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jueves, 20 de agosto de 2015

Tantra - Mistérios e Maravilhas (1977)


Artista: Tantra
Álbum: Mistérios e Maravilhas
Año: 1977
Género: Rock sinfónico
Duración: 54:01
Nacionalidad: Portugal


Lista de Temas:
1. A Beira Do Fim
2. Aventuras De Um Dragao Num Aquario
3. Misterios E Maravilhas
4. Maquina Da Felicidade
5. Variacoes Sobre Uma Galaxia
6. Partir Sempre

Alineación:
- Armando Gama / keyboards
- Americo Luis / bass
- Manuel Cardoso / guitar, vocals
- To Ze Almeida / drums


Otro aportazo de Pedro de Portugal. "Mistérios e Maravilhas" es el primer disco de la banda portuguesa Tantra grupo fundado en 1976), en gran parte instrumental. La música es una emocionante mezcla de rock sinfónico y espacial, con un tremendo baterista marcando ritmos, voz llorona, lírica y plena de lamentaciones marcando su estilo en las pocas pistas con lírica, y con un estilo particular de sinfonismo. El álbum contiene fuertes influencias de bandas como Genesis, Yes y Pink Floyd pero con una impronta muy personal. Pistas largas con bellas armonías, guitarras en la mejor tradición de Steve Howe o Greg Lake más el abundante uso de sintetizadores siderales que da al grupo un aura espiritual, con la voz de Manuel Cardoso para establecer el tono para un comienzo jazzy-psicodélico hasta los confines del universo.



Y ese aire espiritual no es casual, los miembros de la banda siguen (o siguieron en el momento de grabar el disco) la filosofía espiritual de Paramahansa Yogananda (un yogui y gurú hinduista) y lo vuelcan en medio de su sinfónico en sintonía con el sinfónico de Yes o Genesis y como resultado sale el sonido Tantra.
Los discos están tan llenos de emotividad como de complejos arreglos. Largas y complejas estructuras melódicas temas con marcados y delicados duelos entre los teclados y la guitarra en base a una percusión muy dinámica y multi-rítmica.
El album está repleto de largos pasajes instrumentales, cargados de sentimiento y elegancia, bellas melodías y una fuerte carga emocional. Como reza en su web las composiciones son "Cosmicas Espirituales con guitarras alienigenas".

"Mistérios e Maravilhas" fue lanzado en un momento en el rock progresivo estaba en decadencia. Pero contrariamente a lo que sucedía en Inglaterra, donde el estilo sinfónico estaba en declive, Tantra atrajo multitudes en Portugal.
Así que sorpresivamente para todos éste disco fue un éxito que puede atribuirse al momento en que no sólo el rock sino la cultura en general estaba dicho país, Portugal.


Antes de la Revolución de abril 1974, mejor conocida como la "Revolución de los Claveles" (La Revolución de los Claveles fue un levantamiento militar que provocó la caída de la dictadura salazarista que dominaba Portugal desde 1926. El fin de este régimen permitió que el Estado se convirtiera en democrático). El antiguo régimen censuraba al rock y al momento de salir éste disco el país vivía un "destape", por lo que el rock portugués recién empieza a nacer a partir de 1975.

"Nosotros, soldados...
Juramos ser fieles a la patria y luchar por su libertad e independencia.
Juramos estar siempre, siempre, al lado del pueblo,
al servicio de la clase obrera, de los campesinos, del pueblo trabajador"
Jura de bandera con el puño levantado, de los soldados del RALIS

Uno de los primeros grupos en presentarse en esta nueva etapa de Portugal fue Genesis en 1975. Y también comenzó el surgimiento de varias bandas que siguieron esta línea. Y uno de ellos era el Tantra, que surgió en 1976.



Con la liberación de "Mistérios e Maravilhas", y quizás debido a que el sonido de rock progresivo es una novedad en Portugal, el disco (así como todo el género en sí mismo) tuvieron una buena respuesta, en contraste con lo que estaba sucediendo en todo el mundo. Tanto es así que Tantra podía llenar el Coliseo de Lisboa, una hazaña sin precedentes para un grupo de rock en un país donde hacía muy poco no existía el rock.
El álbum ganó el reconocimiento en todo el país y luego en todo el mundo. Y si bien por estas pampas casi no se conoce al grupo, en círculos especializados se ha considerado a este disco como una de las mejores cien obras de la música portuguesa, y no solamente hablando de rock sino de todos los estilos. Tantra lanzaría dos álbumes más (para terminar las actividades en el año 1981, aunque el grupo fue reformado en 2003 con Manuel Cardoso como el único miembro de la formación original.

Vamos ahora con algunos comentarios encontrados aqui y allá...

The Portuguese band Tantra released several albums of which I only know Misterios e Maravilhas. The band plays melodic symphonic progressive rock with a fusion slant. I can hear similarities to both English and French progressive bands (for example Yes, Genesis, Camel, Pulsar and maybe Carpe Diem). The musicians are good with the drummer being excellent. Vocals are few and rather harmless, but they add nothing to the music and could just as well been left off. The long first track is a rather mellow track that doesn 't really develop into something spectacular, but isn't bad either. A somewhat lame opening. A short acoustic guitar intermezzo (think of a typical short Howe/Hackett piece) follows. The title track starts with some descending and ascending piano lines and percussion before developing into more energetic 70's symphonic rock with occasional fusion touches. But even here they remain in control more than they should. Next comes the longest track, the 13-minute-plus "Variations on a Galaxy," which starts with an excellent, fusion ramp (great drumming and bass playing) almost like Return to Forever, but much too soon they return to the mellow, spacey symphonic style that characterizes the first part of the album. After some four minutes a great, complex fusion section follows (a bit like the French band Rahmann). Next, a solo for percussion and drums follows, which is actually interesting. After the percussion intermezzo, they return into more lively symphonic terrain and finally they return to the superb, symphonic fusion from earlier on. A diverse, well-played track. Excellent. Again a short interlude is inserted, now mainly for piano and synthesizer. The last track, the ten-minute "Always Parting," which starts with up-tempo, Genesis-type, symphonic rock, but the vocals are pretty ridiculous here. After some four minutes, they proceed with a nice instrumental passage closer to Yes, but again a fusion influence can be heard as well. The track ends with the vocal section of the beginning. A well done album, but too restrained at times. Just like with Iman's Camino del Aguila, the musicians seem to have a greater musical potential than what is displayed on this album. Sometimes I had hoped, they would have kicked out the jams more, something Tantra seemed very well capable of.
Sjef Oellers

The first time i heard it i tought it was better than "close to the edge" , obviously i was wrong , but i saw it live three times and my cd copy is signed , sadly , i sold the vynil
tambor

Well, here is the CD release of TANTRA's first album for the Musea label. TANTRA were considered to be Portugal's best progressive rock back in the 70's. And this CD sort of proves that statement. The music, although very well composed and executed, will probably not blow you away, but is well worth the money. And, I have to hand it to them, they really don't sound like any other band. The booklet mentions that they loved bands like YES, GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT, and KING CRIMSON. However, the music is free of those influences. Tantra had an excellent and unique drummer who played acoustic drums, and some of the first electronic drum pads released on the market. He isn't as mind-blowing as Furio Chirico from ARTI E MISTIERI, but rather his complex drumming is subtle. "Misterios E Maravilhas" seems to be hyped in the prog community, but don't expect a monster masterpiece. I would rate this more as a classic that has plenty to offer.
Steve Hegede

This record has two settings; the first one (presented by tracks "À Beira do Fim" and "Partir Sempre") is a bit sentimental and slow, showing a Genesis influence without being particularly interesting. The second setting, however, is a totally different story. It's rocket fuel-driven, complex prog worthy of the italian masters! Really good, with a definite highlight in the track "Máquina Da Felicidade". If it weren't for the bad sound quality, I'd probably given this record a 4.5 grade. Very recommended.
Tovan

Without a question TANTRA's "Misterios e Maravilhas" is a classic and rightfully considered by this progressive rock fan as one of those albums which you must own if you are a lover of 70's Prog rock. Songs are truly wonderfully written and performed with the greatest of precision and emotion. Instrumentation is full with heavy analog keyboard/piano flavours and dreamy - chocolate layered symphonic landscapes, guitars both acoustic and electric and just dripping with expression and cloud soaring aspects. Bass and drum interplay is just too clever with some lovely supportive runs and even a spotlight on a fantastic percussion/drum interlude. Stunning and highly emotional music.
James Unger

Portugal was never a country flooding with prog rock. Likely because the country was under two right wing dictatorships, that is Antonio Oliveira Salazar and Marcello Caetano. But one of that country's big pop stars, JOSÉ CID made good with prog rock in the mid to late '70s with the last efforts of his old band QUARTETO 1111, and his two solo efforts (the EP Vida and the LP "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus e Marte", from 1977 and 1978 respectively). TANTRA was also wanting to explore the world of prog rock, and they gave us "Mistérios e Maravilhas" in 1977 on the EMI label.
The album gets more hype than it really deserves. A lot of the album is that tiresome fusion-influenced noodling that bothers me, often just to show off the talents of drummer Tózé Almeida. But there are two killer cuts with mentioning, "Á Beira do Fim" and "Sempre Partir". The former features some great keyboard work and goes through several changers. The later features some great drumming, phased keyboards, and a totally mindblowing middle passage. The vocals only appear on those two cuts, and the rest in instrumental. If you like fusion-influenced prog, get this album, if you don't at least you'll like the two songs mentioned. Not essential, but still worth having.
Ben Miler

Tantra effortlessly and effectively combine a symphonic prog foundation rooted in their love for Yes and Genesis with aggressive, energetic, and loud as hell playing of a sort more usually found in the more volcanic regions of fusion - Mahavishnu Orchestra and that sort of deal. The whole package is shot through with some individual twists unique to the group and some mild influences from other traditions of Portuguese music. The production quality is, unfortunately, a little rough - not to the extent that it obscures Manuel Cardoso's furious guitar work, which is the major draw of the album for me, but enough so that the release feels more like a competent demo than a fully accomplished debut. Three well-earned stars for the Portuguese contestants.
W. Arthur

Tantra was one of the few bands/artists (and I really mean few, maybe less than five) that where able to produce progressive music in Portugal in the 1970s. If up to 1974 music in general was highly constrained by the Fascist regime, after that progressive/avant-garde efforts were taken as revivalist expressions of right wing elitism and voted to ostracism. I can't tell you the impact this LP had in the music scene at the time (too young for that) but the name Tantra survived as a reference, even during the long 20 year period of inactivity between their third and fourth alba. If not very popular, Tantra were highly regarded for achieving an uncommonly high degree of musicianship for a rock band in Portugal.
This début album perfectly portraits the band's influences from the early 1970s symphonic rock, especially Genesis, but at the same time lending itself to a certain experimentalism, that well, do not always turns out right.
Á Beira do Fim: This a great track, typical of the transition period from the classical British symphonic rock to the Neo-Prog of the 1980s. Heavy influenced by Genesis with brilliant moments of lyricism and risky vocals creating great dramatism. The execution is impeccable and the melodic structure maintains good congruence throughout the track, despite deep changes in tempo and volume. I find this particular track relatively close to what Babylon was doing at the time; it easily leaves your mouth watering for what may be ahead.
Aventuras de um Dragão: A small intermission with an acoustic guitar including some interesting moments.
Mistérios e Maravilhas: An instrumental Fusion piece lacking a definitive direction and including some sloppy bass playing that doesn't fit very well in the overall album style. An awkward end to the A side.
Máquina da Felicidade: Starts with a collage of small instrumental pieces that don't really have much in common. After an uninteresting drum solo at midway, the songs seems to start taking shape with better defined melodies, but doesn't manage to live to the promise. This track is a sort of anti-climax with the brilliant opening of the LP now feeling very distant.
Variações sobre uma Galáxia: Soft piano melody matched by nice synthesized effects. It sounds like an intro to some epic piece, but it all ends in less than a minute and a half. The best about this track is really its title.
Partir Sempre: Finally another track with vocals, that undoubtedly brings the direction lacking in the four instrumental tracks. Good interplay between the leading instruments: guitar and synths, again recovering the musical style introduced in the first track. But this track doesn't match either the promises made at the opening. A not so bad close to a bewildering record.
The Verdict: This record certainly isn't a masterpiece due to its great unevenness, but it is very hard to rate nonetheless. There is a great a track, some fine moments, but the listener spends long minutes trying to make sense of musical phrases that are neither capable of building up into a congruent symphonic piece or to be agreeable as fusion excursions. I feel mostly lost in tracks like Mistérios e Maravilhas and Máquina da Felicidade.
All in all a non-essential LP if you don't have a special interest on Portuguese Rock.
Luís de Sousa

The highlight here is the first track. What a great moment of beautiful symphonic prog! A five star song for sure! Unfortunately the rest of the album simply doesn't mantain that high level, the remaining the tracks being listenable but not really captivating (they are too unfocused IMO). The other above average feature of Misterios E Maravilhas, apart from the beautiful fantasy cover, is track 2 ("Aventuras De Um Dragao Num Aquario") which, despite being very very short, connects very well with track 1, making a sort of perfect ending to it.
In sum, "À Beira do Fim" is great (a must-have indeed) but the rest of the album, apart from some short sections (like track 2), seems quite unispired (well, of course, not necessarily bad). 3 stars it is. Make it 5 if you're talking about lusitanian prog only, because you really can't find anything better than this, excluding Jose Cid's 10000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus e Marte.
Floyd1990

Interesting spacy prog with a hint of jazz, good production and unorthodox recording of drums that gives this album a space rock vibe, at least to these ears. Longer compositions are more progressive and energetic, short songs have a lyrical romantic feel but are never poppy. Good album with a distinct style that is not a copy of any other band, yet it is influenced by various Italian and UK prog bands.
faust3d

I'm not sure about the first Portuguese progressive rock band... I think that would be Tantra! Only a few know that in Portugal exist progressive rock... only a few heard about Tantra... In 77, the recording conditions in Portugal were near to bad! Tranta has one of the best sound recordings at the time! Armando Gama starts his career in Tantra, but art brings no bread and he's still falling... ...Great names like Pedro Ayres Magalhães worked in Tantra, and many other!... The economy and music industry didn't support them! Talking about music: Great drummer, good keyboard lines (Armando Gama had classical formation), interesting guitar parts and good bass work! I'll not say that Tantra's music is a wonder... but it's a must for any Portuguese rock fan! (and any prog fan). Very turned to Genesis stuff but with a special feeling, the lyrics are in Portuguese which is a victory to the country! Is difficult to sing in Portuguese cause the poems should be in the highest level (no one will accept "I love and I love you"), the phonemes are more difficult to pronounce in melody (the words are longer)... They were constructing the rock scene in Portugal!
As a prog musician/composer I'm interested in research for prog roots in Portugal... this kind of art must be known "outside ghetto". We can not let the dreams and geniality of many musicians fall in time and disappear!!!
That's why we have prog archives! Thank you!!
João André Francisco

When in my youth and heard for the first time this album I was fan. Tantra its a band that plays a symphonic rock that we can say to the style of Yes, Genesis or others, but not equal, because its a unique sound because of Portuguese roots.
Alfredo Augusto


Así es que Pedro nos comparte un disco histórico, además de muy bueno, totalmente recomendable y disfrutable. No dejen pasar esta oportunidad para deleitarse con un disco casi maravilloso.
Y gracias Pedro, agradezcan que gracias a él tendremos alguno otra cosa de este grupo portugués.





2 comentarios:

  1. Download: https://yadi.sk/d/JoO9dgQ0gkXk2

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  2. perfecto...excelente grupo.... otro mas ala coleccion

    ResponderEliminar




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