Iconoclasta — La Granja Humana
((Not on label) no#, 2000, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2001-07-01Though 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.
Related artist(s): Iconoclasta
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.