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(47:03, Luna Negra & Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Canto Tercero 9:31 2. Romance de la Muerte de Agua 7:54 3. Liquido 7:04 4. Pgo 11:15 5. 2 de Juno 7:23 6. La Danza de Maupassant 3:56 LINEUP: Gustavo Albarron – French horn; vocals Karel Gómez – oboe, English horn Alfonso Cosme – French horn Hugo Luque – electronics
Prolusion. The Mexican quartet 1870 was formed back in 2006, all members experienced musicians with a past and present history as members of symphonic and chamber music orchestras. They made their debut in 2008 with "Mitos de una Resurrección", and "Pogo Y 4 Historias De Horror" is their sophomore effort, released on the Mexican Luna Negra label, and distributed by Musea/Gazul Records, Azafran Media and ReR Megacorp for their respective territories.
Analysis. When I read up on this Mexican band, I saw that they were categorized as a RIO/Avant type of band drawing comparisons to artists such as Univers Zero and Art Zoyd, with chamber rock as a more detailed description of the musical grounds they explored. Without being an expert on this type of music, I'll readily admit that I might be at fault here but still to my ears this album doesn't have too many connections to rock music as such, in style, performance or general associations either. Contemporary classical music is the tag I'd sort this disc under, with a further note stating that the contents are of a rather experimental nature. The compositional backbone are the horns and oboe, frequently with the horns providing a solid backbone for the oboe to go wandering on top of, performed in a manner that gives me just as many associations to medieval folk-based classical music as to somewhat more recent chamber music. Be it slow paced brooding sequences of single or dual layered instrument textures or all three classical instruments in busy interaction, my main associations are just as much to a trio of musicians performing in a high class public house as to troubadours entertaining people of the higher class in an intimate location. Energetic fanfares and jubilant intricate sequences are also a part of this quartet’s repertoire, although used sparingly and as an effect on this album at least. The additional aspects of this production that merits descriptions such as contemporary and experimental is the at times flamboyant use of electronic however, metal-tinged rhythm effects, oscillating and wailing theremin textures, noisescapes and drones. Frequently given free reign and total domination of sequences, but also applied as subservient effects beneath the horns and oboe as well as either harmonizing with or contrasting one or more of the typically classical instruments. With spoken words or downmixed voices as a further occasional feature, and the end result is firmly cemented within the realms of the experimental. "Pogo Y 4 Historias De Horror" isn't a production that will have a wide appeal I'd guess. The material and performances are cohesive and fluent throughout, and unpredictable enough to have a general appeal to those who enjoy experimental fare. But the combination of electronics, effects and classical music is a demanding one, and most likely a construction that merits a deep musical knowledge and interest to truly fascinate.
Conclusion. The Mexican quartet 1870 has produced a highly innovative album with their second CD "Pogo Y 4 Historias De Horror", an uncompromising and unpredictable blend of classical music and electronic effects, exploring a musical landscape fairly dark and brooding but with occasional bursts of jubilant and energetic inserts. Fans of bands like Univers Zero and Art Zoyd have been described as a core audience by others; personally I'd estimate that those with a dedicated interest in experimental classical music might be just as good or an even better target crowd for this particular disc, as well as anyone with a dedicated interest in music that merits the description innovative.
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