In the ninth issue of El Mellotrón (Spanish magazine -not the Argentinian- that I really want to congratulate on its superb work within the symphonic-progressive world), Alberto Monge dedicated an article to Engels work, pseudonymous below which hides Miguel Angel de la Llave Jiménez. He is a very active musician who has carried out a wide range of activities, from guitar teacher to study musician, stopping from time to time to compose for some others and taking part in a symphonic rock band.
M. Ángel is an outstanding pupil of the Oldfield school. Multi-instrumentalist like him, the melody is the basement on which he can build a huge musical network, where instruments alternate so well and where beauty floods every song. This astonishing work has an astonishing origin too: he plays every single instrument, external collaborations consists just of voices and choirs and mixes have been worked out in a more than patient self-production task to introduce and take note of this - : Galician bagpipe, violin, Indian flute, zither, didgeridoo, melodic xylophone, flutes (soprano, tenor and sopranine), keyboards (orchestrations are the only synthesized elements in the record), acoustic and electric guitar, electric bass, harmonica, teponastli, amphora and some others percussion instruments.
This review refers to the recording that M. Ángel provided me by mail and which includes some more songs than the original one and probably the arrangement of the tracks is not exactly the same.
The CD begins with "an untitled song" (3:32), an easy snack with a surprising production quality and to get and idea of it, we can comment that is half way between Oldfield-M.Reilly compositions and Carlos Nuñez in "El Pozo de Arán" style. (The atmosphere begins to get warm). It is followed of "Recuerdos de un homenaje" (5:01), instrumental track which uses a kind of percussion either in the style either of Camel "Changing Places" or the works of Vasconcelos with J. Garbarek; fresh melodies full of very rich shades develops on it, above which an electric guitar in the Oldfield style hovers fluently with a great naturalness (A real jewel).
"Un día nublado" ("A cloudy day") (6:37) is a ballad which tells the sad story of a man that finds himself compelled to fight in a war that destroys, without his knowledge, his own home. The acoustic guitar introduces a voice and a flute that evolves to a melody inspired in "On Horseback" (yes, that wonder that was the end of "Ommadawn"). A percussion of "Etude" sonorities becomes the backcloth. The orchestral ending deserves to be tasted with all its intensity.
The fourth track entitles the project "Engel" (5:28), recovers a rhythmic structure similar to the first and certainly recalls El Boscos "Nirvana" or "Peace on Earth" from The Millennium Bell. It includes a fifteen voices choir and finishes like a musical box. "Felices sueños" ("Nice dreams") (5:07) is an instrumental track where guitars dialog on an orchestral accompaniment bells included-, that perfectly could have been included in M.Oldfields Guitars together with songs like "Muse" or "Embers". It is followed by another untitled theme (5:16) sung by a male voice in the style of the Spanish or Italian progressive (Bloque, CAP, ) where a child requests an adult to leave him alone. It features nice details as with the electric guitar as with the windpipe, and in the general atmosphere as well.
The seventh track "El Pájaro Azul" ("The blue bird") (5:17) starts with almost the same rhythms than "Mount Teide", but its further evolution take it close to the lyric atmosphere of "Jungle Gardenia" or the very own "Arrival". The voices of a ten years old child are used mixing them all together later like a choir. The bells introduce a "chapeau" ending where a wider choir is added.
"El último viaje del Galeón" ("The last trip of the galleon")(5:30) is another of the wonders in which flute and synthesizer allow ample scope for nostalgia in a harbor tavern which have room for every kind of memories: from the sound of the windpipe representing the loneliness of the sea to the African tunes making up a short but splendid and very successful choir.
Farewell takes place with two short songs: "Homenaje a mi habitación" (2:37) which is a delight of simplicity and where there is no introduction, he rapidly deploys the whole well-doing artillery. The end is in the charge of another untitled song (1:20) that could be perfectly well the beginning of a new composition that we expect not to take a long time.
It is definitely an interesting album in the world of symphonic rock and specially for Oldfield fans, that really filled us with enthusiasm. It has been for me the discovering of a great musician to be very much considered in this new millennium. People interested in getting in touch straight to him can do it through: 678 945 008 or in the next e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.