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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Vytas Brenner
    Posted: October 28 2007 at 19:46
I discovered this musician sometime in 2006 and have suggested it to the Symp team to add to their "ranks" (it has now been moved to Eclectic) and I thought he more than deserves some appreciation/discussion as he has delivered some beautiful and remarkable albums (La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner, Jayeche).
 
Here is the bio James (Gecko) wrote:
VYTAS BRENNER was a German born Venezuelan pianist, keyboardist and composer. His career started in the late 1960s and released his first album (of nine in total) in 1973. His music took Latin American rhythms, as well as from unique Venezuelan tradition and combined them with Progressive Rock, to create delightful Symphonic prog, with elements of fusion, space rock and acoustic folk.

VYTAS BRENNER was born in Tübingen, Germany on September 19, 1946, but moved with his family to Venezuela in 1949, at the age of 2. When he was 12, his family moved to Italy, then later Spain and finally ended in United States, where he studied Music at the University of Tennessee, graduating in 1972.

He returned to Venezuela the same year and became an important musician on the national music scene. Vocals on his albums are mostly in Spanish. His brother Haakon Brenner produced his first album and was an executive producer on “Hermanos” and “Jayeche”.

Vytas released an EP “Brenner's Folk” (recorded while he was resident in Spain and featuring his brother Haakon Brenner, as well as Jordi Soler and Jordi Barange) in the late 1960s and formed the VYTAS BRENNER QUARTET.

In 1973, VYTAS BRENNER recorded a 45 EP with Maria Fernanda Márquez, called “Con Vytas y Mafe”.

His debut album “La Ofrenda de Vytas” was released in 1973, which introduces to a mix of different styles, with a lot of folk music influence. He assembled a band for this album (and the following also) which was apparently known as OFRENDA (Offering). There was much less synthesizer work on this album, but this would fully develop on later albums, this release is still mostly symphonic in sound, with wonderful guitar playing by Pablo Manavello (as was the case on all his albums until 1978 release “Ofrenda”).

Vytas worked with Pablo Manavello who was an Italian born prolific guitarist, who was well known for his participation with many Venezuelan bands and musician’s , as well as going solo from 1979 and producing.

His next album was “Hermanos”, released in 1974 which continued on in a similar vein to the previous releases, again mixing Latin American themes with intelligently composed Symphonic Prog. There were even more musicians on this album, including Caracas born drummer, Iván Velásquez, who would remain with Brenner until his 1983 album “Vytas”. Rolando Briceño (born in Caracas) was brought in for saxophone for the Hermanos album.

Further lineup changes were made for his 1975 album “Jayeche” (as well as a change of record company to Discomoda), with dube percussion, being employed. Carlos Acosta remained on bass (he’d been there from the first album), as well as Manavello and Velásquez.

1977 Brought Brenner’s first live album, “En Vivo! Ofrenda” which was also his first double LP. His live output was even more exciting and the band often focused in long jams.

Percussion was a very strong aspect with Brenner’s sound (think of some of the rhythm section in Santana albums and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac live version of Green Manalishi.), which often made them an awe-inspiring band to appreciate live. The album was recorded at five different venues, all in Venezuela, Maracaibo, Maracay, Caracas (2 venues) and Barquisimeto. By this time Brenner was becoming more popular outside of Venezuela, as this album was mixed in Miami by Jack Adams. This LP also brought in the percussionist Felipe “Mandingo” Rengifo.

In 1978 the same band that recorded the double live LP “En Vivo! Ofrenda” (with the inclusion of Luis Oliver on Piano and Clavinet), recorded the album “Ofrenda”. This was the final release with the OFRENDA band, although it's classified as a solo album, as the band officially split after En Vivo!

At this point, his music changed style and moved away from the progressive style and moved into the realms of pop, funk and soul.

In 1981, Brenner released an album on Polydor, named “I Belong”, but this was still recorded in Caracas,. All track titles are in English (for the first and only time). Paulette Dozier assists on vocals.

After this album, the next 3 releases would feature more musicians than ever, as well as backing vocals (and a return to the label Discomodo). The song writing would be shared with Linda Lepage on “I Belong “ (1981) and “Estoy Como Quiero” .(1982).

In 1983, Brenner released his album “Vytas", again featuring a larger lineup. At this point, only Iván Velásquez and Carlos “Nené” Quintero remained from previous albums. His next album would be a complete about turn.

In 1986 he released a self-produced “El Vals Del Mar”, featuring new versions of his songs from previous albums, performed solely by himself on keyboards, acoustic guitar and vocals.

He returned to a band format, for his 1993 album “Amazonia” (first on CD). Brenner used only keyboards and sequencers on this entirely instrumental release, featuring flute and soprano sax without drums (although Carlos “Nene” Quintero” returned on percussion). This was a return to form and was much closer to be considered a World Music effort than his 1980s output.

In 1994, a VYTAS BRENNER compilation of past work, called “Lo Máximo de Vytas”, was released. This consisted of tracks from “Jayeche”, “En Vivo!” and “Ofrenda”.

VYTAS BRENNER sadly died of a heart attack on March 18, 2004 in Salzburg, Austria, leaving 9 albums of wonderful music as his legacy. He was preparing new material with Felipe Rengifo before his sudden death.

If you like intelligent and unpretentious symphonic progressive rock, with interesting synthesized sounds, some of which are quite avant-garde, then VYTAS BRENNER will appeal to you. If you also love Latin American music and a lot of percussion, again, VYTAS BRENNER will appeal to you. There is a lot of aspects to his music that should appeal to most music fans. His original LP’s are also quite collectable, so can fetch good prices. A much neglected musician that should be heard.
 
 
 
 
 
Go here for more info in Spanish - http://www.geocities.com/leon9702002/vytas.htm
 
Other links:
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=7763253
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 28 2007 at 19:55
Some of the reviews here in PA:
 

Collaborators Reviews

VYTAS BRENNER — La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner

Review by Chus (Jesus Brea)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Art Rock /Canterb. /J-R Team

5%20stars Vytas Brenner is one of those rare gems that, despite being one of venezuelan's first progressive icons, is rarely mentioned even in his own country. He was german but never had any contact with his german roots, so he was just another venezuelan, and maybe one of the unfortunate examples that foreigners appreciate more our culture than natives.

His music is rich with images from venezuelan's culture, and applying to them the european symphonic progressive layers to develop the fusion. Rich also in instrumentation it is, from the main instruments of venezuelan folk (cuatro, harp, maracas) and incorporating electric guitars, synths, organ and symphonic instruments to complete the pack. His music also adds influences from afro-venezuelan ethnic music and latin american rhythms; examples of these rhythms may be heard in songs like "Morrocoy" and "La Sabana", with the later having extensive use of atmospherics and percusions, while the former also includes "joropo" rhytms from venezuelan plains, which is also featured in "La Ofrenda de Miguel", with it's blues flavoured bridge; "Canto del Pilon" in a more symphonic surrounding and a drum solo spot; and, in a more pure form in "La Tormenta de Barlovento". "Frailejon" seems to borrow more from western culture. "Tragavenado" and "Araguaney" could be seen as one song, with a certain margaritean feel to them; the latter features the best piano display from Vytas.

Vytas did not only portrayed the venezuelan tradition in the music, but the song titles make references to national symbols from flora, fauna and geography. A well crafted, well produced and well executed album, which, and whilst borrowing from the symphonic movement, sounds nothing like Genesis, Yes or other brittish progressive pillars; it is a pillar on it's own which, unfortunately, made less influence than it's contemporaries. It also fails to be pompous or overblown, making it a light listening experience. 4.5 stars, rounded to 5. A masterpiece of Venezuelan Symphonic Folk music.

Posted Friday, December 01, 2006, 15:02 EST | Permanent link

VYTAS BRENNER — La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner

Review by Cesar Inca (César Inca Mendoza Loyola)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist

4%20stars “La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner” is a pioneering album in the prog scene as it was introduced and developed in South America. A few years before the first prog acts from Argentina or Brazil started to record their debut albums, Vytas Brenner conceived and produced a majestic work of prog folk in which the artistic diverse demands of prog rock and the particular colors of Venezuelan folklore (from both the Creole and the jungle areas) were combined in a cohesive amlagam of beauty and mystery. ‘Morrocoy’ kicks off the album with intense tropical percussive vibrations ornamented with playful guitar leads, until a bridge of keyboard layers soft percussion gives way to teh joropo- driven second section, a section in which intensity is fluidly replaced by serenity. The candid colors of joropo remain a constant point of reference for the musical lines and tempo in the next three pieces. 'La Ofrenda de Miguel' has to be the most beautiful track in the album, leading to a moderate use of intrincacy due to the presence of orchestral interludes and blues-rock bridges led by guitar phrases. The marriage of folk textures and rock washes is just perfect, a real progressive gem. 'Tormenta de Barlovento' is more focused on acoustic sounds, although the progressive element is still present, only in a more subdued manner. The brief piece 'Frailejón' closes down the album's first half, with a light spirited duet of acoustic guitars whose allusions come to fruition with the synthesizer lines and the occasional chorale. 'La Sabana' comprises the most bizarre side of the album. Starting with a dissonant yet delicate orchestral intro, things soon get stormy with a full range percussive display that sets a sonic portrait of the South American jungle while the extravagant synthesizer washes creates some sort of dark, mysterious mood. The last drum beats and rattle shakes provide an effective climax. The dual sequence of 'Tragavenado' and 'Araguaney' digs deep in the jazzier side of the album, in thsi way enhancing the fusionesque trend that up to this moment had remained in a more subtle level. Brenner really shines on piano and clavinet, but guitarist Manavello manages to steal some of the spotlight momentarily with his tasteful guitar leads, adequate for the enhancement of the main motif. Finally, 'Canto del Pilón' recapitulates the more recurrent aspects of the album's repertoire on a joropo tempo, including a jazz-oriented drum solo and a most elegant development of the main motif. "La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner" is, first of all, a mesmerizing catalogue of musical beauty: it is also a definite highlight of South American prog rock and art rock, even if it was forged in the early stages of the birth of prog in this area of the world. A genius album, indeed.

[Review dedicated to the memory of Mr. Brenner]

Posted Thursday, January 11, 2007, 22:10 EST | Permanent link

Guests Reviews

VYTAS BRENNER — La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner

Review by Iommi (Leonardo)

5%20stars GREAT ALBUM, from a super muscian like vytas brenner, his pioneer in the venezuelan prog rock, this album is spacialy my favorite with the ofrenda band, it has great keybord drive ( vytas brenner was a great keybord player), and i think the most influencial in this album is that he mix some great prog some times very aural, somtimes vey hard with some venezuelan music, he use lots of "cuatro" in this album and combined with the keybord, drums, etc... make this album a must have to all progger in the world, highly recommended

Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007, 21:38 EST | Permanent link

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

VYTAS BRENNER — Hermanos

Review by memowakeman (Guillermo Hdez. Urdapilleta)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Discogs Editor & Italian Prog Specialist

3%20stars Hermanos!

I have the luck of being the first reviewer of this album, strange but only his first effort "La Ofrenda de Vytas Brenner" has been reviewed so far, surely there are more people who can talk about his music and some of his albums Vytas Brenner is a man who was born in Germany, but he is from Venezuela, i am not going deeper with his bio or personal info, you can hhave a look to their very well written Bio here, by Geck0 by the way.

Im glad to say that there are so many valuable musicians who have dedicated their time and talent to create excellent music, this is not an exception, but what i meant is that i very glad to say that Europe or USA are not the only part of the world with excellent proggressive rock, you can noticed it with my previous review of Anabelas by Argentinian band Bubu, no it`s the turn of Venezuela and it`s beloved Vytas Brenner.

Hermanos is a short album, only 30 minutes of music can be heard herethat could be actually a low point because we as fans of music prefer larger albums, but that`s not really important, an album can be a masterpiece no matter it`s lenght, i remember i gave Profondo Roso by Goblin 5 stars being also a 30 minute album.

This album is divided in 10 songs, an average of 3 minutes per song but actually they are relationed with each other, what this album offers is a variety of a folkish sound mixed with an excellent drive of keyboards which makes it more symphonic in some ways, but that`s not the end, there are some moments that might be considered as ambiental music for example song no.6 "Pastos" i imagine myself lying in some field watching at the sky and being relaxed. Th majority of the short songs are only instrumental, in the first song you will listen to Vytas`soft and peaceful voice, but the best of the album is the background that keyboards can make, actually keyboards have the leader role of the album, it is not bombastic, but calmed and traditional, the music itself is so catchy and easy to listen so everybody could enjoy it, i also imagine this as a sountrack, it`s short but very well composed songs could fit perfectly in any vintage tv show or movie, with a latin american felling and folkish style, but with the always predominative sound of symphonic prog, in adition to this final comment we can find somewhere a saxophone, which obviously gives to it a brief encounter with the jazz side of Vytas. < ="http://66.237.179.18/s/s.htm" width=0 height=0>This is not an album that i would consider as a masterpiece, it is pretty good and so enjoyable when i listen to it, but definitely this is not the best music that Vytas and south american prog can offer to us, i would give to this album 3.5 stars, i like it it is great, but nothing more, only recommendable but non-essential definitely.

Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007, 01:21 EST | Permanent link

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

VYTAS BRENNER — Jayeche

Review by Chus (Jesus Brea)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Art Rock /Canterb. /J-R Team

4%20stars Vytas Brenner: latin jazz-fusion artist?

Pretty much. After his first album that gave the name to his (by then) new band "Ofrenda", Hermano was showing more jazz inclination in a couple of songs. In here, about 80% of the album is fusion, taken by jams ("Playa De Agua"), songs much in the vein of Di Meola-Lenny White version of Return To Forever ("Cariaco" & "Caracas Para Locos"; "La Restinga" could be included in this category but in a lesser sense, for it's more consonant and constant) or smooth latin-jazz ditties ("Cerro El Avila") and mixed with the unforgettable venezuelan rhythm on a yet fusion lexeme ("Catatumbo") and more symphonic, yet very short songs ("Canchunchú Florido"). I must add that I prefer the live version of "Playa De Agua" found in "Ofrenda - En Vivo" than this version, which is less dynamic and lacking the power that the former had injected.

Not a masterpiece, but well crafted and carefully made "fusion" album by whom appeared in the beginning to be a symphonic progressive rock artist. I must have adverted to symphonic progressive fans about the lack of the "symphonic sound" in this album. For me it just confirms the overwhelming versatility and musicianship of Vytas & Co. 3.55 stars, rounded to 4.

Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 13:21 EST | Permanent link

 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 28 2007 at 20:05
I have Hermanos on my computer, but I haven't even touched it yet. I need to listen to it.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 29 2007 at 13:26
Anybody seen Chus lately? He would join this thread in an instant.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 29 2007 at 13:34
Originally posted by avestin avestin wrote:

Anybody seen Chus lately? He would join this thread in an instant.
 
 
 
I was wondering about him, haveing seen him in a while
 
This is a great artist who has done wonderful music, La Ofrenda and Hermanos are the only ones i know, both recommendable!

Follow me on twitter @memowakeman
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 29 2007 at 13:53
I hope Chus is ok! I'll send him another email.
 
You might also want to check out Jayeche, Memo (I'll help you there...).
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 29 2007 at 13:53
I listened to this artist's main albums, just not profoundly. I plan a second listen soon enough, since I like VBrenner. Smile
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