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Tracklist: 1. Introduccio 1:16 2. La Presa 7:24 3. Waiting Room 10:24 4. Hit 5:05 5. From Serengheti To Taklamakan 5:49 6. Fertil Crescent 8:33 7. Estricnina 4:54 8. Serveix-me un Altre Got de Vi 7:47 9. Coda 5:05 10. Cet 6:13 All tracks by Alquibencil. Line-up: Carlos Rojo - electric & acoustic guitars Alex Alguacil - keyboards Oriol Jimenez - saxophone, vocals Ricard Pons - bass guitar Marti Ocana - drums Guest musicians: Edgar - tenor sax (on 4, 5, 8, & 9) Ferran Besalduch - baritone sax (on 4, 5, 8, & 9) Gerard Font - trumpet (on 4, 5, 8, & 9) Oriol Guerrero - flute (on 5 & 8) Joan Santanach - guitar (on tracks 1, 2, & 9) With: Mixed Choir (on 10) Produced by Alquibencil & Ferran Baulo. Recorded live by Ferran Baulo at Theatre Principal, Badalona, Spain. Mixed by David Norman & Ferran Baulo. Mastered at "Estudis la Porta".
Prologue. "From Serengheti To Taklamakan" is the second album by the Spanish band Alquibencil. I haven't heard their debut album, which was released in 1999.
The Album. In short, Fifth Element is what the music of Alquilbencil is about. As for the detailed description of Alquilbencil's stylistics, a unique blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, Classical Academic Music, and Prog-Metal with the elements of Jazz-Fusion and Avant-garde Academic Music would probably be the best one. However, the contents of only five tracks on the album completely conform to this definition: La Presa, Waiting Room, From Serengheti To Taklamakan, Fertil Crescent, and Estricnina (tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, & 7). Though, of course, their musical palettes were created not with the same musical colors. While the Eastern motifs are prevalent throughout both of La Presa (2) and From Serengheti To Taklamakan (5), they however, are rather different among themselves. On La Presa, most of the 'Eastern' solos were performed on saxophone and one of the synthesizers, which sounds here not unlike a Sitar. While on the album's title track, the parts that are in the vein of the music of East were played on sax, bass guitar, and one of the 'usual' synthesizers. Along with the Eastern motifs, this composition features also an incredible, highly complex and at the same time very beautiful, waltz. You can't even imagine how marvelous sounds the waltz, which was created the most innovative way (of Fifth Element). A wonderful foxtrot, that you have never heard before as well, is present on Estrichnina (7). Fertil Crescent (6) is especially notable for the machine-gun fire-like riffs of electric guitar. Although a short vocal episode is featured on Fertil Crescent, this track cannot be regarded as a song. The only real song on the album is Waiting Room (3, lyrics are in English), though the instrumental parts cover more than the half of its length. Certainly, the instrumental arrangements that are featured on this song can be described with the same words for the album as a whole. Overall, Hit (4) is in the vein of Fertil Crescent. However, the presence of the distinct Jazz-Fusion arrangements on it, created by interplay between the improvisation-like solos of electric guitar and sax, slightly changes the detailed definition of its stylistics. Now, this would be a blend of Classic Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Classical Academic Music with the elements of Prog-Metal. The same 'genre mixture', which, though, is without any stylistic 'makeweights', is present on Serveix-me un Altre Got de Vi (8) and Coda (9). Finally, both of the album's opening and closing tracks, Introduccio and Cet, represent the innovative manifestation of Classic Art-Rock genre or, in other words, a blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Fifth Element. Of course, each of the tracks that are featured on the "From Serengheti To Taklamakan" album is filled with all the possible progressive ingredients and marked by the outstanding performance of all of the musicians who played on it.
Summary. Alquilbencil perform an incredibly original and intriguing music, which, though, is at the same time highly complex. The plenty of different musical genres that form the stylistics of this album could attract many of those into Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, and Jazz-Fusion. However, the factor of complexity will most likely not allow most of the 'traditional' Progressive Rock lovers to comprehend "From Serengheti To Taklamakan". In my view, only the most adventurous lovers of Classic Progressive (in a general sense), along with the connoisseurs of RIO and Fifth Element itself, will be really amazed with the contents of this truly amazing album.
VM. April 29, 2002
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