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Cabezas De Cera (Mexico)
Overall View


2001 - "Cabezas De Cera" (48 min, 'CDC'/"Luna Negra")

2002 - "Un Segundo" (47 min, 'CDC')

2001 - "Cabezas De Cera"
(48 min, 'CDC'/"Luna Negra")

1. Veintuno 5:40
2. Gocxilla 5:30
3. Encantador de Serpientes 5:47
4. Un Pueblo Escondido 5:48
5. Caravana 4:50
6. Pretexto a un Texto Fragmentado 4:30
7. Gitana 3:04
8. Frontiera 6:04
9. Al Aire 6:05

Mauricio Sotelo
- grand stick,
  electric & acoustic guitars,
  electric bass
Ramses Luna
- varied flutes,
  saxophone & clarinet
Francicso Sotelo
- electronic drum set & percussion

Guest musicians:
Carlos Matute - synthesizer (track 1)
Jorge "Cox" Gaitan - violin (4)
German Bringas - trumpet (5)
Enrique Herranz - narration (9)

All music written and arranged
by Cabezas De Cera.
Produced by Cabezas De Cera.
Recorded, mixed, & mastered
by Edgar Arrellin & CDC
at "EAR Audio" studio, Mexico City.

Prologue. This and both of the following reviews are the continuation of the Overall View on the Mexican premier Prog label "Luna Negra", i.e. on all of the CDs ever released by it. (Hopefully, this unique in its own way Overall View on the creation of the whole label will be on the road for years to come.) Meanwhile, the fact that Mexico is one of the several vanguards of contemporary Progressive Rock movement becomes more and more obvious.

The Album. Lately, I've heard the music of CDC represents a mix of traditional Rock music and Progressive Rock. Well, well, well. Fortunately, so far I haven't lost my ears so I won't hang the noodles of errors on the ears of my readers. Actually, CDC perform a *pure* progressive music: this is more than a unique blend of a wide-variety of Progressive Rock genres and sub-genres. Here are general characteristics of all of the album's compositions. Highly complex arrangements with lots of very unexpected changes of tempos, themes and moods, variegated, quirky, fluid to fast, often atonal yet always harmonic solos and passages of Mauricio Sotelo's Grand Stick, electric and acoustic guitar and Ramses Luna's flutes, saxophone and clarinet, as well as interplay between all of these instruments. All of it goes with the accompaniment of Francisco Sotelo's either powerful drumming or soft playing the percussion. It needs to be said that Mauricio's Grand Stick sounds incredibly diverse, amazingly simulating and the sounds of analog and digital keyboards and even vibraphone and piano, the wonderful solos of which play a major part in creating the arrangements on Un Pueblo Escondido and Frontiera, respectively. While flute solos by Ramses always sound symphonic, most of his solos on clarinet and saxophone are the composed improvisations, which on the whole is typical for both the (progressive) Jazz-Fusion and RIO genres. Sax solos often sound wild and as if irrational with regard to a general compositional scheme, so their combination with Art-Rock-ish symphonic passages of acoustic guitar (on Gitana, Frontiera, and Al Aire) and ubiquitous keyboard-like chords of Grand Stick sound really marvelous. Duets and trios, created by the mid-tempo solos of electric and bass guitars and (Grand Stick's) vibraphone and rather harsh high-speed passages of violin, are the main characters of arrangements on Un Pueblo Escondido. Almost everything, though, is built here on the iron frames of contrast. Encontador de Serpenties, where there are a lot of diverse and masterful interplay between flutes and acoustic guitars, apart from the other arrangements, was created according to classic laws of complex, vintage Symphonic Art-Rock. Caravana is filled with Eastern colours created by solos of flute, electric guitar, and percussion, though there also are atonal solos and interplay between trombone and clarinet. Veintuno and Coxhilla represent a blend of Art-Rock and Prog-Metal. Thanks to the distinct contrast between heavy yet slow and doom-y riffs of electric guitar and fast, wild and quirky solos of sax and clarinet, Coxhilla sounds especially impressive. Pretexto a un Texto Fragmentado consists of very effective interchanges of dramatic recitatives, surrounded by varied psychedelic sounds, and eclectically hypnotic parts of unusual spacey music. There are, though, enough of the elements of Psychedelic and (especially) Space Rock on the album in general.

Summary. The Cabezas De Cera debut album, which is a real progressive gem, has just once again shown that Mexico is very rich in Progressive Rock talents and especially - with regard to the performers whose music is highly innovative, unique and at the same time distinctly Mexican. Despite the fact that, apart from the elements of a few of sub-genres such as Space and Psychedelic Rock, there are structures of the first four main genres of Prog (Classic Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, RIO, and Prog-Metal) in the music of CDC, on the whole it doesn't fit any of them. In that way, CDC is nothing else but the band of Fifth Element. (By the way, although the fifth main element-genre of Prog was 'found' by one Progressor just in the beginning of the year of 2001 Anno Domini, it grows by leaps and bounds.)

VM. December 12, 2001

2002 - "Un Segundo"
(47 min, 'CDC')

Original Tracklist:

a) Parabus 0:24
1. Intro 4:22
b) Puente 0:25
2. Cosmica 3:46
c) Velocidad maxima 0:13
3. In Statu 4:10
d) Tranvia 0:29
4. En camino 5:28
5. Elementos 5:37
e) Camino Sinuoso 0:59
6. Escalapista 5:18
7. Balun Canan 5:46
f) Linea continua 0:14
8. Mil noches 5:29
9. Retorno 4:14

VM's version of the CD's tracklist:

1. Parabus 2:44
2. Intro 4:22
3. Cosmica 3:46
4. In Statu 4:10
5. En camino 5:28
6. Elementos 5:37
7. Escalapista 5:18
8. Balun Canan 5:46
9. Mil noches 5:29
10. Retorno 4:14

All tracks: by Cabezas De Cera.


Mauricio Sotelo - Grand Stick, electric,
& acoustic guitars; violin
Francisco Sotelo - drums & various percussion
Ramses Luna - various brass & woodwind instruments;
MIDI-keys; voice
Edgar Arrelin - engineering, devices

Produced by CDC.
Recorded & mixed by E. Arrelin & M. Sotelo
at "Ano Nuevo" studio. 
Mastered by E. Arrelin
at "Ear Audio" studio, Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico.

Prologue. First of all, I must say that none of the albums by Cabezas De Cera (CDC hereafter) can be related to the Luna Negra label, as both of them were self-released by the band. In that way, I must exclude my review of the eponymous CDC album from the Overall View on Luna Negra and all of the label's releases. And the reviews of both of the CDC albums should be parts of the same Overall View on the band's creation. Also, it needs to be said that the "Un Segundo" CD digipack is the most wonderful, unique, and intricate (I did not make a slip in speaking) CD packing I've ever seen in my life. By the way, the digipack of the band's debut CD was also highly original and different from any of the other especial CD cases I've ever seen (not to mention traditional jewel-cases). Read the review of the band's previous album above.

The Album. Have a look at the original track list of "Un Segundo". After I listened to the album, I've decided to include my own version of its track list in this review. It's because of each of the (let's call them) pre-tracks consists of only a few effects and is, in fact, just a very short intro to the following track. Furthermore, all of these pre-tracks are similar among themselves. When programming my CD player, I collect all of them in the very beginning of the CD and, this way, have the track that looks like a real intro to (Intro and) the album. By the way, the album's closing track, Retorno, begins and finishes with effects of practically the same character, which, however, are not separated from this composition. After all, I'll be comfortable to describe "Un Segundo" using my own version of the album's track list. Above all, I was glad to hear that already on their second album CDC rather noticeable transformed their originally unique stylistics. Here, it is as polymorphous as that on the debut CDC album, even though the elements of Prog-Metal were completely lost somewhere on the band's way to "Un Segundo". Furthermore, unlike the debut, this album is of a unified stylistic concept, which, from a ProGfessional standpoint of view, is indescribable, or, in other words, is certainly about Fifth Element. Really, one can call this music as Symphonic Progressive based on the composed improvisations; the other can assert that this is nothing else than some of one unusual Jazz-Fusion just veered to a more symphonic sound, which would be incorrect in both of these cases. Most of the parts of the soloing instruments on the album, namely saxophone and clarinet, flute and whistle, electric, semi-, and acoustic guitars, Grand Stick, and marimba, apart from the other percussion instruments and drums, sound neither symphonic nor jazzy. The only aspect of "Un Segundo" that I am really sure in is that everything on the album was thoroughly composed, and the album itself is filled with an outstanding progressive music. As for the parts of soloing instruments in particular and the highly innovative arrangements that are present on each of the album's tracks in general, all of them are just about Fifth Element whatever one may say. Episodically, a few compositions on the album are marked with Spanish shades, while both of the closing tracks of it are filled with wonderful flavors of music of East. The eclecticism, the frequent use of complex time signatures, kaleidoscopic changes of musical directions and tempos, the high-quality musicianship of each of the band members, as well as the performance by the band as a whole, are the essentials of the second CDC album.

Summary. Those of you who were happy enough to get the debut CDC album and like it, will certainly love "Un Segundo" as well, as both of the band's albums are real masterpieces. CDC perform the so-called New Music, which is really worthy to be called the music of the new millennium. However, to own the "Un Segundo" CD, you should wait until Musea Records will start the world-wide distribution of it.

VM. August 22, 2002

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