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jueves, 20 de octubre de 2016

Lizard - Tales From The Artichoke Wood (2005)


Otra vez volvemos a Polonia para traer algo de los King Crimson polacos, con un sonido difícil de clasificar en una categoría particular, marcado por arreglos de aires crimsonianos, aunque ciertamente su sonido no se agota ahí. Esta vez con un disco conceptural que trata sobre tres genios de la pintura como son Picasso, Dalí y Van Gogh, siendo para algunos uno de los mejores momentos de la banda. Préstenles mucha atención. Un disco muy diferente en su discografía, para algunos mucho mejor, para otros mucho peor. Otro disco muy recomendado.

Artista: Lizard
Álbum: Tales From The Artichoke Wood
Año: 2005
Género: Neo-progresivo / Rock prog
Duración: 49:01
Nacionalidad: Polonia


Lista de Temas:
1. Tales from the Artichoke Wood Part I (8:46)
2. Vincent:
I. Impression 1
II Impression 2
III Impression 3
3. Salvador:
I. Impression 1
II Impression 2
III Impression 3
4. Pablo:
I. Impression 1
II Impression 2
5. Tales from the Artichoke Wood Part II

Alineación:
- Damian Bydlinski / voz, guitarras, guitarra sintetizada
- Krzysztof Maciejowski / teclados, violín eléctrico
- Mariusz Szulakowski / batería, percusión, percusión electrónica
- Janusz Tanistra / bajo




Ya que volvemos otra vez con esta banda y lo estamos haciendo de manera cronológica, vamos a comentar sobre la trayectoria de Lizard, que ha tenido tres etapas: luego de su primer álbum, que presentamos hace tiempo en el blog y se llama "W Galerii Czasu" (1997), se dan una pausa de varios años para volver a publicar varios de sus trabajos desde el 2004 (con "Psychopuls", que trajimos ayer). Estos dos primeros discos muestran a los mismos músicos, pero para este trabajo se va su guitarrista y quedan así reducidos a un cuarteto, porque en vez de buscar otro violero al vocalista toma el control de la guitarra y colabora, incluso, con los teclados. Hay que destacar que todos los trabajos de esta banda tienen una calidad sorprendente, y sus letras cantadas en su idioma natal les dan un toque diferente y exquisito.
Por supuesto, en los 8 años que pasaron, su sonido se inclinó hacia espectros mucho más modernos. El disco suena muy transparente, las referencias a King Crimson por supuesto que están allí. La estructura del disco implica un cierto acento necesario para darle el carácter del concepto: tres suites, que llevan el nombre de los pintores, desde allí desarrollan su música que en sí es lo suficientemente interesante como para no hacer necesario entender la letra... cada tramo intenta ser "impresionista" en correspondencia a Vincent van Gogh, o con sonidos y efectos extrañosinterpretan el surrealismo de Salvador Dalí, mientras que "Pablo I", comienza con palmas de flamenco, una alusión al origen español Picasso. Es acertada la inclusión del violín (por parte del tecladista) y le da mucha más personalidad a cada tema. El resultado es un progresivo bastante moderno, agradable, potente y divertido. Muy buen disco, agradable y entretenido. Diferente a lo que hasta ese momento habían hecho, más limpio y cristalino, y bastante más moderno, con una muy acertada inclusión del violín. Muy recomendable.

Vamos con el comentario de nuestro involuntario comentarista de siempre, que dicho sea de paso es un gran admirador de èsta banda, y por algo será.


Los últimos tres años han sido bastante prolíficos para la banda polaca Lizard, que lanzó al mercado un disco por año en este periodo. “Tales from the Artichoke Wood” es su oferta del 2005, un trabajo en el cual prosiguen parcialmente con la fuerza Sonora influida por el Crimson moderno mezclado con el de la etapa 73-75, pero a la vez creando un puente hacia los senderos más introspectivos que luego habrán de convertirse en la pauta general de “Spam” (del 2006). Cabe señalar que “Tales from the Artichoke Wood” es un disco conceptual en torno a las figuras de tres grandes creadores pictóricos del pasado siglo XX: Van Gogh, Dalí y Picasso. En líneas generales, el despliegue de fuerza que se plasma aquí no me impresiona tanto como el que se da en “Psychopuls” (su disco de 2004 que sigue siendo mi favorito de esta banda), pero definitivamente se trata de un registro musical rebosante en polenta y buen oficio. Como siempre, la labor del baterista Szulakowski resulta crucial a la hora de sostener la garra del sonido global, pero además, el hecho de que Maciejowski esté como miembro permanente del ensamble permite que sus aportes en teclados y violín adquieran una relevancia mayor: su estilo influido por Cross y Jobson al violín y su buen gusto en el manejo de sonoridades modernas en los teclados completa el sonido ideal de Lizard.
El tema de entrada tiene suficiente gancho como para atrapar al oyente empático (preferentemente, uno que disfrute del crimsonismo, Porcupine Tree, el lado más aguerrido del neo y la vibración del rock duro), y a la vez, la suficiente complejidad como para satisfacer los estándares del estilo progresivo: cambios fluidos de ambiente y ritmo, motivos bien definidos, impresionantes solos de violín, adornos elegantes, elementos jazzeros que añaden variedad al clima rockero general. La suite tripartita ‘Vincent’ es la más introspectiva de las tres. Tras una breve introducción etérea (Impresión 1), el motivo central muestra una base cadenciosa de arpegios de guitarra sobre la cual se asientan el canto de Bydlinski y las cortinas de teclado, creando así una atmósfera sumamente evocativa que al poco rato alcanza una dosis extra de mágica lucidez con un flotante solo de violín. La tercera y última Impression despliega un motivo un poco más veloz, muy pero que muy cercano al PT contemporáneo. Con la inserción de algunos pasajes más explícitamente filudos la cosa adquiere una oportuna variedad que no rompe con la armónica continuidad de la pieza. También constando de tres secciones (Impressions), ‘Salvador’ comienza con una solemne introducción de sonidos aflautados al teclado, terminando con un brevísimo silencio que no es sino el preludio a un riff que abre camino a un motivo de matiz jazzero. A pesar de que los motivos compositivos son relativamente simples, hay en la idea global un aura sutil de extravagancia contemplativa, y esto se cumple con mayor fruición en la tercera sección, en la cual las sonoridades crean una mezcla entre lo cósmico y lo misterioso antes del surgimiento de un pasaje rockero que aterriza en un reprise del motivo central de la Impression 2.
La tercera y última suite es ‘Pablo’, la misma que comienza con una primera sección medida y reflexiva, muy a tono con los pasajes más líricos de los temas anteriores. Pero es en la Impression 2 de ‘Pablo’ donde hallamos un despliegue notablemente mayor de fuerza neurótica, emparentada claramente con el legado del “Psychopuls”. Cerca del final hay un solo de violín hipnótico, de textura volátil, el mismo que se las arregla para hacerse notar en medio de la garra de los riffs de guitarra y la pesada instalación de la dupla rítmica. Éstas son las razones principales por las que ‘Pablo Impression 2’ es mi pieza favorita de todo el disco. En fin, el disco cierra con ‘Tales from the Artichoke Wood Part II’, un breve epílogo intimista que pone un broche introspectivo al repertorio, al modo de un tenue retazo de color que se superpone a un minúsculo detalle incompleto de un cuadro. Un muy buen disco en verdad es “Tales from the Artichoke Wood” – cuanto más investigo en la discografía de Lizard, más me convenzo de que se trata de uno de los alfiles más determinantes del ajedrez progresivo polaco de nuestros días.
César Inca

Y si ese comentario no los ha convencido, veamos que tal con éste otro:

A casi un año de haberse estrenado el tercer álbum de estudio de la banda polaca LIZARD ("Tales from Artichoke Wood" se lanzó al mercado el 17 de marzo de 2005), las "Historias desde el Bosque de las Alcachofas" siguen dando de qué hablar.
Este disco exhibe una evolución notable, no sólo en las capacidades de sus músicos sino en el sonido en sí también. Damian BYDLINSKI (voz), Janusz TANISTRA (bajo eléctrico), Mariusz SZULAKOWSKI (instrumentos de percusión) y Krzysztof MACIEJOWSKI (teclados) desarrollaron un proyecto que se aleja un tanto del neo-progresivo sinfónico logrado en "W Galeni Czasu" y de la densidad impuesta en "Psychopuls" para dirigirse más al sinfonismo estético que está peleando su lugar contra el progresivo metálico europeo de esta década. El motivo, rendir un homenaje a tres pintores admirados por BYDLINSKI.
Con un inicio un tanto nostálgico, Damian BYDLINSKI vocaliza pinceladas que se van plasmando en un lienzo de textura delicada que él mismo teje con guitarra, desafiando al repentino despliegue enérgico con que llegan discurriendo los demás. Me habría gustado saber quién es quien decora con violín la estética de un "Tales from Artichoke Wood", desenvuelto sobre todo en una línea de progresivo sinfónico, sin embargo (incluso bien podrían haberse originado en los teclados) no resulta primordial cuando se escucha un conjunto equilibradamente melódico y estético con 'VINCENT', bizarro y fantasioso con 'SALVADOR', métrico y apasionado con 'PABLO', presentado con introducción y conclusión, estructura compositiva tipo música formal (intro, movimientos 1, 2, 3, outro).
Otras fuentes que he leído que hablan de este disco, mencionan que los líricos son lo que menos vale a pena en "Tales from Artichoke Wood". Personalmente, letras que se cantan en español o en inglés o en polaco o en kobaiano, son lo último a lo que presto atención, pues primero escucho cómo encaja voz como instrumento, antes de querer saber qué dice la canción y bueno, algo que ya hace que LIZARD tenga un sonido característico, es precisamente el timbre vocal de Damian BYDLINSKI, entonado y expresivo. 8/10.
Alfredo Tapia-Carreto

Y vamos con algunos comentarios en inglés, si leen con atención, verán que no se terminan de poner de acuerdo ¿el disco es mejor o peor que sus antecesores?. Lo qu sucede es que simplemente es distinto.


This talented Polish band's debut "W Galerii Czasu" was adroitly described by many in Progland as a true beacon of masterful music, earning kudos from nearly every proghead for its consummate quality and singing in their native tongue instead of English hasn't turned off anyone. "Psychopuls", while a decent follow up, just didn't match the same level of majesty, though in honesty, it really deserves a return engagement on my part. I purchased "Artichoke Wood" during my recent trip to Budapest, purely on sinkadotentree's recommendation and rather glowing review (even though he has recently dived courageously into a RIO tangent that is ultra cool, he has a professorial prog nose which is rarely off base). This album is book ended by the title compositions with the main core dedicated to classic painters Van Gogh, Dali and Picasso. The overall tone is less gloomy than the previous recording with beautiful artwork that smartly returns to the artistic themes of the debut album. Damian Bydlinski reveals himself on guitar and guitar synthesizer with some truly defiant playing, impressive multi-layered guitar sequences, laced with frilly synthesizers and some smooth violin passages that shimmer in glowing splendor, the themes are held together by some solid bass and drum configurations that elicit admiration. The musical impressions of the artists are whimsically realistic: the Van Gogh segments are particularly colorful and melancholic; the Dali sections are atonal, veering into bombastic on a dime, slightly mad and very Crimsonesque; while the Picasso frames are a juxtaposition of angular contrasts, serenity and violence fighting for attention (check out the Pablo 2 section: the spirit of the Crimson King is sitting on the stereo throne). Really inventive stuff going on here, seemingly inspired by the spirit of these bygone master artists and definitely deserving of the highest praise, it behooves Lizard to continue their museum-based muses. Perhaps Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum or Madrid's Prado might do the trick. 5/5 pastels
Thomas Szirmay


Hmmm,what can i say.Lizard is one of ma favourites bands from polish progressive rocks scene.And when i listen this album,i was shock.When i hear Psychopuls i was disappointed ,but this record..This is real music,a masterpiece.Delicate vocal and strong rhytm section,great atmospheric melodies, a lot of keyboards.Maybe Lizard is similiar to King Crimoson,but its still a good Polish band :) 5/5!
José Dávila


This is a concept album, although the vocals are all in Polish so it's difficult to tell you what it's about. The only English in the liner notes says "Does the Imagination Hotel at Dreamsea exist at all ? Have the three strangers ever met in there ? Perhaps..." Awesome pictures in the liner notes. I do know that we have "Impressions" about three painters, Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso with the opening and closing tracks named after the album's title. So which painter do you like the best ? Or more importantly which sets of songs that are dedicated to these three men do you like the best ? LIZARD can play many styles of music at such a high level, and that diversity is one of the attractions of this record for me.
"Tales From the Artichoke Wood Part I" is a fantastic way to start the album. It opens with gently played guitar, fragile vocals,and some piano. Some Fripp like guitar comes in as we get a full sound 2 minutes in. It's great ! Guitar and drums come in aggressively as vocals follow. Not a fan of those though. Violin later. The first artist we experience is Vincent. "Impression 1" is just over a minute long, consisting of what sounds like a lot of people talking in a room, maybe a party, as a dreamy soundscape follows."Impression 2" is a catchy melody of guitar and drums. The violin is incredible. "Impression 3" has a bit of a jazz feel to it, with some good drumming and organ after 3 minutes.
Next up is Salvador. "Impression 1" sounds like we are in the jungle this time with some flute melodies. "Impression 2" has a heavy duty CRIMSON like melody that comes and goes, in contrast to the mellower melody with vocals. "Impression 3" is spacey for about 4 minutes until the riffs come in.The drums are so crisp, and the organ sounds great too. Next up is Pablo. "Impression 1" is one of my favourite songs, with the aggressively strummed guitar and reserved vocals. "Impression 2" is over 8 minutes long. It opens with fantastic guitar with drums pounding heavily. Yes it's a KING CRIMSON sounding melody. Vocals come in, but it's the instrumental passages that are so amazing. "Tales From the Artichoke Wood Part II" is spacey with reseved vocals and atmospheric keys.
By the way my favourite section is the Pablo Picasso impressions. I'm impressed with the whole album though,and this great band.The only negative and it's a big one for me are the vocals. He seems to yell the lyrics at times and when done in Polish it doesn't go over very well. 3.5 stars.
John Davie

Time to make a masterpiece?
It's 2005, and Lizard show a great dexterity in not breaking up chaotically (or, least of all, confusingly) anymore, once their new album was done, rehearsed and released. Back previously it was 1997, the band released an incredibly unconvincing album, after which they sanded out, seemingly for good, with only three bootleg concerts to hint some extra-activity, but to musically express little. Right now, Lizard follow the same pulse with which they've gotten back on track, and clench their second modern album (and third - studio - overall), exactly an year after the previous one. The detail can only prove the band's new embrace, fittest and steadier if not also stronger. In mix with 2004's Psychopuls, anyone can at least that Tales From Artichoke Wood is just as good, just as relevant, just as promising, just as enticing. But most chronicles actually tell a lot more of it, regarding, at a general or personal impression, this is Lizard's finest.
Me, I like the idea of a masterpiece in this album, but find it a bit unequal throughout the material - in small measures, of course. Thinking again in conjunction and comparison with Psychopuls, Lizard are as bright and interesting as when they rejoined with healthier principles, follow more straightly their big prog influences (Crimson, above anything else) and deliver good music with smashing tones. So happens on Tales From Artichoke Wood, a grand opus if regarded aso, a tonic work also impressing naturally (almost like the band would have balanced everything on creativity and an elegant shape in composition), with something extra: for a first (and so far sole time), Lizard bring out all their musical and progressive ideas - not just dark Crimson jams, not just rushed and crispy retro rock, not just lyrics over a fruity instrumentality, not just emotions over electric measures - creating not a complex, but rich large musical piece. In this alone stands the key to half of the album's greatness, cause otherwise anyone could admire how good it sounds and think it's an easy thing to do.
Whether Tales that are 'made out of' Artichoke Wood or "coming from an" artichoke wood, it doesn't shed some light on why a concept of renown painters: Van Gogh, Dali and Picasso; but it's not a harmful mistery. The lyrics can definitely explain a bit from the tales, but, of course, to advised Polish speakers. The difficulty of the foreign vocals doesn't mean any particular loss either, they do sound in fact good, lubricated. The overshadow comes from the instrumentality, imperially influencing the album's richness (as it reigned in Psychopuls's jam and distorted cerebralness).
The style emphasizes at any moment how complete and good Lizard's concept is, musically. Once power rock-pop, and previously dark-twisted Crimson prog, this time everything flows into prog rock with classic and modern twists, and with decent elements of melodious, abstract, experimental, hard (metal), symphonic or art rock (and lamer elements of folk or excessive, instead of simple, improvisations, rock pretzels). After a powerful long title track (with a middle part made of an extremely kicking rhythm of hard rock and art rock) - a reprise of some sorts, melancholic sounding, ending afterwards the album - everything is about conceptualizing over the three genius painters. Vincent and Salvador have three parts (but their first one is short and focuses on warm-up noises or cold sound-music), while Pablo has two, the first being a mere dynamic/catchy good song, while the second is elaborated. By nuance, the best moment in Vincent are artistic, but also hard-pulsating and fantasy-driven, while Salvador is less proggy, more abstract, then lyricial or veiled in surrounds.
With Tales From Artichoke Wood, Lizard condensate their modern art prog rock to the best high quality notes. As far as my rate goes, I am a bit of a cheater, since I called this album admirable by its best and richest sound of prog rock, plus am subjectively more impressed by the poly-nuclear dark Psychopuls. But, for what can be evened in this issue, this album is very fine, more a master-work than a masterpiece, plus many - but not all - prog fans can agree on liking it. Differently.
Victor

I want asking for my excuses to all PA Collaborators which gives a very high rate to this album ( 50% 4 stars + 22% 5 stars = 72% ) ! In my humble opinion this album don't deserves any note above 2 stars, and I write this after my last review about their first album "W Galerii Czasu" ( review (#1490296 Friday, November 20, 2015 ) where my rate is 5 stars . I recognize in this work almost the same influences and mix of progressive rock music styles , but, at this time the final results is boring , whit a few exceptions. One of this few moments as in the Track 1"Tales from the Artichoke Wood Part I ", Track 4 "Vicent : Impressiom III" and Track 8 "Pablo: Impressiom II (with a middle section clearly inspired by King Crimson) , however , without the same "bright" of "W Galerii Czasu" . How I've previous said my rate is 2 stars !!!
Maryes

What we have here, huh? Ok, it's the record of polish art rock band called Lizard, named Tales from the artichoke wood. Bands name as you can easily imagine is inspired by King Crimson, (same for the music, in first hearing influence of KC is obvious - well it's all right for me, I love KC!).
Tales... it's a concept album about three great painters (Van Gogh, Dali and Picasso). Unfortunately (not for poles) lyrics are in polish, sadly because not everybody can taste them (and I must admit, they're great!). Album takes us on magical trip through the surrealistic story where live of great painters is mixed up with motives from their paintings. It's really brilliant idea. It's not said directly (ofcourse if you know lives and paintings of these artists you will know exacly what is about and have great pleasure while listening - I guarantee it!).
Musically, as I mentioned it's inspired by KC, musicians did their job very well, especially violinist (Krzysztof Maciejowski). Vocalist (Damian Bydliński) sing nice melodies, his voice and way of singing sometimes remind me polish poetry singer Grzegorz Turnau. This album gave unexpected pleasure while listening, and it's a pity it's poor known even in Poland (sic!). Well, I recommend it for all KC fans, I think they'll find a clever continuation and some kind of tribute for Mr. Fripp's band...
Grzegorz Gil

This time Lizard recorded their fallow up album to the 2003 _Psychopuls_ in only one year. Having in mind that between the release of their first and their second album was a gap of seven years, I was a little worried, especially remembering that _Psychopuls_ didn't really match my expectations after so long wait. Fortunately my doubts were unnecessary. _Tales From The Artichoke Wood_ is Lizrad's best album to date.
Musically it's much "brighter" then their previous effort, with some strong references to their debut _W Galerii Czasu_ but mostly without it's dullness. The most obvious influences are still King Crimson, but this time it sounds like their also listened a lot to early Genesis records. The album starts with first part of the title composition. A delicate interlude with gentle piano soon morphs into a quite heavy and complex song with an explosive violin solo. Next come the impressions of three painters (Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso) divided into several parts. The Vincent Impression is the first and IMO the best one. It has optimistic tone in the second part, with another superb violin solo, then in part three it becomes the most dramatic piece of the album. Salvador's Impression is weirder and mysterious, when the music tries to reflect Dali's Paintings. Of course the Pablo Impression is the most complex of them all, trying to reflect cubism. It has nothing to do with the complexity of '80's Crimson or Meshuggah, but it gives a quite good illusion of the abstract work of Picasso. The album ends with a reprise of the title track, but this time the music is moody through the whole track.
Don't be fooled by the English title of this album, the lyrics remained in polish and as far as I know there isn't an English version. But to be honest, if you don't understand polish, you don't miss that much. The lyrics are the worst part of this very good album. Just look at the title: _Tales From The Artichoke Wood_ and it will give you an image of what the lyrics are about. I suppose they were intended to sound a little abstract to describe the paintings, but they ended up sounding just dull.
Still, the music is what it keeps the listener pushing the button "play" again and again. It isn't really original, but it's very entertaining. The musicians put a lot of joy and emotion in their playing and that's why this record maintains enjoyable after several listens. If you're a fan of progressive rock it's a must hear. Other curious listeners are also advised to try it.
Kamil

Y el show de Lizard en el blog cabezón no ha terminado. Vendrá más dentro de muy poco.



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