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Banda Elastica - 2013 - "Acqui, Alla y Aculla"

(73:27, Azafran Media / Musea Records)


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Suite Regresiva 8:13
2.  Ranulfo 3:15
3.  Insomnio 5:09
4.  Tonada 7:56
5.  A Perpetuidad 4:04
6.  Haciendo El Quehacer Y Otros Tiraders 6:42
7.  Reencuentro F Improvisacion 8:22
8.  Fierabras 3:58
9.  Tiradero Con Dave Barret Improvisacion 6:10
10. Tiradero Con El Violo Improvisacion 7:00
11. Tiradero Con Chris Cutler Improvisacion 12:38

LINEUP:

Guillermo Portillo  flutes, saxophone 
Jose Navarro  marimba, percussion 
Guillermo Gonzalez  guitars  
Sosimo Hernandez  bass  
With:
Luis Costero  drums  
David Barret  saxophone  
Ismael Palomares  marimba 
Rosino Serrano  keyboards 
Alejandro Sanchez  violin 
Chris Cutler  drums 
&:
A few more musicians

Prolusion. The Mexican band BANDA ELASTICA was formed back in 1983, and with a string of albums released from 1985 and onwards, they became an established and renowned unit exploring various kinds of avant-garde music, but are primarily described as an avant-rock band. "Acqui, Alla y Aculla" is their first live production, released by the Mexican label Luna Negra, and distributed by Azafran Media and Musea Records.

Analysis. Banda Elastica is among those bands that I generally have a hard time listening to and describing. My way into an interest for progressive rock came by way of metal, and my weak spot as far as music is concerned will always be avant-garde and improvisational artists who appear to have more of a basis in jazz in general and the more chaotic varieties of that type of music in particular. Banda Elastica fits that description rather perfectly, and as such my descriptions and attempts at analyzing this production should be read with that in mind. Rather than a strict live concert album, Banda Elastica has opted to assemble bits and pieces from five different concerts on this album. Just about half of the tracks are from a performance in New York in 1994, and the selected cuts from that performance are book-ended by elongated performances that appear to have more of a basis in avant jazz than anything else. More than mildly chaotic at times, but generally managing to construct some fine sequences along the way, with marimba player Navarro an important instigator for many of those more enjoyable and not quite as challenging sequences. In between we have four additional performances that to my ears have a firmer arrangement, even if they also can appear somewhat chaotic at times, and for me the calmer and atmospheric A Perpetuidad is the highlight from this set with its generally more laid-back atmosphere, subtly jazz-tinged touches and a nice, mystical general mood I found highly compelling. The next live recording is from my own country, where the band performs at a jazz event. Both the more jazz-oriented improvisation Reencuentro and the more distinct jazz rock of Fierabras are compelling performances, and added to my list of highlights from this CD. The following three tracks are all pulled from different live performances, and all of them are improvisations. The ones with Dave Barret contributing and especially the violin-flavored improvisation that comes next are typically material of the kind I struggle with myself. Free-form tendencies, chaotic developments and effects, and often a fragmented arrangement with atonal and non-rhythmic or arrhythmic tendencies. The concluding improvisation is yet another highlight however. The strong emphasis on drums and drum patterns on this recording, that also features the talents of Chris Cutler (ex-Henry Cow) comes across as a performance that is striking (sic) at times, compelling and likeable drum cascades and patterns with an ebb and flow in intensity that maintains nerve and interest rather well.

Conclusion. To my ears, Banda Elastica comes across as a vibrant live performing unit, and one that flows fairly smoothly to and from and in between avant jazz, avant progressive rock and free-form oriented variations of those, with a certain emphasis on folk and ethnic music details flute and marimba in particular that does give their material a fairly unique sound overall. Those with a deep fascination for challenging avant music, and a taste that includes an affection for both avant jazz and avant-garde progressive rock, come across as the ideal audience for this album. If you can recognize yourself in that description you will most likely enjoy this CD all the way through.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 14, 2015
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Azafran Media
Musea Records
Banda Elastica


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