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Gtic - Escenes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.07 | 132 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars From the beautiful Spanish North-East land of Catalonia came Gotic, one of the most accomplished prog acts to come out of Spain in the 70s. The band's one-shoot album "Escenes" is a delicious musical gem that should appeal to any symphonic prog lover, because of its exquisite musical ideas and tasteful arrangements. Main references are classic Camel, the melodic side of Canterbury (this is a very jazz-infused symphonic sound, indeed), the softer side of Iceberg and the pastoral side of standard Italian progressive. You can also notice some coincidental similarities with what Sloche was doing in Qubec and what Atlas would do one year later in Sweden. None of these aforesaid references is overwhelming, so Gotic manages to provide an original overall sound, especially due to the inclusion of elements inspired by Catalonian folk in places. The fact that the flute usually assumes the leading role makes the overall sound constantly reinforce its pastoral tendencies. Also, the lack of guitarist in the core line-up allows keyboardsman Jordi Vilaprinyo to enhance the pompous aspect of symphonic rock. The eerie keyboard layers in the slow passages are alternated with the colorful textures and melodies displayed on Moog/organ in the most splendid moments; all in all, perhaps the keyboardist's main duty is to complement the flute with grand-or-electric piano phrases and synth orchestrations. The opener sets a dynamic of beauty and rhythm that every prog listener should find irresistibly appealing, including a dreamy interlude that bears a surreal serenity. It's just unbelievable how a music that is performed with such delicacy can bear so much power without being properly aggressive. 'Impropmt- 1' states a slightly predominant tendency toward the jazz factor, even incepting some occasional Gentle Giant-ish tricks in a few synthesizer lines: there's even an amazing guitar solo that sounds quite akin to what Canterbury champion Phil Miller used to do, and this makes me think that maybe the band intended to have a guitar player in its line-up, because this solo feels very naturally incorporated in the track's development. Hypothetically speaking, this is a piece that the people from Gilgamesh would have been proud of. Once you get started with these two highlights, you can only hope that the remaining repertoire doesn't cause the album's decay, and certainly, this is not the case at all. not at all! 'Jocs d' Ocell', a delicious ballad, makes the band wear its Camelesque heart upon their sleeve: the piano chord progressions and the string synth layers bear a very distinctive Bardens-inspired feel. Also digging in the introspective side of Gotic is the prologue part of 'La Revoluci', before the folkish nuances alluded to in the prologue get delivered and expanded on a more extroverted tone. The album's second half starts with 'Dana d'Estu', yet another showcase for Gotic's ability to fuse Camel and Canterbury under their own rules and instincts. Tracks 6 and 7 are the most openly symphonic- focused ones in the album. The former includes another tasteful lead guitar solo, as well as majestic Baroque-inspired organ passages, plus a candid up-tempo folkish coda - a highlight, indeed. The latter fills the album's last 10 minutes, with enough room to allow the expansions of the main motifs (most of which bear a dominant contemplative feel that enhances the pastoral side of Gotic); there's a special feature of the acoustic guitar in the intro passage. "Escenes" is a masterpiece, I have no doubt about it: these musicians behaved like real experts regarding the genius of their compositions, the dynamics of their performances and the progressive consistency of their arrangements, so they didn't need to set a long-enduring career to deserve the highest praise possible for their work.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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