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Zyclope (Spain) - 2004 - "Uno"
TRACK LIST: 1. Orient Express 7:44 2. Merlin 4:00 3. Mite & Mita 1:30 4. Viaje a Escosia 6:27 5. Notre Damme 3:44 6. Recorriendo Mundo 3:59 7. Zyclopea 4:05 8. Locura Temporal 4:33 9. Electrical Night 5:19 10. Fantasias del Rey 4:27 11. En la Corte 3:25 12. Feeling Your Breath 3:24 All tracks: by Olmos, except 3: Mira, 5: Mira/Olmos, 9: Sanchez/Olmos, & 7: Zyclope. LINE-UP: Juan Olmos - keyboards; vocals Javier Mira - guitars Javier Del Palacio - basses Ernesto Sanchez - drums Jorge Calvo - flutes Yasia Shevchenko - violins Produced & engineered by Olmos.
Prolusion. "Uno" is "One", and this is the first album by the Spanish band ZYCLOPE, the meaning of the name is also clear. I see there is a Ukrainian girl in the lineup. It's a small world. There were thousands of volunteers from the USSR in Spain at the end of the '30s, and fought side by side with the native patriots against the fascist regime.
Synopsis. This very "One" is made up of twelve tracks, two of which are songs with English lyrics, three feature some vocalizations, and the others, as you have guessed correctly :-), are purely instrumental. Although most of the compositions are rather short, there is no place for Progress's antagonists, such as repetition, borrowings, and any other destructive features, anywhere on the album. In the brief description of it, which is available on the Musea Records website, the band has been compared to Camel, ELP, Steve Hackett, and Focus, but these are guiding, general comparisons that are very relative in fact, so they shouldn't be taken too seriously. Zyclope's music is distinctively original and doesn't conjure up images of anyone else. It is only partly rooted in the seventies and is much more classically influenced than that of any of said performers. Chamber instruments: piano, violins, flutes, acoustic guitar, and also related sounds, provided by a string ensemble, hardly play a less important role than Rock instruments. The album's opener Orient Express is the only exception in this matter. This is a confluence of Symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal with intricate and mostly dynamic arrangements. Nevertheless, like on any of the other tracks performed by the entire band, there is an episode with chamber (OK, chamber-like here) music, too. Already on the second composition, Merlin, the situation has been changed. The magician would've been much pleased to hear this Chamber Classical music as such and by dints of Symphonic Art-Rock with the spirit of medieval minstrels soaring over invisibly, but perceptibly, kudos to ears for seeing some spheres much better than eyes. While advancing from here, the third track certainly will be found next. Mite & Mita is a classic acoustic guitar piece, which by the mastery of performance and the mood is like Howe's famous Mood for a Day. No Rock instruments were used on Feeling Your Breath and Locura Temporal, which are a pure chamber music with and without vocals respectively. Another song: Electrical Night is like a container of the directions available on the described tracks. With a couple of light reservations, this very remark will be topical regarding the remaining six tracks. The heavy constituent is practically out on these. The violin is absent on some of them, but thankfully, orchestral arrangements sound always convincing. I believe your imagination will help you to complement the picture that is the whole show in this performance.
Conclusion. The music of Zyclope is lively in all senses of the word, save only "sprightly", as an excessive optimism isn't part of the album's emotional palette, as well as depressiveness, though. Definitely one of the strongest debuts of the year, "Uno" is a great journey to the world of combined, acoustic and electric, textures, chamber and Rock musical forms, which might fully satisfy anyone, except those retreated into the shell of one of the most 'conservative' genres. I mean Jazz and related directions, of course. Sincerely recommended.
VM: September 11, 2004
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