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Khorus - 2011 - "Suite"

(37:15, Arabiand Rock)

1.	Suite 24:41
2.	Concierto en Huelva 12:34


Fernando Carmona - guitars, vocals
Jesus Carmona - keyboards, vocals
Juan Carlos Nito - drums, vocals
Juan Falero - bass, vocals

Prolusion. The Spanish quartet KHORUS was formed by guitarist Carmona back in 1974, and for the next five years it plied its trade in its local scene and was apparently a popular live act at the time. By 1979 the band had disbanded, and founder Carmona would continue on in a number of other bands. But while Khorus never released any material while active, they did hit the recording studio in 1975, and these studio sessions have been rescued, treated and released on CD by the enthusiasts in Arabiand Rock in 2010.

Analysis. The CD is a medium on its deathbed (at least that is what the experts claim), which is too bad for a number of reasons, one of them being a production such as this one. Here we have a band that never got to release anything while active, but with recorded material more or less ready to be released. True enough, it can be issued on a number of digital platforms, but do whatever you feel like on a web page and it won't be the same as documenting it physically. Bits and bytes may disappear in time, and while the CD itself won't last forever you'll still have the booklet and artwork testifying to the contents. And in this case also documenting the history of this group I presume few were even aware of contemporaneously. The downside to such rescue missions as this one is the recording quality. Whether it was the studio used at the time or the quality of the tapes this material was recorded on, the end result will have to be described as lo-fi. Listening to this disc is like playing a well-used vinyl album, for those old enough to remember what that sounds like. Thankfully, the music itself makes it worthwhile listening, and I believe more people than me will be intrigued by what they hear. Musically we're dealing with a band following pretty close in the footsteps of Camel: symphonic art rock with an emphasis on gentle instrumental textures and instrumental soloing. Opening effort Suite, which is the only reason to contemplate buying this disc, is a 10-part epic that will transfix most with a taste for endeavors of this kind. Playful keyboard soloing, slow mood-oriented guitar soloing, gentle piano textures underscoring and the odd folk- and jazz-oriented movement are all parts of this creation. Gentle psychedelic-tinged guitar licks are a nice additional feature when appearing, an almost customary feature for this type of music back in 1975, but in this case utilized effectively and sparingly. Steady drums and bass guitar provide momentum in an excellent manner. Nothing new or innovative as such, but well-made and well-performed, the kind of song that at least in my case made me forget about space and time while it lasted and where certain passages echo in my mind long after it had finished. Second track Concierto en Huelva is actually two songs performed live, initially recorded on cassette back in 1978. And while both songs appear to be good quality efforts very much in the nature of the title track, the appalling recording quality will make this one a case for the very specially interested only. I've heard quite a few bootlegs with a much better sound quality to put it that way.

Conclusion. If you enjoy atmospheric-laden symphonic art rock in the manner of Camel, perhaps with a few touches of Bo Hansson on occasion, “Suite” is a CD that you might want to explore. The less than state-of-the-art recording quality will most likely alienate some however, so have that in mind when investigating this production. And forget about the second track unless you're already a dedicated fan of this long disbanded Spanish foursome.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 12, 2011
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Fernando Carmona
Arabiand Rock


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