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(50:30, Viajero Inmovil Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Alfa 4:49 2. Mesianik 4:55 3. Restos de Camaleon 5:11 4. Como Acariciar a Un Tigre Muerto 5:11 5. Beta 0:30 6. Siembra 5:56 7. Un Cristal 4:52 8. Gamma 0:34 9. Falso-11 6:20 10. Resbalar Sin Caer 6:23 11. Viena Pop 5:39 LINEUP: Abel Gilbert – composition; piano Esteban Saldano – el. & ac. pianos Marco Bailo – el. & ac. guitars Carolina Restuccia – vocals Nicolas d’Almonte – drums Federico Arbia – bass With: Maria Zanzi – oboe Sergio Catalan – flute Favio Loverso – cello Elena Buchbinder – violin Pablo Monteys – saxophones Pablo Bernstein – saxophones
Prolusion. This time I can announce from the outset that this, self-titled, FACTOR BURZACO debut CD marks a new stage of Argentina’s progressive rock expansion. The ensemble is led by pianist and composer Abel Gilbert of whose prog rock-related influences, namely King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Henry Cow, I only recognized the first band, meaning that on the recording. His approach to playing the piano reminds me of Keith Tippet’s contributions on King Crimson recordings in 1970 and 1971. Abel also lists a number of classical composers as his influences, but I won’t repeat their names, with your permission, as none of them are familiar to me, to my shame.
Analysis. While the group itself is a six-piece of two pianos, guitar, bass, drums and female vocals, the latter are supported by two woodwind, two violin and two saxophone players on each of the disc’s eleven tracks, so I wonder why those chamber musicians are presented in the booklet as side participants, especially since their contribution to the album is really substantial. Of course, it is much more important what this double sextet’s effort is generally about. Factor Burzaco offers us a complex, yet still amazingly cohesive, mixture of angular Art-Rock, RIO and Neoclassical music, which is simply irresistible for starters, the idiom being relevant overall regarding the entire album. In other words, all the tracks (the two 30-second cuts, Beta and Gamma, included, as both are inseparably, in all senses, linked with their respective predecessors) are creations of practically the same compositionally-stylistic approach. There are only some minor differences between the basic pieces: four of them, Alfa, Restos de Camaleon, Resbalar Sin Caer, but especially Mesianik, are richer in hard guitar riff-laden movements than the other five, Como Acariciar a Un Tigre Muerto, Siembra, Un Cristal, Falso-11 and Viena Pop, of which, in turn, the last-named one contains the largest amount of acoustically-driven arrangements. Throughout the recording the music is in some-to-many ways reminiscent of a crossover between “Strange Attractor” by U Totem, Kate Bush’s “Never Forever” and King Crimson’s “Lizard” (as well as both “Red” and “Discipline”, but to a lesser degree, especially in the latter case), though each of the basic tracks contains additionally a few sections which represent nothing other than purely chamber neoclassical music, just with vocals, and it’s a marvelous combination I must tell you. There are noticeably more vocals-laden arrangements than purely instrumental moves on this disc, but nobody will be bored when listening to it, as the music is highly diverse on both or rather all levels. Much like Kate Bush, this ensemble’s front-woman Carolina Restuccia is an ‘acrobatic’ chameleon singer who, while not covering several octaves (which, for instance, King Diamond does), just wonderfully manipulates her voice, creating plenty of different vocal lines as well as emotions. I had to revisit each of the songs to get a more or less integral picture of the whole proceeding. The point is that the players’ parts are nearly ever-changing, and since almost every turn of theirs leads to a new theme, Carolina’s singing reminds me also of a butterfly which flits from flower to flower. Despite being complex, standing out for their drastic dynamic and textural contrasts, all the pieces are often achingly beautiful, you may believe me.
Conclusion. Perhaps to a predominant degree this amazing creation belongs to RIO or, to be more precise, to that rare type of the genre which manifests the lighter side of humanity’s emotional spectrum. Either way, combining well-balanced electro-acoustic arrangements with edgier, heavier ones as well as those referring to neoclassical music in its pure form, Factor Burzaco brings together several different styles, further pushing the boundaries of what is usually labeled as Chamber Rock. Very highly recommended: Top-20-2008.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: February 1, 2009
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