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Amarok - QuentadharkŽn CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.82 | 55 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars From the North Eastern Coast of Spain, Catalonia, Amarok emerges as one of the most prominent and original prog acts worldwide nowadays. Their leaning towards musical sources from Muslim, Celtic and Turkish folk, as well as Renaissance and Medieval tradition, allows them to create a very colourful musical trend of their own, energized by the inclusion of symphonic elements and jazz fusion structures: the result is amazing, exciting, magical. Their most recent effort, "QuentadharkŽn", has got to be one of 2004's top releases, full of mysterious exotism and superb musicianship. Robert Santamaria is very obviously the leader of the band, not only writing all instrumentations, but also performing keyboards and other sundry instruments (acoustic 12-string guitar, saz, kanoun, autoharp, tuned percussion.) with great skill. But again, it's fair to say that all other members (plus occasional guests) are given quite enough space to shine for the benefit of the preservation of Amarok's musical richness - guitar, sax and flute solos, as well as some passages where the percussives are featured in the mix, all of them come out for good use. While the general mood is mostly acoustically driven, this is not mere "world music" or plain folk, as it is clearly shown in 'Tierra Boreal', 'La Espiral' and the namesake 'QuentadharkŽn' (the three suites), as well as the effective opener 'Hsieh'. Any of them could serve as a perfect sample of Amarok's capability to create well structured and fluidly integrated amalgams out of varied sonic sources throughout all mood, melody and rhythm shifts. A special mention goes to vocalist extraordinaire Marta Segura, who handles her contralto voice with immaculate skill and spectacular versatility: she can be sensual and mystical, evocative and festive, either melting cleverly with the instrumental crowd that expands all around her or serving as a story teller. 'Encantamiento' and 'Alumbrado' are both beautiful brief acoustic pieces that show the band's serene facet, while 'La ŕltima Expediciůn' and 'Hogueras' - the stunning closing section to 'La Espiral' - are IMHO the most impressive electric passages of the album. The bonus tracks are also quite good: four tracks from 1998 demos, which must be listened to mostly as an extension of "QuentadharkŽn" official repertoire. What else can I say about this 2004 master opus? Nothing... only give it the maximum rating.

(Review dedicated to my prog partners: Josť Manuel IŮesta, from Spain, and Juan Josť Salas, from Mexico)

Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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