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Angel Ontalva - 2012 - "Mundo Flotante"

(43:53, ‘OctoberXart’)


1.  Sopla Viento del Este 4:36
2.  Bounkam Reverie 4:08
3.  Leilya 4:01
4.  Una Para Lars 3:57
Suite Sendas De Ofir  (5 to 9):
5.  En Ruta 1:40
6.  White Bird 6:21
7.  Sendas De Ofir 4:44
8.  Oricalco 2:33
9.  Oricalco Coda 2:28
10. Aurelia Quiere Saber 2:24
11. Sunda Stream 2:43
12. Aguas Del Bagradas 4:18


Angel Ontalva – el. & ac. guitars; flute
Víctor Rodriguez – keyboards
Amanda Pazos Cosse – bass 
Fran Mangas – saxophones 
Toni Mangas – drums 
Pablo Ortega – cello 
Salib – vocals 

Prolusion. Spanish composer and musician Angel ONTALVA is perhaps best known as a central member of the Spanish band October Equus, but he has been involved in multiple side projects and collaborative productions in the last few years as well, in addition to establishing a solo career. "Mundo Flotante" is his first solo album, released in 2012.

Analysis. "Mundo Flotante" is a production of the kind that is difficult to pin down into a specific subsection of the progressive rock universe. The music is diverse, vibrant and tight throughout, relying on a great deal of technical skills, just as much as a strong and well developed talent for the creation of easygoing, flowing atmospheres. As Ontalva's main band October Equus is primarily known for being a unit residing in the avant-garde section of the progressive rock universe, tendencies from this field are very much present, but perhaps in a more subtle manner. Jazz rock may arguably the the best description of the contents of this album, but this is a CD that can't truly be said to be typical of this aspect of progressive rock either. On some levels this is a production that reminds me of Taylor's Universe albums from the last few years, comparable at least to some extent, but without being truly similar. Tight and vibrant bass and drum foundations are a key element throughout. Ontalva and the contributing musicians appear to be well aware of just how important a distinct and well developed rhythm section is to establish a core tension-inducing element to the compositions and employ that knowledge expertly throughout, with added room for more well developed bass lines in the songs and passages without drums present. Sophisticated guitar details add plenty of nuances to the proceedings, as do elegant keyboard details of a subservient as well as a more dominant overall nature. The saxophone takes turns with keyboards and guitars in providing the instrument solo runs, and the common denominator is that these are well developed, and always come across as a part of a well thought-out total arrangement rather than being dominant solo instruments with the additional instruments having a distinct subservient role. The compositions alternate between chamber music, symphonic progressive rock and even some exotic folk-oriented expressions, but the common denominator throughout is that the material appears to have a core foundation in jazz rock. The saxophone and bass guitar are arguably the main instruments, giving a slight emphasis to this latter aspect, as overall these compositions are in truth defying common genre and subgenre descriptions. But if one had to choose, jazz rock would probably be my best estimate, if I should place this album within a more strictly defined context. This is, as mentioned, well developed and well executed material. The 5-part suite Sendas de Ofir is probably the most impressive creation, but in truth, this is a production without any weak spots as such, as far as I'm concerned. The more exotic vibes employed on compositions such as Leilya and Aguas del Bagrades also merit a special mention, as they give these compositions a fairly unique touch. At least for those who primarily listen to music with a western cultural origin.

Conclusion. Well thought and and well developed instrumental progressive rock with an arguable foundation in jazz rock seasoned with details and elements from avant-garde, symphonic, chamber and folk/world music is what Angel Ontalva provides us with on his debut solo production "Mundo Flotante". A vibrant, genre defying CD that merits a check by those fond of sophisticated, tight and innovative instrumental progressive rock, with a certain emphasis on the progressive aspect in progressive rock.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 3, 2015
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