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sábado, 18 de febrero de 2017

Rak - Lepidoptera (2004)

¿Realmente tienen ganas de conocer un disco increíblemente bueno?. Créanme, es desconocido, no hay ni videos ni nada para mostrarles, viene de Suiza y es un excelente disco de rock progresivo y del bueno, realmente hermoso de punta a punta, banda suiza con temazos tremendos en otro álbum conceptual con una historia muy bien planteada, plasmadas en canciones de una manera fenomenal. Discazo, una joya memorable que tiene el lugar que se merece en el blog cabezón aunque no lo conozca nadie. Una delicia de punta a punta, imagino que a estas alturas soy digno de que me crean aunque no tenga videos para presenterles...

Artista: Rak
Álbum: Lepidoptera
Año: 2004
Género: Hard rock sinfónico / Neo-progresivo ecléctico
Duración: 62:35
Nacionalidad: Suiza

Lista de Temas:
1. To the Refuge
2. Metamorphosis: one
3. Metamorphosis: two
4. Coming to Terms
5. Lepidoptera: Freefall
6. Lepidoptera: Beast
7. Lepidoptera: Savage
8. Dreams like These
9. The Consequences
10. Metamorphosis: three
11. those Bright Wings
12. Last Words
13. Requiem
14. Flashback
15. Bumblebee Chase
16. Play Possum
17. Preparation
18. Departure
19. Migration
20. Release

- Marc Grassi Rak / keyboards
- Dave Thwaites (aka Zoz) / vocals
- Sam Siegenthaler / guitar
- Tobias Reber / touch guitar
- Mike Liechti / drums
- Silvana Trepp / violin, vocals
- Ursine Barandun / cello
- Claudine Egger & Rosy Wisler / backing vocals

Sigo publicando algunos de los álbums internacionales que más me gustan, sobretodo si son poco conocidos ¿Y qué les puedo decir de este álbum? A ver... Este es un álbum conceptual, primer álbum de la banda, que me pareció muy inteligente y original. "Lepidoptera" es un álbum conceptual en la mejor tradición, y cuenta dos historias al mismo tiempo: la primera historia corresponde a la mariposa, que cambia de una oruga a una hermosa mariposa, y su fascinante viaje de América del Norte a México, que tiene una duración total de varios meses, para morir y renacer, y segundo: la historia de una muchacha abusada y maltratada por la vida, y teme por tomar la desición correcta que encaminará su vida, esta chica que también está obligada a cambiar con el fin de escapar de una vida de miedo y abuso (bueno, algo así...).

La obra llega a 50' sin desperdicio, son 20 canciones cortas en total. Un álbum con fibra, muy emotivo, fino diría. Instrumentalmente están bien, la voz (quizás lo que menos me gusta pero no está tan mal) siempre me recuerda a alguien pero no lo logro definir... algunas líneas de un buen neo-prog con pizcas de sinfónico: muy recomendable para los amantes de Arena, Marillion, IQ o Spock Beard, pero sin embargo no se parece demasiado a ninguna de esas bandas, tanto que no catalogaría a este disco como neo-prog simplemente, o es un neo-prog muy renovado, con demasiada energía que aunque no llega a ser metal pero sí llega a un excelente hard rock. La voz están bien (me recuerda Rob Sowden de Arena pero en otro tono), la energía, las melodías, las composiciones, los cambios de ritmo y los teclados, todo me parece excelente.

Lean algunos otros comentarios, si es que no me creen:

Yes, 5 stars.GO AND BUY IT!!! I wish I could change something in this world. I'd give a copy of this album to every ProgHead on this site and beyond, because it is BEAUTIFUL!!!
Terribly underrated concept Masterpiece from Swiss band with weird name RAK. Don't pay much attention to the length of songs: it's a concept story more than an hour long. It's very hard to review this CD: it contains elements of almost every Prog genre - from ELP-like bombastic bits (lots of organ scattered through the album, also a lot of piano and synth sounds...very good keyboardist - he's not the centre of everything, so you can concentrate right on the music without getting angry about his immense ego ;-) ) to MARILLION-like emotional ballads (piano-only "Dream like These"); from PAIN OF SALVATION-like metal (what a singer! Imagine a mixture of FISH and that Geoff from QUEENSRYCHE!) to spacy PORCUPINE TREEish spots; from Scandinavian-like darkness to the light of more Folkish tunes...
The main basis of it all - the Holy MELODY and the blessed EMOTIONS, the very things I adore in Prog! Another recent discovery of mine along with MILLENIUM's "Interdead". This album is recommended TO ALL PROG-FANS!!! Instead of meandering into hyped average bands or devoting yourself to 70s (G)Oldies try this one!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! A MUST!!!!!!!!!
Igor Sidorenko

"Lepidoptera" is the best Marillion album that Marillion never made. Of course I don't mean to so superficially label RAK as clones when they are a fine band on their own accord, yet the point must be made that this album will appeal tremendously to fans of Hogarth-era (and even Fish era) Marillion. In my opinion this album is much more enjoyable than some of the Marillion mediocrity over the years, though not quite to the level of works like "Misplaced Childhood" or "Brave." The work is an emotional and sprawling study of change and the human condition, via the life of a girl as well as in secondary metaphor through the incredible migration of the monarch butterfly.
As Ivan notes in his bio RAK inhabit a strange space between neo-prog and modern symphonic progressive and is something of a missing link between the two. To my ears though it is somewhat closer to neo-prog in the feel of the material. The album is an hour long conceptual work broken into two acts and twenty short tracks, but really it flows along as one complete piece, the different songs dissolving into the next one.
The two main personalities of the basic RAK sound come from the work of composer and keyboardist Marc Grassi and lyricist/vocalist Dave Thwaites. Grassi's work cannot be understated: "Lepidoptera" is a wonderful set of compositions filled with memorable melodies, long peaceful interludes, aggressive bursts of energy, good cohesion and "flow." His work on the keys is solid and diverse, from the lovely shades of background "color" to the beautiful sections of piano (or synth piano?whatever it is!) to the nice array of modern energetic synth. Thwaites has a unique voice that reminds me of Hogarth but it comes with a more energetic, sometimes defiant sounding delivery. I've not seen him sing in video but I'd guess he is a somewhat theatrical performer, or at least physically expressive in his performance. The rest of the band is solid as well, fine drumming, expressive and juicy lead guitar work. It's a combination of music that is very pretty at times and emotionally charged, even frantic at times, as the themes of the songs shift from exploring the lighter and darker sides of the subjects. Soft melodic piano interludes such as "Dreams Like These" counter modern, pulsing synths sounds and distorted guitar chords in the rocking sections. "Metamorphosis:three" is also a cool section with this repeating synth motif over very subtle drumming, rumbling low end, and a lengthy but low-key guitar improvisation. Even the softer, almost new-age feel of the keys and programmed-sounding rhythms of "Those Bright Wings" works beautifully in a relaxing way. A bit of something for everyone in terms of tone and mood.
It's nice the way the album leaves room for "drift", some ideas are clearly obvious, but others seemingly develop from simply being given space, it doesn't feel like they are just trying to get you from one chorus/catchy part to the next as other modern prog seems hell-bent on doing. The many transitions on this album are handled quite skillfully. There is room for more sound treats however. This album credits a violinist but I think a long conceptual work could benefit from more strings or some different instrumentalists or more vocal variation. The production is also less than perfect but certainly respectable.
"Lepidoptera" is quite good in my estimation though well short of a masterpiece, I'd place it over three stars, not quite four, but enough to round up to four. The tri-fold insert features some gorgeous artwork from Mark Wilkinson, on both sides of all panels. Really nice touch. "Lepidoptera" is an album that will please many and I'm really surprised it has slipped below the radar of the site's many Neo-prog fans. Fans of modern day symphonic and crossover prog, things like Moon Safari, Phideaux, and Magic Pie, may also do well to track down this recording. Those into metal and harsh/dissonant prog can safely pass on this.
Jim Finnforest

Fans of the neo-prog genre, unite and rejoice, as the genre is not dead or bled dry, but is alive as never before! In 2005 a true neo-prog masterpiece saw the lifelight: Lepidoptera of the Swiss collective Rak. Rak is the name under which the Swiss keyboardplayer Marc Grassi operates. You might remember him from the formation Thonk, with which he released a strong instrumental prog album in 2001, Earth Vision Impact. Thonk unfortunately does not exist anymore, but Marc Grassi has gathered around him a group of talented musicians and recorded an amazing album.
The first thing you notice is the unusual cover. You see a forrest, with several cocoons hanging there. In it, you recognize human figures. If you take the cover out of the jewelcase, yo can fold it open and there you’ll see an open cocoon and a girl standing there. This incredible artwork is by the hand of none other than Mark Wilkinson, who in the Fish rea, also was responsible for the artwork of Marillion. The artwork points to the theme of the album.
Lepidoptera is a concept album, which tells two stories at the same time: The story of the Monarch butterfly, who changes from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly and the story of a girl, that is troubled in her life by abuse, fear and brokenness and has to choices that will influence her future.
It is not a happy tale, so do not expect light music. No, the atmosphere is comparable with for instance Arena’s The Visitor: dark, heavy prog sounds, with vocals that will go right through your soul. Throughout the entire album, the same theme appears, which supports the concept idea of the album.
Initially it was started as solo album by Grassi, so it should not be a surprise the keyboards are fairly dominating. Varying from modern synth sounds, to piano, Grassi works through the whole spectrum of synthesizers in the music, making it a pretty varied album. Besides the keyboards, singer Zoz is the most important factor on the album. He has a powerful, cleane voice, but with the much needed emotion and he knows well to touch the listener.
In the line up a drummer is mentioned, Mike Liechti, but no bassist, although the warm bass sound is there and works well with the modest drums of Liechti. The violin and cello are there, but subtly woven into the music, but you have to sit for it, to discover it, yet it does add to the beautiful sound of Rak.
In 20 tracks Rak brings her story and from the opener ‘To the Refuge’, you are literally sucked into the music and are you in the rollercoaster that is called Lepidoptera! It is amazing, captivating music, with many drama elements in it, bombastic keyboards, great guitar riffs and a very good singer. Despite the fact the music touches bands like Arena, Fish-era Marillion and a bit of IQ, it should not be compared with those bands. However, here and there you hear familiar keyboard parts, that are found with Arena and even a part that is very similar to the first Enigma album by Michael Cretu, still Rak has a sound of it’s own, that will knock you down and never let you go.

"Lepidoptera" tiene una densidad musical increíble, dramático e intenso. Desde el lado estético, Rak es difícil de clasificar. Desde el rock salvaje a arrebatos disonantes, reemplazados luego por climas y música atmosférica, creando pasajes muy íntimos y propios para desarrollar la historia. Luego hay varias reminiscencias de sonidos sinfónicos muy a lo Genesis, con maravillosos y poderosos sonido del Hammond aunque con toques más modernos aún a pesar de su sonido vintage (por eso mismo podríamos citar a Spock Beard también, y creo que su comparación no está muy alejada de la realidad), incluso aparecen algunas influencias folk en la vena de Iona, solos conmovedores de guitarra, mientras que el tema "Bumblebee Chase" está teñido de jazz clásico, y hasta no falta la oportunidad de traer el espíritu de The Beatles.
A pesar de ser tan ecléctico, todas esas piezas están tan bien fusionadas que forman parte indivisibles de un todo, está tan bien realizada, planificada, compuesta e interpretada (aunque su música no es especialmente compleja, debo aclarar) que todo conduce a la narración de la historia, que sigue siendo la parte fuerte que al parecer los músicos quieren acentuar a pesar de la música sea magnífica de por sí, y para contar mejor esa historia apelan a una diversidad de estilos que están combinados de una manera ingeniosa y de un nivel alto. Por ello no catalogo a este álbum como "ecléctico", no estaría mal esa denominación pero creo que no representa este trabajo, está todo tan bien ensamblado que nada aquí suena como "ecléctico".

"Lepidoptera" está lleno de sentimiento, entusiasmo e ideas, y personalmente representa un hito dentro del rock progresivo, desconocido aún por la mayoría. Todo lo que hace a este álbum, desde el artwork hasta las letras llegando a la música en sí, me parecen puro arte. Hay que destacar que el arte gráfico corresponde a Mark Wilkinson, conocido principalmente por las bellas tapas de los álbums de Marillion, Fish, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Satellite, Peter Gabriel, Robert Wyatt, Megadeth, Geoff Downes, Peter Banks, Porcupine Tree, Tangerine Dream y muchísimos más.
Dense el gusto y escuchen a esta hermosa "mariposa" revolotear por sus oídos, les puede resultar una experiencia sensacional y fascinante. ¡Muy recomendado!.

Aquí tienen algunos temas para que puedan apreciar y ver si les agrada:

www.rak-music.com www.myspace.com/artofrak Los videos que incluyo a continuación corresponden a su segundo álbum "Book of Flight", ya que no hay mucho video para el álbum que estoy presentando:

6 comentarios:

  1. Mega - super, e la musica è molto buona.

    Grazie mille!

  2. Justo para mí, lo llevo.

  3. che como la rompe esta banda y como la rompe mega, altas velocidades. gracias!

    1. La banda tiene muy buenas composiciones, no solo en Argentina hay muy buenas bandas que son completamente desconocidas, en el under de la aldea global sucede eso mismo.
      Ya vamos a traer otras maravillas desconocidas de otras partes del mundo.
      Y Mega está teniendo muy buen servicio al menos por ahora, esperemos que siga así.

  4. Respuestas
    1. Hola Augusto, te cuento que no hay descargas publicadas en el blog salvo que lo autoricen los músicos.

      Pero hay más material del publicado libremente en el blog y eso está en nuestra lista de correo. Para obtener toda esa información tienes que suscribirte a la lista de correo (te recomindo usar un mail de gmail y NUNCA uno de Microsoft; tipo Hotmail, Live, Outlook, etc. porque filtran los mensajes de nuestra lista) y leer bien los mensajes de bienvenida ya que sino te perderás de información crucial.

      Para suscribirte, acá tenés una guìa que te ayudará en el proceso:




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