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Tracklist: 1. Obertura 6:19 2. Av. Larco 4:09 3. Mundo Raro 5:18 4. Pastas prepas y otros postres 3:38 5. Lizy 3:27 6. Esto es iluminacion 3:14 7. Oda al tulipan 5:15 8. El caiman 7:03 9. Le dicen Rock 3:40 10. El abuelo 1:48 11. Animales 4:20 12. Caras 3:54 13. Fotograma 4:03 14. Sopresa del Tiempo 3:52 All tracks by FRAGIL. Line-up: Andres Dulude - vocals; acoustic guitar Cesar Bustamante - bass guitar Luis Valderrama - electric guitar Octavio Castillo - keyboards; flute Jorge Durand - drums & percussion With: Lima's Philharmonic Orchestra: - 1 conductor's baton - 12 violins - 4 violas - 2 cellos - 4 trumpets - 3 trombones - 2 horns - 1 oboe Produced by: FRAGIL & Andres Cuadros. Recorded live by: A. Cuadros at Mobil Records in Lima. Mixed by: A. Cuadros & Rafo Arbulu at "Mega Studios". Mastered by: Oliver Castillo at "Vituchi" studio.
Prologue. "Sorpresa del Tiempo" is the fifth album by veterans of Peruvian Progressive, Fragil, - the band that has existed since 1975 (though their debut album was released only in 1980). Since this is a live album, I am not sure whether it features only new compositions or, which is most likely, a mixed set of the earlier and new recordings. In any case, though, "Sorpresa del Tiempo" should radically differ from any of the band's previous albums, as Fragil recorded it along with a large philharmonic orchestra.
The Album. To be honest, I have no idea about the sound of Fragil's studio albums, but "Sorpresa del Tiempo", performed by the band and orchestra, is by all means an original album, even though stylistically, it, on the whole, does not exceed the framework of Classic Symphonic Progressive. This album, however, is not of a unified stylistic concept and features five categories of compositions that are at least slightly different among themselves. A pure Classic Symphonic Art-Rock is presented on five out of the ten songs, i.e. precisely on half of the songs that are featured here: Pastas prepas y otros postres, Esto es iluminacion, El caiman, Le dicen Rock, Fotograma, and Sopresa del Tiempo (tracks 4, 6, 8, 13, & 14). The other five songs are about the same genre, though they contain also the elements of Prog-Metal. These are Av. Larco, Oda al tulipan, Le dicen Rock, Animales, and Caras (2, 7, 9, 11, & 12), though both of the latter of them are heavier than any other composition on the album. What's curious is that, once again, precisely half of these 10 songs are real masterpieces of the genre filled with all the possible progressive ingredients: Av. Larco, Oda al tulipan, Esto es iluminacion, Animales, and the album's title track (2, 7, 8, 11, & 14). The other five songs are very good, at least, but not masterpieces, which, above all, is due to a rather short duration of each of them. Mundo Raro (3) is an excellent Symphonic Art-Rock ballad marked, in particular, with very tasteful interplay between the solos of oboe and trumpet and passages of string instruments. All three of the remaining tracks: Obertura, Lizy, and El abuelo (1, 5, & 10), are the instrumentals, all of which are very different among themselves. The album's opening track, Oberture, is probably the most intensive composition on the album, the stylistics of which is a queer and in many ways unique blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Classical Music with elements of Prog-Metal. Lizy, in its turn, is the most amazing and beautiful track here representing a piece of Classical Music where there are, in addition, many tunes of music of East. It was performed without drums, while various interplay between the solos of flute and bass guitar and lush passages of both of synthesizer and orchestra's string section are here simply wonderful. By the way, the solos of bass, along with those of keyboards and electric guitar, not only play one of the prominent roles in the arrangements on the album, but also are brilliant throughout it, which is quite a rare case regarding this instrument. Finally, El abuelo (10) is a nice, yet, too short piece that, apart from a few interplay between the slow passages of synthesizer and fluid solos of guitar, features also a theatrical-like narration.
Summary. I've heard about a dozen albums by several Peruvian bands, and "Sopresa del Tiempo" is the best among them. On this album Fragil looks like a serious and very experienced band, whose ambitions are directed to the development of their original creation, and not to a commercial success. Which is by no means a diffused phenomenon on the contemporary Symphonic Progressive scene. Highly recommended.
VM. October 9, 2002
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