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Fusioon - Minorisa

Click on the album cover to hear a RealAudio sample.


Comments:
The music featured on Minorisa is some of the most original keyboard-based prog that I've heard. Fusioon's music is somewhat impossible to describe, but I can tell you that the album is made up of 3 long tracks. The first two tracks feature energetic, and playful, interaction between the guitarist and keyboardist. The listener will find a great mixture of symphonic and Spanish influences where the closest comparison that comes to my mind is Le Orme from Italy. My only complaint here is that the last track doesn't fit the atmosphere of the album. This track is basically an 8-minute analog electronic exploration. If the band had written just one more track similar to the first two tracks, this album would have been a masterpiece. Alas, expect 30-minutes of intense prog and 8-minutes of electronic noodling.

Compositions: 9/10
Vocals(in Spanish): 8/10
Recording Quality: 9/10


Gotic - Escenes


Comments:
The music on Gotic's 1977 release Escenes surprised me at first. While I was expecting prog rock with strong Spanish influences and a dark "Gothic" sort of sound, what I got instead was optimistic-sounding instrumental music with a strong French-prog sound. Gotic's light, yet complex, style of jazz-prog is mostly led by flute and Rhodes piano. Once in a while I hear Hammond organ, violin, and Moog synth, but the majority of the music is led by flute while the Rhodes piano sketches out countermelodies and jazzy chords underneath. After my second listen, this band reminded me of a less complex version of the French-Canadian band Maneige mixed with the flute-heavy riffs from French band Dun(without the Zeuhl factor), and the jazzy sounds from Spain's Iceberg around the time of Coses Nostres. Gotic put out one of the best albums from the Spanish prog scene of the late 70s. I wouldn't rate it as high as Mezquita, or Iceberg's Sentiments, but something about this music pushes it above Fusioon's Minorisa and Iman Califato Independiente.

Compositions: 10/10
Recording Quality: 9/10


Iman Califato Independiente - Iman Califato Independiente


Comments:
Iman Califato Independiente is another high-quality Spanish prog band that should round out a good Spanish-prog collection. The album consists of only 4 tracks. Side A is filled by a 20-minute epic track featuring a less complex form of symph-prog that occasionally mixes in noticeable flamenco styled scales. The music throughout the LP is mostly led by synth and guitar in a style that comes close to bands like Fusioon, symphonic-era Iceberg. While the synth-leads here sound a bit different from the typical Moog sound featured on most prog albums(even the ones from Spain), the sometimes cheesy "Elka-like" sound shouldn't bother most listeners. In fact, these days, I find myself prefering albums with Italian and Russian keyboards rather than the tired Moog and ARP sound. Anyway, Side B features 3 mid-length tracks of equal quality to Side A. While the music here didn't really blow me away, I find nothing to criticize. Most listeners will find the melodies likeable, the musicians top-notch, and the compositions above average. While I wouldn't rate Iman Califato Independiente as high as Gotic or even Fusioon, this band comes very close.

Compositions: 8/10
Vocals(in Spanish): 8/10
Recording Quality: 9/10


Mezquita - Recuerdos De Mi Tierra

Click on the album cover to hear a RealAudio sample.


Comments:
A masterpiece! Recuerdos De Mi Tierra mixes fusion, symphonic, flamenco, and North African(Islamic) influences to define Spanish progressive rock. The music here simply doesn't slow down for a minute as your ears feast on relentless tempo-changes, odd time-signatures, and virtuoso playing. Start your Spanish-prog collection here.

Compositions: 10/10
Vocals(in Spanish): 10/10
Recording Quality: 9/10


Iceberg - Coses Nostres

Click on the album cover to hear a RealAudio sample.


Comments:
Iceberg were one of Spain's top progressive fusion bands. They put out about 3 albums in the seventies before quiting. Coses Nostres is their second LP, and it featured the beginnings of a more jazz-fusion type of sound. At this point, the band's sound still featured a strong European symphonic influence, yet the guys also seemed interested in spicing things up a bit with jazz-fusion. The fusion-chops, at this point, weren't as advanced as they would be on Sentiments, but most of the musical passages seemed to want to reach a higher level of technical complexity. I've heard many folks complain about the sound-quality of the CD reissue. Although it's not as bad as the sound-quality of, say, the Pablo "El Enterrador" CD, some of the Moog-lines tend to get lost in tons of distortion(maybe 40-seconds total) towards the middle of the album. If you have problem with sloppy CD reissues, you might want to wait until Coses Nostres gets properly remastered. Overall, new Spanish prog collectors should start with Sentiments before checking out Coses Nostres.

Compositions: 9/10
Vocals(none): N/A
Recording Quality: 7/10


Iceberg - Sentiments

Click on the album cover to hear a RealAudio sample.


Comments:
Sentiments is first-rate Spanish jazz-rock that will blow away anyone who loves Return To Forever's Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy. Iceberg peaked with this masterpiece. The guitar and Moog duels are not only mind-blowing, but worth the price of the CD. In my opinion, the only low-point of the album is the track called "Magic" which sounds more like late 70's Los Angeles-funk/fusion. "Magic" is an okay track, but lacks originality compared to the other epics. Overall, you can't go wrong with this album.

Compositions: 10/10
Vocals(none): N/A
Recording Quality: 9.5/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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