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Amarok (Spain) - 2002 - "Mujer Luna"
(54 min, Musea)


******
                 
TRACK LIST:

1. Lunar Woman 4:09
2. In the Park 6:49
3. Arabesque 9:09
4. Dreaming Dreams 8:42
5. Duet For Tabla & Saz-1 1:58
6. Lullaby For the Son of the Earth 2:15
7. Where You Are My Love-1 3:57
8. Australian Landscapes 9:41
9. Where You Are My Love-2 2:33
10. Duet For Tabla & Saz-2 2:34

Most tracks: by Santamaria.

LINE-UP:

Robert Santamaria -
- keyboards; acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, & Turkish Saz;
- marimba; percussion; autoharp; (+ accordion - on 9)
Victor Estrada - electric bass & Spanish guitar
Carlos Gallego - electric guitar; vocals
Manel Mayol - flute; didgeridoo; backing vocals
Robert Abella - violin
Jose Walero - tabla 
Pau Zanartu - drums
Marta Segura - lead & backing vocals
Miguel Ortin - tenor saxophone & clarinet
Mireia Sisquella - soprano saxophone

Produced by Santamaria, J. J. Salas, & J. A. Camacho. 
Engineered by Santamaria at Beringa st.	

Preamble. This is my first acquaintance with the music of Amarok, though I heard of this Spanish band more than once. "Mujer Luna" (i.e. "Lunar Woman") is the fifth album by Amarok.

The Album. There are ten tracks on this album, five of which are songs, and five, accordingly, instrumental pieces. Stylistically, "Mujer Luna" is a diverse album, though everything that is presented here is marked with signs of a high originality, good taste, and amazing complexity (I didn't make a slip in saying this). Most of all, this album is notable for the broad and very successful application of music of the Middle East (the music of Turkic nations, to be precise), the elements of which are present on most of the tracks here. With the exception of Lullaby For the Son of the Earth (6, to which I'll return a bit later), all of the songs on the album were performed by most of the band members. The contents of the album's title track (1) are about a triple union of Symphonic Art-Rock, Spanish Folk, and music of the East. In the Park, Dreaming Dreams, and Where You Are My Love-1 (2, 4, & 7) are about Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Classical Music of both of European and Eastern origins and those of Spanish Folk. The first two of them feature in addition the elements of Prog-Metal. The alternation of Rock, intensive and intricate, arrangements and the Classical Music-like ones, based exclusively on the parts of acoustic instruments (acoustic guitar, violin, and flute), is typical for all four of these songs, though Lunar Woman is more accessible than any other composition on the album. Marta Segura is just a wonderful singer, though there are more of the purely instrumental arrangements than vocally instrumental ones on most of the songs here (lyrics are in Spanish), and only one of them: Where You Are My Love-1 features both of the female and male vocals. There are many soloing instruments on each of the aforementioned four songs: piano, organ, Mellotron, electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, marimba, woodwinds, brasses, drums, and varied hand percussion, so the musical palette of each of them is very rich and diverse. As for so-called progressive ingredients, they're everywhere on the album. Lullaby For the Son of the Earth (6) is a beautiful and very touching ballad. Here, the vocals are accompanied only by varied interplay between passages of acoustic guitar and those of piano, all of which, though, are in the state of a constant development, which, in its turn, is typical for Classical Music. Nevertheless, the intonations of Turkic music are evident here as well (in vocals). Three out of five instrumentals: the epic Arabesque and both of the parts of Duet For Tabla & Saz (3, 5, & 10) consist of purely acoustic structures. The constantly developing and quite intensive interplay between passages and solos of acoustic guitar, solos of Turkish Saz and flute and passages of violin is what the first of them is musically about. Of course, both of the latter pieces feature only the solos of Turkish Saz and those of Tabla. (Saz is the kind of acoustic guitar that is widespread in Turkey and among the Turkic nations of Central Asia, and Tabla is the Indian percussion instrument.) Stylistically, all three of the said compositions represent nothing else but Classical Music of Eastern-school. As well as almost all of the songs on the album, both of the remaining instrumentals: the epic Australian Landscapes and Where You Are My Love-2 (8 & 9) were performed by most of the band members. Both of them are about European Classical Music performed by dints of Symphonic Art-Rock.

Summary. "Mujer Luna" is one of the most original and interesting albums that I've heard this year, to say the least, so the summary on it won't be verbose. Highly recommended!

VM: April 11, 2003


Related Links:

Amarok
Musea Records
Luna Negra Records website is under construction


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