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Direct Link To This Post Topic: October Equus - Charybdis (2008, RAIG)
    Posted: October 04 2008 at 18:53
OCTOBER EQUUS - Charybdis
 
 
OCTOBER EQUUS is definitely one of Spain’s most pleasant in the world of prog and avant-garde rock nowadays. Formed in 2003, its well-catalyzed mixture of KING CRIMSON-inspired vibe and PRESENT-inspired ballsy RIO recreates the oppressive moods and sinister atmospheres of avant-garde prof’s primal sources with amazing vitality and freshness, not unlike other contemporary acts such as DR. NERVE and HAPPY FAMILY, to mention just a couple of examples. You can also find, as it is reasonable, influences from contemporary chamber and jazz-rock. Their official eponymous debut album has been receiving acclaims all across the Internet through the year 2006, its punch and complexity being the most featured items in reviews. Two years before this release, the band had recorded and released a free demo titled “Hydra”, distributed only among attendants at their concerts. The repertoire was the same, but set in a different order and using an electronic drum kit instead of an acoustic one.

Until early 2006 the line-up had consisted of Ángel ONTALVA (guitar), Víctor RODRÍGUEZ (keyboards), Amanda PAZOS (bass) and Txema FERNÁNDEZ (drums). But RODRÍGUEZ and FERNÁNDEZ left, so ONTALVA and PAZOS - the founding members - went in search of new recruitments while continuing to write and arrange new material. Eventually though, Víctor Rodríguez returned to the band and newcomer José Varela took the duty on drums, hence the quartet became complete again.

Recommended to fans of KC, PRESENT, UNIVERS ZERO, MAGMA, and generally speaking, to those who fervently love their prog dissonant, challenging and loud.


::: Written by Cesar Inca Mendoza Loyola :::
 
 
 
 
October%20EquusCharybdis%20album%20cover
 
 
5%20stars Hello everyone who cares! First: I'm really surprised to see a picture here which in fact is far from the album cover. Let's not mislead music-lovers and place a true cover of the release. Here is a link: www.raig.ru/octoberequus.asp#R034 Second: Not because I'm a proud publisher of Charybdis, but as a music-lover... The album is just amazing, a true masterpiece for those who value instrumental, complex, intricate, and passionate music. Third: As devoted believers in creative artwork and packaging, we think that any release is not just about the music, it is the whole presentation of it. With Charybdis we tried to make a complex piece of art with music, artwork, and packaging working as a whole. Think, we manage to do this. And hope you'll be able to estimate the resulting quality of this release. Cheers!

Report this review (#183179) | Posted Monday, September 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
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4%20stars “Charybdis” is a big statement of refurbishment and development of the basic RIO trend pursued by the excellent Spanish band October Equus. The listeners shouldn’t expect a work of emphasis on the robust tension and epic environments delivered tow years earlier in their debut album, but a renewing twist toward a more thorough elaboration of nuances and atmospheres. Please, don’t get me wrong, the band remains muscular and powerfully driven into the rockier aspect of experimental rock. Yet, you can tell that the level of sophistication in both the writing and arranging processes has reached a new height, in no small degree due to the addition of jazzy cadences and vibrations to the rhythmic foundation. The album kicks off with ‘Architeuthis Dux’, a very dynamic piece whose inherent punch is cleverly amalgamated over a challenging set of rhythmic variations. Mangs’ sax interventions provide that eerie jazzy element that will prove crucial for many tracks in the album. ‘Frozen Sea’ is focused on melancholic moods, mostly based on grayish, somber (yet not creepy at all) organ layers whose chord progressions state a true reflection on introspection. Once the piece shifts to a more extroverted section, the jazzy factor becomes totally predominant in order to instill a colorful swing to the momentum. A brief reprise of the languid intro section provides a proper closure. ‘Trylobites’ is mostly ethereal, yet still providing a certain disturbance through the dissonant counterpoints that bring an obvious sense of controlled tension. ‘Fata Morgana’ enhances somehow the jazzy RIO strategy, with a melodic structure that alternates a warm motif on 6/8 (something like Yugen-meets-“Leg End” era HC) and a central motif that states an almost chaotic architecture of muscle and dissonance. Brilliant!! ‘Frozen Sea’ had reflected the kind of renewal the band has been prusuing for thsi album, while ‘Fata Morgana’ delivers a global statement about the old and the new OE. ‘Unknown Pilot’ is a very inspired exercise on avant-garde lyricism: as un-symphonic as this piece clearly is, it certainly echoes the evocative mood that is common even in 20th century chamber. I wouldn’t have minded if this piece had been expanded beyond its 3’21” time span, but anyway, that’s not a decision for me to make. A great, appealing composition it is, indeed. And so is Amanda Pazos-penned ‘Forgotten Sirens’, a muscular piece (somehow Present-inspired, yet typically OE at the end of the day) that eventually transits to ethereal atmospheres at the ending section. Once again, my minor complaint is that this delicious idea is not expanded beyond its actual time span (only 2 ¾ minutes for this impressive prog item?... mmmm…). ‘Abyssal’ brings back the reflective side of October Equus, wisely seasoned with elements of tension and darkness. Not unlike track 4, this piece is related to the sort of sound delivered in the debut album, but it also bears arrangements much in tune with the controlled density that prevails in “Charybdis” as a whole concept. ‘Thera’ follows in a similar vein, even enhancing the ethereal factor, which proves quite effective when the more intense passages settle in and create an interesting contrast. Ontalva’s guitar phrases are featured in their magnificence among the complex instrumental framework. ‘Niarsek’ goes even deeper into the band’s serene facet, with those dominant keyboard orchestrations that instill a ceremonious aura into the composition’s overall contemplative vibe. The namesake track brings back the sort of ambiences that had already been present in tracks 1 & 4, dynamic RIO with a heavy jazzy twist and a clever use of dissonance and counterpoints in a challenging tempo. ‘Helgoland’ is the epilogue that brings the ultimate expression of melancholy in the album: the simplistic harmonic bases are handled with elegance, including a brief delicate piano interlude and an impressive guitar solo… that fades out too soon!! Despite my (minor) objections regarding some pieces’ time span, I am far from considering the repertoire’s whole situation as a failed one. On the contrary, “Charybdis” is a perfect example of successfully conceived avant-prog music in our current progressive scene. October Equuus has managed to stay loyal to the basic sound while taking it to another level of reinvigoration.

Report this review (#183837) | Posted Saturday, September 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
 avestin
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4%20stars October Equus are battling a sea monster

The third album by October Equus, released in 2008 is named after Charybdis, daughter of Gaia and Poseidon that was turned into a sea monster by Zeus. If one looks at the title of the tracks on the album, he’ll notice that mythological and nautical themes are at use here. This album was released through the RAIG label, who has been delivering intriguing and captivating experimental and avant- rock albums in the last years. It is therefore very fitting that Spanish band October Equus release their album through this label as this is a spectacular example of boundary breaking rock.

Starting in your face with the first track Architeuthis Dux, the band mixes great zeuhlish and symphonic elements in the form of heavy thumping rhythm and rich and lush keyboards sound, respectively. This tune and most others in the album carry a feel of atonality, a whimsy approach and a “typical” RIO- esque and to lesser extent zeuhl-ish characteristics reminiscent of the way other avant-rock and chamber rock bands play (the music and sound of Univers Zero, Far Corner and Yugen come to mind among others). There are also a jazzy element woven into this mix and all of these together make this a fantastic and thrilling album. The opening track in particular is a great example of that with its high energy level and even bombastic quality.

Strong jazzy and zeuhl-ish feel and elements are present in the second track Frozen Sea as well. Composed of a slow and somewhat sludgy, dirty sound and rhythm yet powerful, this track portrays well how, much like the short fast segment in its midst that quickly dissipates back to the original sluggish pace, a sea can shift from being stormy and agitated to being frozen and still.

This album seems to be more daring, more bombastic in approach than its predecessor, keeping in the same path, but expanding on it, making their sound broader, fuller, richer and much more appealing even. There’s an orchestral feel in the album that was not there in the previous s/t album from 2006. However, like in their previous album, the Univers Zero universe of sound seem to still function as a source of inspiration, as a guiding element, though, as I mentioned above, they expand on it, adding new elements to their overall sound to have it more majestic-like; with the orchestration aspect, the chamber-rock feel with the fusion elements and the use of zeuhl-ish pounding rhythms and energy, the band achieves a new level, a new construction of style and sound and make this album better than previous efforts. This album not only mixes styles wonderfully, it sounds as rich and plentiful as the number of influences it encompasses. There is terrific musicianship here, and you can clearly hear all the instruments, and make out how wonderful the play is. For instance the gorgeous keyboards in Architeuthis Dux, the powerful bass in Fata Morgana and the enchanting saxophone in the title track, Charybdis. A good example of how the band works together very well is given with the brilliant chaotic track Forgotten Sirens with its entrancing rhythm. This album puts emphasis on both attractive tunes and on various moods and atmospheres it creates; in this aspect there’s a good balance as some tracks focus more on one (Architeuthis Dux and Trylobites with their relative catchiness) while others on the latter (the appropriately named Abyssal for instance, which focuses on creating a chilling atmosphere).

With 11 tracks culminating at around 46 minutes, this is not an exhausting listen at all and in fact could have used perhaps a few more minutes. In fact, the closing track, Helgoland, could have been prolonged and given a better closure, which as it is feels to me a bit missed.

As I was listening to this album, I got to think about Panzerpappa and their album ____. I did so because like October Equus, Panzerpappa too got much of their influence and inspiration (as I hear it) from (among others) Univers Zero and their ilk of chamber and avant-rock. But, if Panzerpappa took that influence into their particular niche of positive and frisky style creating thus their own sound, October Equus in this album do a similar thing, only in a different direction, building a niche of their own.

An excellent release, even better than their previous splendid effort, this will please fans of the aforementioned styles and bands, and music enthusiasts who like the idea of mingling those influences together to form an OE sound.

Get it!

Report this review (#184743) | Posted Saturday, October 04, 2008 | Review Permalink

 
 
 
Listen to them here:
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 05 2008 at 02:09
Has this been released yet?
 
Neither wayside nor Walker seem to have it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 05 2008 at 23:48
You can order it directly from RAIG if you wish for $13. neat packaging as well; I'm happy many bands are moving away from jewel cases.

I'll leave some words once I've gather my thoughts, not sure when this will be.

“If there is one question I dread, to which i have never been able to invent a satisfactory reply, it is the question what am I doing.”
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 07 2008 at 11:17
Angel from the band told me they're already working on their next album... Shocked


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 07 2008 at 11:33
This looks awesome, I still need to get their s/t though!  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 16:35
bump

anyone else get this?


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 16:37
Originally posted by avestin

bump

anyone else get this?




did finally get that s/t debut, but haven't checked out the newest.  saw that it's available through wayside now, might order it eventually.  I need to listen to the CD I have at present more to see if it's worth it.

Did you like this release better than their first?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 16:42
Originally posted by NaturalScience

Originally posted by avestin

bump

anyone else get this?




Did you like this release better than their first?


Definitely. And I liked the s/t quite a lot.
It's a "clearer" release, more mature in a way, somewhat a change in sound, more eclectic in nature, richer sounding.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2008 at 23:12
Well, I"ll throw in my two cents.
 
After first listen there was some cool stuff about but overall it seemed like it was missing something to me. Compared to their s/t this one feels a bit more samey and less dynamic/varied than their first. HOwever, this is first listen, and this doesn't seem like the type of music that is easily digested on the first go around. I"d probably give it a 3ish at this point.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 03 2008 at 23:22
Still need to listen to the s/t some more.  Right now it's in a "good not great" category.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 12 2008 at 22:13
I can't wait to listen to this.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 12 2008 at 22:29
I think this is available through Wayside now.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 12 2008 at 22:33
Yes, I believe so.
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