Flor de Loto — Nuevo Mesias
(Azafrán Media AP1420, 2014, CD+DVD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-08-22Capping off the first half-dozen releases for this Peruvian band in the last eight years, Nuevo Mesias is a fine effort, showing a band that alternately mixes brilliant bursts of originality with some standard aggressive hard rock riffage. Don’t be too misled by that great psychedelic artwork on the gatefold that holds both a CD and a companion DVD, the music here is not that psychedelic, although some strong trace elements are in place and I imagine some of their earliest releases might have lived up to that label a bit better. There are a lt of cooks in this kitchen, starting with main singer and acoustic and electric guitarist Alonso Herrera Zelaya, who along with synth player Daniel Lopez Gutierrez are responsible for the lion’s share of the songwriting, the latter seemingly contributing the band’s proggier tendencies (as evidenced on the superb instrumentals “Cumbemayo” and “Caleidoscopo”), although bassist Alejandro Motte penned the album’s two other purely instrumental pieces, including the lengthy “Creados del Fuego”. Motte and drummer Alvaro Escobar Picasso present a formidable rhythm section throughout the album’s nine cuts. Either because she’s underutilized or buried in the busy mix behind Zelaya, backing singer Agostina Gonzales Garcia can barely be heard. Ignacio Flores Zelaya contributes electric guitar throughout, but what really makes the band’s sound special is wind player Junior Valdivia, who plays alto and soprano flutes, tenor sax, quena (Andean wooden flute) and zampono (pan pipes), plus charango (ten-string Andean lute), and although the ethnic instruments are mostly heard in the purely instrumental moments, the sax and flutes are pretty much omnipresent even in the harder rocking tunes. The DVD contains a section on the making of Nuevo Mesias, a second section which includes a collection of six videos (including two live cuts) culled from the band’s earlier studio albums Madre Tierra, Mundos Bizarros, and Imperio de Cristal, and a photo gallery. Overall, I’m more inclined toward the band’s instrumental pieces which display a sophisticated grasp of progressive rock idioms, whereas the harder rocking vocal pieces seem geared more toward popular music consumers.
Related artist(s): Flor de Loto
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more