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Tracklist: 1. Attacama 4:26 2. Milonga Nueva 3:11 3. Tatio 3:13 4. Alti Plano 3:07 5. Bossa de Arena 3:55 6. Valparaiso 3:04 7. El Amor Enfumado 4:42 8. Cantos a la Violetas 3:23 9. Ciudad 2:33 10. Luz y Sol 4:05 11. Danses de Camanchaca 4:33 12. Chungara 3:45 All tracks: composed, arranged, & produced by: Hernan & Olyam Saavedras. Line-up: Hernan - various flutes, guitars, percussion Olyam - synthesizers; guitars; percussion Fol - basses Recorded, mixed, & mastered at "Studio Faure", Chatou, France.
Prologue. What can I write here if I've never heard of this Chilean instrumental trio before? Good question - bad prologue...
The Album. The music that the Saavedra Brothers dedicated to the desert of Attacama is by no means dry (in any meaning of the word). Quite the contrary, it is very rich in musical colors and not only. So I will allow myself to assume that the brothers composed it while having a rest in some wonderful, paradise-like oasis. None of their compositions resemble "the music of deserts and sands" (as some of one poet said). Most of all, everything that is featured on this album reminds me of the music of American Indians, including those of Aztecs and Mayan (there is a spirit of antiquity on "Attacama"), raised to the power of instrumental Progressive (like that on a few of Djam Karet's album, for example). Also, if you heard Condor's Flight (also known as Indian's Song), which was highly popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and can imagine how it would sound if it were a progressive work without vocals, you get a general idea of what the music on this album is about. Despite the fact that electric instruments were used here practically everywhere, the album has a very acoustic and, at the same time, very rich sound. All the tracks that are present on "Attacama" were composed within the framework of a completely unified stylistics, which represents somewhat a progressive version of the music of American Indians. The only difference between the pieces on this album is the level of progressiveness of them. Ciudad and Danses de Camanchaca (tracks 9 & 11) are just a bit simpler than most of the compositions on the album in general. While Valparaiso (this is the name of a Chilean town), El Amor Enfumado, Cantos a la Violetas, and Chungara (6, 7, 8, & 12) are the absolute winners. These are the most diverse compositions on the album. Apart from the odd meters, etc, they feature a few of the complex stop-to-play movements, which, as I guess, can't be typical for the music of American Indians, the tunes of which, nevertheless, dominate here, as well as everywhere on the album. Varied interplay between solos of Indian flute and Pan-flute, those of acoustic, classical, and bass guitars, and lush passages of synthesizers, along with the parts of drums and hand percussion instruments, play a prominent role almost everywhere on "Attacama". Though the main soloing instruments on the album are acoustic guitar, bass guitar, and various flutes. The solos of electric guitar (they're either fluid or harsh here) and synthesizer are present on seven out of the album's twelve tracks. The classic passages of acoustic guitar were used only on Alti Plano and Cantos a la Violetas (4 & 8). Though, thanks to seemingly ubiquitous and highly virtuosi solos of the same guitar, the presence of the passages of it doesn't look as really essential on "Attacama". Surprisingly, the album's closing track, Chungara, turned out to be especially rich in sounds of various instruments. Here, you'll hear a real violin and even Russian balalaika.
Summary. Although the textures of the "Attacama" album are quite accessible, they're way complex, diverse, and interesting than anything that was created within the framework of a traditional World Music. In other words, the music on this album has absolutely nothing to do with the said popular musical direction. I liked "Attacama" more than most of the Neo (and not only!) albums that I've heard this year. Honest. Finally, I'd like to mention that my rating scale is currently looking a bit differently: no more "satisfactory" albums! Here it is.
- Six stars - masterpiece: ****** - Five stars - excellent album: ***** - Four stars - good album: **** - Three stars - mediocrity: *** - Two stars - weak album: ** - One star - poor album: *
VM. September 26, 2002
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