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Psychedelic/Space Rock • Portugal

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Torga Ostera biography
TORGA OSTERA is a promising new band from central Portugal that consists of João Francisco on vocals and guitar, Jorge Marinheiro (who replaced José Monteiro in 2012) on keyboards, Eurico Moleirinho on bass and Renato Dias on drums.

They describe themselves as a Space Rock-inspired band and they sure produce the goods with a blend of music that's fashioned around late-sixties and seventies British psychedelic rock and Portuguese music. The sound of their debut album is primarily based on mellow PINK FLOYD inspired grooves, not unlike some of the works of ELOY and NOVALIS, but also modern bands like NEGATIVE ZONE and AIRBAG, although unlike those bands, lyrics are in the band's mother tongue, where comparisons might be draw with the work of fellow Portuguese artists like PETRUS CASTRUS, JORGE PALMA or the more recent TORANJA. They pride themselves on their mix of analog and digital recording, relying on the use of a series of vintage equipment to produce new, but still familiar sounds.

Their debut album ''Queda Ascendente'' (2012) was recorded in Portugal but mastered in the UK by producer Jon Astley who has worked with a host of famous artists but is probably best known for his work with THE WHO. The result of this undertaking is a collection of laid-back guitar proposals containing lengthy instrumental passages. The keyboard work of Monteiro is never obtrusive and blends in nicely with the twin electric guitars in similar manner to that of Rick Wright. When you factor in the female backing vocals and slide guitars the take on PINK FLOYD is strengthened. Lyrics deal with philosophical issues and the Portuguese rhythm of life, which gives the music a very localized, national feel. The diverse musical influences of the group (which range from 70's classics of prog, funk and also punk, and national and foreign acts like CLÃ, PLUTO or RADIOHEAD) anticipate a more song-driven approach in future releases.

While it isn't innovative or challenging, it's wonderfully executed. Highly recommended.

- Kotro / seventhsojourn

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TORGA OSTERA discography

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3.97 | 11 ratings
Queda Ascendente

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 Queda Ascendente by TORGA OSTERA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 11 ratings

Queda Ascendente
Torga Ostera Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Other than for the ubiquitous '10,000 Anos Depois Entre Venus E Marte' album by José Cid, I have hitherto overlooked the Portuguese music on this site. However thanks to a friendly collaborator I'm finally getting a nice education in this area of South European prog. And a good place to start the journey is with Torga Ostera's recently released debut album 'Queda Ascendente' which reveals itself as a meeting point between British Space Rock and Portuguese romanticism.

The sounds of waves and foghorns that open and close the album give the impression of one piloting a course on a forgotten sea before returning to the world of real life - a voyage of discovery recalling Portugal's great nautical past. There is an immediate and unmistakable similarity to Pink Floyd with the siren call of synthesizer pulsations and ethereal-sounding slide guitar, and the music generally flows calmly like pure water although there's an earthier feel once the vocals kick in. Keyboards intermittently burst out with brief solos but their main role is to blend in, to help shape the songs. The twin guitars are the key players here - check out 'Balada Ao Ensandecer', a nighttime excursion to the dancing stars where the guitar erupts in a dramatic finale like a solar flare attack in the black night sky. Gooseflesh material!

The Portuguese influence is probably strongest on the more song-oriented tracks like 'Rosa Dos Ventos' (Wind Rose), a symbol of the Age of Discoveries with its title taken from the ornate designs on early compasses. Again, this name conjures images of the deeds of famous Portuguese explorers and astronomers although it actually sounds more like a love song. Then there's the centrepiece 'Apicultor De Homens' (Beekeeper of Men) which saunters lazily along like a ride through endless Manueline arcades, the unified force of the rhythm section reshaping itself into varying patterns as it follows winding paths that lead in different directions, while the guitars erect ever-towering columns of sound. Epic stuff. But the Pink Floyd influence is what really forms the basis of the album and a review could be summed up succinctly in five short words - dark side of the moon. The seeming obsession with Pink Floyd even manifests itself in lyrics about a shining diamond.

For sure, 'Queda Ascendente' borrows liberally from Pink Floyd and I'm obliged to say it's pretty much devoid of originality, although that's its only flaw and if you're into laid-back spacey prog this is a must-buy album. It's like a lost relic of the seventies and as such it's as good as it's entitled to be.

Thanks to seventhsojourn for the artist addition.

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