Exposé Online banner

Bloque — Bloque
(Safiro 50601001, 1978/1991, CD)

Bloque — Hombre, Tierra y Alma
(Si Wan SRMC-3002, 1979/1993, CD)

by Mike Grimes, Published 1995-07-01

Bloque Cover artHombre, Tierra y Alma Cover art

There really was some great music coming out of Spain in the late 70s, and unlike a lot of their Spanish contemporaries, Bloque actually stayed together long enough to record more than one album! Bloque's sound is driven by the dueling guitars of Juan Carlos Gutierrez and Juanjo Respuela, who both share vocal responsibilities as well. On Bloque, most of the guitar playing is electric in nature, with stylistic nods to the British rockers of the earlier 70s. Partly due to this, this album has a more commercial feel to it than Hombre, Tierra y Alma does. Several of the tracks on Bloque are pretty straight beat rhythms with soloing over the top. While this isn't that bad, when compared to the more complex song structures evident on Hombre, the writing on the self-titled album seems a bit sophomoric. One immediately obvious difference between these two albums is the addition of Mellotron on the second. They use the 'Tron to great effect, and it is greatly responsible for the more symphonic sound of Hombre. While the first album has some good moments, there are some mediocre ones as well. These mostly occur during the first part of the album. Overall, the original LP's side 2 is much better, and the final track on Bloque makes the album worth the price of admission. By far the best track on the album with odd time signatures, tritones galore, yelling out vocals — it has all the essential ingredients of a good prog song.

Hombre, Tierra y Alma shows a more mature band with more diverse songs. The acoustic guitar is featured more prominently, and the obligatory prog instrument, the flute, is even used on a track. The two guitarists complement each other better on this album too. On the debut, a lot of the double guitars were straight harmonies that one person could have overdubbed. On Hombre however, they tend to be playing completely different parts more. I'd rate this album up there as one of the best Spanish prog rock albums from that era, with their first quite a ways behind, but still worth a listen. Those fond of Crack, Nu, as well as the other heavier prog will enjoy Bloque. My primary complaint about Hombre is that it appears to have been mastered from vinyl! Although they clearly used a relatively clean copy, there are many spots where clicks and pops can be heard. Overall though, it's not that noticeable, and worth putting up with for the quality of the music.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 7, 1991 releases, 1978 recordings, 1993 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Bloque

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Surge - For the Time Being – Why is European mainland jazz ignored or worse yet, simply prejudiced as being lesser than US contemporaries? And does jazz have to be black to be good? These questions have been asked by reviewers...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues