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Terreno Baldio - Terreno Baldio CD (album) cover

TERRENO BALDIO

Terreno Baldio

 

Eclectic Prog

4.00 | 73 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Terreno Baldio's eponymous debut album is one of the absolute highlights of vintage Brazilian progressive rock. Taking influences from Camel and Genesis regarding the melodic aspect, Gentle Giant regarding the use of stylish counterpoints and Return to Forever regarding the jazzy vibe (especially concerning Mello's guitar playing), Terreno Baldio took this mixture to a different level, closely related to the melodic roots of their own country's Creole folklore. Now, the overall result can be easily perceived as a clever display of technical prowess without overdoing things, and the same can be said about the compositions. That is, the musical ideas bear an appeal that is enhanced by sophisticated arrangements (for some tracks, more complex than in others), yet these arrangements never lead to a hyperbolic exaggeration - the performers act as a well integrated unit faithfully respecting the musical essence of the main ideas. The first two tracks are pretty much focused on the band's relaxing side, with 'Pássaro Azul' leaning more on the jazzy side and 'Loucuras de Amor' defining a direction toward bucolic romanticism in a symphonic context. These two songs have a dreamy flair to them, which allows them to accruately fit the artsy standards of Terreno Baldio's music. With 'Despertar' things start to get really intense. Full of fusionesque colors that are undobtedly indebted to both the tradition of American jazz-rock and bossanova, the band displays an effective portrait of musical sensualism. This is also the first track in which the band begins to show the GG influence: particularly, Lazzarini's delivers on electric piano and synth solo, not precisely cloning Minnear's style but definitely being influenced by it. 'Água que Corre' brings back that ethereal mood present in tracks 1 & 2, mixed with the fusionesque vibe of track 3: this one might truly serve as a perfect recapitulation of the album's first half, as well as a perfect sample of the album's overall essence. The GG thing will never leave the set of ingredients for the repertoire from 'Despertar' onwards, although, as I said before, this is not a copycat. The dissonant interplay of guitar and piano during the intro motif of 'A Volta' is too short, since it could have been such an exciting overture had it been really developed. Anyway, the main motif shows how well can Brazilian music and vintage symphonic prog be mixed in an appealing way. Having a duration of 3 3/4 minutes, it feels too short, and even shorter does 'Quando as Coisa Ganham Vida' feel, too. On the other hand, it is admirable how well can inventiveness give way to variety and solid colorfulness in a 2- minute span. A terrivic short track. Terrific but longer is 'Este é o Lugar', which shows Terreno Baldi oat their most epic. Not unlike 'Água que Corre', this song bears a perfect sample of all main musical sources in Terreno Baldio's style, fully integrated all through the arrangements and variations of the main motifs. 'Grite' closes down the album with a highly symphonic structure, basically lead by the Baroque-like keyboard flourishes. The final claims by lead singer Fusa (the message is "shout at the system if they want to suppress you") feel quite emotive while accompanied by Mello's guitar harmonies during the fade-out. The "Terreno Baldio" album is a hell of a gem in 70s South American prog: from my point of view, it is really a pity that some individual tracks are not more developed, but in general, the repertoire is both genius and attractive.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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