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Vega - Sol De Oscuridad CD (album) cover

SOL DE OSCURIDAD

Vega

 

Prog Folk

2.13 | 4 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Of the three Vega releases this one is the least distinctive, which may explain why the only copies I’m aware of are promos. I’m assuming the thing was actually released since the title track is available as a 7” vinyl single from lots of on-line sites; but I’ve never seen an officially released version and am quite sure there has never been a CD reissue.

The heart of this band was always Tómas Vega’s guitar work, alternating between heavily flamenco- influenced acoustic fingering and a more jazzy style on electric guitar. Those characteristics exist on this album just as they did on the first two, but honestly he doesn’t seem all that inspired and his acoustic pieces in particular aren’t nearly as ranging or intricate as on the band’s other studio releases. None of the Vega albums is exactly a masterpiece, but this one suffers from the 80’s syndrome on a number of levels.

First, the album cover is bland and sterile. Normally I wouldn’t comment on something as unimportant as cover artwork unless it was a stellar Dean piece or something; but this one is so unrepresentative of the music it encases that it bears pointing out. Vega’s first two albums feature beautiful artwork depicting a modern view of Andalusian life, while this one is a cheesy new-wave looking thing with bland angular graphics and insipid Miami Vice-like lettering. Bleah.

And for some reason the group decided to pick their last release as the time to debut more extensive vocals than on any of their other music, which is mostly instrumental. Considering the emphasis on flamenco and prog fusion the band established in their early work, the shift to a more cosmopolitan, smooth sound with two-part vocals is a bit disappointing and a detraction from the more worthwhile instrumental work.

On an up note the bass and brass are both more pronounced than the band’s other works, giving the music a bit of depth that helps to offset the less-than-spectacular guitar parts, particularly on the opening and title tracks.

The band doesn’t really manage to find their groove musically until the final two tracks, both instrumentals and both featuring extended jazz breaks with piano and funky bass lines layered quite beautifully despite the de-emphasis on guitar. “Luz Verde” is indisputably a jazz composition, up-tempo and with little indication that this is a Spanish band beyond the mildly perceptible percussion. The closing “Amaneciendo” is much slower and features the only extensive example of Tómas Vega’s acoustic fingering skill. Had the entire album been more like this song I’m sure the album would have been better received, or at least aged more gracefully than it has.

There’s nothing about this album that stands out much, with “Amaneciendo” and the brief synthesized interlude “Lagoon” being the only tracks worth raising up as even remotely distinguished. Overall this one has the feel of a collectors-only disc, assuming collectors can even find a copy. Fans of Andalusian music would be better served to seek out the work of Triana, Cai or one of the many other noteworthy prog bands of the same region and timeframe. If you want to hear Vega at their best I’d recommend their second release ‘Jara’. This album is best relegated to obscurity and forgotten for most prog fans. Two stars and not really recommended.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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