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GOTIC

Symphonic Prog • Spain


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The first thing I expected when I heard the name GOTIC mixed with Spain was a dark form of Flamenco, probably oriented towards the late Medieval period mixed with Spanish Inquisition, but it was just the opposite, GOTIC is light, optimistic and high quality music that gently combines the warm and relaxing sound of CAMEL with early PFM and roots in Spanish ethnic sounds from Cataluña, a great exponent of Spanish Symphonic.

The band was formed in the late 70's by the famous Rafael Escote in the bass, Jep Nuix (Flute and Piccolo), Jordi Vilaprinyo (Keyboards) and Jordi Marti in the drums and percussion.

As I said before the main influences of their only album Escenes released in 1978 are Camel and PFM, but there are some other easy to identify Prog references to Gentle Giant and some form of Fusion that reminds me of the Jazz-Symphonic sound of Chick Corea's keyboard in his RETURN TO FOREVER era.

The best track of the album is the 10:15 minutes Epic "Historia d'una Gota d'Aigua" (History of a Drop of Water) with the dramatic change between the relaxing introp and the breathtaking closing section.

Sadly they didn't had the chance to evolve because the debut album was more than promissory but as a consolation Rafael Escote has a very prolific career as member of the Fusion band Pegasus and as a soloist.

Iván Melgar Morey - Perú

Band photo from Rafael Escote Web Site in: http://www.rafaelescote.com

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

4.06 | 83 ratings
Escenes
1978
3.89 | 9 ratings
Maqueta
1978

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GOTIC Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Maqueta by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.89 | 9 ratings

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Maqueta
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by Gerinski
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A legendary ghost album finally revealed.

Gotic's 1977 Escenes is one of the most praised symphonic prog albums from Spain, and for some 30 years the only available release by this band. There had always been talk that they had recorded a 2nd album which never saw the light of day, but it remained quite a mistery, for many just a myth.

Somehow a couple of years ago the japanese label Tachika got hold of those tapes and released them under the name Maqueta, spanish word for "demo recording". A dream come true, what all fans considered already a secret treasure forever buried in lost history finally became available to the world.

And fortunately the material is much more than just a demo, it's clear that the album was practically ready to be released, the sound quality is not amazing but I have heard official albums sounding worse, the tracks are completely arranged and they all have their proper names in catalan language. Only the last bonus track is actually a demo with clearly inferior sound quality.

Like Escenes, Maqueta is entirely instrumental but it is more energetic and less pastoral, more jazz-rock but still a very symphonic kind of jazz-rock. Some people found Escenes too mild and pastoral, well they should love this one. The closest well-known reference would still be Camel, in big part due to the prominent flute. The recording is credited as being from 1978 and there are a couple of line-up changes, flutist Jep Nuix had moved to Mirasol Colores (together they would release their great fusion album Linea 5) and was replaced by Agusti­ Brugada who plays with perhaps a bit less personality but still very proficiently, and they got reinforced by a full-time guitarist Eugeni Gil which undoubtedly contributes to the rockier sound.

The first 3 tracks are excellent symphonic jazz-rock, upbeat with some interspersed calmer section. By the way a version (unfortunately without flutist) of the 3rd track Juventut Audac played live at the spanish TV show Musical Express can be seen in YouTube, just search "Gotic 70's progressive fusion from Spain".

4th track Amanda d'Estiu is soft and 5th track Bulerias is again upbeat. Like in Escenes, the flute takes a starring role, but keyboards are also prominent and there is much more guitar. 6th track Somniant is a short keyboard interlude and the last album track Pluja Sabatina is a beautiful song played in piano solo which reminds me of some songs by Chucho Valdes (albeit less virtuoso). The bonus demo track Jugant Amb El Gat has a clearly worse sound quality which is a shame because it's another great symphonic jazz- rock track and in terms of arrangements it feels as good as nearly finished.

This recovery of what was thought to be a forever lost album is to be celebrated by all fans of symphonic-jazz-rock, and especially those who like prog with flute. I'm tempted to give it 5 stars but I'l stay with 4.

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Another Spanish gem!

This is one of those albums that should be remembered by prog lovers. It may not be as known as I suppose but one of the reasons of my review is that I would like to bring more attention to this beautiful album. Gotic were another one-album band from Spain that was created in the 70s and later disappeared. Their debut and sadly only album was released in 1978 with the name of "Escenes", and fortunately, the talent of these musicians was shown as it best in this wonderful record.

The album features 7 songs and a total time of 37 minutes. It is very important to point out that Escenes is an album composed by only instrumental songs, so do not expect those Spanish vocals ala Triana or Crack, no. Here you will enjoy beautiful symphonic, pastoral and charming music.

The first song is "Escenes de la Terra en Festa I de la Mar" which works as an introduction of the album. Here you will find charming flute leading the scene accompanied by nice and constant drums, and also soft keyboard sound. There is an interlude in this track which transmits calm and peace. The music takes an inspiring and confident road.

"Imprompt" does not have that full symphonic element found in the opener song, instead, hear you will listen to a jazzy mood and rhythm, the drums are excellent but the flute is sublime. Later the song changes a little bit, there is a gentle piano sound, some odd synth sound and a guitar solo that reminds me to Focus or even Mahavishnu in some ways. Then that delicate flute sound returns.

"Jocs d Ocells" starts with another soft flute sound, with acoustic guitar and piano. While the seconds pass the song is developing a new and exciting structure, with a peaceful and graceful mood, where you can only have a smile and take a deep breath. It ends with a beautiful flute sound, just as it began.

"La Revolucio" follows the previous path because it starts again with a delicate flute and piano sound. After one minute and a half the song changes to again a jazzy mood that now reminds to some short Return to Forever passages, but just in moments. There are some claps in this song and later a kind of military drums while a far but beautiful flute sounds. Then the pastoral sound prevails and the atmosphere is again peaceful. The next track is "Danca D. Estiu" is a short song which fits perfectly at this part of the album, is like an interlude which actually represents the direction of Gotic's sound. The flute and keyboards are great here.

"I Tu que ho Veies tot tan Facil" starts with a mellotron sound along with nice acoustic guitar, this reminds me to Camel's Never Let Go. And actually I had forgotten to say that in general the sound produced by Gotic can have in Camel (Snow Goose mainly) their inspiration. The flute is that beautiful instrument that marks the mood of the composition, while drums and keyboards also play a main role here, so all the musicians put their grain of sand to help building this excellent song. There are several changes because you are listening to a soft and pretty delicate passage, but all of a sudden it grows and the sound becomes a little faster. The symphonic element is always present here, a great song.

"Historia d una gota de aigua" is the last and longest song of Escenes, with more than 10 minutes of beautiful music. This song features every single element previously offered by the band, so it could be a compilation of Gotic's sound, all their essence, textures and colors are shown here. As usual, the flute plays a magnificent role, while keyboards, guitars and the other instruments also do a great job. While you are listening to this you will feel satisfied, you will receive peace and charm, because the sound is simply lovely. The song is progressing little by little until its sound transmits only pleasure but in some way a sense of a final. Happiness and melancholy can be found here, in this extraordinary last song.

This is an album I like so much, every single time I listen to it I fully enjoy it, no matter my mood, it brings me joy and peace. My final grade is four stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Gotic's lone contribution, as often the case among Spanish prog bands, came about relatively late in the game, yet was quite untouched by popular music's sea change of the day. The instrumental album (I think there is a bit of a shout at some point, but that's it) is a delicate arrangement of eclectic flute over lite jazzy keyboards and a nimble rhythm section. Mellotron unassumingly infuses the potpourri here and there, and guitars of both stripes tend to have pointed impact in only a few places.

Influences from classic 70s prog - CAMEL and RICK WAKEMAN for instance - are integrated with the local sounds of the era to produce a sophisticated final product. Another point of reference, especially during the more melodic woodwind passages, is the German group ROUSSEAU or, more recently, Zuffante's HOSTSONATEN, based on common influences, and in "La Revolucio" I hear the green fields of Galicia. "I Tu Que Ho Veies Tot Tan Facil" blows in on an Arabic wind and makes me think of some of ASIA MINOR's work. The most compelling cut is also the longest and the finale, in which the flute and mellotron combination attains its most enthusiastic level.

A pretty album with some chops, "Escenes" is progressive mood music and the antithesis of Gothic, but if you like the description, it might just be your scene.

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars The absence of H makes all the difference

Did you ever feel a band had chosen completely the wrong name in relation to their music? Well that's how I feel about Spanish band Gotic, based on their sole album from 1978 "Escenes". If I am honest, I do not know whether the words "Gotic" and "gothic" are interchangeable, or indeed if there is any relationship between them. As someone who is embarrassingly ignorant of all languages except my native tongue though, the name means for me immediate association with bands such as Sisters of Mercy and The Mission. Such linkages are however completely wide of the mark, there is nothing gothic about the music here whatsoever.

"Escenes" is an entirely instrumental album which is reminiscent of, but by no means a clone of, Camel's earlier works. The obvious comparison therefore is with "The snowgoose" since that album was also instrumental, and the regular use of flute can paint similar pictures at times. The admirable proliferation of mellotron also enforces the comparison, although Camel tended to use orchestra for such passages on that album. This is though by no means a "Snowgoose 2".

The opening "Escenes de la terra en festa I de la mar en calma" effectively acts as a brief overture to the album since, although it does not summarise the music as such, it contains a good cross section of the styles and sounds which prevail throughout the album. The following "Imprompt I" focuses on the jazzier side of the band, indeed the word Focuses is a good description, the track having similarities with the work of that Dutch outfit.

"Jocs d'ocells" bathes in some superb mellotron, the piece being light and whispy while retaining the attention through an ever developing melody. The following "La revolucio" slows things down slightly, electric piano and flute sharing the limelight until a PFM like staccato break changes the mood completely. The brief "Danca d'estiu" has a bit of an ELP feel to it, probably due to the Greg Lake like twang of the bass chords.

"I tu que ho veies tot tan facil" is a light symphonic piece with mellotron once again featuring strongly. This is where Gotic really do become Camel, the track featuring a delightful procession of lead guitar, church organ and synthesiser. This is without doubt the best track on the album up to this point, but soon to be eclipsed by the 10 minute closer, "Historia d'una gota d'aigua". This wonderful suite opens with drifting flute on acoustic guitar, the melody being pastoral and reflective. As things gradually pick up, we find another Focus like melody played out on flute, the repetitive refrain becoming ever more haunting and infectious. As mellotron adds further colours to the piece, we fully realise we are enjoying a truly magnificent final track. Strangely perhaps, the track actually reminds me of the later (less well known) part of Eric Clapton's "Layla".

"Escenes" is a superb album by this one shot Spanish band. Had it been released by a British or American outfit in 1978, there is no doubt we would now be revering them as pillars of the genre. This is essential listening for those who enjoy genuine 1970's prog.

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Not too hard to find, but fairly expensive for an import. Worth every penny, though. I was expecting to hear some Camel here, but I didn't hear any. That might sound like bad news to some, but not to these ears. I love Camel, but Gotic are no Camel. Gotic released 1 album only, and it sounds strictly like Gotic. Some have compared Gotic to Quebec's MANEIGE. Well, maybe in _mood_ you can compare them to Maneige, but Maneige had far more percussion in their pieces . It's hard for me to pick out a stand out track here, but all are stellar prog.rock. This album never gets heavy, but it doesn't bore anyone off to snoozeland. Entirely instrumental, but no turkies. Every track has been carefully crafted. It's well written instrumental fusion, maybe what Return To Forever might sound like had they combined some lighter influences from Gentle Giant. I like the whole album, but especially the closer _Historia d'una gota d'aigua_. Once it's over, you'll want to press PLAY again. A masterpiece.

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars From the beautiful Spanish North-East land of Catalonia came Gotic, one of the most accomplished prog acts to come out of Spain in the 70s. The band's one-shoot album "Escenes" is a delicious musical gem that should appeal to any symphonic prog lover, because of its exquisite musical ideas and tasteful arrangements. Main references are classic Camel, the melodic side of Canterbury (this is a very jazz-infused symphonic sound, indeed), the softer side of Iceberg and the pastoral side of standard Italian progressive. You can also notice some coincidental similarities with what Sloche was doing in Québec and what Atlas would do one year later in Sweden. None of these aforesaid references is overwhelming, so Gotic manages to provide an original overall sound, especially due to the inclusion of elements inspired by Catalonian folk in places. The fact that the flute usually assumes the leading role makes the overall sound constantly reinforce its pastoral tendencies. Also, the lack of guitarist in the core line-up allows keyboardsman Jordi Vilaprinyo to enhance the pompous aspect of symphonic rock. The eerie keyboard layers in the slow passages are alternated with the colorful textures and melodies displayed on Moog/organ in the most splendid moments; all in all, perhaps the keyboardist's main duty is to complement the flute with grand-or-electric piano phrases and synth orchestrations. The opener sets a dynamic of beauty and rhythm that every prog listener should find irresistibly appealing, including a dreamy interlude that bears a surreal serenity. It's just unbelievable how a music that is performed with such delicacy can bear so much power without being properly aggressive. 'Impropmt- 1' states a slightly predominant tendency toward the jazz factor, even incepting some occasional Gentle Giant-ish tricks in a few synthesizer lines: there's even an amazing guitar solo that sounds quite akin to what Canterbury champion Phil Miller used to do, and this makes me think that maybe the band intended to have a guitar player in its line-up, because this solo feels very naturally incorporated in the track's development. Hypothetically speaking, this is a piece that the people from Gilgamesh would have been proud of. Once you get started with these two highlights, you can only hope that the remaining repertoire doesn't cause the album's decay, and certainly, this is not the case at all. not at all! 'Jocs d' Ocell', a delicious ballad, makes the band wear its Camelesque heart upon their sleeve: the piano chord progressions and the string synth layers bear a very distinctive Bardens-inspired feel. Also digging in the introspective side of Gotic is the prologue part of 'La Revolució', before the folkish nuances alluded to in the prologue get delivered and expanded on a more extroverted tone. The album's second half starts with 'Dança d'Estíu', yet another showcase for Gotic's ability to fuse Camel and Canterbury under their own rules and instincts. Tracks 6 and 7 are the most openly symphonic- focused ones in the album. The former includes another tasteful lead guitar solo, as well as majestic Baroque-inspired organ passages, plus a candid up-tempo folkish coda - a highlight, indeed. The latter fills the album's last 10 minutes, with enough room to allow the expansions of the main motifs (most of which bear a dominant contemplative feel that enhances the pastoral side of Gotic); there's a special feature of the acoustic guitar in the intro passage. "Escenes" is a masterpiece, I have no doubt about it: these musicians behaved like real experts regarding the genius of their compositions, the dynamics of their performances and the progressive consistency of their arrangements, so they didn't need to set a long-enduring career to deserve the highest praise possible for their work.

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A wonderful album, but hardly essential in my book. There are far better albums, but nevertheless GOTIC is no way an average band. Imagine CAMEL gone more Canterburish than ever, without Latimer’s signature guitar, but with stunning keyboardist, virtuoso flute player and fiery rhythm section. GOTIC is Jazz-leaned indeed, but they never fall into jams or Avant-form Jazz stuff, they are very enjoyable, even easy-listening to some concern. They have no Prog Andaluz features (at least, I haven’t noticed anything “Spanish” about this album), but they are very melodic-gifted in their own way (just listen to the closing tune of “Historia d'Una Gota d'Aigua”, album’s 10-min long highlight). Recommended for those who wants something interesting and obscure from 70s in Fusion/Symphonic style – you won’t be disappointed.

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A fairly obscure, breezy, jazzy treasure

"Escenes" is an album that never ceases to amaze me, revealing more intricate beauty over the years every time I hear it. It is one of the very best melodic instrumental Symphonic albums and it has a bit of a jazzy flavor as well in spots. This is a flute lovers dream as the flute and keys are the prevailing leads whereas guitars are used mostly as relish but to great effect when present. Drumming is crisp and inventive without ever being showy and the bass playing is solid.

Emotion is every bit as important as technical prowess and Gotic exude emotion in melody even though they have a rather clean, reserved style on the surface. There is SO much care taken to crafting intricate and delicate melody you feel that nothing has been left to chance. This is one of those albums that just make me feel great joy at being alive and I can lock in directly with what the musicians were expressing, meaning they are successful with the prime objective.

I De La Mar begins in a very upbeat moody with energetic flute and strong bass before calming into a dreamy sequence. "Escenes" is mostly an upbeat album but there are moments of calm reflection like here. It picks up again at close and then Imprompt continues with this theme of playful sparring by the musicians and these perfectly timed and very bright cymbal crashes. At about 4 minutes in we get a nice electric guitar solo before the flute and piano take over again. Jocs D'Ocells explores a haunting melancholy but also never lets the bright side get too far away. "Escenes" will show you brief glimpses of the dark side but it never wallows there, it wants to keep your heart joyful. The 10 minute closer Historia is the icing on the cake. It begins with lovely Steve Howe (circa TFTO) style acoustic guitar and soft, mournful flutes playing harmonies over each other. Beautiful. At 3.5 minutes we get some subdued aching electric guitar. Half way through the most effective and stunning part begins, this melody that is uplifting and telling you to have hope that all will be OK. That while the world is imperfect there are reasons to believe that life can be happy and secure again. This passage is pure joy that is right up there with the best moments of Camel or anyone else for that matter. What a finish!

I experience many feelings listening to Escenes. There are passages that make one nostalgic for happy moments in the past, that make one remember old loves or childhood or a magical place. The artwork in the Fono tri-fold digipak is nothing short of stunning and perfectly compliments the music. This is one of those albums on my special shelf and one of the reasons why I love music so much. Quite recommended especially to flute fanatics and 70's Camel fans.

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars This is a surprisingly light and airy album in the vein of Camel or even Harmonium, and almost completely devoid of electric guitars, although it is Latin music so there are of course acoustic guitar tracks interspersed throughout.

The prevailing sounds are keyboards, flute, piccolo, and an ever-present bass line. The compositions tend toward a jazzy feel, with the overall theme apparently being based on nature scenes and moods.

Guitars aren’t the only thing is short supply, as this is also an all-instrumental record. If this album had been released a decade or so later it might have been considered new age or even a nature mood recording, but considering the timeframe I would have to say there was a lot of Camel influence, as well as probably some of the more traditional Italian symphonic music of that time.

There are only a couple of standout tracks, the first being “La Revolucio” with its playful martial rhythm and mild Tull leaning in the flute and measured claps. The other is the almost comatosely mellow “Historia d Una Gota d Aigua”, also the only track that features both electric and acoustic guitar. Neither is overly prominent though, as here again the keyboards and flute dominate, and the song finishes well with an upbeat transition and nicely-overlaid percussion. This is a beautiful piece of poignant mood music that would be a great backdrop to a quiet evening with a loved one.

Normally I wouldn’t be too keen on such a laid-back record, but this is one of those bands that didn’t leave much history in their wake, and so have become a bit of a curio. I don’t imagine the original vinyl is even available anywhere except the collector’s circuit, but the reissued CD version seems to be generally available and modestly priced. Well recommended to Camel and Italian Symphonic fans, and probably to Francophile fans of similar Canadian bands. For most progressive music fans this would likely be considered good, but not great. Three stars.

peace

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 Escenes by GOTIC album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Escenes
Gotic Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I think the closest reference point to this album would be the also all instrumental "The Snow Goose" from CAMEL. These Spaniards play mostly flute and keyboard led songs that are fairly light, although there are some outbreaks of guitar and heavier drums at times.

The first song has a title longer then my arm called "Escenes De La Terra Festa I De La Mar En Calma" which opens with keys,flute and drums before it gets dreamy 2 minutes in with synths and flute. There are some string-synths as well in this song. "Imprompt I" has some beautiful passages in it that just shine ! The percussion and flute, as well as the outbreak of guitar 4 minutes in that is followed with a flute solo all sound amazing. Great tune. "Jocs Docells" has some nice flute and fender rhodes piano with string-synths in the background. The song speeds up when the drums come in.

"La Revolucio" opens with keys and flute that are joined by clapping as the melody gets louder. "Danca D'estiu" leads off with flute, and has a flury of keys as well as acoustic guitar and organ. "I Tu Que Ho Veies Tot Tan Facil" has some scorching guitar 2 1/2 minutes in and an organ solo to follow. The final song "Historia D'una Gota D'aigua" opens with some classical guitar and I believe we have two flutes playing as the organ comes in and flutes stop. They come back bringing with them some guitar melodies. Drums are added and I have to say this song is the absolute highlight of this album ! The final 5 minutes or so are just a pleasure to experience.

It's pretty hard for me to get too excited about this record overall, but it is an excellent record and well worth checking out.

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