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Amoeba Split - Dance of the Goodbyes CD (album) cover


Amoeba Split


Canterbury Scene

4.07 | 90 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Out of all the sub-genres of progressive rock that have emerged it seems that the Canterbury Scene has been the least productive as it has tended to exist within a small tightly woven network of musicians who were all in one way or another involved in the style's nascent developments and explorative extensions throughout the 70s heyday, however there have been a handful of artists who have found more affinity to this English anomaly and have preferred it over their more local regionalized music scenes. From France there was the Moving Gelatine Plates, from Italy there was Picchio dal Pozzo, Zyma from Germany and from the US, The Muffins but once the 80s hit and the prog rock scene waned and was limited to a few underground artists and the neo-prog endeavors of bands like Marillion. The Canterbury Scene seemed to fizzle out and the bands that were still active resorted to cranking out watered down pop caricatures of their former selves.

While the 21st century has seen a revival of the genre, most of the new releases have been from the classic artists like Soft Machine, Gong, Caravan and Robert Wyatt but a scant few younger bands have also gravitated to this unique jazz-rock style that sounds like no other. Emerging from the most unlikely setting of A Coruña in the northeastern province of Galicia in Spain, the band AMOEBA SPLIT took a liking to the whimsical jazz-rock brand of progressive rock. While the band formed in 2001 and released the first EP in 2003, AMOEBA SPLIT wouldn't see a full-length release until 2010's DANCE OF THE GOODBYES which took the three tracks presented on the EP ("Blessed Water," "Turbulent Matrix" and "Perfumed Garden") and added three additional tracks including the highlight of the album, the near 24 minute monstrosity of "Flight To Nowhere" which takes a journey through four distinct sequences.

AMOEBA SPLIT pretty much borrows from the Canterbury greats of yesteryear meaning the lush jazz-rock passages of Caravan and Soft Machine, the psychedelic transcendental qualities of Gong along with other English expressions from folk, rock and jazz. What you won't find whatsoever in AMOEBA SPLIT's sound is anything remotely Latin influenced thus eschewing all Spanish homegrown genres such as flamenco and Italian derived symphonic prog. Likewise all lyrics are in English sung by María Toro whose voice is a bit on the shrill side and one of the weakest links in the band's overall approach but she is also the flautists and delivers some delicious emotive outbursts on the wind instrument. The six compositions are mostly vocally dominated with instrumental passages but the outstanding "Turbulent Mix" is where the true virtuosic prowess of the instrumental interplay is allowed to soar.

In the end, DANCE OF THE GOODBYES is a rather mellow and tender affair and rarely percolates past the mid-tempo range. It's resonates as a sort of standard vocal style of jazz with the technical delivery of the Canterbury flavors that served the classic artists of the scene so well however for my money AMOEBA SPLIT plays it rather safe perhaps fearing to tread too heavily on this genre that is a sacred cow to most hardened proggers and much like a cow in India which is allowed to park itself wherever it desires, this band seems to feel that it has to tread lightly around the English sensibilities and never adds much to the style in terms of unbridled creativity. Nevertheless, AMOEBA SPLIT displays a passion for the Canterbury that few have had since the 70s except for a scant few of dedicated artists. While i appreciate the respect for the style, i was hoping to hear some interpolations of flamenco, Spanish classical guitar or even some zarzuela elements but as it is, this band managed to create a rather compelling debut release.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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