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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Senogul Interview, November 2007
    Posted: November 24 2007 at 13:03

SENOGUL INTERVIEW

 

                                      by Assaf and Erik

 

Erik:

A few years ago I was surfing on The Spanish Progressive Rock page and stumbled upon interesting words about the new Spanish progressive rock band Senogul. I decided to order their first CD entitled Transitos and soon I was blown away by their wonderful, very varied and adventurous sound. I added Senogul to Prog Archives and since the release of their second eponymous CD (with new compositions and re-arranged versions of the songs on their first album) the band has received a lot of positive reactions and personally it is one of my favorite progrock album of new bands in the last five years so time for the members of new Spanish progrock band Senogul to tell their story and they were very willing to answer our questions. I am very glad that the very prolific fellow collaborator Avestin (aka Assaf) responded very positive to do this interview!

 
     Assaf:

I discovered Senogul last year after reading Erik's review of their first release Transitos and when I discovered this year that they released an album with the whole tracks of the first release plus some more, I did not hesitate for a second and immediately ordered it. Now, after much listening and enjoyment, this album has risen to be one of my favourite albums released this year and an all-time favourite as well. Fantastic musicianship, variety and melodies. You can read both Erik's and my reviews of the album to know more.  

This interview will be followed by posts of those reviews and more info and links about Senogul, but for now sit back and read the interview.

 I'd like to thank the members of Senogul for the time and efforts in answering all our questions and for their enthusiasm.

 
 
 
     Erik - Where does the story of Senogul begin?

 

Israel: Eduardo and I met in 1999 and by that time both of us were discovering prog rock. I remember I had bought Thick as a brick, he had listened to Foxtrot and we made an exchange. that's how it all begun. We thought those records were just rare exceptions, but then we heard about the term "progressive rock" and found out there were hundreds of interesting records of that style to be discovered. After listening to the great bands of the genre and playing together a few times we were joking about ever founding a prog band (it looked so difficult to find other crazy prog lovers around).

 

Pedro: Eduardo and I met in the band of a friend, who called us to play in a single gig. Alex played drums, and he was the one who put all of us in touch. While rehearsing, we discovered the other's interest in prog rock, and we talked about starting a band. Eduardo called Israel, and we started rehearsing that summer in the village of Alex, on the grass, with no roof over us and with 20 dogs fooling around...

 

Pablo: I was playing in a metal band, we played covers and had a lot of fun on stage, we used to perform in disguise and even played vacuum cleaner solos. Once we played with another funny band, "El equipo Ah!". We exchanged phone numbers and never met again. until a few years later, when their drummer (Álex) phoned me asking me about playing in a prog-rock band. By then I was discovering progressive and jazz rock and was amazed by Rush, Iceberg, Hermeto Pascoal and Mahavishnu Orchestra, but I did not think anything serious may arise from Alex's proposal. But he insisted, so I went to rehearse with all of them. it was surrealistic. we played in Alex´s house, outdoors, he had a lot of dogs and they were stroking on us while we were playing.such a scene.

We were delighted with that first encounter and started rehearsing regularly (every weekend) in my former metal band rehearse room.


2. Assaf - What does the band name mean, if anything?

 

Israel: Senogul comes from "Lugones" spelled backwards, which is the name of a town close to where we usually rehearse.

 

Pedro: We have discovered recently that this word has a meaning in turkish language, something like "happy son".


3. Erik/Assaf - Given the very diverse musical styles on your album, we'd like to know what are your musical backgrounds, what are your musical preferences, who are you influenced by, what do you like to listen to, etc?

 

Israel: Before playing with Senogul I used to play in blues and rock bands (actually, Eva and I met about 10 years ago playing in Norte & Soul, a 13 piece soul band), so my soloing may sound quite bluesy sometimes. Apart from prog and blues, I like jazz fusion and basically the music from the 70s. I think they were a very creative period and I love their sound and experimental spirit as much as I can not stand the 80s. But overall I like any music style as long as it is well played and I love the fusion of different styles, which is what we do in Senogul. If I have to mention guitar players that have influenced me the most I would say BB King, Eric Clapton, Santana, Robben Ford, David Gilmour, Jan Akkerman... I have learnt something from many different players, however not all these influences are reflected in the way I play in Senogul. One great thing about being in this band is that it encourages us all to evolve and improve our style of playing, since we have to manage within different musical landscapes.

 

Pedro: My musical evolution can be described in chronological order as it follows: Queen (I discovered them at the age of 14) - Nirvana - Pixies - Sonic Youth - King Crimson... from here it all turns a bit confusing, since I've been digging in the vaults of prog and "strange" music and there's too many favourite bands to put them down here. Nowadays, I'm more in the jazz/avant-garde vein. I listen to many bands like Claudia Quintet, Miriodor, Art Bears, and such.

 

Pablo: I started playing electric bass around 1994 after listening to Black Sabbath. In the early 90s I just listened to metal music and Black Sabbath, Mercyful Fate and Iron Maiden, to name a few, were my favourite bands. This influenced the way I play the bass, since I mainly use a pick to play it. Little by little I opened to other styles, basically jazz rock, prog rock, folk music from different countries (Brazil, Cuba, the Andes, India.). As a bass player Carles Benavent, Stanley Clarke and Geddy Lee have influenced me the most, although my bass lines are also inspired by melodies played by other instruments (saxes, flutes, violins, guitars, voices.), so I would also mention Paco de Lucía, Pharoa Sanders, Flora Purin. as main influences.

As I percussion player I would consider myself more passionate than academic. I play basically Brazilian percussion and other small percussion. In this sense, I feel deeply influenced by Nana Vasconcelos, Airto Moreira and Mongo Santamaría. In Senogul we do not deprive ourselves from anything, we can include any kind of sonority or structure in our compositions, as long as the result is consistent.

 

Eva:  I started to play drums in a heavy metal band at the age of eighteen. At that point, my musical backgrounds were Spanish pop/rock, Queen, Jimmy Hendrix, Deep Purple, The Police, Phil Collins .mainly rock and pop music. After that, I played with the band Norte & Soul (as Israel told you before), Os Meninos (a bossa-nova quintet), and different bands of pop and commercial music, doing gigs in weddings and things like that. During that period, my drum teacher encouraged me to study percussion more deeply, so I spent six years at the Conservatory of my town studying classical music. That brought me the great opportunity to meet many musicians (students, teachers, performers) and to listen and even start playing many different styles of music that I didn´t have heard of, not only classical, but also jazz and avant-garde.      

My musical preferences are mainly traditional jazz (the early Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, J.J. Johnson, Duke Ellington.), the "classical" jazz that is being made nowadays (Wynton Marsalis, James Carter, Dave Holland, Avishai Cohen, Jan Garbarek), some Cuban music (Paquito D´Rivera, Michel Camilo), rock music (Foo Fighters, John Mayer, Mika), funky music (Maceo Parker, Jamiroquai), and I have recently become specially interested in jungle, bass'n'drums and everything that involves computers and electronic stuff (Jo Jo Mayer; John Hollenbeck, Johnny Rabb). Since I started to play with Senogul, I was introduced to the world of prog (thanks to Eduardo, Pedro, Pablo and Israel!), and I must say that it is a really challenging thing. So now I´m discovering Camel, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Focus, Oregon, Mahavishnu Orchestra ...the list is endless!

 

Edu: I started studying music at the age of six. Classical music -a lot of piano repertoire- was my only environment during many years. I remember that in 1992 I listened to Mike Oldfield and his Tubular Bells II and I inmediately began to get interested in other styles, mainly with a big instrumental component. Then I started to play with some musicians and just before working seriously with Senogul I was very engaged to celtic folk music, playing with an asturian combo. The music I usually listen more often is classical (specially orchestral and chamber works), jazz, contemporary instrumental, experimental/improvisation, traditional music (from all the world) and prog (I like to discover 70's underrated gems of the period!). But in general I try to listen to every style of music.  


4. Erik - You played a lot of covers from Classic Prog bands (like Genesis, Yes and King Crimson), was that to improve your technical skills or ouf of pleasure?

 

Israel: I would say both. In the beginning there were many classic songs we all liked and enjoyed playing, but it was also the best way to get into playing prog music. Since each of us had a different musical background we needed to cover some tunes and mimic the great prog players before moving into composing and arranging our own material. We had a great time doing those covers and actually we are considering including some of them in our live repertoire again, possibly Firth of fifth, since it's a strong number and we really enjoyed playing it.

 

Pablo: I reckon at the beginning I considered the band as just a pastime and could not be bothered to compose anything. Playing covers allowed us to improve as individual musicians as well as to be more consistent as a band. Then we were ready to start composing our own material. Before playing those covers together we had already listened to progressive music, but from a performer and obviously from a composer point of view, none of us was able to move freely in that style yet.

 

Edu: As Israel says, both aspects were important. I remember that when we were working on an ELP cover ("Welcome back my friends", the second part of the Karn Evil 9 first impression) I spent many hours listening to Emerson solos and transcribing it note by note. I didn't want to improvise because it was more interesting for me those days learning the lenguage of Emerson's figures. Also, I remember very pleasantly transcribing the intro of Watcher of the Skies, and the treatment of the Mellotron harmony was very special!


5. Erik - Can you tell us about the music and recordings of the first album? What was the reaction of the press and the fans?

 

Israel: 'Tránsitos' was recorded live at the end of 2004 and it was a magical day for many reasons. We had not rehearsed together for one month and yet we were able to record the 5 tracks in a single afternoon. Before that day many passages were basically improvised solos. But we liked so much the way they sounded in that recording, so they became definitive melodies and since then we have been playing them exactly like that. This is the case of my solos in 'Tango Mango' and in 'La mulata eléctrica'. Also, 'Microcosmos blues' acquired its definitive structure that day, as well as the intro from 'Travesía de las gaviotas', which we improvised in a break during the recording.

I think that day was really an inflection point in our career. After listening to the final mix we realised we had something interesting to show, we started believing in ourselves and our possibilities and it encouraged us all to work together to get a record deal.

 

Edu: It was very important for us, because we could show our work to many people and also listening to our own recording helped us to improve and become better musicians. We also made a big distribution of it, contacting with many specialized webs (like Progarchives or La Caja De Musica) and the reviews were very positive (you can read some at our website). Also, there were some shops in EEUU and Netherlands that contacted us and helped us to distribute the recording. People in prog circuits started talking about us. It was a great preparation for the real first album, with Mylodon Records.

 

6. Erik - What happened with Senogul between the release of the first and second album?

 

Pablo: 'Transitos' is actually a self-produced demo-CD, since we never released it through a record company. After that recording we kept on composing new songs and replacing the old covers we played live by our new material. Such material was getting mature in time as the arrangements were constantly improved. The countdown for the recording of our first official release ('Senogul') had started. Between our demo-CD and 'Senogul' we played a couple of concerts, most of them in our region ( Asturias), where nowadays the band is quite renowned.

 

7. Erik/Assaf - Can you tell something about the reactions on the second album in Spain and abroad? Do you perform much?

 

Pedro.- This album has been very well received in the prog community, both in Spain and outside (at least for what we know). The reviews we've read are very good, and the only thing left is to make it known by more people. The best way of doing this is by playing live, but we find it difficult to perform this kind of music in Spain. There are few places interested, and now Senogul members are living in different places around the world... but we keep trying, and we have some dates in mind that we'll tell you about in time.


8. Erik - The keyboard player delivers a wide range of sounds, from organ and synthesizers to even a piece with harpsichord. What keyboards does he use and who are his progrock heroes?

 

Edu: Thanks. My principal keyboard is a Kurzweil PC1X, a stage piano, which provides me with great piano (acoustic and electric) sounds but also organs and monophonic moog like synths. I have also a Kawai X-55D keyboard as reinforcement (the one that sounded in "Transitos" recording). With the Kurzweil I can also edit my own sounds and nowadays I use new sounds that I have made myself by changing some parameters of the original ones. About my keyboard heroes, I like too many... but talking about progrock/fusion, I have three favorites: Tony Banks (and all his wide range of harmony treatment), Dave Stewart (his sounds and skills of improvisation) and Joe Zawinul (a perfect mixture of these two men in a modern jazz context).


9. Erik - What did the band change in the excellent composition La Mulata Eléctrica?

 

Edu: Particularly it's in a slower tempo, and I think the Spanish influences are more present in the new recording. There are also some details, like some drum syncopations, the presence of a minimoog like solo or the final guitar solo performed by Israel. With Eva, the new drummer, this piece becomes very spectacular with new drum parts.


10. Assaf - What is the picture on your new album and why did you choose it?

 

Pedro.- It's a photograph of a roller-coaster in Finland. The picture was taken by a photographer friend of mine last year. I think it describes very well the concept of the album: like a roller coaster, it goes constantly up and down, travelling through a lot of different sensations (from calm to madness) that change without leaving you a second to breath... and apart from that, the picture is beatiful, isn't it?


11. Erik/Assaf - With the development of social and musical online networks like Myspace, do you find that those (along with your own website) help you with exposing your music to wider audiences, and if so, what's the response? Do you get many new fans this way? What is the overall impact of the Internet on the popularity of bands like Senogul, did it help the band? Do you think that prog-rock websites like PA, PE, DPRP etc, are a major factor in promoting progressive music and bands?

 

Pablo: Internet is nowadays one of the best media for Senogul. Most of our followers heard about us for the first time in internet, through our Myspace (www.myspace.com/senogul ) or reading reviews of our albums and concerts in webpages like those you mention. With little (and cheap) effort you can get good advertising on-line. Nowadays internet plays a decisive role for bands like us that move in the prog-rock circuit. I got to know many of my favourite bands in internet (like Return to Forever or Hermeto Pascoal) and ended up buying all their records.

 

Eva: I think these networks and websites are the best way for expose our music apart from playing live. It´s quick, worldwide, cheap, and they give a lot of information for the audience, and also for the band, because this way we know how many people listen to our music, and what they think about it.

 


12. Erik - How important was Triana for the Spanish progrock and what is your opinion about the Prog Andaluz bands?

 

Pablo: Triana was one of the first bands to fusion the emotion of flamenco with the power and solemnity of rock music and they made it in such simple way, easy to assimilate, that is why they were so commercially successful. It was a band with such a popular appeal and thanks to them many other andalusian rock bands appeared.

Andalusian prog-rock bands are something genuine from our country (particularly from the south of Spain) although a few foreign bands can also be found. For me they have a very special feeling, an extraordinary passion. songs like "Amanecer en el puerto" from Alameda make your hair stand on end. personally I think the secret is in the "attack" and harmonies typical from flamenco music, together with a particular way of singing (as it happens, for example, in the case of Cai)

 


13. Erik - One trademark of the Spanish Seventies progrock bands is that their sound was not obviously inspired by the Classic Prog bands, they often blended folky elements like Ibio or Granada or they sounded more experimental or eclectic like Atila, Gualberto, Eduardo Bort. What's your opinion about that?

 

 

Pablo: Any kind of fusion of rock with folk music, made with respect and good taste, is always a great achievement. To me, the fusion of different styles means a musical evolution and improvement. For example, such is the case of Gualberto and those bands you mentioned.

Spain lived under a dictatorship until 1975 and, as you can imagine, the music people could listen to before that date was not exactly progressive rock. Perhaps in such situation Cataluña and their bands were enjoying an advantageous situation, since the culturally prolific France was so close. Maybe that is why the bands from Cataluña were in many cases one step ahead of those from the rest of the country regarding maturity and complexity (Iceberg, Orquesta Mirasol, Gotic.). After the end of the dictatorship the Spanish rock music underwent a great evolution.

 

 

14. Erik - How about the current Spanish progrock; do you know bands like Unoma, Bijou, Kotebel and Neverness? If so, what are your impressions with those?

 

Pedro.- We know some of this bands (Kotebel, Neverness, Amarok, Omni, October Equus, Insigne and more), and we find them very interesting. There are a lot of great ideas and beautiful music out there, but -as always- we find it difficult to know of this bands apart from some specialized web sites. It's a pity, but musical industry goes in a totally opposite direction to this kind of music. Imagination is not in fashion today. If we can talk about a "Progrock scene" here in Spain, I think it's very healthy (at least with all the obstacles given).


15. Erik/Assaf - What are the future plans of Senogul? Will your sound continue to develop?

 

Pablo: We are currently finishing the recording of our second CD, which, to be honest, the only thing it has in common with the first one is its "progressive mentality". We start from similar concepts but we develop them using a very different instrumentation. In this second effort we use less electric instruments (guitars, bass) and more acoustic ones, like sitar, sax, piano, kalimbas, gongs, congas. and a full percussive arsenal, as well as the voices are more present (as ritual, afro Cuban and work songs). The record will contain different musical landscapes, unfolded with a certain dynamism. It will be definitely a record to enjoy after listening to it several times.

Israel : Such second recording will be more avant-garde. I would say it will please those who said we did not take enough risks in our first effort. but, at the same time, those who are into symphonic prog will probably find it more difficult to get into it.

 

Pablo: Nevertheless, we also keep on composing in the same style of our first CD, in the wake of 'La verbena hermética'. We promise to keep on working hard in the new compositions and arrangements and to offer always high quality music with our typical dose of eclecticism.

 


16. Assaf - Let's say that someone completely unaware of your music is reading this interview, what would you say to lure or convince him to give your band a listen (Myspace, your official website etc)?

 

Pablo: Our self-titled CD is the result of several years of working all together, It is a record of free music made by free musicians who are constantly growing. It is the result of many musical interests, all of them linked together by a progressive mentality. I believe this music transmits different moods in a clear an intense way, from the most overwhelming euphoria to a profound melancholy.

Any Yes, Rush, King Crimson, Hermeto Pascoal, Marillion, Santana, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Genesis, Zappa, Weather Report or Spanish progressive rock fan will not feel disappointed when listening to our music.

 

Pedro.- It's rather difficult to describe our music, so I would suggest to visit our Myspace and listen to the songs there. If  you like them, then you'll love the CD. ¿What about a ride in the rollercoaster?

 

Eva: Just click on www.myspace.com/senogul right now and you won't regret it! It´s easy, fun and free. What's the worst thing that could happen to you?


17. Erik - Final question: what do you want to say about Prog Archives?

 

Pablo: I know the webpage since several years ago. thanks to Prog Archives I discovered records such as Bubu-Anabelas or Mutantes-Tudo foi feito pelo sol. I think it plays a very important role in prog music media all over the world. Personally, Prog Archives is one of the musical webpages that I check the most. long live Prog Archives!

 

Pedro.- I visit Progarchives often. It's one of the sites I check out when I'm in front of the computer and I don't know what to do... because I enjoy very much diving inside it's tons on information about cool bands, many of them totally unknown for me... and it's very friendly to navigate by... Progarchives has made me discover a lot of great music, and I hope it will keep doing so. If my boss knew how much time I've spent there... uups, hope he's not reading this.

 

Eva: For me, Prog Archives has been the Bible of progressive rock. I can't imagine how could I ever approach to this beautiful music without surfing countless hours on this resource. It has lots of information and it's organized in a very good way. It's very useful for those who are inexperienced about this kind of music, and also for the masters. Thank you so much!

 

Edu: Progarchives is one of the most important references to get inmerse in the prog movement, to know artists, styles and albums. I like the structure very much and it was -and really is nowadays- very helpful to discover new names and ways of making music.

 

Israel: And in my case I can say that Progarchives is not just a great way of getting to know new bands, but also of making some good contacts thanks to the forum. Unfortunately now I don't have the time to collaborate in the forum, but I still check it from time to time.

 



Edited by avestin - November 24 2007 at 13:21
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 24 2007 at 13:06
SENOGUL 
 
Biography:
Senogul is an instrumental band born in Asturias in 2002, thanks to the meeting of bass player Pablo Canalís, keyboard player Eduardo García Salueña, drummer Alex Valero "Danda" and guitar players Israel Sánchez and Pedro A. Menchaca. Although they had different musical backgrounds (Heavy Metal, Blues, Folk or Post-rock) they found a common ground related to styles such as progressive rock or jazz fusion, the so-called “Contemporary Instrumental Music”.
The initial repertoire of the band was made up basically of symphonic rock covers from the 70s (from bands such as Genesis, King Crimson, Yes, Crucis and ELP) and later they approached other bands more related to fusion (Return To Forever, Airto Moreira, Frank Zappa or Hermeto Pascoal). This led to the recording in 2003-2004 of the Demo CD Cosecha años 70 in “Dos Mundos” studio, headed by Mento Hevia (ex-keyboardist of Spanish progressive band Crack), with Mikhail Goldfarb as the sound engineer.
Since then, Senogul focus in their own compositions and style, based in the instrumental fusion of different musical styles: rock, jazz, blues, baroque music, minimalism, electronic music or flamenco, including such compositions in their set-lists. In 2005 Senogul records and self-produces the mini CD entitled Tránsitos, in which the band included six of those new compositions played live in the studio. Such demo recording was widely spread, not only through several concerts in different concert halls in Asturias (Gijón, Oviedo, Navia) or nacional events (such as Lughnassad Festival, held in Tiermes –Soria- in 2005, together with other important asturian artists such as Dani García de la Cuesta, Skontra or Deua Dubra), but also through internet in specialised national and international websites.
Meanwhile, Senogul kept composing new material showing new influences, with a freer, improvised character, tending to ethnic music and tone percussion. In 2006 the band focused in the recording of their first, self-titled, studio album, with Ángel Berdiales as the recording engineer and the collaboration of many renowned asturian musicians (such as multi-instrumentist Guzmán Argüello, who has played with Nuberu, Los Locos, Mü, Acullá or Edwin Moses). Such CD has been edited in May 2007 by Mylodon Records, Chilean record label specialised in progressive and avant-garde music.
Senogul, now with Eva Díaz in drums replacing Álex Valero, is currently immersed in the presentation of their new CD in live concerts. The musical proposal of the band is linked in a way to those from asturian bands from the second half of the 70s, such as Crack, Asturcón, Nuberu and Berto Turulla.
 
 
 
 
Reviews for Senogul's s/t album:
 
 

SENOGUL — Senogul

Review by avestin (Assaf Vestin)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Zeuhl/RIO/Avant Team

4%20stars Variety. That is one keyword that describes Senogul’s new s/t album. There are other words, but I’ll let you read the review for you to discover them.

What is special about this album is that the use of the variety of styles and sounds is done in such a flowing natural way, as if we were never used to it being different than this, without sounding weird or out of place. It’s not that it is a multi-genre record, but there is a clever assimilation of styles in the tunes that Senogul plays, making it their own sound.

The music sounds to me as being “free, open, without barriers”, and not as a wall of sound or any other type of dense and thick sound. While not exactly a light-spirit album, it’s one that is characterized by an “airy”, fresh and “spacious” sound and mood. Senogul creates music that is tender and mellow alongside more dynamic and vibrant tunes. The diversity of the album is manifested in the styles played, tone and ambiance of the tracks (both within and between tracks), instrumentation and musical themes that are presented in each tune. What more, is that since the music is the way it is, I don’t feel “drained” at the end of the album, as I do with some other albums that can be an exhausting experience. With this album, I feel that I can listen to it again once I finish listening to it, despite it being quite long. The Senogul sound is highlighted by the keyboards (usually taking a piano sound), their particular guitar sound and their groovy rhythms. Though they are Spanish, there is no strong Spanish sound in their music except for several parts in the tracks that go that way. The guitar does take (though not all the time) a Spanish “accent” that I can also recognize from other Spanish bands.

Some of the tracks on this album are re-recorded versions of the tracks from their 2006 release Transitos and they added several other tracks to create a long and satisfying album with 12 tracks.

I will not do a track by track but I’ll point out some of the main aspects of the different tunes here and mention what I liked about them (or not) and what I found impressive or noticeable. The first two tracks in the album are connected making them sort of a one piece. In the first track is also a nice feature the band added in the form of the angelic sounding Coro Melsos (Melsos Choir). The choir comes in late in the first track and they link between both tracks. This choir should have been used more throughout the album. In the second track comes the more dynamic form of Senogul, in contrast with the dreamy, ethereal aspect of the opening track. What I like about the band in particular is the use of various instruments to create that lively atmosphere, a free spirit feel. But even when they use a “basic” rock instrumental lineup, they manage to create a delicate form of power in their music that doesn’t sound forceful. With Tango Mango, Senogul present their version of an epic track. At over 12 minutes, there is much going on here in terms of musical ideas, different moods, tempo’s, styles and instruments. This is to me the highlight of the album (there are others, rest assured). Opening with a delicate “open sound” guided by guitar and accordion, the music goes on to a more “closed sound” that the keyboards create. There is shifting from a propelling rhythm to laid back parts and then back to a different type of energetic component. There is some tango here, some rock (and some good old symphonic rock bits), some innuendos of Spanish music, and them some… There are several musical themes that the band plays and goes from and back to, all mingling naturally. Even when the band seems to be going over the top (around ~9:10) they still contain themselves, never loosing control and self discipline. La Verbena Hermetica goes on to a Spanish flavoured tune, very groovy and bouncy and along the way “visits” other parts of the Senogul musical map, such as some jazz-rock territory. Microcosmos Blues is slightly more aggressive due to the heavier guitar distortion used (occasionally, not throughout the track) and although the name suggests it, it’s not a blues song (although some elements of it can be found) yet the ending of the track is a classic blues ending. Track 7, Gotas De Cristal En Tu Vaso De Iluvia starts mellow with the guitar and flute and they are joined in for a mid-track peak by the rest of the band. From then the music is more structured with the drums being more “present” and the accompanying chords of the keyboards (with a typical organ sound). This and the previous track, Dr. Gull II, are somewhat of a good middle section, giving a “well deserved pause” in the middle of this rather long musical journey. La Maha Vishnuda contrasts the previous two tracks as it goes for a more rock style than other tracks, with more poignant guitars, and drumming. this track maybe short (4:44) and yet they manage in this short time to create a piece that doesn’t repeat itself, progresses from the start all the way to the end, by changing and evolving the theme, and the nice vocal line which should have been used more. Agua, fuego & porexpán is a great jazzy tune (at times I thought of Secret oyster, don’t know why…), again bouncy as some previous tracks, rich in sound, powerful in its execution. But just when I thought that I figured out the whole track, then at ~2:00 the tempo and whole music theme change and they start a new part, with the same bouncy style but different which in itself has a twist within it. This track shows how Senogul take something that might have otherwise been a rather usual sounding piece and made much more exciting, thrilling, interesting, complex and compelling. Not once does it sound forced to me, it’s all perfectly natural sounding, as if playing like this is something everyone does and they are just playing along with the flow. All I can say about this piece – Fantastic! Up there with Tango Mango and La Verbena Hermatica). Travesía de las gaviotas is a nice short mellow tune, rather minimalist compating to the other tracks with regards to the instrumentation used. La Mulata Eléctrica starts strong, with the bass, keyboards and drums playing a tune together, repeating it and then moving on to play another part ending with something that has a slightly Spanish flavour. This track is where Senogul reveal more fully their origins with the clapping in the middle and the Ole and the guitar playing with a Spanish “accent”. This track is another fine example to the variety of the band in terms of instrumentation, sound, style and a fine example of how they develop musical ideas and progress from start to end. It is another highlight of this album. This could have been an excellent closer of the album. Dr. Gull III is the longest of those similarly named tracks, and the only one that is really dynamic and probably the one with the most developed musical theme. It also brings back some of the motifs that were used in other tracks (unless I imagine it…). It is a bit more with a sinister mood, but still not overtly dark. I wouldn’t have ended with this track and rather use it in the middle like the second part but it is not something detrimental and they chose to end with that for a reason I suppose, so I respect that.

Another thing I think they should have done differently is make more use of the Melsos Choir. It could have given more “colour” to some of the tracks. I said their music is colourful as it si with all the instrumentation, but the choir was a good addition when it was used.

All in all, this is a magnificent release, one that I recommend highly. If you like varied music, enjoyable, well written, rich in sound yet not dense, music that progresses within each track and doesn’t stagnate, then this should please you. If someone were to ask me for an example of a band that plays a progressive form of music (not necessarily rock, but it obviously applies to them), then this album would be an excellent example. Give this a chance, go buy it!

Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 23:01 EST | Permanent link

SENOGUL — Senogul

Review by erik neuteboom (erik neuteboom)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Expert

4%20stars One of the trademarks of the Spanish progressive rock is its originality: in the past from bands like Ibio, Carmen, Atila, Itoiz and the flamenco inspired Prog Andaluz bands like Triana, Cai, Mezquita and Azahar and in the present from bands like Bijou, Unoma, Kotobel and …. Senogul. I was very pleasantly surprised with their debut album entitled Transitos but I am really delighted about their eponymous second CD, what a wonderful and varied progrock!

This new CD contains 12 compositions including new versions of all five tracks from the debut album entitled Transitos. The music sounds on one hand very melodic and in general accessible and on the other hand varied and elaborate. The band has progressed on all levels: a better sound, very matured compositions, a more lush and varied keyboard sound, the guitar work is excellent and the interplay great. To get an impression: a classical sounding piano intro, soon blended with sensitive electric guitarplay and halfway a female choir, conga’s and dynamic drums in Dr. Gull I, a swinging piano, howling guitar and a jazzy guitar solo in the catchy Racionalidad, an intro with bagpipe, then varied, often swirling piano work and a wide range of instruments (from the fiery guitar and powerful saxophone to a strongly build-up Minimoog synthesizer with pitchbend) in the captivating La Verbena Hermetica, lots of variety and strong duo-guitarplay with an exciting blend of the guitar soli in La Maha Vishnuda, lots of brass and fiery guitar in the Alquin-like Agua, Fuego & Porexpan and dreamy featuring sensitive guitar and soaring keyboards in Travesia De Las Gaviotas. And in some tracks you can enjoy the sound of the flute traverse, variety rules! My highlights are the two compositions in which Senogul blends several styles and we can enjoy lots of shifting moods: first Tango Mango that sounds as a hybrid of tango, symphonic prog, avant-garde, classical and jazz delivering both synthesizer – and guitar soli as sparkling play on accordeon and harpsichord and second La Mulatta Electrica, loaded with tension and exciting musical ideas, from Al DiMeola-like symphonic jazzrock (fiery guitar and a propulsive rhythm-section) to Prog Andaluz (including palmas/handclapping and jaleos/cheerful shouts) with swinging piano and moving electric guitar runs, how captivating!

In my opinion Senogul has made a very pleasant, alternating and captivating album that showcases the huge talents of this band, highly recommended!

Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 15:22 EST | Permanent link

SENOGUL — Senogul

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

4%20stars Senogul has delivered with this album a manifesto of their musical genius, stating one of the most exquisite new affirmations of the prog genre in their country. The material recorded through the years 2005 and 2006 is what we find here in Senogul's offiical debut recording, now released by Mylodon Records in 2007. Five of the 12 tracks that are comprised in this repertoire already existed in their demo "Tránsitos", and now we can enjoy them in refurbished fashion... well those tracks and all of them, in general. The quantity of guests (mainly on wind instruments) is very revealing of the band's interest on the expansion of the colors inherent to their compositions. The band's sound is characterized by an energetic combination of symphonic prog and jazz- rock, porperly ornamented with classical music touches and folky flavors. García Salueña's keyboards (with the piano assuming a prominent role) play a reasonable featured part in the band's sonic architecture, while the rhythm duo displays a high degree of dynamics and precision, very accurate to help the band's overall input to make things happen in a convincing way. The album's first 6 minutes are occupied by the diptic of 'Dr. Gull I' and 'Racionalidad'. 'Dr. Gull I' gest started on a solemn note, based on the ambiences delivered by the piano chordp rogressions, while the other instruments (mainly the lead guitar) build up a moderate sense of energy instilled into the main motif's development; with the choir adding a touch of majestic vibrations to the fold, teh door is open for the entrance of 'racionalidad', a delicious track plethoric of melodic dynamics and an exciting tempo. Next comes the first opus in teh album, 'Tango Mango'. This is sheer old-fashiones progressive sophistication: various motifs succedding one another, variations of mood and tempo, tight performances full of technical prowess, but never getting the pyrotechnics to a gratuitous level. The inclusion of tango-based elements helps the track to preserve its colorfulness throughout its expansion. Having said this, I confess that I find this track less cohesvie than the other long numbers: it is very good, but it wll soon be eclipsed by the next two pieces. 'La Verbena Hermética' is just awesome, captivating, owning a captivating dexterity that comprises both variation and cohesion in perfect doses. The piano leads the track's main body with its inspiration in the jazzier side of Emerson. There is an interlude near the end that goes deeper into the jazzy side of things while the horn arrangements play some agile counterpoints, very much a-la GG. And then comes the final section, a lovely lovely translation of part of the main motif into a 6/8 tempo, a homage to Asturias' folk dances (Asturians happens to be the band members' native Spanish region). The candid colors of Norhern Spain's folk are funnily complemented by the amazing Moog solo and the burlesque of animal sounds - I get goosebumps everytime I get to this closing portion. 'Microcosmos Blues' is more jam-oriented, consisting on a smaller amount of motifs that fin more room for expansion than those comprised in 'Tango Mango'. Unlike its immediate predecessor, 'Microcosmos Blues' bears a more greyinsh mood, like an autumn evening under the haze. This prominent mood is more featured in the relaxed sections, although there is also room for some solid dual guitar riffing (leading the band toward a flirt with tandardized psychodelia) and even a brief reagge-jazz interlude. The album's second half begins with another diptic, 'Dr. Gull II'-'Gotas de Cristal en Tu Vaso de Lluvia' (beautiful title, 'Crystal Drops in Your Glass of Rain'). 'Dr. Gull II' begins with a reprise of some piano touches from the first 'Dr. Gull', and then comes a series of special effects that serve as a proper prelude for the manifestation of density in 'Gotas de Cristal...'. One of the most amazing tricks of this number is how well the intense spiralling piano goes sliding under the rhythm section's slow motion and the dense guitar solo. 'La Maha Vishnuda' continues with this trend of slow tempo and melancholy ambiences, but this time the track is less dense and more candorous. The interaction between the two guitarists is carefully crafted in order to guide the track's dynamics fro mbeginning to end in a solid manner. 'Agua, Fuego y Porexpán' brings back the appealing colorfulness that had been cleverly exploited in tarcks 2-4. The track's punchy spirit is enhanced by the effective work of the guests on saxes, trumpet and trombone - following the road of fusion, the band also feels comfortable, although the sytlish vibe they deliver is evidently due to their overall progressive approach. The jazz thing persists in the beautiful (albeit too ephimeral!) 'Travesía de las Gaviotas', a display of soft Ltin-jazz under a guise of serenity. I personally feel that 'La Maha' and 'Travesía' could have benefited from further expansion, but anyway, things are as they are and these two tracks are very good as they are. 'La Mulata Eléctrica' has, in comparison to the version included in "Tránsitos", a tighter guitar work and more notable dynamics. The band's symphonic splendour is revealed in full colors, even including some crafty hints to Andalusian prog (like Triana or Mezquita, so to speak). Well, the last 4+ minutes are occupied by 'Dr. Gull III' is arguably the mos tarticulated composition in the album, setting once again that fluid combination of symphonic and jazz-rock that is Senogul¡s forte. This album is really great, essential to get to know one of the peaks of the current Spanish progressive scene - Senogul has reached full maturity in terms of performance and creativity.

Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007, 21:44 EST | Permanent link

Guests Reviews

SENOGUL — Senogul

Review by Almanzor (Francisco)

5%20stars A stunning music from Spain.Mix Tango, RIO, Flamenco, Psicorock, celtic folk etc..in a smooth way, creating an own sound wich remember me the old 70 bands like Cai, Iceberg,Nuberu,King Crimson,ELP,Jethro Tul,Return to forever,Mahavishnu Orchestra. Both rythm and melodic section are excellent. You will need to hear at least 3 times to apreciate the music of this recording.I am waiting for a second album. Almanzor, Spain.

Posted Friday, November 23, 2007, 04:35 EST | Permanent link



Edited by avestin - November 25 2007 at 12:41
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 12:41
Listen to SENOGUL here:
http://www.myspace.com/senogul
 
Read about the band here
http://www.senogul.tk/
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 12:57
Clap Well done guys!

Erik: you'd better play us some Senogul next Friday, if time allows.


Edited by Angelo - November 25 2007 at 12:58
Even prog is rooted in the blues, at some point...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 14:10
Excellent job, you two! I recently got my hands on their critically acclaimed release, and I'll be sure to give this a more well-thought read when I have an idea of the music in point.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 15:05
 
                   Thanks Angelo (of course Senogul will be in the CD player, it is
        MY home and time is on MY side Wink) and Ivan (good to see you here) Thumbs%20Up
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 22:59
Great work Assaf & Erik, that was a treat to read Clap
 
It will be interesting to see how their music evolves, they seem to be a band determined to progress at all costs.
Signature Writers Guild on strike
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2007 at 21:51
Great band and a great record!! Arguably, "Senogul" is the best Spanish prog album of this year 2007.
 
          Kind regards. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2007 at 16:59
 
                         Thanks for the posts and up to 100 views Thumbs%20Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2007 at 18:39
Congratulations Erik and Avestin. Sucess to Senogul and Israel.
Let the sunshine in
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2007 at 21:59

Great work guys Clap


Follow me on twitter @memowakeman
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2007 at 11:06
Agreed - very good interview, fellows Thumbs%20Up

Well - and nice comments about this site from the band ...

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2007 at 08:38
Great interview with a very good band.ClapThumbs%20Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2007 at 12:18
 
                                     Thanks fellow progheads Thumbs%20Up and this is a boost to
                                               do our next project: Anton Roolaart!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 09 2007 at 12:02
Just come across this today, Very interesting and Well done guys! Clap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 03 2008 at 19:26
Better late than never, finally got to read this!

ClapClapClap


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