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lunes, 11 de enero de 2016

Cast - Castalia (2001)

Un disco en vivo, registrado en un concierto en Italia, en un despliegue de rock sinfónico bien propio de esta banda. Otro disco resubido por Sandy en este festival del mejor rock mexicano.

Artista: Cast
Álbum: Castalia
Año: 2001
Género: Rock sinfónico
Duración: 64:11
Nacionalidad: México

Lista de Temas:
1. Introduction
2. Hidden Poems
3. Legacy Madley
4. Simple Things
5. Reveling Signs of Love
6. Reality or Misantrophy Medley
a) Initiation Echos b) After All
7. Moving Universe

- Dino Brassea / vocals
- Francisco Hernandez Reyes / guitars
- Luis Alfonso Vidales / keyboards
- Antonio Bringas / drums and percussion
- Rodolfo Gonzalez Quiroz / bass

Y vamos con otro disco de Cast, la gran banda mexicana de la que tenemos varios discos, a ver si algún día completamos la discografía, que comprende 14 álbumes de estudio y 3 álbumes en vivo, lanzados a lo largo de una carrera que ha durado aproximadamente treinta años, que además ha acumulado numerosas apariciones en festivales y conciertos alrededor del mundo entre tantos discos.

Cast has been around from the 1970s, specializing on progressive rock, similar to early Genesis. Their music focuses strongly on keyboards, guitars, and vocals. Cast hosts an annual progressive rock festival called Baja Prog in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico featuring bands from around the world.

Un disco en vivo, registrado en un concierto en Italia, mostrando que Cast se desempeña muy bien en vivo y con un buen sonido en general. Si te gustan Genesis, ELP e IQ , con ese sonido entre sinfónico y neoprog, sin duda vas a disfrutar de este concierto de Cast.

On july 1st 2000 the Mexican band Cast recorded a live concert they performed in Italy. It was released on CD by Musea under the title “Castalia”. This cd is actually my first real acquaintance with Cast. I had heard some of their music earlier and that sounded pleasant, but this is the first full album of them I listened to. Cast is making records/cd’s since 1978 and their keyboards dominated music shows inspiration from Genesis, ELP and IQ. The musicians playing at this concert are Antonio Bringas on drums, Dino Brassea on vocals and flute, Rodolfo Gonzales on bass, Francisco Hernandez on guitar and most of the lead vocals and last but not least Alfonso Vidales on keyboards. As he is responsible for all the music of Cast, it is not surprising that his keyboards play a central role in the music of Cast.
The cd opens with an instrumental track called “Introduction” that begins easy with a flute theme that reminds of Camel. After about one minute it evolves in a more up tempo part, that is illustrating for most other up speed parts of the album: very intense drumming and fast successive notes that after a while make me a bit nervous. It also shows the rather supporting role of the guitarist and the bass player.
That Cast is vocally crafted shows at first in the second track “Hidden poems” that opens with a very nice duellish instrumental part. The two vocalists are capable of singing very good polyphonic parts. Nice piano and flute parts, the latter sometimes in the style of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. This song certainly has a dramatic and emotional atmosphere.
Especially in the third track “Legacy Medley” the polyphonic vocals are very good. This is certainly one of the best tracks of the cd, not only because of the strong vocals, but also because of the more easy and emotional feelings this song displays and the pleasant recurring theme, by turns played on piano, organ and synthesizer. As in the second track the vocal parts are interchanged with more intense instrumental parts. The sometimes high pitched voices at the end of the song sound like there also is a female singer present: the two vocalists of the band are certainly doing an good job. A nice guitar solo with ELP like organ support and, alas, again the more or less nervous drumming announces the end of the song that is a reprise of the main theme.
Track 4 is sung in Spanish, although the title is in English: “Simple things”. This is a primarily vocal song, sung by Dina Brassea with accompaniment of piano and strings and some march-like drumming.
Track 5 “Revealing signs of love” opens in the same piano-and-strings-style and also has some nice polyphonic vocal parts, but speeds up in the second half with again a nice instrumental part dominated by the keyboards of Alfonso Vidales.
Track 6 is, as track 3, a medley called “Reality or Misantrophy Medly”, with a running time of 17 minutes. Again a pattern we have heard before: a more quiet vocal introduction followed by an instrumental part, then again a vocal intermezzo and so on. Especially in this track I get a little bored with the ever recurring fast played themes. Again some Tullish flute parts besides the Keith Emerson organ. In the second half of this track the vocals are not strong, but perhaps it is my problem that I don’t like shouting. A short dark theme towards the end, with a more present bass (that in the rest of the recording might have been more present) is followed by a semi-acoustic guitar solo in the vein of Camel and then again a more fast paced keyboard finale. Quite a dynamic song with many changes in tempo.
The album finishes with the instrumental “Moving Universe” that opens with a nice theme played on the flute accompanied by piano and strings, but is again followed by a nervous making fast paced part. Happily this part doesn’t last too long and evolves in the final part of the song that shows a more important role for the guitar, with nice keyboard layers underneath. The more heavy flute parts remind not only of Jethro Tull, but also of Focus. A nice song to end the concert with.
This cd shows that Cast performs well live and (at last on this recording) with a good overall sound. If you like the reference bands mentioned and especially keyboard oriented neoprog with fast movements, you will certainly enjoy this Cast concert.
Wim Verweij

CAST are one of the top modern Mexican prog rock groups. Most of the musicians in the band today have been playing together for the past 20 years, but, thanks to the internet, CAST has built a loyal following around the world since the early 1990s. CAST are also quite prolific when it comes to album releases. They average a new album about every year, and have also put out numerous live and solo albums. "Castalia" is a new live album from a recent gig in Italy. It also ranks as one of the best CAST CDs I've heard. A few years ago I got a chance to see CAST play live in San Diego. That night I quickly realized that they were better live than in the studio. And this new CD proves that they have gotten tighter since the San Diego gig. "Castalia" consists mostly of newer material from the past 4 studio albums (although I'm not familiar with a couple of tracks). A lot of that material was rearranged into "medley" form, with a few tracks even sung in Spanish, for the Italian crowd. The new listener is quickly greeted with a busy form of symphonic prog that lightly tilts towards 80s neo-prog. The piano playing from Al Vidales stands out immediately. Al reminds me of the piano player from LOCANDA DELLE FATE, due to the amount of notes coming from his fingers, yet, somehow, he adds depth to a composition without taking the spotlight. His synth work is really what reminds me of 80s neo-prog due to its bombastic nature. Vocalist Dino Brassea does a wonderful job live. Especially on the Spanish tracks. I've never had a problem with Dino's English vocals, but, man, the Spanish vocals are wonderful. The warmth, and confidence in his voice when he sings in Spanish is striking. I can't forget to mention drummer Antonio Bringas, who is one of best live drummers I've seen. For some reason, this musician's drum work doesn't stand out at all on the studio albums, but he is a different monster live. Instrumentally, these guys kick some serious ass. The amount of changes, time-signatures, and melodies during some of the instrumental passages is jaw-dropping. But most of the vocal sections might also only appeal to neo-prog fans. Overall, "Castalia" is CAST at their best. I would love to see them release more live albums like this that span most of their compositional catalog, and a totally Spanish studio album in 2002 would definitely be something to look forward to.
Steve Hegede

As I have already mentioned in my ten previous Cast album reviews, I prefer the band while playing live or on compilation albums. Several of less interesting numbers are avoided and therefore, these works are most interesting. So, I was not really worried when I discovered this live album.
The "Introduction" is fully an ELP track. Loads of keys (but Vidales has used us to this). Cast's influences are spread within three bands : ELP, Genesis and PFM. The latter is definitely not far away in "Hiddem Poems". A great song with complex sounds, full of gorgeous keyboards, but the whole band is doing a great job.
Highly skilled (at times too much), this band can also play easy and beautiful music : some flute and light atmosphere automatically reminds me of the Trespass period. This is a very melodic track which belongs to the very best of Cast. This live version is just sublime and is one of the highlight.
Since Cast has an enourmous back catalogue (already nine studio albums before this live one), they will please the crowd with some "medleys" to give an overview of their work. Although I am not always keen on those exercises, I have to admit that Cast does a pretty good job even if the "Legacy" album does not belong to their best releases.
"Simple Things - Cosas simples" will be sung in Spanish and the second medley "Reality & Misantrophy" is both Spanish/ English which is fine as well as far as I am concerned (vámonos amigos, vamos a gozar). This long part (over seventeen minutes) is the other highlight of the album.
This live album is a pleasant (and for once short) effort. You'll get a bit of what Cast can deliver, but still their best live album remains IMO "A Live Experience" which featured some long epics from the band. Their early repertoire is completely forgotten here which at this time of their career sounds logical but would have deserved a song here and there. The last piece "Moving Universe" beautifully closes this good live album.
To be honest, I would rate this one with seven out of ten. My (step-family) roots will have me upgrade it with four stars (at least you know why). But do not be afraid : if ever you listen to this album you will not be disappointed.
Do not expect easy listening music and great guitar soli. You won't get here. Most of the music is rather intricated, difficult to reach yet played with great skills.
Arriba Mexico.

Cast is one of Mexico's finest and definitely best known prog-bands. To my shame I must admit that until now I only knew the band by name, but I must say that my first acquaintance with the band's music is a very pleasant one.
Cast are Antonio Bringas (drums), Dino Brassea (vocals, flute), Rodolfo González (bass), Franscisco Hernández (guitar, vocals) and Alfonso Vidales (keyboards). So far the band has released 11 albums, and their latest, Castalia, is a live registration of their gig in Milan, on July 1st 2000. I think for fans of the band the two medleys are probably the most interesting tracks on this album, yet for people who are unfamiliar with Cast's music (like yours truly) the album serves as a worthy introduction.
This quintet brings excellent classic prog in which the flute plays a very dominant role, thus immediately evoking comparisons with Camel or Jethro Tull. Not entirely unjust as the band is clearly influenced by these bands, yet does not limit itself to just these influences. References to bands like IQ or Arena are also plentiful, thus making at least one or more albums of this band almost compulsory in the collection of any self respecting fan of second-wave (a.k.a. "neo") prog.
At one point, during the Legacy Medley, Brassea's vocals sound so much like Peter Nicholls' and the accompanying keyboards are so much like Martin Orford's, that at first I thought they had incorporated a bit of IQ's Leap Of Faith in it. However, I wouldn't want to call this brief moment plagiarism - good influence is more the word here, as the band has certainly managed to create their own sound from the many easily recognisable influences.
Like so often with non-English language bands, they sound best when they sing in their native language. I don't know why, but I just feel that singers manage to put more heart and soul in the performance when they sing in their mother tongue. For that reason I'm glad the ballad Simple Things (or Cosas Simples as it is announced) is sung in Spanish. An excellent performance and a great moment of tranquility in between all the long epics.
As the song turns into Revealing Signs of Love it takes a moment to get used to the somewhat unnatural and slightly accented English again. However, this is an excellent track too, with some amazing ensemble vocals by both Brassea and Hernández. After a long, mellow intro the song turns into a classic, bombastic prog piece.
The climax of course is the 17-minute Reality of Misantrophy (sic) medley, again sung in Spanish. As I don't know the original songs that are incorporated in the medley, I can't say anything about them, however, I must say that I like what I hear!
The final track of the album is the instrumental Moving Universe. This starts with a first quiet, then chaotic, very much Jethro Tull-style intro, which at times also reminds me of the live version of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. Then changes into a heavy, bombastic middlepiece, with alternating guitar- and keyboard-solos, before returning again to a calm flute outtro. Excellent!
As I said before, my first encounter with Cast is a very positive one, which I recommend to any lover of good ol' fashioned prog.
Bart Jan van der Vorst

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Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).