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Pi2 (Spain) - 2004 - "Retorn"
TRACK LIST: 1. Retorn-1 4:53 2. Nadal '98 13:29 3. Galeta 4:36 4. Estiu 7:00 5. Piano 2:01 6. Diable 6:24 7. Retorn-2 6:55 All tracks: by Costa. LINE-UP: Pito Costa - keyboards, bass pedals Lluis Casals - guitars Lluis Ribalta - drums With: Oriol Camprodon - reeds (on 2 & 6) Albert Lleal - vocalizes (1) Produced by Costa. Engineered by D Casamitjana.
Prolusion. "Retorn" is the second album by the Spanish 'mathematicians' Pi-2. Their debut CD "Demo Sero un Altre Dia" was released a few years ago, but I haven't heard it.
Synopsis. This is a full instrumental album, and even the opening number, which features a guest singer, contains literally a couple of vocal parts, albeit wordless. Among the seven compositions, the short Piano (5) is a Classical music-like piece consisting, naturally, of the piano passages. The opening track, titled same as the album, is almost instantly accessible, but is very tasty, soulful and beautiful, representing a melodically pronounced Symphonic Art-Rock somewhere in the vein of Camel, but without any derivatives. While not intricate, the arrangements are tight, so the band showed their good potential to play cohesively together and, thus, a good musicianship of each member already in the beginning. Retorn Part 2, which is the last track on the album, was constructed practically the same way. The other compositions don't arouse any associations save those concerned a style, in the basis of which is laid the '70s-inspired Progressive. A full-fledged classic Symphonic Art-Rock in pure form is presented on Galeta and Estiu (3 & 4), both of which are intensive throughout and are made up of the arrangements that shine with diversity and possess everything necessary to keep the listener's attention. In short, the music features a complete set of the features that are widespread in the classic works of the genre, and I believe there is no need to list them. Most compositions were performed predominantly with traditional Rock instruments and sounds: piano, synthesizer, synthy bass, electric guitar, and acoustic drums. As for the 13-minute Nadal-'98 and Diable (2 & 6), apart from the parts of said instruments, these also contain a lot of those of Moog, Hammond, clarinet, acoustic guitar, and string ensemble, the active use of which, and especially the latter three, could not gone without leaving a trace regarding the style. So here, Symphonic Art-Rock is blended with Classical music as such and being performed by dints of Progressive Rock. Generally, all four of the long compositions, located in the core of the album, are remarkable. However, only two of them: Galeta and Diable I regard as real masterworks.
Conclusion. At least overall, "Retorn" is hardly one of the most complex and intriguing albums that I've heard this year, which, however, doesn't mean that I didn't like it. Not at all! There was a long period in my life when I considered complexity one of the two main trumps of progressive music, along with originality, but for quite some time now most of all I value the latter, and "Retorn" is an original album, without doubt. Nevertheless, I've rated it not as a masterpiece because of the lack of eventfulness on some tracks. Fans of Camel and the like might be especially pleased with this recording.
VM: August 5, 2004
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