There's much to take in with Hyacintus's Sinkronos. This is music that demands and rewards your attention, becoming more enjoyable on repeated, attentive playings. I'm not going to pin a genre on it for the simple reason that it comprises many genres rolled into one. Here you have everything from jazz to classic rock, to progressive and symphonic rock, to swing, to Argentinean influences and possibly others beside. On their MySpace site they classify themselves as "progressive/classic rock/indie". I hate that term "indie" - can anyone conjure up in their minds what it means soundscape-wise? I doubt it, it covers virtually everything. Thinking of the other various factors I've mentioned as influences, the music becomes difficult to define. It becomes, simply, Hyacintus.
So...Hyacintus...an Argentinean band hailing from Buenos Aires that is the creative vision of its leader Jacinto Miguel Corral. You begin to appreciate that the vision is more than simply the music as you pick up and study the CD case. Its back presents their S.E.A. Triangle:- "S" for Swing, an effect on rhythm; "E" for Emotion, in its different manifestations; and "A" for Argument, the character of the work and its meaning. "These were the three aspects that have been taken into consideration for this work". Then you notice the track listing...it's subdivided into four sections: an unnamed first section of three compositions; a second trio entitled "Sueno 1" (First Dream); the third trio is entitled "Sueno 2" (Second Dream) and there is a final, short, piece on its own "Vesenevi". Yes, it is a concept album and there is a story to be told through the music. Inside the gatefold cover you are told "A mission was given to him and with the running of time he had forgotten it. He asked for help and he was told 'Your guide is your happiness...'. When he reached it he said 'The mission is done' And so that happened..." The CD sleeve gives further clues as to how the story enfolds: for instance, for the opener "Mission Dada" we are told that "A mission is given. He'll have privileges that will help him execute the mission". You get the idea - you are given clues for each of the 9 pieces; the exception is the closing composition "Vesenevi" - roll the credits! If I also tell you that Jacinto Miguel Corral lists Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" as an influence then you can begin to develop mental images which help to see what Hyacintus are trying to do.
You definitely get more from this music if you combine the aural experience with the feeling of allowing yourself to be transported into a mythical world. This is Jacinto's intention and this is how you will get the reward that Sinkronos can definitely deliver.
And so to the music. Like I've said, it's difficult to pin a specific genre onto it. It has the feel of an album of instrumental pieces. There is occasional singing both in Spanish and in English and also some incantation-style vocalizations but as far as I can tell most of the human voice is produced through filters such that there is a slight distortion. Combine that with Jacinto's penchant for using choral synthesizers and the overall effect is that the vocalizations have the feel of being another instrument. Certainly, if you are not into instrumental music, you would struggle with Sinkronos; and there are no lyrics as such to help you picture the mythical journey you should be embarking on.
Hyacintus are not quite a one-man band: Jacinto himself plays electric, acoustic and classical guitars, bass guitar, a range of keyboards and other acoustic instruments and vocals. However, he does have Jose Luis Hernandez on drums; Daniel Sanchez on bass; Victor Sanchez on percussion and Ada Guitart on vocals. Ana Tirigall and Ed Martinez also help with vocals and drums respectively on a couple of compositions.
The music is always pleasant and enjoyable to listen to, never discordant, irrespective of the style of the particular composition. The range of instrumentation used is complex, not just throughout the album but also within individual compositions; the musical texture is virtually in constant flux. The playing is first-class, one of the highlights of the album. I've read a review of one of Hyacintus's earlier works (previously one studio and one live album) that I haven't heard myself suggesting that some of the drumming sounded as though it was synthesized and was poor - well, it isn't on Sinkronos - far from it, the drumming was excellent throughout, intelligently adding to the compositions and helping the various changes in mood and texture.
To give you an idea of some of the compositions and their variety: "Mission Dada" opens impressively with jagged guitar and choral synthesizer chords, develops a jazzy foot-tapping rhythm, has some super electric guitar work, and briefly touches on funk and symphonic elements. Somehow it all works together. "Ritual Lunar" (where, in the story, "he is seduced by the material world") has brass synthesizer sounds that swing, then you get some r+b in there too - party time!; "Explore" is very romantic, classically symphonic, very melodic, becoming mournful - "now he leaves his love, he must reach the mission"; "Heart Place" has some beautiful classical guitar playing, developing ethereal symphonic moods ("he enters 'no time space'").
Sinkronos is an enjoyable album but it does demand your attention, it does not work as background music and, as I said before, you should treat is an instrumental work. Recorded over a three-year period from 2005, the production (by Jacinto) is first class and it sports an excellent sound. A drawback that it suffers for me, as an instrumental album, is the lack of a consistent musical thread or feel; there is little feel of constancy, the textural flux that is a strength also acts as a weakness, leaving the album slightly weaker as a whole. Overall. though, one can say that Mission SEA was successfully accomplished.
1) Mission Dada - andante - (04:49)
2) Hipno Delfico - adagio - (05:55)
3) Ritual Lunar (El fraude) - allegro - (04:48)
4) Shakespeare! (Ethical) - andante - (04:46)
5) Explore (Plan SEA) - largo - (04:34)
6) Implacable Kronos - presto - (05:51)
7) Asoma (SErA) - allegro - (04:50)
8) Heart Place - lento - (03:56)
9) Mission Recordada - vivace - (10:09)
10) Vesenevi - largo - (02:59)