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Tracklist: 1. Tres 1:24 (Echevarreneta, Ubieda, P. Peitsik) 2. Timorato 3:07 (Echevarreneta, Castillo, Ubieda) 3. Lugar de casas nuevas 4:42 (Echevarreneta, Della-Noce) 4. Sin Retorno 7:05 (Castillo, Echevarreneta, Della-Noce) 5. Grillos 5:12 (Echevarreneta, Ubieda) 6. El Fin de la Infancia (in 8 parts) 24:29 (Della-Noce, Echevarreneta) 7. Escape para el hombre comun 4:22 (Castillo, Della-Noce) 8. En la via 6:24 (Della-Noce, Castillo, Landaeta) Line-up: Giuglio-Cesare Della-Noce - synthesizers & acoustic piano Miguel-Angel Echevarreneta - bass & classical guitars Pedro Castillo - electric & acoustic guitars; vocals Gerardo Ubieda - drums & percussion German Landaeta - programming & engineering With: Peter Pejtsik - cello Guest musicians: Carola de Landaeta - soprano vocalizes (on 6) Manena Contreras & Children's Choir - vocalizes (on 6) Produced by Alexis Lope-Bello, German Landaeta, & Tempano. Recorded at "Sonodosmil" studio, Caracas, Venezuela.
Prologue. The return of Venezuela's Tempano, which happened twenty years after they disbanded having released their only, though, excellent album, "Atabal Yemal", was arguably the most unexpected event in the history of Progressive. Note: As well as both of the following albums by Tempano, Musea Records released "Atamal Yemal" on CD as well (in 1998: see discography below). And what is more, unlike the original LP, this CD includes also a few of the previously unreleased tracks. Back to "Childhood's End", I must admit that Tempano's second album is my introduction to their creation. Though, hopefully, I'll receive the band's third album for my review soon (it was released by Musea just recently).
The Album. There are three different categories of compositions on "Childhood's End". The most accessible among them are: Sin Retorno and En la via (4 & 8). The first of them is the only song (ballad, actually: lyrics are in Spanish) on the album. Though En la via, which is almost entirely filled with light arrangements, along with male vocalizes of an optimistic character, is in many ways similar to Sin Retorno. However, I would not dare to call these two songs the works of Neo (Symphonic Progressive): they're just much more accessible than all the other compositions on the album. As for the latter, all of them are the instrumental pieces, though each of the following two pieces, Grillos and the album's title track El Fin de la Infancia (5 & 6), features a few of the male and female vocalizes (respectively). Also, almost all of the remaining six compositions are of a high complexity. Stylistically, Tres (track 1), as well as precisely half of the parts of the epic 24-minute Childhood's End (1st, 3rd, 5th, & 7th), are about a pure Classical Academic Music. Each of these five pieces consists predominantly of lushly orchestrated arrangements filled mostly with the parts of synthetic String, Brass, and chamber instruments, all of which, though, sound quite realistic. Peter Pejtsik's 'guest' solos on cello are present on most of these compositions as well. By the way, the album's opening track, Tres, is much in the vein of the 'classical' parts of the album's title track. Whereas the first part of El Fin de la Infancia, full of wonderful sounds of Sitar and solos of marimba, is about Eastern Classical Music rather than the European one. IMHO, it would've been better if this piece would've been the album's opening track instead of Tres and vice versa. However, I've just thought that it would've been enough if only Tres would've been placed within the framework of El Fin de la Infancia along with all of its other parts. Then the overall musical palette of "Childhood's End" would have looked more coherent. However, I feel I must stop myself, as this talk is quite idle. Really, why am I caviling at the stylistic coherence of this masterpiece? Instead, I'd better mention that apart from various academic instruments (in a general sense), the 3rd and the 7th parts of the epic El Fin de la Infancia contain also the excellent passages and solos of acoustic guitar and piano. All four of the other parts of it, as well as four of the remaining tracks on the album, Timorato, Lugar de casas nuevas, Grillos, and Escape para el hombre comun (2, 3, 5, 7), are, stylistically, similar among themselves as well. Generally, I see the music that is featured on all of them as a blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Classical Academic Music with elements of Prog-Metal. However, Timorato and Escape para el hombre comun (2 & 7), as well as each of the four remaining parts of El Fin de la Infancia, all of which contain just a few of repetitions, sound more complex and intricate than Lugar de casas nuevas and Grillos (3 & 5). On the other hand, the 6th part of the album's title track and Timorato (2) are free of elements of Prog-Metal. Nevertheless, although stylistically, "Childhood's End" is quite a motley album, it is, nevertheless, a masterpiece. As for the mastery of the Tempano musicians, all of them are real virtuosos.
Summary. Above all, I should have said that the second Tempano album has a very original sound. However, a distinct originality is by no means the only trump that these Venezuelan veterans have up their sleeves. Complex, diverse, and very tasteful, "Childhood's End" is undoubtedly one of the best Symphonic Art-Rock albums of 2000.
VM. September 30, 2002
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