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(57 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Flood 14:40 2. Firmamento 3:03 3. Trayecto-IV 7:02 4. Malva Bruma 7:16 5. Simetricacustica 3:54 6. Trayecto-V 4:34 7. Raptura-I 2:23 8. Raptura-II 2:58 9. Requiem 3:58 10. Sequencias en Equilibrio 2:28 11. Desperado 4:42 LINEUP: Alberto Diaz - guitars Luis Rodriguez - drums Joan Francesco - bass With: Jusep Sola - saxophone
Prolusion. As there is still no Bio section on the website of Spanish trio DIFICIL EQUILIBRIO, I only can briefly comment on their lineup and discography. "Flood" is their fourth album, following "Simetricanarquia" (2003), "Trayecto" (2000) and their eponymous debut effort (1997), though they also have a mini-CD "The Great Red Lament in Aspic" (1998) consisting of covers of King Crimson's songs that are 'encoded' in its title. Axeman Alberto Diaz and drummer Luis Rodriguez have been in the group since its formation, while bass players changed frequently. Joan Francesco is a newcomer, the recording under review featuring the performance of four guest bassists apart from him.
Analysis. "Trayecto", the last album by the trio sounding throughout like their tribute to King Crimson, is still their only offering that I like in its entirety - despite the fact that I welcome their attempts to obtain more identity, which they display on both their later releases. I understand this is a very contradictory feeling, but I am unable to resist it. The first two pieces on "Flood" are strange beasts, especially the title track, whose duration, 14:40, is unwarrantably long compared to its musical substance. The first and the last thirds of the opus are thematically directional (i.e. not too diverse) drum solos accompanied by spacey effects - processed sounds whose sources, ostensibly electric guitar and bass, are barely recognizable. The middle section is an interesting eclectic jam, which I see as consisting of somewhat abstract variations on Neurotica from King Crimson's "Beat". Firmamento can easily be defined as a continuation of those sonic experiments that cover most of its predecessor. It is always a negative sign when a group turns to building soundscapes instead of composing music. Most of all however I wonder not why the trio included the said two tracks in the CD, but why they have placed them at the very beginning of it. Trayecto-IV, Simetricacustica and Desperado all bring the listener back to a classic Dificil Equilibrio sound or, if you will, they represent successfully modified versions of '80s King Crimson. Despite any resemblances, each is highly impressive, Trayecto-IV being one of the album's highlights - along with Trayecto-V, which is yet to be described. Surprisingly, for once the trio betray the legacy of their benefactors this time out: although there are no vocals and keyboards, Malva Bruma is structurally not unlike Rush circa "Signals". The two pieces featuring a guest sax player, Requiem and Sequencias en Equilibrio, reflect mainly the traditions of syncopated Jazz-Fusion, even though some guitar parts on the latter evoke the technique of Robert Fripp and Alex Lifeson. Non-surprisingly, both are affirmative in mood, the saxophone trills being especially jolly. It is completely beyond my understanding why the former piece received the title Requiem. The remaining three compositions are both original and enjoyable. The two-part Raptura undergoes three changes actually, developing from intense Hard Rock through eclectic Jazz-Fusion to an ever-changing interplay between acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars. I don't know whether it happened accidentally, but the highest points of "Flood" both have a reference to Dificil Equilibrio's most impressive disc. Trayevto-V is a unique Art-Rock-like composition with a mysterious atmosphere and some flavor of Oriental music.
Conclusion. Dificil Equilibrio lose something essential while trying to distance themselves from their past work. Nonetheless, "Flood" is a decent recording, and those who enjoyed the trio's previous release "Simetricanarquia" will hardly be disappointed with this their new CD either.
VM: September 7, 2006
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