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Iconoclasta — La Granja Humana
((Not on label) no#, 2000, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2001-07-01

La Granja Humana Cover artThough I’ve been reading about them in Exposé for years, this is the first Iconoclasta I’ve actually heard. I’m going to leave aside the concept-album aspect of Granja Humana (Human Farm in English), since, as instrumental music, “concept” is a matter of song titles, cover art, and inspiration, all of which are beyond the scope of music criticism. Suffice it to say they’re thinking about genetic engineering, and they don’t appear to be in favor of it. The music has a dark, ominous feel to much of it, not as oppressive as King Crimson, but full of minor keys. The presence of prominent keyboards and acoustic guitar help to lighten things a bit. The music is fairly complicated, and while none of the musicians are slouches, there is the feeling that they are playing near the limits of their technique, and their ideas are almost out of reach. Somehow I think that if they sounded more polished, I would enjoy them less. In general, their inspiration seems to come from classics like 70s Genesis, but with a near-jazzy twist. All compositions and arrangements are credited to guitarist/keyboardist Ricardo Moreno, and there is often a twin guitar lead shared with Ricardo Ortegón. Bassist Nohemi de Rubin provides a bright bottom end, complementing the melodies nicely. Victor Baldovinos keeps the pace going on the drums, though the production on his kit is rather flat, giving it a thumpy cardboard sound. One of the standout tracks is “El último de los Dodos,” which starts with a beautiful acoustic guitar duet, then progresses through numerous sections, including a quiet echoey interlude and a fast 5/4 riff. In any case, I’m glad I finally got to hear this interesting band, and recommend them to lovers of complex music that isn’t overly slick.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 22, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Iconoclasta

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