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(36:05, ‘Sergio Benchimol’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Terral-II 5:00 2. Oregon Mountains 7:12 3. Daqui Prali 5:46 4. Deposis Da Praia 5:10 5. Shadow Valley 3:34 6. Ciclos 9:12 LINEUP: Sergio Benchimol – viola; ac. guitar; piano; vocals David Ganc – flute; saxophones With: Rafael Barata – drums Edu Szajnbrum – percussion Ricardo Santoro – violoncello (1, 3, 4, 5, 6) Ricardo Amato – 1st violin (1, 3, 4, 5) Nicolas Krassik – 2nd violin (4, 5) Rogerio Rosa – 2nd violin (1, 3) Jairo Diniz – viola (1, 3, 4, 5) Denner Campolina – ac. bass (1, 2, 3) Ed Morelenbaum – clarinet (4, 5) Carlos Prazeres – oboe (2, 6) Jesse Sadoc – trumpet (1, 5) Nelson Oliveira – trumpet (6) Vittor Santos – trombone (6)
Prolusion. “Ciclos Imaginarios” by Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer Sergio BENCHIMOL is a follow-up to his debut solo release “A Drop in the Ocean – An Ocean in the Drop” from 2004. Four of the five musicians who helped Carlos at the beginning of his, say, solo career are present here too, but save saxophonist/flutist David Ganc all of those are only credited as side participants, although two of them, drummer Rafael Barata and percussionist Edu Szajnbrum, play throughout the recording, at least as the booklet says.
Analysis. While more than twice as short in continuance as its predecessor (77:21), “Ciclos Imaginarios” still lasts enough time (36:04) to be regarded as a full-length album and, what’s most important, is practically in all senses a full-fledged musical creation. It doesn’t much matter either that only Sergio himself and David Ganc are this time presented as full members of the project. None of the six tracks here feature less than six performers, so the music is sonically saturated almost everywhere on the recording. With the exception of the concluding piece, Ciclos, where he turns to the piano, Sergio plays either acoustic guitar or viola, though it’s quite difficult to recognize his lines when he is behind the latter instrument, inasmuch as – besides various woodwinds and brasses – most of the compositions feature a full violin ensemble, i.e. quartet, and so another viola player, also. Deploying a wide variety of acoustic instruments and no electric ones, the recording certainly has a warm and lively sound throughout, but it is not uniform, let alone monolithic, in style. The first two tracks, Terral-II and Oregon Mountains, are woven predominantly of symphonic textures, and the matter seems to be directly linked with the fact that neither involves brass instruments. (Okay, except for the very finale of the opening one where David finally switches over from flute to saxophone). In all, these are classically-inspired pieces, both incorporating or rather widely using art-rock devices and features, such as passages of the acoustic guitar which – in themselves and when combined with those of the flute alike – bring to mind the name of Steve Hackett, to say the least. Of course, both can also be defined as chamber Symphonic Progressive with plenty of elements of Classical and some improvisations, most of which, though, are those relatively free-form harmonic constructions that are only adopted in Classical music. The jazz features for the first time become striking on the third track, Daqui Prali, each of the two that follow it, Deposis Da Praia and Shadow Valley, appearing to be richer in those than its predecessor, both these frequently blurring the border between a symphonic harmony and the implied one, both being flavored with oriental motifs in addition. The frivolous blows of the brass make the latter composition appear to be the jazziest in the set, although the violin quartet is still present here, too. By the way, the aforesaid Daqui Prali is the sole track here that leaves me relatively cold. This is a slow-paced tune that takes the shape of Jazz-Fusion only within its instrumental intermezzo. Either way, the music is overall fairly mellow, not without balladic intonations, as it’s dominated by Sergio’s vocals (which don’t touch an emotional chord), while otherwise the man only sings at the very beginning of Deposis Da Praia, thankfully. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the last – and the longest – track Ciclos evokes a cross between Neoclassical, RIO and Zeuhl, since it combines all the above styles (to put it briefly) with elements of Avant-garde. In other words, this is a chamber rock piece and, despite utilizing some doubled lines and repetitions, is the most intricate as well as compelling composition on the disc.
Conclusion. While somewhat less intriguing than Sergio’s first solo effort, his sophomore release still mostly consists of cerebral music. Advanced prog lovers with a broad stylistic horizon, don’t miss it, especially since it can be downloaded for free from its creator’s website.
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