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Cucamonga - 2012 - "Alter Huevo"

(40:02, AltrOck Records)


****+
                 

TRACK LIST:   

1.  Tetascotch 	8:48
2.  El Dengue de la Laguna 3:35
3.  Tu Guaina	1:56
4.  Variaciones Sobre tu Hermana 5:59
5.  Tillana 6:20
6.  Cerrazon en el Teyu Cuare 6:02
7.  Dominguillo 1:20
8.  Cletalanda 5:59
		
LINEUP:

Mauricio Bernal  keyboards, accordion; marimba
Bruno Rosado  saxophones
Oscar Peralta  guitar
Adriano Demartini  bass
Julian Macedo  drums, vibes, percussion
With:
Eugenio Zeppa  clarinets (6)

Prolusion. CUCAMONGA is a quintet hailing from Argentina, and the all-instrumental Alter Huevo is most likely their debut album. It was issued by Italys AltrOck Records which, along with Lizard and Musea, I see as one of the leading European labels nowadays, probably the most serious one.

Analysis. Just like the case of Inner Ear Brigade, the info sheet of this CD doesnt go further its publishers vision of the music presented. For instance, they compare it to Frank Zappa, with which many wouldnt agree, I suppose. On five of the eight tracks here, Tetascotch, Tu Guaina, Tillana, Dominguillo and Cletalanda, they play an alloy of RIO and Jazz-Fusion (often merely alternating sections with corresponding arrangements, though) that seems common to bands such as Etron Fou Leloublan and Dajmonji with occasional hints of Soft Machine and Tunnels, and no bizarre elements at all. To be more precise, the first of them is more varied in style, as it additionally reveals a couple of sympho-prog and folk-rock moves and, at one point, even what can only bring to mind Metal-In-Opposition. It also needs to be mentioned that the jazz rock-related arrangements are for the most part slightly avant-tinged (just wanted to write too, but realized it would be wrong). Oscar Peraltas guitar leads can recall the less manic and twisted aspects of Allan Holdsworth playing. Bassist Adriano Demartini evokes Guy Segers in approach. Julian Macedos vibraphone parts are sometimes reminiscent of Mark Wagnon, while his drumming is normally beyond comparison, the same statement being relevant to the work of saxophonist Bruno Rosado and multi-instrumentalist Mauricio Bernal (who, as a keyboardist, obviously prefers pianos, I must add). The proceedings are not as eclectic as those by either of the two aforementioned chamber rock ensembles, yet the music is of a high quality, featuring quite a few interesting chord progressions, besides angular melodies and stuff, so to speak. All in all, its just on those five pieces where Cucamonga is at its peak in terms of both composition and performance. The remaining three tracks are less-to-much less interesting and impressive. Cerrazon en el Teyu Cuare is conventional Jazz Rock, too jovial and predictable alike to please the progressive ear, littered with non-musical features in places, such as (a lot of) male and female voices, bringing to mind a spontaneous crowded meeting. The first half of El Dengue de la Laguna develops similarly to the previously described track, but then it offers the listener circus music with a certain clownish feel to it. Nominally, Variaciones Sobre tu Hermana embraces all of the albums basic styles, but is in fact a set of several different sketches with a lot of moments of silence and some verbal trash as well.

Conclusion. I believe Alter Huevo is Cucamongas first album indeed, since it suffers from what comes across as nothing other than the debut syndrome. However, a solid part of its contents indicate that this is a talented band with a lot of potential, inspiring me with confidence that their further outings will be much more cohesive than this one.

VM=Vitaly Menshikov: Agst 7, 2012
The Rating Room


Related Links:

AltrOck Records


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