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CAST

Symphonic Prog • Mexico


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Cast biography
Due to the lack of support from the Governments who see art as a way to get more taxes or private industry who prefer to invest in foreign acts, and the difficulties to reach the USA or British markets, it's unusual for a Latin American band to have a long and prolific career, but 31 years and 15 studio albums make of CAST from Mexico, one of the exceptions to this rule.

The story of CAST begins in 1978 when the first golden era of Progressive Rock was agonizing, when the Keyboardist Alfonso Vidales had the idea of creating a Rock band that blended Symphonic passages in order to keep his beloved Prog alive.

Very little information can be found about the first 16 years of their existence, until 1994 when "Landing in a Serious Mind" is self released, an album that presents us a serious Symphonic band with an original sound, maybe the only problem is the strong accent when singing in English.

1994 and 1995 are years of great activity for CAST, the band releases 5 albums, the already mentioned, "Sound of Imagination", "Third Call", "Endless Sounds" and "Four Aces", what makes me think this material was recorded during the previous years.

After two more albums and three years, the band signs with Musea for the release of "Imaginary Window" in 1999, an album that shows us a band that leaves behind the few Neo Prog leanings to embrace fully the Symphonic genre

The years keep passing and still in 2009, the band is preparing a new album that will be called "Cast Arte" and knowing the band is, we have CAST for several years more.

Being such a prolific band, it's hard to define a unique style, because the have evolved through the decades, performing Baroque, Medieval, Ethnic, Fusion, etc, but always keeping the unique sound in which we can here references from ELP, GENESIS and several more bands, but to be precise, I believe it's more the sound of the 70's rather than a direct influence from any band.

No Prog collection is complete without a least three or four albums of this Mexican band who defied time and won.

:::Iván Melgar Morey - Perú:::

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CAST discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.81 | 18 ratings
Landing In A Serious Mind
1994
3.20 | 22 ratings
Sounds of Imagination
1994
3.52 | 23 ratings
Third Call
1994
3.60 | 25 ratings
Endless Signs
1995
2.89 | 23 ratings
Four Aces
1995
3.57 | 40 ratings
Beyond Reality
1996
3.70 | 44 ratings
Angels and Demons
1997
3.71 | 46 ratings
Imaginary Window
1999
3.35 | 24 ratings
Legacy
2000
3.18 | 12 ratings
Infinity
2002
3.68 | 37 ratings
Al-Bandaluz
2003
3.30 | 27 ratings
Nimbus
2004
3.86 | 7 ratings
Pyramid Of The Rain
2005
3.23 | 21 ratings
Mosaïque
2006
3.57 | 43 ratings
Com.Union
2007
4.13 | 63 ratings
Originallis
2008
3.98 | 61 ratings
Art
2011
3.88 | 57 ratings
Arsis
2014

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

3.53 | 15 ratings
A Live Experience
1999
4.32 | 15 ratings
Castalia
2000

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

CAST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
A View of Cast
1996
3.06 | 8 ratings
Laguna de Volcanes
2000

CAST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CAST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Al-Bandaluz by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.68 | 37 ratings

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Al-Bandaluz
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars The beginning of a new stage.

From Al-Bandaluz, Cast became a stable and homogeneous band, IMHO. Strange, when you consider that this is the 11th studio album. It is also true that "Angels and Demons" is a callable work, as well as some parts of the good "Imaginary Windows", especially the fabulous 'Moving Universe' .

While Alfonso Vidales remains the principal mentor and leader, the arrival of Carlos Humarán (guitars and vocals), Kiko King (Drums), José 'Pepe' Torres (Saxophones, Flutes, Clarinet, Kena) and Flavio Miranda Jimenez (Bass ), gives way to a different musical product, slicker and more original than before. Adding some indigenous touches and originating in music and especially in the lyric. Becoming one of the most important bands of symphonic rock from Latin America.

Music never loses dynamic and lively way. Great instrumental virtues are perceived and contains captive jewelry, El Puente (central section is reproduced in formidable 'Arsis'), Viento, La Ballesta, Viajero Inmóvil, Encrucijada and Damajuana. Some instrumental parts are not so memorable; plus added some touches of Jazz-Rock, which do not set too well. Some people accuse Cast of lack of originality, may have some truth, but I find no active similar group for so long in the scene, especially by its Latin distinctive.

Although there would be some personnel changes in the future; most of his subsequent works are significant and worthy of being considered.

I mention some Latin artists who deserve to be in ProgArchives I think: Vox Dei (La Biblia), Astor Piazzolla (Libertango, Zero Hour) and Rodolfo Mederos (Generacion Cero).

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 Arsis by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 57 ratings

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Arsis
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars a beautifully crafted album you should not miss ...!

It's a pity that this excellent album has not been reviewed yet by anyone. I am totally surprised with this fact as I have been for such a long time not paying particular attention to this great prog band from Mexico where at its initial years I collected all of their albums and only lately I realized that I do not follow this band until this album even though I have their previous albums before this from my colleague prog head. In fact I only knew from him that some tracks featired here in Arsis album are basically taken from previous album (?). Well, I don't know. Just give a chance to write my view of this album the way it is.

First off, the opening epic La Iliada (30:13) opens beautifully with a piano work under its first movement that sets a wonderful tone for the whole album : a) Atrida Agamenon - 4.29. In fact through this piece the band tries to bring back my memory of opening track of Angels and Demons album with a wonderful instrumental of Initiation. Of course the composition is different but the nuance of the piece is quite similar only that under this part it's a piece of the whole epic. The guitar solo by Claudio Cordero is really stunning and he plays as wonderful as previous guitar player Francisco Hernandez Reyes - or probably better in a way that Claudio is much rocking. I don't feel any sense of change to the next movement b) Helena en la Muralla - 2.25 as they have crafted the transition piece beautifully - I only realize there is a tremendous change on the next third movement c) Diomedes el Tidida - 3.08 which s still another excellent instrumental using flute as one of the melody altogether with guitar and piano / keyboard. I can sense the bass playing is also really good throughout the song. There is an element of classical music right here at third moment but the band play it in relatively fast tempo and it's really an excellent piece!'

The fourth movement d) Andromaca - 6.42 sounds differently even though still using flute as its melody maker but now the guitar plays critical role in providing fills and improvisation, combined wonderfully by keyboard work of Alfonso Vidales, who is I think is the chief composer of this Cast music. The guitar solo by Claudio is really rocking and stunning. He plays his guitar on his own style not representing any legendary players like Hackett or Howe. It's really nice. The fifth movement e) Batalla Interrumpida - 5.10 is naturally much classical in nature. It opens wonderfully with a flute work in classical music style. But then the music moves really fast and rocking with electric guitar takes the lead for the song. Wow! What is interesting is the keyboard augmentation after the guitar solo sometime at minute 1:25 of the piece. It's really wonderful and in some way it reminds me to Rick Wakeman. This is then repeated again at the other segments. It's totally cool! The music turns rocking and wonderful starting at minute 3:35. Oh my God ... It's really nice! You should not miss this piece! And the peak is the insertion of classical ensemble at minute 4:30 until it ends and continues to the next piece ...

...yeah ... the sixth piece is f) Embajada a Aquiles - 3.03 with still maintaining the classical nuances through flute work but then piano solo takes the lead followed with guitar work in rhythm section mode instead of solo. The musical break using piano is really nice. And the peak of the epic is the last piece g) En Donde Estabas?... - 5.16 which starts in an ambient mode with great combination of guitar and piano. What a cook opening! What follows is a simple guitar solo that represents like a melody maker even though not that long as it is continued with piano work and flute. Well overall epic of 3o minutes duration is really excellent and I enjoy from the beginning to end with all wonderful segments throughout the epic. Vocal line only happens on the next track 2. The Old Travel Book (9:10) with another excellent musical composition that accompanies the vocal. The flute still play as background music during the vocal session and then the guitar provides its short solo. You can sense the bass guitar playing is nice. The composition at this track is not that complex and it is performed in relatively slow tempo, and a bit of boring as it's too long with minimum change of style.

Next epic is not as long as the first: El Puente (18:32) with first movement a) El Puente - 6.22 starts with a vocal line accompanied by piano and bass guitar. It continues with nice keyboard work augmented with flute. The ending part of this first movement is really great and it's rocking combining keyboard, drums and stunning guitar solo. It flows nicely with great piano work that opens the next movement b) Luz Al Final Del Túnel - 4.02 followed excellently with flutework. What becomes my favorite is the third movement c) Valle de Los Sueños - 8.08 that concludes the album wonderfully. It starts with a string section using violin followed with female vocal, brings the music in crescendo with tight basslines. Violin provides nice fills and augmentation throughout the song. The guitar solo that starts entering the scene at minute 2:27 goes on and off until it takes the lead in its fullest potential with stunning solo and rocking nuances. I do enjoy the whole piece of this third movement but the climax is really at the last two minutes where guitar really take its full lead until the end. What a great closure!

Overall, this is truly a progrock album that anyone should not miss at all. All tracks are excellent and the composition is top notch! It's a four-star plus rating. The sonic quality of the record is not excellent - and it's typical of any Cast albums. But ...the composition is great! Keep on proggin' ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Four Aces by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.89 | 23 ratings

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Four Aces
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The path Cast were walking start to become less and less lonely with each release.In 1995 the band plays outside Mexico, receiving an invitation for the pre-Progfest Festival at Barnsdall Theater in Los Angeles, USA.At the same time they kept producing music in a prolific way and the year finds them launching their fourth full-length production ''Four aces'', where Dino Brassea and Francisco Hernandez share vocal duties.Still this was another self-released production by the band.

The front cover evokes the mighty Fish-era MARILLION, but the Mexicans' roots are still grounded in a more symphonic tradition, covered by the strong Neo flashes of British Prog.This was more than an hour of lush, refined and at times complex Progressive Rock with certain YES and GENESIS influences, becoming even more ambitious as time goes by, now with two epics longer than 10 minutes each.The music is always very good, melodic and captivating with endless display of smooth guitar lines, piano interludes and sharp synthesizers, which still sound a bit cheesy, buried by a mediocre production, but fortunately the lovely arrangements will save the day.While not a first-league album, ''Four aces'' contains all the right elements of a proper Classic Prog album, with switching keyboards and pianos, lots of themes' variations and mood changes, maybe COLLAGE around the same time could be a fine comparison.The long tracks do have a reason of existence, nothing here is stretched or excessive, from the pompous instrumental parts to the laid-back textures and from the instant melodies to the lyrical passages.The band suffers from a period sound, which wanted your prog experience to be bombastic and accesible at the same time, but they overcome these flaws with a professional performance, where the symphonic and Classical inspirations stand out.

They were yet to be discovered by a proper prog label management, but Cast kept producing elaborate progressive music, rooted in the 70's, and they would get a reward for this.''Four aces'' is another winner in their discography, pretty nice, GENESIS-linked Symphonic Rock with some beautiful instrumental moments.Recommended.

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 Third Call by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.52 | 23 ratings

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Third Call
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The dynamic entry of Cast in professional discography continues with the ''Third call'', another album released in 1994.This time the band displays four compositions from 1989, in one of the rare opportunities the band had to move on to some proper recordings of its material (without the presence of Dino Brassea), and four more pieces, which were composed during 94'.It was also the third private release by the band, which still failed to attract any interest from the major Prog labels.

First half of the album is captured by the old material of the group.It is a nice combination of dynamic Neo Prog and 80's-suffering Symphonic Rock with lots of keyboard textures and melodic lines, a bit similar to Italian bands such as CALLIOPE, SITHONIA or ATON'S, with emphasis on symphonic themes, sensitive English vocals and discreet electric guitars.There are evident AOR flavors is some pompous keyboard ideas and a tendency towards incosistent, melodramatic singing by Francisco Hernadez, but the arrangements are pretty strong, especially during the 15-min. long ''Door of the world'', which passes through some complex structures and even contains some nice organ parts.Unfortunately the sound quality is rather mediocre, lowering the true value of the compositions.The second half of ''Third call'', now with the addition of Dino Brassea on vocals, is more convincing and solid.It reminds me often of the Greek band APOCALYPSIS, refining their GENESIS influence in updated forms of synth/piano-drenched Symphonic Rock with plenty of interesting melodies, bombastic keyboard waves and flashy synthesizer flights.Guitars have now a more consistent role, although the material remains mostly keyboard-driven with a touch of E.L.P./RICK WAKEMAN in the more complicated passages and a certain level of quality regarding the compositions.Long, instrumental parts with symphonic references and energetic moves guarantee a pretty nice result.

Pitty, because the band still walked silently during the time, failing to be discovered by the scouting of the European, American or Japanese market.Solid Neo/Symphonic Prog with excellent keyboard work and evident vintage blinks.Recommended.

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 Sounds of Imagination by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.20 | 22 ratings

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Sounds of Imagination
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars In 1994 another self-released work from Cast appeared, entitled ''Sounds of Imagination'', containing a full hour of Neo/Symphonic Rock music.This fact strengthened the rumor that the material of the band's first albums was actually compositions written during Cast's long absence from discography between the years 1978 and 1994.

While ''Sounds of Imagination'' holds strong similarities with the band's debut ''Landing in a Serious Mind'', the tracks are more conveincing and definitely fully symphonic-oriented, containing nice arrangements, proggy breaks and fine instrumental themes.Again GENESIS and MARILLION are the most obvious influences and the album offers twelve satisfying compositions with great keyboard parts and sufficient guitar work.A few of them still present a bit of AOR-oriented vibes in the vein of SAGA, especially in the synth parts, but even these are exposed with a very symphonic and grandiose approach.The vocals of Dino Brassea are theatrical, expressive and intense, much in the vein of FISH, and the music offers some really interesting moments, based on smooth TONY BANKS-like organ themes, careful guitar melodies, deep synthesizers.And while the album lacks any kind of monster compositions, the truth is that all of them are far from weak and often even flirt with the top-notch level.

Great second round by Cast.Smooth and well-developed Neo/Symphonic Prog with emphasis on keyboards, an album of decent value for all fans of the style.Warmly recommended.

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 Angels and Demons by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.70 | 44 ratings

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Angels and Demons
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The worthy follow up of previous album Beyond reality is the 1997 release Angels and demons. I quite like a lot this band, with rich sound , complex arrangements and perfect musicianship makes, at least for me, Cast atruly great band that needs a far mor exposure to the public. Angels and demons keeps the symphonic prog tradition of previous album, with some simply amazing instrumental sections and instrumental pieces aswell. The opening track again an instrumental one Initiation is a true gem of a piece. Symphinic/neo prog like in old good time, vintage sound, nice , smooth and virtuosic passges where the keybords are the main attraction. The album goes in this direction with no weak moments, only top notch performance. The highlight besides opening track is Revealing Signs of Love, 13 min of sheer beauty. 4 stars again, simply said I like a lot Cast, is not only one of the front prog rock bands from Mexico but can be considerate one of the great symphonic prog bands world wide, with each album they become better and better. I can only recommend Cast music and for sure I will buy more albums from their catalogue because I was simply pleasent surprised by their music.

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 Beyond Reality by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.57 | 40 ratings

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Beyond Reality
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Cast is one of the most prolific and why not intresting symphonic/neo prog band Mexico ever had in last 20 years. Releasing almost every year an album since 1994, even 2 albums a year Cast proves that they know from the start how to make good music and offering some very worthy albums. I considered Cast to me little under rated, really thay participat to the revive of prog rock music in the'90's and with all that they had only moderate succes world wide. One of their better albums from the catalogue and since I've first spin it one of my fav from them is Beyond reality from 1996. From the excellent cover art to the music Cast did a great job here. The instrumental sections are great, symphonic prog very well melted with some neo momenets here and there. I like a lot the vintage sound of the album, how keybords were constructed in combination with the rest of the instruments, no weak parts for me here. I'm not bothered by the voice like others said, ok the vocal passages are not the main attraction here, but are well sung and has it's moments of beauty. Now the instrumental pieces and instrumental sections are truly great, each musician offers his best moves just to be checked the opening track Introduction, what a nice and intresting little pieces with lots of keybords, inventive drums and brilliant guitars. The album goes in this direction from start to finish, plenty of memorable moments, musicianship is top notch so no complains from me. They did also a Camel cover Another Night who sounds pretty ok in this context. So 4 pieces only divided in smaller parts, but worthy every second. I was very pleasent surprised about Cast music, even I know them for quite some years only now I had the time to make a proper review of this excellent band. 4 stars easy in same league with their next album aswell very good Angels and demons. They need more recognition, much better them many well know bands from this realm.

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 Imaginary Window by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.71 | 46 ratings

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Imaginary Window
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Tormato

4 stars CAST "IMAGINARY WINDOW"

IMO the best prog album from a Mexican band, IMAGINARY WINDOW makes me proud of being Mexican too. "Moving Universe", instrumental, with a nice flute work, starts joyfully, full of happiness, with a glorious feeling of plenty, and then changes to a dynamic symphonic prog rock, then to a psychespace hypnotic blues very intense. It continues changing and changing, masterfully, brilliantly, virtuosic, like the best progressive bands of the world!.

"Alter Ego" has vocals and flute too. All the singing in the album is in English with a good accent, so don´t worry about the language. This is more like a heavy neoprog song.

"A Blossom in the Spring" is a slow symphonic prog song that sounds a little like GENESIS or better, like the slow songs of AD INFINITUM or PFM.

"Dawn" is a dynamic instrumental prog song with many tempo changes, syncopated time signatures, well, you know, very proggy.

"Simple Things" (it´s not Carol King's song of the same name) sounds like those piano slow songs by ELP excepting for the voice. A very pretty song. It has so many chords in it that it also sounds like GENESIS.

"Snail" is like classical music, sweet and tender.

"Around and Around" begins fast and complex. It reminds me of the fast passages of "A Passion Play". After that, with the voice, the song changes to something like THE FLOWER KINGS, or something. A lot of changes, very symphonic, very progressive.

"Dessert Rainbows", the shortest song, is a keyboards only piece, with a MOZART feeling on it, that combines baroque, classical and jazzy moods.

"Cotton Dreams" starts like the JETHRO TULL of the recent times, and then it turns into a pastoral (not sure what it means, hope I'm not wrong) soft song, like soft MARILLION or AD INFINITUM.

I don't have enough words to describe "Imaginary Window" or "Where's the Light". All I can say is that those are epic, long songs, 100% symphonic prog of the first class, with every single thing you can expect from an excellent prog band. They're amaaaaazzziiing!!!

Well that's it. I tried to be objective, not emotional. And I've never been a fanboy of CAST, but this album is breathtaking. I'm still surprised. I didn't know that we had this caliber of music in my country!

Four round stars!

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 A Live Experience by CAST album cover Live, 1999
3.53 | 15 ratings

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A Live Experience
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This was the first live album released by CAST and it's a double released in 1999.The songs are taken from their first 6 albums and it's really a compilation live recording as we get live tracks from many different years and events. Most of the music does come from "ProgDay" an event held in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

The first 5 tracks are from that 1998 concert and it totals in at around 42 minutes. Most of the songs featured from that event were from their "Beyond Reality" album.The final track from that event given here is a drum solo. I'm not big on these but I enjoyed this one.Next up is "Run In The Rain" recorded at an event in Mexico. A laid back tune for the most part with lots of piano. Disc One ends with another "ProgDay" concert track from Chapel Hill but this one's from 1996. An almost 20 minutes tune called "Echoes", no not that one ! This one is a ride. Great track.

Disc Two is more varied I suppose with 10 tracks from concerts as far away as Quebec, Canada to Panama as well as Spain, including concert tracks from the USA and Mexico. My favourite song on this recording is "Static Dreams" from their "Third Call" album recorded in California in 1997. I like the atmosphere with flute and other sounds early on.The tempo picks up and I like the vocals here the best of all the songs.The guitar cries out after 7 minutes.

Certainly if your a fan of CAST this is a must as it will give you live versions of many of their excellent early tunes. I didn't enjoy this as much as I did some of their later studio albums but it's a good release.

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 Nimbus by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.30 | 27 ratings

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Nimbus
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars CAST added a sixth member for this album in the form of a flute / sax / clarinet player. Once again we get a long one clocking in at 79 minutes. These guys seem to have an endless supply of ideas and great music.The problem for me once again is that it's too long, and like Zowie Ziggy mentions, if you could drop a few tracks this would be a four star album. Still like every album by them i've heard there is some outstanding music to be enjoyed. Both English and Spanish vocals on this one.

"Ladrona De Suenos (Part I)" is a top three track. An interesting tune with almost operatic vocals early on. I like when the sound picks up before 3 1/2 minutes. "The 911 Suite Part I" opens with atmosphere as fragile vocals join in. Piano after 2 minutes when the vocals stop. It's still pastoral until it kicks in before 4 minutes.Vocals a minute later.This is good. It settles after 8 minutes with reserved vocals before kicking back in late. "The 911 Suite Part II" is an uptempo instrumental. "The 911 Suite Part III" has the same sound they just slow it down some. "Volando En Uno Mismo" is a top three. A jazzy mode here with flute. It picks up after a minute with the guitar out front. It settles back again with flute leading as contrasts continue. "Suicio Nino Bien Part I" is pastoral with vocals. It picks up after 2 minutes but the tempo continues to change. "Suicio Nino Bien Part II" has some prominant horns part way through.

"Dias De Col Y Lux" has some female vocals this time but male vocals too. Flute and piano help out early. "Ladrona De Suenos Part II" features some atmosphere with laid back vocals and keys. "Ladrona De Suenos Part III" kicks in right away as spoken words then sax join in. Flute 2 1/2 minutes in. "Un Siglo De Invierno Part I" is mellow with flute and bass to start. Drums after a minute then it kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes. Nice. Guitar comes to the fore after 4 minutes. "On La Cueva Y El Bosque" has a classical vibe before turning Celtic then back to classical. Not a fan. "Reunion 2003" opens with acoustic guitar,percussion and flute. Piano then vocals follow. "Bojarasca" is mellow while the closer "Extension" is also a pleasant track with some nice guitar and horns.

Another good album that fails to get that 4 star rating. 3.5 stars.

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