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Uqbar (Argentina) - 2004 - "Uqbar"
TRACK LIST: 1. Pylonisa 6:12 2. Cesare 5:37 3. Rojo de Espana 8:08 4. Fauno con Trompetas 7:24 5. Arkangel 6:07 6. Seireme 5:00 7. Lucia Caesar 6:43 8. Tigre Mimbre 5:49 All tracks: by Diaz. LINE-UP: Dario Diaz - classical guitar Marisa Gomez - acoustic guitar Nora Lopez - clarinet Leandro Szelagowdki - flute Andres Kozel - violoncello With: Alejandro Cancelas - clarinet (7 & 8) Rosana Flores - trombone (7) Nicolas Pardo - acoustic guitar (7) Produced by Diaz. Engineered by D Orono.
Prolusion. The Argentinean group UQBAR has existed since the beginning of the '90s. However, the whole decade has passed until they found an opportunity to release their debut eponymous album, kudos to Viajero Inmovil Records. Two musicians in the lineup are Poles, but there is nothing special in this fact, as Argentina is a multinational country, and there are many immigrants from Eastern European countries (and Italy, of course).
Synopsis. Only the last two tracks, which you can see in the track list above, were recorded in the new millennium, and the first six were completed in 1993 and were originally intended for the band's first album. Although the first half of the nineties is regarded as kind of the renaissance of Progressive, this totally acoustic all-instrumental album with no overdubs had very little changes to be released at that time, which is mainly because the music of Uqbar isn't Rock, at least in the traditional sense of the term. (Well, some people consider Bach the very first Rock composer, but this is a moot point, of course.) Four pieces: Cesare, Rojo de Espana, Fauno con Trompetas, and Arkangel (2 to 5) were performed with a complete set of the instruments that were used on the album's initial version: classical and acoustic guitar, clarinet, flute and violoncello, all the interplay between which develop much in accordance with the laws of Classical Academic music. Generally, the entire album can be considered a symphonic concerto of Classical Music for a small chamber ensemble with a classical guitar player at the helm. Dario Diaz is undoubtedly the main mastermind behind Uqbar, and his intricate solos and passages are in the basis of the arrangements on each piece. Some sonic landscapes may arouse associations with those pronouncedly acoustic and classical-like from "Voyage of the Acolyte" by Steve Hackett, some with Sergey Prokofiev's "Peter & The Wolf". However, the more or less really suitable point for comparisons would probably be only Wapassou, the excellent French band from the mid-seventies, which had a very strong classical influence and used similar instrumentation. On Pylonisa and Seireme (1 & 6) the music is absolutely identical, although the violin is absent here, as well as on the last two tracks, though: Lucia Caesar and Tigre Mimbre. The former features acoustic and classical guitar, clarinet and trombone, and the latter only classical guitar and clarinet. Nevertheless, these two are much in the same vein as the other compositions and are even a bit more intricate than them.
Conclusion. Uqbar's classically inspired Chamber Acoustic Progressive is beautiful and warm, but not only. There is no shortage of variety on the album, and more than anything keeps the music interesting from beginning to end. Heartily recommended.
VM: September 9, 2004
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