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Presas, Julio: Amaneciendo En La Cruz Del Sur (reissue)

One of Viajero Inmovil's newest retrievals from archival perdition is a 1978 solo album by Argentine, Julio Presas, a guitarist-vocalist who recorded with the Buenos Aires-based group, Materia Gris (Grey Matter). The Amaneciendo tapes laid withering in a drawer for many, many years, and had already begun to deteriorate when action was taken to remaster them for this belated official release. The luster of a prog artifact has been restored, first cultivated by Presas (who also played bass), keyboardist Carlos Cutaia, and drummer Carlos Rigante. 2nd keysman Marcelo Vitale added synth doodles on three tracks, and Alicia Presas lent her voice for certain choruses. There is little in the way of vocals on this album, so it should be classified an instrumental work, with one major exception.

Save one, every number is four minutes in length, or shorter; the album is stylistically consistent, intended to be consumed as a whole, so only several pieces really stand out in this ensemble recording. The intricacies of Presas' guitar-playing betray the influence of Hackett & Latimer—Cutaia counters by fulfilling the Bardens/Wright dual role. The music is pastoral in color, owing to Camel, Oldfield & other 70s Western European symphonic acts. Juicy analog bass & a typically-Minimoog-ish lead overpower Presas' delicate acoustic arpeggios on the opening title track (Dawning On The Southern Cross); individual piano notes file out out and intermingle with notes picked on guitar. "Ronda Al Fin" (Rounding Out Towards The End) & "La Reuniòn" (The Reunion) carry on in a similarly meditative fashion, imaginary soundtracks for a journey. The oddly-titled "Siempre Dependemos De La Escuela" (We Always Depend On The School) strikes jubilantly with bright triad chords and melodic bass. Cutaia's keyboards occasionally threaten to take the lead spot—an implied threat, it's obvious he & Presas mastered the art of not getting in the other player's way.

"Porqué Perdimos Pasiòn?" (Why Have We Lost Our Passion?)" and "Desconcertado Estàs" (You're Disconcerted) pick up the pace with some nice legato synth lines & Oldfieldesque leads. "Otoño De Soledad" (The Fall Of Solitude) brings Alicia Presas' wispy vox and Cutaia's elegant, minimalistic harpsichord & velvety strings, while the guitar part is easily transposed to piano.

Rude Awakening Dept.— The pristine lull the album weaves up until this point is shattered by a horrible vocal track called, ironically, "Las Suaves Palabras" (Smooth Words). This is the only track to feature full-blown vocals by Julio. No comment on the mundane, inoffensive lyrics, but he sings in heavily-accented English (not a good thing, this time out).

The initial album closes with one—surprise—fabulous, 4-½ minute standout cut called "En Un Mar De Silencio" (In A Sea Of Silence), one positively exquisite composition. Presas' haunting guitar hovers against a shadowy, minimalist backdrop; keys & drums barely surface to break the murky tension. Vitale's synths touch off briefly—an important lesson that sometimes, less is more.

Viajero-Inmovil's norm seems to be three bonus tracks: from whence these came, only The Thing From Beyond may know…three minute-long instrumental snippets clearly excerpted from unknown, longer compositions. A burbling analog noise here, a jazzy rhythm there, bluesy piano over there, some guitar yonder…well, what was the point? The disc sounds fine without them. Indulge.

Added: April 12th 2003
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Score:
Related Link: Viajero-Inmovil Records
Hits: 2737
Language: english

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