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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members.

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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Gotic - Escenes - 1978

This is, without a doubt, one of the best albums in the Spanish progressive of all times. Gotic is a wonderful example of the adaptation of foreign musical tendencies (basically Anglo-Saxon and Italian progressive, Canterbury and fusion) to the personal and local music of Catalonia.

The group, located in Barcelona, was born in 1977, and was formed by Rafael Escoté (bass, gong and palms), Jordi Martí (drums, percussion, palms), Jep Nuix (flute, piccolo, palms) and Jordi Vilaprinyo (piano, harpsichord, mini moog, violin, hammond, palms), with sporadic interventions from Jordi Codina and Josep Albert Cubero at guitars. They only released this masterpiece before their separation, but this is more than enough in my opinion to place them in the top of the progressive style.

Gotic’s music can remind in some moments to the progressive classics of the 70s, mainly to "The Snow Goose" of Camel. In general, it is sweet, soft, lovely and beautiful instrumental music, made with a lot of style and their own personality by excellent musicians, driven by wonderful flute and keyboards arrangements, together with a calm jazzy rhythm section. We can also make a resemblance with the musical proposals of Caravan and National Health, Italian prog (Banco, Celeste), or Weather Report and Return to Forever’s jazz fusion. The beautiful double cover artwork of the album, by Doreoteo Puebla, locates us in a marine and coastal recreation of the magic universe of Roger Dean (Yes), although musically I can hardly appreciate influences of this group, except in some guitar sounds.

This vinyl is notoriously difficult to find. I bought it some years ago in the best secondhand store of Madrid, La Metralleta, for just 350 pesetas, in a perfect state of conservation, and which I have seen later in specialized stores at 6,000-7,000 pesetas. The album (reissued in CD by Fonomusic, although I have never seen it in this format) contains 8 pieces that I will describe in detail

"Escenes de la terra en festa i de la mar en calma" (4:02) begins with piano and flute in harmony, introducing a cheerful and optimist section with clear reminiscences to Camel. By the half of the song, we enter in more melancholic and dense atmospheres, led by the flute, until we return to the optimistic initial section, closing this short but great piece. "Imprompt 1" (5:53) is a jazz-fusion piece with a Mediterranean and cheerful style, with interesting solos of guitar and flute adding force to the complex rhythm base and the very jazzy piano. Some more progressive moments, mainly the beautiful final section of the flute and keyboards, transport us to King Crimson’s first records or Banco. "Jocs d'ocells" (3:33) begins like a soft jazz ballad becoming, after a beautiful flute and keyboards section in a Canterbury style, a wonderful mid-tempo (a beautiful and precise rhythm section) worthy of the best albums of Camel and Italian progressive. The piece finishes recapturing the initial compasses. "La revolució" (4.08) ends the first side of the album greatly. It starts in a soft Canterbury style to be transformed, with the magic of the flute, into a section that resembles rhythmically an imaginary jazz-fusion military march.

"Dansa d'estiu" (3.30) is a beautiful interlude that mixes influences of traditional Catalan music with jazz-fusion, highlighting an excellent ride of the rhythm section and an exquisite work of the keyboard player. The spectacular ending section of the song takes us through a beautiful progressive road in the style of King Crimson, Camel or Celeste. "I tú que ho veies tot tan fàcil" (5.39) presents a smooth keyboard start, then the flute guides a wonderful melody that takes us through multiple developments in the most classy progressive style, between a jumping rhythm section and an excellent work of the keyboard player. Then, the guitar enters, in a perfect climax, and continuous changes of registry take place among flutes, keyboards, organs and guitars that end in a glorious finale. Almost the best in the album… was it not for the best of the best, the marvel of the marvels, reserved for the ending song. "Història d'una gota d’aigua" (10:14) is one of my favorite songs of the progressive rock style of all times. It is a wonderfully soft, sweet, slow, delicate, fragile ballad that moves between rain drops and the scent of the earth, guided by the flute in two incredibly beautiful enchained melodies that are repeated unceasingly by the different instruments (piano, flute, guitar, organ), ending in an explosion of emotions. A really tremendous finale, with all the instruments to one in a burst of imagination, sentiment, and prodigious and impressive musical intelligence. You can not compare this to anything else, it is an incredible showcase of personality and original sound that finishes this wonderful album in a brilliant way.

In summary, "Escenes" is a pleasure of an album, to listen in those calm afternoons in which one only wants to rest and to be carried away by good music. This is a masterpiece that must be discovered by those that savor the best progressive.

José Nafría - April 2000
rating - Fonomusic

 

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