El Reloj — El Reloj
(Record Runner RR-0150-2, 1975/1996, CD)
El Reloj — El Reloj (AKA Second Album)
(Record Runner RR-0160-2, 1976/1996, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, 2018-07-12:
[Second album revisted]
This is an album I played to death when the Record Runner CD came out in the mid 90s (can't speak for later re-issues). El Reloj was essentially what you would get if an Argentine group decided to play Crimsonesque progressive rock in the language of the first or second Led Zeppelin album. Superficially everything is early 70s rock. You have a singer who has that tenor Robert Plant thing going (although he actually reminds me of a lot of late 70s and early 80s metal singers from bands like Krokus and Armored Saint and the like), a really raw guitar sound and a punctuated heaviness without even a remote hint of the symphonic. But the writing is just staggered riff after riff with the occasional song fragment or jam thrown in, very little of it is played straight and most riffs only play a few times before developing into something new. The preparation for this kind of compositional madness must have taken days of practice sessions and doesn't seem to have that much precedent from their first album which is played a lot straighter. Hell, they might even call this math rock nowadays if it was metal tones. But despite the rhythmic complexity of it all, everything is very memorable, which is why it really caught fire with my 20 something self. I absolutely can not stop air drumming everything around me when it plays and it still sounds amazing to this very day. Only one song in this group is a long one, the spiky and classic "La Ciudad Desconocida," but I'd also give shout outs to "Tema Triste" and "Aquella Dulce Victoria," which are virtual musical roller coaster rides. The band captured the music perfectly on the cover, a virtual balancing act over an abyss. Anyway I'm not sure how easily findable this is anymore outside of boots, but it's well worth searching out.
by Mike McLatchey, 1999-11-01:
El Reloj is an Argentine group influenced by the more harder rocking bands of the early 70s like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Their sound on their first album is a dual-guitar rock that keeps a mainstream focus, while doing so in a fairly complex manner. On both reissues, Record Runner has the done the unusual, putting the band’s singles as bonus tracks at the beginning of the CDs. On the first album, two singles are added, the first is all original and the second early versions of two album tracks. These songs get to the point, with either guitar-driven passages, or the occasional ballad, with Eduardo Frezza’s voice sounding uncannily like Marc Storace from the heavy metal group Krokus. While the album itself has its fair share of good melody and great guitar soloing, the overall effect, even in the longer tracks, is fairly dull and rarely compelling. If it had English lyrics, much of it would have fit comfortably on rock radio.
Their second album, from 1976, is a completely different story. The bonus single, outtakes from the same year as the debut, is of equal interest to the first CD, but starting with “Al Borde del Abismo,” the band did a major overhaul on the compositional level. Combining progressive song structures with their already hard-edged sound, El Reloj created a major success with their second album, where every song is a refined classic. The dynamic “Tema Triste” reminds one of contemporaries Crucis. The nearly 11-minute “La Ciudad Desconocida” is a progressive rock tour de force, its phases including many staggered and elaborate rhythm structures mixed with passionately sung lyrical sections. The short but powerful “Aquel Triangulo” incorporates Crimson-like angularity into an amazingly complex fabric. After “Harto y Confundido” and the dynamic low, acoustic guitar piece “Tema de Todas las Epocas,” El Reloj turns up the intensity for the last two tracks, the amazing “Aquella Dulce Victoria” and “Egolatria” a Crucis-like trade off, with great guitar and synth soloing. Overall, one of the best progressive rock albums of the 70s.
Related artist(s): El Reloj
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
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
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
Klaus Schulze / Lisa Gerrard - Farscape & Rheingold – Klaus Schulze has wanted to work with Lisa Gerrard since he first heard her sing with Dead Can Dance, but an opportunity to collaborate did not occur until the Fall of 2007. This is an intriguing... (2009) » Read more