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(41:56, Altrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Beginning 1:51 2. Progressions 4:53 3. What 2:23 4. Inmemorian 5:39 5. Guantanabu-1 7:07 6. Guantanabu-2 1:38 7. Guantanabu-3 4:15 8. Straviko 5:59 9. Before the End 0:32 10. Mereditika 7:34 LINEUP: Restuccia Carolina – vocals Pol Gonzalez – voices Paul Torterolo – drums Nahuel Tavosnanska – bass Fabian Keroglian – vibraphones Fernando Taborda – guitars Carlos Lucero – guitars Alan Courtis – guitars Sergio Catalin – flutes Will Genz – bassoons Dana Najlis – clarinet Federico Landaburu – clarinet Nolly Rosa – alto & baritone saxophone Mauro Rosales – soprano saxophone Sebastian Schachtel – accordion Mauro Zannoli – electronics
Prolusion. FACTOR BURZACO is a large chamber rock ensemble from Argentina, whose self-titled debut effort (a Viajero Inmovil Records release) from two years ago is one of the most original RIO albums I’ve heard in years. Here is a follow-up to that outing. Titled simply “II”, it came from the precincts of Altrock Records – nowadays the only real avant-garde label.
Analysis. Just like previously, the band’s lineup appears as an orchestra, embracing 16 musicians, none of whom are now presented as guests. However, some of the album’s ten tracks only feature a couple of players (I’ll touch on those first of all), and even the most sonically saturated ones come across as being performed by an octet at most. What is more, apart from Restuccia Carolina and Abel Gilbert (who, though, is this time only credited as the album’s composer, whereas previously he was involved as a musician as well), all of the other participants are new. Of the disc’s three shortest tracks, Guantanabu-2, Before the End and Beginning (none of which exceed 2 minutes in length), the first two are synthesizer drones of a kind, serving as bridges between their neighboring pieces, while the latter comes across as more or less a full-fledged keyboard piece, additionally containing female vocalizations and a male narration. What and Guantanabu-1 are both pretty similar to the disc opener, albeit the keyboards on each of these are supplemented by brasses and mallet percussion respectively. Otherwise the album doesn’t sound way different from its predecessor, but, anyhow, I believe most of the songs were originally written specifically for Carolina’s vocals, and only later, after being arranged by Albert (along with the ensemble, I’m sure), those got what is now seen as their final, I’d even say proper, appearance. One of the vocal tracks, Progressions, is rhythmically quite a straight forward affair, and yet overall, it is a fairly mesmerizing workout, driven by a refined guitar solo over the rhythm section, ornamented by vibes. What particularly matters, however, is that Carolina’s singing is – traditionally – very passionate and unpredictable, making the whole thing sound just great. The remaining four compositions, Inmemorian, Straviko, Mereditika and Guantanabu-3, are all excellent, the latter one of the band’s very best creations in general. Wonderfully, Carolina uses a different approach on each of these (in fact, on every track that she is allowed to properly use her vocals on, the aforementioned Guantanabu-1 included). The same sort of things is at work instrumentally: save Guantanabu-3, which has a full-band sound throughout, the music strongly varies in structural density, to put it succinctly. Most of it brings to mind Chamber Rock, due to the specific deployment of woodwind instruments in particular. Brasses, in their turn, often provide unison and the like solos (those in third, etc) with an obvious jazzy groove, creating a sound which does contrast Carolina’s vocal acrobatics very effectively. The prima donna manages to perfectly balance a melodic (often operatic) approach with avant-tinged singing, utilizing plenty of unique vocal devices – too many even to fit into the above-mentioned categories, let alone to define and list. Her singing has nothing to do with the concept of histrionics, but is a true vocal art, with a capital “A”. Vocally, Carolina is in all senses on a par with Kate Bush, of whom she reminds me in overall delivery, as well as Dagmar Krause (Henry Cow et al.), of whom, though, she is reminiscent comparatively rarely and only in intonations.
Conclusion. While inferior to Factor Burzaco’s self-titled debut release, in terms of complexity in particular, this is still a good album overall. For neophytes it would be a better starting point to explore the band’s music than its predecessor. Recommended.
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