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Altair (Spain) - 1999 - "Fantasias y danzas" (52 min)


****+
All-instrumental project. Classic Art Rock.

Discography:
1990 - "Altair"
1992 - "Nosferatu Hacia El Vampiro"
1994 - "Els Nostres Petits Amics"
1995 - "Canciones Dellos Mundos Perdidos"
1999 - "Fantasias Y Danzas"
("Luna Negra", Mexico, lunanegr@sjr.podernet.com.mx)

1990 & 1999:
Alfredo G. Arcusa - drums
Isabel Muniente - keyboards, synth-bass

1992:
A.G.A.
Jordi Sabatea

1994-1995:
A.G.A.
Amarok

I'm going to return with detailed reviews to the best offsprings of the relatively new fully progressive Mexican label Luna Negra, founded in 1995 (I'll talk about the label itself on page 5 of this review).

In the meantime I'll say some words about the release of the first European band that signed under the Black Moon and put out its fourth album recently. Altair of 1999 is a duo: Alfredo G. Arcusa - drums (all-time leader and the main composer) and Isabel Muniente - keyboards, synth-bass. A sort of prog-couple. The album goes into the domaine of the traditional keys dominated art-rock, in the stylistics (I don't mean any structural or thematical analogies) of ELP, Rick Wakeman etc. While it's not a Neo stuff, the music, on the whole, doesn't stretch up to the real great art rock solely because of a pretty poor instrumentary.

All 9 tracks are original and peculiar, but, apart from a sea of keyboards and drums, I don't hear anything here, even the mentioned sunth-bass. Keeping in mind that all songs, except for the opener by Isabel, stem from the drummer, I could add a half point to the rating, but despite numerous base themes, the diversity of arrangements occurs in the constant key changes, that means you won't find exceptional virtuosity here. Either Alfredo himself isn't strong in arrangement, or Isabel doesn't shine technically.

All told, I can be sure that Altair is one of the three (at most five) best prog bands to come out of Spain: the program is impressive both in terms of diversity of themes in each track ( it's not easy to get into that music) and absence of any "borrowings", which is an asset too. If only there were a full line-up. content

VM. November 11, 1999


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