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EL VIAJE

Supay

Prog Folk


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Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, after the anticipation comprised in their "El Viaje" EP, now Supay delivers their proper sophomore album to the prog audiences: it bears the same title as the aforesaid EP and also bears the same cover image, although with a more refined coloring and a more stylish lettering. Here we have 10 tracks that comprise each individual asset of Supay's prog folk style in a nenhanced fashion, yet still all of them fused in a clear unity that cleverly measures the tandards of their mutual contrast. While the "Confusión" album brought the perfect melding between complex rock and the candid textures of Andean folk, "El Viaje" finds both elements growing in its own terms in order to redefine their own untouched marriage. In this way, the resulting tension gives a new dimension to the mysterious beauty of the melodic lines and the robust developments of the jams. That's why guitarist Luis Proaño finds a bigger room to show his hard rocking influences (Blackmore, Satriani) together with his Gilmour-meets-Alquinta flourishes, plus a touch of blues-rock in places. On the other hand, despite the fact that the woodwinds feels sometimes a bit surpassed by the expansive forces of Proaño's guitar leads, you can still tell that the sounds of the diverse Andean pipes manifest a large part of the band's essence. The tighter overall sound finds a very appropriate foundation in the solid rhythm duo, while Valverde, with his inventive use of harmonies, ornaments and layers on keyboards (plus a couple of brief solos), stands out as a subtle protagonist within the ensemble. It comes as such a rare paradox that the band could actually reinforce their sonic energy when this material was recorded under an irregular schedule through the yer 2006, and with its line-up experiencing consistencies. The bassit's role was affected by the fact that the talented Renzo danuser had personal plans to develop in a foreign country and León remained as the sole woodwind player... and last but not least, Valverde was growing increaingly apart from his bandmates until he ultimately quit for good. Well, this album sure signifies a testament of his good taste and ability. Let's take a look at the material. The album kicks off with an ethnic prelude, similar in spirit to the opening track of Los Jaivas' "Alturas de Machu Picchu". Then comes 'Alma', a rockier number that remains very much rooted in the melancholy side of things until it tightens up for the latter half. On the other hand, the electrifying 'Supay' starts and ends in a very intense mood, with some softer cadences emerging in the middle. 'Lejanía' and 'Resurrección' are as intense as 'Supay' and remain highlights of the album. Although 'Resurrección' is a fave of mine, I wish it included more woodwind input, but all in all I have no major complaints about this piece, well.... both pieces. They establish a consistent equilibrium of melodic developments in some sections and reasonably free flows of heavy-meets-space environments in others, sequenced in a fluid whole. Anyway, the namesake closer brings a more balances presence of guitar and woodwind with its two-part structure: first, a bossanova pace filled with eerie synth layers and flating quena lines, second a hard psychedelic rock coda that goes headlong for the bombastic side of prog. 'Karnavalito', 'Ñan Quiska' (a reprise of 'Ancestro') and 'Guerrero' show the softer side of Supay, with León assuming control of center stage. This is an excellent album: "El Viaje" shows the ability of Supay to revitalize their musical core while keeping it intact.
Report this review (#123686)
Posted Monday, May 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The progressive folk rock formation Supay from Peru is a fascinating musical encounter between the world of the Andean folk with its soaring ethnic flutes and cheerful acoustic guitars and progressive rock, with its sumptuous keyboards and powerful electric guitars. Between 2004 and 2013 Supan only released three studio-albums, and one EP. I am delighted about their debut CD entitled Confusion from 2004, this review is about the successor El Viaje, from 2007. On El Viaje one of the two Andean woodwind instrument players (Alex Valenzuela) left and a second bass player named Renzo Danuser is added.

Despite the changes in the line-up Supay still sounds like a captivating blend of ethnic music and progressive rock. With players on the distinctive Andean woodwind instruments like the 'quena' (high pitched traditional flute), the 'zampona' (panflute) and 'quenacho' (lower pitched 'quena'), and with hot rocking guitars (on this album a bit more than on Confusion), often accompanied by a swirling organ. What an unique tension between these two worlds: the one moment you hear a mellow atmosphere with Andean flutes featuring that melancholical undertone, the other moment it's fiery and heavy electric guitar work with hints from Ritchie Blackmore. How thrilling, that British rock guitar legend, adopted by Andean progheads, on Peruvian heights!

The most exciting blend of folk and rock is the composition Resurreccion: an intro with Mellotron choirs and organ in combination with electric guitar, then Andean flutes with strong bass play and in the end fiery wah-wah drenched guitar and bombastic keyboards, what a breathtaking chemistry!

I hope this kind of 'harder-edged version of Los Jaivas' will be discovered by the progressive folk rock aficionados, it certainly deserves more recognition and attention (only two reviews in 11 years). To be honest, I still have to order their third album entitled Senales, from 2013 (only 9 ratings and no reviews).

Report this review (#1937326)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2018 | Review Permalink

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