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Tempano - 2010 - "Selective Memory"

(77:26, Musea Records)


****+
                 

TRACK LIST:   

1.  Victoria Pirrica 5:58
2.  Failing Senses 7:27
3.  Argos 2:52
4.  Despair Shout 8:15
5.  A Farewell to Seasons 9:03
6.  Irus 8:56
7.  The Blind Crow 4:41
8.  Path 3:13
9.  Embestida 6:50
10. Cristalizado 3:14
11. Aguas Redondas 6:55
12. El Gran Inquisidor 9:57

LINEUP:

Pedro Castillo – vocals; el. & ac. guitars; violin
Cesare Della Noce – organ, pianos, Mellotron
Angel Echevarreneta – bass, ac. guitar
Gerardo Ubeida – drums 

Prolusion. TEMPANO is quite a renowned progressive rock band from Venezuela. Following “The Agony & the Ecstasy” from 2002, “Selective Memory” is its first release in eight years. However (like in the case of the latest Djam Karet outing “The Heavy Session” ), it’s pretty difficult for me to regard it as a full-fledged new effort by the band, as most of the compositions, that it’s made up of, are featured on “Odyssey” and “Seven Samurai”, the multi-group albums from the Colossus’ series of concept musical projects. Anyhow, only two of the disc’s 12 tracks, the first and the last one, Victoria Pirrica and El Gran Inquisidor, are available for the first time ever, the opener being the sole piece written specifically for this album.

Analysis. By presenting the shorter versions of the tracks from the above compilations (without updating their sound, though) within a single album Tempano takes me back to what is now seen as the band’s missing period. I find that quite much has changed in the musicians’ creative worldview after 2002, as I remember their previous two discs as something a lot more intricate and compelling. The elements of jazz, classical and mental heavy metal music found in the implied phase of the band’s work are lacking here. The music rarely exceeds the bounds of symphonic Art-Rock (which, although having a vintage aura, appears mostly as Neo in construction), and when it does, the result leaves much to be desired. Two of the tracks, Despair Shout and El Gran Inquisidor, are ambient pieces, and while the former changes its outlines from time to time, the latter drones monotonously all over its 10-minutes of length and is nothing other than a makeweight. ‘Penned’ some 30 years ago, but never recorded before, this seems to be Tempano’s worst creation ever. What was the need to breathe new life into it? Let’s move further. Pedro Castillo’s guitar playing isn’t as effective as that on any of the band’s previous two outings. With a few exceptions (tracks 2 and 5 in particular), he is normally busy adding either fluid or, hmm, soaring solos to the keyboards by Cesare Della Noce, who, in turn, plays first fiddle, and so the corresponding passages are in abundance. In the majority of cases, the band is at its best when ‘recollecting’ that a slow pace is not the one that Prog is famed for, playing comparatively fast and generally well on A Farewell to Seasons (where Pedro introduces violin – for the first and the last time, though), Embestida and Cristalizado throughout and almost so on Path, the final destination of which has nothing to do with music, and is a series of hand claps and exclamations. Other than these tracks the recording continues almost entirely in a slow-to-moderately slow pace, albeit disc opener Victoria Pirrica is good despite that matter. The music never reaches its – at first expectable – culmination, but is ever-changing and beautiful alike. All in all, it turns out that the instrumental compositions are better than those featuring vocals. This is partly because they are more energetically saturated, and partly because Pedro’s singing, particularly in English, well, never was a strong point. That’s not to say that the vocal tracks are song-based (a few of those are largely instrumental in fact), but the band isn’t too resourceful outside the vocal sections of those either. The only notable exception to this rule is the above A Farewell to Seasons, which, though, is the best track here.

Conclusion. I’m not that thrilled with this latest release by Tempano. If you most of all appreciate the band for its debut and two previous albums as well, you must feel the same after listening to it. However, those who’re into more conventional Art-Rock based in melody over complexity will find it a solid album, if not a masterpiece.

VM=Vitaly Menshikov: May 11, 2011
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Musea Records


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