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RODRIGO SAN MARTIN

Crossover Prog • Argentina


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Rodrigo San Martin biography
Rodrigo San Martín (born 8/14/88) is an Argentine progressive rock guitarist,composer and producer. He's a multi-instrumentalist who generally performs all the instruments in his albums.

As a solo artist he has released two albums: "1" (April 2010), Argentina's first 5.1 album, and "There's No Way Out" (November 2010), which features collaboratations from Serbian singer Jelena Persic and United States born Craig Kerley.

Rodrigo is also the lead guitarist and main composer of progressive rock band De Rien and mastermind (along Juan Manuel Torres) of Souls Ignite, a project involving some of Argentina's progressive rock main figures. He has worked with many artists as sessionist/producer, including prog acts Fernando Refay and Destino 101. He's also the organizer of the Close to the Edge Buenos Aires Prog Fest.

Rodrigo works a style that blends Progressive Rock, Pop/Rock, Metal, Funk/Rock, Classical music, Ambient and Jazz fusion.

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RODRIGO SAN MARTIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 11 ratings
1
2010
3.77 | 14 ratings
There's No Way Out
2010
3.93 | 18 ratings
Eyes
2012
3.16 | 10 ratings
A Lullaby for Mankind
2014
2.50 | 2 ratings
Chaos (as Souls Ignite)
2014

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RODRIGO SAN MARTIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Lullaby for Mankind by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.16 | 10 ratings

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A Lullaby for Mankind
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Judas Unrepentant

4 stars Se here we have Rodrigo San Martín's fourth album in four years. What first drew me to this album was the weirdness of the concept, something about the cloning of Jesus that I still can't figure out.

Rodrigo's compositional skills are growing and he's surrounded himself with an all-star team to record this one.

01 A Lullaby for Mankind I (Intro): just like the title implies it's an instrumental intro to the album, featuring many of the motifs that would appear later. The Hammond Organ solo steals the show in my opinion!

02 A Lullaby for Mankind II: now the music goes into a -kind of- pop terrain, featuring the singing of Jelena Perisic who sounds like a mother singing to her child to get him to sleep over some acoustic guitar. The composition reminds me of Neal Morse.

03 The Sky Falls Down I: Osvaldo Mellace, a great male singer, makes his appearance for this one bringing a lot more energy. If I have to compare it with something I would name the heavy section in 5/8 on Thick as a Brick. Great guitar work!

04 The Masterplan: here we have some lovely melodies sung by Osvaldo over a guitar arpeggio. The melodic bass lines from Robert Lynch are fantastic. The second part of the track is a crescendo with beautiful harmonies from the two singers that leads to...

05 Intermission I: something completely unexpected. A jazzy instrumental piece with an amazing piano solo, this one is nice but feels quite out of place actually.

06 The Dark Ages: this is a heavy piece more familiar with what we have been hearing from Rodrigo on past albums. The best part is the "hindu" cut where Jelena sings with a sitar, in the middle of heavy riffing, that was unexpected. Fernando Refay shows some amazing skills with a very long synth solo at the end of the track.

07 Colonization: and we continue with the surprises. Here we have a flamenco tune sung mostly in spanish. Great spanish guitar work from Rodrigo and Piano from Fernando. Osvaldo proves he's an amazing singer once more.

08 Intermission II: nothing like the first Intermission, this one is used to bring the energy back to the mix. Featuring Hammond and guitar solos over a cool riff.

09 A Lullaby for Mankind III: Jelena comes back with the motif from A Lullaby for Mankind II that leads straight into the repetition of the crescendo that appeared on The Masterplan, this time with acoustic guitar and what I guess it's a xylophone that sounds lovely. They don't interfere with the build up this time and resolve it in an amazing guitar solo that kind of reminds me of the ending of Con Los Ojos Abiertos (from Rodrigo's Eyes album)

10 Two Children are Born: here we have a piano riff quite resemblant to Tubular Bells playing over some Pink Floyd-like sound effects. The rest of the band appears briefly to shock you everytime you feel comfortable enough to relax, be warned!

11 He's Here: Osvaldo and Jelena sing over a clean guitar riff that remids me of Transatlantic's Evermore. The lyrics start to get weirder here, the chorus (sung by the two of them) being "We have cloned our lord, he's here!".

12 No One Knew: every single song in here is quite a surprise but I never thought I'd hear something like this on a Rodrigo San Martín album. The verse is a (kind of)funky bass line over a drum loop and the chorus features an orchestra, there's quite a contrast between the two. Maybe it owes something to Blackfield?

13 Mass: things are getting weirder by the minute. This one is a gregorian chant piece in latin, sung very operatically by Canela Sol. After the vocal section there is a reprise of the Colonization verse, this time played by a very Wakeman-like moog over a church organ.

14 The Sky Falls Down II: a reprise of the track of the same name, this time sung by Jelena instead of Osvaldo. Cool heavy guitar solo and, another jazzy section with a great solo by Refay.

15 For Everyone to See: this is an odd little waltz. The music seems very naive but the lyrics are quite crude actually.

16 We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen I: great hammond riffing reminds us of the late Jon Lord.

17 We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen II: and here comes the Crimson King, at first at least. This track is a duel between Refay's keyboards and San Martín's guitar, playing over a the great rhythm section of Lynch- Black.

18 Coda: a very melancholic guitar solo playing over the piano theme from "Two Chlidren are Born" close the album as it fades out.

I rate the album four stars because of it's constant surprised to the listener and amazing musicianship. It's free on Rodrigo's bandcamp so give it a try!

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 1 by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.38 | 11 ratings

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1
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Argentinian singer and composer Rodrigo San Martin was born in 1988, evolving from a young pianist to a Rock multi-instrumentalist with Classical and Jazz education and influences over the years.Already from his teenager period his activities were endless: Composing, experimenting with music production and later organizing his own Prog fest named ''Close to the Edge Buenos Aires Prog Fest'', while he has been a member of several less-known Prog and Jazz projects.In 2010 San Martin played, recorded, mixed and mastered himslef his first solo album ''1''.

With faith on his own strengths the young Argentinian's first production includes one very long eponymous composition, clocking at almost 40 minutes.Do not expect though a breakless piece, there are a few interruptions between the different movements, but at the end this is a pretty solid epic composition.Stylistically ''1'' steps with one foot on 70's Classic Prog and the other on more contemporary Prog stylings, drawing influences from all KING CRIMSON era's, Italian Prog and modern bands such as PORCUPINE TREE.The basic fashion is a lovely Symphonic Rock with orchestral melodies and sampled string sections, blended with atmospheric Mellotron washes and calm piano interludes.It's kind of close to IAN GORDON's material at times.Among these harmonic and melodious themes however there are plenty of heavier moods with complex, FRIPP-ian guitar workouts and powerful Alt Rock-styled grooves with distorted vocals, along with some more poppy and relaxed vocal harmonies.Yes, it contains all the components of a great prog epic, the use of sampled instrumentation is sometimes holding this down, but generally the ideas are satisfying with tons of changing themes and some impressive instrumental textures.

San Martin has included a few bonus tracks in his first work, showing his diverse talent and inspirations and scanning the territories of Blues Rock, Art Pop, acoustic music and Jazz, which are quite pleasant for the ear but rather far from the tite track's atmosphere.

Young and talented artist with a debut album worth investigating, ranging from symphonic and nostalgic grandieur to pretty heavier demonstrations.Recommended.

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 Eyes by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.93 | 18 ratings

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Eyes
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Judas Unrepentant

4 stars For his third installment Rodrigo starts experimenting with shorter tracks to great results.

Eyes, when you download it from his website instead of Bandcamp, comes divided into two folders that represent two sides of a vinyl. It's up to you to decide which side is the first (I'll reviews with the side with the short pieces first and the side long piece for the end)

This time Rodrigo San Martín decided to surround himself with full band (unlike his first two albums) and the result is that the music souds much more lively, specially to Sergio López and Ludmila Clemente (bass and drums, respectively). Jelena Perisic and Craig Kerley come back to sing on this one, which is a big plus, and we have two new guests as well: Fernando Refay on keyboards and Tamara Szych on vocals.

(Eyes) Wide Shut:

01 The Mask: The album starts with a song filled with ideas. A pretty waltz sung by Perisic continues to a very good piano solo that kind of reminds me to Emerson's in Take a Pebble (great work by Fernando Refay!), after that we find ourselves in heavy prog territories with interesting solos from San Martín and Refay (this time on synth) and great drumming. The track is wrapped by a buildup ending not unlike the one on The Musical Box.

02 Destroy the Signal (or Anti Bieber Anthem, as it's named on youtube): this one's a Blackest Eyes ripoff (at least in the structure and overall sound), but nevertheless a very interesting short song that features the very powerful vocals of Mr. Craig Kerley (Not Otherwise Specified, a band you should defietly check out). It eludes me how he doesn't sing more on the album since his power would brighten many moments!

03 Amanecer: a great groove by López and Clemente start this song. I find it very hard to categorize it: on one hand it's definetly more pop oriented that San Martín has done to this point but it's definetly a prog number witha lot of ideas thrown in. So let's just call it interesting Prog-pop. Tamara Szych appears on vocals for the first time, singing a (not so cheesy) love song in spanish. Unexpected but very good, one of the highest points in Rodrigo's discography.

04 Interludio: a short and creepy intro to the next track. Very good clean guitar solo over an eerie acoustic riff (followed by a mellotron, to continue the feeling)

05 Ahora: others reviewers have pointed that this one sounds like the 70's but it reminds me (once more) of Porcupine Tree. Acoustic vocal section in between heavy prog riffing and cool ery atmospheric intro that screams early Porcupine Tree (who, to be fair, early 70's Pink Floyd) lead us to a very beautiful vocal part backed with piano that slowly builds to a more rockier section. Fernando Refay's synth appears again with a killer solo that brings Jordan Ruddes to mind. The eerieness from Interlude comes again in the form of a xylophone riff that is constantly interruped by a heavy metal band (actually quite similar to Two Children are Born now I think about it) and this leads to a very good guitar solo. After the guitar solo we are left once more in Floyd territory with a great bass solo by López and interesting vocal harmonies by Jelena. Now Rodrigo San Martín does his best to imitate Dave Gilmour on guitar and suceeds, which leads us to a heavy vocal section that would've benefited from having Craig Kerley sing it instead of Jelena Perisic. There is a very good creepy synth solo over a riff that comes directly from King Crimson's Red and we have a cool instrumental section featuring great bass and drum work by Sergio López and Ludmila Clemente. To recapitulate we have a reprise of the verse in Ahora that leads to my favorite part of the album: a lovely orchestal buildup that , when it explodes, brings us Rodrigo San Martín's greatest guitar moment. solos. Tamara Szych sings again but this time in spanish and has a lovely moment towards the middle of the track that sounds like sirens trying to make your ship sink. There's great moments for every musician on this song and it's a great way of closing the side of the digital vinyl.

(Eyes) Wide Open:

06 (or 01) Con Los Ojos Abiertos: this is Rodrigo San Martín's best long piece (well, not if you count A Lullaby For Mankind as a one track album, which I think is what was intended). I won't take narrate to you what happens here, I will just tell you that everything we love from Rodrigo's music is on fine display on this one: great compositions, lovely melodies (sung by Perisic), fantastic musicianship and an interesting concept to tie it all up.

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 Eyes by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.93 | 18 ratings

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Eyes
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the third studio album released by Rodrigo San Martin, a very talented musician from Argentina who has been pushing hard in the last few years, in order to let his music be known and recognized in his country, and of course, in the whole globe. I've had the luck of following his development, and after having reviewed his previous two albums, now I can say he is a very solid artist who has a lot to offer in this progressive rock realm. The title of this new record is "Eyes", and consists of six songs that together make a total time of 44 minutes. It is also divided in two parts, the first one is called "Wide Shut" and consists of the first five tracks; while the second is "Wide Open", and features the last song (an epic) of the album,.

Well, it kicks off with "The Mask", which has a soft beginning with piano and female vocals by Jelena Perisic. The first couple of minutes are sweet, relaxing and with some classical influences, but later the song changes drastically and becomes heavier, with guitar riffs and keyboard fiesta made by Fernando Refay that produce a kind of symphonic metal passage. There is a moment where we can perceive a male backing vocal, while the music keeps its heavy and emotional journey. Just before reaching the sixth minute, the song slows down and returns to its delicate sound with female vocals and soft guitars.

"Destroy the Signal" is a shorter piece but a very heavy and energetic one, here the guitars and drums make a extraordinary work, giving that sense of power to the listener. After that bombastic introduction, the song slows down a little bit and the voice of Craig Kerley enters. Later the instrumental passage is back with its vertiginous tune; and then, vocals again repeating the structure. In the end, we can appreciate a powerful guitar riff. "Amanecer" starts with tasty bass lines, nice drums and some keyboard atmospheres, later a rockish guitar appears and together create a very nice symphonic/heavy prog track. A new guest female voice enters here singing in Spanish and with a mellow tune. When one listen to this music, it is impossible to deny the progressiveness of it, and also, impossible not to realize about the high compositional skills that Rodrigo San Martin has.

"Interludio" as you can imagine is a short track (1:34) that only works as the interlude of the album. It has a soft and delicate guitar sound with an acoustic background while a nice electric leads with its emotional notes. A somber atmosphere is created by keyboards, and later complemented by mellotron. This track leads to "Ahora", which has an explosive beginning with keyboards, guitars and drums, half a minute later it slows down and Tamara Szych's voice returns with the English lyrics. In this track we can appreciate some nice bass lines, great pauses and drastic changes. The music is a nice blend of heavy rock and progressive rock, and though it does have an old (70s) flavor, it springs a fresh and young sound, full of energy and quality. What I love of this track is how it can produce a vast variety of emotions in such a short time, how it can cut the song in pieces and then stick them in order to make a strong and unique piece. This is one of the best of this album.

Now the second part comes with its most complex and ambitious track, a 20-minute song entitled "Con los ojos abiertos", which starts slow and little by little is progressing, we can listen to some voices and distant noises while a keyboard atmosphere is created. Later Perisic's vocals appear and put their mellow and delicate tune that wonderfully complement San Martin's music. A couple of minutes later the song makes a drastic change, turning into a heavy symphonic song with excellent keyboard solos and a powerful instrumentation, then after seven minutes it slows down and creates an awesome passage that seems to be calm but it isn't because guitars, bass and drums play at an unison letting us appreciate the excellent compositional and performing skills of Rodrigo San Martin. In this long track we have a feast of changes, complex passages made of a vast amount of nuances and textures that produce different emotions. All the little pieces are essential for the song's success, so every little jigsaw is necessary to complete this puzzle entitled Con los ojos abiertos. This song is enough to have a fascinating time, and to understand that in South America we have young and talented artists that must be supported by us.

Well, I am once again happy with a Rodrigo San Martin album, he is more mature now and it can be heard in his new compositions. I strongly encourage people to listen to his music, so maybe in the near future his albums can be physical (now they are only digital), because it would be awesome to have them in our hands. This time, my grade will be four solid stars, but I wish we had a .5 system so this album would be rated with 4.5 without a doubt.

Enjoy it!

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 Eyes by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.93 | 18 ratings

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Eyes
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rodrigo San Martin continues to impress me. After the occasionally shaky "There's No Way Out," I am pleased to say that "Eyes" sees San Martin returning stronger than ever. The heavier, more metallic elements that appeared on "There's No Way Out" are back, but in my opinion they're used much more smoothly here, more seamlessly integrated and less disjointed. All told, then, this is a really excellent album that combines compositional maturity with an excellent ear for melody.

"The Mask" kicks off the album with a wonderfully melodic piano part. An awesome female vocal part quickly joins in, and with it San Martin quickly proves that he can write vocal melodies with the best of them. I feel like a broken record since I'm pretty sure I've written that in all three reviews of San Martin's material that I've done, but it really does need to be driven home. After this, there's a heavier section, which, unlike the heavier sections on the previous album "There's No Way Out," fits in seamlessly. Totally gone is the somewhat disjointed feeling that, in my opinion, marred that previous album. Here instead we have heavy, distorted vocals over pounding guitar riffs interspersed with delicate, chanted sections in a way that works perfectly. A great guitar solo, perhaps one of the best from San Martin yet, leads into a much softer, atmospheric acoustic guitar part that almost has classical leanings. The vocals return, and lead a triumphant crescendo that closes out the track.

"Destroy The Signal" comes next, immediately launching into an extremely heavy, riffing guitar part. Almost as suddenly as it appears however, it drops away, leaving very pleasant harmonized vocals singing over synth, bass and percussion. The heaviness returns for a brief instrumental section in the middle, as well as a vocal reprise at the end of the song. "Destroy the Signal" is definitely a more straightforward track than was the opener, but that certainly doesn't hurt it, and it's a great rocker.

"Amanecer" starts with a very rhythmically interesting bass part that's quickly joined by matched synth and guitar lines. These two duel it out for a while before dropping out and allowing the female vocals plenty of space to return over the bass and percussion. After a brief period of this more minimal arrangement, the guitar starts riffing under the vocals before the vocals drop out entirely for an extended instrumental section. This finally all culminates in a peaceful, Genesis-esque closing section before the riffs return and a brief guitar solo and vocal section close out the track.

"Interludio" is exactly what it sounds like: a calm, acoustic guitar led interlude that sets the mood very nicely for the second half of the album.

"Ahora" begins this second half with guitar and organ playing in tandem to create a very vintage, rock-y sound. This gives way to acoustic guitar and bass as the vocals enter, which this time around feature not only strong melodies but excellent harmonies as well. An excellent instrumental section takes up a good chunk of the track, recalling classic rock with its dueling organ and guitars but also providing a definitively metal edge with the sheer intensity of its riffs. About halfway through the track the acoustic guitar/vocals duo returns, and for the rest of the track these heavy and light sections alternate, complementing each other very well.

Finally, we have the epic closer "Con los Ojos Abiertos," which begins with a soft and atmospheric intro section occasionally joined by some minimalistic vocals. There's also some faint soundclips of people talking present, but they're hard to make out and serve the track very well as background ambience. After a brief but beautiful acoustic guitar solo the vocals proper enter, accompanied by swirling synths and delicate piano. Bass and percussion come in after a while to help build up the arrangement, and after another vocal section the song launches into a crazy instrumental that features solos of all kinds as well as more back-and-forth between heavy and light themes. This is followed by another atmospheric vocal section, with spacey, dream-like synths playing over a similar voice clip to the beginning of the track. More guitar solos follow, leading into yet another vocal section, this one over a more metal instrumentation. After another instrumental section the track concludes with a great, energetic finale, featuring orchestral arrangements and a great closing guitar solo.

While I would still recommend starting with San Martin's debut "1," I have to say that this is probably the most compositionally accomplished album from him yet. The songwriting is much more concise (with the exception of the epic closer), and with that comes a lot of tightness in the composition as well. There's no wasted time on this album, no sections that drag on or feel out of place. A really stellar effort from a great musician and composer.

4/5

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 There's No Way Out by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.77 | 14 ratings

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There's No Way Out
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This sophomore effort from multi-instrumentalist Rodrigo San Martin, while definitely still an incredibly impressive album, I think falls a bit flat compared to the excellent debut album "1". The sound has been varied from that album, featuring guest vocalists and containing an overall heavier tone than "1" had. While there are definitely great moments, "There's No Way Out" doesn't feel quite as consistent to me as "1" did.

"4378th Day" starts off with some great, cinematic synth chords that help set up the feeling of the track very nicely. Some awesome, jazzy acoustic guitar comes in over this and solos for a little while before the roles swap and the synth takes a melodic lead while the guitar puts down a nice, picked background. Gorgeous vocals from featured guest vocalist Jelena Perisic come in soon after this, and San Martin proves that his ear for vocal melody hasn't faded since his first solo album "1". It's about this time that percussion joins in as well, and the track continues for a while in the very laid back, relaxed vein that it started in. It's not until about the 8th minute that the tone of the track changes, with electric guitar coming in and a series of wicked keyboard solos serving as a bit of an instrumental break in the song. To me it feels like this ramping up of intensity could have come a bit sooner: the first 8 minutes of the track feel a bit homogenous, even if they are very pretty. Once the break comes, however, there's no looking back: the aforementioned synths solos are matched by guitar, and there's some really excellent orchestral parts toward the end of the track as well. As with the previous album "1," I can hear a lot of similarity to IQ in parts of this track. In the last few minutes of the track there's a reprise of the vocals, followed by a frantic final two minutes with plenty of guitar soloing and orchestral parts that make for a great finale.

"No" is significantly shorter than the opener, and it starts off on a completely different vein, with an almost funky bass line and only minimal keyboards. It's a much heavier track as well, with near constant guitar riffing behind the vocals. "No" is a drastic departure in style from anything San Martin has done up to this point, with a sound far closer to AOR then to the delicate, folky symphonic music he's mostly made before this. There is a softer middle section of the track that again features Jelena Perisic, but to be honest, I feel it sort of clashes with the heavier beginning and ending of the track. All in all "No," while an interesting change of style, ultimately leaves me kind of cool.

"War, Act 2" is the epic closer for the album, and it, like "No," begins on a heavier note, with distorted, riffing guitars that almost sound like they could have come from a Dream Theater release. After about 2 minutes the track drops into a far more relaxed vein, with minimal, almost ambient music behind the repeated vocal mantra "where do we go from here?" It's a haunting, mysterious way to begin the track, and the acoustic guitar lines that join in only help to add to the effect. The vocals stay low as well, even as they move away from merely the repeated mantra of the beginning of the track they remain remarkably restrained and low key, which serves this section of the song very well. After another minimal instrumental break, the arrangement fills out a little bit, with acoustic guitar, bass, and percussion setting up a jazzy, open atmosphere that would sound carefree if the accompanying lyrics weren't so bleak. A very strange, almost avant-garde section follows this, with some faintly atonal synths very faintly soloing before an equally off-kilter guitar solo takes over. This is a far cry from the delicately beautiful melodies of the first album, and it's a very interesting change of pace, though I must confess it doesn't do as much for me as most the first album did. After this a more conventional metal section begins, interspersed with sparse, folky acoustic guitar sections. It's an interesting juxtaposition, if a bit jarring, and I applaud San Martin for inserting such drastically different sounds into his music. Towards the end of the track the laid back vocals return, as do the dreamy, mysterious guitars, and it's on this note that the track fades out and ends.

I really hate to criticize an artist for changing their sound (we do claim to like PROGRESSIVE rock, after all), but "There's No Way Out" just doesn't strike me as being as strong as the first album. Where "1" was dynamic, fluid, and delicately beautiful, "There's No Way Out" feels a bit more disjointed, and while the heavier sections are a nice change of pace I don't think they're as effective as they could have been. Nonetheless, this is still a good piece of work that certainly has its moments; I'd simply recommend starting with "1".

3/5

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 1 by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.38 | 11 ratings

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1
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's a pretty bold move to release as your first album a single, 40 minute track. It's an even bolder move to write, sing, and play every single instrument on that album. But you know what? I think that Rodrigo San Martin has a right to be bold. '1' is a fantastic piece of progressive rock, one that anyone should be proud to have for a debut album. Fans of Phideaux should find a lot to like here, as should fans of any of the 'big' symphonic bands: there are traces here of Transatlantic and IQ as well. For the most part, though, this comes off as a very original, fresh piece of music, and one that comes highly recommended.

'1' begins with a spare guitar part which is quickly joined by some high, ethereal, incredibly melodic vocals. This is soon joined by percussion, bass, and a variety of synths that give the beginning section of the track a decidedly neo-prog feel, very much in line with the music of IQ. In fact, some of the guitar parts sound to me like they could have come straight off of their 2004 album 'Dark Matter.' At about 5 minutes in a new theme is added, and the track takes on a heavier tone that recalls sections of another prominent modern prog band, Transatlantic. If you're familiar with their albums and know of the heavier section in 'Stranger in Your Soul,' then you have a decent comparison point for this music: undoubtedly symphonic, but also heavy and even approaching metal. Some rather technically impressive acoustic guitar parts make an appearance during this section as well, made all the more impressive by the fact that San Martin is the only player on this album.

After this a bit of a more atmospheric section begins, with a variety of synths setting up a harmonic background for a spoken word section that sounds like it consists of excerpts from the bible. I will confess that I'm not a huge fan of spoken-word sections like this, but here it works out alright, serving as a sort of bridge into the next section, which features orchestral string sounds heavily. A more minimal, piano-led section follows this, in turn, and it's here that the vocals return as well, this time in a more grounded, mysterious style than the opening. A string and guitar section follows this, and to be honest, it's here that a bit of a structural problem emerges, as this section, with its swelling orchestral parts and guitar soloing, really feels like a finale though the track is less than half over.

I can't criticize this too much, however, as it transitions very nicely into a very pretty piano part. Eventually synths and bass are added in to help elaborate on this theme, and it quickly develops into a full blown instrumental extravaganza, with an excellent guitar solo going over chorus-like vocals. Almost exactly at the 20 minute mark the sound cuts out completely, and there's a little bit of a break while a recording of what sounds like a record being flipped over is played. It's a fun little conceit to demonstrate the nature of the piece, but I wonder if actually dividing the album into two halves wouldn't have been just as effective.

When this 'second side' begins it has a far more jazzy feel to it than anything from the first half, with a piano part and some excellent, laid back guitar soloing setting the mood quite nicely. Subdued but still incredibly melodic vocals come in over the motif that develops from this. I really have to hand it to Mr. San Martin, the vocal melodies here are excellent; I'd be tempted to say they're even on par with Phideaux and the like. Another heavier section follows this, with a fiery guitar solo standing out as the highlight of this section. We're treated to a reprise of that gorgeous vocal melody from the beginning of the 'side' following this, before the tempo picks up and a new melody begins. Percussion takes on a more prominent role, and a gorgeous combination of synth and guitar makes up most of the background music. There's a fairly long instrumental section that follows this, going through another heavy stage before briefly returning to a soft vocal section. This doesn't last long, however, as the heavy riffing quickly returns and with it come the most insistent vocals yet. I can hear a lot of IQ resemblance here as well. Unfortunately, with this section comes my second complaint about the album: the vocals just don't seem powerful enough to me. I don't know if it's in the way they are mixed or in how they were delivered, but the recurring cry of 'let me out' seems so faint compared to the music that I think this section lacks a bit of the power it could have had.

Again, that's a fairly minor complaint against how good the album is in general, and the finale shows that there's certainly nothing wrong with San Martin's vocals in a general sense. Delicate and emotional, the final line of the song, 'I refuse to let/the world torn apart' is delivered with a breathtaking sense of finality and it's a near-perfect ending for the song.

So though there are occasions (though very rare) where '1''s reach exceeds its grasp, for the most part this is a superb piece of music that's overall very consistent throughout its epic running time. I look forward to reviewing Mr. San Martin's other albums in the near future as well, especially after being reminded by this album what an impressive composer and musician he really is. A darn good album and an incredibly impressive debut.

4/5

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 Eyes by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.93 | 18 ratings

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Eyes
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars This album is a significant improvement respect to the already very good "There's No Way Out" specially thanks to the effort of Ludmila Clemente at drums and Fernando Refay at synths. The first nice thin is that the album is logically split into two parts of about 20 minutes each, like it was a vinyl. So we have an "Eyes Wide Open" (this is what "Con Los Ojos Abiertos" means) side and an "Eyes closed" one.

Starting with the "Open" side, it's a side long track (it's nice speaking of it like a vinyl) made of seven distinct parts with no gaps and with a little of neo-prog influence. The song features the excellent vocals of Jelena and has some very rocking moments. Also the transitions are very well done. In particular the transition between part two and part three that's very heavy. A piece of music that can be considered progressive metal. Part 4 with the radio voices below a fretless bass starts very floydian, with the vocalists reminding of Mostly Autumn and Rodrigo's clean bluesy guitar like Clapton in Pros and Cons of Hitch-Hiking, just before a very good solo in a prog metal style. However all the seven parts have their good moments and in the complex this is one of the best long tracks that I've heard recently. For its structure and the passages between metal and melodic moments I think it can be compared to some parts of Ayreon's The Human Equation, also because Jelena's voice is not too dissimilar than that of Heather Findlay.

The "Wide Shut side" starts with a melodic piano intro. "The Mask" is another song in 3 parts. It has a structure similar to the epic but there's a lot of piano and classical influences. The second part is an instrumental that reminds to Renaissance until guitar and keyboards enter and change it drastically. Here on Part two the keyboards deserve a mention as the solo reminds to Vitalij Kuprij for the speed and the sound, but there's also an excellent guitar riff immediately after, followed by part 3 which features acoustic guitar and voice. Fans of Mostly Autumn will surely like it.

Now some prog metal. The link that Rodrigo has sent me contains this song in two versions: with English lyrics (Destroy The Signal) and Spanish (Destruye la Señal). The song alternates very heavy instrumental riffs and very melodic singing. A short powerful rock song for all the prog metal fans.

"Amanecer (Dawn)" has a very good "retro" taste. It's a song that if it wasn't for the "modern" sounds and the excellent production could come directly from the 70s. Heavy and melodic on which I hear echoes of YES, Renaissance, and 70s in general.

The minute and half of "Interludio" is a short guitar instrumental on which Rodrigo shows his guitar skill. Listening to it and to its jazzy sequence of chords I think To Pat Metheny and to Phil Sheeran, until guitar and organ start the last song of the album with an intro that could stay on an Uriah Heep album. "Ahora (Now)" has English lyrics despite the Spanish title. It's another melodic rock song with very rocking breaks and pauses. Again, Uriah Heep is the reference that comes to my mind. It's a very good closer.

It's a very good album on which the level of all the songs is constant. There are no weak moments and in its genre together with the last Yesterday's album, is the best thing that I've listened to in the last months.

Strongly suggested to anybody who loves any of the artists that I've mentioned. Rodrigo San Martin is a young artist already at his third full length album. While his second effort was promising, this album confirms all the expectations. Check it out.

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 1 by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.38 | 11 ratings

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1
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Renkls

3 stars I was reminded about this album by the previous reviewer whose review appeared on the front page. I remember when I first heard this, and didn't think much of it. Well, it's definitely a grower, but one that will take time obviously. I was reminded of Requiem Apocalyptique, another one song album solely created by one person. Likewise, this album does not have the sense of a complete, well refined effort, despite the best intentions of Rodrigo - but his efforts are still cause to be positive. It is a noble first effort, and I think, for the open minded of progaholics, it's a good album to dig up. When I think of the drawbacks, the only real one I have is that, as with many one song albums, every moment must count. I think that about four or five minutes could have been omitted and the album would have lost none of its luster. But these are petty concerns, and in the general, I am quite positive towards this album. It's not essential, but it's worth discovering.

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 1 by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.38 | 11 ratings

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1
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Uno.

This is the first album by Rodrigo San Martin, a true Argentinean talent whose compositions talk by themselves. When I was introduced (by him, in fact) to his music I felt lucky and happy of knowing that there is talent everywhere, and to know that progressive rock is alive and kicking asses. And though I admit I prefer much more his "There's No Way Out" album, it is evident that since his first work he made visible his skills as composer and performer. And I say this, because the album was composed and played by him in its entirety.

So here this one-man-band offers an ambitious one-song-album in which we can appreciate a symphonic oriented sound, changes in rhythm and mood, a diversity of passages, and a great blend of nuances, textures and melodies. I invite you to download the album through his website (it is free) and prepare for this 39-minute epic. Worth mentioning that with our help and spreading the word, his music will be better known, and he may be releasing the albums in CD in the near future, and not only in digital versions.

The song starts soft with acoustic guitar and delicate vocals in English, little by little other elements are appearing, such as drums and mellotron. It progresses, it flows and when we less expect it, changes. After five minutes a heavier tone enters and creates a sound that has nothing to do with the first minutes. A blend of styles make this a very eclectic album, because besides the previously mentioned symphonic sound (mainly due to the keyboards) here we can find some heavy prog moments, some spacey ones, and even some lighter and catchier ones, which make me think is the reason San Martin's music was labeled (wrongly) as Crossover Prog.

After ten minutes there is a beautiful instrumental passage where keyboards and drums join, creating a hopeful sound which all of a sudden will be vanished due to the entrance of the doubled- edged piano, because it creates a calm, but also a tense and nervous sound. Then vocals return, as well as the mellotron, which is essential here. A long instrumental passage comes later and finishes after the twentieth minute; the sound disappears and then the second part of the song/album begins.

Piano notes and a warm and bluesy guitar at first, then atmospheric keyboards complement it. A couple of minutes later vocals enter in a really soft way, giving us a melancholic sound. But guess what, it is only another passage because later the song explodes and its heavier side appears for a brief moment, just before being replaced by some spacey and atmospheric keyboards. Though changing so many times in a few minutes may not be the best formula, here it does not really harm the music, one can let it flow and enjoy it, having in mind that some passages would have been better if they lasted more. The rest of the song is composed by the same elements, by the same changes, until it delicately finishes.

For a debut album, and for a man who did it all, this is a wonderful work by Rodrigo San Martin, congratulations for that. Though I have to admit that the album is not flawless, no, it does have some weaker and plain moments, and I am sorry, but I am not that eager regarding his voice. On the other hand, the song is well-crafted without a doubt, and it shows that we have a new talent rising, aiming for reaching bigger goals. So now after two albums, I am truly interested in his third, which is about to see the light. My final grade will be three strong stars (3.5 would be better).

Enjoy it!

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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