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(47:23 / Viajero Inmovil Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Passion Y Crimen 4:58 2. Fat Dreams 6:07 3. Fantasmas 5:03 4. Balada De Los Antartes 8:15 5. Cateter 5:13 6. Aceitunas 5:55 7. Supertwister 3:09 8. Rhayader 2:52 9. Rhayader Goes to Town 5:51 LINEUP: Ricardo Luna - flutes Andres Bonelli - keyboards Gustavo Gonzalez - drums Roberto Encinas - bass With: Gustavo Mari - el. guitar (4, 8, 9) Ricardo Mari - ac. guitar (4, 5)
Prolusion. Although Argentinean outfit ROCKAPHONICA don't have a website (and their CD, "Fuera de Tiempo", arrived with no supporting materials), I am inclined to think this is their debut album. According to the booklet, the last three pieces (see track listing above) form The Camel Tribute Section, though their titles themselves are already more than merely eloquent regarding their origin.
Analysis. Following the romantic traditions in vintage symphonic Art-Rock, Rockaphonica have made an all-instrumental creation whose nine tracks (i.e. the ones from the tribute section included) all have much in common with each other. So even while listening only to the first six cuts, I often find myself perceiving "Fuera de Tiempo" as a kind of "The Snow Goose, Part II". No, I don't want to say the music is devoid of any originality, but anyway, I clearly hear that almost all of the group's original tunes, while sounding rather fresh and compelling alike, are basically modeled after that compositionally-stylistic approach which Camel applied on their third album, the fact that only one of these, Balada De Los Antartes, features an electric guitar having no influence upon that impression. The only relative exception to that rule would be Aceitunas - an intense, dynamic composition with piccolo and (synthetic, yet very convincingly sounding) violin sharing the lead in most cases, the music reminding me more of art-rock variations on a traditional Celtic tune than, well, the recording's primary style. Passion Y Crimen and Fantasmas both consist for the most part of intense arrangements too, being generally diverse enough to be appreciated, but nevertheless the latter appears to be somewhat more impressive than the former, which is not only because it is richer in transitions. The point is that Passion Y Crimen finds flautist Ricardo Luna overshadowing keyboardist Andres Bonelli, whilst on Fantasmas these musicians harmonically complement each other, the sections revealing their joint soloing at the fore being especially impressive, for sure. Once it is established, the balance between the group's two principal driving forces is kept on all the subsequent tracks. Fat Dreams and Balada De Los Antartes, are both moderately slow at their fastest:-), but nonetheless, each has some theme and pace shifts, besides which the group's ability to subtly slacken and accelerate their pace is striking particularly on these. Cateter is the most diverse and, at the same time, most original track here, abundant in multi-layered soloing patterns, and gives the impression of a sort of steeplechase. There is a highly resourceful acoustic guitar solo that runs almost all through the piece, tirelessly intersecting those of flute, piano and organ, effortlessly surmounting numerous obstacles that appear on its way in the form of transitions, pace shifts, etc and so on. Well, it is the turn of the remaining three cuts, Supertwister, Rhayader and Rhayader Goes to Town. Whether I call these last or bonus tracks will not change their nature, as all are covers, but not interpretations of you know what.
Conclusion. Regardless of their likeness to Camel, Rockaphonia's own compositions are all worth a listen. These run for nearly 36 minutes, which, IMHO, has always been enough for a full-length album (I'm just recalling LPs by some legends, Camel again included). Furthermore, I think the last three pieces just intensify the similarity between "Fuera de Tiempo" and "The Snow Goose", serving to overshadow the group's own achievements in the field of originality. Anyhow, the hero of this occasion is a good release that will delight many sympho-prog lovers - beginning with fans of Camel.
VM: April 2, 2007
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