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viernes, 12 de mayo de 2017

Monkey3 - Astra Symmetry (2016)


Una excelente opción si te interesan los sonidos hipnóticos: llegan al blog cabezón los suizos de Monkey3 con un álbum diverso, consistente, con muchos climas y atmósferas y con mucha energía, que puede no ser un álbum excepcional, pero sin duda es un disco muy agradable de escuchar y con una interesante búsqueda, en base a un buen concepto y con grandes trabajos, todo ideal como para que conozcan a este ya veterano grupito en este fin de semana, porque de verdad es un buen trabajo. Y les aseguro que más de uno se llevará una muy agradable sorpresa...

Artista: Monkey3
Álbum: Astra Symmetry
Año: 2016
Género: Stoner prog rock / Rock Psicodélico
Duración: 70:20
Nacionalidad: Suiza


Lista de Temas:
01. Abyss
02. Moon
03. Endless Ocean
04. The Water Bearer
05. Crossroad
06. Mirrors
07. Dead Planet's Eyes
08. Seeds
09. Astraea
10. Arch
11. The Guardian
12. Realms Of Lights


Alineación:
- Walter / drums
- Kevin / bass
- Boris / guitar
- dB / keyboards






Los suizos de Monkey3 en su quinto larga duración, "Astra Symmetry” es el nombre para este nuevo redondo del año pasado, viene dividido en 4 capítulos de los cuales cada uno de ellos estará dividido en tres actos que formarán una sola canción. El concepto está bastante esbozado en el video que acompaña, desarrollando un rock psicodélico poderoso, con bastante de la desura del Doom pero lejos de llegar a serlo, y al que yo no lo encasillaría tan alegremente dentro del Stoner Rock o Desert (géneros derivados del entrecruzamiento del rock psicodélico con componentes más actuales como pueden ser el grunge, el metal o el doom). Yo diría que esto es un rock psicodélico con bastantes elementos metálicos, de space rock y progresivos. Bah.... que se yo, creo que es así, escuchen el disco y vean ustedes.



Tenemos aquí un disco ambicioso, de una considerable longitud (aproximadamente setenta minutos de música),
Partiendo de la idea de que las constelaciones influyen en la vida de los seres humanos, los suizos se comprometieron a estudiar estas fuerzas. Para ello componen 12 canciones (una para cada signo del zodíaco), divididas en 4 series (una para cada elemento de la alquimia: Agua, Aire, Tierra, Fuego), de la pura rock espacial astrológico (?). El disco está lleno de impresionantes melodías de teclados, riffs portentosos donde no faltan espacios floydeanos explícitamente inspirados por David Gilmour y una eficaz base que podría venir de lo más denso de Porcupine Tree mezclado con los Hawkwind y hasta con trozos de Faith No More, sobretodo en "Dead Planet's Eyes". No faltan los ritmos tribales, sonidos hipnóticos, búsqueda constante, vanguardismo, un repertorio principalmente instrumental, muchas atmósferas, wah-wah y distorsión, mezclando técnica y la originalidad y obteniendo un resultado sorprendentemente bueno.

Este es un fascinante tratado sobre la historia de los viajes intergalácticos, te invito a que te sumerjas en un mundo psicodélico, con muchos y muy buenos climas, que suena moderno aunque tenga muchos sonidos setentosos y hasta mellotrones dando vueltas por el álbum.

En conclusión, es sin duda uno de los mejores discos del año 2016 en el campo del rock psicodélico, que recomiendo absolutamente y no estoy para nada de acuerdo con el comentario de abajo, pero igual lo dejo porque nadie tiene la verdad de nada y todo depende de impresiones y gustos. Monkey3 no inventa nada en este"Astra Symmetry", pero lo están intentando y realmente el resultado que están obteniendo viene muy pero muy bien.

Hace tan solo unas horas leí una columna de una conocida revista especializada argentina y en ella el redactor hacia un racconto sobre el Stoner internacional y de cómo había impactado en la escena argentina. Grande fue mi sorpresa cuando se refiere a un paulatino estancamiento del estilo y que prefiere justamente a las bandas que apuntan más al formato canción que a las jams desérticas interminable...
ALELUYA. ALELUYA. ALELUYA! Al fin se dieron cuenta!. El Stoner hace más de 10 años que se encuentra estancado y es algo que desde que empecé a escribir en la pagina lo vengo asegurando; ahora viene la pregunta del millón: ¿solo en Argentina el Stoner está estancado?. YO DIRIA EN EL GLOBO ENTERO!, por algo tenemos a las bandas relegando la canción y haciendo malabares musicales con tal de encontrar una salida creativa y mantener a flote al estilo. Claro que aun así el género sigue ofreciendo muy buenas propuestas y otras muy creativas que pasan de largo para quienes ya no están pendientes de lo que pasa en otros ámbitos que no sean los del Mainstream.
Es lamentable que esta larga intro sirva para decir que el quinto disco de estos suizos se queda fuera de mi última apreciación positiva sobre el estilo. Acá tenemos la contra cara de lo que fue el gran debut de los texanos Turnip (si, un debut) ya que lo que Monkeys3 ofrece es una mezcla de Stoner con Rock progresivo y psicodélico, en el último tiempo me llegó material de esa índole y si bien es un disco muy bien producido y ejecutado me aburrí más de lo pensado.
Acá tenemos nuevamente de esas interminables Jams que al principio suenan convincentes y hasta atractivas pero que luego se tornan densas dada la carencia de gancho y terminan agotando la paciencia por que duran más de lo debido. Grandes ejemplos los tenemos en la apertura psicodélica/progresiva de teclados en plan místicos de “Abyss”, que no empieza mal pero que es totalmente arruinada por las voces roncas que no le aportan nada. Y que encima haya que esperar a que la cosa se anime un poco después de 5 instrumentales (¡!) bastante aburridos con “Dead planet’s eye’s” y no solo por que es una de las pocas canciones cantadas sino por que es una de las más redondas. ¿Y que tenemos después?, mas jams interminables. Y que encima su sádica duración de 1 hora y cuarto hace muy difícil una segunda escucha para cambiar opiniones.
Lo decía anteriormente, el disco está bien producido y ejecutado pero el problema pasa por el enfoque compositivo de las canciones (si es que se le pueden llamar así). En ese sentido coincido con el redactor del principio: acá hacen falta canciones. A lo mejor tú le encuentras el sentido, claro está.
Chistian Darchez

Starting from the idea that constellations have an influence on the lives of human beings, Monkey 3 undertake to study these forces. To do this they compose 12 tracks (one for each sign of the zodiac), divided into 4 sets (one for each element of alchemy: Water, Air, Earth, Fire), of pure astrological space rock. The take-off base is located in the middle of a desert, studded with impressive progressive rock keyboards melodies, at times standing out like real pyramids of sound (Moon). Abandoned the Earth ground, music floats lightly, led by a soft plump bass guitar wrapping itself in hypnotic riffs – halfway between Pink Floyd (A Saurceful of Secrets era) and Om - fusing together with a liquid bright warm guitar, explicitly inspired by David Gilmour. Rather than scientific exploration of the unknown corners of the cosmos, the study undertaken by the Swiss band is a historical research, from the beginning of the sci-fi space rock up to its modern stoner and progressive expressions. A fascinating treatise on the history of intergalactic travels. The results of their study show how the cosmos (and the music it inspired) has a power over human beings, tiny creatures who allow themselves to be hypnotized and abducted by the liquid waves of songs like Endless Ocean, sort of mental projections of the planet Solaris.
Anesthetized

I admit that I am new to the Swiss band monkey3 and I was initially attracted to review this album because the album artwork looked amazing and the title “Astra Symmetry” sounded cool. It’s even better that the music fits both of those! monkey3 play a nice blend of psych rock, prog rock and stoner rock. The album is a balance of very old Floyd, Hawkwind and even My Sleeping Karma.
The album opens with the sitar-laden “Abyss” which if Pink Floyd had taken a Middle Eastern turn with their music, it might have sounded like this. The vocals aren’t perfect but they work. They really don’t need the vocals at all to be honest! “Moon” starts with a massive layer of keys over majestic lumbering drums. The problem is the vocals. This time is a very deep, spoken vocal during which the music basically dies down. Once the vocals stop, the band kick the song back into gear.
“Endless Ocean” has a cool, spacey vibe to it with a solid drum pattern. “The Water Bearer” is a piano led track with a cool bassline. The track kicks in mid way thru and does have vocals. The vocals are solid, not spectacular. Overall, it’s a great song though with a cool guitar solo at the end. It’s cool how many of these tracks all segue into each other. There’s a natural flow to “Astra Symmetry” as a whole. It feels much more like a whole piece versus 12 separate tracks.
The cosmic “Mirrors” is another cool track, led by an acoustic guitar and what sounds like a flute but really is a keyboard. The keyboards on this album are so tasty throughout. There are so many different sounds and all are classic and steeped in 70s prog. Need more mellotron? “Dead Planet Eyes” is for you. The vocal on this track is a lot more animated than the rest which actually works better for me.
monkey3 aren’t reinventing anything on “Astra Symmetry” but they aren’t trying to and they really don’t need to either. They clearly know what their sound is and execute it well. I still would have preferred this as an all instrumental album, because it already is mostly instrumental and sounds great when it is that. If you like bands that don’t just play psych rock and prog rock but actually UNDERSTAND the vocabulary of each, “Astra Symmetry” by monkey3 is a must.
progmanrob

How the bloody hell have I never heard of this band before?’ That was one of the first thoughts that came to my mind when I put on Monkey3 their new release ‘Astra Symmetry’, which is about a month ago by now already. The first song on the album ‘Abyss’ starts with such an atmospheric sound that I fell in love instantly. Foremost because it reminded me a lot of one of my favorite bands ‘Wardruna’. But it didn’t last long until the drums and heavy guitars set in and the almost nine minute long track started to get groovy, and the resemblance with Wardruna faded into a resemblance with, let’s say Pink Floyd, because they haven’t been compared enough with them.
So, the band got me interested, and listening to their previous work I soon learned that the album starts in quite a unique way because Monkey3 brings vocals to their new work, where their previous work mainly consists of instrumental songs only. But the raw vocals are very fitting to the music and are a pleasant addition.
If the addition of these vocals got you worried: don’t be! The vocals really are just an addition and the focus still is put on the atmospheric sound made by great guitar work and the synths. I think it is great that the band is evolving itself and that they are trying something new.
The first three songs Abyss, Moon and Endless Ocean form a unity on the album, and so do The Water Bearer and Crossroad. Where these songs maintain a good balance between a heavier sound by groovy guitars, atmospheric synths and some vocals every now and then, during Mirrors I find myself wandering off towards a fairytale land. The song isn’t as loaded as most songs on the album, but yet it is nicely building up towards a somewhat heavier ending.
Dead Planet’s Eyes then again is something totally different. The main focus lies on the vocals with this song and the band here shows something else then you’re used to.
If you want to connect to the album title, I’ll recommend the songs Seeds and the combination of Arch and The Guardian. These songs give a lot of space (see what I did there?!) for great guitar work and, indeed leave you floating through time and space.
Combine all the above mentioned elements and you’ll get the epic ending of the album ‘Realms Of Lights’. It goes on where The Guardian ended and slowly builds up to one organized chaos of different sounds and elements. I love it, the climax couldn’t get any better!
Rating: 9/10
metal-exposure.com

An eastern drone, and the sound of the sitar and tabla precede a whispered chant. The drum steps up in tribal fashion. Now this is different. Monkey3 in fact are from Switzerland and describe “Astra Symmetry” as our “magic carpet ride”. The harsh vocals don’t really live up to the billing but “Abyss” is the trippiest of trips, the proggiest of prog, the weirdest of weird and ….?
So from the mysteries of the East, where was this journey going to take us? Into Kraftwerkian cosmic territory to start, then save a dark spoken passage “Moon” takes us through a world of sombre tones and luxurious guitar. There’s always a feel of cosmic prog, with tinges of post rock. Wavy moods and atmospheres feature strongly. As the drum beats calmly to “Endless Ocean”, there’s a sound like a didgeridoo. The willowy keyboard conveys images of early Kraftwerk experimentation. After the melancholic and 70s rock-laden “The Water Bearer” and the equally sad but chunkier, more mystical rock experience of “Crossroad”, the wider expanse of “Mirrors” takes over. It’s quite dark and gloomy. Maybe I expected something bigger than this after the extravagant start but “Astra Symmetry” does live up to its name by coming from a dreamy planet. You get what you wish for, as they say, and along comes “Dead Planet’s Eyes” with the wooziness and wispiness of Astra but a prog-type vocal which does nothing for me but to disturb the equilibrium. The more typically instrumental “Seeds” takes us back to the ethereal style test card fare, which borders on but never quite achieves excitement. It is music to absorb, but I could not see myself being carried away by it. “Astraea” takes us to the cosmos for a short while, and captivating it is too, and a good lead into the ascending prog-fused post-rock “Arch”. “The Guardian” is more of the same, while “Realms of Light” steps up the ante with an eerie sound sending a frisson through the veins as the instrumental heartbeat pounds and rises to a climax before working its way back through the cosmos.
“Astra Symmetry” is a long album and is dominated too much by some gloomy but unexciting passages. That is disappointing because in the cosmic and wider experimentation, there’s a lot of very interesting material here.
7/10
Andrew Doherty

The first thing you need to know about Astra Symmetry by Switzerland’s oddly named Monkey3 is that it is long. 12 tracks, a healthy portion of which clock in at over the 6-minute mark. The second is; the album defies pigeon holing. The music on offer wanders everywhere and refuses to stick to any one particular style. If a label were to be forced, astral is possibly the most apt term.
From the middle eastern influenced slow burn of opening track Abyss it’s clear that this will be anything but a typical album. It’s impossible to sum up in the space of this review everything that’s on offer; it’s an album that will offer up something new with repeated spins. The vocals are sparsely spread over the 12 tracks with the band more than happy to let their musical meanderings take the fore; choosing to focus more on atmosphere than spreading a particular message.
The blues-influenced solos pay direct tribute to the 70s greats of Sabbath and Zeppelin (particularly in evidence on Moon and Crossroad) and there are definite doomier elements at play throughout the album. Songs like Seeds and Arch do seem to meander almost aimlessly with no traditional song structure in evidence, but this isn’t quite the criticism some would imagine. In fact, this lack of structure and meandering nature make the songs perfect for sitting in the dark, relaxing and absorbing the atmosphere offered which, I think, is a main aim of the album.
Album closer, Realms of Lights, brings together all the elements of the band and acts as the perfect finish to the unique astral journey on offer here.
Already a heavy hitter in the psychedelic rock movement Astra Symmetry cements Monkey3s’ place at the top of the mountain. A heavy slog, but one worth your time and attention.
Standout tracks: Moon, Crossroad & Realms of Lights
Rating: 8/10
www.midlandsmetalheads.com



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