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Nazca - Nazca CD (album) cover





4.00 | 27 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars To make chamber-rock music in a prog context is already quite bold, but a gigantic boldness it is to write and perform chamber-rock in a musical scene that unabashedly favors easy-listening pop. This is what the adventurous Mexican quintet Nazca did in the 80s. Their 1985 debut album, titled after the band themselves, placed them in a dangerous yet interesting position: to perform dark, abstract music in an attitude of breaking down the barriers between experimental rock and contemporary chamber, with a notable prominence of classical woodwind and string instruments. The featured presence of bassoon/oboe guarantees mystery; the recurrent violin flourishes (at times, augmented by the bassist shifted to the viola and the pianist shifted to the cello) guarantee tension - mystery and tension to the nth potency is what, in a nutshell, Nazca is all about. This album reveals the solid influence that 1979-81 Univers Zero and early Art Zoud had inspired in this band: traces of "Western Culture"-era Henry Cow's dynamics are also added, as well as some slight colors of folkloric origin. 'De Oír Le Duele la Boca' (Spanish for 'So Much Hearing Makes His Mouth Hurt'. go figure!) kicks off the album with somber, polished bassoon lines, as if introducing a creepy moment that is waiting to happen. The piano pulsations that later emerge build the piece's core, while the violin struggles to assume a starring role until it eventually conquers the whole sonic display. The last portion's serenity anticipates the deceitfully peaceful contemplation portrayed in the next number 'Sueño tras la Ventana'. This piece is somewhat playful on a subtle level, but its languid frame takes over the listening experience. 'El Viaje de los Mueros' explores funerary moods with a vivacious solemnity: the abundant dissonant overflows on strings and oboe are crucial to this end. The percussive ornaments pertinently fill the few empty spaces left by the other instruments while they provide a creepy cadence that emulates bones hitting each other. The last 35 seconds provide a very Stravinkyan martial fanfare. 'Lladotropogato' is a pure exercise on Univers Zero-style RIO: after a brief violin solo, captivating as it is terrifying, its main body consists of a motif cleverly developed into a constrained crescendo. The coda is led by the piano-bass pulsations. 'La Rebelión de los Colgados' preserves the coherence in the album's mood with an extra dose of colorfulness, bearing a playful twist to this overall somber album. 'Paguros del Día Gris' fills the official repertoire's last 2 minutes, and it is intensely sinister. "Nazca" is a must for all genuine avant-prog collectors, world-class chamber-rock from Latin America.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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