Planeta Imaginario: Optical Delusions
Planeta Imaginario are a Spanish outfit and like the name implies, the band shows a tremendous amount of imagination with their brand new CD Optical Delusions. The band formed in 1999 by keyboardist Marc Capel and released their debut Que Me Dices? in 2004. Their first CD for Cuneiform Records was Biomasa, released in 2008. Three years later they have a new album and a very good one it is.
Planeta Imaginario are not your typical jazz band; they add healthy doses of progressive rock and fusion making for an often melodic but eclectic mix of elements that will surely keep listeners on their toes. The complexity is high throughout the disc with so many twists and turns that I lost count throughout the course of these thirteen songs. The best part is the band has somehow managed to piece it all together pretty seamlessly as the songs flow nicely from one part to the next. There is a lot of variety here and this is one album that may require a few listens to fully appreciate.
The album begins with "Collective Action", a ten minute epic starting with quiet keys before woodwinds enter making for some fine modern jazz. Suddenly the music stops and we are left with spacey synths and bits of jazzy saxophone. Throw in some Rhodes piano and a ripping Hammond solo and we have the makings of an excellent jazz/prog rock tour de force.
"The Garden of Happy Cows" features a calypso style drum beat with Rhodes piano and woodwinds carrying the melody. The trombone grooves laid down by The-Hien Trinh are a highlight.
The complex "Angioma" starts with a keyboard intro and a sound that soon melts into jazz fusion territory. Some dissonant saxophone flavourings and a plethora of keyboard sounds rounds out the piece.
"Hemangioma" is a more experimental offering with a terrific horn arrangement while the one two combination of "Introduction to Sidewalk Licker" and "Sidewalk Licker" offers a nice contrast with its pretty piano and deep melodic sensibility.
The album ends with the ambitious "The Sea…And Later The Sun…And The Reflection", a fabulous blending of jazz and progressive rock. A mellow piano led intro builds into strong woodwind playing and stellar synth and keyboard work with some melodic earworms as an added bonus. There are many twists and turns here, from the Canterbury scene to Doors-like keyborads. It is a complex piece and a great way to end the album.
Optical Delusions will certainly appeal to the RIO crowd, Zappa-heads as well fans of the Canterbury scene. The band effortlessly shifts between changing moods and themes with the finesse of seasoned veterans. Jazz aficionados and proggers alike will find much to enjoy, perhaps you will too.
1. Collective Action (Acciò Col-lective)(10:16)
2. The Garden of Happy Cows (El jardi de les vaques alegres) (9:40)
3. Xarramandusca (including Exile) (11:36)
4. Good Luck, My Friend (Bona sort amic meu) (1:45)
5. Angioma (3:50)
6. Scalpel (Bisturi) (:45)
7. Hemangioma (3:09)
8. Introduction to Sidewalk Licker (Introducció de Llepavoreres) (2:37)
9. Sidewalk Licker (Llepavoreres) (8:00)
10. Imperfect Purity (Element de la puresa imperfecte) (4:15)
11. Pure and Imperfect Art Element (Element del art pur i imperfect) (6:21)
12. Imperfect Persuasive Element (Element de la persuasió imperfecte) (2:40)
13. The Sea…And Later The Sun…And The Reflection (El Mar. I IIavors sorti el sol…i el reflexe) (13:18)
Added: April 2nd 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
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