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(44:40, Viajero Inmovil Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Frascos Tendidos 5:10 2. Desincrustante 4:26 3. Viva Belice 4:54 4. Sub Umbra Floreo 4:42 5. Brazo Largo 4:40 6. Colapsa 5:05 7. Al-Carreta 5:45 8. Veronica D 9:58 LINEUP: Daddy Antogna – drums Nicolas Diab – bass Alan Courtis – guitars Fernando De La Vega – drums With: Fernando Gallardo – violin; accordion; flute; keyboards Carmen Levinson – violoncello; percussion
Prolusion. Hector ‘DADDY’ ANTOGNA is a veteran drummer in Argentina, with a career going back to the early ‘70s with bands like Ave Rock and Orion's Beethoven. An accident in the ‘80s seemed to put his career on permanent hold, but in the last few years Antogna has made his own very special comeback in the live scene with the band LOS DE HELIO. "Viva Belice" is the debut album from this outfit, and was issued by Viajero Inmovil Records in 2009.
Analysis. Musicians making a comeback after career-threatening injuries have become much more common in the last 20 years or so, with advances in surgery and rehabilitation, as well as in the possibilities of creating custom instruments making much possible today what was unthinkable back in the ‘70s. For Hector Antogna, who will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, this has led to him being able to perform again – in a more reduced role (hence the second permanent drummer in the project), but he is able to contribute both compositionally and musically: in the studio and live as well. One might assume that this, at least to some extent, can be described as the fulfillment of an impossible dream. Musically we're not dealing with a creation as remarkable as the context that has produced it. The harder side of ‘70s psychedelic progressive rock is the stylistic foundation of choice, with dark, distorted guitar riffs providing the lead motifs. Gentler, fluctuating and reverberating guitar licks add distinctly psychedelic touches to the proceedings, and careful but effective use of dissonant textures reach out towards fusion as well as more experimental art rock in terms of style. A steady bass guitar underlines textures and stylistic details, while the drums pretty often have more of a unique sound to them in addition to providing momentum and supporting the stylistic expressions covered. Having two drummers makes an undeniable impact on the proceedings. Subtle and often fragmented textures created by accordion and violin provide an additional finesse as far as the psychedelic features go. The end result is a pleasant affair in the field of instrumental psychedelic progressive rock; innovative to some degree, in particular in the rhythm department, but not to the extent that this can be described as an essential endeavor.
Conclusion. Those who have a soft spot for ‘70s sounding instrumental progressive rock with a psychedelic foundation should find "Viva Belice" to be a worthwhile acquisition to their collection, in particular if sophisticated and at times innovative contributions from the drums are regarded as a fascinating part of the proceedings. And while this band does reach out towards fusion and experimental art rock at times, the distinct psychedelic foundation throughout makes an appreciation for this genre essential to be able to enjoy this creation.
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