pure instrumental passages, with the parts where Botello's voice appear, all are well- crafted and performed.

"Por los cuatro costados" is a beautiful, relaxing and atmospheric passage in which we will listen to the environment, accompanied by a soft oboe and some distant percussion. Three minutes of tranquility. "La gran feria" offers the opposite, in spite of its first five seconds, then the song becomes a bit crazy with some drum loops and some peculiar voices. To be honest this part really makes me nervous. Though I truly enjoy the contrast between passages, this may be my least favorite of the whole album, though it is cool how it represents some of the Mexican folklore.

"Ciencias Celestes" is the longest part of "Sol Central". I like how it is gradually progressing, adding new elements little by little. The guitar here is crucial, so I invite you to put attention to its development through this track. After four minutes there is a noticeable change, where it slows down a little bit, repetitive bass lines appear, and a inclusion of a trumpet can be heard, giving it new nuances and producing different images. Then you let the music take you to its realm, and you will feel calm, easy, and grateful.

The final part of the long epic is "La de los acertijos" , in which we will once again find a richness of elements, some of them creating a folkloric sound that may have a taste of Mexico. This is a weird track, the vocals actually sound pretty strange, but it perfectly complements the music, the structure and what this hearing experience offers.

The second (strictly talking) and final track is "Pueblos Perdidos", which is an exuberant nine-minute track. It retakes the trumpets used from the previous tracks, and it really works as an attraction, I feel captivated by its sound, while the atmospheric synthesizer puts its background. Later Botello's voice join and shine once again, all together create this beautiful and extraordinary final track.

What a great album, though I have to admit my favorite is still Designios, Sol Central can easily be adored by any progressive rock fan. My final grade is 4.5, but I will round it to five.

Enjoy it!

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 Designios by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.58 | 9 ratings

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Designios
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you ever see an album by this man please buy it. Fernandez Ledesma is a genius at arranging and composing music. I have the two albums that came out before this one and also his debut and all of them are not only amazing but different from one another.The common thread is that Avant- garde style. And to be honest that's what threw me when it came to "Designos" and that's why i'm listening to it for the fourth time today. I wasn't expecting such a Symphonic / Folk album with the vocals of Margarita playing such a major role. It's all so good though, I just had to accept the style and then sit back and listen. Lots of that today (haha). It's hard for me to put into words how emotional some of this music makes me feel.Sure there's lots of songs and passages that don't but man this is all good. What's amazing is that on the surface this seems less challenging and adventerous than his other recordings until you really listen and realize how complex the music and arrangements are. And the lyrics ! My God ! It may be sung in Spanish but when I read the English translations I was overwelmed with such imagery and poetry.

"Ave Luz" has these intricate acoustic guitar melodies as the flute joins in. A beat with vocals joins in quickly. "Salt scented and windy dream. A lost angel drowned by the shore, of shade and name each dawn reminds me; same old days of salt and sand". A calm before 3 minutes then it kicks back in to that earlier soundscape. Some absolutely moving passages here. "Muro Ciego" opens with percussion as a stringed instrument comes in then vocals.A bass horn I think follows in place of the vocals as they take turns.

"Saena" opens with keyboards as drums and synths join in.Great sound here. Flute and percussion follow then violin before 3 minutes.Vocal expressions before 6 1/2 minutes to end it. "Cancion Para Un Solo Dia" is uptempo to start and mostly throughout. Lots of percussion and vocals.Violin before 3 1/2 minutes. "Abismo" has lots of strings and ethnic instruments.Vocals before a minute in this folky track. My least favourite but there's some killer bass 2 minutes in followed by synths as the bass continues to throb.The second half is much better than the first half of this track.

"Los Designios De Cominis" is the almost 18 minute epic. Flute, bass and strummed guitar to start. Organ and vocals take over then it picks up after 2 minutes. Flute and synths lead after 4 minutes. It then kicks in. Love this part. A haunting calm before 6 1/2 minutes.Violin before 9 minutes as it stays mellow. It then builds to a full sound as the tempo and mood continue to shift. Another haunting calm after 12 minutes. It kicks in pretty hard 13 1/2 minutes in. Nice. Great track. "Punta Cometa" is another track like the opening one with lots of moving moments. Atmosphere to start then music a minute in and emotion as vocals join in.

This has really grown on me to the point where 4 stars seems to little. I just can't go higher than that yet. A must for Symphonic / Folk fans who like a little adventure thrown in.

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 Designios by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.58 | 9 ratings

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Designios
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Wonderful album from this Mexican icon!

Yes, I said icon because Jose Luis Fernández Ledesma is a pillar in the Mexican progressive rock scene, we (who are familiar with this scene) know that in spite he is not really that recognized, don't even well-known, is a talented man who has been working for several years, creating high-quality music that should be better known and of course recognized. My work here, is to give him back a little bit of what he has done, so I hope my words help.

Fernández Ledesma is known for his musical skills, he is capable of playing (well) several instruments, also for creating wonderful atmospheres in his music, which is a combination of symphonic music with avant-garde. In 2003 he released this great record entitled "Designios", an album that consists on seven compositions that make a total time of 56 minutes of excellent Mexican prog rock.

For his solo albums, he also recruited Margarita Botello, a talented singer who later would be part of Saena, another excellent band. Well, now let's get back to Designios. It is worth mentioning that Ledesma pays tribute to his former band Nirgal Vallis with a couple of tracks here: "Abismo" and "Los Designios de Géminis". So the album opens with "Ave Luz", a great opener track for a great album. Botello's voice is charming and sweet, while Ledesma´s guitar creates wonderful atmospheres accompanied by delicious percussions, and brilliant winds (all played by the self Ledesma).

"Muro Ciego" is the shortest composition, but colorful and rich nonetheless. Since the first seconds we can listen to a Sastur, an instrument that I like a lot. The atmosphere is a bit weird, it keeps a repetitive sound while Botello is delicately singing, and it continues until it finishes, but the thing is that while the seconds pass, new elements not easy to perceive are sounding and adding their grain of sand.

"Saena" is the name of the third song, and also the name that Ledesma and Botello used to create this band I told you earlier. This is the first song with guest musicians, one of them is Alejandro Sánchez (later member of the so called Saena) on violin. This song starts with a complete symphonic sound due to the keyboards, however later it turns folkish and prints different images with several colors. The percussion sound is fantastic, and all the instruments together transport us to another land, and maybe another era. The song little by little is building a structure, it is like reading a novel, I foresee what's next and open my mind to it. Wonderful song!

"Canción para un solo día" is another great track that really shows Fernández Ledesma's skills and quality as a composer and performer. The rhythm is beautiful, a charming and pleasant sound is shared through the track, and this can be exampled after three minutes with the appearance of a cello, making an even more solid song. I like the final minute and how the music seems to be fading out, when all of a sudden it arises.

A wonderful folk sound is evoked in "Abismo", the use of maracas and acoustic guitar makes it evident. Also there is a great clarinet sound that interplays with violin. Just before the third minute, the song becomes stronger due to the keyboard sound and drums that create a fabulous piece of art. When you listen a song like this, you cannot hide your satisfaction, because believe me, this is really a first-class track.

Was I talking about first-class music? Then wait to listen to this 18-minute epic called "Los designios de Géminis" which will left you speechless. In this song you will find a considerable amount of sounds, colors, textures, skins, nuances, images, etc., it is that kind of song in which you can have a complete trip around the world, I mean, you are moving while the music sounds, your mind is secretly travelling through the notes and accompanying these designios (designs). Let the music flow, let it rule and take your senses, let it do what it wants to you, and when it finishes, you will feel deeply pleased, satisfied, loved. There is a vast number of adjectives that a song like this can have, but well, after all, this is only me, it is subjective, but I bet you will understand my position once you carefully listen to it. (Actually, once you listen to this whole album).

The album finishes with "Punta Cometa", a song that starts like a deep dream, a minute later the dream is over, time to wake up, so a new day is coming. The acoustic guitar sound is great and perfectly works together with Botello's beautiful voice, creating a charming atmosphere. The song is progressing while the minutes pass, though this time there are not noticeable changes, it is evident that different elements are being added little by little.

What a wonderful album, I am not wrong if I say it is one of the best Mexican albums ever, or at least, one of the best of those which I have listened to. So please people, take a listen to Jose Luis Fernández Ledesma and especially to this gem. You will not regret. So my final grade is five stars, and it feels good!

Enjoy it!

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 Sol Central by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.53 | 17 ratings

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Sol Central
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ShW1

4 stars Be careful from the sun.

Most of this album by Jose Luis, who also known as JLFLQ (acronyms of his name) is taken by the 35 minutes creation 'Sol Central', which deals with the sun (more lyrics details appears on exagerardo's excellent review). I got to know JLFLQ at this site as most of the progressive materials at recent years (unsurprisingly), and hooked by his wonderful music in MySpace. Soon I purchased some of his albums, and learnt that Jose Luis is a very versatile musician, each album presents another aspect of his visions. Still, the main role here is the Spanish/Mexican influences on whatever he does, in addition to peculiar sounds and original attitude.

As I've mentioned, the 'Sol Central' creation is dedicated for the sun. The sun presented by some scorch and burn synths sound. Do not expect here for lush synths really. It divided into 7 tracks, which are seven songs for the sun, but sure not versus-chorus type of songs. The songs could be listened to as separate ones, but comes better as a whole.

I choose to describe the beginning of 'Sol Central' to emphasize. It starts with acapella singing which very soon burst into the burning synths and electronic sounds, with some yells. A Trumpet joins in and adds an acoustic, 'live' touch to the texture. After a while the music calms down, and vocalist Margarita Bottelo provides the main and beautiful melody of the first song, 'Datura Inoxia'.

This is a very good start to the whole epic, and it will be followed by some mood changes, calmer moments, tribal moments, all provided in unique sounds and sonorities in an excellent flow, never too hurry and on the other hand never too monotonous. From the sound aspect, there is a combination between electronic sounds, and some acoustic sounds such as oboe and ocarinas. The whole epic is closed by a wonderful refrain at the last song, 'La de los Acertijos'.

What comes as disturb to this beautiful creation is the amateurish sound and production. The sound is muddy, there is no crystallite at all. No panning nor dimensions, all instruments sound one upon the other, with not enough distinguish between them. IMHO it could really soar and become a true gem with more precise care and more professional hands on the faders. So now it's time for mourning about the prog situation nowadays, and 'crying' for too many prog albums that do not get enough production qualities, because of lack of support or sponsors. Still, there is much to enjoy here, and the excellent compositional quality is a true compensation.

Overall, this album is recommended for RIO and Eclectic listeners and whoever looking for something intriguing and rewarding, without neglecting the beauty and aesthetics. On the lower side of 4 stars rating.

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 Motivos Para Perderse by LEDESMA, JOSE LUIS FERNANDEZ album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.98 | 8 ratings

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Motivos Para Perderse
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is another one of those neglected jewels in a too large collection that deserves recognition and gets only silence. It took a little nudge from my friend sinkadotentree to get this into my player and seek penance for my misdeed. Muchas gracias, John! While technically a solo album from senor Fernandez-Ledesma, the invitees behave as if in a group setting whilst creating a rich tapestry of sultry sounds and invigorating music.

The multi-instrumentalist leader infuses a vast array of settings and moods into mostly voiceless romps, where his omnipresent keyboards conduct the train, occasionally freeing up a ramp for some sinewy flute pastorals such as on the precious "El Acueducto", a thrilling and fresh opener. The second track gets a tad more explorative but still in breezy style. "Ottla" is a fine track, serene acoustic guitar and whistling synths are a superlative setting in general but here is elevated to a restrained effusion of class, teased by a complex but discreet guitar lead and some cool contrasts. A series of mini 2 to 3 minute segments kick in, weaving almost Saharan winds on moment and smoky electronics the next, the case in point being the mesmerizing "El Espiral" , a magnificent sonic opium with vocals from legendary Mexican female vocalist Alquimia . "El Arbol de Indigo" is the 10 minute whopper , a serene pastoral locale set in musical form where bubbling electronics, tangly guitar webs and some inspired vibraphone work really sling this one forward. A long synthesizer solo only contributes to the sheer glee. Toss in some funky bass and you can see the hot sun scorching through the haze. Entrance stage left, lead guitar outburst that energizes the proceedings even more, turning calm into excited turbulence. Then, a little refreshing ambient pause before reigniting the flame. Very cool track, in so many ways. "La Huida" slowly appears out of nowhere, a sweeping organ ditty, playful recorder work spicing things up, very near canterbury territory but with a slight latino tinge on the lead guitar, sounding almost like a soundtrack to bullfight (Corrida!), with wild swerves and escapes. "Relatos del Agua" has a distinctive marine feel, oceanic in scope with huge wisps of electronica that would make the trancers red with envy, perhaps my favorite track here. Blue effects color the mellotron tides and assorted percussives shaking in the vortex, this is simply brilliant stuff when the Frippian guitar rattles through the haze! Wow! Or should I say 'Caramba'! The title track tucks this puppy in, a near 9 minute joyride that reinvites Alquimia to the mike in a quirky arrangement that is loaded with dissonance, experimentation, counterpoint and creativity. Mucho progressivo! A definite surprise. I will start searching for more! Thanks John for sending me copy that i already had!

4 tequilas

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