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martes, 10 de mayo de 2016

Fusioon - Esenciales (1972 - 1974)


Un disco propio de Cataluña traído por nuestro cabezón canario (nuevo miembro del staff, procedente de las Islas Canarias) Juan Carlos, alias "El Canario". Así que seguiremos con la escuelita de rock fundada por el Mago Alberto y ahora la materia será España. Y empezamos con Fusioon, una banda desconocida por éstas pampas pero que se las trae... con ustedes, el comentario del Canario de ésta compilación conformada por los dos primeros discos de ésta banda.

Artista: Fusioon
Álbum: Esenciales (Fusioon + Fusioon 2)
Año: 1972 - 1974
Género: Jazz fusión progresivo ecléctico
Duración: 32:11 +
Nacionalidad: España


Lista de Temas:
Fusioon:
1. Danza del molinero
2. Ya se van los pastores
3. Ses porqueres
4. Pavana Española
5. Negra sombra
6. En el puerto de pajares
7. Rima infantil
8. El can del ocells
Fusioon 2:
1. Farsa del buen vivir
2. Contraste
3. Tritons
4. Dialogos
5. Concerto grosso

Alineación:
- Santi Arisa / drums
- Marti Brunet / guitar, synthesizers
- Jordi Camp / bass
- Manel Camp / piano, keyboards




Traeremos tres discos de una banda sumamente ecléctica, que fusiona elementos folklóricos de su tierra natal, de jazz, de rock prog y de música clásica, formando un sonido muy propio y definido entre tanta mescolanza.

Empezó a hablarse de ellos en 1971, en el Primer festival de Música Progresiva de Granollers, en una época en la que, mientras en otros puntos de España los grupos musicales estaban más orientados al rock and roll primitivo, en Cataluña estaban más de moda el jazz fusión y el rock sinfónico, al estilo de King Crimson.
Su primer disco llegó en 1973, con el título de Fusioon. Con una música pop compleja y elaborada, este trabajo incluía unas versiones de «La danza del molinero», de Manuel de Falla, y «Negra sombra», de Rosalía de Castro.
Tras publicar algunos sencillos, con temas como la «Tocata y fuga de Bach», su segundo álbum, Fusioon 2, llegó en 1974. Contenía canciones poco comerciales, pero que lograron una importante difusión. Incluía algunos temas compuestos por los hermanos Camp, como «Concerto Grosso», «Diálogos» y «Farsa del buen vivir».
Su último trabajo discográfico y, a su vez, el más ambicioso, Minorisa (1975), incluía tres suites: «Ebusus», «Minorisa» y «Llaves del subconsciente». Tras la disolución del grupo, sus miembros continuaron ligados a la música: Martí Brunet se especializó en la música electrónica; Santi Arisa creó Pegasus, otro importante grupo catalán de rock progresivo, y Manel Camp continuó con una dilatada carrera como solista y líder de pequeños conjuntos de jazz.
Wikipedia


A lo largo de su corta pero jugosa existencia, la banda sacó tres discos, que publicaremos en el blog. Los dos primeros van en ésta entrada, faltando solamente "Minorisa", que publicaré entre hoy y mañana, dependiendo del tiempo que tenga.


Lo que sí, les dejo el comentario del canario cabezón Juan Carlos, con algo de biografía e historia y que no terminará aquí... y nos vamos a adentrar un poco en el "Rock Catalá"! En el blog cabezón aprendemos de todo, je...
Fusioon es un grupo de rock progresivo español que formó parte del llamado “Rock Catalá” o también “Rock Laietá”, surgido en Cataluña allá por 1969 a raíz de importantes cambios culturales y sociales, entre los que tuvo un gran peso la separación de los Beatles que en España significó el declive del sonido Beat adoptado por multitud de grupos que tenían como mayor referente a los cuatro de Liverpool. A raíz de eso en Cataluña entró en auge la "Nova Cançò Catalana" y por otro lado el jazz rock progresivo cuyos primeros exponentes fueron Máquina! y Els 4 Vents. Así se inauguró esa rica veta de creatividad musical que vino a denominarse Rock Catalá.
Fusioon se formó en Manresa en 1970 impulsado por Manel Camp al piano y Santi Arisa a la batería. Junto a ellos, el guitarrista Martí Benet y Jordi, el hermano de Manel, en el bajo. Una formación que permanecería estable, aunque en los comienzos por un breve período también intervinieran el guitarrista Alfred Pla y el bajista Paco Chacón. Su música, estrictamente instrumental, parte de lo clásico y lo popular para aventurarse en terrenos del jazz y el rock progresivo.
Su discografía consta de tres álbumes.
Su primer disco, Fusioon (1972) no incluía ningún material propio, sino que constaba de un repertorio de ocho adaptaciones y arreglos de canciones populares y algún tema clásico del célebre compositor gaditano Manuel de Falla: para añadirle más color y textura a este material, contaron ocasionalmente con la colaboración de un coro clásico y un reducido ensamble orquestal. Cada una de las versiones ofrecidas por Fusioon exhibe una inmensa imaginación musical que hacen de este disco un producto realmente atractivo a los oídos del fan progresivo más exigente. Tan recomendable como resulta este disco, solo es un "calentamiento" previo a posteriores y mejores trabajos..
Su segundo Album, Fusioon II (1974), ya tiene material propio. Su sonido está mejor logrado, y su estilo se muestra más maduro y rico, pues ahora han incorporado disonancias instrumentales (similares a las que encontramos en Gentle Giant o la etapa intermedia de King Crimson) así como evidentes toques heredados de la música electrónica alemana a la hora de manejar los sintetizadores. Es en los temas más largos, como "Tritons" y "Concerto Grosso" donde los músicos cuentan con más espacio para plasmar sus múltiples y extravagantes ideas, pero es justo recalcar que el material, en conjunto, mantiene un nivel de calidad muy alto. Mike Oldfield se ha referido a él en alguna ocasión como uno de los discos que más le impresionaron en sus inicios.
Minorisa (1975), tercero y último, es su obra cumbre. La extensa suite del inicio titulada "Ebusus" (dura casi 19 minutos) es un alucinante collage de ideas musicales que lejos de sucederse de manera forzada, se conectan entre sí de manera muy bien integrada: tanto la destreza individual de los músicos como su capacidad para funcionar como un equipo mantienen el altísimo nivel que ya encontramos en los discos anteriores, especialmente el segundo. Como siempre, los ocasionales arreglos corales transmiten un oportuno tono de alegría y sátira combinadas. Otra suite, de menor duración, que da nombre al disco, exhibe las mismas virtudes que la anterior, y merece los mismos elogios. Por último, el alucinado instrumental "Llaves Del Subconsciente", una "fuga" electrónica de dos partes, que combina la agresividad sonora del krautrock con los ambientes sintetizados etéreos de Stockhausen. Es para mi una obra imprescindible dentro del panorama del rock progresivo: uno de sus innumerables "tesoros escondidos.
El 24 de febrero de 1976 se despidieron definitivamente en un concierto dado en el club Helena, de Barcelona. Evidentemente, su música, muy minoritaria, no les daba para comer. Tras la disolución del grupo, sus miembros continuaron ligados a la música: Martí Brunet se especializó en la música electrónica; Santi Arisa creó Pegasus, otro importante grupo catalán de rock progresivo, y Manel Camp continuó con una dilatada carrera como solista y líder de pequeños conjuntos de jazz.
El Canario


y en el siguiente video pueden ver a Fusioon en el programa "Ahora", TVE, Radio Televisión Española, em 1975, en un reportaje donde además interpretan la "Minorisa Suite", correspondiente a su tercer álbum, que pronto podrán disfrutar.




Y ya que presentamos a la banda, dejamos algunos comentarios en inglés de éstos dos discos...

One of those artwork sleeves that symbolize the music style best, but this is doubled by the band's name - the other one that does equally good is Nucleus's Elastic Rock recorded almost three years before. The first chapter of this standard prog quartet with the Camp brothers at bass and KB is actually fairly accessible (well compared to the other two later albums) and IMHO, is maybe the one I prefer because of its naiveté.
This record is a mostly instrumental one (a few scatting one the opening track), but this does not hamper the enjoyment of the music: they have a fairly unique sound and the music has some very subtle Spanish overtones but not in the Flamenco realm. Their sound oscillates between Isotope, Wigwam (the Gustavson and Pohjola compositions), Focus or Finch, Sloche (or fellow Quebecois Maneige) and countrymen Iceberg. If the jazz colours are the main characteristics of the album, the classical influences peak here and there, most notably in Negra Sombra (Dark Black). Apparently all of the tracks are covers of traditional songs (6 of 8 tracks) all adapted/arranged by Manel Camp and the other two being penned by other writers. The odd flute, sax and clarinet (actually un-credited) but drummer Arisa is the one playing them (says D-E Asbjornsen) and bring touches of brilliance. The superb piano may even ring reminiscence of Chilean Los Jaivas in their more symphonic moments and with the organs, ELP comes to mind.
Certainly worth the investigation, especially if you enjoyed the better-known two later albums.
The second Fusioon album (also called Crocodile) is quite a different affair than the debut mostly because of its less fusion-esque spirit, but it is likely to please many progheads because of its main influence: Gentle Giant. This mimetism is even a little too derivative IMHO, regardless of that fact, the album is impressive nonetheless.
As far as I am concerned we are dealing with the second best GG album not made by GG themselves. Not far behind Quebec's Etcetera's sole album but well ahead of Germany's Epidermis's debut album, GG is not the only influence presented here, but certainly the most dominant one. Among which I will list Gryphon, The Nice and Yes, but maybe a bit of jazz-rock (Soft Machine) also.
Again a mainly instrumental album (I estimate the singing or vocal parts to less than 15%), all of the tracks are penned by the Camp brothers (mostly Manel the KB man) which in itself is quite a departure from their earlier effort. The entirely instrumental (bar the final vocal chords) and very classical multi-movement suite Tritons (which contains a Tcaikovski variation) is clearly a highlight but personally I like Dialogos as my favourite with its impressive and dark start. A similar start for the other multi-movement suite Concerto Grosso, but the track falls a bit short on the inspiration front and by this time, I must admit I am a bit saturated from the GG bombardment.
Personally (and unlike the majority of progheads) I prefer this album to the following Minorisa even if that one is less derivative of classic prog groups
Sean Trane

This Barcelona-based spanish band made thei debut in 1972 with their eponymous album.FUSIOON is a rather hard band to compare with some of the 70's prog rock giants...If I had to choose I would say that you could imagine a more fusion style of GENTLE GIANT's music (seems the name of the band isn't all that accidental!).Of course things are a little more complicated that this description...
The music of the band is an interesting mix of jazz rock,fusion,symphonic rock and you can add also some spanish ethnic orientations.The overall mood of the album leaves you generally with a pleasant feeling but there also some dark passages in the vein of KING CRIMSON (like in some ''Ya se van los pastores'' moments) as also some dramatic classical pieces like the stunning ''Negra Sombra'' which has a sound very close to FOCUS...There are also some flutes here and there with first role playing close to JETHRO TULL...All the band members are excellent musicians but I'm really impressed by the bass work of Jordi Camp,a very good example that a bass player can be a lot more that just a part of the rhythm section,a great bassist indeed!
What about the conclusion?This is a band to discover!Every prog rock fan should be pleased with this work due to the varied music styles and the excellent musicianship...Fans of GENTLE GIANT,FOCUS,KING CRIMSON have an extra reason to search for this one...Between 3 / 5 and 4 / 5 stars closing to 4 / 5...
apps79

FUSIOON were a band from Spain who offered up some Jazzy music on this their 1972 debut. Love the album cover but i'm not digging the tunes that much. I can't get over the tempo changes these guys go through on pretty much every track. No wonder so many people mention GENTLE GIANT when they try to explain their sound.This is especially true on their next release. I mean being into Prog I appreciate tempo and mood shifts but these guys do it so often I can't get into the music. We get 8 tracks over about 31 minutes, so lots of short songs here.
"Danza Del Molinero" is piano, drums and bass led then it picks up quickly, but then again the tempo and sound changes often on this one. Organ before 3 1/2 minutes then it calms right down again. "Ya Se Van Los Pastores" sounds good when it settles in before a minute.The bass stands out but then again like the first track the tempo and mood changes way too often for my tastes. Flute leads after 2 minutes then guitar and organ take over a minute later. Nice. "Ses Porqueres" builds until the guitar and drums start to lead. Piano joins in then flute.This is all over the place though. "Pavana Espanola" is led by bass, piano, guitar and drums after a minute and the tempo continues to shift.
"Negra Sombra" turns pastoral before 2 minutes with what sounds like strings. Not a fan of this.Vocal melodies a minute later. "En El Puerto De Pajares" has some excellent drumming but it's too lightweight of a tune overall. "Rima Infantil" is led by piano and drums early. I like the guitar before 2 minutes. A calm follows then it picks back up with piano, drums and bass. "El Cant Del Ocells" is my favourite track of the lot, I guess they saved the best for last. It opens with sounds that come and go. Flute leads 1 1/2 minutes in.The tempo picks up with organ leading the way 2 minutes in.This is good. The guitar then comes in. Nice.
Barely 3/5 stars.
FUSIOON were a Spanish band who offered up three albums during the seventies. This is the middle one from 1974. Neither of the first two measure up to their final album in my opinion. Lots to like here for the Prog fan as long as you don't mind an abundnace of GENTLE GIANT references. That GG flavour is quite strong throughout.
"Farsa Del Buen Viver" brings that GG vibe to the fore right away. You'd think they were covering one of their songs, but they aren't. Even the vocal style is similar. Catchy stuff though. "Contraste" opens with percussion, piano and vocal melodies as the synths join in. It settles before 2 1/2 minutes then picks back up. A calm 4 minutes in and even here GENTLE GIANT comes to mind. It picks up again. "Tritons" opens with some nice drum work as GG comes to mind again. Impressive keyboards follow. A calm 3 minutes in then the organ comes in as it builds. Vocal melodies 8 minutes in to end it.
"Dialogos" has these intricate sounds with no melody really but that changes when it picks up and the vocals arrive. This is catchy with a GG flavour. "Concerto Grosso" is the almost 10 minute closing track. More GG styled music and the vocals come in after 3 1/2 minutes. A calm follows with fragile vocals. The piano replaces the vocals before 6 minutes but the vocals are back quickly then it picks up. This sounds better 8 minutes in.
Like the debut this is a good album but i'd go for their third record if I were you.
John Davie

A good but not exceptional jazz-rock and fusion album, Fusioon's debut is pleasant enough but nothing to write home about. Although there's nothing particularly wrong with the material, which is performed perfectly competently, I just don't find it especially memorable; I just gave it another listen before preparing this review and already I find myself forgetting what the opening track sounded like. There's little to impress itself on the memory here - not in terms of emotive force, or in technical wizardry. As a result, whilst it's certainly a pleasant listen, it's not something I'd urge other listeners to make a great effort in seeking out.
Fusioon 2 finds the band experimenting with emulating the sounds of other progressive groups, to varying degrees of success. Marti Brunet turns out to be quite good at capturing Steve Hackett's "weeping" guitar sound as heard in Genesis albums of the era, but on the other hand keyboardist Manel Camp is no Keith Emerson and doesn't impersonate Keith especially well. Whilst the first few tracks on the album are a bit weak, towards the end the group weave all of these different influences into a more cohesive sound and comes up with a compelling finale with the last song. Interesting, but not essential.
W. Arthur

Fusioon was undoubtedly one of the great, albeit too short-lived, prog-fusion catalan bands of the 70's, its 4 members were highly skilled musicians, with special mention for the classically trained keyboardist Manel Camp who after the prog era would become one of the most sought pianists and arrangists in the catalan musical scene.
This 1972 debut consists only of adaptations to jazz-rock-fusion of traditional spanish popular songs (a couple of them actually adaptations from late 19th / early 20th century spanish classical composers, La Danza Del Molinero by Manuel De Falla and Negra Sombra by Xoan Montes). Being catalan I recognize most of the tunes, but the adaptations are so free that they hardly bear any resemblance to the originals except for some phrases here and there bringing up the original melodies and some of the original backing chord progressions transposed onto jazzy rythms on which they play their solos and improvisations.
The album is totally instrumental, very good fusion with classical flavour, with quite a lot of piano (organ, synths and mellotron not lacking either) and great musicianship all around. The songs are all short between 3 and 5 minutes which makes the album flow swiftly. There are saxes and flute too making the music more diverse.
But in this debut they do not use their musicianship for showing off and they are not too adventurous, no pyrotechnics, no agressive nor stunning music. As good as it is, it feels a bit like just "innocent jazz-rock", the songs feel rather simple and it's in the details where you realise their quality.
In their next two albums Fusioon would truly unleash their talent and challenging spirit and venture into top-level eclectic-symphonic-fusion prog (in Fusioon II) and back to fusion- symphonic-experimental but at a vastly more sofisticated level (in their last album Minorisa).
A certainly interesting and nice-to-have album, but only after you have discovered their next two masterpieces.
I am very close to giving this album 5 stars, if the name printed on this cheap-looking cover was Gentle Giant instead of the rather obscure spanish (catalan to be precise) band Fusioon I'm convinced that it would be up there in the rankings.
Don't get fooled by the band's name, ironically when the vast majority of 70's catalan prog was jazz-rock/fusion, Fusioon was one of the bands with lesser of it. Well more precisely both their eponymous debut and their last album Minorisa do have some fusion, but this one Fusioon 2 (nicknamed "Crocodile" to differentiate it from the debut) has little if any, instead being a delightful combination of Eclectic, Symphonic and Canterbury.
We can find two main broad styles, the tracks with vocals (sung in spanish) Farsa Del Buen Vivir and Dialogos sound very Gentle Giant, with intriguing harmonies that achieve that delicate balance between orthodox melody-harmony and dissonance. On the other hand the instrumental tracks Contraste and Tritons retain some GG flavour but can also remind of Egg, The Nice or Soft Machine, even King Crimson sometimes.
The 10 min last track Concerto Grosso has a few vocals but is mostly instrumental and combines both broad styles, fusing all the aforementioned influences over a more symphonic, nearly classical song structure as the title suggests.
Instrumentally the focus is on the fantastic keyboards work by Manel Camp, combining classical influences with aggressive soloing, and the drumming of Santi Arisa being also very good, these guys were among the finest musicians of the catalan scene in the 70's. But what I really love is the compositions, they are musically challenging and competent and perfectly reflect that kind of genuine, unadulterated prog inspiration which flourished in the first half of the 70's.
Many consider their third and last album Minorisa their best but although that one is also excellent and probably more technically elaborated, personally I prefer "Crocodile", it is more eclectic and does not have excessively experimental sections as Minorisa does. The best album by one of the best spanish prog bands of the 70's, so you can be sure it's damn good. 4.5 stars but it falls a bit short of the best ever masterpieces so round down to 4/5.
Gerard Gerinski

Fusioon's recordings are amongst the most exciting offerings in Spanish prog history. Thier second slbum 'Fusioon 2' comprises a stunning combination of delightful melodies and counterpoints, clever interplaying, delicate dissonances, and even some electronic avant- garde stuff which adds an interesting air of weirdness to the overall musical product. It is clear that the band is pretty much into traditional classical music (in Fact, they quote Tchaikovsky somewhere in track 3), as well as contemporary chamber (such as Bartok), jazz, and Catalonian folk: hece, it should come as no susrprise that all these varied elements are essential to their own prog sound. At times, Fusioon sounds a bit reminiscent of Gentle Giant, Return to Forever, and in a slightly manner, of Zappa; yet, they manage to create a particular sound of their own. The band's repertoire is basically instrumental: the occasional choral arrangements (performed by the band members themselves) are included for playful purposes, mainly. "Farsa del Buen Vivir" is a nice tune, catchy but not simplistic, which serves as a good opener. It is in the following numbers that Fusioon's skill and inventiveness shines in full splendour. "Contraste" and "Diálogos" comprise plenty of dissonant passages, synth textures, and jazz-fusinonesque flavours; on the other hand, "Tritons" and "Concerto Grosso" are structured on a symphonic basis, still containing some occasional avant-garde adornments and surprising counterpoints. Fusioon works immaculately as a well-oiled ensemble: maybe this is the main reason why 'Fusion 2' is such a recommendable album.
César Inca

A good work of this Spanish band. A happy music parts in all tracks with a retro hammond soud with guitar keiboards duets. The drums and bass are good and balanced, adequaded for all music parts. In some parts we can listen a Triumviart music context but really, it's a seventies sound. Lyrics are in Spanish but not the principal in this album. In the balanced music of this work I think that the principal music instrument are the guitar parts and keiboard in a answer question form, that made a beautifful duet. It's a complicated music in some parts but really give the beauty of this album. It's a good addiction in Progressive Music from Spain. This is a quality album and I really enjoyed. I give 4/5 stars.
João Paulo

This is really a step further in music. If their first work is not too surprising the second & third are among the best music I´ve ever heard. Risky music with sikillful musicians, the keyboardist is outstanding. A contemporary mix between Area & Gentle Giant, but definitely different to any other music you´ve ever heard.
frodok

Espero que lo disfruten, la verdad es que fue todo un hallazgo casi arqueológico. Aquí tienen para su disfrute, y acuérdense que está disponible en la Biblioteca Sonora Cabeza de Moog, accesible a través de la lista de correo.









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