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G̣tic - Escenes CD (album) cover

ESCENES

G̣tic

 

Symphonic Prog

4.07 | 132 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The absence of H makes all the difference

Did you ever feel a band had chosen completely the wrong name in relation to their music? Well that's how I feel about Spanish band Gotic, based on their sole album from 1978 "Escenes". I do not know whether the words "Gotic" and "gothic" are interchangeable, or indeed if there is any relationship between them. As someone who is embarrassingly ignorant of all languages except my native tongue though, their name for me implies an immediate association with bands such as Sisters of Mercy and The Mission. Such assumptions are however completely wide of the mark, there is nothing gothic about the music here whatsoever.

"Escenes" is an entirely instrumental album which is reminiscent of, but by no means a clone of, Camel's earlier works. The obvious comparison therefore is with "The Snowgoose" since that album was also instrumental, and the regular use of flute can paint similar pictures at times. The admirable proliferation of mellotron also enforces the comparison, although Camel tended to use orchestra for such passages. This is though by no means a "Snowgoose 2".

The opening "Escenes de la terra en festa I de la mar en calma" effectively acts as a brief overture since, although it does not summarise the music as such, it contains a good cross section of the styles and sounds which prevail throughout the album. The following "Imprompt I" focuses on the jazzier side of the band, indeed the word Focuses is a good description, the track having similarities with the work of that Dutch outfit.

"Jocs d'ocells" bathes in some superb mellotron, the piece being light and whispy while retaining the listener's attention through an ever developing melody. The following "La revolucio" slows things down slightly, electric piano and flute sharing the limelight until a PFM like staccato break changes the mood completely. The brief "Danca d'estiu" has a bit of an ELP feel to it, probably due to the Greg Lake like twang of the bass chords.

"I tu que ho veies tot tan facil" is a light symphonic piece with mellotron once again featuring strongly. This is where Gotic really do become Camel, the track featuring a delightful procession of lead guitar, church organ and synthesiser. This is without doubt the best track on the album up to this point, but soon to be eclipsed by the 10 minute closer, "Historia d'una gota d'aigua". This wonderful suite opens with drifting flute on acoustic guitar, the melody being pastoral and reflective. As things gradually pick up, we find another Focus like melody played out on flute, the repetitive refrain becoming ever more haunting and infectious. As mellotron adds further colours to the piece, we become aware we are enjoying a truly magnificent final track. Strangely perhaps, the track actually reminds me of the latter (less well known) part of Eric Clapton's "Layla".

"Escenes" is a superb album by this one shot Spanish band. Had it been released by a British or American outfit in 1978, there is no doubt we would now be revering them as pillars of the genre. This is essential listening for those who enjoy genuine 1970's prog.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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