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AMOEBA SPLIT

Canterbury Scene • Spain


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Amoeba Split biography
Formed in 2001, A Coruña, Galiza, Spain

As paradoxical (or even absurd) as it may sound, speaking of Canterbury jazz-prog made in A Coruña, a major city at the North Eastern coast of Spain, in the 21st Century is, indeed, a matter of fact, an actual reality - its specific name is AMOEBA SPLIT. Formed in late 2001 after the demise of the psychedelic rock group RAMA LAMA FAFAFA, AMOEBA SPLIT was born with an aim to deliver an adventurous progressive rock approach in the marginal side of Galicia's rock scene. The subsequent additions of musicians in charge of sax and flute determined that the new band had to be headed toward a jazz-rock orientation, which in turn became a Canterbury-ish feel in no small degree influenced by SOFT MACHNE, MATCHING MOLE and HATFIELD & THE NORTH. February 2003 was the time when AMOEBA SPLIT recorded and released a self-produced demo, which comprised tracks. Instrumental developments are band's forte, but still there's room for sung tracks (with English lyrics), whereby vocals are delivered by the female flutist.

A number of troubles and inconveniences emerged throughout the years, including line-up changes and sabbathical periods without performing live. Luckily, the remaining members' sustaining will and involvement in other projects enabled old and new members to keep themselves busy and inspired, which resulted in inspiration for writing new tracks and rearranging the already existing 3 tracks from the aforesaid demo. In 2007, the band entered the studios and ultimately managed to work on it intermittently for 3 years: September 2010 saw the release of the band's proper debut album "Dance of the Goodbyes". Guitarist/violist Martín BLANES had left the band by the time the album was still in the recording process, hence making the band a quintet, but still the band was itself capable of showing its enhanced energy across the album's overall mood. This album is such a big, pleasant surprise in the current progressive scene that continues to develop and maintain in Spain.

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AMOEBA SPLIT discography


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AMOEBA SPLIT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 77 ratings
Dance Of The Goodbyes
2010
3.94 | 77 ratings
Second Split
2016

AMOEBA SPLIT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AMOEBA SPLIT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AMOEBA SPLIT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AMOEBA SPLIT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 11 ratings
Amoeba Split
2003

AMOEBA SPLIT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dance Of The Goodbyes by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.08 | 77 ratings

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Dance Of The Goodbyes
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

 Second Split by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 77 ratings

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Second Split
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Without Maria Toro's contributions on vocals, Amoeba Split's second album finds them chasing a somewhat more sober take on Canterbury music than their debut, Dance of the Goodbyes; if the previous album had been reminiscent of the classic Hatfield and the North sound, this is more reminiscent of later groups like Gilgamesh and other such outfits which tried a more serious spin on the Canterbury sound and leaned heavily on the jazz-rock side of things.

The end result is an intriguing, relaxing trip through jazz-rock realms with just a pinch of psychedelic pizzazz. A solid effort all round - I wouldn't put it above the debut album, but it certainly makes me want to keep watching the Amoebas to see where things go next.

 Dance Of The Goodbyes by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.08 | 77 ratings

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Dance Of The Goodbyes
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars They're not from County Kent, they're not even English, but the Canterbury forms and sounds here, often subtle or slightly adapted, are undeniable and quite enjoyable. Someone in the band is even caring enough to provide many of the Daevid Allen pixiness with talking diatribes beneath the music and backwards or otherwise effected guitar tracks beneath the other music as Allen and Steve Hillage were fond of doing.

1. "Dedicated to us, but we weren't listening" (3:50) opening with some GONG-like effects and then adding some melodic ALLAN GOWEN- or STEVE MILLER-like keys, smooth RICHARD SINCLAIR-like bass, and PYE HASTINGS- or PHIL MILLER-like guitar and you've got yourself a melange of Canterbury Scene musicians making . . . quirky Bohemian Canterbury jazz!? (8.75/10)

2. "Perfumed garden" (9:43) opening with the breathy voice of María Toro is, I must admit, a bit of a surprise--a welcomed one, as it turns out. The closest thing I can come up with this music is today's INNER EAR BRIGADE or REGAL WORM. There is SANTANA-ness to the instrumental section in the fourth and fifth minutes, but then the music breaks down into a slow, smokey torch singer lounge jazz not unlike ANNE PIGALLE or KOOP. But the flute-led instrumental section following María's vocal is Canterbury, pure and sublime. However you categorize the music of this song, let's all agree on one thing: it's gorgeous! (19.5/20)

3. "Turbulent matrix" (10:47) the superlative music that all artists Canterbury would be making today if they were to do it all over again. This is a gorgeous piece of fun, melodic, quirky, even flawless jazz. Incredible arrangements, tight cohesion, and fantastic drumming, all built over two piano chords! (20/20)

4. "Blessed water" (12:26) opens with sensitive, plaintive solo piano before Mellotron, bass, and the delicate voice of María Toro enter, continuing the same emotive pattern and theme, the music has a bit of ANNIE HASLAM-JON CAMP RENAISSANCE feel to it, even into the slightly built up instrumental section--which quiets down for the arrival of the alto sax--who lays down a beautiful solo. María gets the next turn, this time with flute, over some psychedelic guitar play and JOHN TOUT-like piano. A slightly heavier force enters as ELIANA VALENZEULA-like vocal passage of María's plays out. There follows a nice medium-yet-insistently-paced section over which electric guitar and saxophone perform very nice solos. The bass, drums, and piano are so smooth, so together! Everybody starts pushing the intensity up one notch at a time so that in the eighth minute things are peaking just before a ninth minute lull in which María returns to a sensitive SARA ALIANI (LAGARTIJA)-like voice, but hen she finishes the band launches immediately into a full-on blues-rock exposition in support of the electric guitar. Remember THE DOORS?! Big 'tron choir supports the next section as the song plays out over the final two minutes much like CARAVAN does in the orchestra-supported second half of "L'auberge du Sanglier/A hunting we shall go/Pengola/Backwards/A hunting we shall go (reprise)." Brilliant! Brings me to tears! (24/25)

5. "Qwerty" (0:49) did we mention that María plays a mean flute? Fun uptempo Canterburified jazz. (5/5)

6. "Flight to nowhere" (23:39) (44/50) - I. Endless magic spell -- those could be considered GONG-like sounds and effects in the opening section with a similar STEVE HILLAGE guitar effect to the lead guitar as the music falls into step, but as soon as María begins singing I am once again brought back into the realm of torch singer lounge jazz. Magic spell indeed! - II. A bleeding mind -- I don't really know where one section begins or ends but suffice it to say that a musical passage with crazed multi-languaged or clipped vocal dispersals lying beneath the music begin and continue over a span that I'm guessing might be representative of "a bleeding mind." - III. A walk along the tightrope - IV. Bubbles of dellirium

Total time 61:14

Five stars; one of the best Canterbury style albums I've ever heard or reviewed, old or new; a true masterpiece of joyful, creative, amazingly well composed, performed, and recorded music.

 Second Split by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 77 ratings

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Second Split
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Excellent Jazzy Music.

More mature and completely instrumental, this album sees Amoeba Split explore the more inventive and jazzy side of their compositions, which they generally only did on the shorter instrumental tracks on their first album ('Dance of the Goodbyes'). The longest tracks on that first album contained vocals which dominated those songs, requiring them to have a more rock-oriented structure and leaving only a few places in the arrangements where the band could really shine. Here, freed of the need to back up a singer, the organ, flute, horns, and bass can lead, producing a great jazzy freewheeling yet clearly Canterbury-inspired music. My favourite tracks are the longer ones ("Clockwise", "Those Fading Hours", "About Life, Memories, and Yesteryears"), although there really is not a bad moment on this album. Unlike the first album, which was very mixed (even on the same tracks) here the quality is very consistent throughout. There is another great nod to the Softs in one of the titles too ("Backwards all the Time"). Those who know the Soft Machine will be able to hear the influences throughout the album, including some fuzzy organ and bass solos. However, none of the music is derivative, and the band have their own style, which is not at all pretentious. At the end of the album, you want to hear more. So, while there are clear similarities in style of composition between this album and the predecessor, particularly on the instrumental side, this album is the more advanced and a much better listening experience. I give this album 8.6 out of 10 on my 10- point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

 Dance Of The Goodbyes by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.08 | 77 ratings

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Dance Of The Goodbyes
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Some great music, but the occasional vocals don't fit well.

Amoeba Split is a band out of norther Spain with some great jazzy instrumental rock. Well before recording this album, the band recorded a three-song EP with vocals on every track by Maria Toro. Those three songs make it onto this album, with the remaining tracks all instrumental. I actually think the band's compositions are very musical, and all of the instrumentals - the songs written specifically for this album - are real keepers. This includes the excellent opener "Dedicated to Us, But We Weren't Listening" (an obvious paen to the Softs similarly-titled tune) and "Turbulent Matrix" and the brief "Qwerty". However, the vocal tracks don't fit very well in this mix. There is first the contrast in style. Whereas the instrumental tracks are composed around the interaction between the organ/flute melodies and a more complex rhythm section, on the vocal tunes when the singing happens (which is often) the vocals become the structuring instrument, and the band is more like backup. Secondly, the lyrics are not very good. I think the band realized this, and this is why their follow-up to this album is strictly instrumental. Finally, while the singing sounds mostly decent on two of the three vocal tracks ("Perfume Garden" and "Blessed Water"), on the long epic suite "Flight to Nowhere" they just don't work, and even get out of tune in places. That long tune is hard to listen to, actually. There are some good instrumental sections in all thee of the vocal songs, and if they had just kept them instrumental they would have worked better. So, overall, this album is a bit unsatisfying. There is lots of promise, mainly in the instrumental tracks, and indeed there is some great music on this album. However, the album is not consistent, and it ends on the weakest track and it just goes on too long. Thankfully things get better with their follow-up. I give this album 6.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to lower 3 PA stars.

 Second Split by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 77 ratings

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Second Split
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A greatly anticipated second album from Spanish instrumental Canterbury Style jazz artists whose 2010 debut album, Dance of the Goodbyes, caused quite a stir in this old heart. The music here on Second Split is definitely on the jazzier side of things--much like Dave NEWHOUSE's MANNA/MIRAGE project from late in 2015. At times I'm hearing riffs from the DAVE BRUBECK/PAUL DESMOND age ("Sundial Tick" 4:48] [9/10]) and others more of a jazz- rock mode in the vein of CHICAGO or BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS--especially in the arrangements for the horn section. And then there are the uses of odd/funny-sounding instrumental effects and/or shifts within the music. This is truly a entertaining and mercurial album--as is each song--taking twists and turns that the listener couldn't possibly foresee--yet none are wasted or superfulous, all serve to explore new ideas, new rhythms and combinations of sound and harmony.

1. "Clockwise" (9:03) three songs in one--all three excellent and enjoyable. (9/10)

2. "Sundial Tick" (4:48) opens with a melody line as if from a classic 1950s or 60s Broadway musical (Porgy and Bess' "Summertime" comes to mind before the "Take Five"-like tempo and style take over). Three different melodic themes seem to rotate through the song with different harmonic structures explored by the big band each time. (what is that synth sound at the three minute mark?) Truly an exceptional and intricate though fun song. (9/10) 3. "The Book Of Days" (2:25) opens with chamber string quintet before what sounds like two vibraphones join in. How cool! The double bass and violin morph into more café jazz sound as the vibes continue and, eventually, take over. How clever! (9/10)

4. "Those Fading Hours" (8:34) opens with a dirty electric piano creating some chords and arpeggios before strings engage to add intermittent and constant accompaniment--violin becoming the first main melody maker (alternating with the flute). Has a very MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA feel with a lot of pent up, potential energy feeling ready to explode on us. Incidental "noises" from the organ and other keys only adds to that feeling that at any minute things are going to break loose. The synth solo that begins at 3:30 seems to open this door--and then a fuzzy electric guitar-sounding keyboard takes over and seems to unleash a little of the spirit of the Mahavishnu himself. Despite the loosening up of the belt for the rest of the band, the ensuing horn play seems to keep things in check--but no! the instrumentalists are suddenly all trying to solo at the same time! But what happens! The band shuts down at 6:45 leaving space . . . out of which emerges an acoustic guitar and moog synth making animal (or insect) mating calls as the infant children laugh their end-of-the day laughs. What a marvelously odd song! I love it! (10/10)

5. "Backwards All The Time" (8:22) opens as the most straightforward jazz song yet, but then at the 0:45 mark, it morphs into a classic 1970s jazz rock fusion confabulation--a cross between JEFF BECK's "Freeway Jam," DEODATO's "Super Strut," ALAN PARSONS PROJECT's "I Robot," and CHICAGO's "I'm a Man"!!! Weird and wonderful! The dual alien synth and piano soli in the fifth minute are just too weird for me. Then they're back to jazz with a trumpeter in the lead. (There's that "Summertime" theme again!) Then, at 6:20, the hammond takes over and brings it back into jazz rock territory. Such a chameleonic song! Not sure if it all works but it is brave and adventurous! I think it suffers a bit from lack of a coherent, consistent flow--too many stories being told here. (8/10)

6. "About Life, Memories And Yesteryears" (8:12) opens quite sedately, as compared to all of the previous songs, with long sustained melody solos coming from keyboard 'flute' and 'saxes.' REally horns eventually join in as a bouncy, churchy hammond organ plays in the back right channel. Chunky keyboard fuzz bass takes over as electric piano and drums take front and center at the 4-minute mark. Horn section is soon added. Perhaps the weakest song on the album if only for it's lack of catchy melody. I mean, it's not till the 6:40 mark that the first likable melodic hook is presented, before that it's all about (I think) displaying all of the things the keyboards can do. (7/10)

A 4.5 star album; highly recommended as an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

 Dance Of The Goodbyes by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.08 | 77 ratings

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Dance Of The Goodbyes
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Whilst it was never quite the cohesive, unified scene the music press sometimes made it out to be, there is some truth to the idea that the whole "Canterbury" style was perpetuated by a particular group of collaborators, with particular names - Dave Stewart, Robert Wyatt, Pip Pyle, Richard Hastings, Barbara Gaskin, and so on ad infinitum - appearing on a wide swathe of albums from the era. As a result of the inevitable ravages of time, the prolific stalwarts of the scene have slowed down their pace of releases over time (and indeed some cornerstones like Hugh Hopper or Daevid Allen are no longer with us), so the Canterbury output of late has been diminishing, and what has existed consists of a fair swathe of archival releases and reunion projects and other vehicles for old hands.

Nonetheless, there's nothing inherently stopping anyone from keeping the sound going and developing it further - various European acts did it back in the 1970s without any of the key Canterbury personalities being involved, after all, and in more modern times with have the exceptionally capable Amoeba Split, who on this debut album have cooked up a modern sound centred on the style of Hatfield & the North or National Health but with regular excursions to other musical territory, from the mellow and peaceful to hard-cooking fusion. Perhaps in time we will see more of a revival of this musical style; if so, you can bet Amoeba Split will be at the forefront of it.

 Dance Of The Goodbyes by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.08 | 77 ratings

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Dance Of The Goodbyes
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Spanish band AMOEBA SPLIT was formed back in 2001, and released an initial demo in 2003. Seven years later they returned with their debut album "Dance of the Goodbyes", a production which gained the band a lot of attention and a sold out initial run of the CD. The album was reissued in 2014 through Azafran Media and Musea Records.

The Canterbury scene isn't one explored by too many other bands with a contemporary history, so just about any additions to that scene is met with interest by those with a fascination for that particular style of progressive rock. Amoeba Split is a quality addition to the list of bands active in this field, and especially those with a strong affection for the more jazz-oriented bands exploring this style of music should enjoy just about all aspects of this production. A highly recommended album, and then especially to those who have a taste for the bands generally described as belonging to the Canterbury scene within the progressive rock realm.

 Dance Of The Goodbyes by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.08 | 77 ratings

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Dance Of The Goodbyes
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The whimsical, jazz-influenced brand of progressive rock known as Canterbury scene is not a genre that features a large amount of newer bands, but every now and again an excellent act proves that the genre is still alive and well. Hailing from Spain (a place that rarely produces Canterbury music) is Amoeba Split, a group that delivers this style of music with serious class. Although the band was originally formed as early as 2001 and released an EP in 2003, it wasn't until 2010 that the world got to hear Amoeba Split's debut full-length release entitled Dance of the Goodbyes. A very solid observation from all fronts, Dance of the Goodbyes has a lot in common with the classic Canterbury bands, but still manages to bring plenty of new ideas to the table.

Amoeba Split's sound primarily borrows from acts like Caravan, The Soft Machine, and Gong, which means that the listener should expect a mix of sophisticated psychedelic rock and jazz music with a quirky British twist. Amoeba Split borrows ideas from other styles - there are pastoral segments, wild sax solos that would fit on a Van Der Graaf Generator record, and tight fusion jams in the vein of Weather Report - but this release should mostly appeal to Canterbury fans. All of the instrumentation sounds very retro, with the instruments limited to organic tones and the production sounding warm and earthy. I particularly dig the selection of keyboard tones used by Ricardo Castro Varela, as I think they flesh out the compositions to their fullest potential. María Toro's vocals have a loose and jazzy approach that differs significantly from many other progressive rock singers; though I initially found her shrill delivery to be a bit off-putting, her vocals grew on me over repeated listens and I now think they suit the music perfectly.

Dance of the Goodbyes also features some stunning instrumental displays (the improvisational "Turbulent Matrix" especially stands out), and overall I'd say this is a very successful debut from Amoeba Split. It may perhaps wear its influences too proudly for some listeners, but Canterbury enthusiasts will undoubtedly have a blast with this release. I'll be very much looking forward to see what this band has to offer in the future, and, in the meantime, fans of the Canterbury scene should check this one out without hesitation.

 Amoeba Split by AMOEBA SPLIT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.10 | 11 ratings

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Amoeba Split
Amoeba Split Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Out of the ashes of the Psychedelic band Rama Lama FaFaFa was born Amoeba Split in 2001, hailing from the Galician grounds of A Coruna in the North-Western part of Spain.The aim of the new sextet was to play in the vein of Classic 70's Prog, however the addition of flutes and sax gave them a strong jazzy/Canterbury flavor in the process.In February 2003 the band released a self-produced self-titled EP, clocking at half an hour length.

This short release is divided into 3 tracks, around 10 minutes each, with all lyrics sung in English by female singer/flutist María Toro.The opening ''Blessed water'' has some light 70's Canterbury feeling, being a long and somewhat abstract composition, based on Ricardo Castro's piano but also offering smooth sax and flute solos along with the fiery organ towards the end and the sensitive voice of Toro.''Turbulent Matrix'' follows more or less the same vein, very calm instrumental jazzy prog with more flute and sax in evidence to go along with some electric guitars, bass and drum solos throughout in a semi-abstract arrangement with light SOFT MACHINE and CARAVAN touches.With ''Perfumed Garden'' the band adds some more energy to their sound, the organ of Castro is now the leading instrument and the track is the more progressive by far with numerous breaks, even some flamenco guitars appear at the beginning, with also a nice closing section with organ,piano and guitars combined in a great way.

Amoeba Split's first effort is a good one, especially if you are into the jazzy side of Progressive Rock, without being that impressive.The performance is tight but very careful and mellow- sounding, holding though all the right elements of the progressive genre.Recommended.

Thanks to Cesar Inca for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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