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(70:00 /Luna Negra & Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Levenda 8:03 2. Naufragio 8:17 3. Jardin de los Senderos 8:48 4. Palabras Como Astros 7:04 5. No Te Pude Contestar 3:47 6. Los Jueces del Mundo 11:04 7. Vidas Atras / Noche 11:43 8. Donde Nadie 1:25 9. Paciencia Infinita 9:28 LINEUP: Jose Luis Fernandez - guitars; keyboards, ocarinas; flutes; percussion Margarita Botello - vocals; ocarinas, piano; marimba; percussion With: Carlos Bonequi - drums Eduardo Melendez - saxophone David Ball - bassoon Ramon Nakash - violin Vitali Romanov - cello Hugo Santos - bass
Prolusion. "Les Paciencia de Job" is either the second or third CD representing a joint effort by Jose Luis FERNANDEZ and Margarita BOTELLO, from Mexico, although Margarita took part in all the solo albums by Fernandez beginning with "Sol Central", being their only permanent participant apart from him. I am not precise about the matter because, while having more than ten releases to his credit, Don Fernandez still doesn't have a website, and personally I'm only acquainted with six of them, namely "Motivos Para Perdese" (1996), "Extractos" (1997), "Sol Central" (2000), "Al Filo" (2002), "Designios" (2003) and the hero of this occasion. As usual, it's still Juan Jose who penned all the music for this recording, too.
Analysis. Being guided by my personal experience, I would never dare to predict where such a many-sided artist as Fernandez would move on his regular new creation, as those of his five releases that I've heard until now are all very dissimilar from each other. In short, I expected to meet with something unusual on "Les Paciencia de Job" as well, but it turns out that there is some, if not a good deal of common ground between this album and "Al Filo", though it's the sole purely instrumental track here (and at the same time the only one performed by Fernandez on his own), Jardin de los Senderos, which throughout is very much in the vein of that five year-standing outing. Despite the presence of four acoustic instruments, the music here is to a greater degree associated with Electronic, as everything is designed in order to accentuate the synthesizer canvases whose extremely slow movement conveys such a strong hypnotic sense that those practicing contemplation could easily use this cut so to reach a state of a changed consciousness or even to fall into a complete trance. There are a few more tracks on the disc that are also slow-paced throughout, Levenda and Naufragio, but the quantity of 'semi-frozen' passages is either small or completely absent there. The music is mostly ambient, though it has also something to do with Minimalist music, as primal melodies gradually develop into more spacious and, at once, quite eclectic structures. The only track featuring a virtual operatic choir (made up of Margarita's own singing, many times overdubbed), Naufragio would probably be the richest in dark shades. The low-tone synthesizer pulsation is barely perceptible, but it just fills the piece with a gloomy aura. The fact is that of the other instruments involved, namely piano, flute, acoustic and electric guitar, none exceeds the bounds of pastoral symphonic Ambient, some episodes with the choir and acoustic guitar at the fore evoking even Steve Hackett's "Voyage of the Acolyte". All the other creations vary in mood, but nevertheless it's still gothic colors (generally speaking) that are prevalent in their emotional palettes. The three cuts representing a blend of Ambient and World Music, Palabras Como Astros, Levenda and Donde Nadie, all stand out for their mixed Euro-Asian coloration and are all highly eclectic, especially considering the styles they belong to, the former from time to time revealing truly unexpected transitions or, to be more precise, shifting not only in theme, but also in pace. All these are also reminiscent of "Al-Filo", but only episodically. What generally distinguishes "Les Paciencia de Job" from that recording is that, apart from the acoustic guitar, there are loads of other acoustic instruments on all the tracks here, save for the most dynamic and powerful one, No Te Pude Contestar. One of the two compositions involving a full drum kit, it reminds me a bit of those synth-driven works by Earth Band where Manfred Mann more often provides quasi improvisations than plays in a clearly symphonic key. The 2-act suite, Vidas Atras / Noche, is excellent, developing from marimba-driven World Fusion to classically-inspired stuff with only cello and piano in the arrangement. The remaining two tracks, Los Jueces del Mundo and Paciencia Infinita (Infinite Patience, for sure), are both brilliant in all senses, from any viewpoint, their overall effect achieving, well, something that Fernandez has never tried before. Combining symphonic, jazzy, chamber-rock and classical-like constructions, each reveals also a component that definitely concerns Doom Metal or rather one of those highly modified manifestations of the genre which are already free of any heaviness, yet still retain all its essential peculiarities. There are plenty of subtle interplays between acoustic and electric guitar, violin, saxophone, bassoon, cello and piano and a tasteful use of assorted percussion. Finally I'd like to note that the booklet suggests three of the tracks, Palabras Como Astros, Los Jueces del Mundo and Vidas Atras are real songs, which only partly corresponds to the reality, because the lyrics on the last of these are all delivered by whispering, Margarita otherwise providing wordless vocals. Well, all of this is just merely remarked on, as Botello's voice on this disc is still as beautiful and powerful as ever, regardless of the manner she sings in.
Conclusion. There are no mediocrities on "Les Paciencia de Job", the tracks ranging from "good" to "masterpiece" in quality. Yes, I'd prefer that all of them had been in the same vein as the two described last, but anyway not one can be undervalued. I take my hat off to this wonderful duo for their continuously original and innovative work and recommend this CD to anyone who is on a good footing with any kind of good progressive music.
VM: Agst 12, 2007
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