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(51 min, Rock Symphony & Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Vulcano 7:26 2. Maximus 3:50 3. Suite Angelus I 6:23 4. Suite Angelus II 4:56 5. Coracoes do Mundo Intro 1:02 6. Fogos de Santelmo 6:35 7. Coracoes do Mundo 8:22 8. Index-II 13:06 All tracks: by Index. Produced by Index. LINEUP: Jones Junior - guitars; flute Otaviano Kury - keyboards Ronaldo Schenato - bass Leonardo Reis - drums
Prolusion. INDEX is a progressive music formation from Brazil. "Identidade" is already their third CD, but the band still doesn't have a website. So as to their history, I only know that it was guitarist Jones Junior (formerly of Quaterna Requeim) who initiated the band's existence and that they had two albums until now: "Index" and "Liber Secundus". On the other hand, I am well acquainted with Index's music, as I have both of these.
Analysis. From the very beginning of their creation, these four Brazilian men were ardent apologists of the English school of classic symphonic Art-Rock and were always successful in reproducing the distinctive vintage sound the style had in the '70s. True virtuosos, they have only somewhat lacked ease in performance and, occasionally, ventured to borrow something from their principal benefactors, Yes and Camel. But here is "Identidade", with the release of which all those matters became part of history. This album finds its makers being practically on par with their famous predecessors. The group has matured both technically and intellectually, playing with ease and bravely pushing the boundaries of the style they've chosen first. Only Suite Angelus, a two-part (but multi-sectional) composition featuring gorgeous organ prelude and interludes, is done in full accordance with the '70s Art-Rock canons, with no digressions from the genre's primary, symphonic, nature. Like everywhere on the album (!), the music is intelligent, sophisticated and is full of emotion and fire, with a complex structural approach, which secured the intricate development of events with lots of twists, turns, odd meters and many other essential progressive features. The sonic palette is woven exclusively of 'vintage' colors, which is not only because Otaviano Kury's keyboards equipment is comprised of the legendary Hammond organ, Rhodes piano and Moog synthesizers. Lead guitarist Jones Junior (who also plays flute and acoustic guitar) doesn't use modern sound processors. What is more, I believe most of the guitar pedals he owns have been manufactured at the dawn of the Progressive Rock era. Ronaldo Schenato's bass sounds like it was played via the Taurus bass pedals, even though these aren't credited. The fact that Leonardo Reis uses exclusively acoustic drums and percussion is quite eloquent in itself. All in all, I would have easily believed that the album was recorded sometime in the mid-seventies if I were not in the know of the true state of affairs. Even upon the initial listening, there is no need to be too intent on the recording to recognize that Jazz-Fusion is a notable (at least) part of the music on most of the tracks. Somewhere in the middle of Vulcano, the band gently leaves their traditional path to explore the neighboring ones, and it turns out to be that those lead to the land of improvisational harmony. Maximus is basically symphonic in character, but the solo of acoustic guitar that runs through the composition is clearly of a jazzy origin. OK, the short fifth track is a Baroque music piece with a notable chamber sense. However, its title says it's just an intro to Coracoes do Mundo, so it shouldn't be examined out of the context of its maternal track. Unlike Vulcano and Maximus, there are no authentic improvisations here, but then there are few episodes where the primary style doesn't border on quasi Jazz-Fusion (in the Classical music-like piano interlude and postlude, in particular). I don't know whether Fogos de Santelmo is the messenger of Index's future stylistic direction, but this track might cardinally change your sense of the band and their creative potentials. It begins as a piano-laden quasi Jazz-Fusion with subtle swingy rhythms, but later on the picture changes almost kaleidoscopically, the avalanche-like improvisational jams pressing out comprise solos more often than vice versa. To me, this is Index's most compelling and most innovative composition ever, though I believe only those completely unprepared will not be able to crack this nut and get all the magic that's hidden here.
Conclusion. Although rooted in the English classic Prog Rock, "Identidas" is full of identities (indeed). In summary, this is an exceptional, challenging and surprisingly attractive album and is the best Brazilian release since Alex L's "Triz". Highly recommended. Top-20-2005 (lots of excellent albums this time out).
VM: September 21, 2005
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