Imagine, if you will, a band that blends the jazz-rock of Lizard-era King Crimson, the intensity of Van Der Graaf Generator, the heaviness of TOOL and the indigenous folk and world music of Los Jaivas. You would want to call that band La Desooorden, an incredibly talented Chilean ensemble that will leave you speechless after you've absorbed their latest CD, Ciudad de Papel.
So just who are La Desooorden? After a little research (ok, actually it was the promotional sheet accompanying the CD), La Desooorden was founded in 1994 in Valdivia, Chile and after years of heavy duty touring, not to mention myriad lineup changes, released two independent CDs before their breakthrough album of 2004, called La Isla De Los Muertos. Heavily influenced by the cultural and political climate of their native country, Le Desoorden's brand new album is a conceptual piece about the controversy surrounding the installation of a cellulose mill in Valdivia and its effects on the environment. The CD is very cleverly packaged and while a glance at the front of the digipack shows paper dolls floating in the water, it's actually only part of a bigger picture; the enclosed lyric foldout sheet very effectively reveals full details of the photograph.
Whether or not one has a grasp of the Spanish language is practically immaterial; the language of music is universal and La Desooorden's music is powerful stuff that will perhaps require a few plays to fully appreciate. Driven by the electric and acoustic guitars of Alfonso Banda, the honking saxophone of Peter Pfifer, the outstanding rhythm section of Ridrigo Gonzalez on percussion and Francicso Martin on bass, these guys are just as capable of gentle lilting folk as they are at full tilt hard rock. Also employed by band members and a few guests are atypical rock music instruments like didgeridoo, ocarina and all sorts of percussive bells and whistles. The icing on the cake is the combined vocal prowess of Karsten Contreras and Fernando Tagore; these guys can really sing and even if one is not familiar with the Spanish language, the message is conveyed through sheer emotion.
The title track consists of powerful guitar riffing from Banda and a start and stop rhythm that brings to mind TOOL's Lateralus album before a mid section of choral voices and exotic percussion take over in a manner reminiscent of Los Jaivas' Alturas de Macchu Picchu. Underlying the entire piece is Pfifer's snaking saxophone. The swinging playful jazz-rock of "El Gran Acuerdo" is a nice mood lifter that recalls King Crimson's "Pictures of a City" before the album becomes dead serious again with "Migraciones Eternas" which features some wonderful cornet soloing. The moody and mysterious "Accion Por Los Cisnes" is another highlight as is the disturbing vocal melodies on "Tralcao". Ciudad de Papel's penultimate track is "E-N-E-U-J (Esto no es un Juego)" an absolute kick ass song that veers towards heavy metal with an infectious South American feel. "Boletos Para Ir" is a considerably more relaxed and quite melancholy song that ends the album with a hint of uncertainty, which I suppose mirrors the band's feelings regarding their home city's environmental controversy.
So let's cut to the chase, shall we? La Desooorden's Ciudad de Papel is one of the top releases of 2007. This folks, is what progressive music is all about. Although one can hear influences from some of the aforementioned bands, the end result is an album that manages to sound fresh, unique and exploratory. Very highly recommended.
- Fumarolas Del Alma
- Ciudad de Papel
- El Llamado del Totoral
- El Gran Acuerdo
- Migraciones Eternas
- La Voz de Los Ninos
- Accion por los Cisnes
- Los Trabajadores
- E-N-E-U-J (Esto no es un Juego)
- Boletos Para Ir