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Sur Oculto - Estados CD (album) cover


Sur Oculto


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.65 | 14 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Argentinean power-trio Sur Oculto makes it clear right from the start - they come to set new standards for color and power in a jazz-rock context. The whole repertoire of their sophomore effort "Estados" reeks of smoke caused by the incendiary interplaying between all three musicians. Almost all the time the keyboardist and the rhythm duo elaborate the concise atmospheres in a vibrating unison without sounding like a machine - the resulting vibe is quite muscular. The melodic approach, if any, is very secondary: the dynamics' build-up and the ambiences set the core for each and every musical idea, whose ultimate bases mostly lie on cadences. The piano motif that sets the motion for the opening track is very catchy, and so is the funky-based motif developed in track 2. With 'Metamorfosis', which sets a sort of midway between the first two tracks, we have a great 13 minute opening that can easily set a communion between the listener's mind and the band's recorded labor. 'A Paip' clearly shows hints to Weather Report and Return to Forever while retaining the modern vibe. 'Vamo' is an amusing funk-jazz interlude between the pompous preceding track and the harsher following one, 'El Áspero', which really rocks more than it jazzes (keyboardist Fabricio Morás adds some guitar riffs on this one). The Zep-meets-ELP main motif is occasionally interrupted by some jazz-club piano portions in an abrupt manner - weird! The eerie 'Suspensión' relies on the soft Flamenco-tinged piano lines to set the main mood: despite the use of a rhythm computer and the noticeable Spartan ambience, this is one of the few real lyrical passages in the album. The Pastorius-inspired bass solo in 'Bajos' and the pulsation-driven 'Arkm' set up the frame for 'Qué Masón', which by now can simply be described as typical Sur Oculto. Actually I feel like this track might as well have been expanded a bit longer in order to provide a definitive expression for its potential: I don't feel the same about any of the first four pieces, which I find are comprised in the proper timespan. 'Vientos de Marte' changes the general mood dramatically with its minimal spacey atmospheres: for this one, Sur Oculto momentarily gives up on its jazz-rock stance and takes a short trip to psychedelic rock camps. 'Coleman' and ''Colquín' occupy the album's last 13 minutes: the former alternates menacing textures, dissonant tricks and extroverted moods (+ a drum solo), while the latter unexpectedly marks the album's finale with an introverted aura. Surely it is not the kind of epilogue one would come to expect for an album such as "Estados", but it contains enough experimental spirit through its main serenity as to become a very coherent closure. Sur Oculto is a band to pay attention to in the current context of prog- friendly jazz-rock.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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