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Tracklist: Contracorrientte 9:46 Amazonas 10:30 (in 4 parts) Vuelonocturno 5:56 Vientode levante 8:04 Con-tacto 5:24 Trasel Puente 12:33 Oasis 7:13 Tribu 1:37 Solo 1:44 All music written by M. Starry, except 6 by M. Starry & S. Velez. Arrangements by OMNI & C. Dominguez. Produced by Omni. Recorded at "Audiosur" & "Fundacion Exonal" studios. Line-up: Michael Starry - lead guitar, keyboards Salvador Velez - rhythm guitar Jose Luis Algaba - bass Pepe Torres - vientos (?) Guests: J.M.C. - percussives Chano Domingues - keyboards A. R. - keyboards
Prologue. I don't really know if the only album from this Spanish band was ever released before (on LP / MC), but thanks only to Juan Jose Salas at "Luna Negra", who has issued it on the CD, the Spanish Progressive Rock movement, which is not too solid (to put it mildly), becomes a bit stronger with this another Prog-unit, despite the fact that Omni passed away quite a long time ago. I've already let Juan Jose know my opinion on Omni's entirely instrumental "Tras el puente" album. And here is for you.
The Album. Most of the album's tracks were recorded far back in 1990, but this CD contains a few pieces more. Factually, being formed sometime in the middle-to-late of the 1980s, the band existed until the mid- 1990s, and all 'bonuses' were recorded in 1991 and 1993. Although the band's original line-up doesn't have a free keyboardist and all pieces were composed by the lead guitarists, the album on the whole has such a lush symphonic sound that is typical specially for the so called keyboard (or keyboard based) albums with a keyboard player or two at the band's hand. No, I didn't say there's no guitars on "Tras el puerte". The playing of both guitar guys is heard in each piece, but two guest keyboardists retain the upper hand in all of them. They play their instruments quite skillfully, but with a lack of diversity, so bearing in mind that the album's mastermind is originally the lead guitarist, I think the guest keyboardists built their arrangements just according to the chords composed by the 'master'. I can't call excellent either the joint musicianship (i.e. performance) on this album or the personal one of some (let alone all) of the musicians performed here. All in all, I consider all these joint and separate things as good-to-very good. The same goes for the bandleader's composing capabilities, though I think both guest keyboardists did a great work concerning their arrangements that actually have given the album its real status. Especially since, according to the official notes in the album's booklet, they haven't composed anything here. Now, let's go back to the 'staff' lime-up of Omni and to real contributions to the album from all four principal members. Rhythm-guitarist does his not very hard work quite properly according to his "rhythmically-chord" status. As for the lead guitarist, most of all I like his not too virtusic yet not without interest acoustic and semi-acoustic guitar roulades that support the keyboards passages quite often. The work of the rhythm-section is not bad, but it would be out of place to call it impressive. On the other hand, such an ordinary work of the rhythm section (in the face of bassist and drummer) can be proper for such music - not too complex yet quite interesting, rather mellow-to-mid-tempo than bombastic pieces of typical Symphonic Progressive.
Summary. Sorry, here we have those 'hidden' (by me myself, otherwise why did I just say sorry?) two aces that these Spanish guys have in their sleeve (as if in reserve for my summary). In addition to some my above criticism regarding this band, now I feel pleasure to let you know that Omni's music is not only original, but also highly innovative - at least within the same Neo genre. So these aces are major enough to name Omni the first and still the best instrumental, mostly keyboard based band of Symphonic Neo Progressive. Hey those neo-headed who feel already tired of boring music (you should guess what I mean), please try Omni, and then it will be your closest step to comprehend the best works of ELP, Rick Wakeman and even UK (the band talk!) until you reach the status of a profound Prog-person. If you really wish it, check out Omni, comprehend them properly. Then you may be sure that you finally crossed that foolish threshold between Neo and Classic Progressive.
VM. June 12, 2000
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