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Ibio - Cuevas de Altamira CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.26 | 35 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Of the seven provinces making Spain's Northern border, only two have a real Spanish or Castillan culture (don't read "Catalan", please, I like to keep my head on my shoulders ;o)), the first being Aragon and the other being Cantabria, with its capital Santander. But Cantabria being stuck between the Basque provinces and the more Celtic Asturias and Galicia, you can guess that the pure Hidalgo spirit is not quite as prominent as it would be some 300 Kms Southbound. And Ibio, coming from that province, is using many folk influences, but they are different from the Basque but also the more Flamenco culture; instead they use a more "medieval" atmosphere and a slight Celtic touch as well, but the whole thing comes as a pot-pourri, including the castanets moments. To say that Ibio is a folk- derived band alone would make it a lie, because the group develops a strong symphonic feel as well, represent mostly by the usual array of suspect keyboards, including the Solina and the Mellotron and bassist Alegria is singing.

The standard prog quartet was already fairly experienced musicians by the time they came around to release their sole album in 78, judging from the picture included in this nice digipack (my guess was the vinyl came in a gatefold sleeve). Sonically, it's difficult to describe accurately as they pretty well seem to have their own sound somewhere between Fruupp, BJH, Genesis and to a lesser extent Yes, but also Goma, Crack, and even Itoiz. Never overly complicated CDA is a gentle smooth-running album, that doesn't raise many eyebrows; even when Pastor unleashes its dramatic Hispanic vocals, you'd expect more pizzazz and poignant emotions, which won't come hard enough to win you over. The seven tracks, ranging from 2.5 to almost 8 minutes, are all penned by keyboardist Calderón (who dominates moderately the music as well), bar the short guitar-ey Highs & Lows. The most exciting track is the the lengthy finale Baila de Ibio, where the finally break out from their shell and become themselves and can't help but shouting a "Viva Cantabria" to meet their more sovereign-prone cousin and neighbour provinces.

While Ibio's sole album is a nice, middle-of-the-pack symphonic folk prog that should content most progheads, it is nothing extraordinary either and its discovery shouldn't bawl you over or even enthral you beyond the normal novelty enthusiasm, and it'll most likely end up in the middle of the pack of little-heard albums a few years after the acquisition, but should reward you with enough thrills on each successive rediscoveries ever couple of years or so.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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