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Companyia Elèctrica Dharma - L'Oucomballa CD (album) cover


Companyia Elèctrica Dharma


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.16 | 17 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars L'Ou Com Balla (The Dancing Egg) is an old catalan tradition by which on the day of Corpus Christi an emptied egg is placed on the water jet of the fountain in monastery cloisters and the egg stays "dancing on the water" without falling down. Nowadays it can be seen mainly in the cloister of the cathedral in Barcelona city, you can Google images "l'ou com balla" to see it. It has no special meaning, it was meant to be a sign of festivity and to attract people to the monasteries on that sacred day for christians.

This was the 2nd album from La Dharma and the one which started to shape their sound. La Dhama's debut Diumenge was an excellent Fusion record but not too personal apart from the dominant soprano sax. As from this sophomore album the band started crafting what would become their unique trademark style integrating more catalan traditional influences in their music, a process which would mature as from their 3rd album Tramuntana.

Following the way of albums such as Queen II, vinyl side A has the title Balls De Nit (Night Dances) while side B has the title Tocs De Festa (Festive Sounds) although in this case the musical style is not noticeably different between the 2 sides.

The music is still excellent Fusion dominated by the melodies and solos of the soprano sax, with plenty of Rhodes as well. The guitar does not take much leading role which is good because Esteve Fortuny was stronger as a rhythm guitar player than as a lead soloist. The melodies have often that special feel of coming from traditional mediterranean music rather than from the standard scales found in classic Jazz-Rock / Fusion, which gives this music a very distinctive and interesting sound, often with a festive mood.

The strongest features of this album are on one hand how dynamical it is, the songs visit multitude of tempos and intensities and nothing feels like dragging, and on the other hand the great drumming by Pep Fortuny.

I will not make a song by song review but just a couple of comments on some of the ones which are most different from the album average sound.

The opener Adeu, Estrella Del Dia is a short lullaby with a sweet melancholic mood. Mitjanit is a very good song on acoustic guitar and soprano saxo melody which also explores several dynamics even if it's just over 2 minutes long.

Ball LlunaTic-Toc would become one of the band's classics thanks to its catchy melody hook. The closer Titu-Tiru-Ritu is a very short rendition of a catalan traditional tune which in the next album Tramuntana would be revisited in a much more electrified and fast arrangement, becoming also a classic of the band despite of it's short length.

All the other tracks follow a similar style of dynamic blend of standard Fusion with tradional catalan floklore music, and they are all great. Really recommended for those who like Fusion but want something different and personal.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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